Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The "What I Do" Meme Spreads To Diving.....

Yep, the creator of this gets pretty close to the truth.....

And Now The Continuing Metaphorical Trainwreck - The City of Detroit

Not only is the City of Detroit projected to be insolvent by mid-April.

The Detroit News: Detroit is out of time on budget

new budget forecast from the city highlights the fact that it is burning through its cash: Only $76 million was on hand last month, and that number will shrink rapidly over coming weeks. The report, which is posted on the city's website, confirms the city is on track to be $46.8 million in the red at the end of the fiscal year on June 30. The forecast shows the city will run out of money in April.

City officials have known this for some time — it's the prediction that first got the governor involved in Detroit's finances last fall. The city anticipates its cash flow to fall this month to $55.9 million, then $42.2 million in March and $2.5 million in April.

If union concessions and other cuts aren't implemented quickly, the projections will come true. Time is almost up for the city to work through these problems on its own. If Bing doesn't reach a compromise immediately, the governor will have no choice but to intervene. He cannot allow the city to continue on its current course.
Part of that collapse was set in motion by the former administration, the fallout of which is still hitting the headlines with even more allegations of bribes, kickbacks and corruption:

Kilpatrick's City Treasurer indicted:
Former City Treasurer Jeff Beasley was accused in a federal indictment Tuesday of accepting cash, golf clubs, gambling money, tickets to Las Vegas shows, massages, limousine rides and free flights in return for approving more than $200 million in pension fund investments.

Many of those deals fizzled, costing the pension funds more than $84 million, money that could have been used to pay for benefits of thousands of retired Detroit municipal employees.

The Detroit Free Press: Feds accused Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, friend Bobby Ferguson of shakedown
Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and longtime friend Bobby Ferguson are facing yet another legal battle -- this one involving fresh claims that they shook down a towing contractor for tens of thousands of dollars while Kilpatrick was in office.

Kilpatrick and Ferguson were each hit with a new federal extortion charge Wednesday that accuses them of obtaining more than $90,000 from a towing contractor that was doing business with the Detroit Police Department, according to a second superseding indictment unsealed in federal court.

The situation is so dire that the Detroit Institute of Arts is worried its collection will be sold to cover the cash shortfall. There's also talk of selling off city assets to balance the budget, not to mention the City cannot afford the upkeep on many of these assets in the first place.

Talk about watching a train wreck in slow motion.

Condition White Often Leads To Condition Pancake

Not paying attention may cause you to miss the train, but not paying attention won't cause the train won't miss you.

The Detroit Free Press: Police to review video from train that struck 14-year-old boy in Wyandotte

The teen, who was wearing an iPod and headphones, was struck by an 86-car cargo train going 28 m.p.h. as he walked down the center of the tracks, Grant said.

The whistle on the train blew several times. Police said they aren’t sure if Marion heard it before he was struck near Oak and 9th streets.

The train’s engineer pulled the emergency brakes but couldn’t stop in time, Grant said.
As has been noted often before, trains are large and have a lot of mass that takes a considerable amount of time and distance to stop and are not to be taken lightly, nor ignored.

Apparently you can miss a train approaching you at 28 miles per hour when you've got your head in your iPod. Amazingly, the kid has survived so far and is in what is described as "very serious condition".

Let's hope the kid makes a full recovery and comes out the wiser for the experience and without permanent damage.

Pay attention out there people.

Obama's Picking of Winners and Losers

We know that Obama likes to pick winners and losers.

This penchant for picking winners and losers and for favored groups against those out of favor now extends to wildlife:

Les Jones notes a Washington Post article that the EPA is now favoring shooting Barred Owls in order to save the more greenie-favored Spotted Owl. Jones wonders what could possibly go wrong with such a policy.

The Spotted Owl, which allegedly tastes like chicken, has the amazing ability of stopping logging anywhere in its habitat. Therefore, as the ne plus ultra specimen of a job-killing Democratic bird species, it must be preserved at all costs.

The Barred Owls should have known better. After all, they were rumored to have contributed to the Republicans in the last election....

Happy 229 Day

In Honor of 2/29, here's my 229:

It is a used police trade-in SIG P229 in .40 S&W.

It came with some Hogue rubber grips that fill the hands rather completely, as well as three magazines. Sadly, one of the magazines has a body that is so dented that it won't feed in the pistol and will barely fit in the mag well, and thus is scrapped.

The SIG P229 is the successor to the P228, itself a more compact version of the full size Sig P226 series.

A pleasant feature of this particular gun is the Alphabetic prefix of the serial number is my initials, so its a keeper for that alone.

The gun has some wear at the grip front on the frame and wear inside the magwell, but is otherwise in very nice shape indeed.

Pros: With an all-metal frame and slide, shooting .40 is an absolute breeze in this pistol and there is negligible recoil. The trigger is decent and sights are great, even as the night sites are going quite dim. I can convert the pistol to 357 Sig by replacing the barrel so it has some nice flexibility in that regard if I get the desire to start stocking yet another cartridge.

The trigger is quite smooth in both double and single action. It shoots really, really nicely.

Cons: The magazine holds 12 rounds and it is a fight to get a full magazine to seat with a round in the chamber for a full 13 round capacity. It is rather thick and heavy so its not as easy to conceal nor hold as the thinner and lighter comparable Glock 23. Replacement and additional magazines are not exactly cheap.

I'm considering sending it in to SIG for the E2 grip upgrade and for some new fresh night sights. Trying a friend's E2 grip I was impressed with how much thinner it makes the gun feel, and the texture assures a solid hold and makes it feel like a completely different pistol.

A very nice pistol that I managed to pickup for a very nice price.

So, have a happy 229 day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Michigan Primary Still In Play, But Likely To Be A Close Romney Win

So far its Romney slightly ahead of Santorum but there's still many votes yet to be counted. Ron Paul is in third with 11% and Newt Gingrich is in fourth with 7% of the vote.

The Detroit News: Romney wins Arizona, battles Santorum in tight Michigan race

Oh, and 40% of the voters in one sample of this Primary battle were Democrats.

Of 1,631 voters interviewed by the Associated Press, 6 in 10 were Republicans, reflecting state rules that allow others to vote in the GOP contest. Santorum has shown greater strength among the party's more conservative voters, while Romney has done well with party moderates

Most likely Romney will eke out a victory in Michigan, and then the winner on Super Tuesday is anybody's guess.

Its still possible for any of the cansdidates still in to win, as there remains lots of delegates to be won:
So far, Romney has 123 delegates to 72 for Santorum. Gingrich has 32 and Paul has 19, based on an Associated Press count. It takes 1,144 delegates to win the party nomination at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., this summer.
With luck the candidates will all get it together and get to some decent campaigning.

Oh, and to both Romney's and Santorum's campaigns, please note that your multiple robo-calls were really unappreciated and didn't help your cause.

Primary Day in Michigan

And it is Primary Day in Michigan, and I'm just not very enthusiastic.

A day where Romney and Santorum are neck and neck, Newt's running third and barely making a showing.

The Republican electorate is sadly wondering if this is truly the best candidates we've got to face off with Obama. Considering that only an incompetent idiot could lose to Obama the Republicans happily went out and created a primary full of 'em.

On top of these woes, expect the Michigan Dems to come out and vote for whoever they want to act as a spoiler candidate and cause Republicans the most embarrassment.

Meanwhile, Ron Paul has locked up the coveted Neo-Nazi and Islamist (Shi'ite branch) endorsements.

Well, I'm off to vote after work. A dismaying set of candidates all.....

Monday, February 27, 2012

Now That Was A Peculiar Voicemail.....

A voicemail was awaiting my arrival at the office this morning.

Received at 5:30 am, it was from a former student of mine at law school.

Apparently he was arrested for public intoxication.

Why he decided to call me is rather unclear.

It is really quite questionable as to what if anything I could actually accomplish from Michigan had he even been able to contact me, aside from finding him a local attorney actually admitted to practice law in Texas to defend him.

I suspect that alcohol may have been a factor in his choice of phone call recipient.

So I called the number back and spoke to the friendly and polite law enforcement officials in Flower Mound, TX, who told me that Mr. Student was being transported to go before the judge regarding bail and was not available to talk at the moment.

Here's a few friendly bits of advice to pass on concerning such situations:

  1. Flower Mound, TX has a police department, and a jail too.
  2. Don't be publicly intoxicated to the extent that you are noticed and arrested by the Flower Mound Police (or your local police as your location may vary) for public intoxication.
  3. Local attorneys are useful in these situations and good to know.
  4. Using your one phone call to reach an attorney who is in a different time zone and over 1,200 miles away from the location of your predicament is really not helpful.
  5. Finally, it's going to be hard to pass the Bar if you can't pass the bar, so know your limits.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Act of Valor - More Than Well Worth Your Movie Dollar

I just saw Act of Valor today.

I recommend it highly. Its a nice change from the typical anti-American and anti-US military fare that Hollywood has been passing out the last few years.

For those worried that using actual Navy Seals as actors would somehow diminish the quality of the film, that can be put to rest. The Seals put on a finer performance than quite a number of current "stars" today that I could name.

The action was realistic - there were plenty of magazine changes, guns didn't fire hundreds of rounds without reloading and there was actual use of cover. It was also intense and it leaves you thankful that these guys are on our side and that they can do what they can do.

The ending of the movie was very powerful indeed. The movie patrons emptied out very quietly after the conclusion - see it and you'll understand why.

So without giving any spoilers away, go and see it. It is one of the few movies that is worth shelling out money at the box office to see on the big screen. In addition, good box office receipts would tell Hollywood that there is a market for realistic action films that depict our troops in a pro-American, positive light.

Update: According to Jamie Wearing Fools, Act of Valor is doing very, very, well at the box office. In fact, its opening weekend take exceeded each one of the Hollywood anti-military films of the past few years. Excellent.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Legal Battle Over Treasure Find Ends In Shipment Of Coins To Spain

For the Shipwreck and Treasure hunters of Odyssey Marine Exploration, the courts sadly ruled against their claim that they had priority and ownership of the sunken treasure trove they found.

Instead the US Courts found the treasure belonged to Spain, and led to the transportation of over 594,000 silver coins by air to Europe.

Interestingly enough, Peru had also raised a claim that the treasure, possibly from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, off Portugal's Atlantic coast near the Straits of Gibraltar belonged to it as the treasure had originated there.

The treasure was estimated to be numismatically worth over $500 million dollars.

The US government was publicly favoring the Spanish claim over the US company's rights of discovery and salvage.

The article in the Detroit News has more details.

As reported in the article, Spain has rejected selling the coins to the public to reduce its debt.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Clinton to Syria: Stop, Or I'll Say Stop Again

The Detroit News: Clinton: Syrian regime must agree to cease-fire

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the Syrian regime will have "more blood on its hands" if it doesn't immediately comply with cease-fire demands being issued by a group of 70 Western and Arab nations.
Well, isn't that Assad's intent after all, to get blood on his hands? Kill off as many opponents as possible while the world utters some meaningless demands that he stop and cease only when there's a credible threat to his regime or all his enemies are dead?
In opening remarks to an international conference of the Friends of Syria group, Clinton said the regime of President Bashar Assad has "ignored every warning, squandered every opportunity and broken every agreement."
And its unlikely her latest demand that he stop will be heeded, unlike all the previous demands to stop.

Hillary's previous statements on Syria at the behest of the Obama Administration haven't done much either.

Its almost as if Obama is purposefully sending Hillary Clinton forth making ridiculous statements and ineffective demands without any real backing from the administration. Could this have been in order to deliberately render her ineffective and prevent her from being a possible contender to his campaign for reelection this year?

Or is this approach just in line with the Obama Doctrine with its approach of having America rely on soft power and platitudes in foreign affairs?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Night To Remember: 2012 Daddy-Daughter Dance

So tonight after work, I took both Abby and Leah to the local Daddy-Daughter Dance.

This was their first special event that was just for them and they were incredibly excited.

They dressed up for the occasion in their best dresses and they each put on a necklace, and I bought them each a corsage to enjoy their special night.

We went to the golf course where it was being held and they were very impressed with how nice and fancy it was. Everyone was dressed to the nines.

The kids had their first Shirley Temples, which I explained were special drinks just for big girls. They were very proud to have such a big girl drink, and many other daughters apparently got the same spiel as the Shirley Temple was in high demand.

There was a well-laid-out buffet and the kids had veggies, mac and cheese, corn, and some slices of a very nicely done beast and then finished up with some tasty cake.

They then had a great time dancing on the dance floor, even though the music got progressively louder. They danced until they were tired, took a break and had a sip of their Shirley Temples and then went and danced some more.

They then declared they were done and as we left they each received a toy monkey holding a box containing two Sanders chocolates (donated to the event by Sander's as a sponsor), which they enjoyed once they were home. Then they brushed their teeth, got into their PJs and went to bed, declaring it the best night out ever and asking if I'll take them again next year. Of course I will.

If you haven't figured it out yet, spend time with your kids now while they're small and actually want to spend time with you. Later when they're older you'll be glad you did.

Michigan's Puzzling Primary Picks, Pranks, Punts and Punks

The Detroit News has an interesting article on Michigan's primary weirdness.

And weird this state is in regards to its primary picks. After all, this is the state that selected George Wallace as the Democrat Presidential nominee and then 16 years later nominated Jesse Jackson to win. We're a weird primary state all right.

And on the choices for Republican presidential candidate, the Detroit News shows the state's electorate lacks a sterling record for picking a winner in that contest as well, especially when opportunities arise for Democrats to cross the floor and pull an R-labeled lever for whoever they think can be most easily beaten or cause embarrassment.

The Detroit News: Michigan's quirky primaries

Adding to the weirdness, both the The Detroit News and The Detroit Free Press have announced their endorsements for Romney.

The Free Press only endorses him conditionally - the condition being he goes back to the moderate RINO he was before his latest incarnation now running for president. Oh joy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Dive Location To Add To The Diving Bucket List: The Dead Sea

Diving where few men have dived before

What's more, Bresler runs tours for extreme diving fans in the cloudy Dead Sea.

"The water is warm but it's as if you're in the Antarctic. Everything is white; it looks like you're diving in ice. The water glitters because of all the salt. It really is another world," Bresler tells ISRAEL21c.

The Dead Sea has always been one of Israel's most popular destinations. It is the lowest point on Earth and a place renowned for its vistas, healing powers and natural beauty.
There's a few cool pictures at the link and it gives a neat description of the extra weight requirements for diving the saline intense Dead Sea.

I remember many years ago effortlessly floating in the Dead Sea while sitting upright due to its the high mineral content - you certainly can't sink or dive it unless you add a lot of lead weight.

I also vividly remember how the salts in the water found every single cut and scratch that day.

To think that you can now have an opportunity to dive it now is just plain cool.

CNN Opinion Contributor: Securing Borders is Racist

CNN's opinion contributor LZ Granderson goes straight for the race card in considering the border debate.

Does 'secure the border' mean 'keep America white'?

As a good liberal, he announces he's acquired a hidden Republican/Right decoder ring to helpfully decode all these code phrases and he'll share it with you:

In case you plan to see Wednesday's GOP debate, allow me to offer up some crib notes so you don't get lost.

First, when you hear the candidates talk about "job creators," that's just another way of saying "rich people" or "the guy bankrolling my super Pac."

When someone says "family values," that's to remind the audience that they don't like gay people; "religious freedom" means "Christianity"; and it's not really a GOP debate until a candidate attacks the "liberal media" for asking questions they're too afraid to answer.

Now there will be plenty of other buzz words and euphemisms that will be tossed around during the debate, but since it is being held in Arizona, chances are the most popular phrase will be "secure the border."

He then goes on to claim that securing the border with Mexico is racist unless equal attention is made to the US-Canadian border.
They all will receive applause, and it will all sound great ... until you realize that "secure the border" is slang for "keep the Mexicans out."

Oh boy, here comes the black guy playing the race card again.

Yep, that's me -- pointing out that the Canadian border is largely ignored in this dialogue despite being more than twice the size of the Mexican border and less than 1% secure, according to a 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office. Even if we were to disregard the 1,538 miles between Alaska and Canada, the 3,987 mile border connecting the lower 48 to our neighbors up north is still much larger than the 1,933-mile stretch that connects us to Mexico.

And yet the attention we give the northern border is miniscule at best when compared to the resources we allocate to the south.
Of course he doesn't mention that we don't have an influx of millions of Canadians immigrating here illegally, soaking up the social welfare net and demanding to use Canadian Matricula Consular cards in place of driver's licenses and identification.

If indeed we have recently been facing a massive illegal immigration wave of millions of Canadians, I think I would have noticed them going around and saying "eh?", eating poutine, and pouring maple syrup into car radiators. In short, we just don't have one.

Mr. Granderson also completely whether by accident or by deliberate intent overlooks the close cooperation that the US and Canadian governments unlike Mexico have on border security and that yes indeed, that border is a known area of concern and is being addressed, much to his chagrin had he been paying any attention.

Mr. Granderson then makes the leap that since there isn't a push for equal time and attention on the Canadian border, the whole border issue is just white people's fear of the browning of America.
You know, this whole immigration discussion would be a lot more productive if the people leading it would be more honest and stop pretending as if it's only about national security. It's a part, but the larger truth is that nonwhite people will be the majority in this country by 2040 and this browning of America scares the hell out of a lot of people, particularly some white people. The thinking goes that if the country can deport the Mexicans who are illegally here and stop new ones from coming in, maybe that trend will slow down or even reverse.
Yet another unsupported assertion and claim of a "larger truth" from him, perhaps he found that "thinking" using his secret decoder ring.

This is just the standard liberal columnist approach of claiming to know the motivations of your opponents, then construct a straw-man with these supposed motivations to strike down, ignore all the facts counter to the construct and then declare victory. Feh.

You will only spill a cup of coffee on your desk when.....

  1. It's full to the brim, with nice, fresh, hot coffee;
  2. You have impotant papers on your desk;
  3. You need to get something else done rather than drop everything and clean it up right now; and
  4. There's no napkins or tissues handy to quickly wipe it up.

 On the upside, it was time to sort through that pile of papers and get rid of the unnecessary stack that has accumulated on my desk....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Obama's Under The Radar Gun Control Push Continues

As reported by Emily Miller of the Washington Post, Obama in his proposed budget is pushing for more gun control initiatives, some of them quite, shall we say, bizarre?

These measures include:

1. Removing the prohibition on future Fast and Furious type gun-walking operations. Gee, I wonder why he wants that given all that's been revealed about his administration transferring guns to Mexican drug gangs in order to push for more Gun Control?

2. Removing Funding for the Federal Flight Deck Officer program (the one that lets pilots have firearms in the cockpit fot he aircraft).

3. Requiring that military brass be mutilated before it is sold to prevent gun owners in the US from reloading it. This of course reduces its sale value and costs the government money.

4. Requiring M1 Garands and M1 Carbines be destroyed rather than transferred to the CMP.

5. Restoring funding for more pro-gun control junk science studies from the NIH and CDC.

In all, it is quite a little wish-list of irritating gun control measures that will please his leftist base.

It also confirms the belief and knowledge of every attention-paying gun owner that Obama is certainly no friend of the 2nd Amendment. This little list is just a taste of what we will face once he no longer has to worry about being re-elected should he win office again.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Before You Build That Dream Home, Do Check Your Local Restrictions

Or this can happen:

The Detroit Free Press: Courts order demolition of $1.1 million Macomb County mansion built too close to property line

The Michigan Court of Appeals has told a couple they have to tear down all or part of their $1.1 million mansion because they built it too close to their property lines.

The order came in a lawsuit a neighboring couple filed in 2004 against Simon and Saca Palushaj over their 9,000-square-foot house in Macomb County’s Washington Township, 25 miles north of Detroit.

Tuesday’s unanimous ruling acknowledged the extreme nature of the resolution and encouraged a compromise, according to The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens.
The Palushajs messed this one up quite nicely. Not only did they thumb their nose at the restriction, but they began building after the lawsuit seeking to prevent the house from being built in violation of the restrictions was filed against them.

It's rather hard to have a lot of sympathy when they were clearly on notice that they were in violation of the deed restriction before they proceeded with construction. Had their neighbor waited until after it was built to file or complaint there might be a bit more sympathy for them, but not with this chronology.

Now it looks like their house is going to undergo some radical restructuring or they're going to have to buy off their neighbor with some considerable compensation in order to keep the house as-is.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Coin of Gallienus - The Emperor as Germanicus

Emperor wearing radiate crown facing right.

Two German captives bound and seated beneath a trophy of captured German arms, armor, and shields.

This coin, another silver Antoninianus, commemorates the victory of the Emperor Gallienus over those troublesome Germanic tribes.

The Germans were getting rather feisty during his reign for the 7 years when he was essentially co-emperor with his father and in charge of the western portions of the empire, and then the 8 years when he was ruling alone, even as other Romans were rebelling and declaring themselves emperor at the same time.

Gallienus, in response to the German invasions went forth and won multiple victories against them in five major campaigns, mainly engaging in battles along the Danube and Rhine rivers.

This coin commemorates his fifth major victory over the Germans, the victory against the Alemanni where he stopped their invasion cold in the Battle at Milan in 259 AD.

To commemorate these five successful campaigns and victories he was given the title Germanicus. The term Germanicus is a Latin honorific term meaning essentially "He who kicked Germanic ass and took names".

Success against the Germanic tribes was always a crowd-pleaser in Rome, and helpful in maintaining the loyalty of the armies as they appreciated being led by a winner. This string of victories against the Germans however, didn't stop a group of Illyrian officers from assassinating Gallienus as he went forth to fight the imposters and rebels Postumus and Aureolus. The Illyrians then named Claudius II emperor.

How Far Detroit has Fallen.....

Dann, of God, Gals, Guns, Grub pointed me to this incredible visual artifact of how Detroit used to look in 1965. The film was done as a pitch for Detroit's (failed) attempt to land the Olympic Games:

The irony in listening to the words of the film today is palpable, not to mention seeing the new buildings they tout in the film. Those buildings and institutions are now just hanging on, in fear of a new round of budget cuts as the city verges towards an emergency Financial manager of bankruptcy, or already decayed or crumbling under a lack of maintenance and care over the years.

Some of the finest irony in the film:

"The inner city is becoming an exciting place to live..with the most modern of schools"
"Detroit has earned an outstanding reputation in community relations, a reputation which is nationally recognized"
"Detroit's progress in good ethnic relations...."

It is amazing how bright the future looked and how much hope there was for Detroit's future in 1965. Also, the City looked so much better in 1965 than it does today. It's quite sad and maddening how Detroit's bright future has been wasted, corrupted and frittered away.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Illegal Alien Arrested After Planning To Bomb Capitol

Washington Post: Federal agents arrest Amine El Khalifi; he allegedly planned to bomb Capitol

Federal authorities on Friday arrested a 29-year-old Moroccan man in an alleged plot to carry out a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol, the latest in a series of terrorism-related arrests resulting from undercover sting operations.

For more than a year, Amine El Khalifi, of Alexandria, considered attacking targets including a synagogue, an Alexandria building with military offices and a Washington restaurant frequented by military officials, authorities said. When arrested a few blocks from the Capitol around lunchtime on Friday, he was carrying what he believed to be a loaded automatic weapon and a suicide vest ready for detonation.
Khalifi has been illegally living in the US since he was 16.

Certainly, that's a rather damning indictment of the laxity towards both illegal immigrants and Islamic militants in the DC area. And it also raises some more questions about a mosque that seems to keep drawing more than its share of terrorism suspects:
As news of the arrest spread, several members of the mosque Khalifi visited expressed concern that they could be thrust into the spotlight once again, even though Khalifi was not thought to have been a regular worshiper at the mosque.

Dar Al-Hijrah has weathered repeated criticism for ties to worshipers who were found to have been terrorism suspects. The mosque’s leaders have noted that, as one of the largest mosques in the Mid-Atlantic, it attracts worshipers from all over, including many who attend infrequently.

Of course, the usual suspects are also worried about these FBI Sting operations stopping poor innocent jihadis:
Ashraf Nubani, a Muslim lawyer in Washington who has defended terrorism suspects in similar cases in the past, said he has has watched with alarm the increase of such FBI stings.
Perhaps his alarm is because they are quite successful in stopping the attacks.
“It’s controlled from beginning to end by FBI. But you can’t create a terrorism case and then say you stopped it,” Nubani said. “Had the FBI not been involved, through their manipulation or informants, would the same thing have happened? Would there be attempted violence? They have their sights on certain people, the ones who talk big talk.”

So Nubani seems to be advocating the FBI should start ignoring [certain] people talking about committing acts of terrorism. Remember folks, its not entrapment if you jump right in, nor when you seek out terrorist materials on your mission of inner self-improvement.

Good job to the FBI for interdicting this attack, and may it wake up our solons in DC regarding the problems of both illegal immigration and its connection to terrorism, and to the continued presence of militant Islamists in our midst.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Detroit Free Press in Freefall Because Santorum Owned An Audi In 2008!

The Liberal MSM digs deep for any flaw: The Detroit Free Press: Santorum drove Audi A6 in 2008, tax returns show

Rick Santorum preaches Made in America, but, according to his tax returns, he was driving a German-made luxury car just a few years back.

Santorum, now vying with Mitt Romney for frontrunner status nationwide and leading in the race to win the Feb. 28 Republican presidential primary in Michigan, has made American manufacturing a major theme of his campaign. He has called for tax breaks for U.S. manufacturers and one section of his campaign website is called “Made in America: Empowering American Families, Building Economic Freedom.”

But his 2008 tax return, released along with three other years Wednesday night, showed he was started driving an Audi A6 that year as part of his consulting business, putting nearly 12,000 miles on the car. He claimed $241 in depreciation on his assets that year. The website Politico posted the tax returns Wednesday evening.

The Horror! The Horror!

Wow, Santorum claims in 2012 to be in favor of a "Made in America" agenda and the best Politico and the Freep can dig up is that he operated an Audi for part of a year in 2008? For this Politico and The Freep get a case of the vapors? Do they think potential Republican supporters are dumb enough to even consider this a factor in voting for or against him in any way?

Maybe for a Democrat UAW worker it might be enough to tip the scales, and given that's the Freep's main audience......

Yes, Santorum showed up in Michigan today so an attempt to besmirch him must be made. Finding there was a foreign automobile that he drove for a portion of a year -- 4 years ago -- is in the minds of these media giants apparently the hot news to sink his primary campaign here.

This certainly shows the disconnect between the media and the average Republican, not to mention the average American.

Great Ghu, with all the potential things that there is not to like about Rick Santorum's Big Government Social Conservative agenda the best The Freep and Politico can do is this?

Vandal Damages Historic Clock - If Justice Is Served, He'll Do Hard Time

Vandal damages century-old Detroit Historical Museum clock

Curators are trying to determine how to fix a 100-year-old historic clock vandalized Thursday by a visitor to the Detroit Historical Museum.

The man was taken into custody by police after he pulled the fire alarm at 3:15 p.m. and damaged the Meier Clock, located in Round Hall near the Museum Store, according to a release about the incident issued by the museum. The clock's value and an estimate of damage are not available, museum spokesman Bob Sadler said today.

"This certainly is a one-of-a kind artifact, and it’s more than a century old," Sadler said. "We’re still in the process of assessing the damage at this point. Our curator of collections did come over to the museum to kind of get started in that assessment process."
To damage an historic, one-of-a-kind artifact such as the clock is reprehensible and hopefully he'll be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Yet another sad example of Detroit's continuing demise -- on top of everything else, its now suffering invasions of Vandals. Then again, the sack and destruction of Detroit has been ongoing for decades now.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Moving People To Distraction and Deficit - Detroit's Blue Model Transit In Action

Michigan Capitol Confidential in Detroit: The Triumph of Progressive Public Policy helps explain how we got into this mess - decades of liberal mismanagement and a blue model that sucked the air out of the system.

The Detroit Free Press also recently looked at the economics of the People Mover:
People Mover ridership down, but revenue up after fare hike

The ticket to ride The People Mover, know colloquially and colorfully around here as The Mugger Mover, increased from 50 cents to 75 cents. This was the first increase since it began operation in 1987.

Fares did not go up for 25 years! No increases for 25 years and they wonder why it costs far more to operate than the revenues it receives and needs a massive ongoing subsidy?

The People Mover as it moves in circles and guzzles subsidies.

Even with the increase, the fare still only covers 10% of the cost of operating the People Mover, leaving the few remaining taxpayers in Detroit and environs to cover the difference.

The People Mover has a 2.9 mile long single track costing over $12 million to operate annually, with a constant budget deficit, and costs $3.00 per every passenger trip of which the passenger now pays a princely sum of 75 cents.

That's your blue state model in action right there.

But not to worry, the same people that brought you The People Mover boondoggle now promise to do it more and harder and more enthusiastically.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Constructing Down the Highway....

The Detroit News: MDOT ready for highway repairs

In total, MDOT will award about $179 million in contracts this year to improve 87 miles of pavement and repair 67 bridges in the [Detroit] Metro area
Thankfully, they won't be completely shutting a highway down this year, so we at least have that to look forward to once spring arrives.

However, as with all Blue State Model projects, the costs are going up and actual amount accomplished is going down:
We're doing a lot of resurfacing projects this year," the spokesman [Robert Morosi] said. "As an example, for $5 million, we can resurface three lanes of a five-mile stretch of freeway, which will extend the life of the roadway by five to seven years. That same $5 million would only allow us to reconstruct one mile of one lane of the same freeway."
When it takes $5 million dollars to reconstruct just one mile of highway, or to put it in perspective, about $1000 per foot of highway, you know your costs are just plain out of control.

On the upside, the mild weather we're having is saving money on salt and plowing costs:
Morosi said MDOT also has no complaints about the mild weather for the 2011-12 winter.

"So far this year, our expenditure for this winter is $12.8 million," Morosi said. "This same time for last year we spent $21.3 million. We could still get slammed this winter, but so far, so good."
Mild winter weather is certainly a plus for saving the state some money, heck we can reconstruct almost 2 miles of a highway with the savings!

And Now A BBQ Sauce Endorsement...

Last night I ran out of Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce, which up until last night was my go-to sauce for BBQ, broiling and fry/baking of meats.

I then opened up a bottle of Rufus Teague Touch o' Heat BBQ Sauce, that I had sitting around unopened. I cracked it open, gave it a taste then brushed it on the meat, cooked it to perfection and wowza!

Not as sweet as the Sweet Baby Rays, the Touch o' Heat has just the right balance of BBQ sweetness and a little spice to really make your taste buds sing its praises. The kids and Tash also liked it and considering they don't like spicy foods it hits just the right notes. I'm now tempted to try the Spicy version

Just an Awesome Sauce, well worth giving it a try.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Global Warming Lie Is HalfwayRound The World Before The Truth Has Got Its Shoes On

Vodkapundit notes that contrary to scientifically settled proclamations of doom, the glaciers are not melting.

Within the article Vodkapundit links to is the statement that

The melting of Himalayan glaciers caused controversy in 2009 when a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change mistakenly stated that they would disappear by 2035, instead of 2350.

However the amazing part is linked by a commenter who provides a link to a Daily Mail article with the rather amazing revelation by the scientist that made the "mistakenly stated" claim originally in 2007 - he made it up for political gain.
The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.

‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’

Lai admitted his lie three years after making it, and people are still claiming the Himalayan glaciers are melting and will be gone based on his lie and related scientific statements.

How many more politically convenient lies were placed in the IPCC reports that have yet to be admitted?

More Recent Reading: White Devil and Roger's Rangers

Tam does an excellent and enticing review of White Devil: A True Story of War, Savagery And Vengeance in Colonial America*, a very well written book that covers the length and breadth of the French and Indian war with a focus on Roger's Rangers and their raid on the Abenaki village of St. Francis in New France.

White Devil's author, Stephen Brumwell, knows how to make the past come alive and has produced a book that is hard to put down. The battles and tactical mishaps are wonderfully described, as is the savagery of the fighting in each engagement and its aftermath. In short, your chances of survival when captured by Indians was generally quite low and lots of suffering before you died was expected. Similarly, Indian captives didn't always fare well either and the laws of war were often observed more in the breech than as a matter of course.

Interestingly, today three active military units in North America all claim descent from Roger's Rangers.

  • The first is the one that most people would assume to be so descended: The US Army's 75th Ranger Regiment.

  • The second is the Queen's York Rangers, 1st American Regiment. During the American Revolution, Rogers remained a loyalist under interesting circumstances described by Brumwell in his book. Currently a Canadian Militia (Reserve) force armoured reconnaissance unit, The Rangers parade out of Aurora, Ontario and Fort York Armory in Toronto and have recently been in engagements in Afghanistan and continue the Ranger tradition in Canada.

  • The third unit, interestingly enough, is the 1st Battalion, 119th Field Artillery, A Michigan National Guard Unit. Dubbed "The finest infantry unit in the artillery" the Red Lions have continued the Ranger tradition along with superior artillery fire.

Quite a lasting legacy from a force that disappeared off the regimental rolls once the French and Indian War ceased, and whose evolutionary wilderness war-fighting techniques and Rules of Ranging still resonate with light infantry forces worldwide through the present day.

In addition to White Devil, The Journals of Major Robert Rogers, one of the primary sources identified and relied upon by Brumwell in his book are also available for purchase on Amazon. The compilation is a great read as a primary source from the period.

*the link to White Devil has the small proceeds from the purchase going to Tam's Amazon Associate account rather than my own. After all, she found it, reviewed it, and got me to read it so use her link and you won't be steered wrong.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

An Antoninianus of Galienus - Virtvs Avg

Obverse: GALLIENVS AVG - radiate crowned head of Gallienus facing right

Reverse: VIRTVS AVG - helmeted Gallienus standing holding spear and shield (some catalogers refer to the shield as a globe) with a star below.

On this silver Antoninianus, you can see the bronze peeking through the silver layer applied to this coin. A flan crack also attests to the thinness of the coin itself. The inflationary cycle becomes more acute under this emperor and the silver coinage become more and more debased as the need to pay the expenses of the Empire, most notably its armies, outgrows its receipts. This became acute as the Empire faced multiple threats from outside its borders and multiple rebellions from within.

Virtus was a Roman virtue that stood for and conveyed manliness, valor, courage, and character, a quality vital for an emperor.

As always, the loyalty of the armies was paramount and part of retaining that loyalty was to have the empire depicted as a strong martial figure worthy of their loyalty.

Gallienus sadly did not long maintain that loyalty, even as he advertised his virtus and paid his soldiers well. He was assassinated by a conspiracy of Illyrican legionary officers in March 268 A.D. at the siege of Milan.

Recent Reading: Dalrymple's Life At The Bottom

I just finished Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass by Theodore Dalrymple. Dalrymple is a pen name of Dr. Anthony (A.M.) Daniels.

It is an amazing, prophetic and cautionary book, well worth reading by anyone who wants to understand Britain today and avoid in America the pitfalls that they have experienced.

The book is a collection of his published essays - all of them erudite, brilliant and approachable, all at the same time. Its a delight to read, even when the author deals with some truly heartbreaking subjects.

The book deals with the emergence of the British underclass and how the left's influence and ideology has drastically changed their prospects for the worse.

On the topic of education, Dalrymple notes the emphasis is now away from proper spelling and grammar with the current theory being that students should be able to communicate however they like and that teaching proper spelling and grammar is confining and no a valid pedagogical exercise - this theory he notes is advanced in a book that is carefully devoid of any spelling or grammatical errors. The result is an underclass with the traditional route out of poverty - education - being snatched from their grasp and leaving them unlettered and ignorant which has both shameful effects on them and society as a whole.

Similar nonsensical theories in regards to Ebonics and such are being advanced in America today - caveat emptor.

Dalrymple's most humbling essay is that on crime among the underclass - how the police and social services excuse all manners of such crime, leaving the victims to fend for themselves, and even domestic violence among the "lower orders" goes unprosecuted and undeterred.

In short, the book is a brilliant, harrowing, and deeply sorrowful observation of Britain's current social decay and how it was purposefully accomplished by the British Left in the name of making things more democratic and equal. Instead of a brave new world of equality, their policies and practices have ended up dooming people to lives of poverty and depravity and creating a mess that needs a massive clean up and likely a whole new generation to repair.

The book is well worth reading as both an in-depth analysis of what has gone wrong with Britain and as a warning to stop such theories from being adopted in America given the mess they've made of what was formerly Great Britain.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Glitterbug Proves If You're Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough

The Detroit News: Romney 'glitter bomber' fired from internship

Of course, the glitter-bomber is a Democrat student who just happens to be working for a Democrat Colorado State Senator.

Police say 20-year-old Peter Smith threw glitter at Romney as the Republican presidential hopeful greeted supporters in Denver on Tuesday. Smith faces charges of causing a disturbance, throwing a missile and unlawful acts.....Smith has said glittering Romney was worth it, but he worries he could be expelled from school.
If you're going to be dumb enough to assault a politician you better be prepared to face the consequences, both legal and job/education wise. I'm reasonably sure most poli-sci curricula cover this important point. Although, given the liberalism at UC Denver, he may just get a a wink and a stern warning out of it.

Don't like a politician or their stance on some issue? Stick to protected speech like signs and statements and stay away from throwing stuff.

Nice Wireless Repeating

The home network I have operating didn't exactly have much range - no signal downstairs and one side of the house away from the office was a total dead zone.

At least, it was sucky until today.

Via Amazon, the Amped Wireless High Power Wireless-N Smart Repeater and Range Extender (SR300) arrived today.

Setup was a snap. I plugged it into the laptop and it immediately found the wireless network. I configured it and added further password protection and in less than 10 minutes from the time I started opening the box it came in, it was up and running.

I now have a full signal in the basement and throughout the house.

Tash will be most pleased as she was annoyed that she couldn't sit with the laptop and do work in a variety of locations.

Darn nice product, with a very elegant and easy to use interface. The SR300 is a nice small and unobtrusive rectangle with two antennae poking out from behind a picture frame in a central spot of the house so it can repeat and amplify the signal coming from the office. A great and pretty inexpensive way to end dead spots around the house.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Oh, the Dauntless is the power in these waters, true enough.

The Telegraph reports that HMS Dauntless is heading to the Falkland Islands.

The Navy’s most sophisticated warship is being sent to the South Atlantic in a move that will send a powerful message to Argentina.

Dauntless will set sail for the Falkland Islands in the coming weeks armed with a battery of missiles that could "take out all of South America's fighter aircraft let alone Argentina's," according to one Navy source.

Although Mr Hague played down the deployment he said the ship was a "formidable vessel".
The HMS Dauntless, a Type 45 Air Defense Destroyer is being sent to answer the recent Argentine saber-rattling over the Falkland Islands.

Replacing the less capable frigate HMS Montrose with an Air Defense Destroyer that can allegedly knock the entire Argentine Air Force out of the sky on its own sends a rather deterring message to potential Latin-American adventurism.

Upset that Romney May Win The Nomination, Threatening to Take Your Ball and Go Home?

Holder tells Congress the Obama administration wants to ban guns

Yes, Romney would not be my first choice, and I'll likely vote in opposition in the Primary as it comes to my state, but it sure seems that's who we're going to end up with.

However, at the end of the day it will be worse and you will be worse off having Obama serving a second term than Romney a first.

Imagine Obama, Holder and the rest of the administration's gallery of rogues without even the prospect of having to get reelected to give them pause.

That is all.

Got Liebstered?

So I have been awarded the -- so distinguished it's now commonplace -- Liebster Award by Murphy's Law.

Yes, He's right about the "got to go" thing. He's one of the few people I'd back up even at the Gates of Hell itself if such existed, and I'd similarly know he'd be there to back me up as well.

So, on to the Liebster:

As a proud recipient, such I'm bound to re-gift the award to some five favored bloggers and to try to do it without nominating someone already Liebstered is getting to be a bit difficult. In no particular order, the distinguished blogs are:

1. Expatriate Owl: Smart and insightful commentary on many an area with a Noo Yawk accent.

2. Providentia: Another fine blog by a smart guy that needs to blog a bit more often to get his wisdom out...

3. God, Gals, Guns, Grub: A great "newer" blog that's well worth the read.

4. Budget Vino: Want to know what wine is good but won't break the bank? Find out here.

5. Low Dog On The Totem Pole: A great blogger relating to life, the medical field and some very interesting and incorrigible patients.....

These fine bloggers now get the joy (or torment) of selecting 5 more blogs upon which to grant this distinction and honor. If you haven't yet visited any of these five before, please do and enjoy.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

So Maybe That's Why The Department of Education Needed Those Shotguns...

Remember when the Department of Education purchased a bunch of short-barreled shotguns?

This could be why: The Detroit Free Press: Feds, Detroit police team up for truancy sweep today

Then again, perhaps not. It is not the Department of Education doing the truancy sweeps but instead ATFE.

Perhaps ATFE's agency name has been changed to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Education and no one was informed.

Or perhaps ATFE as part of the program will provide a firearm to each truant Detroit student with as a part of Operation Safe Passage so it can act as an extension and northern branch of Operation Fast and Furious?

Truancy in Detroit is a huge problem and certainly should be appropriately addressed. The question however is what is the BATFE doing dipping into it?

Monday, February 06, 2012

Iran bans Barbie, Simpsons dolls

The LA Times: Simpsons dolls banned in Iran as 'promoters of Western culture'

An agency tied to the Iranian government has banned the sale of dolls of the American cartoon characters, an Iranian newspaper reported Monday.

According to Shargh, an independent newspaper, the Simpsons were banned to avoid the promotion of Western culture, putting Bart and Homer alongside Barbie on an Iranian toy blacklist.
It might have been worse, instead of banning the dolls, they could have taken Ken and the whole Simpsons family hostage.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Watching The Democrat Detroit Political Machine in Action

The Detroit Free Press has an interesting article on the mechanics of how the Wayne County Democrat machine raises money from public employees.

Public payroll fuels Ficano political machine

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano's political operatives pressured Ficano appointees to buy and sell tickets to his fund-raisers and spend their free time working for a campaign machine that has raised more than $600,000 from county employees since 2003, a dozen former appointees said. . . . Ficano declined to answer specific questions about this report, but on Friday, he told Free Press columnist Tom Walsh: "I don't apologize for working hard for Democrats. We follow all campaign laws."

Ficano is following the dynastic protocols and techniques of his predecessor Ed McNamara very well indeed.

Total Firearms' Indoor Glock Match - The February Session

Today was the February Glock Indoor League match at Total Firearms. I ended up with a 434-19X with the Glock 17 and a 462-19x with the 19. Interesting how I did slightly worse with both than the results in January. Again just as in January, I shot better with the Glock 19.

With the Glock 19, I almost had a clean target on the first 30 round relay which included firing at 30, 21 and 15 feet, dropping one round just out of the 10 ring and into the 8. Drat. Weak hand shooting again seems to be my downfall, especially at the 50 foot distance onj the second target. I need to get out to the range sometime before the March match and practice, not to mention some consistent dry-fire practice with the SIRT.

Rumor has it someone at the match yesterday shot a perfect 500 score. That would be a challenge worth pursuing.

Again as in January, the match was run in a friendly and efficient manner. I'm going to see if I can top these scores at the March match.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Some Quick Links and Tab Clearing

Some good Blogosphere links:

Vodkapundit links to a rather funny clip demonstrating that with the Scots, we're two countries separated by the same language.

Lagniappe's Lair highlights two enviable Garands.

Some seriously good looking recipes, for today or any day really.

Tam displays the Stonefish and the does quite an anthropological commentary on the curious nature of the Australian male.

Some News links:

Even in a burgeoning Socialist dystopia, some animals are always more equal than others.

U.S. Park Police take out the trash.

Our "ally" in the war on terror prosecutes doctor that may have unintentionally helped find Bin Laden.

You Can't Fix Stupid, But Sometimes You Can Tase it.

Yahoo! News: Stun gun used on woman who blocked NC drive-thru

Todays non-OWS idiot of the day award goes to Evangeline Lucca for demonstrating how not to order at a fast food restaurant.

North Carolina deputies say they used a stun gun on a woman who blocked a McDonalds drive-thru for 20 minutes after employees refused to serve her because she broke in line.

Authorities say 37-year-old Evangeline Lucca bypassed the order screen and the line at the restaurant in Hope Mills, about 60 miles south of Raleigh, and pulled directly up to the pick-up window Friday afternoon.

Cumberland County deputies say employees refused to take her order and told her to go to the back of the line. She refused to move, and police were called.

Authorities say Lucca was shocked after she blocked the line for 20 minutes.
I'm betting everyone waiting in line cheered when she received her just deserts, even if she didn't get the rest of the meal.

Day 3 at Disney 2012 Animal Kingdon

On Day 3 we took the Disney bus from the hotel to the Animal Kingdom.

While the Animal Kingdom is the largest park by area, most of that space is for the animals so it was pretty crowded on the people paths and ride waits were the longest we had at any park, but were still quite tolerable.

The Kilimanjaro Safari ride was packed so we got a Fastpass and in the meantime to the tram to the Affection Station portion of the park. The kids could roam around and pet and brush various goats, sheep and other cute animals. Leah really enjoyed brushing the goat and the goat apparently enjoyed the attention.

We then went back and did the Kilimajaro Safari ride.

On the ride you go on a truck and can see lots of African wild animals wandering about and quite a few were being active that day.

In addition there's some special effects like a deliberately rickety bridge and a storyline with evil poachers kidnapping a baby elephant.

The baby elephant is a model, but looks very realistic when driving by.

The kids were very concerned about the poachers and the baby elephant. They were reassured that the park ranger had caught the poachers and would be returning the baby elephant to its mother. This then led to a discussion about the distinction between poachers and hunters.

Lunch was a buffet with Disney characters at Tusker House. The buffet was awesome with lots of great food to choose from. The seafood stew was great over rice and the Marsala chicken was superb.

We then went and saw It's Tough to be a Bug! - a 4D viewing experience. Not only was it in 3D but it had smells and buggy feelings from the seats that scared the kids a bit but was great fun.

We also did the Triceratop spin, a standard rotating and elevating ride perfect for the kids. The kid in the front controls the tilt and the kid in the back controls the elevation:

We then stayed for the parade and then got on a bus to the hotel.

The end of the third magical Disney day.

Friday, February 03, 2012

On The Latest OWSer DC Tasing Spectacle

There's quite a lengthy discussion at The Volokh Conspiracy regarding the tasing of an Occupy protester by US Park Police in Washington, D.C. The discussion then goes on in a further posting. The discussion ranges from the tasing being fully justified to the opposite extreme with the usual suspects decrying such as evil police brutality and torture.

The video linked by the Volokh Conspiracy, being uploaded by the OWSers does not, of course, show the beginning of the events.

There is another and longer video again by the OWSers, that captures the event from a different angle. This video gives a tiny bit more of the prior actions and a lot more of the later events. Viewing it provides even more evidence that the police did act appropriately.

Adding to the fun, in this longer video, after the tasing, Mr. Outraged Pajamas at 5mins 12s takes a fake dive worthy of a professional Soccer player. The dive certainly seems pre-planned and coordinated with the other demonstrators for further street theater effect.

The dive is well worth watching for a laugh, and provides evidence that not only does the loudmouth have no employable skills, he also lacks even base acting skills.

It's also fun to hear both the faux outrage and all the tough talk from the OWSers as the guy is being arrested.

With the attitudes being displayed and the multiple threats towards the Park Police made by the OWSers at MacPherson Park, more well-deserved tasings in the future are all but guaranteed.

Anyone up for a "Pizza for Park Police" program for their doing a great job?

Some Friday Morning Levity

Did you hear the town fathers of Pisa have decided to install a clock in the Leaning Tower?

They've decided that there's no point having the inclination if they don't have the time.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Don't Bring Coal To Newcastle, Or Guns To Kabul....

It's a surreal headline indeed from The Scotsman: Britons face gun charges in Kabul.

I could see it if the headline was "Afghans face gun charges in London", but the headline and accompanying story is a real head-shaker.

Being charged with transporting firearms without a permit in a country where everyone and their donkey carries at least one AK-47 is rather weird. But then again, truth is always stranger than fiction.

US Regulators Considering Exempting Sovereign Debt From the Volcker Rule

From Bloomberg:

U.S. banking regulators are exploring whether they can exempt sovereign debt from the Dodd-Frank ban on proprietary trading after foreign governments complained that the rule could raise borrowing costs and impede the flow of capital, a person familiar with the talks said.

Five regulatory agencies are taking public comments on a proposed version of the so-called Volcker rule, which was included in the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul to ban deposit-taking banks from trading with their own money.

While foreign government bonds would fall under the rule as proposed, U.S. government debt would be exempt. Officials from Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom have sent letters to the Treasury Department and regulators saying the measure would harm their ability to raise money
. . . . .
Granting an exemption may have to overcome skepticism in Congress in the midst of the European debt crisis and the probe of MF Global Holdings Ltd (MFGLQ)., which collapsed after making a $6.3 billion bet on European government bonds.

The Volcker Rule is designed (not perfectly mind you but still) to restrict United States banks from making certain kinds of speculative investments that do not benefit their customers and to prevent banks from engaging in high-risk speculation creating an unacceptable level of systemic risk.

Now regulators are strongly considering exempting what has been shown to be quite shaky sovereign debt from the rule and thus open US Banks to some very real system-wide risk.

What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Leonard Pitts Pushes For More Gun Control and Gun Bans in the Wake of Rep. Gifford's Resignation

Leonard Pitts Jr. is at it again in: Time to talk -- and really listen -- about guns.

The standard "let's be all commonsensical about it" followed by the "let's ban stuff" approach, while dancing in the blood of the Giffords shooting and her subsequent resignation as a member of Congress.

We need meaningful background checks on all gun purchases -- no loopholes. A mentally unstable man should not have legal access to a gun, period.
We need to encourage gun safety classes so that poorly secured firearms stop ending up in the hands of little children.

Well, a system that prohibits the mentally ill from purchasing a firearm would be a good step, but the anti's plans for implementation tend to be execrable and the proposed cure likely worse than the mental disease that it will leave untreated.

How about we require those who have been committed for mental illness to be prohibited from buying a gun until they're certified as well by their doctors, and no other non-felon is prohibited from purchasing and carrying any weapon of their choice? Would that suffice for Mr. Pitts?

As for gun safety we already have a fine and experienced organization, among many others, that promotes and teaches such classes.

But, wait a sec, what does kids having unauthorized access to firearms have to do with the Giffords shooting? After all the shooter wasn't a child so this is a "for the children" pull on the heartstrings attempt to distract.

Here comes more of his common sense:

We need to ban fully automatic weapons from private use. The hunter who needs a gun that fires hundreds of rounds a minute isn't much of a hunter.

Really Mr. Pitts, that quick to ban knee jerk and the old "guns are only for hunting" canard?

Quick quiz sir, Since 1934 how many people have been killed with legally owned fully automatic weapons? We'll wait for your response......


Crickets chirp. Paint dries on walls.....

Ok let's help Mr. Pitts out a bit.

The answer is one or at most possibly two, one of which was committed by a police officer. At most 2 killings in a 78 year span, certainly a reason to ban something now isn't it?

Then Pitts does the Obama both-sides-are-extremes-but-I'm-the-moderate-here thing:
At the very least, we need to have a serious national dialogue about these and other possible solutions.

But we won't. Too many on the political left still seem to harbor a fantasy of getting rid of all guns and refuse to distinguish between responsible gun owners and those criminals or deranged people who have no business with firearms. Too many on the political right still harbor the paranoid delusion that any talk of gun control is code for confiscation by jackbooted thugs riding black helicopters.

Well Pitts himself just called for banning and gun confiscation of a whole class of firearms in his editorial so he may not be so centric himself. If his reasonable discussion begins the conversation calling for gun bans, it is not reasonable at all.

If instead Pitts had solely editorialized that mentally unstable violent people need to be institutionalized and prohibited from owning firearms he would have had a valid point.

Instead, he tried to springboard the act of a single mental nutcase to slyly push for more gun control.

No thanks Mr. Pitts.

But, while you're on the topic about common sense gun control, would you mind editorializing about the Obama Administration's Fast and Furious gun walking program?

You know, the one that has killed well over two hundred times more people during the 4 years of his administration than have been killed by legally owned fully automatic firearms in the past 78 years?

I suspect we'll be waiting a long time for such an editorial from Mr. Pitts.

Day 2 At Disney 2012 - EPCOT

Day 2 began with breakfast and then a walk from the hotel over to EPCOT.

The weather was beautiful and sunny.

Having a ball

After going through the park gates, then the Epic Epcot Death march began.

Epcot is big, really big and walking all around its many attractions takes a fair amount of time and shoe leather. This is exacerbated by carrying a five year-old on one's shoulders much of the time.
First we went to Soarin', which was awesome.

Soarin' is a hang glider simulator that takes you around California. You can feel the wind on you face, smell the orange blossoms as you pass over the orchards, smell the ocean as you buzz an Aircraft Carrier and it really does feel like you're flying.

Everyone in the family liked it and Leah thought it was a far more suitable flight simulation for her.

So awesome in fact that Abby shouted "Again!" when the ride stopped so she and I went on it again as Natasha and Leah went to wander around. Again the wait was only 20 minutes and we were once again soaring away. Good time indeed.

We then took the Living With The Land boat tour through the EPCOT greenhouse.

One of my favorite agricultural products in its growing state

We saw a variety of plants and things growing, some of which were being done hydroponically:

Tapioca before it becomes tapioca

We then did Turtle Talk with Crush which the kids loved as Crush, an animated turtle interacted with the audience and responded to questions and such which the kids found to be very cool.

Then we did The Seas with Nemo and Friends a very gentle ride combining views of animated and live sea creatures which the kids enjoyed.

We then went to the Norwegian Pavilion for lunch with the Disney Princesses (Cinderella, Belle, Ariel and Aurora) which was excellent and the kids got their autographs.

Beware Mickey the Viking!

The kids then tried the Kim Possible Adventure but it was a little too advanced for them and they got frustrated. We called the adventure early and went on to other things.

We then went to the Mexican pavilion to quietly browse and try on some sombreros:

Just a little too big

We then went to the Japanese Pavilion for dinner and I had a sample of sake which was very good.

All other rides in the park were voted down as too scary/fast for the kids, leaving yet untouched possibilities for when they are older.

We then watched the fireworks show and headed back to the hotel.