Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Critics Must Think Michigan Voters (And Especially Democrats) Are Dumber Than Rocks

That can be the only reason for this specious objection:

Livingston Daily: Critics say citizenship question will confuse voters

Most Michigan voters — but not those in Livingston County — will have to affirm their U.S. citizenship when filling out an application for a ballot in next week's August primary and the November presidential elections despite Gov. Rick Snyder's veto of the legislation calling for the citizen check box in early July.

While Department of State officials believe asking prospective voters to check "yes" or "no" to the question "Are you a United States citizen?" helps clean up the voting process, critics say it's duplicative and confusing to voters.

Look, if you're confused and can't figure out how to check a yes or no box as to whether or not you're a US Citizen when you go to vote, you may want to check if you're still breathing.

Then again, we know the critics are worried about Democrat voters, who supposedly aren't the sharpest tools in the shed, especially considering that they vote Democrat. But, even I suspect that those poor dears who have yet to assume room temperature or below can figure out a simple yes/no check box.

Across the nation, state legislatures are passing laws that backers say will help fight voting fraud. Opponents say evidence of voter fraud is rare and that the laws are really attempts at voter suppression.

Of course, if you block any attempt to detect and prevent voter fraud, its pretty hard to have evidence of it now isn't it?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Books Worth Reading: 1812 The Navy's War

The Bicentennial of the War of 1812 is causing a new burst of histories to be written about this almost forgotten war.

1812: The Navy's War by George C. Daughan, also available in a Kindle edition, published in 2011 is a very good one indeed.

First, the book for your reading enjoyment provides a wonderful diagram of a sailing ship, identifying every mast and sail, which makes understanding what happened when a sea battle took place and why it mattered much easier. Now you'll understand what it means to have a topgallant shot off.

The book also has an extensive glossary. If you ever wondered what a Razee is and why a brig might run away from it, among many other terms, you'll know. In addition, the maps are excellent in showing the various naval and land battlefields.

The book begins with the causes of the war - The British restrictions on American trade with Europe and the impressment of thousands of American sailors. High-handed acts of impressment including boarding even US Navy ships to shanghai sailors served to inflame American opinion against the British. Conditions upon British ships of the time were so terrible for ordinary sailors, and by contrast much better aboard US navy and US merchant vessels that impressment was a necessity to keep the British navy functioning in the war against Napoleon as the idea of improving service conditions for British sailors never took hold in the Admiralty or among its political leaders at the time.

The book then outlines how unready and ill-prepared America was for this war - a theme we will see repeated through the beginnings of World War 1, World War 2 and Korea and likely will experience again.

The US started the war with a navy that was tiny, with no ships of the line, was about to take on the greatest maritime power of the day. It went to war with an army that was tiny and without adequate supplies, with leaders chosen more for political reasons than for any military genius, and was supplemented by militia that were ineffective or in the case of the New England militias, that often had ties and loyalties to Britain and refused to cross the border to invade Canada.

The book covers the impressive success of the American Navy's heavy 44 gun frigates, and the often overlooked success of her privateer commerce raiders that together forced the British to take American maritime power seriously. American privateers operated extensively off the coast of Great Britain and Ireland, capturing British merchant ships in her own backyard. The privateers also competed with the navy for sailors - offering better pay and prize money that the navy.

The book also notes how the New England states, even as the war was going on, would not only trade with the British but even sold provisions to the blockading British ships and troops.

The book covers not only all of the major and many minor maritime engagements of the war as well as the land campaigns and how they were interrelated with the state of war at sea. Control of the Great Lakes, considering the terrible state of roads in the Michigan, Ohio and other wilderness territories was vital to get troops where they needed to go. The book details British plans to hem in and divide the US, with such plans ending after some effective American naval victories and the American victory at the Battle of New Orleans that occurred after the peace treaty was signed.

The belligerents then returned to the status quo that existed before the beginning of the war, but the reputation of the US Navy had been well established.

The book concludes with the US Navy's successful battles against the Bey, the Deys and Basha in the Second Barbary War in the Mediterranean - ending the US payment of tribute to these Muslim pirates and leading to a US naval presence in the Mediterranean that continues to this day.

A very well-written book that thoroughly examines the political, nautical and military history of the War of 1812 timely completed for the bicentennial anniversary of the conflict. Highly recommended.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lousy Recent Anti-Gun Range Decision From The Michigan Court Of Appeals

In a stunningly bad series of decisions, the Michigan Court of Appeals in the cases of Township of Addison v Barnhart Cases Barnhart I and Barnhart II has held that a shooting range is not protected under the Sport Shooting ranges act if it conducts any business or charges any fees for commercial activity such as teaching firearm classes.

The statute, MCL 691.1541 et seq states:

(d) “Sport shooting range” or “range” means an area designed and operated for the use of archery, rifles, shotguns, pistols, silhouettes, skeet, trap, black powder, or any other similar sport shooting.

Note how it does not say a sport shooting range may not charge fees or cannot be run or owned by an organization, or corporation, whether for- or non-profit. In contrast, the act even defines the word person to mean: "(c) “Person” means an individual, proprietorship, partnership, corporation, club, governmental entity, or other legal entity."

In short, the Michigan Court of Appeals made this determination up out of whole cloth, claiming the word "sport" in the statute disallows any fees or commercial activity at a range, to essentially eviscerate the protection of the statute to just about every range in Michigan, on the flimsiest of pretextual judicial reasoning.

The decision is being appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court where hopefully this deliberate misinterpretation of the statute will be overruled.

Thanks to MUCC and Rob for the heads-up on this decision.

DRM Frustration and Fail

DRM being Digital Rights Management. The various methods for content providers pissing their end-users off to all heck and gone.

So my local library, in addition to books, DVDs, CD, MP3 on CD and such is also offering e-books and e-audio books.

Makes sense right? Good for the library as no worries about shelf space, damaged discs or vandalized books. In the case of audio CDs, considering as how they get scratched as fast as being looked at, it makes sens to keep it electronic.

In addition, this kind of content is cheap as hell for a content provider - no repeat production, printing or stamping costs as each item is a digital file and if it gets corrupt you can upload another one. Nice, convenient and accessible with no worries about someone else checking it out - what's not to like?

Should be easy right, for them maybe, for a user not so much.

To listen to an audio book, as I planned to do on my iPhone and plug it into my car and listen to it to and from work would have been great.

Not so fast.

First I had to download Overdrive Media Console, which then wanted Windows Media player to be upgraded with some sort of DRM update.

The problem being, it would not update.

After multiple tries with the online help, it wouldn't work. After 2 hours of messing around with it, I finally figured out that it will not update if you try it through Firefox - you must do it through Internet Explorer - note that the help files do not mention this in any way, shape or form.

So I finally get the fisking thing downloaded and it issues the audio book files in protected WMA format - I try to load it up in iTunes to transfer to the iPhone and nope, it doesn't work with an error message that its protected. Of course.

Nor can I get the Overdrive to transfer it to the iPhone as per the Overdrive site: "OverDrive Download Station is not able to transfer to iPhones." Wonderful. So it looks like I've got the capability of sitting in front of my computer and listening to an eAudioBook - wow, that's really handy and useful.

However all is not lost: The program allows you to burn then to a CD and transfer the files in CD Audio format.

Good grief.

After all the fisking time wasted to comply with their stupid DRM model, the end result is a file that has no DRM protection whatsoever and once on the CD could be transferred, ripped back into mp3 and loaded on an iPhone, or given away to the entire universe I suppose.

You are supposed to destroy your CDs when the loan period is up. How many people do that, I have no idea.

I'm personally toying with the idea of mailing them, postage collect, to the publisher with a cover letter detailing how messed up their whole DRM concept is.

Epic Failure from a security standpoint and from a usability standpoint.

All that nonsense to protect content that ends up unprotected once you waste hours making the software behave and then about a half hour burning a few discs.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Public Sector Pension Follies: Wayne County Edition

As Instapundit often writes concerning the subject of public pensions: Something that can’t go on forever, won’t.

One can expect that the mess of a pension system in Wayne County (The County dominated by Detroit) similarly won't continue, unfortunately the taxpayer will likely be on the hook for the mismanagement and malfeasance.

After all, its only underfunded by $800 million dollars.

The Detroit News: Bad Wayne County pension bets take toll County retirement fund suffers investment losses of $340M since 2008

A $340 Million dollar loss isn't pocket change, and the article goes on to detail some interesting ways in which the money was lost, and the fund is performing worse than 97 percent of similar public funds.

As one would expect, not only are the pension funds badly managed and enmeshed in graft and corruption, but the incredibly rich benefits given to public employees with taxpayer funds will take their toll and make the fund unsustainable:

Pension board members said the system is strained because County Executive Robert Ficano's retirement incentives allowed workers as young as 37 to retiree with a $42,000 pension. In the last five years, the average annual pension has increased 30 percent to $23,145.

A lifetime pension of $42k per year to a 37 year old? Think about how much money that will be over the persons lifetime? With an average life expectancy of 78 years, that's $1,722,000.

Having the right connections in Wayne County and getting on the pension gravy train is the equivalent of winning a lottery, paid for by the public.

Any remaining questions as to why the Wayne County pension plan is under strain?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

On Guns: Sensible News And Infantile Freep

As Say Uncle often says, we're winning.

I thought I'd never see it but the Detroit News, even in the face of the atrocity of Aurora has come out with an editorial that actually defends private ownership of firearms including "Assault weapons".

The Detroit News: In defense of the maligned assault weapon

Well written and well reasoned, Nolan Finley wrote a fine editorial indeed.

It truly wasn't long ago when the Detroit News editors' knees would have jerked along with most of the MSM in calling for banning guns after such a massacre by an insane individual.

Jerked much like the response of the Detroit Free Press for example.

In another sign that we're winning the debate, we get a stereotype-filled editorial cartoon and content-free editorial sniping by Mike Thompson:

Mike Thompson: Post-Aurora shootings gun control debate

Accompanying the cartoon and wacky emotion driven and fact free rant below it is a truly infantile "survey", that you can actually vote on and feel like a real sophisticated bien-pensant!:

The reason most likely to be given by National Rifle Association members when arguing for private ownership of assault weapons is:
a) Ninjas ! Why, they can be ANYWHERE!
b) The zombie apocalypse is coming, mark my word!
c) The Mayans were right! Just wait until December when all he_ _ breaks loose!
d) That Charles Bronson "Death Wish" movie was actually a documentary!

Nice, the thoughtful editorial equivalent of "neener-neener" that we've come to expect form Thompson and the Freep on firearms.

Sadly, he neglected to add choice e:

e) Because I can, so F you, Mr. Thompson, you hoplophobic pissant. That's why.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Headline News Dazed And Confused

On the Same Day, On The Same Subject, Two Completely Opposite Headlines:

The Detroit News: Polls: Romney gaining in Michigan

The Detroit Free Press: Poll: Obama widens lead over Romney in Michigan

Your daily sample of lies, damned lies, statistics and spin brought to you by the MSM.

A Dying Detroit Refuses To be "Imposed" Upon

Detroit continues to try and reject the life ring thrown to it, insisting they’ll do it themselves because they can’t stand the though of a life ring being imposed on them even as they’re drowning in red ink. However, they’ll still gladly accept the state’s money as long as it is sent without conditions.

The Detroit News: Bing blasts state for imposing its plans on Detroit

Speaking before the NAACP, Bing blasted a State Plan for the State to lease Belle Isle and make it become part of the state parks system, not to mention levy an entry fee on visitors to pay for its upkeep and improve it.

Saying he doesn't want help "imposed" by Lansing, Mayor Dave Bing on Tuesday said he cannot support the state's proposal to lease Belle Isle for 99 years, and that he will seek a plan to improve the iconic park that's more favorable to the city.

Speaking at a packed Detroit NAACP headquarters in Midtown, Bing said he received a letter from the state two weeks ago asking for those terms "without telling me what they're going to invest and upgrade in Belle Isle."

Bing then went on to state:

"I have never in my 46 years in this city seen a governor of the state of Michigan involved in city politics like this one," Bing said. "I'm not opposed to getting help. But it's the kind of help that we need, not the kind of help that's going to be imposed on us."

The rest of us in the state haven’t seen a City quite as messed up as Detroit, nor as much silly politics and grandstanding as the city crumbles since the Emperor Nero allegedly worked on his musical talents as Rome was engulfed in flames.

"My position as of yesterday in a meeting is no, you're not (coming in to do demolitions), because this is our city," Bing told the audience about conversations with Snyder's staff. "You can't come in here and think you can do any damn thing that you want.

"There's a process that's already in place. You've got to use city departments for permits, for licensing, moving and equipment."

The mayor cited the state's offer of funding to tear down abandoned buildings: "I want your $10 million, but you're not going to take the lead on this."

And that’s the crux of the matter right there.

Send Detroit money, get some palms greased as portions of the funding get siphoned off through the city departments for processing and don’t expect any accountability or action in return. In other words, Detroit (lack of) business as usual.

Bing then ended his presentation by channeling Obama:

"I'm not here to lay blame and point fingers at anybody, but the reality is this: I inherited a mess," he said.

True Mayor Bing, you did inherit a mess, one that is indeed comparatively worse than the one Obama “inherited”. However the Mayor, just like Obama, is busy being obstructive, playing to his base, and making it worse rather than better.

Snyder has to be kicking himself for having gotten suckered into a consent agreement that will continue this ridiculous obstructionism and political posturing and bluffing. Instead he should have appointed an EFM to prevent just this kind of standard graft, delay and racial politics from preventing anything from being done. Either that, or he should have stood back and, because its their city and they reject having the state impose anything on them, let them suffer the consequences of their mismanagement and watch them file bankruptcy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Sher Lock On A Great Viewing Experience

Sherlock: Season Two that is.

The BBC's modern reboot of Sherlock Holmes just got even better in Season 2. Consisting of three episodes, the season leaves you wanting more.

A Scandal in Belgravia with Irene Adler was simply stunning with a very clever twist on the classic story and is very well acted by all involved.

Hound of the Baskervilles was stunningly well done, bringing in a plausible modern day reason for the situation and gave a chilling edge of your seat horror/suspenseful atmosphere that was really fantastic.

The Reichenbach Fall, the last episode of the season, is quite simply a masterpiece and works very, very, very well. It also leaves you desperately wanting this awesome show to continue.

I certainly hope the BBC will go ahead with Season 3. It sounds like it has been approved and will appear in summer 2013, which is a long time to wait especially as we'll only get the DVDs well after its already played in Britain, as this series is quite simply some of the finest television being produced today.

You can see the promo trailers for Season 2 below. Watch them to whet your appetite, then go watch Season 2 forthwith as your viewing enjoyment will be assured.

Incredibly smart, witty, detailed and well-done television at its finest.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dive 220 - Alone In Lake Vernon

I had brought my dive gear up to my folk's cottage on the shores of Lake Vernon and I was determined to get a dive in. I had brought my 2 mil wetsuit and single tank setup along. So, with an aluminum 80, a single regulator with a two first stages attached and only a backup light with me as I was without a canister light I headed into the water towing a dive flag as I went.

The light zone extended down to 13 feet. After hitting 13 feet the lake bottom continued to descend but it turned pretty much pitch black and I could just make out a huge tree trunk in front of me.

As I had no can light and no dive buddy, discretion was the better part of valor and I kept out of the pitch dark as there wasn't much worth seeing anyways, considering I couldn't see it even if it was there. Next time I'll bring a can light and a dive buddy.

So I headed into the light zone and wandered around the shallower parts of the lake bottom, and I found a few cans that people had thrown into the lake, which I retrieved and brought back to the dock for disposal.

I also found one pretty decently sized fish that was wandering about:

I then surfaced and gave the kids some submerged rides with them sitting on top of my tank out of the water over to the neighbor's trampoline and they enjoyed that experience.

Then my dad came to the dock and told me about a rock pile that remained from an old large dock that was under a marker buoy and I decided to go check it out.

There were indeed lots of rocks down there:

There was also some large pieces of lumber from the old dock pilings

There was also a crappie load of blue gills making their home among those rocks:

The blue gills were rather interested in what I was doing interloping in their domain and they had no trouble coming right up close to me. it was fun to just sit neutrally buoyant just floating a few inches off the bottom and watch them swim around me.

So while it wasn't the most exciting or challenging dive, it was a rather relaxing one. A long and shallow dive, with the average water temp of 77 degrees and 1500 of the 3000 psi used in the tank by the end.

On the upside, I finally have dove at least a very tiny piece of Lake Vernon and was probably the first diver to visit that portion of the lake.

Then this morning we packed up our stuff, loaded the car and drove home and I'm now back home to reality, and a decent internet connection.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lost In Translation

Something was either lost in translation or they found a way to up the ratings of this particular movie to X in China.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Terrorist Attack In Bulgaria Has A Michigan Connection

The bombing of a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria is looking more and more like a Hezballah operation. Vehicle bombings are their stock-in-trade and it's even more so now that there's a Michigan tie-in.

Bulgaria bombing suspect had fake Michigan ID

A lanky, long-haired man wearing a baseball cap and plaid shorts with a fake Michigan driver's license carried out a deadly suicide attack on a bus full of Israeli vacationers, Bulgarian officials said Thursday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the attack on Iranian-backed Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite Muslim guerrilla group, and threatened retaliation. Seven people — five Israelis, the Bulgarian driver and the bomber — died in the blast Wednesday. .... Officials were using DNA samples to try to establish his identity. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov told reporters that a Michigan driver's license was retrieved, but he said U.S. officials reported that "there was no such person in their database." Michigan is home to one of the largest Arab communities in the U.S.

And the support for Hezballah is very heavy in Dearborn, and the probability of them supporting such an operation is very high indeed. In fact, as noted by Debbie Schlussel it was 18 years ago to the day of this bombing a Hezballah suicide bomber with family ties to Dearborn was one of the suicide bombers in the attack on the AMIA Jewish Friends center in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Iran and Hezballah are certainly stepping up their terrorist attacks, and this is going to get ugly if it is allowed to continue without any effective retaliation.

Update: As pointed out by Proud Hillbilly in the comments, the bomber is a released inmate of Gitmo. So much for the narrative that they're all a bunch of poor inocents locked up there. Debbie Schlussel has a lot more on this scumbag and how he happened to be set free to kill again.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hiking Around Arrowhead Park

Continuing our Ontario travels we've been hanging around with the relatives in Huntsville Ontario, enjoying the cottage and the company. Six kids, 4 adults and a nice cottage. Internet connectivity is sporadic at best.

So today we're off with the Canadian relatives and we decided to go on a hike at Arrowhead Provincial Park in Ontario.

The kids wanted to climb on rocks and see the falls.

So after a short drive there we paid our park admission and headed onto the Stubb's Falls trail.

The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and very relaxing. First we crossed a bridge over the river:

Then we got to the top of the falls and the kids, all 6 of them, rocked out climbing on the huge boulders:

Then on down the boulders to Stubb's falls themselves:

The falls themselves are nice to look at and the water is refreshingly cool. But, there's an advisory against drinking any of it due to some outbreak of nasty parasites that are in the water.

So, after stopping to climb every boulder, view every angle, splash in the water and have an obligatory snack along with bottled water I had carried in, it was time to head back.

While the trail is marked easy, it is markedly more difficult carrying a worn-out 5 and 11/12 year-old on your shoulders on the way out, but I managed handily, even with a sprained finger.

Certainly a beautiful spot, a great hike, and well worth the excursion. They also have some decent campgrounds and given the size and beauty of the park, it would be worth a few days camping out and exploring it thoroughly one day.

Monday, July 16, 2012

New Canadian Drastic Plastic "Paper" Money

Polymer- its not just for Glocks and Thermold mags anymore:

Yes, I managed to get my hands on one of the new Canadian $50 bills, just released in March of this year. The new $50 (and the new $100 for that matter) is made from polymer, complete with see-through windows, holograms, and raised braille indentations for the visually impaired.

The $50 bill also celebrates the 50th anniversary of Canada's Coast Guard, featuring the icebreaker CCGS Amundsen.

It definitely feels different than standard paper money.

Of course, this isn't a completely new technology. The Australians have had a polymer bill for quite some time but it's the first go-round for Canada.

While the bills look pretty neat, and apparently last longer than comparable paper bills, the technology may not be fully ready for prime time.

There's reports of the bills crinkling and melting in the Canadian heat. Somehow I suspect a US version wouldn't last long in Arizona until the formula gets a bit more refined.

Canadian Travels - Londonistan Ontario

Traveling through Ontario making our way Up North to hang out with the folks.

We stopped at a London Tim Horton's to make a pit stop and get some of their very good coffee.

We noticed a couple London Police cruisers parked up front.

Something on the rear panel caught my eye:

Very interesting, and I daresay taking multiculturalism a little too far, especially as no other languages were evident and Arabic is not an official language in Canada...not yet, at least.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Hits Keep On Coming...

I had just completed a seminar presentation at the business center at Michigan State University in East Lansing on business entity legal considerations and was heading back to the office this afternoon to get some work done and then start a relaxing weekend.

It was not to be.

At the corner of Hagadorn and Mt. Hope, minding my own business, stopped completely at a red light with a grey Nissan Titan truck to my front and nothing behind me, relaxing after a fun but involved presentation, looking ahead at the lights, waiting for them to change and wa-bam!

The RAV4 was struck from behind, hard enough that it was pushed forward to hit the truck in front of me even as I was on the breaks.

I had a very weird feeling as it happened, watching my car moving closer to the truck - I clearly remember thinking "What the heck is happening, my car is moving forward and I'm on the brake, what the hell?"

Not a pleasant feeling.

And this was the result:

Ouch. In addition, my left pinky finger feels sprained or something and hurts like a bugger. I'm not sure how it happened as both hands were on the wheel at the moment of impact. The back is also sore but the neck is fine so far.

In addition to mine, he managed to make his car not look too good either:

Interestingly, there was no damage to the Titan visible, but my front bumper had some grey marks on it and one of the plastic things popped out and I shoved it back into place.

It turns out that the fellow wasn't paying attention, had looked behind him to talk to his kid, saw the cars in the lane next to him move and must have just hammered the gas pedal. The problem of course was that that lane was the left turn lane and it was moving on a green arrow!

Thankfully the kid was unhurt because he was properly buckled up in a booster seat, so the guy is not a complete moron. Nice fellow, very apologetic and was kinda shaken and shocky over the whole incident.

The lady whose truck my car taped was also a decent sport about it and was impressed her truck had no damage and the front of my car only a bit considering the impact we both felt. Given the extensive damage I called the police and about a half hour later the Meridian Township Police officer arrived, got everyone's data and heard everyone's statements and went to write his report. Good and courteous fellow. So we got an accident report out of it and the guy was cited, I believe for careless driving. Happily, the RAV was still drivable so I drove it homeward and called my friend who owns a collision shop and I dropped it off there and it now awaits the adjuster's assessment. That's a non-preferred way of starting a weekend off with a bang. It's also the second frickkin time I've been minding my own business stopped at a red light and I get rear ended by someone not paying attention. I'm beginning to wonder if inattentive drivers are mistaking the spare tire cover for a target marker. Sheesh.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Michigan Example Of Criminal Chutzpah

The customary English definition of the good Yiddish term chutzpah is that after you kill your parents, you plead for mercy because you're now an orphan. That's chutzpah. So, Tia Skinner, who was mad at her adoptive parents for not letting her go out with a certain boy, plots with the boy to kill her parents. She succeeds in killing the father and puts the mother in hospital with 25 stab wounds. Convicted of her crimes she's now appealing her life sentence. Why? According to the Detroit Free Press:

She is appealing on the grounds that she was interviewed by police as a minor without parental consent and had ineffective counsel.

That's chutzpah all-right.

I'd expect the Court of Appeals will find there's a necessity or impossibility waiver on that rule when you're the one who tried to do your parents in, and in fact got one killed and the other hospitalized and unavailable to be present to grant the consent, or there damn well ought to be.

Even more incredibly, she's upset that her family is not standing by her:

Since being sent to a state prison near Ann Arbor, Tia Skinner said she has not heard from her mother, her siblings or anyone else from the close-knit Yale community near Port Huron.

"It's been rough. It's hard losing your whole family in a blink of an eye," she said. "It's tough because that's my family; they're supposed to stay by you through thick and thin."

Talk about your narcissistic personality disorder writ large. It is all about her, isn't it?

Excuse me murderess, but you just tried to kill off your family. It's kinds unbelievably hard to expect them to stick by you when you plotted to stick them with knives. Just saying.

The story is also well commented upon by Murphy's Law, who saw the story before I did.

The Obama Inspired Utility Scam

Remember this lady from Detroit?

Well, it turns out that someone was paying attention and figured the denizens of Detroit and southeastern Michigan could be easily scammed with promises of Obama handouts:

The Detroit News: Obama utility bill-paying scam hits Metro Detroit

Metro Detroiters should beware of an online scam that promises President Barack Obama will pay their utility bills.

. . .

Also Wednesday, the state's Public Service Commission, which regulates the state's utility companies, issued a warning for consumers.

Last week, officials with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department did so as well.

. . .

Under the scam, victims are contacted in person, through fliers, social media and text messages.

Scammers tell consumers Obama can provide credits or apply payments to their water, electric and heating bills in exchange for their Social Security number and a bank routing number.

Once someone provides the information, they receive a bank routing number that will supposedly pay the bills.

No such federal program exists. Customers think they've paid their bills, but they haven't.

Lisa Dilg, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau for Eastern Michigan, said people are still being snookered.

"A lot of people are falling for it," she said. "It's pretty shocking. We're getting several complaints about it every day."

Not to mention they just provided all the information needed for their identity to be stolen.

Its no wonder that the credulous dolts are falling for this scam.

Remember Obama's promise of taxing oil companies and using the money to help people pay their utility bills?

It's a pretty sad turn of events when scammers can use the same magical thinking and economically illiterate approach used by the president to get elected to fleece the same bunch of ignorant fools.

Update: The Detroit Free Press reports that as of July 24, at least 2,300 Michigan residents have been scammed by this scheme.

Dive 219 - Into The Warm Soup

Yesterday Jeremy and I met up at Union lake for an evening dive.

The water was wonderfully warm - 84 degrees at the surface, 77 at about 15 feet and 66 degrees past the thermocline at around 22 feet plus all the way to the bottom.

Absolutely wonderful temperatures for the lake and it sure beats freezing I can tell you that.

On the downside, visibility was sucky with an extra serving of suckitude.

Massive amounts of particulate was in the water, stirred up by the boats and especially the idiots on jet skies, and one jet ski idiot in particular that kept going around and around in circles above us - thanks much fella!

Nothing like a constant hi-speed engine sound above you to remind you to keep your buoyancy in line and stay at depth.

In addition, there was massive aquatic plant growth so the combined effects reduced visibility to 2-3 feet and the water had the appearance of pea-green soup.

What the heck, it was a dive and it was wet and warm so it was good.

However, it was to be a short dive, lasting only 28 minutes.

Both of Jeremy's regulators started continuous bubbling and no underwater repair attempts fixed the issue so the dive was called.

We made our way back to the entry point, had a short and comfy safety stop in the 77 degree water at 20 feet and slowly ascended and departed.

Hopefully the next dive will be longer, and if these temperatures continue and the visibility improves it is going to be a great diving season.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Detroit PD's ND With M&P Now With Even More WTD?

Details of the Detroit police officer's firearm's negligent discharge leading to a lady's fatality at a party are getting curiouser and curiouser:

The Detroit Free Press: Police: Party-goer was on her knees dancing when officer's holstered gun went off

Adaisha Miller was on her knees while dancing behind an off-duty Detroit police officer early Sunday when his holstered gun fired, striking her in the chest, a police official familiar with the investigation told the Free Press today.

The official said that explains how Miller was shot in the chest while dancing behind Officer Isaac Parrish during a fish fry early Sunday at his home on Archdale.

The official said the angle of the gunshot is possible because Miller was not standing and described it as some type of "exotic dance" where Miller, 24, was tugging at Parrish’s waist.

Wayne County Medical Examiner Carl Schmidt said his office can't tell the position Miller was in when she was shot but said the police version could have happened. Schmidt said the gun's muzzle was pointed downward in such a way that the bullet went into Miller's chest and came out of her back at a lower point.

"The angle was slightly downward," he said of the findings of an autopsy conducted Monday


The early investigation shows the holster Parrish was using may have allowed the trigger of his gun to be "manipulated" while the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 was stored.

Certainly a strange situation, and the family claims it occurred differently:

Yolanda McNair, Miller's mother, said she was told by witnesses Sunday that her daughter and Parrish were side-by-side and her daughter put her arm around Parrish as she got a birthday hug from him when the gun went off.

However, the family's witness story makes the situation even stranger and more unlikely. If they were side by side as described, how did the gun in an IWB holster pointing downward have a shot that could have then angled downward from his waist level be able to strike her in the chest?

Very strange, and the investigative report should prove very interesting indeed.

Tight Supply, Meet Increased Demand.

The Detroit Free Press: DTE lightens electricity load by cycling customers' air conditioning on and off

Reeling from a destructive storm and scorching heat, DTE Energy activated a back-up plan Friday that lessened demand on the system by cycling some customers' air-conditioning on and off amid triple-digit highs of last week's record-setting heat spell. Those customers are among the 280,000 participants in the utility's CoolCurrents program, volunteers who step up from June to October in exchange for a break on power bills. DTE and other Midwest power companies rely on an extended Midwest and Canadian network on which utilities can buy or sell electricity to meet peak demand. But with storm damage and high heat stressing systems in the region, the future supply was in question. DTE decided to take the action to lessen the demand, said spokesman Alejandro Bodipo-Memba. "There was a question about supply on the system," he said. "It can quickly become an issue."
Gee, I wonder what could cause the need for cycling loads and the increasing the cost of power because of increased demand?

Could it be due to the lack of increased supply because of denials for new coal plants, including a new 600 megawatt plant in Michigan not to mention the EPA by regulation choking the construction of new coal plants?

May 21, 2010 (ENS) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment today denied Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative's an air quality permit for a new 600 megawatt coal-fired power plant. The power plant was proposed for Rogers City in northern Michigan on the shore of Lake Huron. The state's decision is based on findings of the Michigan Public Service Commission, which said the company failed to demonstrate the plant was needed to meet future supply needs.

Brilliant forecast there Granholm and dear gentlemen/gentlewomen of the PSC, simply brilliant.

There's Gold Coins In Them Thar Pot Shards!

And A New hoard of Medieval Gold coins worth as much as half a million dollars is found in Israel:

Gold coins from time of Crusades found in Israeli ruins

Israeli archaeologists have found buried treasure: more than 100 gold dinal coins from the time of the Crusades, bearing the names and legends of local sultans, blessings and more -- and worth as much as $500,000.

The joint team from Tel Aviv University and Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority were working at Appollonia National Park, an ancient Roman fortress on the coast used by the Crusaders between 1241 and 1265, when they literally found a pot of gold.

“All in all, we found some 108 dinals and quarter dinals, which makes it one of the largest gold coin hauls discovered in a medieval site in the land of Israel,” Prof. Oren Tal, chairman of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology, told FoxNews.com.

Most likely buried by the crusaders during the Muslim siege of Appollonia, the coins remained hidden until the present day. Very cool.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Some UNintentional International Irony

The UN just appointed Iran to the bureau overseeing the global arms control treaty.

You can't make this up.

FoxNews.com: When the UN wants to negotiate a global arms control deal, it turns to ... Iran

Critics say asking Iran to help craft a treaty aimed at stopping arms proliferation to terrorist groups and rogue states makes a mockery of the talks. Just two weeks ago, the UN Security Council accused Tehran of shipping arms to Syria, and Iran is also suspected of hiding illegal nuclear weapons facilities from international watchdogs.

“It defies logic, morality and common sense for the UN to elect this same regime to a global post in the regulation of arms transfers.”

- UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer

“Right after a UN Security Council report found Iran guilty of illegally transferring guns and bombs to Syria, which is now murdering thousands of its own people, it defies logic, morality and common sense for the UN to elect this same regime to a global post in the regulation of arms transfers,” UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer told FoxNews.com.

Let's see - Libya was on the Human Rights Commission as Gaddafi was massacring his own people, Syria was similarly put on the UNESCO Human Rights Commission when it kicked off its own crackdown and massacre, and is still pushing to join the regular UN Human Rights Commission. Saudi Arabia is appointed to the UN Women's rights commission when they don't even let women drive. Now Iran, a top weapons smuggler and nuclear proliferator is on the Global Arms Treaty Bureau.

I know the soft power advocates keep pushing the position that putting a major issue violator on the commission that is supposed to punish or at least identify those issue violators is supposed to shame it into compliance with international norms, but that theory sure hasn't worked yet.

The UN has verily gone from tragedy to farce.

Even worse, the Obama Administration is eagerly participating in this charade:

The conference is taking place after the Obama administration moved in 2009 to support holding the event – reversing the position of the Bush administration, which opposed a UN General Assembly resolution launching the treaty process in 2006.

Just great. So, how's that smart diplomacy working for you lately?

MSU Email, We Hardly Knew Ya

My MSU email account, after being happily active all these years, over 15 years post attendance is now going away.

It seems they've finally decided to kick the alumni off the email system.

Originally the University on May 30th in a sent a terse email to the affected alums:

You are receiving this message because you have been identified as someone who has not taken a course at Michigan State University in two or more years. MSU IT Services will be deactivating msu.edu e-mail accounts and AFS (Andrew File System) storage space for those who have not been students in two or more years to maintain university storage efficiencies. Starting on June 26, 2012, your e-mail and AFS accounts are among those scheduled to be deactivated. Between now and June 26, we encourage you to go through your accounts and save or migrate any files you wish to keep.

Less than 30 days to migrate your email account that you've had for years and notify all services and persons that use it to communicate with you, nice.

They then, five hours later on the same day backpedaled on the cutoff date and provided some further information/justification:

Dear Spartan, We have heard from some of you today that we could have done a better job giving you notice about deactivating your MSU e-mail and AFS space. You are right. We apologize for providing less than a month's notice. That's not enough time. We understand that this came suddenly and unexpectedly to some, in part because of confusion over the "Technology Guarantee" provided by Peter McPherson. For that reason, we will provide additional time before deactivating your account. This action will not be taken until Friday, August 31, 2012. To clear up the confusion about the "Technology Guarantee," it's useful to go back to the source, a speech given by Peter McPherson in 1996 in which he stated: "MSU alumni will have affordable lifelong technological access and two post-graduate years of free e-mail access." Technology access included student NetIDs and login to StuInfo or Web Enroll. McPherson's speech is located at http://www.msu.edu/~presofc/guarantee.html. The university needs to take this action for several reasons. Primary among them are freeing up university data storage resources and maximizing services for current students. Few of our peer institutions offer extended access to e-mail and storage accounts for the same reasons. When MSU first made the decision to provide e-mail and storage after graduation, access to these services was limited. Today, low cost or free e-mail and data storage options are abundant. Again, we apologize for the short notice on our part, but we hope you can appreciate that we are taking steps to serve MSU students and to be fiscally responsible. Sincerely, Dave Gift Vice Provost and CIO MSU Libraries and IT Services

But regardless of the tone and apologies for lousy messaging, they are moving ahead and shutting down the accounts. Instead of 2 years post-attendance, I, for one, got 15 years out of it. I wonder if I have a claim to keep it due to adverse possession at this point? Sadly not. But, I think by this point most alumni figured it would stick around and not be deleted as there hadn't been a word about such before.

When you have to reach back to a quote from a 1996 speech you're kinda reaching for a justification I daresay.

Having a permanent email address was quite useful. My MSU account was my one "main" account with most online personal and business transactions run through there (except for the blogging and related stuff) and was quite convenient.

I'm now busy updating all my online accounts such as with Midway, CDNN, Ebay, Paypal, Netflix, NRA, Divers Alert Network, investment accounts and the like to my new email address on a different service.

It's a major pain, especially for those services that only give occasional email updates, and I'm busy trying to remember where other accounts with that email address may lurk.

On the upside, its an opportunity to rotate and upgrade all of the passwords with some upper cases and numerics if they didn't have them before.

It's unfortunate that MSU didn't think outside the box for a bit:

Had they charged each alum $20 or $25 a year that would likely more than cover any real storage costs and the minimal admin overhead maintaining the existing accounts might cost. After all, storage is dirt cheap these days. They likely would have not only opened a new revenue stream but gained a lot of goodwill with their Alumni.

As it now stands, this much in the way of headaches certainly wipes out the potential for such goodwill.


Monday, July 09, 2012

Please, Don't Squeeze The M&P Holster

In one of the strangest ways to earn a Darwin award, a female dancer embraced a Detroit off duty police officer from behind, apparently manipulating his S&W M&P pistol's trigger through the holster he wore, resulting in her being shot and killed.

Yes, really.

The Detroit News: Godbee vows to probe death of woman shot by off-duty cop's gun

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee on Monday vowed to investigate the death of a woman who was shot as she embraced an off-duty police officer during a party and the officer's holstered weapon discharged.

"To the family of Adaisha Miller, the deceased, on behalf of the Detroit Police Department and me being a father myself, I offer our sincerest condolences by what all apparent preliminary investigation indicates is a very tragic and unfortunate incident," Godbee said.

. . .

The victim, Adaisha Miller, was dancing behind the officer and "there was some manipulation along the officer's waistline that he did not control" when the department-issued Smith and Wesson M&P-40, a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol, fired and struck her in the chest, Godbee said.

"There was no indication the officer placed his hand on his weapon at all," he said.

That model isn't equipped with an external safety, police said.

Police on Monday identified the officer as Issac Parrish, a veteran officer who has been working for the department for nearly 16 years. Godbee said the off-duty holster the officer carried was soft enough for the trigger to be manipulated.

Miller was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

"While dancing, it's alleged that the female victim embraced the officer from behind, causing the holstered weapon to accidently discharge," police said in a press release late Sunday.

Considering it takes a fair bit of pressure to work a stock M&P's trigger, especially with the stock gritty triggers, this is indeed a weird occurrence, and almost too strange to be believed.

Perhaps it was in a floppy nylon holster or otherwise, but the mechanics of causing the trigger to be depressed from a hug is very peculiar indeed and rather hard to fathom.

Perhaps this was a playful and fatally dumb weapons snatch that went very wrong, or a playful squeeze along the lines of "Is this a gun in your pocket or are you happy to see me?" that went badly.

However it occurred, it has to be one of the stranger negligent discharges on record.

Lesson to be learned: Have a decent holster that prevents manipulation of the firearm's trigger while holstered, not to mention be alert to people making grabs from behind. Personally I don't carry in floppy nylon holsters and make sure the trigger is fully covered whenever it is being carried.

Certainly a sad waste of a life however it occurred, and it will be interesting to see how the conclusion from the investigation of the incident as to how it happened.

This reaffirms the ancient adage that while you can sometimes cop a feel, you should never try and feel a cop.

When Security Hampers Usability

While trying to stop viruses and other nasties from harming my PC, I've been noticing some serious issues with my web browsers recently. From ridiculous slowness. to complete freezing, to text coming out jumbled when being typed in, it was becoming a major problem.

After running lots of anti-virus scans, checking various network settings and everything else I could think of, I've finally tracked it down and figured out that the problems are caused by the Constant Guard Toolbar provided by Comcast as part of their computer security stuff they give you for free as a subscriber.

It is helpful that they give you the security package and it obviously benefits them as it prevents or at least reduces the risk of their network from becoming a bunch of virus-infected and hacked computers.

But, the Comcast Constant Guard Toolbar really does not get along well with Firefox and Google Chrome, and least not in their latest updated iterations.

How badly does it not get along?

Try as badly as absolutely constantly freezing the browser, waiting forever for pages to load and then suddenly getting a "program not responding" message as the browser goes translucent, and anytime you try to enter text in a text entry on a website it just doesn't work.

So I disabled the Constant Guard Toolbar and voila - functionality is back to 100% with the browsers and speed and text entry is back to normal.

So, if you're experiencing Chrome or Firefox browser freezing and browser slowness, you may want to try disabling the Constant Guard Toolbar and see if that resolves your problem.

Good security tools shouldn't destroy your usability in the name of enhanced security.

Of course, if you couldn't use the web browser due to the security tool making it unusable, I suppose your web browsing would then be 100% secure.

Constant Guard Toolbar - The operation is a success but the patient died. No thanks, I'll take an operational browser with a slightly higher risk over an unusable source of frustration any day.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

One Hot Match On A Hot Range

Today was the monthly USPSA match at my local club.

I had volunteered to help setup the match yesterday in what was a scorcher of a day. So I sweated heavily for three hours helping to setup the stages in the over 100 degree sunny weather. I was drenched in sweat long before it was time to go.

Today the weather was mercifully cooler but still in the low 90s. The match was well attended with about 50 shooters taking part.

The stages were challenging and a lot of fun with one classifier. There was one all steel stage that was a blast to shoot.

The Glock 17 functioned flawlessly and I had a pretty decent match and hopefully I did well enough in the classifier stage to move up a level, but we'll see how it goes.

As usual, everyone was friendly and everyone pitched in to make the math move smoothly by resetting steel and pasting targets.

It was a great match.

The Election Pandering Has Well and Truly Begun

As Act I of the Bread and Circuses for votes extravaganza, as Democrats vie for primary spots and then on to the general election: Let's forgive all the student loans!

The Detroit Free Press: It's time to forgive student loans, U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke says

President Barack Obama signed a law Friday extending a cap on federal Stafford student loan interest rates -- but U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, a Detroit Democrat, argues it doesn't go far enough.

He's hoping the more than 1 million people who have signed a petition supporting a bill he's championing will force Congress to make more meaningful reforms to the student loan system.

"The demand is to change the system," he said June 25. "We've got to keep the bubble from bursting and help people who are swamped by debt. I would like to forgive a lot of these loans."

Clarke's bill, which is in committee in the House, would do just that.

Under his plan, people could have federal loans forgiven if they paid 10% of their disposable income -- which is basically any income exceeding 150% of the federally set poverty level -- for 10 years. The plan would apply to undergraduate, graduate and parent loans. Those in public service jobs could have loans forgiven after five years.

So the government created a program of student loans. This led a continual rise in tuition beyond inflation causing students (who lean Democrat, natch) to incur massive student loan debt as they had to get these loans to keep with the tuition increases that were always backed by the increased government loans that would cover the tuition increases.

Voila, One government created bubble, and to prevent it from bursting he's going to make it bigger. What could possibly go wrong?

Indeed, how is his proposal to forgive those loans to be funded? - With what money exactly?

Don't ask, it's election season after all, and he's trying to win a primary here.

Of course his proposal won't create a moral hazard from giving free money to people after they've to taken on unsustainable loans for unemployable majors?

"Nobody's getting a free ride here," he said. "They have to pay on the loan before they are eligible for forgiveness."

Well Democrats don't believe in the concept moral hazard anyhow. But, he's kidding right? How exactly is having 10-15 years worth of loan debt written off in return for paying only 5-10 not a free ride?

I also love his "public service" booster.

Look, public service jobs, with the exception of law enforcement, tend to draw Democrats like flies to honey.

For one thing, its about the only job they can often get with their sociology and basket-weaving studies majors.

For another thing, its a job. It pays money, often more than a private sector job of comparable worth. To claim that a public service job is a hair-shirt nobly worn that entitles one to more taxpayer debt forgiveness than a private sector job holder -- with the public service job holder's salary and debt forgiveness to be ultimately paid by the private sector -- just doesn't wash.

Clarke's bill would keep the interest rate at 3.4% for federal loans indefinitely. The version signed by Obama keeps the cap, which expired July 1, for only the next year.

So regardless of what the market does with interest rates, students will only pay 3.4% on a unsecured loan? Should interest rates jump, the feds will be losing even more money hand over first. Clarke's proposal keeps student loan debt in an academic world detached from reality, much like the debtors themselves as they go through college.

Then again, why should these Dem politicians care, they'll likely just print up a trillion dollars and wipe out student loans that way. After all, the proposal doesn't rationally explain how this largesse is going to be funded.

Bread, Circuses, and Goodies for Democrat and interest groups voters.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

When Canada Had A Rather Respectable Navy - The Tale Of The HMCS Bonaventure

Today is the 42nd anniversary of the decommissioning of Canada's third and last aircraft carrier, the HMCS Bonaventure, often called the "Bonny" by her crew.

Yes, during and immediately after World War 2, Canada had the 3rd largest navy in the world and the Royal Canadian Navy's experience and skill at convoy escort and anti-submarine work was second to none.

The end of the war, and the subsequent government focus on military cutbacks over the decades after the war in favor of an "all butter, no guns" social program economic policy ended that dominant position. This was to lead to the continued cutbacks facing Canada's navy until many feared it would be down to 3 ASW canoes and a convoy escort kayak. A sad fate for a country that borders on three oceans and with its own proud maritime tradition. Such cuts spelled the demise of Canada's last aircraft carrier.

The HMCS Bonaventure was a Majestic-class aircraft carrier, formerly the HMS Powerful that was purchased in 1952 for the Canadian navy from Britain. Operating McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee jet fighters and Grumman CS2F Tracker anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft as well as HO4S helicopters, the Bonnie was able to carry out "around the clock" carrier operations - keeping four Trackers and two HO4Ss in the air at all times, saturating an area of 200 square nautical miles (690 km2) with anti-submarine warfare aircraft. Conducting aircraft carrier "Round the clock operations" is a feat only accomplished to date by the RCN and the US Navy.

However, under Prime Minister Trudeau, it was decided in the 70's to cut back Canada's commitment to NATO by 50%, mainly in order to divert the funds to social programs. After all, when you're under the US Defense shield, why bother having your own navy as more than just a token force?

So, 42 years ago, HMCS Bonaventure, Canada's last aircraft carrier, just after it had undergone an $11 million dollar refit, was ordered decommissioned and to be scrapped. Canada's small navy still remains a respected and professional force with a great reputation for anti-submarine work, but it remains a shadow of its former glory at 28th in the world, tied with Israel. Canada now has a navy half the size of the Columbian Navy and one third that of Chile's Navy. By comparison, the US Navy is 40 times larger than Canada's today.

An interesting sea tale remains regarding the fate of the HMCS Bonaventure: The story goes that as it was on its way to the scrappers, it was exchanged at sea for its sister ship, the Majestic-class Indian Aircraft Carrier Vikrant. In that way, the Indians received a shiny refitted aircraft carrier and the scrap yards received a worn out Majestic class aircraft carrier and everyone was happy.

It's a good story and rather pleasant to think that the Bonny went on to give good service for years in the Indian Navy as the INS Vikrant.

That's One Way To Wake Up, But Seriously Not Recommended

The Detroit Free Press: Man on shrooms shoots self in head to wake up from bad trip

A teen who ate mushrooms and drank a tea made from the fungi shot himself in the forehead so he could wake up from a nightmare he said he was having while awake ... He said after he shot himself he didn't wake up from the bad dream. [He] tried to clean the blood that got on the carpet, wrapped a bandage around his head and walked outside. He saw a man who he asked to take him to the hospital.

According to the Dayton Beach News-Journal, the idiot shot himself right smack in the forehead with a .22 rifle.

Attempted improvised self-inflicted lobotomies are just not a good way to end a bad drug trip, nor any other trip for that matter.

Sadly, the news reports all failed to state if the bullet fully mushroomed.

Friday, July 06, 2012

A Little Friday Night Levity

The commanding officer at the Russian Frunze military academy gave a lecture on Potential Problems and Military Strategy. At the end of the lecture, he asked if there were any questions.

An officer stood up and asked, "Will there be a third world war? And will Russia take part in it?"

The general answered both questions in the affirmative.

Another officer asked, "Who will be the enemy?"

The general replied, "All indications point to China ."

Everyone in the audience was shocked.

A third officer remarked, "General, we are a nation of only 150 million, compared to the 1.5 billion Chinese. Can we win at all, or even survive?"

The general answered, "Just think about this for a moment: In modern warfare, it is not the quantity of soldiers that matters but the quality of an army's capabilities. For example, in the Middle East we have had a few wars recently where 5 million Jews fought against 150 million Arabs, and Israel was always victorious."

After a small pause, yet another officer, from the back of the auditorium asked,

"Do we have enough Jews?"

Fireworks Legalized In Michigan - State Doesn't End

After all the predictions of doom that would result from the legalizing fun fireworks the net result in injuries, death and destruction as compared to alst year is:

No Change.

The Detroit Free Press: Revamped fireworks law doesn't ignite spike in injuries

The change in state law allowing more powerful pyrotechnics didn't bring an overall surge in fireworks-related injuries on the Fourth of July in metro Detroit. For the most part, hospitals reported that injuries were normal for this time of year. Public safety officials also reported an average number of police and fire runs.

Wow. Michigan residents can be trusted with the same fireworks that are legal in our neighboring states.

Who would have guessed?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Glorious 4th

Yesterday we had planned for a small group of friends to come over and celebrate the 4th with a backyard grilling extravaganza.

Unfortunately we went to sleep before midnight so I missed the text that the group would be diving at 9:30 am on the 4th...next time more notice guys.

So we slept in till 9:00, I awoke and saw the text, realized there was no way I would make it and went off to brew some coffee.

We then started cleaning the house and outside and preparing for the guests.

This involved cleaning the outdoor table and getting all the accumulated leaves and debris cleared off the front and back porches and I decided it would also be good to get some of the leaves and stuff out of the gutters considering it was calling for thunderstorms.

The day was truly hot and humid - 97+ degrees and what felt like 100% humidity, so I was well soaked by the time we were done.

Then I changed and prepared some burger patties from some freshly ground beast and awaited the guests.

The guests arrived and we had a good time, even though it was too hot and humid to eat outside.

So we ate inside and had delectable burgers, hot dogs, kielbasa and nice sides and desserts.

Then around 6:30 or so it started storming quite heavily.

Luckily, it cleared up around 8:30 which after having fully soaked the ground gave us time and a safe opportunity to do some fireworks for the kids - bottle rockets, ground blooms, sparklers and salutes - the kids loved it and it was nice that it was legal to do so this year.

It's always a positive thing when the law is actually in accord with what everyone is already doing.

I'm sure that many in Michigan were sad that people were responsibly having fun with fireworks, but too bad for them and their sad state of existence.

Next year we'll do some more serious fireworks as the kids want to see some good stuff.

Then it thunder-stormed yet again throughout the night and we awoke to find the clocks had been reset due to a power outage - oops.

So we rushed out all discombobulated and I'm right back to work, feeling like its a Monday somehow.

On with the week and I hope your 4th was as fine as mine.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The CAIRing Mask Slips

Dawud Walid, aka Delano Anthony Willis, Jr and head of CAIR Michigan let the mask of Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance slip for a bit when he delivered a couple speeches before some Islamic audiences:

CAIR-Michigan Executive Director Attacks Jews in Two Speeches

As the IPT report notes, Dawud asked, “Who are those who incurred the wrath of Allah?” during his May 25 sermon at the Islamic Organization of North America mosque in Warren, Michigan. Dawud immediately answered his own query in Arabic: “They are the Jews, they are the Jews.”

In the January 2012 speech, Dawud claimed that when Islam’s prophet Muhammad oversaw the mass murder of the vanquished males of the Medinan Jewish tribe Banu Qurayza (accompanied by the enslavement of their women and children), it was both appropriate and not in the least bigoted, i.e., anti-Semitic. Discussing Dawud’s January 2012 Detroit speech, the IPT report observes:

“Did Muhammad order the killing of Jews?” Walid asked in a Twitter post promoting the video [of the sermon]. In response, an Islamist follower wrote, “Yes he did and I agree with it … Well isn’t treason a sentence to death.” Rather than oppose a hateful perspective, Walid merely corrected the follower and reinforced the anti-Jewish sentiment. Muhammad “didn’t order it. Sa’ad ibn Mu’aadh [one of his followers] ordered that punishment. It was a correct one.”

Once again, an Islamist is caught saying one thing in English and quite a different tale to his audience in Arabic when he thinks no one else is paying attention.

CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing case, and which is allied with, if not a part of, the Muslim Brotherhood and allied with HAMAS. CAIR tries to wrap itself in claims that its a civil liberties organization that believes in tolerance, and then they get caught making these statements to their adherents revealing their task as propagandists for the Muslim brotherhood.

CAIR members of course slyly refer to Hamas as "Samah" or "Sister Samah" (Hamas spelled backwards - cute eh?) when discussing it so it can keep claiming it doesn't talk about Hamas.

Apparently such rhetorical tricks are believed by some, otherwise CAIR would have been properly marginalized to the fringe where it belongs long ago instead of having countless meetings with the Obama administration.

CAIR Michigan touts itself as

CAIR-MI’s mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding through education, mediation, media and the law.

Well, Mr. Walid certainly enhanced everyone's understanding of CAIR, Islam, and his coreligionists' beliefs and attitudes with his speeches/sermons, now didn't he?

Monday, July 02, 2012

Saturday In Port Huron

On Saturday We conducted our regular cross border prisoner mother-in-law exchange.

Natasha's mom had come to stay with us for a bit and we had arranged with Natasha's sister to meet them in Port Huron both for lunch and to celebrate her sister's birthday. On the way up, we passed by a fire in the median strip on the highway - hay on top of grass seed tends to burn very nicely in this dry weather. Most likely some idiot threw a cigarette butt their window onto the dry hay to kick it off. It was an interesting burn - perfectly rectangular and slowly following the line of the grass precisely in the median while firefighters worked to put it out. We also passed by the Bramble as it sat at dock. Sadly we passed by pretty quickly and a fence was in the way so I couldn't snap a decent picture.

We decided on the Atrium for lunch and it was a most excellent choice.

The Atrium, a restaurant and ice cream parlor is located in a completely refurbished historic building.

The staff were very attentive, personable, and gracious even as elemental forces of chaos in the form of my sister-in-law et al descended upon them to dine.

We also met the owners and they're real nice people. The restaurant is full of antiques and beautiful recovered wood paneling and doors salvaged from historic homes and churches, and full of cool antique artifacts.

The food was really good, but best of all was the dessert:

The bumpy cake, a Michigan specialty, was fantastic, and their bumpy cake ice cream is, at the very least, to seriously maim for. Yum.

If you need to eat and near Port Huron, put The Atrium at the top of your list.

But what was this sign hanging outside the building?

The Fenians were Irishmen in the United States who in the period of 1866-1871 had a rather cunning plan: Invade British North America, take it over and then swap it for Ireland's Independence from Britain.

What could possibly go wrong?

In short, well, just about everything.

However, they've now decided on a historic rematch:

There's no record of any completed invasion from Port Huron to Sarnia by the Fenians or anyone else, and the original raid never got past the attempt stage as they got stopped cold before even trying to cross.

Today, the Blue Water Bridge should make for a bit more convenient invasion route. That Canada has finally allowed their Border services personnel to be armed and not have to rely on police for protection makes it somewhat less so.

In any case, it should be a fun event, especially as they'll be yelling "Aaron Go Bragh!" as they charge across, right?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Democrats playing the Race Card on Themselves

The Detroit News:Rep. Clarke will not engage in 14th District debates after 'race-baiting' incident

With questions about his race swirling, U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Detroit, on Friday said he won't participate in primary debates, citing "race-baiting" by opponents in the 14th Congressional District race. Ron Scott, a media consultant for Clarke, said the decision arose not from comments made during an earlier debate but documents recently circulated that question whether Clarke is and his mother was black. The campaign has been made aware of robocalls and emails regarding his race, said Scott, who calls the issue "sickening."

Yep, apparently some Democrat opponents of Clarke are accusing him of not being black enough to represent this majority-minority district.

One wonders who is black enough to benefit by such calls - the other contenders are Gary Peters, who was representing this district area before we were absorbed into the Detroit 14th district, and Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, former state Rep. Mary Waters and retired Detroit magistrate Bob Costello. Now who might benefit from such an accusation?

Waters believes Clarke is using the questions about his race as an excuse not to participate in debates.

She believes Clarke is "deceptive" byplaying up his Asian roots elsewhereand then "preaching" to a black audience in Detroit. She said she's the only black candidate from Detroit.

Waters and Lawrence are black, Peters and Costello are not.

This is rather annoying but par for the Democrat course. Especially so considering Hansen Clarke is to all appearances at least an honest and uncorrupt Democrat. Far more so than the rep he defeated - U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick for the 13th.

However, he's now battling it out with Gary Peters of what was my 9th district, who I've also found rather honest and uncorrupted. But this year we would have had a shot at a Republican winning had we not been redrawn into this new Detroit district.

Great, I'm now stuck in this newly gerrymandered 14th district, formed from the prior 9th, 13th and 14th and drawn so that a majority-minority district in Detroit that was losing its population due to decades of Democrat corruption and mismanagement is gerrymandered enough to remain a Detroit majority-minority district.

Good luck with a Republican getting elected in this district now.

Just when this area has figured that Democrats are not the way to go, we're pushed into a district where we will be marginalized by Detroit forever or at least until we get redistricted out of this Detroit district. We will also get to se the race card in its full deployment, now and forever.

The HuffPo has an interesting graphic showing the redistricting. The before and after for the 14th is abominable, but required under the Voting Rights Act to ensure a minority district can never disappear, demographics be damned. It also locks in a safe Democrat seat.