Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lawfare against Michigan soldier fails and justice prevails

Detroit Free Press: Green Beret from Michigan not guilty of murder in Afghan’s death
A military jury has found a veteran Green Beret not guilty of premeditated murder and mutilation in the death of an Afghan man.

Army Special Forces Master Sgt. Joseph Newell of Tecumseh, Mich., was charged in the March 2008 shooting in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

The 10-member jury began deliberating Wednesday after hearing nearly two hours of closing arguments.

Newell testified this week he shot the unidentified man twice with his rifle after the man lunged at him during questioning. Newell said he had stopped the suspected Taliban insurgent’s vehicle after it appeared he was watching the convoy and communicating with other Taliban.

Newell had faced a life sentence.
Good on the military jury for coming to the right result. The decision makers that put this soldier through a murder charge for self-defense in a combat zone need to get their PC rose-colored glasses off and be made to patrol for a month in the area where the incident occurred.

City Council Clowning Capers Concerning Cobo

That's the Detroit City Council, and its latest brilliant move, beclowning itself by vetoing a plan to make Cobo viable.

From The Detroit Free Press:
It took more than ordinary foolishness to turn down a deal that would have moved a negative-value asset like Cobo Hall off Detroit's books, preserved the city's say-so over its future, and leveraged regional money for a much needed upgrade and renovation.

But then, there's just nothing ordinary about the Detroit City Council.

Invoking twisted logic, outright falsehoods and shameless fear-mongering, five members of the council actually tanked the Cobo deal Tuesday while braying loudly about their fidelity to city interests.

It's about ownership, they said. It's about not "giving away" city assets. It's about making sure Detroiters have a strong enough say in Cobo's future.

The article goes on to note that this "jewel" of Detroit is costing the City at least $15 million a year not to mention Cobo is in bad need of maintenance that has been deferred by the city. Cobo also needs to be expanded to be competitive as a convention center. Detroit can't afford to do it alone, but instead of having to give up some control and have to provide accountability to others who are going to be ponying up serious cash Detroit City Council started playing the race card and rejected the deal.

Sort of like destroying the "jewel" in order to save it.

So what do these luminaries of the Detroit City Council now propose? -grab a share of the Stimulus money to be given to Detroit to expand Cobo, with no accountability of course.
The council did pass a new resolution, introduced by Conyers, to get federal stimulus funds to fund a $400 million expansion and upgrade for the city’s convention center.

It is to weep.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ice isn't always safe to go on, but it may give us something new to dive on

Detroit Free Press: Deputy pulls self from icy Cass Lake after falling
An Oakland County Sheriff's deputy was able to pull himself out of Cass Lake after he fell while checking a sport-utility vehicle and snowmobile that had fallen through the ice Sunday.

After walking out onto the ice to verify no one was in the lake, the deputy fell through up to his shoulders on his way back to shore but was able to get out, according to sheriff's department reports.
Lucky for him and good to know he made it out ok. Flls through the ice can be life-threatening - cold water and difficulty getting out can be killers. Going on the ice now with all the thawing and refreezing thats been happening is a very dangerous

On the upside maybe I'll have something new to dive on once the season begins anew:
Both vehicles were still in the lake Sunday night, officials said this morning.
Mind you, I;m pretty sure they will pull them both out of the water before I get a chance to dive on them, especially if they are near the boat launch area. Its events like this that make me want to go to double tanks (for redundancy and safety under overhead enbvironments) and get my Ice diving certification.....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sometimes you miss by a mile, but in the cause of Climate Change you miss

sometimes by 193,000 square miles.

As noted on Jerry Pournelle's Chaos Manor Current View (yes THE Jerry Pournelle):

Arctic Ice Extent Understated

It turns out that the National Snow and Ice Data Center has been hit with something called "sensor drift". This means that all their doom and gloom about the North Pole being ice free due to global warming is wrong. There is approximately 500,000 sq. kilometers (193,00 sq. miles) more ice than they previously thought. I guess the polar bears may not go extinct after all.

Tim Boettcher

Apparently that whole Arctic ice is disappearing due to Global Warming / Climate Change / Humans breathing may be a little bit overstated, like much of the Global Warning data we've been fed to convince us that were in a crisis. For the next bit of alarmist news to come, it seem you need to expect the prediction is mistaken or overstating the reality of the situation by a similar large margin until proven otherwise.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Detroit needs what?

Featured Letter in the Detroit Free press: City needs a real Detroiter for mayor

And how's having had a "real" Detroiter been working out so far exactly?

Of course the letter is a hit against one of the candidates for Mayor of Detroit, Dave Bing, a successful businessman.

The letter begins:
Detroit is one of the jewels of the Midwest.
Ok, now pick yourself up off the floor, try to stop laughing, come on you can do it, and imagine the author of the article is real earnest about this, 'cause apparently she is.
Its diverse population, music festivals, RiverWalk, cultural opportunities, sports arenas, medical facilities and freeway system make it a city of opportunity.
Ok, we need some padding for that floor, that last laughing fall hurt.

The article's author is annoyed, if not outraged that Bing lives mainly in a nice suburb location as well as a condo on East Jefferson in Detroit.

Big bloody deal.

Look around, Detroit is falling to pieces, is rated as the most miserable city and this author bemoans that this mayoral candidate isn't "Detroit enough" (is that code for successful businessman - must be infected by "whiteness" perhaps?(Bing is Black by the way)).

Detroit needs someone competent, smart and business-like to try and pull it out of the death spiral its been twirling in since the days of Coleman Young. Maybe a mayor who isn't "Detroit enough" is exactly what the city needs.

The local talent has been lacking to say the least.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A modest proposal to save lives

'Suicide By Cop' Phenomenon Occurring In Over A Third Of North American Shootings Involving Police
ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2009) — “Suicide by Cop” (SBC) is a suicide method in which a person engages in actual or apparent danger to others in an attempt to get oneself killed or injured by law enforcement. A new study in the Journal of Forensic Sciences examined the prevalence of this phenomenon among a large sample of officer-involved shootings.

Results show that SBC occurs at extremely high rates, with 36 percent of all shootings being categorized as SBC. The findings confirm the growing incidence of this method of suicide, with SBC cases more likely to result in the death or injury of the subjects 50 percent of the time.

. . .

SBC was found to occur at a momentous rate among officer-involved shooting cases. The fact that 36 percent of all shootings in the sample could be categorized as SBC underscores the significance of suicidal impulses among those who become involved in shootings and other uses of force with police officers.

The study also verifies that suicidal individuals can in fact threaten, injure, and kill others in their quest to commit suicide. These individuals are quite lethal to themselves, with a 97 percent likelihood of being injured or killed. There was a one in three chance of others being harmed during the incident.

Since 36% of all police shootings according to this study are due to "SBC", there's only one thing to do to save lives.

Ban Police of course, if it saves just one life its worth it. The prevention of all these suicides by cop is a worthy goal, and if there were no cops, there could of course be no suicide by cop.


Points will be given for pointing out the blatant logical fallacy of this proposal.

For even more bonus points, name that item for which people seriously argue, with a straight face, that such a ban on said item would save lives.
Note: The author of this blog does not advocating banning police, after all some of his best friends are cops.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Holder on a minute!

Holder: US is nation of cowards on racial matters
By DEVLIN BARRETT Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder described the United States Wednesday as a nation of cowards on matters of race, saying most Americans avoid discussing unresolved racial issues.

In a speech to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month, Holder said the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," said Holder, nation's first black attorney general.
Oh come on seriously? -- a nation of cowards regarding race -- as if. Did Holder miss some reality while he was busy pardoning Mark Rich or something? Anyone checked the news on a recent presidential election, not to mention an Illinois Senator appointment and a recent Attorney general appointment? Not to mention the advance of civil rights in this country? Damn cowards all, must be.

Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, Holder said, but "we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race."

He urged people of all races to use Black History Month as a chance for frank talk about racial matters.
Around the fire with a guitarist strumming Kumbaya in the background no doubt. Newsflash, unlike the political class, race is not the all-consuming burning issue of the day. Most of us get on just fine with friends who happen to be of other races, thank you very much, and we typically don't start every conersation with them about race relations in America - we generally start with "Hey howzit going?", move on to how our favorite sport team did or didn't do last night, maybe chat about the hole this economy keeps slipping into, and then move on to productive and enjoyable conversation.

"It is an issue we have never been at ease with and, given our nation's history, this is in some ways understandable," Holder said. "If we are to make progress in this area, we must feel comfortable enough with one another and tolerant enough of each other to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us."
Yet another Newsflash, most people don't talk about race because Democrats like Holder have been so busy making the conversation so fraught with taboo and risk of being called a racist if you don't buy the party line, that honest conversation can be hard to come by.

He told Justice Department employees they have a special responsibility to advance racial understanding.
One would think they have a special responsibility in not so much racial understanding but how about (gasp) enforcement of the law (maybe start with going after some notables who have failed to pay their taxes as of late), after all its the Department of Justice, not the Department of Racial Grievances and Hand-Holding.

Not yet at least.

LaSalle's Griffon found? - It may take a court battle to find out

Detroit News: Diver, France fight state over right to salvage historic vessel in Lake Michigan
Steve Libert went looking for buried treasure but may have found something nearly as valuable -- history.

He stumbled upon what he believes is the most important archeological find in Michigan history, the 330-year-old Griffon shipwreck. The long-sought vessel sailed by famed French explorer La Salle was one of the first ships to cross the Great Lakes.

But like Robert La Salle, another star-crossed adventurer who searched for one thing but found another, Libert's quest has encountered turbulent waters.

He's fighting Michigan over the right to salvage the shipwreck's watery grave in northern Lake Michigan. France joined the fray Jan. 30 by staking claim to the site.

The sea skirmish carries heavy repercussions in Michigan, which borders four Great Lakes and has more coastline, 3,165 miles, than any state but Alaska. A federal law that gives Michigan ownership of 1,500 shipwrecks in state waters discourages entrepreneurs from discovering the vessels and their rich history, divers said.

"This is one of the most sought-after ships in the world," Libert said. "The state should be working with us, not against us."

The Griffon shows the folly of the federal rule, said divers.

If it wasn't for Libert, the prized ship would have remained buried under three centuries of sand, silt and history, they said.

Its possible discovery could open a long-shuttered hatch to the earliest days of the European settlers, helping researchers learn what the times and people were like by providing a snapshot of the era.
Federal law defended

But state officials defend the federal law, saying it allows Michigan to protect the shipwrecks from being plundered by profiteers. "They shouldn't be plucked for profit," said Matt Frendewey, a spokesman for the Michigan Attorney General's Office. "They should be protected so future generations can enjoy them."
Never mind that without Libert, no one would even know it was there to be protected.

. . .
Despite its modest attributes, the importance of the Griffon was shown by the discovery of another La Salle ship off the coast of Texas in 1995.

The Belle, which sank seven years after the Griffon, yielded a rich bounty, a million artifacts that allow researchers to reach across 300 years of history.

Among the items: skeletal remains, brass Jesuit rings, wooden lice combs, three-pronged forks, an unbroken wine bottle, three bronze cannons with the crest of King Louis XIV.

"The Griffon is the jewel of the shipwreck search community," said Wayne Lusardi, Michigan's maritime archaeologist. "Many people have been looking for it many years."

Finding the Holy Grail of shipwrecks was hardly on Libert's mind when he began scuba diving 30 years ago.

An intelligence analyst with the Navy, the 55-year-old resident of Herndon, Va., near Washington, once searched for wrecks of ships that carried gold.

Always intrigued by the long-lost Griffon, he began reading the journals of a La Salle associate and believed the ship had foundered somewhere off the coast of Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula.

Diving near Escanaba in 2001, Libert was swimming through water so murky that visibility was 3 inches.

Nearly 100 feet below the surface, he bumped into a wooden pole protruding from the lake bottom.

"I had my hands out, like I was walking in the dark, when suddenly I hit this thing," he said. "I couldn't figure out what it was."

He now believes the mussel-covered timber is the bow tip of the Griffon.

He retrieved a thumb-sized sliver of the wood and conducted a carbon-dating test, which showed a 33 percent chance that it came from the 17th century.
Dispute drags on

When Libert tried to win the right to salvage the Griffon, he ignited a turf battle with Michigan that has been as tempestuous as any Lake Superior gale. The state says federal law gives it ownership over shipwrecks in its waters.

Libert said international law awards possession to the owner, which would be France because the ship sailed on behalf of the French crown. He has France's permission to salvage the site.

During a four-year legal battle in federal court, a judge has tried to get Libert and Michigan to work together on identifying the ship.

But working together is the last thing on their minds.

Libert surrendered the wood sliver to Michigan only after the state threatened to obtain a federal warrant against him. He told the state the location of the wreck only after being ordered to do so by the federal judge.

As for Michigan, it threatened to charge Libert with a crime if he extracted any more material from the wreckage.

State has doubts

After examining the site in October, the state said it found only the wooden pole and doubts the Griffon is there.
If they doubt it is really there, then what claim can they make to prevent Libert from exploring the site?

During the fight, Libert has enlisted a growing number of allies, including France, the city of Charlevoix and the Field Museum in Chicago.

"I'm at the point where I'm now on the attack," he said. "I won't sit back anymore."

Good luck to Liebert, it's hard fighting against an organization with unlimited resources but with luck he will have found the historic Griffon. Assuming it is the Griffon, Liebert will have made history with this find.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Obama asks the Islamic World to unclench its fist....

and gets bitch-slapped for his trouble. Iran says Obama's offer to talk shows US failure
US President Barack Obama's offer to talk to Iran shows that America's policy of "domination" has failed, the government spokesman said on Saturday.

"This request means Western ideology has become passive, that capitalist thought and the system of domination have failed," Gholam Hossein Elham was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.

"Negotiation is secondary, the main issue is that there is no way but for (the United States) to change," he added.

After nearly three decades of severed ties, Obama said shortly after taking office this month that he is willing to extend a diplomatic hand to Tehran if the Islamic republic is ready to "unclench its fist".

In response, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched a fresh tirade against the United States, demanding an apology for its "crimes" against Iran and saying he expected "deep and fundamental" change from Obama.

Iranian politicians frequently refer to the US administration as the "global arrogance", "domineering power" and "Great Satan".

That's gonna leave a mark.