Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Some Of The Last Economic News Of 2014 - US Lost Billions On Auto Bailout

Depending on who you ask, the United States Treasury, meaning you the taxpayer, lost either $9.3 Billion (with a B) or $16.56 Billion, depending on how you do the accounting.  Under Government accounting rules it's the $16.56 number that counts but the administration is touting the $9.3 Billion dollar figure.

In Government-speak, losing $9-$16.5 billion in a transaction is a resounding success.

Monday, December 29, 2014

He Chose His Friends....Poorly

Hanging out with criminal elements can lead to bad ends, and on Christmas it ended a 16 year-old Detroiter's life.

The Detroit News: Funeral arrangements pending for teen shot on Christmas

The takewaway from the incident:
One of Bernard's friends, a 19 -year-old male is in custody for the shooting. The teen hasn't been arraigned at this time, said Moreno.
 . . .
Detroit police initially said the group was playing with a gun when it discharged. Culbert said she believes one of the friends might have been demonstrating how he used the gun, possibly to commit a crime, and accidently shot her son.
Now the 19 year old man is expected to be arraigned on charges of manslaughter, felony firearm and possession of a stolen firearm.

Don't act the thug, don't be a thug and don't hang around with thugs playing with guns like toys and your chance of dying in such an avoidable incident is highly reduced.  A sad waste of a life to what appears to be an act of completely avoidable stupidity.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

In LA It's Fun To Be An Illegal Alien

Unlike lawful immigrants and citizens in the same circumstance, you won't get your car impounded for driving without a license.

Fox News:  LAPD policy for impounding cars deemed lawful

A state court determined Friday that a Los Angeles Police Department policy that makes it easier for unlicensed drivers to keep their cars instead of having them impounded after police stops is lawful and can remain in place.

The policy has been supported by the city attorney and immigrant rights groups, who said the old impound policy was unfair to immigrants who cannot obtain a driver's license.
So it's good to be an illegal in LA - you'll be treated better and far moire favorably than others on the basis of you're being there illegally and illegally driving without a license.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Quick Movie Review: Into The Woods

Took the kids to see Into The Woods on Christmas Day.

To say it was a little darker than expected is a tad of an understatement.  Certainly the darkest Disney film I can remember seeing.

Think the full Brothers Grimm - including the part of the Cinderella story they don't usually tell to children.

But for that, it was quite an enjoyable mash-up of Grimm's fairy tales and amazingly enough, the musical aspects of it worked.

Dark, intense and oft-times humerous, it's worth seeing.  Leah handled it well so a mature 8-year-old can see it, even with some scary moments, and it seems enough of the adult-aimed messages and innuendo still thankfully went over both the kids' heads and they didn't pickup on it.

Also, Johnny Depp plays a very bad, bad wolf indeed.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas To You!

To my Christian friends and readers, may you have a very Merry Christmas today.

And have a thought for those Christians that face severe torment and trouble on this day:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Detroit Chalks Up Another Drug Related Murder In A Big Way

Apparently not only does nothing good happens in Detroit after midnight, but if you're involved in the drug trade in any fashion it can go bad even earlier in the evening.

The Detroit News: Teen dead after man shoots at car in Detroit
According to police, four of the five victims lived in Grosse Pointe while the fifth lived in Detroit.
“At approximately 9:10 p.m., we received a call about four teenagers being shot in the area of Charlevoix and Philip,” said Deputy Chief Renee Hall in an interview to Fox 2 News.
“We found approximately 30 shell casings in that area... which is very desolate. The victims reported they were in that area attempting to find the brother of one of the victims.”
According to Hall, the survivors said they had pulled over to smoke some marijuana when a black man driving a tan Cadillac approached their vehicle.
Apparently police are currently questioning their story and don't think this was a random shooting or that they were just looking for someone's brother, but it's too early to tell.

It appears the shooter used a rifle and was firing very quickly and one witness claimed it was fully automatic, which if true is certainly double-plus illegal indeed.

In short stopping to smoke marijuana in a desolate part of Detroit is never a good idea nor is doing anything else drug-related in a crime-ridden area of a very crime-ridden city.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Flu Me Once

Feeling better today, no more fever is an improvement but I'm certainly still dragging along in low gear.

The important question I had during the fever was:  Who let this mule in, and why is it kicking me in the head?

Then there was a profound fever-fueled realization:  You shouldn't believe atoms! They make up everything!

Yeah, it seemed a lot more profound at the time.

These thoughts came to me while lying on the couch in the basement trying to sleep so I didn't spread the flu to the remaining uninfected people in the house.  So far it hasn't spread so the self-quarantine may have helped.

NyQuill, even the newer formula does help quite a bit but it wears off a bit earlier than I'd like.  An 8-hour formula would be much preferred for a full night's sleep.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Down With The Sickness

I blame Murphy's Law and figure I caught his virus through my computer.

Symptoms are awfully similar, or similarly awful.

More realistically it likely came from Leah as children are lovable little disease vectors. She brought it home from school and it hit her Sunday afternoon hard, was delirious for a bit and finally snapped back enough to be fever-free for 24 hours and able to go to school today.

I woke up with the suggestion of it and after trooping into work this morning by noon I decided it had gotten the better of me and I headed home.

On the upside, being unable to stand up lets me lie on the couch and watch Breaking Bad while I await my end.

On the downside, the show makes me really annoyed that the government removed the good stuff from Vick's NyQuil just to prevent a bunch of idiots from using it to make meth.  This hasn't stopped the appearance of meth but sure has put a dent in the effectiveness of Vick's for all the decent, law-abiding flu sufferers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Medal of Honor Delayed For 96 Years May Be Awarded During Hannukah

Recognition of a great act of heroism long delayed may happen shortly.

From Fox News: A century after heroism, Jewish soldier may soon get posthumous Medal of Honor
Nearly a century ago, Sgt. William Shemin raced across a World War I battlefield three times to pull wounded comrades to safety. With all the senior leaders of the platoon wounded or killed, the 19-year-old survived a bullet to the head and led his unit to safety.
The heroism should have earned Shemin the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest service medal. But it didn't, perhaps because discrimination was rampant in the military — and he was Jewish.
Thanks to the efforts of his now 85-year-old daughter, Shemin is on the cusp of finally being honored with a medal, 41 years after his death.
The Senate on Friday passed the $585 billion defense bill. A small provision allows President Barack Obama to bestow the Medal of Honor to Shemin. The last hurdle is Obama's signature on the defense bill.
Should the bill be signed, it would certainly be fitting for the ceremony to take place during the celebration of Hanukkah, a holiday that commemorates an ancient Jewish military victory and the valor of the Jewish warrior.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Hannukah!

On this, the first night of Hanukkah we gathered the family, lit the first of the Hanukkiah candles, said the prayers, and fried the latkas.

Then we exchanged gifts and we're about to make sufganiot.

Quite the enjoyable first night of Hannukah.

Anarcho-Tyranny And The Real War On Women

Borepatch has written may a time of the concept of anarcho-tyranny, the concept describing that normal citizens get the hammer dropped on them for minor violations, while serious criminals either get off lightly or are ignored.

Serious criminals whether by mistake, deliberate indifference, or racial preferences seem to be gettig overlooked quite a lot recently, especially when it comes to crimes against women.

One fine example is the case of the  terrorist import to Sydney, Australia. At the time of his terrorist attack, he was out on bond after 40+ cases of sexual assault and being implicated in the murder of his ex-wife. Yes, 40 sexual assault cases and murder and he was out a free man until he took over a Lindt chocolate shop in the name of Allah and killed people before the police revoked his bond, permanently.  It has yet to be explained exactly how and why someone can be charged with 40 cases of sexual assault and be released to walk free.

Or the case of Rotherham where police and council decided to cover-up 1,400 cases of child sexual exploitation by Muslims, including not charging those caught with their proverbial pants down,  for fear of being either labelled racist or daring to point out the problem of lack of assimilation of these immigrants and their failure to accept such British values as not raping children.

Now in Detroit we have a warrant backlog leading criminals to go free including both murderers and rapists.

The Detroit News: Detroit warrant backlog frees suspects

Many murderers and rapists were thus set free, and many went and did their crimes yet again, and again.  One example being reported being the case of Jamieson Kelley:
After his release from police custody, Kelley was charged with raping three more women in 2013 and 2014. He pleaded guilty in November to 15 charges of criminal sexual assault, among other charges, and was sentenced to between 22 1/2 and 50 years each for nine of the rape charges.
The failure to issue the warrants is being blamed on budget cuts, as so much of Wayne County's money has gone to corrupt politicians, political supporters in return for votes and feel-good projects rather than being used for essential services like prosecutors and crime-fighting.

Apparently women's safety sadly doesn't rate in the overall scheme of things these days.

A Veritable Rogues Gallery Of Character Witnesses For Embezzler Davis

If you're known by the company you keep, convicted felon Robert Davis should be doing hard time.

Robert Davis, as you may know, is a Detroit Democrat Union activist well known for filing multiple complaints in court any time the union is annoyed about something.  He's also well known for pleading guilty to stealing over $125,00 from the troubled and Democrat-run Highland Park School system.

Now be-clowning themselves with letters to the judge attesting to Davis' good character are such notable Democrat apparatchiks as Geoffrey Fieger, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garret, and State Rep Philip Cavanagh. They're supporting his attorney's request that Davis  get home release and probation for admittedly stealing over a hundred grand from the poor minority children Democrats always claim to represent. Apparently represent means taking money for the kids and blowing it on personal spending sprees.

Reading the letters, one can clearly see there's no shame in their game, and they seem more upset that he got caught than anything else. 

Most politicians would hate to be associated with known felons, but these are showing quite intimate connections to Davis - including political and fundraising ties.

The Detroit News: Lawyer for Davis seeks probation, home confinement

One can only hope that Judge Tarnow will instead make the sentence appropriate to Davis' brazen theft and breach of the public trust.  Instead of the insane request for probation he should make him an example so that the Democrat Detroit Corruption train finally begins to come to a halt.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thanks To Brigid

For Abby's birthday, Brigid of Home On The Range kindly gave her an e-copy of her book The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever to Abby as a birthday gift.

Since Abby loves reading, it's quite the perfect and thoughtful gift for her. Abby was amazed and thrilled to find out it had been given to her by the author.  It's also Abby's first e-book.

I expect she will highly enjoy it and it will do her good to gain knowledge and wisdom from a strong female role model like Brigid.

Thanks Brigid. Your kindness and thoughtfulness is highly appreciated by us.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Anti-Vaxers Causing Measles Outbreaks In Michigan

Some diseases you thought were gone are now making a comeback due to scientific illiterates who believe that vaccinations are bad for you, and due to officials who grant waivers to permit this stupidity:

The Detroit Free Press:  Measles outbreak: Michigan parents opt for vaccine waivers
Michigan has one of the highest rates of vaccination waivers in the U.S. when it comes to its youngest school kids — a ranking that public health officials noted with frustration this week as they battled at least two vaccine-preventable diseases in two northern Michigan counties.
Looking at the comments accompanying the article, it seems there's quite a crowd of anti-vaxing idiots out there including those who seem to think a diet of whole grains and unicorn farts will stop a vial infection.  Quick hint - it didn't stop it in the age before vaccines were prevalent and people were eating "pre-industrialized" whole food, and it sure won't stop it now.

That's causing us to experience live diseases that should be but a distant memory.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Barbara Boxer - Shocked, Simply Shocked To Find That ISIL Mistreats Women

CNS News: 'Disgusting': Sen. Boxer Shocked to Hear About ISIL's Sexual Abuse of Women
At a hearing on ISIL in Iraq and Syria on Tuesday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) expressed shock and dismay about a news report detailing the terrorists' enslavement and sexual abuse of women and girls.
Boxer told a State Department human rights official that her staffers had just handed her "the most shocking article" -- in Q&A format -- describing the circumstances in which non-Muslim women and girls may be taken captive and raped by ISIL.
"This is disgusting stuff," Boxer told Tom Malinowski, an assistant secretary for democracy, human rights and labor at the State Department. She asked Malinowski to verify if the report was true. "If this is real, people need to understand this," she said.
"So, this kind of thing is absolutely real," Malinowski responded. "These things are happening. We have seen Daesh (ISIL) put out on its social media, on its Web site...these kinds of justifications before. It just shows the degree of depravity and just the baseness of the ideology that is at the heart of this..."
I'm simply shocked that it took her this long to be shocked.

Remember, she's a Senator and Chair of the frickin' Senate Foreign Relations Committee and so supposedly well informed on world affairs and on top of things like ISIL.  It's not like this is new information or anything.

Sadly, it appears she was far more focused on the domestic faux-war-on-women than the real one happening in the Levant.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

New York's Finest Do A Live Tueller Drill

In New York after a Black man goes into a synagogue, shouts "Kill the Jews" and stabs a rabbinical student in the head, leaving him in critical condition, which even in these benighted times should qualify as a hate crime. He then is confronted and then shot dead by police.

The Detroit News: Man fatally shot after stabbing at NYC synagogue

The attacker has a history of mental illness and had apparently been arrested 19 times since 1982. Funnily enough, again neither the Detroit News nor Detroit Free Press mentioned his race and you'd have to find the video to know as the text is silent.

There's a video of the encounter:

They certainly gave him plenty of chances and multiple loud verbal orders to drop the knife, and then the officers even backed away a few times.  But, when he advanced on an officer yet again with knife in hand they quite properly shot him to protect both the officers and the other innocents within reach.

Darn good shoot, the only real question is if they hesitated a bit too much before doing so.

The Very Wrong Way To Inform Police You Have A Gun

The Detroit Free Press: One dead after shooting involving Lansing Twp. officer
Tyrell Washington burst into his girlfriend's house and shouted, "They killed my man! They killed my homeboy!"
The man Washington was referring to, whose name and age were not released by police, was shot and killed in the first officer-involved shooting in the township in at least two decades, officials said.
But Washington – who said he was driving the vehicle pulled over by police – said his friend was killed while trying to show police he was carrying a firearm so police weren't surprised by it. Washington, 24, said his friend had his hands raised with the gun in the air, "Like, 'I got a gun on me.' He was showing them."
Washington said he saw his friend raise his hands, heard police yell twice to drop the weapon and then without delay heard, "Pop! Pop!" Then he saw his friend slump forward.
 Sure he was just doing it to show it to them. Any takers on the bet that the recently deceased "homeboy" lacked a CPL for the firearm?

Somehow I don't think the refrain of "Guns Up, Don't Shoot" will catch on any time soon.

Monday, December 08, 2014

His Brother Just Wasn't Lucky At All

Stupidity and a lack of gun safety training sadly strikes yet again.

The Detroit Free Press: Michigan boy, 16, accidentally kills brother, 21
Police say a 16-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 21-year-old brother with a handgun that he believed to be unloaded when he pointed it at the man.
Blackman-Leoni Department of Public Safety Deputy Director Jon Johnston tells the Jackson Citizen Patriot in an email that the younger brother went into his brother's room Saturday night and reportedly asked "Do you feel lucky?" before pulling the trigger.
This is why you should never believe a gun is unloaded.  It either is after you've positively checked, or its not, again after you've actually checked.  It's also why you never point a gun at someone else's head and do a bad Clint Eastwood imitation.

Assuming this isn't a made-up story to cover a murder of a brother, the lack of common sense involved in pointing a firearm at someone else's head and pulling the trigger makes it not an accident but a negligent homicide.

According to the report, the gun was not owned by either the parents nor the 21-year-old who was killed. As such,  it'll be an interesting question as to how the 16-year-old obtained the handgun.

Time to make gun safety training mandatory in schools.

After all, if it saves just one life by getting through to kids that you never point an "unloaded" gun at anyone or anything you don't mean to destroy, it could stop a lot of these stupid and life-altering "accidents".

Seriously? And You Want To Practice Law?

Instapundit points to this real head-scratcher coming out of the Columbia Law School:

Powerline:  Not a parody
Columbia Law School is permitting students claiming to be impaired due to the emotional impact of recent non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner matters to postpone taking their final exams.
Columbia, allegedly a first-tier law school, apparently has some real special snowflakes that need to postpone taking their exams to deal with the trauma of the grand jury decisions regarding Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  Not that they're relatives or anything like that, just because they are "particularly, but not only, students of color".

Columbia has even arranged for a trauma specialist to be available for those who can't handle the results of the two grand jury decisions, one of which, in the case of the Brown decision, was by all evidence quite correct.

Look, if you can't handle the outcome of an unfavorable judicial decision of which you were not even a part of and then you become so traumatized that you can't write an exam, you have no business practicing law or even planning to do so.

What are you going to do when you're representing a real client?  Ask for a timeout when you get an adverse decision? State you're too traumatized to go to trial?  Ask for a trauma specialist when the court rules against your motion for summary disposition? Your client will be rather unimpressed, as will the court.

Quick note kids:  In real life, a judge will not give you a hall pass due to unrelated judicial results in another state or even another court that doesn't affect your case.

Sorry, but Columbia should move down a few tiers for this idiocy if this decision is indicative of the caliber of student that they have.

Update: via Legal Insurrection, this insanity has spread to the delicate flowers at Harvard Law School as well.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Sunday At The Maccabeats Concert

This morning the kids got a special treat at religious school.

The Maccabeats, a Jewish a cappella group  (a cappella in this case means singing with your kippah on), were performing and the kids' classes got to attend the show.  I also watched the concert and the Maccabeats put on a great performance indeed.  There were about 600 people in the audience and they had everyone rockin',

Since Hannukah is coming, among their many songs they sang some Hanukkah songs including this one:

It was a great concert, and the range of sounds they could make without any instruments was impressive.  They taught the kids how to make mouth beat boxes and they had lots of the kids come up and do things and it was very entertaining.

They had some kids come up with some cups and did the cups song:

A great way to spend a Sunday morning.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Stabbing Spree In A Gun Free Zone

Amtrak doesn't allow CPL holders to have firearms on its trains. So there were no CPL holders able stop Michael Williams of Saginaw, Michigan from stabbing four people on a train bound from Chicago to Port Huron. The attack occurred while the train was near Niles, Michigan.

Gun free zones score as criminal empowerment areas yet again.

The Detroit News: Man charged with attempted murder in Amtrak attack

No discussion as to any possible motive or the mental health (or lack of same) of the individual in question at this point. 

The attacker is black (which is not being highly reported and only his mugshot gives any clue to that in the article, and many other articles do not mention any racial description of the attacker).  It's been reported the victims are white but it's far to early to jump to any conclusions as to motivation or if that report is even accurate.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The A-10 Survives To Fly Again, For Now

The A-10 escaped being cut in the latest defense budget only due to soem political maneuvering.

The Detroit News: Budget deal saves A-10 planes at Selfridge

The Air Force jut doesn't like the A-10, and wants it retired.

But there is as of the present no flying replacement that can do what it does in the close air support role, and there's no real reason why they can't keep flying in the current air operations environment.

Like a stopped clock being right twice a day, Senator Levin is right about preserving the A-10 and deserves kudos for him joining with Representative Miller and others in supporting its continued operations.

The $3.5 billion alleged to be saved from retiring the A-10 is a drop in the bucket compared to its CAS capabilities that are still being used well and effectively in combat today.


In addition to Universal, we also took the kids to Seaworld.

The day was quite cold with drizzling rain all morning, but it cleared up by early afternoon.

It had only just stopped raining when we saw the Killer Whale Show.

The Orcas could certainly catch air and make a splash.

We also saw the Dolphin show, and again these aquatic creatures showed some aerial acrobatics:

After the shows, we went and fed Dolphins and Stingrays, both by hand, and had a good time.

The dolphins approached to be fed with toothy grins:

And they said thanks for the fish, they actually squeaked and chatted through their blowholes and it was very neat indeed.

Feeding them was very cool, as I've never been that close to a dolphin before. 

They let themselves be patted and they appreciated the fish.

The rays were similarly eager to be fed, and with their mouths on their undersides, you had to place your hand at the bottom of the pool with the piece of fish poking out from your hand. They would come by and suck the fish out of your hand and then swim on, it felt like a vacuum cleaner.

The rays felt like wet mushrooms and were quite placid and relaxed with all the people around.

We saw all the various exhibits and aquatic animals and the kids learned a ton about marine creatures, and the theme park heavily stresses education throughout.

We also did a few rides and the kids loved the Shamu Express Roller Coaster and rode it about 10 times in a row.

Seaworld is a much smaller park than Universal and thanks to the nasty weather, it was easy to get into all the exhibits and rides that we could wish to go on.  The only downside was that the food was decidedly mediocre, especially compared to Universal. 

The kids had a whale of a time at Seaworld and I'd recommend going there if you're vacationing in Orlando.  It's worth it just for the opportunity to hand-feed dolphins, with the rest of the park being a cool bonus.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Fixing More Of Michigan's Gun Laws

More incremental pro-gun owner improvements to Michigan's gun laws are on the way.

The House Judiciary Committee is set to vote on the package of state Senate-passed bills that fix Michigan's currently stupid airgun laws.

Under the current law, a pellet pistol or airsoft gun with pellets larger than .177 are considered firearms. At least one judge in Ann Arbor interpreted the law to mean that an airsoft gun was a  firearm under Michigan law so the potential for criminal justice system stupidity is very real indeed. 

The law as written and enforced opened airsoft owners and paintballers to potential criminal liability when transporting or carrying their markers and airsofts, and made purchasing pellet pistols quite a pain.

The law changes it to define firearms as one where a projectile is expelled by explosive not compressed air.

 In other words, they're putting the fire back in the definition of firearm.

Another bill, Senate Bill 789 is also up before the House Judiciary Committee and its a good one.

 It will get rid of the county gun board system and have CPLs issued by the County Clerks after background checks done by the Michigan State Police.  This makes the system a true shall-issue system with fewer delays so long as the person had no mental or criminal history that would prevent them with being issued the permit.

It also reduces the application fee to $90, improves the renewal process quite a bit, and is a good step forward in improving the permit issuing and renewal system.

There's also a bill up to allow active duty military to renew their permits by mail, which is a decent improvement for our active duty military personnel.

Now, with the election done and the state house and senate firmly in Republican hands, it would be an apt time to work on getting rid of the CPL pistol-free zone restrictions.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Back Home Again

After a decent return trip of two days on the road, we're back home.

All is unpacked, all is well, and we had a great if exhausting time taking the kids around Orlando.

More pics and details on the trip to follow.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you're all enjoying this wonderful and most quintessential of all American Holidays.

May you have a great one.

Now back to the family day stuff.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

They're Growing Quite The Crop Of Special Snowflakes at University of Michigan

Tuition at University of Michigan is quite expensive, and as much as it's touted as world class for education it seems to have completely failed to teach these students both critical thinking skills and to question a media narrative.

The Detroit Free Press: Ferguson jury's decision stuns Ann Arbor, Detroit crowds
A crowd of more than 40 University of Michigan students and faculty sat almost completely still as the news flashed across the two large television screens in front of them – Darren Wilson was not going to be charged in the shooting of Michael Brown.
Then, an audible sob was heard. Many in the audience – both black and white – wiped away tears as they began processing the news.
The group then paused for four-and-a-half minutes of silence. Most in the crowd sat with their heads bowed or eyes closed tightly. One student pulled her hoodie up over her head.
Even after the official time of quiet was passed, most in the audience sat quietly, still trying to process what happened.
 Seriously? They were so invested in a faulty media narrative and their own race-based worldview that they can't process evidence or even consider the facts of the matter?
Then, the dams burst. One very emotional student said, "What is it going to take for my life to matter? This is so confirming of what any black person has fear of."
Here's a quick tip: In order for your life to matter, don't rob a store, don't assault a cop and don't grab his gun.  Especially don't grab a Black cop's gun as he's going to shot you even faster as he won't have to worry about a grand jury investigation and allegations of racism and rioting if he defends his life. 

Don't be a thug and you'll do just fine - but of course they apparently don't teach that truth at the University of Michigan.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Abby's Birthday Present

We decided to give Abby an unusual birthday present.

We got up early this morning and drove an hour and a half from Orlando to Crystal River, Florida and went to River Ventures.

For Abby turning 11 we booked a tour to swim with Manatees.

After a safety and rule briefing we got on our wetsuits and headed to the boat.  Everyone had a mask and snorkel and was required to carry a noodle for flotation (and also to differentiate you from all the other snorkelers on the river at the same time) as the idea isn't as much to swim but to do a dead man's float breathing through your snorkel and watching Manatees.

Thumbs up and Abby's 11 and ready to go.
Both kids did great getting used to snorkling very quickly, and along with another family on the boat we got ready to swim with manatees.

So we headed over to observe a manatee in the river.  It was a large male that was named Hugh.

Oh, the Hugh Manatee!

The kids were amazed to come face to face with a sleeping Manatee.  Every 15 minutes or so, he would rise to the surface, take a breath and go back down to sleep on the bottom.  Basically you let sleeping Manatees rise (and don't get in their way or bug them). Very big and very cute but not very interactive.

Then we moved on toward the Manatee Sanctuary to get a more interactive experience than just one sleeping Manatee and we were not disappointed.

There were many manatees in the sanctuary, where we could not go - you couldn't even touch the boundary ropes, but there were many manatees that went swimming out of the sanctuary right by us and it was amazing to watch.  Note that as endangered species, you can't reach out and touch or chase a manatee, they have to come to you, and these ones swam right by.

How close do they come by? Very Close indeed.

Leah and a Little Manatee
Here's a video of a close pass.

A cute baby swam by along side its mother as well.  Cuteness factor was off the charts.

It was a great experience to snorkel beside these gentle giants.

Abby announced it was the best birthday ever.

Happy 11th Birthday to Abby

One of the main reasons we took this trip now is it coincides nicely with Abby's Birthday!

She turns 11 today, which is simply amazing.

She's a darn good kid - smart, dedicated and hard-working, a great reader, well behaved and very observant.

Even at eleven, she still has a great capacity for wonder and excitement, without cynicism even as she often has a perfectly timed sarcastic or ironic line.

She was luckily picked to be the new wizard for the Ollivanders show, and she was the wizard to whom the wand called.

It was so very well done with the actor behind the counter doing it perfectly like the scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - having her cast spells at objects that then moved and had effects in response as he worked to find the right wand for her.  She loved every minute of it and believed it.  Of course, she had to buy the wand that selected her, and so it was done.

Even as she turns eleven and just lost a tooth, she still believes in the tooth fairy or at least she believes in the money that magically appears when she puts her tooth under her pillow.

Happy Birthday Abby, and we're going to do something special for you today on your birthday as well.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Yes, We Took The Kids To Universal Studios In Orlando

After driving for two days we made it to Orlando in pretty good time.

We had made it from Michigan and to Chattanooga, TN on the first day.  On the second day we stopped and had lunch  at Keith-A-Que in Ashburn, Georgia - the best BBQ on I-75, period.  Friendly service, good conversation and BBQ to kill for, or at least seriously maim for - truly not to be missed.  They also helpfully pointed out that I should go for the half sweet tea (sweet tea mixed half with unsweetened tea) rather than the full sweet tea - and they were right.

We arrived in Orlando that night and the next day hit Universal Studios theme parks and began having a blast.

Since both kids are Harry Potter fans, they had a great time, and we had to take the Hogwarts Express between the theme parks to make sure they got the experience and got to see both Harry Potter locations.  The level of detail in both Potter worlds was fantastic.  Then there were the rides.

In short, Universal knows how to make some very wicked and realistic motion simulators.

Lots more to follow.  Just finished up another long day at Universal and will have more to blog on later.

On Family Roadtrip Vacation

One quick movie to help you guess where we've taken the kids:

Good journey here, some minor snow-squalls on the way through Ohio, but otherwise really trouble-free. The kids are having a blast.

Monday, November 17, 2014

His Time Was Up

In the Detroit News, the latest reported murder victim in the Detroit area had quite an unusual name:

Rolex Dior Johnson

Looking at him, they could immediately tell the time of death because he stopped at 2 am.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Must Be A Magic Vest

Another Ebola-infected patient is brought to the US.

He's a native of Sierra Leone but also a US permanent resident so flying him here for treatment was apparently the thing to do.

NBC: Ebola-Stricken Surgeon Dr. Martin Salia 'Extremely Critical'

The article notes he's in very bad shape, however the most interesting part is this photo of him being loaded onto and ambulance upon his arrival for transport to the hospital:

Notice how everybody involved in the transport is in protective suits, masks and goggles except one guy.

The guy in the chatreuse vest that reads "Safety Officer".

Ok then.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Who's Paying For That? Oh Yes -- You Are.

And so am I for that matter.

In the course of events I often do court appointed work as a Guardian Ad Litem.  This is mainly investigating as to whether a guardianship or conservatorship is appropriate as is being requested by the person filing the petition for the alleged incapacitated individual.

Sometime the determination is real easy.

Take Y, for instance. A 50-something female that looks like she's 70.  In hospital for an infection brought on by being homeless and a list of maladies a mile wide and a list of current medications a mile longer.

Oh, and Y's been a heroin addict for a good long time. 

When the hospital social worker notes Y has been a repeat customer and both she and the doc on the floor indicate she can't make any decisions for herself and badly needs a guardian, the determination is damn simple to make, and after talking with Y its even simpler.

Now, as to who's paying for this?  Well, Y's sole source of income is Social Security Disability.

Even better, Y's drug dealer apparently has direct access to her checking account.  This clearly helps his cash-flow situation and assures he gets paid, and it is interesting to see that ACH isn't just for law-abiding businesses anymore.  Until a guardian is appointed this apparently cannot be just shut off as Y has sole control of the account and the bank won't give the proposed guardian any info until they are appointed.

To put it plainly: the US Government is paying a drug dealer for heroin with your tax dollars, courtesy of SSDI.

The government is, of course, also footing her quite extensive and expensive medical bills with those lovely tax dollars as well.

Friday, November 14, 2014

One Of The Dumbest Race Card Displays in Detroit History

Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett, in a letter to help Robert Davis get his job back at the AFSCME Union claimed that his prosecution was racially motivated and that the criminal investigation and prosecution for his embezzlement of Highland Park School District funds was an example of
'what a black man in Detroit' is up against,'"
There's a little problem with the rabid waving of the race card in this case -- Davis plead guilty to the embezzlement and admitted to stealing at least $92,000 in Highland Park School District funds.

 So the Wayne County Clerk is backing a convicted felon and denying his felonious ways in the face of all the evidence, including his admission of guilt, to the contrary.

That tells you a little something about the way of the race card in Detroit and how Union Democrats stick together through thick, thin and the theft of public monies.

The Detroit News: Wayne Co. clerk: Davis' prosecution racially motivated.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dangerous Detroit Continues To Be Tops In Crime

Detroit scored at the very top of the FBI's crime stats to take first place as the most dangerous city with a population over 100,000.

While other large cities may be fudging their stats and affecting the rankings, this is still a sad accomplishment.

Detroit led in both murders with 45 per 100,000 residents, and led in violent crime.

Other Michigan cities to make the list were Flint and Saginaw both leading in the cities with populations over 50,000 category.

Detroit has a long, long ways to go before becoming a prosperous and livable city again.

Source: The Detroit News: Detroit led U.S. in murder, crime rates, FBI says

Michigan DGU News

Up in Menominee County, 3 crooks discovered that a home invasion is just not a good idea, one of them quite fatally.

The Detroit News: Sheriff: Man shot, killed in Michigan break-in

Sheriff Kenny Marks said the 62-year-old homeowner defended himself early Monday after hearing the men breaking in and calling 911. He says authorities found the 19-year-old dead at the scene with multiple gunshot wounds. They captured the two other men in the woods near the home in Mellen Township.
 Nice shooting on his part, and I suppose they won't be trying that again anytime soon.  Interesting that the article refers to the dead attacker as a 19 year old man.  Often they try to soften it and give sympathy for the criminal by painting someone that age as a youth, a kid, or some-such.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day

I'm not a veteran but I have a strong appreciation for those who have so rightly served our country.

So, here's a few blogging vets and their posts, as always and certainly upon this day, are worth reading:

Nobody Asked Me: Veteran's Day

Chant Du Depart:  Veteran's Day 2014

A Bubblehead's Constitutional Discussion: Veteran's Day 2014

Home On The Range: They Shall Not Grow Old 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gratz Confounds Them Again

Apparently the idea that conservatives can be for equality and equal opportunity across the spectrum makes liberals' (and to be fair some conservatives as well) heads explode.

The Detroit News: Gay marriage finds odd bedfellow in Jen Gratz

Liberals just can't fathom how Jennifer Gratz, who successfully fought against discrimination due to affirmative action, could possibly be against discrimination in marriage.
From a conservative perspective, Gratz's defense of the voter-approved constitutional amendment barring affirmative action may seem at odds with her support of striking down the voter-approved amendment banning gay marriage. But given her passion for upholding the 14th Amendment, it makes sense.
Not just the 14th Amendment,  but the simple concepts of equality and that there's things the government simply shouldn't be sticking its nose into.  Probably the government would also be a lot more effective if it stayed out of such things and instead focussed on its core functions so it could get something done right.

Good on Gratz for confounding the simple-minded who can't fathom that she can be a complex and rational thinker and be consistently for real equality.

Communist Terrorist Birds Of A Feather

If you didn't already know that Rasmea Odeh is a terrorist commie scumbag, when Angela Davis crawls out from under a rock to lie and propagandize on her behalf you know Odeh is terrorist commie scum.

The Detroit News: Angela Davis: Free Rasmea Odeh, political prisoner

No, not a political prisoner.  Someone lying on their immigration forms after they were convicted of a terrorist bombing is hardly a political prisoner.

Angela Davis never bothers to mention what Rasmea Odeh was convicted of, and blithely out and out lies by writing:
Odeh never committed a crime, and her arrest and conviction by an Israeli military court was unlawful.
No, her conviction wasn't "unlawful" she was convicted of participation in a string of bombings including bombing a supermarket that killed 2 people.  Funny how Davis never mentions that part in her editorial filled with standard leftist jargon.

Odeh out and out lied on her immigration application to this country and darn well should be at the very least deported for that crime.

Odeh is, contra Davis protests, far from innocent, and the evidence of that comes not just from Israeli records and testimony, but from videotaped statements by her fellow conspirator in the attacks:
In a 2004 documentary, Women in Struggle, a woman named Ayesha Oudeh—identified in news reports as either Rasmieh Odeh’s sister or her “comrade” – said in an interview: “Rasmiyeh Oudeh was more involved than I was [in the grocery store bombing] … I only got involved during the preparation of explosives. We wanted to place two bombs to blow up consecutively. I suggested to have the second bomb go off 5 or 6 minutes after the first bomb so that those who get killed in it would be members of the army and secret service, but it did not explode. They diffused it 20 seconds before it exploded.”
Note that Odeh formerly (or for all we know a current) member of the PFLP,  a Marxist-leninist Arab terrorist group and part of the PLO, was also an Obamacare Navigator and Community Organizer in Chicago prior to her arrest and trial here in Detroit, so she's not strayed from her Marxist circles, which helps explain why Davis is running cover for her.

The opinion piece is just one Marxist scum covering for another.

Legal Insurrection  has some good coverage of the Odeh trial, including the attempt by the Defense and Odeh herself to go for juror nullification and to  ignore the judge's pretrial orders that her unsubstantiated claims of torture are irrelevant to her lying on her immigration application and can't be introduced - she did it anyways.

Update:  Rasmea Odeh is Found guilty of unlawful procurement of naturalization

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Some Family Volunteering - The Fall Fix-Up

Today the family gathered with many other volunteer families for the Jewish Family Services Fall Fix Up.

Groups of families go out into the community in teams and help the elderly and other shut-ins who are living alone by raking their leaves, washing their exterior windows and helping tidy up their yards.

So we went with two other families we knew to Oak Park and spent quite a few hours helping out.

We raked up many, many, bags worth of leaves and cleaned windows until they shined.

It was a good time and the kids worked hard and did some good work, and they were highly appreciated by those we helped.

Not a bad way to spend some time as a family on a pleasant Sunday.

Diving And Cars Usually Don't Go Together Unless You're James Bond

But when you dive and retrieve a car, it must be kinda neat.

The Detroit Free Press: Dive team recovers sports car from Saginaw River

A late 80s Porsche 944 found in 13 feet of water 50 feet from the shore.

Good discovery and nice retrieval.  It'll be interesting to see if it was stolen or if alcohol was involved in its ending up in the river.  Something tells me that this particular Porsche 944 isn't just going to just dry right out and is likely going to get parted out if anything is salvageable.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Superior Tavor Upgrade

The main complaint people have about the Tavor is its trigger.

Ranging from around 8-12 pounds out of the box, which can be reduced if you disconnect one of the springs, but it is simply not a light AR-type trigger that most shooters are now used to having. Instead, out of the box it feels more FAL-like, with a long hard trigger pull, though it is better than a typical FAL and still perfectly usable.

That complaint is no longer applicable.

Enter the Geissele Super Sabra Trigger.

Made of metal compared to the plastic housing of the standard Tavor trigger pack, the difference is noticeable, with all the surfaces of the Giessele being highly polished.

Shiny Super Sabra

Factory Tavor Trigger Pack
A direct replacement for the IWI Tavor trigger pack, the Super Sabra is a drop-in, no-fuss, instant upgrade of awesome that couldn't be easier to install:

Step 1. make sure the rifle is unloaded.

Step 2. Pull the cocking lever back to cock the hammer spring.

Step 3. Pull out the two locking pins holding the trigger pack in place.

Step 4. Remove factory trigger pack, install Super Sabra in its place and push the pins back in.

And you're done.

Once installed, the trigger felt simply awesome, better than my ARs, and having a nice clean break. It felt like a 4.5 pound match trigger that was simply fantastic to shoot.

No longer does the rifle dance around at all while the trigger is being pulled. Simply put, the Super Sabra has to be tried to fully appreciate how good it is and how it makes the Tavor an even better and more accurate rifle.

I ran 120 Rounds of Lake City 55 grain through it with the new Super Sabra trigger pack in at the Blogshoot and there were no failures or hiccups of any kind. Others there who tried it really liked it and were impressed with the trigger.

Yes, the Tavor is now my favorite modern-day rifle.

If you've got a Tavor, the Geissele Super Sabra Trigger Pack is the upgrade to get before doing anything else to the rifle should you desire a nice, sweet, and perfect trigger.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The Blogshoot

Saturday Morning the bloggers all gathered at the range to have at it.

As usual Murphy's Law had organized a great event and we had a great turnout of some of the finest people around.

Since I was helping RSO the event, I didn't get to take a lot of pictures, but I did get a few.

Keads running the pin shoot:

He worked hard at it and made it a rip-roaring success. It was a great idea and very well executed.

Nancy stole the show with her Brown Bess:

Hayden with the M-60:

I let various bloggers run the Uzi and they all had fun with it.

Everyone was safe and lots of money was turned into noise for a good cause.

Afterwards we adjourned to a restaurant offering some fine prime rib and other good eats and there was much good conversation:

Old NFO was on hand to autograph and personalize copies of his latest novel, and you know I picked one up and will review once I've finished it.

Then Keads announced the standings in the pin shoot and prizes for the pin shoot were handed out, as well as prizes for the most interesting firearm and longest distance traveled to the shoot.

And another great blogshoot, that raised $800 for charity, was done.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Some Pics On The Way Back To WV

After enjoying the museum, we headed back to West Virginia to meet up with some of the blogshoot participants that had arrived early.

On the way back, we passed by a site that's famous for its history:

Yes, it's Three Mile Island, and we had a rather happy glow as we passed it.

We passed over some nice bridges and fall colors:

We flew past York, PA and the airstrip where we had done a slip and a touch-n-go on the way out.

Simply a spectacular flight and a great day.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Flying To An Air Museum

We went to Reading, PA and the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum.

The first plane we saw on landing was this classic Vickers Viscount, in Capital Airlines livery.

There was also a beautiful Lockheed Neptune and a C-47 on the tarmac

There were also helicopters, in various sad states of disrepair:

Right in front of the museum entrance was this Eastern Airlines Martin 4-0-4.

Entering the museum proper, we surprised the attendant who wondered how we got in through the back by the airfield. Well we flew in on a plane to the airfield at the back of the museum and so there we were. We paid our admission fee and looked around the hangar and indoor displays.

The hangar was packed to the gills with an assortment of classic aircraft:

Aircraft were hanging on walls and suspended from the ceiling.

On the upside there was no one else in the hangar with us so we had plenty of time to move from aircraft to aircraft, often ducking under wings and fuselages to see the next one in past the outside aircraft.

There was a very special aircraft indeed in the hangar, a P-61 Black Widow being restored to flying condition:

She doesn't look like much now, but in time she'll be back to looking something like this:

Murphy's Law has more pics and narrative of the visit as well.