Friday, September 30, 2005

Army would give Detroit an APC for Free

As I mentioned in In The Midst of Layoffs, Detroit Police Consider Buying A $743K APC , Detroit should look for a surplus armored vehiucle rather than spending almost three quarters of a million dollars for a shiny new one with all the bells and whistles.

Indeed they could get a surplus armored vehicle for - FREE.
From the Detroit News:
Warren-based TACOM, the U.S. Army's Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, in June 2004 doled out, free, three armored personnel carriers to the Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County sheriff departments. The departments are required to periodically report back to TACOM on the reliability of the technology used in the vehicle, which can carry up to 13 officers, and perform any needed maintenance.

The Detroit Police Department has not requested a free Army tank (emphasis added), but would likely be a good candidate to receive one, said Don Jarosz, deputy public affairs officer for TACOM. The Army tanks can cost as much as $475,000.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Pretty Funny Fish Story

Literal Barrage links to a very humorous posting over at Slashdot regarding the claimed escaper of Navy Dolphins from New Orleans.
Sound a little fishy to me.

What could be the porpoise of arming these creatures?

Before we starting carping on the ineptitude of our navy, I think we should more carefully exsalmon the situation - they may not be solely at fault. Perhaps Katrina is just a red herring here, and these killer dolphins have been floundering around for months. Maybe some deranged fool let them loose just for the halibut. Whoever is responsible should have their head on a pike.
To which I could only reply: Frankly my dear scallop, I don't give a clam who is responsible. Its a crappie situation and the story just smelts fishy to me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Dueling Charge in Michigan Today

From the Macomb Daily Cousins accused of 'dueling'.

Two Mount Clemens male cousins will be charged with the rarely implemented charge -- "dueling -- engaging in/issuing challenge" under state law -- for a fight Monday afternoon outside their home in which one of them suffered a stab wound to the stomach.

The offense, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, was penned in 1846.

"The 1800s are alive and well in Mount Clemens," quipped Dean Alan, chief of the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office warrants division, which approved the warrant Tuesday. "All we need are the mineral baths."

Alan said he believes it's the first time the charge has been rendered in Macomb, although Sheriff Mark Hackel said he vaguely recalls a possible dueling charge many years ago.

. . .

Hackel said he wholeheartedly supports the unusual charge. In the incident, the two men who reside in the same home on Walnut Street with other relatives disagreed over a $30 debt. Wielding a knife, the older cousin confronted the younger cousin, who retrieved a knife and accepted the challenge, the sheriff said.

Methinks alcohol or some other substance, in addition to stupidity was possibly involved

Feature Coin - A Solidus of Theodosius II

This coin is a gold Solidus weighing 4.37 grams of the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II.

on the Obverse of the coin, a Helmeted and cuirassed bust of the Emperor is facing front, holding spear and shield.

On the Reverse: VIRTEXERCRO, Emperor stands facing, head left, holding Barbarian. Struck in Constantinople in 441 AD. The reverse alludes to the Emperor's military virtues, an important propaganda device for retaining the loyalty of the army and to keep the citizens assured that the Emperor would keep the barbarian hordes in check.

The coin is in Extremely Fine condition.

Theodosius II is mostly known today as being the issuer of the Theodosian Code -- the Codex Theodosianus in 438 CE. After being issued in the East it was adopted by the Emperor of the West, Valentinian III. The Codex codified the Roman Law from Constantine forward and is still a strong influence on modern Civil Law that is practiced in much of Europe, Quebec and Louisiana (as opposed to common law) even today. A copy of the Theodosian Code can be found in the original Latin online. Unfortunately, I've been unable to find an available a full English translation on the web. The code provides a wealth of information for the social and legal historian for the development of laws and the society in which the code was formed. The code was later superceded by the Justinian Code.

This impressive solidus is for sale at Amphora Coins for $750.00.

A Shekel Trifecta - Coins, Law and Commentary all in one post!

In The Midst of Layoffs, Detroit Police Consider Buying A $743K APC

While in the process of laying off 150 Police officers due to budget constraints in a city that is precariously getting closer to falling into a receivership, the Detroit Police is planning to use $743,000 in drug forfeiture money to buy an Urban Assault Vehicle.

Wrongly identified by the Detroit News in the article caption as a "Tank", this
urban assault vehicle ... can traverse rivers, is resistant to landmines and is equipped with periscopes.

There are not any known minefields in Detroit - at least not literally, and really not that many water obstacles either, especially on an urban drug raid, unless the druggies are doing new home makeovers with moats.

The Detroit City Council is expected today to approve purchasing "The Commander" general-purpose vehicle for use in executing drug raids. It also could be used in case of a terrorist attack or a natural disaster.

Does the City really need to spend almost 3/4 of a million dollars on a new assault vehicle when there are plenty of surplus armored personnel carriers that can be purchased for much, much less?

In light of laying off officers in a high-crime city, The Detroit Police would be better off not buying the Rolls Royce of assault vehicles and instead buying some surplus armor and keeping more Police on the Street.

Serenity- It's Gorram Good

First, Many Thanks to Universal Pictures and Grace Hill Media for arranging for Bloggers to attend the preview of Serenity.

In fact, Grace Hill Media even had a reserved section of good seats in the theater for the reviewers. I saw the 7:00 pm preview screening at the Uptown Palladium in Birmingham, Michigan (the Detroit location). In addition to a few Bloggers, the theater was almost full with people who had been given some preview passes.

First, if you’re a Firefly fan, Serenity will not disappoint. All the panache, humor, action and rich characters that made Firefly such a great series are present in the movie. The audience laughed and got the jokes and there was even some cheering in the theater when the Serenity crew did something particularly amazing (Sorry, I won’t spoil it for you – go see the movie for yourself to find out why).

If you’ve never seen Firefly, fear not. My wife, who had never seen Firefly, and is not a sci-fi fan did enjoy the movie. She did not expect some of the violence, especially the startling flashback action during the Reaver scenes. Other than that, she did enjoy it and had no trouble understanding the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where and Why) of the movie, and the movie flawlessly works in elements from the series and immerses the viewer in the Firefly universe. My wife did comment that the movie could have used a bit more romance and a little less of the the quick-flash scens but otherwise she enjoyed the movie.

There were only two downsides to the movie were these:

One, the sound seemed to be ill-mixed and overly loud. At times the music or action sounds were very very loud, often making the voices hard to hear. This may have been due to the theaters sound settings however.

The only other downside to the film is that, as a Firefly fan, a certain character(s) (I’ll not spoil it by saying who) is going to die in the film, which may make transitioning the movie back to a television series difficult. Now the movie may be used as an “end” and the series may take up where Firefly left off, or it could potentially progress from this point in a new direction as not all threads were tidily cleaned up, leaving room for many great adventures to come. This does not detract from the quality of the movie in any way, but certainly may shock some of the Firefly fans out there.

Serenity has it all – strong characters, drama, suspense, an excellent plot, moral dilemmas and moral answers, humor and action. Oh yes, If you’ve seen Firefly and remember River saying “No power in the ‘verse can stop me” – You’ll see in this film that she was right. River rocks.

Go see Serenity, it will not disappoint either the Firefly die hard or those who have yet to enjoy the experience.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tomb of Odysseus Possibly Found

Intersetng if the identification is correct, the tomb is near a "small village of Poros on the southeast coast of Kefalonia".

Basing the identification on finding a broach in the tomb match a description in Homer's Odyseey is tempting, but I'd like to see more proof, including some further archeological date comnfirmation and further analysis of the find.

Still, this would be an amazing find if it checks out. Regardless of whether it is Odysseus or not, finding an ancient burial complex is a significant discovery.

Full article reporting the find here: Archeologists make historic discovery

Monday, September 26, 2005

Serenity The Movie Post 1

I've been confirmed as a blogger/reviewer to blog on the new Movie Serenity and will be seeing it on Tuesday.

Serenity is set in the Firefly universe with the same cast and characters. As Firefly was fantastic, I expect Serenity to be at least as good. The trailer for the movie if its any indication, makes me beleive the movie will more than live up to the series and hopefully spur the continutation of the series onto Television.

Synopsis of Serenity:
Joss Whedon, the OscarR - and Emmy - nominated writer/director
responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE,
ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a
small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature
film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain
Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic
civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and
transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic
crew who are the closest thing he has left to family -squabbling,
insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

For more info on the film see the Serenity The Movie Site, which has artwork, trailers and more.

You can also purchase the Firefly DVD set, which has the entire first season of Firefly, including episodes that sadly never aired, on or rent the series from Netflix

I'll have my review of the film up shortly after I've seen it.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Call the Police and be Sued by Them

In a strange decision nullifying much of the protection of the "firemen's rule" (which prevents Firemen and Police from suing the person seeking help for injuries they receive while responding to assist that person.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that a bar calling for police to help eject a drunk patron can be sued under the Dram Shop rule for injuries to the officers that are casued when they try to eject the person.

As the Detroit News in its article "Unwise ruling invites cops to sue citizens" correctly points out:
There are several practical problems with the ruling and the weakening of the firefighters rule. It creates an incentive for bar owners not to call the police to deal with dangerous patrons, which puts everyone else in the bar at risk. By limiting the firefighters rule, it invites more lawsuits that may make homeowners and other property owners liable to suit for calling the police or fire departments, which would make them hesitate to do so.
Even worse the Detroit news points out that this ruling
creates an unhealthy, uneven relationship between the people and their government. Under the governmental immunity rule, citizens are not allowed to sue the government for its mistakes, but now government employees can sue citizens for injuries the employees suffer in the course of their official duties. There's something wrong with this picture.

Exactly so. As the Detroit News recommends, the Michigan Supreme Court should reverse this flawed decision.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Moores Calumnious Letter on Katrina

I received this from someone who is an otherwise reasonable and smart individual who sadly seems to be suffering from BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome). While I do not find the Federal Government's response to this disaster to be perfect (Its the Federal Government people, who really expects it to respond perfectly to anything?), the calumnies and falsehoods in Mr. Moore's letter, so keeping in his typical style need to be addressed.

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush:

That's President Bush to you, regardless of how you may feel about the man, at least respect the office. And yes, While President, Clinton should have likewise been addressed as President Clinton.

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

How about over 300 buses, property of new Orleans and under the control of the Mayor that instead of being used in the evacuation and could have evacuated approximately 14,000 people in one trip, certainly more than helicopters could. Instead these buses were left in the New orleans Motor pool to become flooded and ruined. The mayor did not even follow New orleans disaster plan and use the buses, instead he left them there to rot. (Hat tip Junkyard Blog)

Of course, you don't want to mention the buses because it could be hard to blame that on the President now wouldn't it. Sorry you can return to your regularly scheduled Bush-bashing now.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Obviously Moore knows little of how the Constitution and our Federal system of Government works...did he go to public school in Flint or something? The Louisana National Gurad are under the command of -- yes you guessed it --..the Louisiana Governor!

Only about 350 of Louisiana’s National Guardsmen are in Iraq and those that are are part of an actual combat brigade. That left Govenor Blanco 8,000 people . Where is your citicism of her? Maybe you would like to ask Ms. Blanco why she hesitiated for two days?

Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to
ignore and smear. You sure showed her!

Nevermind that the feds responded in force within 3 days. It took 9 days to respond to Hurricane Andrew, so Bush has sped up the federal response by 300%. Nermind that Bush had already declared a state of emergency before the sotrm hit. heck, nevermind that it was the mayor's delay in declaring an evacuation and the Governor's delay in calling for aid and federal asssitance that compounded the problem. nevermind that the governor has still ot ceeded fuill authority over to the Federal government to manage the crisis.

I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?

Mind you, if he rushed in you would have criticised himm for grandstanding. oh wait, you did...

And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!

Really a lack of money - Not according to the Washington Post In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon. . . .

Pam Dashiell, president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, remembers holding a protest against the lock four years ago -- right where the levee broke Aug. 30. Now she's holed up with her family in a St. Louis hotel, and her neighborhood is underwater. "Our politicians never cared half as much about protecting us as they cared about pork," Dashiell said.

Sorry you can return to your regularly scheduled Bush-bashing now.

On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.
Yes, and if he landed there you would have castigated him for Grandstanding, just as you are now castigating him for visitng New York after 9/11. You really can't have it both ways.

There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.

Never mind that the Director of the US National Hurricane CenterDirector of the US National Hurricane Center "uunder questioning by members of a US Senate subcommittee, he shrugged off suggestions that global warming played a role.

Mr Mayfield said the increased activity was a natural cycle in the Atlantic Ocean that fluctuated every 25 to 40 years. warned the nation yesterday.

Never mind, keep to your Kyoto and global warming chicken little fantasies and return to your Bush bashing.

No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING
-- to do with this!

Lets of course not mention the fact that it was the Lousiana Government (hat tip wuzzademthat prevented the Red Cross from entering New Orleans and providing relief supplies and food and water to the Superdome. Should we say the Democrat Governor of Louisiana prevented supllies from getting there because of race?

Let's also not forget to mention that the Federal Response had the same dealys as that under the Clinton Administration in dealing with Hurricane Andrew...and Katrina was a much worse storm affecting a much greater area. The Response is flawed, but to blame it on racism is missing the simple answer of everyday bureaucratic incompetence and the impossibility of a centralized response to a disaster stretching over a land area the size of the United Kingdom.

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.


Michael Moore