Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If a conservative is a liberal whose been mugged, it looks like Portland's mayor may need to be mugged twice

On listening to NPR this evening, I happened to catch an All Things Consideredinterview they were having with the mayor of Portland, Sam Adams discussing the Christmas tree bombing attempt.

The title of the post is from the old joke: a liberal judge speaking to an audience on his soft on crime approach boasts that he has not changed his mind, has not gotten tough on criminals, even though he was mugged himself.

From the back of the room, a little old lady is heard to yell: "Mug him again!"

Sadly it seems that Sam Adams may need to be mugged again to be able to face reality and the citizens of Portland may suffer for his touchy-feely approach to terrorism.

It turns out that Sam was one of the last to know that terrorist Mohamed Osman Mohamud had been apprehended, because five years ago, he and others on the city council opted Portland out of the Joint Terrorism Task force, the first city to do so.

The interview shows Adams has a very pink if not full on red-tinted view of the world. It states how he's starting to reconsider the stupid decision to opt out, because he trusts the current (read Obama) administration more than the Bush administration, but he wants to make sure all of Portland's citizens civil rights are unhampered. At the time of the opt-out He felt he could not "in good conscience" have Portland Police involved that would risk his citizens due process rights including being involved in (gasp) wire taps and in depth investigations and a concern over racial and religious profiling. By the way, Sam Adams supported Portland becoming a "Sanctuary City" for illegals, with police banned from enforcing immigration laws, and he's also pushing for city ordinances on gun owners that violate Oregon state laws. So much for protecting "due process rights".

Of course as a dumb liberal, Mayor Adams is of course concerned that Mahmoud was entrapped and he believes dialog is important and the investigation should be in a civilian court where his peers can weigh claims that he may have been entrapped.

Look, if when approached about blowing up a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, instead of saying "hell no!" you respond "Yes, by Mohammed's splooge-encrusted beard, I'm gonna do it, get me the explosives!, Allahu Akbar!". It is not entrapment.

All Things Considered is a nice window into the liberal mindset.

Dive 171 - with the Grosse Pointe Farms Dive Team

I was invited this morning to go diving with the Grosse Pointe Farms Dive Team at one of their practice dives at Union Lake.

This was a casual practice dive, not a training dive so I was able to tag along.

It was a cold and rainy day so we were already wet before getting into the lake. The water temperature was 43 degrees on the dive computer but certainly felt a lot colder. This makes me want my heated vest, which is still being worked on.

As part of the dive we ran a line between one of the boats and the pontoon boat that serves as a dive platform to complete a course between a number of sunken boats. We also did an out of air drill and I blew a lift bag that we used to do an ascent drill on, which worked out pretty well with everyone doing a nice job managing their buoyancy and holding all the stops. Surfacing during the ascent drill was really chilling, and the air felt even colder than the water, so we quickly deflated the lift bag, stowed it back in my pocket and descended to retrieve the dive flag and return to shore.

Total dive time: 40 minutes and a great if cold time had by all. We then went to get some coffee and to warm up and share diving stories. Grosse Pointe Farms residents can rest assured that they have a very capable and professional dive team available to them in case they are needed.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cold Turkey

This morning was our group's annual Thanksgiving Day Dive.

The weather was cold, wet, with some cold rain coming down as all six of us pulled into the boat dock parking. The rain was bad because we could get cold and wet.

Another group was there as we arrived, donning their equipment and getting ready to go in. After exchanging some hellos, we started to gear up as they went in. Since they were diving in wetsuits, they were coming out pretty quick from the 45 degree water.

The visibility was really terrible today - the rain and a fair bit of wave action dropped the viz near the boat dock to a few feet. Once we got farther out to the northern boat it cleared up a bit but was still like diving through pea-green soup. Rob's light conked pout so he had to go to his backup but no big deal. Chad was wearing the vest today and on medium it kept him nice and warm the whole dive. now to figure out how to lock it in to the medium setting and we'll have some nice heated vests to make diving more enjoyable.

After a while, We then headed back, did a slow ascent and came out 35 minutes after we began and another Thanksgiving tradition continues. We then changed, stopped for coffee, talked about diving and future plans and wished each other a happy Thanksgiving and then headed off to be with our families for the rest of the day.

A very nice, albeit cold and wet, way to start the holiday.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Abby's Big 7th Birthday

Time flies and kids get big fast. You think you've got a tiny baby and you turn around and you've got a little person with a dazzling personality who can read, write, imagine, and really think about things.

Today was Abby's seventh birthday.

On waking up she received a happy birthday song and a Nintendo DS Lite in pink of course, an item she's been patiently begging to get for her birthday for a year now.

I had pre-configured it with her name and birthday so she was amazed that it knew her name and date of birth when she opened it. Nice to see that even at 7 you can still get a sense of wonder with a little prior preparation and planning.

Her first game was America's Test Kitchen: Let's Get Cooking
. The kid loves to cook, and this game, which speaks her name has cool videos on every stage of food preparation to cooking to serving and tons of recipes and she's loving it. She loves to watch the show on DVD, loves to cook and is really working on creating her own dishes, many of which actually are pretty tasty (of course its hard to go wrong with whipped cream, chocolate chips, milk and chocolate syrup).

We then took her to Gamestop and let her buy another game. She chose Imagine Teacher. In addition to cooking she loves to pretend being a school teacher and you can really hear her first grade teachers voice as she "teaches". The game also helps her with writing, spelling, math and other subjects so its educational without being overbearing.

While Abby and I were at Gamestop, Leah thoughtfully bought her a pink plastic case for the DS at Toys R Us, with a little selection help from Tash, and Leah got a Barbie mermaid doll for her thoughtfulness on her sisters birthday.

We then took her to lunch, then home for some quiet time and playing with her new toy and I sat with her and helped her figure out how to play the teaching game. She got the hang of it really well and since her reading ability is high for her grade she was soon zipping along happily playing teacher.

We then made her choice of dinner - spaghetti and sauce and then had some friends over for her birthday cake - a homemade cherry cheesecake that was excellent.

So she had a great birthday and is looking forward to Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Making your kid happy on their birthday is one of the great joys of parenthood.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Detroit Free Press wants Department of Corrections to hire ex-cons

Yes, the Detroit Free Press editorial seriously proposes the Michigan Department of Corrections to hire ex-cons for jobs in corrections.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Don't bar ex-cons from Corrections jobs

A law legislators passed in the 1990s prohibits the Corrections Department from hiring ex-convicts, even for the many nonsecurity jobs that don't require contact with prisoners.

Legislators should repeal that misguided policy. It looks more than bad when Corrections is prohibited from hiring the very people it wants other employers to take on.
I'm not sure if you need an extremely naive liberal view of the world, complete with very rose colored glasses, to write editorials for the Detroit Free Press, but it sure must help.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dive #169 - inVested in Union Lake

The temperature has dropped pretty significantly in the water as November rolls on.

Water temperature was a brisk 45 degreesand the dive was around 30 minutes. 45 Degrees is getting out of the diving comfort zone.

On the upside, I had a new device to help with keeping warm.

My dive buddies and I are experimenting with converting Tourmaster Synergy vests to battery power for use in diving. I bought he vest, Chad bought the batteries and waterproofing materials and is making it all work together pretty brilliantly, we're testing it out.

On the upside, it worked and felt really good in the water- I was the warmest diver there.  In fact I no longer got the shivers and instead actually got cold hands.  Most of the time I'm too focused on a cold core to notice the hands so this was progress.  The downside is the controlled is under the drysuit at the top left chest position and with the two button configuration you can't tell what button you're hitting or if your equipment is knocking it on or off.  A one button controller to cycle through the temps would be a smarter set up, or just a straight on/off button.  We may change the controllers as a result.  Also the battery life wasn't great so we need to look into why it didn't last as long as we figured it would.

On the upside aside from a crazy lone boater out on the water, the visibility was great except where he tore it up with his engine on the way out..  Plenty of fish and crayfish were seen. 

We did an ascent drill from 28 feet to hold at 20 feet and I did it pretty well.  Given ascent drills are where I'm having the most trouble, I can use the practice.  An ascent drill you rise to a depth and stay at it, then move up to another and repeat - for example - from 28 to 20 to 15 to 10 to 5 - its harder to do than type about it as you try to not overshoot or undershoot your depth.  Ascent drills are vital to have down to advance to more technical diving as you don't want to overshoot your deco stops.

A nice dive, though a little wet as I had a leak in the suit at the chest area. This was disappointing as I had just replaced the chest inflator valve on the suit on Saturday as we figured that was the cause. On the upside, I was much less wet than I was prior to the inflator valve change so I probably have had two leaking areas in the suit. I think I found the pinhole tonight on a seam when checking the suit with a flashlight in a dark room. I sealed the hole with aqua seal and hopefully I'll have a drysuit rather than a wetsuit once more.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Alien vs Predator aka Phelpsians vs Mohammedans in Dearborn

Via Instapundit: Gateway Pundit: The Perfect Storm… WESTBORO CULT to Picket Dearbornistan Islamic Center — Nov.18th
                   Get your popcorn…
The God hates Fags people will protest at the Islamic Center in Dearbornistan tomorrow.
This one doesn't call for just popcorn, it calls for marshmallows, extra large and fluffy ones.

Heck, this confrontation, however it works out, is truly a win/win for America.

It will be interesting if it makes the news and fun to see the coverage.

Pity that the Phelpsians didn't choose the Islamic House of Wisdom and its ex-Iranian Navy spiritual head Elahi to protest.  At least this latest nonsense is keeping them away from soldier's funerals.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald

35 years ago today, the mighty Fitz lost to the gales of November and sank 500 feet down to the bottom of Lake Superior, taking all of her crew with her.

Immortalized in the Gordon Lightfoot song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the sinking of the 728-foot long freighter continues to fascinate the public with the sudden loss of the great ship. The current and most probable theory advanced for the sinking of the ship was that she struck a shoal that was incorrectly marked on one of the charts and took on water in the storm and then sank suddenly, with the ship breaking in two as it headed for the bottom.

To commemorate the sinking, The Detroit Free Press has released many previously unpublished photos of the Fitz, including many of the wreck on the bottom taken by submarine during an expedition to the wreck in 1994.

Only two people are known to have dived the Fitzgerald on open circuit SCUBA equipment - Terrence Tysall and Mike Zee in 1995 - at 530 feet, it is an Everest-class dive. To put it in perspective, for a bottom time on the wreck of six minutes, they had three hours and fifteen minutes of decompression in the cold waters of Lake Superior.

So today take a moment and remember the mighty ship the Edmund Fitzgerald and her crew of 29 lost in Lake Superior, 35 years after she's gone.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

As Dollar Inflates, Michigan's Gas Prices Rise

Unexpectedly, of course.

Fill-up fears: Michigan drivers face $3 a gallon at pump

Michigan drivers got hit with a 20-cent increase at the gas pumps this past weekend, sending the average price for regular unleaded fuel above $3 a gallon for the first time in two years.

At a time when fuel costs usually drop following the summer tourism season, statewide prices surged to $3.04 a gallon, AAA Michigan spokeswoman Nancy Cain reported Monday. "It's surprising that this is happening," Cain said. "It's very unusual."

Why the price spike?
The spike is being fueled, according to AAA and two Michigan economists, by a weak American dollar that causes the prices of commodities like food, metals and gas to increase because the American currency has less power to buy items from abroad — especially since the United States imports more than 60 percent of its oil supply.

You can't keep on with Quantitative Easing and putting more and more dollars into circulation and not expect commodities to increase in dollar value as a result as each dollar is now worth less and less.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Thanks for the Health Cost and Tax Increases Mr. President

We're starting "Benefits Open Enrollment" at the firm where I work. Open Enrollment is the one time a year where you get to try to prognosticate into the future and figure out what health care you and your family may need. If you're wrong, you'll spend or lose a lot of money.

Of course, with Obamacare having passed things are changing, and not for the better as we find out whats in the bill.

The Blue Cross / Blue Shield plan we have (with 3 possible different and confusing deductible/co-pay options) is having quite a jump in rates. From a 6% increase last year we face a 14% increase - any bet its to cover all those costs BCBS is about to take on by having to cover those with preexisting conditions? So thanks for that one. Any bets the cost increases will eventually cause it to be labeled a "Cadillac" plan as the costs continue to rise to subsidize the Obamacare caused costs?

In addition, the Obamacare bill also removes all over the counter medications and items from Flexible Spending Accounts, and reduces the max contribution to $2,500 from $5,000. In other words, it is a tax increase as a tax savings method's utility is being drastically reduced by this law leaving items and income once untaxed to be taxed.

The FSAs are rather strange but useful tax-saving systems. You have to guess what amount of medical costs you and your family will have in the upcoming year. Put too much money in and you lose it and your employer gets it. Put in too little and you lose some of the advantage of paying for medical supplies with pre-tax dollars.

Then you have to submit your receipts to your plan administrator and you're reimbursed from the account for eligible medical expenses - up until the law passed that included contact lens fluid, contact lenses, over the counter pain and flu medication and suchlike. Now it doesn't.

While my family never incurred $5k in medical expenses in our FSA (not even close), I can easily see large families, and families with sick kids or serious medical problems having that amount of expenses so they'll certainly appreciate the reduced contribution amount and the higher taxes they're going to pay.

Thanks to the wonders of Obamacare, I can now look forward to increased insurance costs and higher taxes, and no real benefit in return. Thanks so much Mr. President! I can't wait to thank you personally by voting for your opponent in 2012.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Excellent Reading: Jim Cirillo's Tales Of The Stakeout Squad

Lagniappe's Keeper kindly sent me package containing this book, part of our "Stuff Guys With Guns Like to Read" plan.

Paul Kirchner brings the stories Jim Cirillo - one of the most accomplished gunfighters, police officers and firearms instructors to life with a well-written narrative.

Of course, with the material he has to work with must have made this book almost write itself.

Reading the book makes one regret missing the opportunity (since he sadly died in a car accident in 2007) to learn from Mr. Cirillo in person. The man was on the streets of New York in the turbulent 60s on a stakeout squad in gunfights with some of the worst robbers New York had to offer.

Filled with stories of Cirillo and other stakeout squad member's gunfights, it dramatically illustrates a time when officers with .38 special revolvers, the occasional 1911, shotguns and M1 Carbines faced down numerous store robbers.

The book highlights Jim Cirillo's laconic sense of humor and conveys quite a few of his thoughts on guns, ammunition and gunfights, not to mention his decidedly politically incorrect observations on the politics of the NYPD and City of New York.

Readers will learn that shooting fast and accurately is a life saver, but also learn from Mr. Cirillo's focus on knowing the backstop - knowing where your bullets will end up which is a key concern for both police and civilians.

After all if you hit an attacker but also either shoot through them or hit an innocent with a missed shot, you're not getting a medal, kudos or style points.

Instead you're probably looking at a lawsuit or quite possibly jail time for your mistake. That's a pretty key point to take away from the book.

In short, the book is well worth a read - but pick a time when nothing else is pressing as you'll be hard-pressed to put it down.

Of Jeeps and the Wisdom of the Internet

Friday night, heading home from work I'm driving along, minding my own business and then I come to a stoplight and my 01 Jeep Cherokee idles and then stalls out and dies when I come to a complete stop.

It starts right back up and I continue to drive until the next red light where, guess what, it stalls and dies again as soon as I get to a complete stop.

This was not happy making.

I get very good at shifting the automatic transmission into neutral and constantly feeding the engine gas at stops in traffic to stop it from stalling out and then shifting into drive while simultaneously manipulating the gas and brake pedals. Shades of when I was driving a stick, many years ago.

So I get home and of course the local Jeep dealer can't see it until Monday and has no clue over the phone, my friend the home garage mechanic that does my regular service is mystified. One of my buddies thinks it is the alternator.

So off to the Internets I go.

I search many a forum and find a few people with the exact same problem.

One of the suggestions is it is the Idle Air Control. So I go to the local O'Reiley's Auto Parts get the part for $80 and take it and the Jeep to my friendly home garage mechanic.

On accessing the air intake, its plainly visible that the intake and throttle plate is filthy with carbon which we comprehensively clean with carb cleaner. My mechanic friend unscrews the IAC, which is also filthy and on running the suggested test of setting the car to on ( but not starting the engine) it actually breaks into its component parts, which is a pretty good indication that it was the cause of my woes.

We replace it with the new part, do an oil change and it runs beautifully, with no more stalling at idle.

So if your Jeep suddenly develops a habit of stalling at idle when you come to a stop, check your IAC and thank the wisdom of the Internets.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A Keen Understanding of The Electoral Process

Tash: Abby, today Daddy is going to take you voting with him.

Abby: Yay!

Tash: Do you know why do we vote today?

Me (feeling rather curmudgeonly): So we can choose who is going to be in charge and take and waste our money.

Abby: Mama!

Smart kid.