Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hamburglar shot in armed robbery attempt at Detroit McDonalds, family states he was such a good boy

The Detroit Free Press: Customer shoots, kills robber at Detroit McDonalds

A Friday afternoon shootout between a teenager trying to rob a Detroit McDonalds and a retired Detroit police officer ended in the teen’s death, police said.

At about 2:45 p.m., police said the 16-year-old entered the store at McNichols and Livernois with a gun and attempted to rob the store before the retired officer intervened.

It's unfortunate the retired police officer was forced to shoot this punk. The unnamed 16 year old made a lousy choice and ended up dead because of a dumb decision to commit a dangerous crime.

You decide to do the crime, you better be prepared for the consequences.

As is typical in such cases, family of the now deceased criminal report he was just plain wonderful:
An uncle, Darren Nettles, took a cab from his home in downtown Detroit after being notified by family that his nephew was the supposed robber. He stood with other family members in disbelief. He said the teen was going to school and had no criminal record that he knew of.

“My nephew was not like that,” he said.
Au contraire Mr. Nettles, quite clearly he WAS like that.
Another man who said he was the teen’s cousin said the story seemed unreal.

“Man, they took my cousin’s life,” he said
When you try to commit an armed robbery there is a high risk its not going to end well for you. In a very real sense he took his own life by making a series of wrong decisions ending with his pulling a gun in a McDonalds. Luckily, in this case only the criminal was harmed.

There's a sucker born every minute....and they try to buy iPads

Woman's $180 iPad turns out to be block of wood

A Spartanburg [South Carolina] woman told deputies that the iPad she bought from two men in a McDonald's restaurant parking lot turned out to be a block of wood painted black with an Apple logo.

The 22-year-old woman told authorities the men first told her they were selling the iPads they bought in bulk for $300, but agreed to sell her one for $180 when she said that was all the money she had.

Authorities say the men gave her a closed FedEx box, and she didn't discover she had bought a block of wood until she got home.
At least they had the class to paint it with an Apple logo, that probably sealed the deal right there.

I always knew Apple computers were designed for people who weren't capable of using real computers.....

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

At least the TSA can stop snakes from getting on a mother fricken plane

It turns out the TSA body scanner can detect certain wiggly hidden objects:

Findlaw: TSA: Man hid 7 snakes, 3 tortoises in his pants

TSA spokesman Jonathon Allen says the man was stopped after passing through a body scanner at Miami International Airport last Thursday. Security officials spotted the nylon bags filled with seven snakes and three tortoises stuffed inside the man's pants.
The plane was going from Miami to Brazil. Who the heck transports exotic snakles and tortoises from the US to Brazil? Isn't such exotic smuggling typically done the other way around?

Sorry, but you couldn't pay me enough money to put one snake down my pants, forget about 7 of em.

Of course, properly done, this could have been a rather effective protest against pat downs....imagine the poor TSAer that tried to touch this goofball's junk.

Yet another opportunity lost due to idiots.

Dying The Green Death

Marginal Revolutions points to a BBC News article on how to die a greener death.

I figure the greenest death would be by walking into the blades of the new green energy windmill. Second greenest would be death by falling into a carbon sequestration pit.

A Lesson from Court: Beware The Help of Debt Consolidation Companies

So I'm in court today for a motion, which I did win, which is always happy making.

Of course some leave court not too happy.

As I'm waiting to be called, I get to listen to a case where a creditor (a credit card company) has a $15,000 judgment against the defendant and she's filing a motion to object to their garnishment.

Her grounds are she doesn't like the interest rate, but since the interest rate is statutory, her argument doesn't get a lot of traction with the judge. The motion was pretty frivilous and an attempt to delay the creditor from garnishing her wages.

As the judge tries to get the parties to come to some kind of payment plan, she obstinately refuse to make a payment plan as she states that she's already sending her money to a debt consolidation company to supposedly reduce her debts.

Here's how this works (at least in this case): She hires the debt consolidation company. The DCC, for a fee, takes her money and accumulates it in an account while she does not pay her creditors and they don't pay her creditors.

The cunning plan is for the account to accumulate enough so that the DCC can negotiate with creditors for discounts in return for lump sum payments to settle the debts.

This obviously doesn't make creditors happy who are waiting to get paid, and they don't have to wait or deal only with the DCC.

Nor does it make this lady too happy considering she's being sued and garnished by creditors while she continues to pay the DCC to squirrel away her money and eventually negotiate with her numerous creditors.

She could have done the same thing herself without paying the fees and had more money to pay down her debts.

Now she's going to be stuck being garnished by at least one creditor who she can't compromise with and pay off with a lump sum as the DCC has her money and she's paying them and sending them money as her credit score goes downhill and she'll likely be sued by other creditors as well.

So if you're considering hiring a DCC, read the agreement carefully, make sure you understand how it supposedly works and what you're going to pay them to do it, and understand the consequences of retaining a DCC. Then get someone else you trust to read it over and see if it makes any sense to them before you consider doing it.

Some DCCs may very well be reputable and helpful, but there's a number out there that sell a desperate debtor a bill of goods and instead of helping get them sucked deeper into a morass of debt and trouble.

Instead of a lifeline, it can lead to a new nightmare.

Monday, August 29, 2011

On Sunday, a Match with a Forest of Steel, followed by listening to a live Barrage

Yesterday I participated in another USPSA match and had a great time.

The first stage I encountered was a veritable forest of steel - 18 plates and 6 Poppers for a total of 24. There were three shooting boxes and you could only hit the white targets from the white box, the orange from the orange which had a barrier between you and the targets forcing you to lean left and right to hit them, and the blue from the blue box, but only by shooting through the hole in the barrel.

A fun stage and unlike the Glock match, I left no plate standing.

Other stages wre also fun and challenging and we ended with an El Presidente drill.

Great fun, but I still had the same problem with the M&P, just less frequently.

After about 60 shots I got a light primer strike along with a click, which sucked.

Taking the gun apart, wiping down the inside of the slide near the striker helped. On putting it back together it would, while dry firing, have the same feel of the striker not hitting, and you could see the slide move rearward rather than remaining locked. I'm not happy about this recurring problem as its a great gun to shoot and fits me well, but if it can't be reliable...

After the match I came home and took the family to see Barrage at Meadowbrook Music Theater.

Barrage is a impressive group of 6 fiddle players, a guitarist, drummer and bassist. Not only do they have a thorough selection of instrumental music they also sing and dance as well.

Their talented range is truly eclectic - from Irish fiddling to blue grass to flamenco to the Beatles, Cold Play and more and they make it all sound awesome.

The kids loved it and now want to take violin lessons (I'll be sending Barrage the bill for it...). Leah is also quite convinced that the violin player that had a flower in her hair likes her and wants to be her friend as she kept smiling at Leah.

The band had a lot of energy and talent to spare and they can make those violins sing. I'm not sure if the match or the concert was louder at times.

Barrage gave it their all and did not one, but two encores after a unanimous standing ovation from the crowd.

If Barrage comes to a town and has a show near you and you like live music played and played well it's quite the show to see and hear.

The answer for Obama blaming the state of the economy on a run of bad luck

Obama blames the economy on bad luck, not his policies that are driving this country's economy into the ditch.

"We had reversed the recession, avoided a depression, gotten the economy moving again," Obama told a crowd in Decorah, Iowa. "But over the last six months we've had a run of bad luck." Obama listed three events overseas -- the Arab Spring uprisings, the tsunami in Japan, and the European debt crises -- which set the economy back.

There's a reason Obama is dealing with such bad luck, audiovisually explained below.

This clip is also displayed and used in an exemplary fashion by Murphy's Law over at Lagniappe's Lair for a different situation in which bad luck was blamed, again most likely by a Democrat, and now the clip is shamelessly swiped by me because it fits so well:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Isn't it good, Norwegian wood?

Apparently not.

Gibson Guitars got raided by the Feds, allegedly for having wood that may not have been fully finished in India, its place of origin, thus making it maybe violating the laws of India and thereby in the convoluted laws that we have here, interpreted as a violation of US federal law.

The law is so broadly written it could easily be interpreted to make lots of the wood you have in your home illegal.

Tam with her biting wit as usual, notes the insanity of it all.

That Gibson Guitars, a donor to the Republican party was raided while Martin Guitars, a donor to the Democrats using the same wood was not raises quite a few questions.

I had a friend who grew up during the end of the Francisco Franco (Yes, he's still dead)regime in Spain and the transition to democracy there.

I distinctly remember him saying that under Franco, life wasn't bad or oppressive. As long as you stayed the hell away from politics, you could pretty much do as you pleased.

Unfortunately, given the desire of the government to regulate and control every aspect of our lives, everything is political now.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's All Greek To Me

We were kindly invited by our friendly Greek neighbors to the Taste of Greece Festival at a Greek Orthodox Church in Plymouth.

There was a fine display of Greek culture, with many performances by various Greek dancing troupes:

There was also a market displaying crafts and jewelry, a tavern with drinks and a cafe with Greek coffee, not to mention the main tent with the food and dancing within.

While the dances were performing, we had dinner.

I had a Greek combo plate - generous portions of roast leg of lamb, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and Pastitsio (noodles layered with beef and a bechamel sauce sort of a Greek lasagna) and a Greek salad and a big thick slice of fresh bread. It was all quite delicious.

The kids, being very daring, had the mac and cheese. At least it was homemade style and not from a box. They reported it was excellent.

After the dance groups had finished, they invited everyone onto the dance floor, and a joyful ring of chaos ensued:

Everybody Dance Now:

The kids and I danced around in circles with our neighbors and had a great time.

We then finished with some Touloumbes, Greek Honey Balls:

Mmmm, honey balls.

The festival is very well organized, nicely laid out, and has a lot to offer. So, if you're by 5 Mile and Haggerty Rd in Plymouth this weekend, its well worth the visit. You won't be sorry if you go out of your way to go there its a great place to go for a family friendly event.

Dive 187 - White Star Quarry

For Dive 187, Keith and I went to White Star Quarry in Ohio.

Benefits of the quarry over Union Lake include greater depth and much clearer water with attendant improvements in visibility.

Another benefit was that there was even a cell phone if you had to make a call:

Unfortunately the reception was pretty lousy.

White Star is run basically on the honor system: you put $15 in an envelope and put it in the payment tube and keep a tear-off receipt from the envelope to be placed on the window of your car. The system works well, and there's random checks from the park rangers to make sure people paid their entry fee. So we paid our fees, filled out the paperwork and off we went.

Its quite a nice quarry and the water was warm, 77 degrees at the surface and 59 degrees at depth.

There's the usual stuff in White Star, a sunken sailboat, fish, some trees and other things, but the main attraction is the subterranean tunnel between the old rock crusher and the block house.

This photo shows the stairwell leading down in the crusher:

Ending at around 73 feet deep at the crusher and rising up to 38 feet, this square concrete tunnel is pitch black inside, requiring lights, a redundant air supply (in our case double tanks with manifold and two regulators), and some training to travel through. It is rather large, easily fitting two divers swimming wing-on-wing without either diver touching the walls, ceiling or floor which is helpful in preventing the tunnel from being silted out and losing all vision inside it.

Here's what it looked like:

As you can see, it was dark in the tunnel, with no outside illumination until you reached near the end.

Overhead environments underwater are no place to go unless you have the training, breathing gas supply, and redundant light sources to handle that kind of environment. After all, if something goes wrong, you can't just make a bolt for the surface (which you really shouldn't do even if you are in an non-overhead underwater), you need to solve the problem right where you are.

When you see one light make a circle with the other light making a circle in reply, that was an underwater question "Are you OK?", with the prompt response "I'm OK". Lights can be for communication as well as illumination.

The tunnel was pretty cool and good training in an overhead environment, and we spent a full 60 minutes underwater exploring the quarry after we did the tunnel.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Benefits of a Perry vs Obama Matchup (and for Liberals too!)

It looks like Texas Governor Rick Perry is fast becoming the front-runner in the Republican field to take on Obama in the 2012 electoral contest. Even in the face of those in the Republican establishment who will claim it is Romney's turn to lose dutifully for the Republicans, Perry’s lead is good news.

This is good for Republicans and most likely good for conservatives as he's far less squishy than other candidates. Perry seems to have a good shot at being electable and capable of beating Obama given his pro-growth policies as governor of Texas and because so far he seems good on most conservative issues and comes across as both a sucessful governor and an erudite, likeable and electable candidate.

However, such a candidacy will not just be good for conservatives but also be good for liberals.

First, as we all know, liberals love to recycle.

Because Perry, like former President George W. Bush hails from Texas we'll probably see them re-use and recycle the same old memes they used against Bush previously.

You know the meme that goes:

He (Bush / Perry) is a diabolical Texas-oilman svengali-figure brilliantly planning world domination for big oil corporations and to turn all the little people into peons,and is a dumb as a stump Texan Chimpy-Bush/Perry-McHitler idiot.

Liberals do love to experience cognitive dissonance.

More importantly, such a match-up will also be great for liberals as it will affirm their world view that America is an evil, racist place.

After all, if Perry beats Obama and deprives him of his clearly (to a liberal anyway) entitled second term, it can only be because Americans are racist and they voted against a Black man.

It cannot be because Obama's ideologically-driven, progressive liberal budget-busting policies have sucked and are ruining the country and arerejected by the populace.

Nope, only racism will be able to explain away such a defeat and preserve the liberals dedication to their yet again proven failed policies for another day.

As such a Rick Perry candidacy is a win/win for conservatives, for liberals, and for America.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

That Was An Interesting International Phone Call

Earlier this week I had received a phone call from my Dad who sounded rather worried:

"There's a Staff Inspector from the Toronto Police calling looking to talk with you about your handguns, I gave him your number"

Sure enough, as I'm talking to my dad, a call had come in and the Staff Inspector had left me a message asking me to call him. At that point I wasn't sure what to think. I knew I had no outstanding traffic tickets in Canada nor committed any offences within the fair Province of Ontario or Toronto in particular with guns or otherwise.

It seems the RCMP had lost track of my pistols in Canada and they, and by extension he, wanted to know where they were.

So I called the Staff Inspector back and we had a pleasant conversation.

He was very courteous and professional, as is quite the norm and happily typical for a member of the Metro Toronto Police. (Typically any interaction I've had with MTPD has always been professional and courteous, then again I'm not a criminal so YMMV).

It turns out that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had asked him to find me as after 15 years of not being in Canada, they could not account for the two handguns I had taken to Michgian with me and their registry was worried.

I reported that the two handguns I had exported from Canada when I moved were still in my possession and safe in my safe here in Michigan.

I also reported that when I moved from Toronto 15 years ago, I had properly imported them into the US with ATF permission had sent a copy of the ATF approved import form to the Toronto Firearms Unit as that was what TFU had told me to do at the time. I also offered to take pictures of the firearms to show I had them currently and to give him copies of the ATF import form and the Michigan registration cards if he needed them.

He kindly stated that was unnecessary and it was just a call to confirm that I still had the firearms. Since I had them, and they were not off lollygagging in Canada doing who knows what and corrupting young innocent Canadian minds (The Ruger MkII and the S&W Model 29 are well known to have mind-altering properties) all was well.

Now, a Staff Inspector is a pretty high rank in the Metropolitan Toroto Police Force and I'm a bit surprised they were taking up his time to track down my whereabouts, especially after I had left 15 years ago. Either the RCMP had just realized that their registration system had a problem after a 15 year absence of the firearms or they do maintenance on their handgun database every 15 years or so and come up with missing guns at that point.

Certainly it was a rather surprising phone call, but it was quite positive and ended up being a pleasant conversation, and the RCMP's handgun registry is now more accurate than it had been before.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Intimidating Jurors, The Facebook Way

I was in court this morning to try and get a recalcitrant defendant to attend her creditor's exam that she has been blowing off. WEhile waiting to be heard, I happend to observe some interesting motions realting to Facebook.

The Judge had a criminal sexual conduct trial heading into the deliberation stage, after the alternate jurors had been dismissed, when she was notified by a juror of a problem.

It turns out the juror knew, and had previosuly disclosed that she knew the mother of the defendant, and she informed the Judge that she had received a Facebook message from the defendant's uncle that was rather creepy. The message was clearly aimed at her regarding her being a juror at his nephew's trial and she was clearly intimidated by it. Certainly it was a smart move on the part of the juror to expose this contact, and she properly reported it to the judge without informing any other juror.

The Judge was not pleased with this contact, nor was the prosecutor, nor indeed was the defense attorney.

So the Judge dismissed the intimidated juror and had to call back the alternate who had been dismissed Friday to return to court for deliberations.

I'm quite sure the uncle is about to get quite the talking-to about attempting to influence a juror on a case.....

Adding to the show, today there was yet another motion brought forth in an unrelated case to get a subpoena to have Facebook produce a person's page and entries.

It appears the plaintiff in the case had claimed she was disabled and badly injured in an accident. She had previously had her page public until the defendant's attorneys inquired if she was on Facebook. As soon as they inquired, she made her settings private, possibly because postings and pictures on Facebook might show her engaging in activities that show her less disabled and injured than she represented in her claims. The Judge ruled that she needed to release the page entries for the time from when she marked it private back to the time of the accident so it could be checked for any interesting content.

Facebook presents multiple opportunities for communication, but also lots of opportunities to make costly mistakes.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dive 186 - Union Lake After the Storm

Dive 186 had its start was delayed today due to a very heavy thunderstorm that rolled through the area.

Thankfully, the thunder, lightning and rain finally ceased and Keith and I could safely get in the lake.

The visibility varied from a high of CSS to a low of SFA
(Sweet F_ All if you haven't figured that one out), basically a foot or less.

We were able to find the line and get out to the sunken boats and do some low viz practice.

We then did a no-mask line drill.

For a no mask line drill, as it is named, you take your mask off and follow the line to and from a destination by holding it in a O formed by your thumb and finger(s). Once you've gone back and forth on the line and get back to the start you can put your mask back on. The other diver supervises while you do it and then you switch off.

The drill is useful to practice situations when the visibility inside a cave or wreck becomes silted up and you have to get back to the outside by following your guideline back to the entry point.

Happily the water was pretty warm - 72 at the surface dropping to 64 at the bottom. There was quite an interesting thermocline - the level where the temperature changes, was actually inside one of the boats creating a very neat visual effect of the bottom of the boat appearing under a shimmering layer while the top of the boat was clear.

With warm water, removing the mask was relatively pleasant and we did a pretty long distance drill - going from the bars on one boat to another from stem to stern and then to the bow of the sunken pontoon and then back. As the line was tied off in various spots and into Ts with other lines, you had to pay attention to where the line you wanted ran so you could get where you needed to go.

The drill certainly shows the value of a guideline to get out of a silted out situation. With eyes shut, even as I went straight along the line I felt like I was going in circles. In a silt-out your instincts as to where the exit is will likely be wrong. This is why you don't go into caves or wrecks without a guideline (not to mention training, lights and a sufficient breathing gas supply).

So it was a good 50 minute dive with 800 psi used, and after the standard safety stops, the dive came to an end.

My Orange gloves, with the right hand now fixed, were leak proof and quite dextrous, so a comfy and dry dive was had.

A useful training dive indeed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Latest, Best Argument for Global Warming: Aliens might not like it

Instapundit notes yet another reason to fear global warming:

Aliens might become pissed off at us.

Yep, that's the latest reason.

Yeesh, if that's the best argument global warming alarmists (even those affiliated with NASA) can come up with....

However, in case the author of the report is correct, then S.M. Stirling, please call your office.

Union Status Doesn't Permit Violations Of The CFAA With Impunity

The Sixth Circuit in Pulte Homes Inc. v. Laborers' International Union of North America held that Union status provided no protection from civil claims for its committing illegal activity that violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The illegal acts arose from the union's activites after a union member was fired:

Pulte Homes, Inc.'s (Pulte['s] ) complaint stems from an employment dispute. Pulte alleges that in September 2009 it fired a construction crew member, Roberto Baltierra, for misconduct and poor performance. Shortly thereafter, the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) began mounting a national corporate campaign against Pulte—using both legal and allegedly illegal tactics—in order to damage Pulte's goodwill and relationships with its employees, customers, and vendors.

Just days after Pulte dismissed Baltierra, LIUNA filed an unfair-labor-practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). LIUNA claimed that Pulte actually fired Baltierra because he wore a LIUNA t-shirt to work, and that Pulte also terminated seven other crew members in retaliation for their supporting the union. Pulte maintains that it never terminated any of these seven additional employees.

Not content with its NLRB charge, LIUNA also began using an allegedly illegal strategy: it bombarded Pulte's sales offices and three of its executives with thousands of phone calls and e-mails. To generate a high volume of calls, LIUNA both hired an auto-dialing service and requested its members to call Pulte. It also encouraged its members, through postings on its website, to “fight back” by using LIUNA's server to send e-mails to specific Pulte executives. Most of the calls and e-mails concerned Pulte's purported unfair labor practices, though some communications included threats and obscene language.

Yet it was the volume of the communications, and not their content, that injured Pulte. The calls clogged access to Pulte's voicemail system, prevented its customers from reaching its sales offices and representatives, and even forced one Pulte employee to turn off her business cell phone. The e-mails wreaked more havoc: they overloaded Pulte's system, which limits the number of e-mails in an inbox; and this, in turn, stalled normal business operations because Pulte's employees could not access business-related e-mails or send e-mails to customers and vendors.

Pulte, after demanding the abusive actions stopped then sued the union for violating the CFAA among other claims.

The district court held that it was preempted from deciding the claims due its reasoning "that it lacked jurisdiction under the Norris–LaGuardia Act (NLGA) to issue a preliminary injunction because the suit involves a labor dispute and LIUNA's campaign attempts to publicize that dispute."

The Sixth Circuit reversed this decision and held there was jurisdiction for the CFAA claim, and it was not preempted because it was an independent federal claim that could be acted upon regardless of the fact of a labor dispute.

Unfortunately, Pulte failed to meet the requirements of the NLGA in its request for an injunction, and the case was remanded by the Sixth Circuit with Pulte able to continue to pursue the Union for its violations of the CFAA.

In short, email and voicemail bombing are not protected labor activites.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Iran's State Media Caught Faking British Riot Photos

Iran's state run media was trying to propogandize to their people depicting the riots as “the uprising of the oppressed against the British monarchy“. but in doing were quite slip-shod in their image choices.

Honest Reporting: UK Riots: Iranian Photo Fraud Exposed

Hilariously enough, they not only used old images from prior British demonstrations, but even included a riot scene from a Spanish-speaking country. After all, British police just don't say

"Pare or I'll say Pare again."

The Iranian media was, of course, trying to draw a blatantly false equivalent between the Bristish governments (inneffective) treatment of the looting rioters and the Iranian government's brutal crackdown on political protest looking for improved human rights and political freedoms in Iran.

How many leftists will nod approving at this false moral equivalence remains to be seen.

It is a good thing our media would never doctor images and video for political benefit of the ruling party. A very good thing indeed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Now THAT'S a Shark

Surprise catch of 575-pound tiger shark could shatter world record

The picture of the shark is indeed impressive, its bigger than the man that caught it.

Not only is this a very large shark, the feat is more impressive for the equipment used to make the catch:

Brett Sinclair's recent catch of a 575-pound tiger shark is impressive not merely because of the predator's sheer size, but because it was made on fishing line with a breaking strength of only 13 pounds ... aboard a boat that was not much longer than the fearsome beast.

I wonder if anyone aboard on first seeing the shark breach the water said "We're Gonna need a bigger boat".

Monday, August 15, 2011

Increasing Angles of Attack - New study shows the English are rather more German than previously suspected

Der Spiegel: Britain Is More Germanic than It Thinks

But there is no use in denying it. It is now clear that the nation which most dislikes the Germans were once Krauts themselves. A number of studies reinforce the intimacy of the German-English relationship.

Biologists at University College in London studied a segment of the Y chromosome that appears in almost all Danish and northern German men -- and is also surprisingly common in Great Britain. This suggests that a veritable flood of people must have once crossed the North Sea.

New isotope studies conducted in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries produced similar results. When chemists analyzed the tooth enamel and bones of skeletons, they found that about 20 percent of the dead were newcomers who had originated on mainland Europe.

The Germanic invasion and the reason for its success where an estimated 200,000 invaders beat over a million natives contains a cautionary tale:
The estimated 200,000 intruders faced an overwhelming number of Britons, about a million, and yet the invaders triumphed. The kingdoms that soon developed, like East Anglia, Wessex (West Saxony) and Essex (East Saxony) were run by robust chieftains like Sigeric and Cynewulf.

The Celts were no match for these roughnecks. The Romans had taught them how to play the lyre and drink copious amounts of wine, but the populace in the regions controlled by the Pax Romana was barred from carrying weapons. As a result, the local peoples, no longer accustomed to the sword, lost one battle after the next and were forced to the edges of the island.

So the Angles, Jutes and Saxons arrived and easily took over a defenseless population,and a conquered people suffered the consequences:
Many fell into captivity. According to Härke, the captured Britons lived a miserable existence as "servants and maids" in the villages of the Anglo-Saxons.

There were two types of grave in the cemeteries of the time: those containing swords and other weapons, and those with none. The local inhabitants, deprived of their rights, were apparently buried in the latter type of grave.

The London geneticist Mark Thomas is convinced that the conquerors from the continent maintained "social structures similar to apartheid," a view supported by the laws of King Ine of Wessex (around 695). They specify six social levels for the Britons, five of which refer to slaves.

As a result of the brutal subjugation, the reproduction rate of the losing Britons was apparently curbed, while the winners had many children. The consequences are still evident today in the British gene pool. "People from rural England are more closely related to the northern Germans than to their countrymen from Wales or Scotland," Härke explains.

So an unarmed population leads to barbarians taking over. No possible modern example regarding an unarmed populace ordered by their betters to be unarmed and helpless while the barbarians are at the gates could possibly exist....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Euphamism Darkly

Mitch Albom hides the ball well in his article on the flash mob phenomenon: Mitch Albom: Flash mobs: Quick start, hard to stop

Look at this impressive though most likely unintentional use of euphemism:

They call it a flash mob. And it recently has shown its dark side, in London, Philadelphia and other places.

That's as close as Albom gets to describing the predominantly "dark" racial makeup of the flash mobs that have been sweeping across the US and England.

Thankfully, we've yet to have one of these flash mobs in the Detroit area and hopefully Albom's coverage doesn't inspire a bunch of morons to try and form one. Of course, given the dearth of white people in Detroit proper, the focal racial bent these flash mobs of black-on-white assaults as seen in other US cities likely won't be as prevalent unless they want to try and play in the suburbs.

Albom's concern about and blame of the technology that lets morons gather into criminal mobs rather than the cultural milieu that makes such mobs thinkable is rather indicative.

As can be seen in Mark Steyn's latest must-read essay Lessons for us from London in flames, this problem is less one of technology and far more of a culture brought about by a welfare state coupled with an indulgent justice system with an attitude toward miscreants that doesn't make them face the consequences of their actions.

Until it is clear that such criminality will not be excused or tolerated, you're going to see it continue, regardless of the technology that causes crowds of those bent on criminal acts to gather.

Getting Somewhat Syrious on Syria

When you have to use gunboats to put down your protests, all pretenses that you're a reformer do go out the window.

Syria navy shells port city of Latakia-rights groups

The Syrian navy shelled the main Mediterranean port city of Latakia Sunday, residents said, as President Bashar al-Assad broadened a military offensive to crush street protests against his rule.

Of course the Syrian government hilariously paints this attack as that of aggressively attacking terrorists and as usual in Arab governmental pronouncements, has little to do with reality. The number of leftists and fellow travellers willing to believe these statements are probably still quite high.

At least now, Hillary Clinton on behalf of the Obama administration is getting around to politely asking other nations to stop buying Syrian oil and gas and to stop selling Syria weapons.

Hillarly then bravely warned other nations to
''get on the right side of history''.
This from someone who up until recently boldly claimed that Assad was a reformer. I guess Obama had led from behind long enough to realize pretending Assad was a reformer and that this whole mess would just go away if he didn't do anything wasn't going to work after all.

Better late than never for this administration to realize it Assad was hardly the reformer they claimed him to be. Now they might move their diplomatic sanctions from unkind words to at least harsh words or dare I suggest, actual sanctions rather than suggesting others who aren't going to listen to the US anyway (China, Iran)to impose them?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Democrats Getting all Originalist on the Constitution....

Normally Democrats aren't very concerned if their proposed laws are Constitutional.

Heck, for the most part they're aren't concerned much about the Constitution except how it may prove an inconvenient stumbling block in their plans or how the Commerce Clause lets them ignore the rest of the document .

For those with short memories see Nancy Pelosi on the Constitution and Obamacare - "Are you Serious, Are You Serious?"

But when their agenda is stymied, Democrats suddenly go into full-tilt originalist constituional scholar mode, searching for snippets of the Constituion that they can use to support their goals.

Remember the advice for Obama to use the 14th amendment to override the debt limit couldn't stop him from issuing new debt?

Eugene Volokh over at the Volokh Conspiracy in his post An Odd Proposal for Recess Appointments
blogs about the latest originalist proposal by lefty Michael Tomasky to have the President adjourn Congress so he can make recess appointments, which those nasty Republicans have stymied by not adjourning the House.

Funny how Democrats start forgetting about the "living, breathing document school and suddenly start reading the Constitution in scholarly detail with every word given meaning when they need to do so.

The comments to the post, especially those from the left side of Volokh's readership, are quite fascinating.

Update: Ann Althouse has a post on yet another example of this phenomenon in action: Oh, look! A liberal is talking about whether something can be "squared with the Constitution."

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Dive 185 - New Orange Gloves, and the VIZ was CSS

For Dive 185 I dove Union Lake last night with Keith, Maki, Chad and Brandon.

The water was pleasantly warm - high 60's at around 20 feet and dropping thereafter once the thermocline was crossed with it in the high 50s at 30 feet.

The vizibility however was CSS - Can't See S___!

There was so much particulate, weeds and stuff in the water you could see maybe a foot in front of you at most, which made keeping track of everyone a challenge. For the most part you keep the glow of the other divers light in your vision and make sure you keep up so you can continue to see it, but not so fast that you crash in to anyone before you see their fins looming out of the haze.

Luckily, I was diving using Rob's 21 watt light rather than my own 10 watt canister. This made a huge difference in terms of both being able to see ahead and for other divers to see me.

Boats were again in the water, which is ok, but some idiot boater was apparently following pour flag and dropping things on us. At least his aim was as bad as his judgment as he was consistently missing. First a lighter came floating down to land right in front of me and then a yellow golf ball. Morons, and with bad aim to boot. Ah, why we can't carry limpet mines....

The other new gear I was using were unlined orange vinyl gloves rather than my standard blue "smurf" gloves which have a thick liner. The difference was quite dramatic. I could manipulate bolt catches, switches and valves much, much easier without that thick liner and it was great. I can't believe I haven't done this switch a long time ago.

Of course, in switching over the glove, I must have had a crease in the right one when I put on the inside O-ring as the glove flooded nicely. Putting a new set of gloves on the rings is a process that needs 4 hands, multiple and varied swear words and a ton of effort. At least the water was warm and the inner suit seal kept the leak spreading only slowly up the arm so no big deal.

On searching the net this morning I found a post where a diver has made a tool to make the whole process a lot easier. I now need to make such a tool as doing it by hand really and truly sucked.

Overall, a great dive and some good conversation after the dive was had at a local bar The Library Pub, where drinks and pizza were on special which made it a nice end to a dive indeed. The Library Pub has fresh jalapenos which they put on their pizza and it rocks.

A great dive and my last one at age 38 which was a great way to close out the year as today is my birthday.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Sunday's Glock Match - A Humbling Experience

You're never as good as you think you are, and when you don't listen to your instincts it gets a whole lot worse.

So I went to my first GSSF match ever with Rob on Sunday. We paid our membership and match registration fees and waited for our friend Jon to arrive from Ohio.

My mistake was shooting my MPDC marked Glock 17 rather than my Glock 19. I shoot the 19 better but Rob and Jon were each shooting a 17 and I had heard the 17 was much better suited to the match than the 19 so. . . . I chose wrong and went with the 17.

I did ok but certainly didn't set the word on fire on 5-To-Glock and Glock-M but completely fell apart on the Glock The Plates.

After waiting an hour for my shooting time at the plates (it was massively backed up, the other two events went much quicker), I go to the line and did absolutely lousy.

The same plates that I had shot totally clean and quickly during an IPSC match in June, I couldn't get a decent rhythm at all. I actually left plates standing at the end of two of the eight runs. Embarrassing. Turns out, I was shooting high even though I thought I had decent sight pictures. I halfway wonder if the combo of the Glock 17 combined with the newer shooting glasses gave me some kind of distortion causing me to miss. Probably a combo of the new shooting glasses and using the 17 did it. That, and I was clearly having an off day.

Rob did very well and Jon was just plain awesome, it was only I that was the one holding up the stats from the bottom of the pile that day.

But for all that it was still a fun event and I'm looking forward to shooting another one now having learned from my experience I expect to practice and do better next time. And next time, I'll be doing the shoot with the Glock 19.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Thanks To The Detroit Free Press, Hell Returns To Its Normal Temperature

Just when you think the Detroit Free Press Editors are finally coming to grips with the fact that Michigan's CCW reform allowing law abiding citizens to carry concealed pistols has been a success without any of the much prophesied, by them and others, "blood in the streets", we get this editorial:

The Detroit Free Press: Editorial: In dueling views on concealed guns, caution is still best policy

It's true that most of the worst fears raised a decade ago about a law relaxing restrictions on licenses to carry concealed weapons have not come to pass, as Free Press reports this week by Dawson Bell and Gina Damron show.

With nearly 276,000 Michiganders now licensed to carry concealed weapons, there has been no epidemic of bloodshed and violence; only 2% of license holders have been sanctioned for any kind of misbehavior.

Still, these encouraging statistics and trends do not mean that Michigan should loosen its laws on carrying concealed weapons -- or, for that matter, not consider reasonable restrictions on the current law. While the law has not demonstrably made Michigan more dangerous, neither has it conclusively made it safer. There is no way of knowing even how many people with concealed weapons permits actually carry guns....To be sure, the statistics in Michigan appear encouraging, but they are tenuous at best. Michigan legislators would be irresponsible to use them to justify further efforts to eliminate pistol-free zones in bars, churches, arenas and other places where crowds or alcohol increase the potential for mayhem.

Even after running multiple articles showing the beneficial effects of the reform, the Free Press stands by its delusions.

Even after running articles that show that after 10 YEARS there has been no blood in the streets as the Freep editors proclaimed would happen, the Freep editors continue to fear that further reforming the law will lead to "the potential for mayhem".

Yes, that same potential for mayhem that they claimed would occur when the law was enacted, and they were completely wrong then, now they again claim if we continue to reform our laws the same will happen.

When faced with the facts, the Detroit Free Press editors can't handle the truth and run back to their emotional hidey-hole and proclaim "la-la, citizens with guns are bad, I can't hear you."

Freep Editors, the first step in dealing with a problem is admitting that you have a problem.

You were wrong then and you're still wrong now. Consistency of error is not to your credit.

On Escorts, Physics and Anger Management

In a sterling example of what happens when someone has anger management issues and doesn't understand physics we have:

The Detroit Free Press: Police: Driver rams vehicle carrying woman, 7 kids

Police say a Michigan driver repeatedly rammed a vehicle carrying a woman and seven children in what’s being described as a case of road rage.

State police say in a statement the 34-year-old Pinckney woman was driving a Cadillac Escalade on Monday in Livingston County’s Brighton Township, about 35 northwest of Detroit, when a Ford Escort cut off another vehicle and tailgated her vehicle.

Police say the Escort rammed her vehicle three times before the driver got out, beat on a window of her vehicle and tore off a side mirror. Police say the man walked away, leaving the Escort behind. Police found him in nearby woods and arrested him.
The Escort being both smaller, lighter and dare I say far crappier than the Escalade likely suffered more damage from this moron using it to hit the Escalade. (Having been the hapless driver of an Escort myself, the last thing I'd want to hit while driving it would be a bigger, better-put-together vehicle). Deliberately hitting another vehicle, not to mention going up to bang on a window and rip off a side mirror is the very definition of driving felony stupid.

Of course this moron probably wasn't thinking while he was engaging in his bit of road rage stupidity.

Turns out, he's not exactly up for driver of the year based on his record:
Brighton resident Steven John Blaser will be held in the Livingston County Jail on a $100,000 cash bond after the Livingston County Prosecutor's Office authorized charges against the 26-year-old man accused of ramming a vehicle occupied by a woman and her seven children during a road-rage incident Monday.

Blaser this afternoon was arraigned in Brighton's 53rd District Court on five counts of felonious assault and one count each of malicious destruction of property valued at least $1,000 and less than $20,000.

He was also charged with failing to stay at the scene of an accident.

Prosecutors asked for the high bond because of Blaser's "horrible record," which includes eight prior accidents, seven speeding tickets, one failure to stop and identify himself after an accident and one animal abandonment that was adjudicated via the Homes[sic] Youthful Trainee Act. Blaser also has a pending civil infraction of careless driving.

This guy sounds like a real winner. Hopefully he'll see some jail time out of this stupidity and with any luck lose his license as idiots like this shouldn't be allowed behind the wheel.

The road is no place for morons to play bumper cars.

It is only by chance that he chose a victim that was unarmed. She would have had ample justification to defend herself when the guy came up to her door and was beating on her window after hitting her car three times.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Detroit Free Press wonders why it and so many others were so against Michigan's CCW Shall-Issue Refom 10 Years Ago

Ok, the Freep doesn't get quite that introspective, but at least it identifies amultitude of opponents of CCW who are now admitting they were wrong to predict blood in the streets, dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria should CCW reform take place.

The Detroit Free Press: 10 years after concealed weapons law, unclear why many in state were gun-shy

Ten years after Michigan made it much easier for its citizens to get a license to carry a concealed gun, predictions of widespread lawless behavior and bloodshed have failed to materialize.

Today, nearly 276,000 -- or about four out of every 100 eligible adult Michiganders -- are licensed.

That's more than twice the number predicted when the debate raged over whether Michigan should join the growing ranks of so-called "shall issue" states.
The article then quotes a multitude of prosecutors and others who were against the CCW reform and who admit they had made much ado about nothing with their baselss scare tactics. Ok, they didn't go that far, but they should have.

The article fails to note The Detroit Free Press' own hysteria concerning the law, nor admit it was itself wrong in its prognotiscations of impending doom, but we'll take the mainly positive coverage.

The Free Press also ran a rather friendly article on Michigan gun owners and Concealed Carriers as well: Michiganders get armed to feel safer, because it's their right to do so

That's quite a shift from the Detroit Free Press' usual coverage of law-abiding gun owners. Hopefully this is the start of a beautiful friendship based on facts rather than the previous fare of emotion-laden scare tactics on the subject.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Hama Rules, Take Two.

It looks like the Obama administration's proclaimed "reformer", Bashar Assad is trying to carry on in his father's footsteps.

Syrian army kills 100 in Hama crackdown

Tanks shell Syria's Hama for second day, 4 killed

Hama is infamous as the city where Hafez Assad killed between 20,000 to 30,000 Syrians to put down an uprising against his rule, introducing the term "Hama Rules" to the lexicon.

One would think that Obama's moral justification, as it was his only real justification for his Excellent Libyan Adventure would, being solely morally based on preventing a dictator from massacring his own people would apply to Syria.

For consistency's sake if he wants to maintain the pretense that the intervention in Libya was for a high moral purpose it would require him to take action in response to Assad's killings of his people in Syria.

Or perhaps Libya was just a way for Obama to look tough on foreign policy for what he thought would be a low cost, short and sharp bit of tactical air operations followed by an easy victory waged in the name of progressive values.

These progressive values in foreign policy being the furthering of the principle that the United States will not engage in war unilaterally, but shall only do so when it is not in America's interest, and then only so long as the action meets European approval.

Libya hasn't worked out so well, and there seems to be a distinct lack of enthusiasm to extend the Obama doctrine to the Syrian situation.