Thursday, July 30, 2009

Open Carry in Michigan - Legal but not Practical

There's an interesting article in the Oakland Press on a group named Michigan Open Carry and their plans for an open-carry picnic.

Pistol-packing picnic taking place in Oxford
People from across the state are expected to gather for a family-friendly picnic at Oxford Township’s Seymour Lake Park on Sunday, Aug. 2.

“It’s a regular family picnic, the only difference is the people there will be armed,” said John Roshek, an Oxford resident who helped organize the picnic.

Roshek is a member of Michigan Open Carry, a nonprofit organization that tries to raise awareness of a Michigan law that allows people to openly carry handguns without a special permit.

“You don’t necessarily have to have a concealed pistol license,” Roshek said. “As long as the pistol is legally registered to you and you’re over the age of 18, you can lawfully open carry a pistol in Michigan.”

He added: “Some restrictions do apply.”
No kidding.

Open Carry is legal and indeed a right in Michigan but it is surrounded and encumbered by numerous restrictions on that right.

For example, any time you get in or on a vehicle you must have a concealed carry permit as the firearm is considered concealed, not to mention the potential for violating school zone restrictions and Michigan's DNR and hunting rgulations when openly carrying a pistol, as well as numerous other restrictions.

Its also not tactically the best idea. From a tactical perspective it makes you a "shoot me first" target in any bad situation.

Then of course, most police officers are generally ignorant of this right and will arrest you for anything they can think of and sort it out later. Indeed, it is rumored some chiefs of certain cities do have a arrest open carrier on sight rule.

Open carry also tends to get officers suspicious of the carrier with the idea that you're carrying openly because for some reason you can't qualify for a concealed permit and therefore may be up to no good.

Open carry is good for rural areas where the people have a less, dare I say, close-minded and intolerant attitude towards firearms owners than one finds in Michigan's cities.

Now, the picnic is however useful for raising awareness of the general public that firearms owners in Michigan are law-abiding, responsible upstanding and regular everyday citizens. Given the ignorance and indeed outright hatred and contempt of firearms owners shown in the online comments to the article, such awareness can only be a good thing.

It would be nice if open carry became an accepted norm in Michigan, but until laws are effectively reformed to make it effective and people's atittudes are changed hopefully through exposure from picnics and other peaceful events like these, such a norm is a long way off.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Trick or Tweet: Woman's Twitter lands her in a Defamation lawsuit

People don't seem to realize that now with the ease of communicating to the public, when you're making casual remarks to your online friends you now open yourself up to liability for what you say.

Landlord sues tenant after tweet about moldy apartment
It all started when Twitter user @abonnen (Amanda Bonnen, who has since deleted her Twitter account) said to a friend on May 12, "You should just come anyway. Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it's okay." At the time of the tweet, Bonnen's profile was public (meaning that everyone could read her Twitter stream) and she had about 20 followers.

Given that Twitter is pretty limited it is quite likely that the statement can be read as defamatory. I'm not sure on Illinois law but according to the article no request for retraction was made, which is necessary in Michigan before you can receive exemplary and punitive damages, leaving a plaintiff to only recover actual damages which in a defamation claim tend to be quite slight and hard to prove. (According to the Citizen Media Law Project there is no requirement for a Plaintiff to demand a retraction in Illinois).

The Complaint in the lawsuit can be read here.

Off the cuff Twitters about others that aren't clearly shown to be statements of opinion rather than fact can pretty easily expose the sender of the Tweet to potential liability for defamation and the expense of defending a lawsuit. Now whether it makes sense for the landlord to create such a firestorm of likely negative press and commentary about itself and its decision to sue over the seemingly innocuous tweet may be a questionable business decision, especially as landlords would likely prefer even the suggestion that they have a less than habitable apartment be as understated as possible and the lkess attention to such incidents the better. On the other hand, even negative publicity may indeed prove to be good publicity.

The real fun will be when an employee of a company says something off-the-cuff and defamatory or otherwise liability-causing over Twitter and the company gets sued for it.

Saying "Catch Me if You Can" to Police is Never a Winning Idea

Alleged murderer, arsonist taunts cops
"Catch me if you can."

That was the message David Edward Metzoian had for police after he allegedly confessed to murdering his girlfriend Monday night and then setting fire to the bar in which they both worked.


"It was a brief conversion," [Police Chief] Alderman said. "Basically he said, 'Catch me if you can.' And we're going to catch him."

1 Day Later . . . . .

Police catch up with suspect in River Rouge slaying, bar fire
A nationwide manhunt ended Tuesday for an ex-con suspected of stabbing his girlfriend to death in a River Rouge bar Monday night, setting the place on fire and then taunting cops.

David Edward Metzoian was arrested in southeast Kentucky, Pike County Deputy Jailer Chris Mitchem said Tuesday night.

Draw your own conclusions on the impressively pure stupidity of committing a crime and then taunting the police to come and get you, putting yourself on the radar of every police officer out there. It kinda puts you on their "person of extreme interest" list now doesn't it? (Mind you, his early parole for 2nd degree murder, making him free and available to kill his ex-girlfriend probably wasn't the best decision either).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Snakes on a Mother-Frickin' SUV

Driver tells Conn. police snakes led to SUV crash
Police say a driver blamed a car crash in Hartford, Conn., on two pet baby snakes that he said escaped from his pants pockets as he was driving.

Hartford police Sgt. Christene Mertes says Angel Rolon, of New Britain, claimed he lost control of his SUV on Monday when the snakes slithered near the gas and brake pedals and he and a passenger tried to catch them. The SUV veered into some parked cars and overturned.
I think this deserves its own attempted-Darwin award category.

Snakes kept in pants pocket - a winner all by itself, gives a whole new meaning to the term "trouser snake".

he keeps them unsecured in the pocket from which they escape while he's driving and then he crashes the vehicle - How did Darwin miss this guy?

The snakes were not found nor available for comment after the accident but it is rumored one of the snakes said as it was slithering away from the scene -
"Ssstupid Ssschmuck!"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Michigan Democrats go Super-Populist, Super-Economically-Illiterate

The Head of the Michigan Democrat Party is floating some fine new proposals to further enhance Michigan's Economic Depression. One can tell he never took a course in economics.

The Detroit Free Press Michigan Democrats aim to test backing for higher minimum wage
The potential economically-illiterate measures include:

• Hiking the minimum wage to $10 an hour for all workers.

• Imposing a blanket moratorium on home foreclosures for 12 months.

• Cutting utility rates 20% across the board.

• Requiring all employers to provide health care to their employees.

• Hiking, by $100 a week, and extending, for six months, unemployment benefits.

One wonders why he doesn't float a mandate that every Michigan worker must join the UAW, and for every employer to provide each worker a chicken and a pot while he's on a roll.

With the economic condition Michigan is in, these proposals are nuts, save possibly the extension of unemployment benefits -- except that even that measure can't be afforded by this cash-strapped state and the remaining businesses that would have to be taxed to support such an extension.

Democrat Economics - the state can't afford it, especially now that its running out of other people's money.

In other crime news - Documents found after 2 year delay in Virginia Tech case

In the Virginia tech shooing, portions of the perpretrator's psych records have finally located after 2 years - in the home of the university clinic's former director

Va. Tech gunman's mental health records found

This is of course quite against the clinic regulations for patient records to be at the clinic director's home. One wonders what may be hidden within the records -- probably how the clnic and/or University failed to effectively treat or recognize the problem until Cho went on his killing spree, or perhaps there are unheeded warnings within.

Early intervention for mentally disturbed people would be much more effective in preventing mass killings than gun control. But of course such action takes more work, dilligence and costs, and thus is often overlooked instead of the feel-good urge to "do something" after a mass killing with the something typically being some gun control measure or another.

Senate rejects amendment to allow for National Concealed Carry Reciprocity

By a vote of 58-39 the Senate fell two votes short of approving the amendment to allow for national reciprocity.

The same old tired arguments about blood in the streets and - gasp - untrained permit holders daring to carry in restrictive states were propounded as reasons for voting against the amendment.

A new interesting argument against having such reciprocity, one that is almost laughable given the proponents of it -- States Rights.

Other opponents said the proposal infringed on states' rights, usually an important principle for gun rights groups. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said it would override the laws of 11 states — California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island — and the District of Columbia — which do not allow carry permit reciprocity with other states.

Has Durbin et al ever raised States Rights in order to oppose federal gun control affecting all the states that they have pushed for? I thought not.

As soon as I can find out, I will list the Senators who voted against. I suspect both Michigan senators did so -- which is of course riddiculous as Michigan as a state has by law a policy granting reciprocity to all permits from every State, so in failing to support the amendment these Senators would have acted completely contrary to the interests of their constituents in Michigan.

Update: From the US Senate Website, here is the list of senators who voted against the amendment:
NAYs ---39
Akaka (D-HI), Bingaman (D-NM) , Boxer (D-CA), Brown (D-OH), Burris (D-IL), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Carper (D-DE), Dodd (D-CT), Durbin (D-IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Franken (D-MN), Gillibrand (D-NY), Harkin (D-IA), Inouye (D-HI), Kaufman (D-DE), Kerry (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Kohl (D-WI), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Leahy (D-VT),Levin (D-MI), Lieberman (ID-CT), Lugar (R-IN), McCaskill (D-MO), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Murray (D-WA), Nelson (D-FL), Reed (D-RI), Rockefeller (D-WV), Sanders (I-VT), Schumer (D-NY), Shaheen (D-NH), Specter (D-PA), Stabenow (D-MI), Voinovich (R-OH), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR)
As suspected, both Stabenow and Levin voted against enhancing their consituents' civil rights. Also a nice job on the part of Senators Lugar (R-IN) and Voinovich (R-OH) for casuing the bill to fail. Had you two Republican turncoats voted for it, the amendment would have passed. Thanks so much.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Surprise, Even with Al Gore's Prognostications, Great Lake Levels are Up

Ah, Summer, when a man's thought turns to diving (ok when a certified scuba diver's thoughts turn to diving but anyway).

Who could possibly have guessed that the Great Lakes are continuing a cycle and are now at or beyond their average levels.

The Detroit News: Great Lakes water levels rebound after long slump
Great Lakes water levels are rebounding after a decade-long slump that hammered the maritime industry and even fed conspiracy theories about plots to drain the inland seas that make up nearly one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water.

The three biggest lakes -- Superior, Huron and Michigan -- have risen steadily since fall 2007, when for a couple of months Superior's levels were the lowest on record and the others nearly so. Erie, shallowest of the lakes, actually exceeded its long-term average in June. So did Lake Ontario, although its level is determined more by artificial structures than nature.

Apparently these lake level changes are normal:
he lakes follow cycles, rising and falling over time. Scientists say it's a natural process with environmental benefits, such as replenishing coastal wetlands. But extreme ups or downs can wreak havoc for people.

During the mid-1980s, levels got so high that houses, businesses and even sections of roads were swept away along Lake Michigan's southeastern shoreline.

Then a sudden, deep drop-off began in the late 1990s.
And now the lake levels are heading back up again.

Of course we have to maintain the specter of global warming as the culprit:
Scientists attribute the rebound primarily to wetter, colder weather the past couple of years. But if grim computer modeling proves accurate, global warming will cause the lakes to recede up to 3 feet this century.

Mind you, these lake changes have been cyclical and been going on for centuries:
Records extending to the mid-1800s document a series of larger rises and dips at roughly 30-year intervals, said Craig Stow, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

In short the lakes rise and fall on natural cycles and we may now be headed back on an upswing, no need to panic. Since I'm scheduled to go on a couple dive charters in August the lake levels shouldn't pose much of a problem except for making the wrecks a little deeper than they were last year -- we'll see if the depth gauge registers a change or not.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Florida multiple assailant home invasion raises the stakes

Prominently featured in the national news, The murder of the Billings in Florida, who were by all known accounts extraordinarily decent and good people, by 7 criminals in a home invasion and robbery is certainly something to ponder.

It is also interesting to note that many of the criminals are described as "day laborers" one wonders if this is a polite euphamism for illegal aliens.

7 criminals involved at once? Yikes! Especially since the attackers carefully planned the attack for 30days, used two cars and entered in ninja gear.

Thankfully, that even as the criminals attacked with a great deal of practice and precision they messed up and have been apprehended because - they forgot or failed to disable the security cameras. Good thing criminals are dumb and the police have caught these killers quite nicely and are rolling them up in good order.

Now, the relative risk of this sort of organized multiple attacker home invasion is pretty low, given criminal activity in general and especially since most people, myself included are at a much lower income level and are much less interesting apparently than were the Billings.

However, it is certainly time to consider revisions to the home defense plan.

Detroit gets the back of Obama's hand

Obama to Detroiters: So long, and thanks for the votes suckers! Remember to vote for me in 2012!

The Detroit News: Detroiters feel the sting that Obama chose Warren instead
This past Saturday, President Barack Obama addressed the Ghanaian parliament, extending America's hand to the African continent while condemning corruption and tyranny.

"No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves," he said.

He could have been talking about Detroit. And when he came to Metro Detroit on Tuesday, Obama conspicuously did not set foot in the city -- the nation's largest black urban center plagued by corruption, illiteracy and crime. Detroit, it seems, is less Ghana and more gangrene in the national political consciousness. And with the presidential snub, Obama appears to have fanned the feelings of hopelessness and isolation in the city.
Ha! Kinda funny to think that Third World countries known for their corruption may be less corrupt than the Democrat cabal controlling the "D".

Also funny as Detroit, being a locked up base for Obama received no attention, he doesn't need the city until the next election and he would gain nothing by displaying what happens when you create a one-party Democrat city and the corruption that results, suffering at the hands of Democrat policies at the city, state and national levels. This is especially so as Obama is trying to make the same moves on the national scene. Obama gains nothing by appearing in Detroit and has the risk of losing much so why bother?

But some seem to realize why they are being taken for granted:
"We're black and he got our vote quite frankly because many of us voted for him because he is black," said Karsem McCurtis on Tuesday, whose family owns Conner's Food, just a stone's throw from the Wayne County Community College campus on Detroit's east side. As it happened, Obama chose Macomb Community College in Warren to unveil a national education initiative.

"It would have been good for him to come," said McCurtis, whose building is painted with an Obama mural. "But he's got our vote locked up, and he's not going to get much play coming to a black city full of corrupt politicians."

Understatement of the year there. Then again with Detroit as a one party city that will vote color over character, regardless of the damage it does to the "D" what did they expect would happen?

Media beginning to wake up to the One

In Obama gets busy shifting the wealth The Detroit News editor Nolan Finley laments:
This goes beyond noblesse oblige. It's coerced charity. And it reflects Obama's strategy of using the tax code to smooth out the differences between rich, middle class and poor.

That approach won't result in better lifestyles for everyone. Rather, most people will have less when the government takes everybody's money, throws it into a pot and spoons it back out on its own whims.
Joe the Plumber called it right. Obama's redistributionist ideology is un-American. We should have asked more questions.

Welcome to the party pal. Thanks so much for that sudden realization. Too bad you and your fellows compatriots in the MSM skipped the questions when they could have made a difference -- you know, before the election. Thanks so much.

The Riddle wrapped in the Con(yers) gets Indicted

Sam Riddle gets indicted by the feds and from the looks of it And it seems the Synagro deal was hardly the first in the Monica Conyers "Pay Me to Do Business in Detroit" plan.

The Detroit Free Press: Feds paint Conyers as bold shakedown artist
The federal grand jury indictment might say “United States of America vs. Samuel L. Riddle Jr.”

But the name of Monica Conyers surfaces everywhere in the 27-page document, which contends that the former city councilwoman played Bonnie to Riddle’s Clyde as they prowled Detroit, boldly shaking down businesspeople and stuffing their pockets and bank accounts with cash.

. . .

“You’d better get my loot, that’s all I know,” Conyers is quoted as telling Riddle regarding a payment from a restaurant owner.

Riddle passed her $10,000 in that caper, the indictment says.

Conyers pleaded guilty last month to one count of bribery conspiracy in the $1.2 billion Synagro sludge-hauling deal. If even some of the new allegations are true, you don’t need a Harvard law degree to realize Conyers got a great deal.
Some of these allegations in the indictment include:

• Conyers conspired with Riddle to hit up the owner of a technology company for $20,000 to make Riddle a bogus “consultant.”

• Conyers and Riddle pressured a Detroit restaurant owner to pay Riddle $20,000 for another “consulting job” that didn’t exist.

• Conyers and Riddle received $25,000 from the owner of a strip club with an issue before the city council.

• Conyers and Riddle attempted to receive money in another faux “consulting contract” for Riddle, this time with a real estate developer.

Either the federal prosecutors in this case wanted
1. Her out as quickly as possible with the minimum of fuss in return for giving her a sweet plea deal o
2. They weren't paying attention and thought the Synagro deal was the best way to get her.

Most likely number 1 is true in this case, at least I certainly hope it is.

These revelations certainly don't enhance the atractiveness of Detroit as a place to do business. On top of the bureacracy that you need to payoff the politicians to get things done should hardly appeal.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michigan's Unemployment Rate Continues to Worsen

Increasing an entire persent over last month

According to the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (enjoy the euphemistic department name?) The state unemployment rate is 15.2%, or almost double what it was last year at this time (8.1%) an increase of 83.6%. In contrast, the US as a whole is at 9.5%.

The Southeast of Michigan is in an even worse position -
Detroit Metropolitan Area's June Jobless Rate Increases Sharply

The Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan Statistical Area's (MSA's) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June rose by a full percentage point to 16.3 percent.

While Michigan and the Detroit area in particular under Granholm is leading the pack, nationally the Democrats under Obama are helping the rest of the nation catch up.

Additional great commentary on this latest jobless report can be seen at:

Michigan unemployment hits 15.2%!!! Number of unemployed highest since 1976! Obama says jobs NOT COMING BACK!

Right Michigan says it all quite succinctly:
And the new Granholm-Cherry unemployment rate is...

Michigan Roads Decline as State fails to obtain Federal funds through Neglect

Not only are Michigan’s roads some of the worst in the United States due to lousy road maintenance and repair practices as well as chronic underfunding, but due to inexcusable neglect in the form of leaving road maintenance funds on the federal table rather than getting those funds to repair the roads.

In Lost road projects cost Michigan plenty, Douglas Buckler of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights points out the blatantly obvious - The State of Michigan royally and inexcusably messed up by not finding matching funds to get $740 million dollars in federal road repair funds. (With Michigan Department of Transportation processes and union work rules and wages that likely averages out to only repairing 740 miles of road, but still that is quite significant).

When 137 transportation projects were recently canceled across Michigan because of the state's economic situation and the inability to find matching funds to support the construction work, about $740 million was lost. And our state and our workers stand to lose plenty as well.
. . .
According to, 28 percent of Michigan's 10,754 roadway bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, while 38 percent of the state's 120,256 miles of roadways are rated in poor or mediocre condition. In May, the Michigan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Michigan's infrastructure a grade of a D. And Thomas Maxwell, president of the state civil engineering group, says more than 90 percent of Michigan's 2,581 dams will reach the end of their design life by 2020.

This is bad news for Michigan. Poor road conditions combined with the abandonment of these crucial projects compromises the safety of all citizens.

Repair and reconstruction of our roads, bridges and freeways is obviously needed. It is time for a serious look at addressing our decaying infrastructure. Updating our roads and other infrastructure will help Michigan attract new business, which results in a stronger economy, more jobs and increased tax revenue.

By abandoning road and bridge repair and reconstruction projects, thousands of jobs are lost, affecting an untold number of Michigan households.
Mr. Buckler is exactly right that leaving this money unused is wasteful. Michigan is a net donor to the Federal government when it comes to transportation funds and this only makes that ratio of funds sent to funds received worse. Not only are jobs lost due to this but roads will decline even more, further harming the economy.

Governor Granholm should be required to explain how it occurred that the state government (mis)managed to pass this money up. Not only does it harm everyday Michigan residents but even her key supporters – union members who work on these projects that aren’t going to be working on them now. It’s good to see union leadership like Buckler take the state government to task and speak up for their members even in the face of the Disastrous Democrat’s decisions.

China Bans Electric Shock for Treating Internet Addiction, Recommends Acupuncture Instead

(not really on the acupuncture part)

China bans electro-shock therapy for Internet addicts
China has banned electro-shock therapy as a treatment for Internet addiction, citing uncertainty in the safety and effectiveness of the practice after criticism in the local media.

The Ministry of Health announcement followed recent media reports about a controversial psychiatrist in Linyi, Shandong Province, who administered electric currents to nearly 3,000 teenagers in an attempt to rid them of their Internet habit.

The Chinese government has led a campaign for over a year against Internet addiction, saying young people's excessive time in Internet cafes, known as Web bars in Chinese, is hurting their studies and damaging family life.

Those darn kids need to quit slacking and get out into the fields and factories and go build for China dammit.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Driver TRAINing Required

I've mentioned before that attempting to beat a train at a railway crossing typically ends badly.

Toss in a teenager who was suspended and shouldn't even be driving and 4 friends along for their last ride and tragedy results.

Note the mangled remains of what used to be a Ford Fusion.

In reading the Detroit Free Press column by Rochelle Riley Opportunities missed to stop driver in car-train crash she points out that this particular driver was no stranger to lousy driving habits, and indeed was a habitual "driving while suspended" driver. He had a history of being arrested for driving suspended. Oh, and he was suspended while driving this time as well.

Of course if he had nailed himself that would be some darwinism in action. Unfortunately and unforgivably, he took out a 19 year old, a 14 year old, a 17 year old, and a 21 year old - and I can almost bet that none of them knew he was driving suspended or that he royally sucked as a driver.

Once again, trying to dodge a train to save a few minutes is riddiculously stupid and threatening to your health and your passengers. Do Not Do This. It Is Not Worth It.

Sadly it is not enough being a safe driver anymore, you have to worry about idiots like this on the road, and anyone you get into the car with as a passenger.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Governor Goes Green Energy but misses Efficiency

It is a display of the error prone nature of the Granholm administration in microcosm - do something flashy and trendy yet economically meaningless or even counterproductive - short term illusionary savings for long term expense.

This example is her making the Governor's Mansion a showpiece of green technology that doesn't make much economic sense. The "green" changes to the Governor's mansion:
Detroit News: Gov's home goes green with solar panels, wind turbines
Gov. Jennifer Granholm is taking her campaign for green technology to the governor's residence, where a wind turbine has been erected and solar panels soon will go up to increase the home's energy efficiency.

With a new sprinkler system that saves water by taking the weather and what's planted into account and a small area of the garage roof covered with sedum plants and a special membrane to keep it cool, the residence provides an example of ways consumers can save money by using Michigan products.
But when you look at the costs involved it doesn't make economic sense for your average resident and it doesn't make sense for the mansion either:

Example A - The Solar panels:
The $20,000 in solar panels that will be mounted later this month on a section of the roof over the front door are being donated by United Solar Ovonic of Auburn Hills. The panels will provide about $300 of electricity a year.
So for a $20,000 cost you save $300 per year - that means it will take over 67 years to pay off the installation cost of the panels alone. I suspect no one is buying for that much of a long-haul and indeed I doubt the panels will last that long. Indeed, one should note these panels were donated. I doubt the Michigan budget could afford such inefficient extravagance. In other words, solar isn't going to be a winner for Michigan residents.

Example B - A mighty wind:
Mariah Power of Reno, Nev., and MasTech Wind of Manistee donated the $9,000 wind turbine to the state. After federal and state tax breaks, the turbine would cost about $3,000.
. . . .
The residence will get the largest savings from a recently installed 30-foot-tall wind turbine, which is expected to save about $1,200 a year on the home's annual $10,900
Once again, donated. If the tax breaks weren't a part of the equation (after all you're paying for them with your tax money) your payoff period for the windmill is 7.5 years, assuming the predicted savings are correct. With the tax breaks the period is a lot better at 2.5 years. Of course, this estimate may be predicated on the turbine spinning extra fast in response to all the hot air coming out of the Governor's mansion, not to mention if you need various zoning exceptions and permits to install it.

Example C - Then there's the sprinkler:
The new sprinkler system is expected to save about $1,450 annually and was donated by A&H Lawn Service Inc. of Saline, Green Meadows Lawn Care & Landscaping of Clinton and HydroLogic of Minneapolis. The system for the 5-acre site -- including special irrigation for the vegetable garden -- cost $50,000, but a homeowner on a typical suburban lot would pay only about $5,000, A&H President Timothy Austin said.
Wowza - At a cost of $50,000 for a saving of 1,450 it will take 35 years to pay this off had it actually been paid for. Since the housholed ratio is likely the same (the $5000 above would mean a savings of $145 per year, for the same 35 year payoff period if you don't count maintenance and repairs over that time this doesn't make a lot of economic sense and indeed your kids probably can't even run through it.

Yes going "Green" is certainly fashionable, and it's nice that Michigan companies are getting in on the lucrative takings at the federal trough given the decision of the government to push ahead with these inefficient but pretty-sounding programs in the name of fighting global warming and raising the cost of everyhting we do or create in America. It is also very nice that companies donated very expensive installations as demonstrators, but of all three that extol such "savings", only the wind turbine seems to offer any real economic payoff and indeed decent return on the energy invested in creating, installing and operating them.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Does North Korea's Kim have Pancreatic Cancer?

It could explain the erratic North Korean saber rattling of late.

Of course given the closed prison society that is North Korea, its hard to check the veracity of the Report: NKorea's Kim has pancreatic cancer.

While its a nasty disease indeed, and generally shouldn't be wished on anyone, fewer people in the world still living have caused as much misery as Kim Jong Il. Given that, let's hope he's actually ill, and that North Korea has a chance to move away from its model totalitarian society.

Back from Guelph, Welcome back to Michigan Roads

Just returned from a lovely wedding this weekend in Guelph, Ontario. My dear younger cousin just married a fine woman and should have many, many happy years of marriage ahead of him. A very nice couple and they should do just fine.

Immediately upon crossing the border this afternoon, I immediately knew I was back in Michigan. The roads immediately became potholed, patched and the car started vibrating and bouncing around so much I half expected to lose a tire.

It just looks bad that as soon as you cross a border and see a Welcome to Michigan sign the road goes to crap. They should at least fix the roads at the entry points so people can gain some kind of favorable impression of the state for a few fleeting moments.

The standard Michigan government excuse as to bad roads, namely winter, just doesn't fly. Sarnia is in the same climate zone as Port Huron and there's no mythical freeze/thaw divide on either side of Lake Huron that leaves Ontario untouched and Michigan hammered.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Yet again what happens on Facebook doesn't stay on Facebook

Facebook, other data help researcher crack Social Security codes
Washington -- For all the concern about identity theft, researchers say there's a surprisingly easy way for the technology-savvy to figure out the precious nine digits of Americans' Social Security numbers.

"It's good that we found it before the bad guys," said Alessandro Acquisti of Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Acquisti and Ralph Gross report in today's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they were able to make the predictions using data available in public records as well as information such as birthdates cheerfully provided on social networks such as Facebook.

For people born after 1988 -- when the government began issuing numbers at birth -- the researchers were able to identify, in a single attempt, the first five Social Security digits for 44 percent of individuals. And they got all nine digits for 8.5 percent of those people in fewer than 1,000 attempts.
Oops. The article notes that the use of real names and their providing the town they were born in along with their date of birth made it possible to find their Social Security Number by a statistical formula.

This points out two distinct issues:
1. Don't leave so much of your personal date out where anyone can find it on sites such as Facebook.

2. The Social Security Agency needs to badly revamp how it issues Social Security numbers and stop using the current geographic and sequential system by which it is currently doling out the numbers.

Michigan AG Backs Second Amendment Incorporation

I'm pleased to note that Michigan's Attotrney General Mike Cox is once agains doing right by the gun owning residents of this state.

Michigan AG Mike Cox backs NRA efforts to overturn Chicago handgun ban
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox today threw his support behind the National Rifle Association's challenge of a City of Chicago ordinance banning possession of most handguns by filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cox's amicus brief -- a document filed in court by someone not directly related to a case -- supports the request by the NRA to the Supreme Court for an appeal of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in June favoring the City of Chicago.

At least 33 other states support the NRA's request for the court to hear an appeal in National Rifle Association v. City of Chicago.

"The right to keep and bear arms is fundamental," said Cox, a Republican candidate for governor, in a press release. "The Supreme Court recognized this in the Heller case, and I am confident they will protect this right yet again. No government should impinge on the basic right to defend yourself."
Thank you, and nicely done.

Clarence Page getting it wrong on No fly - No Buy

As an columnist in the Detroit News, Clarence Page's column on July 7 supporting Senator Lautenberg's (D-Corruption, Toxic Waste) pushing for preventing people on the no-fly list from being alowed to purchase firearms misses the mark.

He would have been better off by first readingthe article by David Kopel detailing the problems from such a proposal from back in 2005 when Lautenberg first proposed this inane measure before he put pen to paper (along with numerous other columnists that amazingly are all talking and advocating about this right now. Funny that.

Of ciourse the problems with the list are well known including how one can appear on it while underage, or dead or for being Senator Kennedy (You crash a car and leave one girl in a lake long ago and you're branded a terrorist for life, what's the word coming to?.

Now if the focus is these people are dangerous terorirists, why were 863 of them approved by the FBI to purchase a firearm? Page ends his column with a complete non-sequiter -
He's right that rights should not be denied. However, as much as gun purchasers may object, it is not unreasonable to hold up a gun purchase for a few days so a background check can be conducted -- as long as the check is reliable enough to be worth the wait.

This after he points out that after athe standard 3 day waiting period

There were 963 attempts by people on the government's "no fly" list to buy guns from licensed dealers over the past five years ending in February, according to the Government Accountability Office report, and 865 were approved.

So in other words Clarence, there was a background check and they were approved even as they were on the list - so ehat's the point of your whole article?

More importantly however, if these supposed 400,000 people on the no-fly list should not be permitted to buy guns one can only reasonably ask why they're allowed to buy a car or even be walking around freely? After all if they're such a dangerous threat shouldn't they be detained?

I'd modestly propose offering Guantanamo Bay as a nice internment camp given Obama doesn't seem to want to use it for captured terorrists, let's just use it for no-fly list members. No due process before shipment, thank you very much, let's not stop at their second amendment rights, let's just curtail their rights in toto. Any objections?

Have to ship 'em there by boat though, as they can't fly.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Never has so great a mess....

been created by one so small.

I get home from work, relieve the baby sitter and feed the kids.

Of course there's a bit of a mess - the entire kitchen counter is covered in their watercolor painting and that's ok.

On we go, have dinner, then the little one runs off. This is a bad sign.

At 2 years and 11 months we're working on potty training. There is a direct correlation between her going off on her own quietly to some room somewhere and an accident waiting to happen.

Of course she decides to skip right past the potty and got to our bedroom. Thankfully its only a number 1 as her favorite for a number 2 is the far corner of the family room, and she thoughtfully does it on the floor and not the bed.

Not a big deal, I don't want to give her a complex, just tell her she was doing so well and she now had an accident so next time she should use the potty.

"Ok, Daddy"

She then dutifully goes to the washroom and tries to use the potty - a sterling example of barn door, locking, horses already left town.

I start mopping up.

It gets quiet again. I then hear a clanking noise.

She found two containers of nail polish in the bathroom garbage that my wife had thrown out today.

She decided to do her nails but seems to think its paint - pouring it on her hands, on her body, on the bathroom counter -- all over the bathroom counter, in the bathroom sink, down the drain. In less than 45 seconds she's turned the bathroom surfaces a lovely new shade of pink and emptied an entire nail polish bottle and is swishing the contents on the counter with the nail brush.

Oh. Hell.

It does not come off.

Paper towel mops some up but just spreads the rest around.

I have a very pink child, and a very pink bathroom counter.

Think. Think. Think.

Ah, nail polish remover, she's got to have some around here somewhere!

Sure enough she does.

Pouring the nail polish on the counter and then wiping with a paper towel. Some comes off, but most is staying right where it is, on the counter. Pouring some on the kids hands rubbing her belly that now has pink splotches - some comes off the tummy but the hands are still a bright pink. She doesn't like the smell and starts crying. The sink seems to be clogged with nail polish. This is double-pink plus ungood.

I keep at it, scrubbing both the surfaces and kid and daubing them with the nail polish remover. Then I run down to ye old internet and try to find out if there's an answer to this incredibly persistent sticky problem. I stick the kid in the bath and soap her off on my return as I read the remover might irritate the skin. The older kid thinks this is great fun and decides to have a bath with her sister. I'm still scrubbing away while watching them in the bath, thankfully the mess and kids are now in the same location.

I call my friendly family of neighbors across the street, the ones we spent the 4th with in the evening - Denise has to know something about how to remove nail polish from surfaces, she's a lady after all, right? - Drat no answer, so I leave a message "Denise, mind if I ask you a quick question about nail polish?"

She calls back almost immediately with her curiosity piqued and upon hearing the situation offers to come over to assist.

With copious amounts of nail polish remover - we went through 2 bottles and found that a Scotch-Brite pad soaked in remover works much better than soaking the spot and using a paper towel, all of the bathroom surfaces were scrubbed clean.

The kid still has somewhat pink hands, but I've been assured that will fade.

She has promised she will not touch nail polish again. "Sorry Daddy".

Amtrack Subsidies Might be Cut But Not Derailed In Michigan

The Detroit News: Michigan may cut Amtrak subsidies
Michigan may cut subsidies that keep Amtrak running along two of its three passenger rail lines in the state, a move critics say sends the wrong message because President Barack Obama is promoting high-speed rail.

The state is paying Amtrak $7.3 million a year to offer roundtrip daily service linking Grand Rapids to Chicago and Port Huron to Chicago.

Funding would drop by half to about $3.7 million starting in October under a budget passed by Senate Republicans. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and House Democrats want to reduce the subsidy to about $5.7 million, a 22 percent cut.
. . .
The Wolverine line from Pontiac to Chicago isn't subsidized by the state and wouldn't be affected by the cuts.

"People have grown very attached to both of these lines. We hear from passengers," Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman Janet Foran said.

So I'm sure these fond riders wouldn't mind paying full price for it now would they, given their attachment?

The article doesn't mention it, but the Chicago Breaking News Center in its coverage of the story states that
Riders boarding the Grand Rapids-Holland-Bangor-Benton Harbor-Chicago route are on pace to be down 7 percent from last year's 111,000 riders.

But ridership still is up about 0.5 percent on the route linking Chicago, Niles, Dowagiac, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, East Lansing, Durand, Flint, Lapeer and Port Huron. More than 136,000 people rode that route in the last budget year.

Assuming these are distinct individsuals (which is questionable, each rider may repeat this journey multiple times and count as multiple riders - no idea how they did these stats) - we have 247,000 riders each getting a portion of the subsidy of the 7.3 million - or $29.55 per trip. With the Republican proposed cuts, they're only being offered a $14.97 discount on every trip they take.

Given that an adult ticket from Grand Rapids to Chicago is $61.50 (thanks to a quick check of Amtrack website -- quite a bargain as it includes a bus ride to Kalamazoo to get you on the train!) then with the proposed Republican cut to the subsidy it would rise to $76.47 -- except of course it wouldn't be a guarranteed government payment so Amtrack may threaten to close the line in toto rather than depend on a revenue stream from its customers that depends on service and their happiness with the company.

I'm reasonably sure that most people in Michigan would prefer the money go to prevent State Police layoffs and keep other core functions of government maintained rather than subsidize someone else's train trips.

From the Department of Security Leaks

From Jolly Olde England, where we thought they knew better:

Wife exposes chief spy's personal life on Facebook
It is always a case of some considerable concern when a lady reveals too much on Facebook. The site has standards, after all.

The lady in question this time is Lady Shelley Sawers, the wife of Sir John Sawers, the new head of British spy agency MI6.

According to reports in the Mail and numerous other media outlets, the fair lady may not have been quite aware that Facebook can be seen by a rather large number of people if you don't specify that you want to keep your information vaguely private.

Lady Sawers saw fit to wander onto the site and reveal where their London apartment is located and where their children are. This might not appear to be the wisest course of social action if your children happen to be the offspring of the head of an international spying network.

One would think that MI-6 would have given the wife of the head of MI-6 a little information security briefing or something.

Then again, this is the agency that had a Soviet agent running their anti-Soviet Intelligence section.

Yet another reminder that what goes on Facebook doesn't stay on Facebook.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

An excellent Independence Day celebration indeed.

Morning was spent with the kids having a play date and making homemade ice cream with the kids helping to pour ingredients and stir the mixture and it came out great.

We then went to my friend Jeff's house in the afternoon to visit him, his lovely wife (who was sleeping -- deservedly so), and his very new baby Emma, who at 5 lbs and a few ounces is a little tiny baby full of new baby cuteness.

Then home to have a BBQ with the neighbors.

Once it was dark we enjoyed an impressive display of fireworks, both professional and enthusiastic amateurs. It appears a lot of the neighbors in our subdivision must have traveled to Ohio to get the good stuff -- Michigan is pretty restrictive on what sorts of fireworks you can buy and many of our neighbors gave this government edict the respect it deserved on Independence Day -- many a Roman Candle, Show cake and big firecracker was set off, and some of the well-to-do people across the lake apparently had a professional put on a display as they had the pro-grade stuff and it was impressively well done.

Then a few hours of poker into the wee hours and good friendship.

A great way to celebrate our nation's independence.

Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Accident in Iraq

A recent accident report from Iraq:
A U.S. Marine squad was marching north of Fallujah when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist, badly injured and unconscious. On the opposite side of the road was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state. The Marine was conscious and alert and as first aid was given to both men, the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened. The Marine reported, "I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway here, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent."

We saw each other and both took cover in the ditches along the road.

I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein was a miserable, lowlife scum bag who got what he deserved.

He yelled back that Barrack Obama is a dumb, good-for-nothing, left wing liberal faggot who doesn't know how to drive.

So I said that Osama Bin Ladin dresses and acts like a frigid, mean-spirited lesbian!

He retaliated by yelling, "Oh yeah? Well, so does Hillary Clinton!"

"And, there we were, in the middle of the road, shaking hands, when a truck hit us."

Was it Misfiled Under "I"?

Rare print of Declaration of Independence Found in British National Archives
A rare copy of the American Declaration of Independence has been found hidden in a file at the British National Archives.

The Archives say that the print, known as the Dunlap print after the printer who commissioned it, is the 26th copy of the document to be found. The last Dunlap print found was sold at an auction for $8.14 million in 2000.

Archives spokeswoman Katrina McClintock said today that the file was found by a researcher looking through late 18th-Century files for something unrelated. McClintock said it was discovered months ago but not revealed to the public until it could be extracted and cataloged.
Given the size of govenrment archives, it is not surprising that things are rediscovered after they have been misfiled or miscategorized (sometimes deliberately). You can imagine the archivist's excitement when he or she realized what had been found, a great find and one wonders how many other documents of great historic significance remain to be found as they sit moldering away silently in many a nation's national archives.

Belle Isle Blues

Another "Jewel" of Detroit is in the news again: Belle Isle's two faces: Island jewel, lawless landmark

Quite simply the island is a very pretty patch of parkland and greenery connected by a bridge to the City of Detroit and that is where the problems lies. During the day its apparently relatively safe and a nice spot to visit, but at night the hood rats come out to play.
Chess boards and folding tables are replaced by SUVs with open hatches that function as impromptu speakeasies with loud sound systems, the clothing becomes a little more revealing, the scent of marijuana sometimes fills the air and the easy crawl of traffic morphs into custom-car gridlock with occasional halts for drag racing.


That's about the same time Sakina Ali, 18, and her girlfriends arrived. "It's really all about the boys," sad Ali, who lives on the east side of Detroit. "There really is nowhere else to go in this town."

Ali's car was nearly sandwiched between two beefed-up vehicles vibrating from the pulse of the sub-woofers and the traffic.

"Hmm, he looks good," said her friend Carla Davis, 19. "Maybe I can find someone decent."
Ah, the cultural mores of homo Detroitus. A quick clue -- if you're looking for someone "decent" then the contents of two stereo-blasting vehicles in a parking lot in the dark probably is not the ideal spot for a meet-n-greet.

Sounds like a place you want to take your kids to and enjoy the evening right?

We want this to remain a city jewel," said Alicia C. Minter, the city's recreation director.

She described the island as "not dangerous ...but dicey" and said the uptick in attention is to "make it inviting for everyone."

Of course, the City could cut down on some of this diceness and raise money for the upkeep of Belle Isle at the same time by charging a de minimis toll fee to travel on the bridge, say $2 a car or $1 per occupant, which would probably cut down on people coming in to goof around and you'll probably keep the decent folks coming. Of course every time htis is proposed its shouted down, folowed by worries that Belle Isle is starved of funds and the city can't afford to run it.

Instead of the toll, they're thinking of posting some signs:
The group is working to install signs, such as those that list park rules.

"If people just knew what was allowed and what was not, it could make a difference," she said.
Ok, if your visitors are so clueless to not understand and already know that rowdy behavior, public drunkeness and marijuana use along with drag racing is not allowed, the signs really aren't going to help much.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Riddle, wrapped in a Con(yers) inside the Michigan Democratic party?

The Bribery investigation that led to Monica Conyers guilty plea continues to reveal a complex web of corruption among the political power set in Detroit and among the Democrats in Michigan.

From Conyers to Sam Riddle - Papas defends Riddle's hiring as legitimate
Greektown businessman Dimitrios (Jim) Papas on Tuesday acknowledged hiring Detroit consultant Sam Riddle at the request of then-Councilwoman Monica Conyers, but said Riddle’s hiring was not a trade-off for help from influential U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Monica’s husband.
Riddle at the time was Conyer's chief of staff and it is beginning to look like John Conyers knew at least something of this or there is a very interesting coincidence going on.

From a Riddle in a Con(yers)to being wrapped in an invesitigation of a Riddle of deal with the Dems -- Riddle: FBI probed $50K deal with Dems
Political consultant Sam Riddle says federal investigators have questioned $50,000 he received in 2006 from the Michigan Democratic Party-- payments he described as election year "hush money."

In a recent interview with a Detroit News editor, Riddle said the Democrats paid him not to say negative things about Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who faced a challenge from Republican businessman Dick DeVos in the November election that year.

FBI agents also questioned Riddle about connections between Granholm and business consultant Bernard N. Kilpatrick, the father of then-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, said Riddle, the former chief of staff to Councilwoman Monica Conyers.

Granholm and Bernard Kilpatrick worked together in the administration of the late Wayne County Executive Edward H. McNamara in the 1990s. Federal agents have been investigating payments made to Bernard Kilpatrick's consulting firm, Maestro Associates LLC, by companies seeking contracts with the city of Detroit while his son was mayor.

The Michigan Democratic Party defends the payment it made as being for "Media Consulting"
Mark Brewer, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said the $50,000 contract with Riddle's Meridian Management Systems of Flint was for media consulting and was not specifically related to the gubernatorial campaign.

"I can't be responsible for what Sam now says about the contract," Brewer said. "The contract was for media consulting services, and we did in fact consult him about appropriate messages and people to talk to for the fall campaign.

As Nolan Findley of the Detroit News points out, in Detroit media and political consultants and their contracts are often conduits for bribes to politicians:
Details are still emerging of how the corruption worked in the case of Detroit City Council President Pro Tempore Monica Conyers, who pleaded guilty Friday to federal bribery charges.

But here's how it was explained to me:

Conyers very early in her council career learned that her vote had value far beyond making the city work.

She could make some people a lot of money depending on how she cast her vote. That became even more true once she got on the city's cash-rich pension board.

Why shouldn't she be rewarded for her service?

So she started to think about how to make politics a bit more lucrative.

At the pension board, she noticed that hardly anyone gets a loan unless they're walked in the door by a consultant. The icebreaker is often someone with close ties to a trustee or a big shot at City Hall. Sometimes, he's even a relative of a very important person.

As it happens, she had a consultant, who she was tight with. He shaped her career, and she doesn't make a move without his advice. But she can't pay him what they both think he's worth.

She hatches a plan to take care of both problems without the risk of dirtying her hands.

When someone comes courting a vote on a city contract or a pension fund loan, Conyers suggests the process would go a lot smoother if the vote seeker hired her consultant to help navigate the city's quirky politics.

The consultant takes over from there, negotiating a retainer, say $10,000. He is also assigned to take first-class trips to exotic locales to weigh the worthiness of the request. Sometimes, he even gets a fancy watch as partial payment.

He knows who's buttering his bread and is grateful. Since the councilwoman got him the work, he feels moved to pay her a finder's fee, say $5,000, or half the retainer.

So, how far does this tale of corruption go?

How many Democrats in Michigan are enmeshed in this web of consulting payments and contracts that for a quid pro quo so that businesses could get approval for their plans?

How many businessmen understood or were made to understand that unless they hired the right consultant they would never get approval for their development plans?

With luck the FBI will continue their investigation wherever it goes and we may begin the solve the Riddle after all.

Update: The BlogProf has a detailed update including audio of a radio station interview with Riddle that is well worth reading/listening to, and he puts more pieces of the puzzle together with his excellent-as-always analysis and commentary.

Detroit Police Dive Team to Recover 15+ Cars from the Detroit River

Perhaps they'll find Jimmy Hoffa?

The Detroit Free Press:
Divers working a case in June discovered the 15 sunken cars in the murky water near West Jefferson and Junction. The Detroit Police Underwater Recovery Team, starting at 9:30 today, will begin recovering the vehicles over a two-day period.
The Detroit News has more:
Police pulled a '70s-era, blue pick-up truck and a moped out of the Detroit River near Junction on the city's southwest side as part an effort to remove as many as 14 submerged vehicles.

Police say this is the most cars they've ever taken at one time from the river.

A crew of 10 divers from the Police Undercover Water Recovery team took pictures of the vehicles under the water to mark locations and to connect steel cables and cloth straps so that the vehicles can be pulled out of the river by a large tow truck. No bodies were immediately visible.

The area where recovery is taking place is just off the shore of the river where it touches city water department property.

"Once the vehicles are out of the water, police will check and see if the vehicles are stolen or have been used in other crimes," said Detroit Police Inspector Don Johnson.

"A nearby petroleum company asked police to clear a vehicle from the water about a month ago," Johnson said. "During that process, divers discovered other vehicles, and plans were made for their removal," he said.

The recovery team divers will spend the next two days probing the Detroit River for sunken autos.
There's lots that has been thrown into the Detroit River over the years and lots of things waiting to be found there. Many of these vehicles may have been sunk there to hide evidence of crimes, for insurance fraud, or simply to dispose of the vehicles on the cheap.

Should be interesting to hear the results of the recovery operations and I hope the Freep and News cover the operation as it goes.

Update: Yes, the Detroit News follows up with a report that so far 5 cars and a moped have been recovered - Police fish dumped vehicles out of river complete with pictures of a Toyota Celica being lifted out of the water.

Happy Canada Day

To all my Canadian Readers - Happy Canada Day!

To all my felow Americans who have no idea what Canada Day is about here's a quick primer on the customs of our neighbor to the north on this day:

1. Canada Day, known commonly as "Eh Day" (the appropriate greeting from one Canadian to another on Canada Day is "Nice Day Eh?") was officialy proclaimed in 1982 in a fit of understated Canadian nationalism. Actually it was passed in a panic that most non-North Americans couldn't tell America and Canada apart and that Canadians were watching too many American TV shows and listening to too many American musicians and that simply wouldn't do.

2. Canada Day is when hundreds of Canadians pour out into the streets in a very orderly fashion, line up to watch government-run fireworks shows, and chant (quietly) in unison "We're not Americans, We're not Americans, eh." (always one Canadian, typically from Newfoundland then pipes up and says you mean were not? - shush.) This is followed by singing O Canada, again, quietly.

3. This is followed by an understated chant of "We have Universal healthcare, we have legislated bilingualism, we have French on cereal boxes, we have gun control, we have Alanis Morrisette, so we have a distinct culture really we do, neener, neener, neener."

4. Americans visiting Canada during Canada Day should be warned that seeing an American license plate on this day turns many a Canadian quite daft. They're likely to pour maple syrup into your radiator when you're not looking. You have been warned.

Happy Canada Day!