Wednesday, April 23, 2008

At a Bargain price of $371 Million, Woodward Ave may get 8 fashionable miles of Light Rail - What could possibly go wrong?

Lyle Lanley: Well, sir, there's nothing on earth
Like a genuine,
Bona fide,
Monorail! ...
What'd I say?
Ned Flanders: Monorail!
Lyle Lanley: What's it called?
Patty+Selma: Monorail!
Lyle Lanley: That's right! Monorail!

The Simpsons Marge vs the Monorail

From the Detroit News:

DETROIT -- City leaders have pinned their mass transit hopes on an eight-mile stretch down Woodward Avenue that connects the State Fairgrounds with downtown, calling the $371 million project a "first step" toward the return of light rail to Metro Detroit.

Construction could begin in three years, with an estimated 11,000 riders a day by 2013.

At about $33,727.27 per rider, we may be better off buying each of them a used car...but that $371 Million is just the starting cost.

"It's not an end, it's a start," said Norman White, the chief financial
officer for the city and project manager of the Detroit Transit Options for Growth Study.
We were afraid of that.
But questions remain: How will the area pay for it, and how will it handle a substantial annual subsidy?

White, a former DDOT director, said mass transportation is subsidized in Detroit and elsewhere.

The reward for developing interconnecting transit systems is the development they'll spur. In Dallas, Denver and other cities building or expanding their light rail systems, land around the lines has seen millions of dollars in construction.

"That's the payoff you get," White said. "No system will ever pay for itself."
Draw your own conclusions on that one, a promise of potential development along an 8 mile strip on Woodward - in Detroit, a city quite unlike Denver and Dallas in quite a number of economic ways, in return for an eternal tax subsidy that you know Detroit will mismanage and will be tapping the suburbs to pay for...

Step right up for the monorail folks, step right this way....

Democrat Primary Implosion - Rochelle Riley loses it.

Some days it is rather fun to watch the Democrats explode along race/gender lines in the current primary nomination race.

Take Rochelle Riley, in the Detroit Free Press, please. Clinton lets dream take a backseat
The worst won't be that Sen. John McCain will win the presidency. The worst will be that America came so close to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream.
Democratic attempts to call this election anything other than what it is will not work: This isn't politics as usual. What is at stake in this election is THE DREAM.

Somehow I thought Rev.Martin Luther King's dream wasn't dependent on a black person becoming president, but more on racial equality and valuing people as people, but we'll read on.

And the greatest irony is that Bill and Hillary Clinton were on the wrong side of history.
And the first woman president wouldn't be historical?

Paragraphs later, Reiley finaly elucidates her version of "the dream":
That the Clintons have been too shortsighted to see it means they are missing the watershed event -- America accepting a man and his ideas without regard to his color. This election is the moment that civil rights workers of all colors died for in the 1960s, the moment for which my grandmother prayed.
Come now Riley, be honest, Obama, with his lack of experience and seasoning, as well as his 60-80s timewarp leftist ideas, would not be where he is now but for his color. Indeed, Obama has been playing the race card to the full this election. Somehow I don't think the dream included Chicago machine politics coupled with old line Marxist thought and membership in a liberation-theology church, but perhaps I missed that part of the speech.

Riley has her dream. Obama is being criticized, and rightfully so, as being an empty suit, full at most of old left-wing ideas, dissimulations, and his repeated attempts to "bamboozle" and "hoodwink" the electorate, and because of his close associations with various left-wing radicals -- and not because of his color.

Riley, by his running and being beaten on his lack of real content and substance, you got your dream, unfortunately an Obama presidency would be a nightmare.

Dive #74 Michigan's Cass Lake

We'll skip Dive #73 except to say it lasted all of 6 minutes with plenty of cold water flooding into the dry suit.

Dive #74 was more promising.

For the first time I dove Cass Lake along with my buddy Jerry.

In we went and yesterday the surface water temperature was a balmy 60 degrees and we had to get lower to hit 45 degrees near the bottom.

We started our descent from about 8 feet to 30 then bottomed out at 35 feet. We then swam along and hit the Cass Lake Sandbar. From 35 feet looking up the sandbar seems to go up forever, almost vertically. We swam along side it for a bit just nosing around.

We saw numerous concrete blocks, a very strange large black net that was strung along near a lake front property that seemed to have no real purpose as there is a very low risk of torpedo or submarine attack in Cass Lake.

We saw no fish but an empty beer can or two, logs and not much else than a sand/muck bottom.

Visibility was about 8 feet, and this was with only one boat visible in the water.

On the upside, the repair to fix the drysuit cuff dump installation paid off and I exited the water nice and dry, which was a refreshing and pleasant change over the last couple dives.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When PC, Politics, and University Research Collide

The Detroit News: Tribe demands U-M hand over remains

The Chippewa tribe is demanding that the University of Michigan's Anthropology Department turn over ancient burial objects to the tribe.

One problem with his demand for ownership is that the artifacts predate the Chippewa's arrival in Michigan by hundreds of years:
At issue in this dispute is that the law also allows universities to retain possession if the remains and objects are considered "culturally unidentifiable" -- items that cannot be linked to an existing, federally recognized tribe. U-M's anthropologists believe that applies to most of its Michigan-found collections.

"It goes back to a period when, really, the federally recognized tribes as we know them in the Great Lakes didn't really exist as such prehistorically," said John O'Shea, curator at U-M's Museum of Anthropology. "And that makes the problem even more complicated."

The Chippewa, for instance, didn't move south and west into Michigan until the 1600s, O'Shea said. That would put them in the state hundreds of years after the remains and objects were buried by Native populations at the contested sites in Macomb, Lapeer and Saginaw counties.
This is simply silly. A claim from Shannon Martin of the tribe is one that thankfully is a not yet
legally accepted -- view of the ties between ancient remains and present-day Native Americans. "It's Michigan. We're all related."
This argument is laughable on its face. Under that view, I've got a good claim to all the Chippewa artifacts, not to mention a share of their casino operations -- after all, It's Michigan, we're all related. I somehow don't think they'll accept that at face value. Nor should the U of M accept their statement.

That really has no scientific or cultural basis as an argument. The artifacts are useful for study and learning about these prehistoric cultures, to have them returned under such a tenuous claim would undermine historical collections everywhere and lead to far less knowledge while supporting a politically correct but historically wrong argument. To allow any Indian group to claim that artifacts that predate their tribal existence are theirs and belong to the spirits of their tribe is ridiculous.

As noted in the Detroit News, the curator of the American Museum
of Natural History in New York City, explained the controversy quite simply:

"It's about power and control of the past and who gets to tell the story of the past" he said.

A Carterstrophe, and a right move by Michigan's Congressman Knollenberg

Jimmy Carter, worst ex-president, a living carterstrophe, overseer of crooked elections, and victim of rabbit attacks just doesn't know when to stop digging.

If he had just left it at his excellent work with habitat for humanity, his mediocre at best performance as a President might have been overlooked and he would have been viewed as a productive fellow.

Instead he feels the need to try and formulate US foreign policy for himself, even going against the State Department's recommendation (no mean feat, that) and trying to hug every terrorist scumbag that comes his way.

He met and hugged the head of Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group as designated by the State Department and by their own acts.

He tried to meet and hug Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an even more nasty Islamic terrorist group (hat tip Little Green Footballs).

What's next? Jimmy giving the latest second-in-command (they blow up so fast so there's a lot of turnaround and opportunity for advancement) of Al-Qaeda a little tongue action?

Congressman Joe Knollenberg thinks Jimmy's actions have been reprehensible and so: Knollenberg wants Carter Center Funding Cut
Rep. Joe Knollenberg is pushing legislation that would prohibit the
federal government from giving money to a center headed by former
President Jimmy Carter - a reaction to Carter's plans to meet with
Hamas, an Islamic militant group.Knollenberg, a Bloomfield Township
Republican, introduced the legislation in Congress on Wednesday to block
future funding of the Carter Center, a human rights organization based
in Atlanta and founded by the former president.

Carter has been criticized by officials in the United States and Israel
for agreeing to meet with Hamas as part of a Mideast peace mission.
Hamas has opposed peace negotiations and has called for Israel's
destruction, and the United States considers Hamas a terrorist

Said Knollenberg: "America must speak with one voice against our
terrorist enemies. It sends a fundamentally troubling message when an
American dignitary is engaged in dialogue with terrorists. My
legislation will make sure that taxpayer dollars are not being used to
support discussions or negotiations with terrorist groups."

Well done Congressman, well done.

Oh, and Jimmy, please go back to building houses instead of pandering to America's enemies.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Some Good Michigan Firearms Bills and One Problematic One

A good, pro-firearms pair of bills are moving through the Michigan House.

These bills, HR 4490 and HR 4491 remove the need for Michiganians (Michigunners?) to present their handguns after purchase to be registered in the so-called "Safety Inspection process". The bills maintain the requirement that a pistol purchases permit or a Concealed Pistol Permit is required to purchases a handgun.

These bills make sense. Registration of handguns in Michigan has failed to solve crime and takes up police resources that could be better dedicated elsewhere, as well as inconveniencing law-abiding pistol purchasers who need to take time off work to go to their local police or sheriff's department to have the pistol inspected.

While the pistol purchase permit remains, it provides a gate-keeping function to ensure a purchaser is legally able to posses a firearm, which is not a bad thing, and it is not needed if you have already jumped through the legal hoops and qualified to get a Concealed Pistol Permit.

Another firearms House Bill 5108 which would exempt veterans and former police officers from CPL training is more troubling. This bill would remove the training requirement for veterans and for former police officers applying for their Concealed Pistol Permit.

While well intentioned, this is a mistake. While many veterans may be proficient with pistols, many may not. More importantly, the training required in the State of Michigan includes instruction in the laws regarding the use of deadly force in Michigan and the laws relating to the Concealed Pistol Permit and veterans are not informed regarding these laws and restrictions.

Veterans were trained in a very different manner, that of use of a pistol in a combat situation - which has much fewer restrictions on the use of deadly force than everyday civilian carry. Veterans need to be informed regarding the laws in Michigan regarding both deadly force and where they can and cannot carry their pistol. Indeed, former police officers likely do not know the law regarding where they can or cannot carry under the CPL laws and they could certainly get into trouble by carrying in a manner that they were used to but which is prohibited for a civilian - for example a permit holder may not carry a firearm together with the consumption of any alcohol, carry in a hospital and the list goes on.

Thus the bill, while well intentioned will likely create more problems and headaches for the veterans and former police officers than their attendance at the required training class.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Darn it Michelle, those Proletariat Rubes won't vote for their class interest!

Classic Marxist theology from the Obaminator:

Under fire, presidential hopeful doesn't retreat from earlier comments on economic inequality.

In the midst of an assault from his rivals, a defensive Barack Obama said Friday that many working-class Americans are angry and bitter over economic inequalities and have lost faith in Washington -- and, as a result, vote on the basis of other issues, such as gun protections or gay marriage.

The Illinois senator's analysis of what motivates working-class voters came after chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton accused him of looking down on them. Clinton rebuked Obama on Friday for similar remarks he made privately last Sunday to a group of donors in San Francisco.

"People don't vote on economic issues because they don't expect anybody is going to help them," Obama told a crowd at a Terre Haute, Ind., high school Friday evening. "So people end up voting on issues like guns and are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage. They take refuge in their faith and their community, and their family, and the things they can count on. But they don't believe they can count on Washington."
In other words, nothing except class is important, and if the rubes voted on economics alone they, according to Obama, would vote Democrat, presumably as the Democrats claim to champion the working classes. (Let's forget that the party with the greatest number of millionaires in the house and Senate is the Democrats, but what else is new?)

Maybe if the Democrats didn't keep pushing ideas that were anathema to the working classes, like gun bans and partial-birth abortion they might get more of a hearing on their economic aspects.

Then again, much of Obama's economic policy to appeal to the workers seems to be just there to fool the rubes anyways, so why wouldn't the rubes vote on issues that they know the Democrat are adverse to them. They know if a Democratgets into the White House, those issues will get shoved at them good and hard, and against their values. Maybe they're not rubes Obama, maybe their just more perceptive than your class uber alles analysis predicts.

Not the Wright Move - This should really help Detroit's Image

NAACP in Detroit to host Obama's embattled ex-minister

With such wonderful statements as "God Damn America" (with accompanying applause from his church's crowd.

With hisReprinting endorsing the terrorist group HAMAS' charter on his opinion page.

With his Insane claim that Israel worked on designing an "Ethnic bomb" to only kill Blacks and Arabs (anybody with a scintilla of scientific knowledge knows such a thing is impossible not to mention Israel wouldn't make one even if it was possible).

So what does the Detroit branch of the NAACP do:

Make him their feature speaker for the NAACP 53rd Annual Fight for Freedom Fund dinner.

One would think the NAACP would not want to showcase to the rest of Detroit what a racist, liberation theology, Marxist Black preacher looks like, much less act to affirm his statements by giving him pride of place at their freedom event.

You would think the NAACP would want to feature a mainstream Black sucess story, someone who has used precious freedom for a valuable endeavor, of which many exist in Detroit.

Or, this could just be a way to get the heat off Kwame by brining someone who is even more infamous on the national level.

The fun will be if this gets on video and we can see who celebrates and applauds this sorry excuse for a supposed minister. This certainly doesn't help Obama, who is now trying to distance himself after lying and claiming he had no idea about Wrights speeches. The only place this helps BHO is among those in the community that think what Wright is saying is just fine, it should be interesting to see who shows up and cheers for Wright, and hopefully the media might deign to report on the event -- with video.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dive #71 - First Midwest Dive - Cold and Wet

Last Sunday we went to Whitestar Quarry in Ohio for the first dive of the season.

My regular teammate Jerry (Rob couldn't make this one as he had to go study) and I met Dan (a diver and friend of Jerry's) and his wife at Jerry's house and off we went. After a stop for breakfast we arrived at the quarry in good time and prepped to go in.

We met up with the rest of the Scuba Cult, our local group of hard-core DIR divers and off we went. The water was a brisk 36 degrees F.

Dan and Jerry's dive lasted about 8 minutes. Dan had a freeflow and drysuit issue and aborted, Jerry had his primary reg bubbling and a leak off the right post and called it.

I was then passed off to join the team of two others of Scuba Cult - Maki and Scotty (both of whom, may I add were absolutely fantastic divers - way, way above me in skill level and I had to really work to keep up, and they're both divers worth trying to emulate) so we formed a team of three and away we went. We got to the blockhouse and went inside, which was quite cool.

Actually it was fargin cold, about 36 degrees cold. I had developed a leak in my drysuit on the left arm and water was trickling in nicely. I was either leaking at the cuff dump or the left glove didn't seal right, or its something else. A swim in the tub is in order once the suit dries out.

I called the dive due to being ridiculously cold and we headed out. I was soaked through from left arm through the lower regions and on standing up soaked to my socks. A Substantial amount of water came out of my boots when the suit came off....

The good: Jerry did an excellent job on his emergency drill, shut his post down like a pro and did damn nice. I had good communication throughout and somewhat decent dexterity with the dry gloves. A further upside is I have dove every month from April to March with the exception of January this year. An almost year round sport.

The bad: One very wet and icy cold Aaron in the world's most expensive wetsuit.

My tanks are now in the shop to get vipp'ed and O2 cleaned and I'll have them in a few days and be ready for more diving once my core temp gets to normal again.

Detroit City lawyer suddenly remembers the secret deal she signed

About to be faced with an order to produce her emails, Detroit's chief assistant corporation counsel, Valerie Colbert-Osamuede suddenly had her memory refreshed and recalled signing the deal.

From the Detroit Free Press:
A city lawyer who told a Wayne County judge that she wasn't aware of any confidential agreements in Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's text message scandal changed her mind Friday.

Valerie Colbert-Osamuede, the city's chief assistant corporation counsel, wrote in a letter to Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Colombo Jr. that she now recalls signing a confidential settlement agreement Oct. 17 (- the deal that secretly settled the Kwame lawsuit case -) and that she also received subsequent e-mails about that deal.

Her letter came a day after her e-mails were ordered to be produced in a Free Press Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the city.

"I have discovered ... my answers did not fully reflect all of the circumstances," Colbert-Osamuede wrote. "This letter is submitted to clarify my prior statements. The responses to the court's questions were my best recollection at the time and were truthful."
It will be interesting to see how far the scandal reaches in Detroit. These memories that suddenly reappear pending the inevitable discovery of the truth are rather convenient aren't they?

Coordinated laser attacks against aircraft in Australia

As reported in FoxNews and other sources, there was a 15-minute long attack on aircraft flying into Sydney airport.

Government officials also are considering a ban on the lasers after pilots of six planes made emergency complaints of the distracting light being shone into the cockpits and had to alter their flight paths into Sydney when they were targeted in a "cluster attack" last Friday.

The planes changed their flight paths into Kingsford Smith airport after pilots were targeted by four green lasers around 10:30 p.m. local time.

Authorities said it was a co-ordinated attack lasting 15 minutes.

The laser beams appeared to have originated from the Bexley area in southwestern Sydney.
The attack was described by an Air Services Australia spokesman as "the worst attack in our experience."

What the report doesn't say is that Bexley is the home of a large contingent of Lebanese Muslim immigrants (source is a socialist rag that seems to think pointing this out is a bad thing) many of whom are suspected of supporting Hezballah.