Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Some New Additions to the Blogroll

First, there's From The Caer A good blog with a blogger that can shoot the wings off a fly with a certain Plainfield M1 Carbine.

Next, There's God, Gals, Guns, Grub The 4 essential G's of good living with lots of good shooting and philosophy of living goodness.

I'm officially declaring this to be a reciprocal blogroll, so if you've placed me on your blogroll let me know and I'll add you to mine.

Talk About Software Bloat.......

The laptop computer was beginning to have performance issues (lots of slowness and weird screen resolution issues) so I decided it was time for a rebuild from scratch to clean up the accumulated mess.

The laptop is about three years old and had one hard drive failure/replacement under warranty in the past.

It is running MS Vista Home Premium and there the story, trial and tribulations, not to mention lots of waiting time while stuff installs begins.

So far after 3 days of rebuilding, in which it has been constantly downloading, and installing, Vista updates, the amount of hard drive space being taken up by Vista, its updates, and a limited installation of MS Office 2007 (Word, PowerPoint and Excel, with no Access, Outlook or OneNote) is 51 GB!

Oh, and we're not done yet as it just began installing Vista Service Pack 2.

The Hard Drive is 102 GB.

So 50% of the total space on the hard drive is taken up by just the operating system it came with and was designed for, and the basic word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications that were contemporary with its release.

On the upside, in between multiple restarts for Vista updates, I've re-added the Dell printer driver and it actually connected on the first try, which was impressive, not to mention a full anti-virus suite. I also removed both MS Works and the trial MS Office install that was on it which was interfering with the purchased copy of MS Office - the software license key for the full Office 2007 Ultimate edition that was purchased wouldn't work with the trial (and unlockable for full functionality with a license key) Office 2007 Home and Student version that was installed and the install kept failing so long as the locked trial version was on the system. Lots of fun.

With luck the reinstall will be finished tonight and we'll have our laptop back in use again.

Day 1 At Disney 2012

Day 1 of the vacation began early at the Detroit Airport with the TSA security fun as mentioned before.

Interestingly, children now do not need to remove their shoes which makes the process move a fair bit quicker. The TSA also had a family line that was also reasonably helpful and at least didn't completely terrify the kids but did make them a bit nervous.

As a tip to women travelers, don't wear under-wire bras unless you want a pat down, ask us how Natasha now knows.

So after clearing security we went to our gate and boarded our plane. We flew into Orlando on a Delta Airlines 757-300 that was pretty much full.

We then picked up our luggage and found the way to the Disney bus pickup point and boarded our bus, which was comfortable and had nice TV screens for the kids to watch while the bus headed for the resort.

Next Stop, Fun!

We stayed at the Boardwalk, a mid-level hotel that was a convenient 10 minute walk to EPCOT and 20 minute walk to the Hollywood Studios or a 15 minute Boat ride.  The Boardwalk was a nice relaxed hotel, not too busy but with lots of things to do and everyone was pretty laid back and well behaved.

At the hotel we were cheerfully greeted with a smile and "You must be the _____ Family" (Pure Disney Magic as to how they knew that just upon our walking up to the desk), and we were immediately cheerfully and efficiently checked in and given all we needed to begin our vacation.

The room was very nice, spacious, and comfortable, and the beds were about the best we've ever slept in away from home. It also had a nice view of the water and we could watch the boats go to and fro from the balcony.

A room with a view

So we unloaded our bags, had some light refreshments and headed off to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

We first did the Toy Story Mania game and I, of course, got the highest shooting score among the family. Great fun and lines were very light.

We then went and took a free animation drawing class that was awesome, especially because the animator had chosen Stitch, Abby's favorite Disney character (minus the princesses of course) to be the drawing subject. Natasha ended up with the best Stitch by far of all of us and it was amazing that an animator could give such clear directions to complete noobs and have everyone create very cool pictures of Stitch. I'll put the pictures of the drawings up so you can laugh at mine later.

We then watched the Voyage of the Little Mermaid Show and had a good time especially as Ariel is Leah's favorite Disney princess.

Then I and Leah decided to try the Star Tours ride. Natasha backed out as she wasn't interested in Star Wars and Abby decided the ride might not be for her.

Star Tours was an awesomely fantastic simulator ride with feelings of heavy G's and lots of motion, quite a few funny wisecracks and nice reproduction of some of the best scenes in Star Wars series with a you-are-there feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Unfortunately, it was a little too much realism for Leah who asked me during a particular simulated jump into lightspeed "When is this going to be over?" and then upon leaving the ride she said:

"That wasn't an appropriate ride for me!".

Ah well, in maybe a few more years....

May the Mouse Be With You!

We then headed back to the Boardwalk and had dinner at Kouzzina, Iron Chef Cat Cora's restaurant.

Since the kids love watching Iron Chef on TV and think Cat Cora is awesome, it was a must-do place to dine. The kids were sad that Cat Cora wasn't there but we and the waitress explained that she was very busy and couldn't be there every day.

Kouzzina and our waitress then proceeded to surpass all expectations.

The food was awesome, our waitress attentive, the open kitchen staff friendly and ready to demonstrate a great big fireball for the kids at a moment's notice, and did I mention the food was awesome?

So after that wonderful dinner, we headed back to the room and saw a few magicians demonstrating tricks and marvels along the boardwalk as we passed. We then headed up to the room, got the kids ready for bed and everyone collapsed in moments after a long but exciting day.

Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm Back....

Safe and Sound.

And the answer to where I was is:

Yes, last week was the triennial pilgrimage to the fabled Land of the Mouse.

Detailed trip report with lots of pics and commentary to follow.

In short:

  1. We had an outstanding time and the kids enjoyed themselves immensely.
  2.  The kids are at an age where they can do so much there and yet still have the unjaded wonder and joy of the experiences, and it shows on their faces.
  3. Staying at a hotel on the property and using the meal plan is decidely the way to go.
  4. Disney really does it right from the little details to the quality and warmth of all the cast members. 
  5. Yes, it is expensive but it is worth it and we will need to plan our next triennial pilgrimage for 2015.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Heading to an undisclosed location

Blogging will be light.

I can report that I have cleared security with my junk untouched. Both kids similarly got a walk.

However, the female TSA checker did get to second base with Natasha due to her magnetic personality.

Security was rather quick, professional and courteous, and they seem to be paying more attention and no problems encountered so far.

First real vacation with the kids in a couple of years and they're excited about the destination.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dryfire Training With SIRTanty

I was first introduced to the SIRT produced by Next Level Training by Todd Green at his Aim Fast Hit Fast Class (if you get an opportunity to take his class btw, do so).

The SIRT, the Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger, is an excellent dryfire training tool. It comes with a dual indicator lasers, one that goes off as you engage the rigger and a second as the trigger is fully pulled and the "shot" fired. This helps you work immensely on your trigger control and accuracy. The lasers can be toggled on and off so if you only want a laser on at the shot let-off and not on take-up than that can be easily done.

I just picked one of the Pro models that comes with both the green and red lasers and I am quite impressed. The workmanship is solid and it rather perfectly replicates the Glock for training. The SIRT comes in a padded hard plastic case for easy transport.

The green laser is very bright and easy to detect across a room.

Benefits of using the SIRT for dry fire training:

1 Same size, shape and trigger feel as the Glock 17/22.

2. Fits in the same holster as the Glock and you can practice your mag changes as it accepts Glock magazines and also has weighted training mags available.

3. The Trigger is adjustable and resets after each pull so that you can practice multiple shots, unlike a standard Glock where you would need to reset the slide after each shot.

4. It's not a real gun and cannot fire ammunition so it is safer for use at home for training and avoids any unpleasant loaded/unloaded mistakes you might make with a real gun.

5. The laser shows where the shot would actually go at the time the trigger is depressed, something an actual firearm can't do during dry fire.

6. The SIRT will be very useful when I teach my next CPL class to safely demonstrate in the classroom.

67. I can also see this being a really useful tool for force on force drills, especially the next time Murphy's Law comes to town.

The SIRT is a really useful training tool for dryfire practice and I'd certainly recommend it. I expect to use it as part of my new training program and we'll see if it helps.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

SOPA, PIPA, and waking up the neighbors

While there's a lot of fuss, deservedly so, over the overreach and bad effects of SOPA and PIPA on the Internet, this really shouldn't surprise anyone.

This is a couple of bills that are proffered to be turned into law claiming to resolve a problem in response to the demands of a vocal/influential group.

The bills contain such technical inanities inserted by law makers that don't know what they're talking about and don't understand the potential overreaching effects the law will have.

The bills do not solve the real problem presented.

The bills only make law abiding peoples' lives more difficult, restricting their choices and exposing them to felony prosecution for doing harmless acts that were legal up until the passing of the law while the real malefactors ignore the law or find workarounds so it doesn't affect them.

Heck this is nothing new folks, gun owners have been dealing with and living under bills and laws like SOPA and PIPA for years.

Well then, welcome to the party Google, Wikipedia, the Internets, et al! We know you're arriving a little late, but better late than never.

Ah, I now see both Larry Correia and Tam have already posted on this phenomenon.

Reports of Snowmageddon Were Greatly Exaggerated

So the weather forecasters were predicting a massive snowfall Friday dubbed Snowmageddon.

So much so that schools were preparing to close etc. Well, the snow didn't really begin until after 5:00 starting relatively light but building to a decent amount. Driving home late last night from work was more difficult than a standard commute as road markings were invisible under a layer of the white stuff.

On the upside, the snow tires were fantastic - really excellent traction, control and braking distance. If you're in a snow area I'd highly recommend a good set of Bridgestone Blizzak tires for your car, they make a huge difference and are well worth the price.

So in short, reports of a snowmageddon were rather overrated, but then the prediction concerning the first real snowfall around here pretty much is always blown out of proportion.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Costa Crusing Disaster Response and Recovery Efforts

Since the Costa Concordia Cruise liner ran aground, Italian police divers have been combing the wreckage searching for survivors who may be trapped in the submerged areas of the ship.

You can see some of the pictures that show what the rescue and recovery divers have to deal with. Lots of floating debris and obstacles impairing their progress, not to mention the layout of a cruise ship makes recovery very difficult as the cabins and decks tend to look the same. It is very easy to become disoriented, especially as the ship has a severe list.

In short, the divers are going to have a very tough job making their way through the submerged areas to try and find anyone to save. It's going to take time to completely clear the submerged areas and each day lessens the possibility that survivors will be still living once their rescuers arrive.

It has been rumored that the captain left the ship before everyone had disembarked, and the behavior of the passengers and crew was rather substandard with panic prevailing and the crew not rising to the occasion but sinking into uselessness faster than the ship.

The Detroit Free Press: Michigan couple recounts escape from grounded Italian cruise ship

No ship workers were around, and a person on overhead speakers tried to calm passengers with claims of an electrical problem, Steve Ledtke said.

“To many of us, it seemed like the boat was going to go down, regardless of what they said overhead,” Steve Ledtke said today. “Once things started happening, all the staff was gone – they disappeared.”

The Ledtkes headed to a lifeboat, where they waited. Then another employee ordered them back onto the ship.

It was an hour and a half before they heard “abandon ship,” Steve Ledtke said. “Once we opened it up again, it was almost like a stampede, like a panic after the abandon ship announcement,” Steve Ledtke said. The boat was only supposed to carry 150 people. “It must have been 250 people in the boat.I thought we were just going to fall to the water there was so much weight. It jerked dramatically but then they lowered us to the water, and we headed to shore.”

In short, the members of the crew, by all witness accounts so far, badly failed in their duty to assist the passengers to safety.

Borepatch, writing on the response of passengers and crew during the disaster had quite an erudite point that is well worth reading.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2012

While America justly celebrates the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today, some, including the disgraceful Reverend Al Sharpton, are busy here in Michigan using it as a cover for their own dubious agendas.

Martin Luther King Jr. dealt with real racism and real civil rights issues.

Today, those claiming that he would be against an Emergency Financial Manager law, designed to protect citizens who have suffered from the mismanagement of their leaders, and who play the race card on the law, are just full of it.

The Detroit Free Press: Al Sharpton planning protest of emergency manager law outside Snyder's home

The Detroit Free Press: Guest commentary: Dr. King would want people to fight emergency manager law

The real issue isn't racism, its that an EFM, as stated in the article, can

void union contracts, sell off assets and remove elected officials' powers
and thus destroy the cozy status quo that has been ruining those cities now in need of EFMs to solve the mess that has been made.

I'd bet that Dr. King would be far more appalled at the mess that has been made of Detroit, Pontiac, and Benton Harbor and the living conditions their residents must suffer under, than being against an EFM appointed to fix the problems and take the keys away from the leadership, regardless of the race of that leadership, busy driving those cities into ruin.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dive 195 - Cooling it Under the Ice

My first dive of 2012 took place today, under a 7/8" thick layer of ice.

As you can see, Union Lake hasn't frozen over completely yet, but there's a good 7/8 inch thick layer along the shore that extends into the lake for quite a distance.

So we geared up. Then we crashed our way through the ice like human icebreakers and got in. The ice isn't thick enough to walk on and we bashed our way through from the shore to make a path, including whacking the ice with our tanks to break it up.

Our bubbles tended to stick around, trapped under the ice:

On our way out, we passed by Bones, who always lets you know you should check your breathing gas supply before proceeding.

Someone had sunk a new boat so we went to take a look:

At 17 feet, the water was a cool 34 degrees. The lowest temperature that appeared on my gauge during the dive was 32 degrees.

Fingers were getting a bit cold, but I looked like the Michelin Man in my dry suit. I had my compression long sleeve shirt on, a heated vest above, then a WebFoots under suit and a 4th Element Arctic under suit suit on over that. It was pretty tight squeeze but I managed to fit in the suit and get it closed.

Unfortunately, the underlayer restricted movement and even worse prevented air from leaving the cuff dump, so on one occasion I ended up bumping against the ice as I was ascending as the air expanded and couldn't leave the suit, pulling me up as it expended. A decent bump but the ice didn't break nor was any damage done. Next time I won't wear the Webfoots and that should create some space for the air to move.

Being under the ice and snow was pretty cool.

Then we ran into a problem.

Chad's inflator stuck open and he was busy dumping air as his wing kept filling.

Shutting down and reopening the valve didn't help so we shut it down and called the dive.

Short, at only 20 minutes but still a lot of fun.

Sometimes, you just have to get out there and break the ice:

My first ice overhead dive and it was a great first as an ice dive and as the first dive of 2012.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The City of Detroit Clowncil Foreclosure-Fest

Not only does the Detroit City Council have great difficulty managing the city's finances, members can't seem to manage their own.

The Detroit News: Pugh likely to walk away from mortgage on Brush Park condo

City Council President Charles Pugh is facing foreclosure and says he likely will abandon his $385,000 Brush Park condominium.

His personal financial struggles come as he and council colleagues fight to bail Detroit out of its own fiscal crisis......Pugh is not the only council member to struggle with his mortgage. Council members Kwame Kenyatta and Saunteel Jenkins also have faced foreclosure in recent years.
That's a full 33.333% of the current Detroit City Council facing foreclosure at one time or another while serving on the Council.

Yet one more argument in favor of appointment of an Emergency Financial Manager, and fast.

The Detroit Free Press' Latest Hand-Wringing Over The EFM Law

The Detroit Free Press is calling for revisions to Michigan's EFM law for a problem that doesn't exist. Given how the Freep is rather gainst both the EFM law and the potential for it to be applied in Detroit, they're looking for any chance to knock it.

Editorial: Time to fine-tune state's emergency manager law

The recent flap over how Pontiac receives and administers federal HUD funds suggests an opportunity to tweak the state's emergency manager law for the better -- something Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature should have on their 2012 agenda.

The dispute arose when Pontiac's emergency manager decided to turn management of the city's HUD funds over to Oakland County officials. His reasoning was sound: Pontiac has a record of wasting the funds so badly that the federal government was threatening to withhold them; Oakland County has a stellar record of managing these funds, and was willing to take control.

The problem was that shifting control entirely to the county would mean a reduction in funds designated for Pontiac; HUD funding is determined largely by poverty rates, and the county's overall rate is far lower than Pontiac's.
In other words, the elected officials and management of Pontiac that the Freep so adores are so inept that they couldn't be trusted to manage federal funds properly.

So a management improvement would have diluted the program's benefit to Pontiac's citizens in the city.

That's a failing of the emergency manager law. Because the managers are brought in (typically from outside the troubled community) and given the charge simply of restoring fiscal health, they can sometimes be insensitive to, or even dismissive of, the long-term interests of the cities they are trying to shepherd to solvency.
How is the incompetence of the local bureaucrats and officials that caused the EFm to be appointed inthe first place a problem with the EFM law?

On top of that, the Freep in its editorial then points out everything worked out just fine:
Pontiac, the situation was abated when members of the Oakland County Commission and U.S. Rep Gary Peters insisted that another way be found. In the end, manager Lou Schimmel agreed that having Oakland County manage the funds but not take full authority over the program was worth a try because it would preserve funding levels. Federal HUD officials have also agreed.

But this was an ad hoc intervention by the elected officials. Could the law be tweaked to require more input from elected officials?
In other words, the law functioned fine, others pointed out some options to the EFM and he agreed to it. So what's the need for a tweak?

They then undercut their call for such a change in the very next paragraph:

Clearly, you wouldn't want to force a manager to deal with officials who had helped create the fiscal emergency, but could other officeholders -- from county-level positions or Congress -- be involved?

It is well worth the governor and Legislature's time to consider that. Opposition to the emergency manager law has become organized and fierce. And while the aim of overturning the law outright may be misguided, some of the criticisms leveled against it are valid.

A case of much ado about nothing, now isn't it? The stated problem was fully and effectively solved under the existing law.

With no real need for such a change, The Freep, without much clarity in the editorial, seems to want the law to require consultation and perhaps a sign-off from other elected officials to force an EFM to do what the officials want. In other words create a new barrier and method to stymie effective decision-making by an EFM so that political interests, likely the same political interests that caused the problems requiring the appointment of an EFM in the first place, can bring pressure on the EFM.

Hardly a useful idea but simply a new opportunity and avenue for the entrenched interests that created the problem to preserve their positions and stop actions of the EFM that have to be taken to get the city out of the mess but will disrupt their cozy feather beds while doing so.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Glock Continues to Rock

Instapundit links to the Popular Mechanics story Why the Glock Became America’s Handgun

Now in the 26th Year of their production, Glocks are still going strong and come in a variety of calibers. Talented shooters using Glocks have won all sorts of national and international competitions.

The Glock has had a major part of America's handgun market share for good reasons, some of which are discussed in the linked article.

The benefit of the Glock is in its lightweight, reliability and simplicity, not to mention excellent capacity for their size, and normally they run right straight out of the box and need no modifications unless you choose to make them.

In addition to all those reasons, Glock also has R. Lee Emery.

'nuff said.

I keep returning to shooting and carrying my Glocks over other pistols that I've used with the exception of my Kahr PM9. The Glocks I own have proven to be reliable as well as easy to maintain and shoot well, and have certainly been quite accurate. This is coming from someone who, up until he started really shooting Glocks and putting them through their paces, was a confirmed dyed-in-the-wool 1911 guy.

Glocks also can be modified to fit your needs in terms of sights, trigger pull, lights, lasers and .22 conversion kits, so they offer quite a bit of flexibility.

Obviously, Glocks may not be the answer for every shooter.

Your preferences and requirements may, and almost certainly do, vary from mine.

With that said, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a Glock to a fellow shooter as a fine pistol for action pistol type competition or self-defense. Glocks are also certainly a better choice as an initial handgun than the typically snubbie revolver that many gun stores recommend as a starter handgun.

Kathleen Edward, RIP

Remember back in October of 2010, when The Scum of the Year, Jennifer Petkov who was 33, and Scott Petkov age 30 at the time, were harassing and taunting Kathleen Edward, a 7 year old with a terminal disease?

Sadly, Kathleen Edward has just died of that terminal illness.

The Detroit Free Press: Bullied Downriver girl, 9, dies after battle with Huntington's disease

RIP Kathleen, and in your short life you did more good and were a far better person than either Jennifer Petkov or Scott Petkov will ever be. May your name be for a blessing and their names forever be accursed.

New Idea For The Brady Bunch

As noted on Say Uncle, The Brady Bunch's latest flame of gun control genius seems to have fizzled out, very much like a candle in the wind.

For their next big thing, I'd offer a modest proposal.

After all, lighting candles can be dangerous and that whole open flame and striking-a-match thing probably scared off some of their more stalwart supporters, the poor easily-frightened dears.

Next year they ought to announce, just on their website mind you, that on the announced DAY X, high school and college age people should wear jeans and business people should wear business attire to support more gun control.

That way, when Day X arrives, they can take all sorts of pictures of people in jeans and business attire and trumpet as to how the whole country is firmly (yet unknowingly) on their side and supports their push for more gun ban laws.

This should be a surefire hit and result in images that they can point to that the American people are right behind them by dressing as they normally do every day.

Even better, there's no chance that their one or two supporters might burn themselves while lighting a candle and their support can be both effortless and unthinking, which it is already.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yet More Wayne County Corrupt Severance Payouts?

This certainly doesn't look good for County Executive Ficano, nor for his staff for that matter.

Former Wayne County Deputy Executive Azzam Elder is suing his onetime boss, Executive Robert Ficano, alleging he concocted more than a dozen secret severance deals — including one to Elder for at least $300,000.

The whistleblower suit filed Wednesday alleges that Ficano and his staff intentionally misled the public and the media about a $200,000 severance to former economic development director Turkia Mullin in September.

Its that Detroit-Area Democrat culture of corruption once again rearing its ugly severance package.

Grandiose enrichment of high-ranking executives is easy to hide under the rug in good times. Now, as Wayne County is feeling the pinch and running out of its citizen's money to burn, a lot more of these corrupt cushy deals will keep coming to light.

Diogenes' lamp would have long ago spluttered out of oil had he been searching in Wayne County.

Detroit's Light Rail Redux - If At First You Don't Suceed, Get Subsidised Again!

The previous plan, now rejected as too expensive was allegedly going to cost around $300 million to build and require subsidies in the amount of $6 million per year if not more.

Now they're planning a shorter stretch of light rail:

Operating the 3.4-mile line would require $4 million to $10 million a year, depending on whose estimates you believe.
So a shorter rail line will cost $125 million to build and more per year to operate. Either that or they're being more honest about the costs now.

This is after Detroit Mayor Bing at the cancellation of the original rail project stated:
No public transit project will be successful if it requires operational subsidies from local or state government.

Well, it looks like Mayor Bing just changed his mind in less than a month, perhaps LaHood made him an offer he couldn't refuse:
"We see light rail as a part of regional transportation, so light rail is not dead," Bing said at a news conference with Snyder and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "It's back on the table" but as part of a plan for a wider bus rapid transit system.

I believe the definition of insanity was doing something over again and expecting a different result? In this case the insanity is due to the city's and indeed the federal government's obsession with rail-based transit.

Light rail in Detroit is going to be another subsidized, inefficient, and expensive failure, with the added fun of really messing up Woodward Ave to regular car traffic to boot. 3.4 miles of light rail is not enough to be a usable system, and the capital and operating costs are going to require yet another suburban bailout if this goes forward.

The Egyptian Spring Grows Ever Chillier

Yahoo News: Egypt: Israeli pilgrimage 'impossible' thus year

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it had told Israel that it would not be "appropriate" for Israeli pilgrims to make an annual visit to the tomb of a 19th-century Jewish holy man in the Nile Delta, as activists mobilized to block the pilgrimage route.

Ceremonies at the tomb of Rabbi Yaakov Abu Hatizra have triggered yearly political sparring in Egypt throughout most of the last decade, with Islamists, nationalists, and others claiming that the government by allowing the pilgrimage is pursuing an unpopular policy of normalization with the country's former enemy.

Note that the Muslim Brotherhood is one of the forces behind these protests:

Yahoo News:Egypt activists vow no Israeli pilgrimage to tomb

Pilgrimage opponents have decided to stage protests on roads leading to the tomb of Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira in the village of Daymouta, 180 kilometers (112 miles) north of Cairo, said Gamal Heshmat of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group which is the country's best organized political movement.

He said that the late December and early January pilgrimage would be a "suicide mission" for Israelis, because of popular opposition to their presence in Egypt.

"Normalization (of relations) with Israel is forced on the people, and the visits too come against the will of people and despite popular rejection," said Heshmat, who recently won a seat in parliament in the country's first elections following the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian activists have rallied against the pilgrimage every year for most of the last decade. Egypt's daily Al-Ahram newspaper reported Tuesday that 31 parties and groups had joined this year's campaign.

Did anyone really believe that a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Egypt would adopt western values of peace, tolerance, democracy and religious pluralism?

Oh wait, I know of at least one particular administration that seems to still think so.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Where Has The Plainfield Carbine Gone?

I can happily say it has gone to a good home, where it will be put to good use. Indeed, it has already provably been put to good use.

ProudHillbilly, blogging at From the Caer is now the proud owner of my old Plainfield M1 Carbine, and She's quite happy with it.

Since I hadn't been shooting the Plainfield very much, and I already own a Winchester M1 Carbine, it made sense to sell it to someone who would enjoy and appreciate it. Even as I hate to sell a firearm, the ProudHillbilly's appreciation of the carbine and joy with shooting it more than makes up for its parting from my safe.

The funds generated have just today procured a fine replacement (which was why it was sold in the first place, well that and Murphy's Law's prodding me about selling it which sparked the idea), that will be blogged about, depending on luck and the weather, shortly.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Detroit Free Press Comes Out Against Drug Testing

At least for those receiving government benefits, because, you know it would be discriminatory against the poor drug user.

The Detroit Free Press: Editorial: Drug-testing proposal discriminates against poor

he Department of Human Services, in a feasibility report ordered by the Legislature, recommended a pilot program that would require drug screening for pregnant women and low-income families receiving aid from the Family Independence Program. The state would compel those who fail the screening to take a drug test -- costing about $40 -- possibly at their own expense, and reimburse them if no evidence of drug use was found. Those testing positive, or even those who could not pay for the test, could be denied assistance......In the late 1990s, during a decade of welfare overhaul, Michigan started a pilot testing program in three counties, screening for PCP, marijuana, cocaine, opiates and amphetamines. Only about one in 10 of the applicants tested positive..........Finally, kicking people off cash assistance does nothing to help them kick a drug addiction or prepare for the workforce. If legislators approve any kind of drug testing program, they should tie it to drug treatment services rather than ending assistance.

To be sure, many private employers require drug tests of prospective employees. But private employers do not make up a monopoly, as do governments delivering entitlements.

Compulsory drug tests too often deter people from pursuing the benefits, and help, they and their children need. Legislators ought to steer clear of them, especially when those programs aim to punish more than cure.

Apparently the Freep Editors have no issue with 10% of welfare recipients being users of illegal drugs. The Freep sees it as no big deal that 1 in 10 of those tested were in fact using illegal drugs. If the results are possible to extrapolate to the welfare recipient population as a whole, then 1 in 10 of them are using government funds for illegal purposes. That IS a problem.

Never-mind that drug use is likely one of the reasons the person may be on government assistance in the first place, as a drug habit that interferes with their ability to work and have a productive life.

There's certainly valid reasons to be for drug testing welfare recipients and having the public refuse to support the illegal habits of some and make as part of the bargain for receiving public assistance to comply with the law.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

On Target At Total Firearms' Indoor Glock Match

Today I went to my first ever indoor GSSF league shoot.

It was held at Total Firearms in Mason, MI, so Rob and I drove westbound and down together early this morning.

The match was very well organized and the match staff were very helpful and friendly.

Each course of fire was 50 rounds with some challenging timed strings with distances out to 50 feet. Some strings, including those at 50 feet, were required to be shot using only strong or weak hand to add to the challenge.

I shot both my Glock 17 and Glock 19, with the 17 going first.

I was pleased with my scores of 439/500 with the Glock 17 and then with the Glock 19 a score of 469 out of 500 possible points. Certainly room for improvement on both, especially with distance single-weak-handed shooting. Part of the increase between the 17 and 19 was no doubt familiarity with the course of fire after having shot it once.

There are two more league shoots scheduled, one in February, and one in March and I plan to show up and shoot at both of them.

A great way to spend a Sunday morning.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Detroit: Worrying About All The WrongThings

Detroit faces the appointment of an Emergency Financial Manager or Bankruptcy after being unable to pay its bills after being under a Democrat Kleptocracy for 60 years.

Detroit has been steadily losing population, falling from a high of 2 million down to 700,00 and dropping.

Detroit has one of the highest crime and murder rates of any US city.

Detroit's high school graduation rate at 25% is in the same quartile as its unemployment rate of at least 15%.

Detroit can't keep buses running on time nor keep the street lights lit.

But these are not the most pressing issues facing Detroiters today.

Instead, a growing number of Detroiters are now worried about -- horror of horrors -- gentrification.

The Detroit News: New challenges for Detroit - Longtime residents feel they are getting pushed out by newcomers moving to the city

Yes indeed, Gentrification and the attendant terror that it beings - White People.

"It went from diverse to mainly young and white," said Jack Sexton, a former resident. "That's too bad because a lot of people wanted to stay but they couldn't afford it."....There is a different city emerging in downtown, Corktown and Midtown, data shows, and it is more white and affluent than the rest of the city.
This of course doesn't sit well for some:
"It feels like it's not about making things better for everyone, just making it safer for suburbanites. That's just not fair," Garcia said. "I'm still excited to see all the people moving to Corktown and all the new businesses. But every time you read or see something online about the progress, it's this tone the new people are responsible for it all. That just kind of rubs me the wrong way."

After all, suburbanites moving into Detroit will insist on basic city services for their tax money, they will insist on decent schools and on decent police protection, they won't put up with the Kleptocratic-powers-that-be that have driven Detroit into the ground.

The Horror.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

New and Improved, It's A Hybrid Shark

Say Uncle notes the discovery of Hybrid Sharks.

Personally, I'm waiting on the discovery of plug-in sharks, they get better nautical mileage.

That, and the evolution of sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their frickin' heads.

Why Is Iran Going To Purchase Glass-Bottomed Boats For Their New Navy?

To see their current Navy, if they keep stunts like this up:

Yahoo News: Iran threatens U.S. Navy as sanctions hit economy

Iran threatened on Tuesday to take action if the U.S. Navy moves an aircraft carrier into the Gulf, Tehran's most aggressive statement yet after weeks of saber-rattling as new U.S. and EU financial sanctions take a toll on its economy.

The United States dismissed the Iranian threat, saying it was proof that sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear program were working. The Pentagon said it would keep sending carrier strike groups through the Gulf regardless.

Iran will most likely keep talking tough for domestic and regional consumption as standing up to the great Satan is always good for some cheap popularity points in the region.

Should they try anything more forward than talk, I think they'll be quite disappointed in the results, so long as the Obama Administration doesn't restrain the Navy from using all its capabilities to make Iran really regret such action.

After all, Iran has only 1 little refinery for its domestic fuel needs. It would be too bad if something were to happen to it in response to Iranian provocation combined with sanctions prohibiting anyone shipping refined fuel to Iran....

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Delicious Klandestine Irony

Yahoo News: Judge: Black church rightful owner of KKK store

After a lengthy legal battle between a black South Carolina church and members of the Ku Klux Klan, a judge has ruled that the church owns a building where KKK robes and T-shirts are sold.
So how did this come to pass?
Ownership of the building was transferred in 1997 to the Rev. David Kennedy and his church, New Beginnings, by a Klansman fighting with others inside the hate group, according to court records. That man, according to Kennedy, was feuding with store proprietor John Howard over a woman and "developed a spiritual relationship" with Kennedy's church, the judge wrote.

But a clause in the deed entitles Howard, formerly KKK grand dragon for the Carolinas, to operate his business in the building
In other words, the grand dragon was draggin' his feet on letting his landlord inspect the property, as is a landlord's right and he just got slapped by the court on the backside of his robes for doing so. That a Klan store is but a tenant to a Black Church is rather wonderful. Times sure have changed, and for the better in this case.

The Church not only gets to inspect the property but also gets the Klan shop to pay the Church's legal bills. That's gonna hurt.

Justice, while slow, seems to be proceeding most satisfactorily in the case.

When Misguided Belief In Magic Regarding Guns Overcomes Rational Thinking

Apparently the chairman of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees believes in magic against all rational experience and logic, at least when it is applied to the mere existence of regulations preventing criminal activity.

The Detroit News: Park slaying revives gun arguments

The fatal shooting of a National Park Service ranger at Mount Rainier National Park has renewed debate about a nearly 2-year-old federal law that allows loaded weapons in national parks.

The outgoing chairman of a national organization of park service retirees said Congress should be regretting its decision.

The law let licensed gun owners take firearms into national parks and wildlife refuges as long as they are allowed by state law. Guns are allowed in all but about 20 of the park service's 392 locations, from Yellowstone to Yosemite.

Before 2010, firearms at Mount Rainier were required to be temporarily inoperable or put away so they weren't easily accessible.

Sunday's fatal shooting of park ranger Margaret Anderson could have been prevented, said Bill Wade, a former superintendent of Shenandoah National Park, just outside Washington, D.C., who started his career as a professional ranger at Mount Rainier.

Does Mr. Wade really believe that a criminal that had just shot and wounded 4 people and was fleeing capture would immediately comply with the old Park Service Regulations to disassemble and unload his firearm upon entering the Park?

You know, the same scum that violated yet another regulation by blowing through the vehicle roadblock the Park Service had setup to ensure snow chains were on his car, in the process of which he shot and killed Park Ranger Margaret Anderson who was operating the checkpoint?

Apparently, only some regulations are magical enough to cause criminals to comply with them and could have prevented such a tragedy.

To believe that Ranger Margaret Anderson's death in the line of duty could really have been prevented by trusting that a regulation regarding the transportation of firearms would be followed by a violent fleeing felon is not only a disservice to her memory but also a shameful act of using her death to advance a time-worn and provably wrong agenda.

LA Arsonist Identified As A German With Chechnyan Travel Papers?

As usual with early reports, the facts are pretty well garbled and continue to change.

The Arson suspect believed to be responsible for the millions of dollars in damages in a series of fires in Los Angeles when caught by an LA Sheriff's deputy was originally identified as Harry Burkhart, age 55. Now his age is reported as 24.

Even stranger, he's reported as being a German national traveling on travel documents from Chechnya. That's quite strange, and especially considering the amount of Muslim terrorist activity originating from Chechnya, it is pretty suspicious if correct especially as Chechnya is not exactly on the list of top German travel destinations. How a German came to be traveling on documents from Chechnya is quite strange.

Apparently when arrested, Burkhart stated he hates America.

He's also apparently upset that his mom is about to be deported from the US, for some unspecified reason.

No telling at this point if this is just some nut, a nut with sudden jihad syndrome, a nut sent off with a little terrorist training, or something else entirely.

Monday, January 02, 2012

A Visit to the ROM and the Secrets Of The Maya Exhibit

I spent the New Year in Toronto with the family.

While we were there, Tash and I took the kids to the Royal Ontario Museum.

If you ever visit Toronto, the ROM is not to be missed.

While admission prices have gone up since I was last there, the place was hopping for the holidays.

It has an extensive and impressive display of Chinese and Asian art and artifacts.

Look, but don't touch, or I beat you with my stick, Got it?

Northbound end of southbound Chinese Camel.

The kids really enjoyed the Natural History Gallery and the European Gallery  depicting clothing and lifestyles through the ages, showing how rooms changed over time in both size, appliances, and accoutrements.

The textile and fabric gallery was also a big hit where the kids could see how fashions and kids-wear changed over time.  They then tired out quick so I missed the chance to revisit and enjoy the extensive coin and armaments displays, but that will wait for another visit. (Hey, ML, up for another trip to Toronto?)

In addition to all the standard and impressive exhibits, the ROM had a feature exhibit as well:

The exhibit, while an extra fee was required to view, did have some hands on arts and crafts for the kids in the main area.  These included making a Mayan rain stick from a paper towel tube and making Mayan masks, and having fun sifting through sand looking for (reproduction) Mayan artifacts.

Good to see the ROM cashing in on the current 2012 hysteria and associated interest with the Mayan calendar running out in 2012.  Might as well get people exposed to a little culture and history while the interest is running hot.

While disaster is highly unlikely, I hear the exhibit ends December 21, 2012.

New Year, New Green Power Fail

The Detroit Free Press: California company cancels $177M Saginaw solar plant

A California-based solar power company says it's canceling plans to build a $177 million solar panel factory in Saginaw.

San Jose-based GlobalWatt Inc. said the project would create 500 jobs when first announcing it in 2009. At that time, Saginaw was one of two communities in the running for the project.

But GlobalWatt chief executive Sanjeev Chitre tells WNEM-TV that the Saginaw project now is on hold. He says a struggling economy and overseas markets are reasons for the move and says the company might reconsider if the market expands.
The tax subsidy being offered was around $84,000 per job being claimed to be created by the project. Now, no jobs will result.

Yet more vaporware "green jobs", brought to you by tax subsidies galore.

Of course, its not like this wasn't predicted: MEGA Questions Surround GlobalWatt, Another Green Industry Failure

Apparently, Democrats really suck at choosing Green Energy Winners and Losers while being great at throwing away tax money in the process.

Inflationary Signs Of The Times

Walmart shopper tries to pay with 1 Million Dollar bill

Police say a North Carolina man insisted his million-dollar note was real when he was buying $476 worth of items at a Walmart.

Investigators told the Winston-Salem Journal that 53-year-old Michael Fuller tried to buy a vacuum cleaner, a microwave oven and other items. Store employees called police after his insistence that the bill was legit, and Fuller was arrested.

The largest bill in circulation is $100. The government stopped making bills of up to $10,000 in 1969.

The man, while an idiot, may just be a bit ahead of his time.