Monday, June 30, 2014

The Outpost: A Gripping Read Of Americans In Battle In Afghanistan

Just finished reading an account of the Battle of Combat Outpost Keating - The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper.

The book covers the founding of the Combat Outpost through its demolition and abandonment after the October 3, 2009 Battle of Kamdesh, when a force of 300 Taliban insurgents attacked the outpost of 60 Americans of Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment and Two Latvians and a handful of Afghanistan National Army members that almost entirely either ran away or joined the insurgents. Outnumbered 5 to 1, the Americans and Latvians held and defeated the attack.

8 Americans were killed, 27 wounded and over 150 Taliban were killed. The surprise attack was repulsed even after the Taliban managed to overrun a portion of the outpost.

The book points out the folly of the location of the outpost, established to house a Provincial Reconstruction Team - on a mainly unusable road in a valley dominated by three mountains controlled by the insurgents. The book then points out the greater folly of leaving the outpost open after it was decided that the road was not unusable because of its bad condition, and the constant insurgent attacks made it unusable as a PRT base even as soldiers at the base were continually ambushed, wounded or killed. Multiple commanders of the outpost were killed, including one by an IED assassination. Conditions at the base were beyond difficult and the hardships the men faced were grave indeed.

Politics and dithering caused the lack of sufficient troops in Afghanistan for the mission of combatting the insurgents, which is quite fairly pointed out to be the fault of both Bush and then later Obama.

Politics and dithering then compounded to lead to the battle, as the troops of the outpost would have avoided being there at the time of the attack had the closing gone ahead as scheduled, but a series of delays in the closing of the base during the feud between Obama and McChrystal occurred, leaving it vulnerable to attack even after the decision to close it had been made and announced (including to the enemy) but no definitive timetable set due to the political issues.

Interestingly, the book, written in 2012, notes that Bowe Berghdahl walked away from the base he was stationed on in June 2009, after leaving an angry email to his parents, and the efforts to search for him diverted needed helicopters and other assets needed to have shut down the outpost, delaying its closure until after the attack on October 3, 2009.

The book is a gripping read that tells of the amazingly heroic acts of troops stationed at the outpost, including many who won Medals of Honor for their actions at the Base such as Sergeant First Class Jared Monti, killed while on a mission near the outpost and awarded the medal posthumously for his gallantry that day, and Sergeant Clinton Romesha, and Staff Sergeant Ty Carter who earned their Medals of Honor in the Battle of Kamdesh itself. Take the time to read their citations and reflect on their outstanding acts of selflessness and bravery beyond all expectation.

In addition, nine other soldiers earned the Silver Star in the pivotal battle, and eight Distinguished Flying Crosses were awarded to the pilots that bravely risked themselves to provide vital air support to help beat back the attack.

Vividly written and detailed, the book is highly recommended for its detailed look at Combat Outpost Keating and its narrative of events from its founding through the Battle of Kamdesh, and its telling of the valor of the troops there whose stories certainly deserve to be read and remembered.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's A Problem.

Old NFO had a video posted yesterday of a USMC Harrier pilot earning his flight pay.

Here's a video of another crew earning their pay and demonstrating what happens when the right engine of a Boeing 757 meets a bird on takeoff.

The calm professionalism of the crew, the tower, and rescue and how they worked the problem is impressive indeed. This sang-froid was no doubt helped by having British accents.

Very nicely done gentlemen.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Time Of Calm - A Coin Of Probus

Peace was a rare commodity in the Roman World, so any cessation of hostilities foreign and domestic, however short-lived, was worth commemorating.

Obverse: IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG (Imperator, Caesar, Marcus Aurelius Probus, Pius Felix Augustus) Radiate, Draped Bust of Emperor Probus right.

Reverse: CLEMENTIA TEMP (Clementia Temporum - a time of peace and calm) The Emperor standing right, holding Scepter, receiving Winged Victory on Globe from Jupiter, standing left and also holding Scepter.

The B in the lower center is the Antioch Mint Officina mark, and the XXI in exergue is not a mint mark, but instead a value marking. It means the coin was made from a ratio of 20 parts bronze to 1 part silver, or 5% Silver.

This antoninianus is in practically uncirculated condition with full silvering, just as an inhabitant of the Imperium Romanum would have seen it when freshly minted. The portrait of the emperor is nice and crisp with excellent detail. Lovely condition for a coin that's over 1,700 years old.

Compared to the prior coin that has had significantly more wear over time with the silver wash worn away and with it showing the bronze underneath.

In the throes of the high inflation that gripped the Roman world at the time, millions of these coins were minted to keep up with the demand for money. Many have survived in everything from miserable to excellent condition and all stages in between, and are easily obtainable for a starting collector of Roman coins.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Detroit News' Dale Hansen Falls For Mother Jones' Anti-Gun Debunked Study

Dale Hansen, the Detroit News' reliably leftist columnist, falls for another lefty fraud that reinforces leftists' preconceptions about gun control:

The Detroit News: Better an unarmed survivor than a dead hero

He accepts without question Mother Jone's already debunked study that alleges a "good guy with a gun has never stopped a massacre".

Um, no, even the Weekly Standard points out this Mother Jones study is bunkum.

Is it True Armed Civilians Have Never Stopped a Mass Shooting?

Of course Mother Jones cooks the books right off the bat - 4 people have to be dead before any good guy can stop it to count as a good guy stopping a mass shooting according to their methodology. So, if you prevent any deaths from happening, or stop the bad guy after only 1 to 3, it doesn't count.

Think about the inanity of that qualifier.

Hansen of course could have found this out in 5 seconds or less using teh Google, but he has an agenda to push, not facts.

He then ends his idiotorial with another bald faced lie, this time of his own making:

You don’t have to support a repeal of the 2nd Amendment to recognize that in most states you are required to present more information to vote or own a car than you need to purchase a gun.

Wait a minute, I thought even the idea of showing ID before voting was verboten to Hansen and those like him. Clearly, Hansen has never heard of things like Form 4473, NICS checks and the like, nor the fact that you can indeed privately buy a car from someone without any id at all, and that you can register to vote with nothing more than a copy of a utility bill - by mail.

Just a few less lies and untruths next time Mr. Hansen, ok?

Bankrupt Detroit To Give Union Member Employees Raises

The city is not even out of bankruptcy yet, and the contract they've negotiated gives a 5% pay raise on July 1, 2014, a 2.5% bonus in 2015 and then 2.5% increases in 2016, 17and 18.

The Detroit Free Press: Unions, city of Detroit ink 5-year contracts with 4 annual pay raises

In return for the rather impressive raises given the fact that Detroit is after all, bankrupt, the AFSCME will support the "grand bargain" bailout of Detroit.

Wow. Detroiters truly have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Walking After Midnight Never Leads To Anything Good In Detroit

The Detroit Free Press: 4 men shot - 2 fatally - while walking down street in Detroit, police say

Four men were shot and two of them died after they were fired upon while walking down a street after midnight this morning on Detroit’s west side, police said.

Of course, those shot and with the people who were shot didn't call police, drove themselves to a hospital, and claimed to not know where the shots came from:

The survivors told police they heard gunshots and felt pain, and they didn’t know where the shots were coming from, Moreno said.

The classic heard gunshots, felt pain line.

Any takers on the bet that they really had no idea what happened?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I'm So Glad The UN Has Managed To Solve All The World's Problems.

They must have, as they've taken time out of their busy diplomatic schedule to lambaste Detroit for daring to shut off water to scofflaws in the city that aren't paying.

Oh, half of all the water department accounts in Detroit are delinquent. That along with the extensive history of corruption in squandering and diveritng the funds form the half and the suburbs that do pay is why the water department is in such bad shape.

The Detroit News: UN says Detroit water cutoffs may violate human rights

According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, free water (or to be truthful, water paid for by others) is a human right.

Funnily enough, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights doesn't list free water as a human right.

Curiously, the Detroit News did not quote the part from the news release where ther UN further beclowned itself by claiming that “If these water disconnections disproportionately affect African Americans they may be discriminatory, in violation of treaties the US has ratified,” Farha added.

Hard to see how it could be disproportionate, since the city is majority African American, and it will be African Americans doing the shut offs for non-payment by the freeloaders, and one can expect the shut-offs to be likewise proportional.

Just glad to see the UN Human Rights Council Is focusing on the real important human rights violations of the day, even if they only exist in the vile prog's and Tranzis fevered imaginations.

Some People Really Do Prefer To Sit And Curse The Darkness

So yesterday, Governor Snyder signed bills into law that both enhanced firearm record privacy and fixed the stupid law that prevented youths from handling pistols unless their parents were present.

Incremental improvements that we talked about here before.

Of course the usual suspect who we've run into before over at Right MI, while conflating multiple issues and drawing false conclusions in a manner that would make an ADD-addled squirrel jealous, thinks this is somehow a bad thing, and that people in favor of it are apparently in his words Booberus Michiganderus.

Well, ok then.

So, are you going to sit there and curse the darkness, hoping for nirvana and badmouthing all the accomplishments made by the efforts of others (that he will no doubt take advantage of) and insulting them while doing so? After all, that's the easy way.

Or are you going to work to improve firearms rights in Michigan (or your state) and the US by doing you know, actual work like contacting your legislators to support pro-gun legislation, contributing to pro-gun candidates and organizations (cough NRA-ILA, and other effective groups, cough)?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What The Heck Did I Just See?

Over at Of Arms and The Law, Mr. David Hardy has a link to what may be the latest head-scratcher video to come out of the Middle East:

L.A. Gangbangers head to Syria

Click the link to see a crazy mash-up of LA-style gun handling skills and gang-banger color commentary on display in Syria of all places.

Yes, really.

If anything, the typical gang-banger's gun-handling skills have gotten even worse as they've picked up Arab insurgent techniques, including the renowned Over-the-head In-sh'Allah shooting technique to incorporate into their mad skillz as they shoot in between swear words.

Still No Confirmation That The Elusive Griffon Shipwreck Has Been Found

The Detroit News: Explorer says Griffin shipwreck may be found in Lake Michigan

There's still no confirmation that the debris he has found in lake Michigan is La Salle's long-lost ship the Griffon or not.

The Great Lakes seems reluctant to give up the location of their longest-missing European shipwreck.

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's Stupid Criminal Monday

Stupid Criminal #1 Michelle Morales-Gonzales, serves as a warning that you should never, ever pretend to be a Fed, and then she went beyond just pretending that:

The Detroit Free Press: Fake agent strip-searched boy, forced family to give urine samples, feds say

A wild and bizarre impersonation tale is unfolding in federal court, where a northern Michigan woman is accused of pretending to be a federal agent, searching people’s homes for suspected drug use, detaining residents for hours and forcing them to give urine samples in 7-Eleven cups for drug testing.

She also ordered strip searches, the government says, alleging she once forced a 16-year-old boy to strip down to his underwear so she could check for needle track marks.

My bet, serious mental problems or just a bad case of wannabee-fed-itis.

This stupidity may result in up to a three-year sentence for impersonating a Fed and making false arrests and searches.

Remember folks, don't be a wannabee.

Stupid Criminal #2, Emma Czornobaj, Our next and even more stupid criminal, caused death over ducks.

Yes, ducks.

The Detroit Free Press: Woman who stopped for ducks faces life in prison

A Canadian woman parked her car on a Montreal-area highway in 2010 to help a group of ducklings; almost four years to the day later, Emma Czornobaj was on Friday found guilty of causing the deaths of a motorcyclist and his passenger daughter who smashed into her car.

She parked her car in the left lane of a highway!

She stopped for the purpose of getting out and ushering ducks across a highway. Instead of letting Darwin take its course on the avian world, she caused the death of two people who crashed into her stopped vehicle that was freakin' parked in the fast lane of a highway.

I'm not sure how we're going to top that act of criminal stupidity, but I'm sure an even more stupid criminal will come along. After all, if you read the comments in the Freep article, you'll see a multitude of people defending this idiot, so there's a healthy population of stupid out there from which our next criminal may arise.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Quiet Sunday Stuff

The day started with Abby taking me for a bicycle ride immediately after my wake-up cup of coffee.

She's come a long way in a short while, from stopping at getting off the bike at any steep hill to now gleefully tearing down them at speed. She's also getting better going uphill as well, as she just learned what bikes down the hill must bike back up the hill.

We rode around for a few miles, stopped to get some chocolate and assorted sundries and headed back home after about an hour ride. This being my first time on a bike in a couple years, that was just about right.

Then Jett got a visit from his best friend Rocky and they proceeded to tear it up, including their favorite game of stick-of-war.

They took a water break with each of them lapping from the biowl at the same time with no problems, and then went right back to it.

Then after a good long playtime including rapid laps around the house, they both laid down panting happily beside each other until it was time for Rocky to head home.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Not So Semper FIDES - A Coin Of Probus

Obverse: IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG. (Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Probus Augustus) Large bust of the Emperor in armor facing right and wearing a double diadem.

Reverse: FIDES MILITVM. (The loyalty of the Armies) III in exerge. Personification of Fides standing facing right, holding a legionary standard in each hand.

Mint mark is III for the Lugdunum mint in Gaul, today known as Lyon. The III indicates the third officinae produced this coin.

The loyalty of the armies was of paramount concern to a Roman emperor, especially in the third century when they were keenly aware of how often emperors were overthrown my their own legions. After all, Probus had just led his army to overthrow the prior emperor Florian in 276 just three months after Florian had been elevated to the purple.

Since much of the monies minted in this period was for legionary pay, propagandizing the military virtues of the emperor, his victories against enemies of Rome, and appealing to the loyalty of the armies as in this coin were very necessary endeavors.

Unfortunately, in 282 AD, the loyalty of the armies to Probus ran out and he was murdered by his own soldiers in Sirmium.

This is an interesting reverse variation because most of the cataloged coins of the Fides Militvm series have Fides facing left, not right.

Friday, June 20, 2014

To Colorado Governor - Apology Not Accepted

Fox News: Colorado governor tries to apologize for gun control measures, blames staff, then curses

Proving the adage that a politician only sees the light when you show 'em the heat, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper is trying to "apologize" for his signing of the onerous, ineffective and downright unconstitutional anti-gun legislation into law.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s awkward attempt to patch things up with his state’s sheriffs over his support of controversial gun control legislation isn’t going as planned.

The governor, a Democrat, offered a series of unusual explanations during a meeting he held last Friday with a group of Colorado sheriffs for why he signed legislation that restricts the sale of ammunition magazines of more than 15 rounds.

First, Hickenlooper blamed his staff for not anticipating the opposition on gun control. He then apologized for his staff’s inability to effectively communicate and promised to do better in the future. ...

Hickenlooper also said he felt pressure to sign the bill into law because a member of his staff “made a commitment.”

“To be honest, no one in our office thought it would get through the legislature,” he said. “There were several Democrats who said without question they weren’t going to vote for it.”

The measure passed the Democrat-controlled legislature. No Republicans voted for it.

Last year, Hickenlooper spoke in favor of gun-control measures that called for background checks for all firearm sales as well as transfers.

Could it be the recall of a couple anti-gun Colorado senators and an upcoming election have anything to do with this faux apology?

Throwing your staff under the bus for your failings is always a class act by a politician and implies he can't even control his own staff, and given Hickenlooper's record of being in favor of these bills his apology rings hollow.

If you want your apology accepted Governor, you can state that your signing of the bill was wrong and that you'll sign a repeal of the law and that you want that repeal bill on your desk post-haste. Until you do that, it's quite clear that you're not really apologizing at all.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hoist, Meet Petard.

It seems like the push for action and airstrikes in Iraq is running into a bit of an intelligence problem:

The Detroit News: CIA facing gaps in Iraq as it hunts for militants.

The CIA and other spy agencies are scrambling to close intelligence gaps as they seek ways to support possible military or covert action against the leaders of the al-Qaida-inspired militant group that has seized parts of Iraq and threatens Baghdad’s government.

The lack of clear intelligence appears to have shifted President Barack Obama’s immediate focus away from airstrikes in Iraq because officials said there are few obvious targets. However, officials said no final decisions had been made and suggested Obama ultimately could approve strikes if strong targets do become available.

Hmm, now why could this be?

Obama’s decision-making on airstrikes has been complicated by intelligence gaps that resulted from the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq in late 2011, which left the country largely off-limits to American operatives. Intelligence agencies are now trying to close gaps and identify possible targets that include insurgent encampments, training camps, weapons caches and other stationary supplies, according to U.S. officials.

So in the rush to declare victory and leave, Obama deliberately failed to obtain a Status of Forces Agreement to keep troops in place and ripped up the very intelligence networks he needs now to act intelligently to provide air strikes requested by the Iraqi government.

Well, at least now we know what could possibly go wrong with that.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Your Captain Obvious Headline Of The Day

Gaze on past the defensive and petulant Obama headline of "I don't need permission" (otherwise known as: Don't try to stop me), and look down a bit and you'll find your Captain Obvious headline of the day:

No, really?

Yes, CNN's headline on the missing Flight 370 really is "Experts: Flight 370 is in a different spot."

Brilliant deduction there Sherlock. If it wasn't in the spot, it has to be in a different spot, right?

Sheesh, journalists today.

M1 Rail To Nowhere Looking For More Of Other People's Money

Light Rail is nirvana for the SWPL folks.

It's apparently such a draw that you can cancel it, but it keeps coming back again.

Even at 3 miles it's supposedly the little engine that could bring economic development to Detroit, just by existing and going up and down the three mile strip.

Even this crazy expensive light rail to nowhere is considered awesome. It's backers were all ready to go until they re crunched the numbers and realized they didn't get all the federal money up front they thought they would receive and were short $12 million out of the $173 million:

The Detroit News: Detroit's M-1 rail project in jeopardy without millions in new fed funding

The $173 million dollar, three mile light rail project on Woodward, down from the originally planned 8 miles of rail at $371 million just realized that they're short about $12 million in initial start costs and need it from the Feds to get the project started.

At $8,000 a foot, 57.6 Million per mile, it's costing about ten million more per mile to build the smaller system than the original 8 mile system. Expect the inevitable cost overruns to jack it up even more.

The Woodward Light rail project is looking like a case of the politician's syllogism:

We must do something mass transity to show what a cool place we are.
The M-1 Rail project is something mass transity (for all of 3 miles and an unknown amount of riders with millions of annual subsidies to be determined).
Therefore We must build it.

Another Detroit project that goes nowhere yet will be subsidized forever.

Monday, June 16, 2014

US Navy to Dive Houston

The wreck of the World War 2 heavy cruiser USS Houston that is.

Fox News: US Navy divers to visit wreck of USS Houston in Indonesia

A ship of the ABDA fleet in February 1942, she was sunk, along with HMAS Perty in the Battle of the Sunda Straight in a night action where she was outnumbered, outgunned, and outclassed at night fighting.

696 men on the Huston were killed, and 368 survived to become prisoners of the Japanese and many of them died from maltreatment at their captor's hands.

Resting at 125 feet under water, the wreck is just inside the safe diving range for recreational divers, and as such the Navy is concerned that scavengers may be pillaging the wreck. The USS Houston is a war grave and should only be visited with the utmost respect, not for the scavenging of artifacts.

The U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command's Underwater Archaeology Branch will provide a report of the survey completed by the divers.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Birthday Jett!

Hard to believe, but Jett is now a one-year-old.

I remember first seeing him at the farm where he was born, and taking him home last August.

From a little fur-ball to a great pup, he's grown into an excellent family dog indeed.

Tonight he'll get a meaty dinner and then a frosty paws as a birthday treat.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Quick! The Emperor Probus Is Coming. Look Busy.

The Emperor Probus was quite a mobile emperor.

Obverse: IMP PROBVS AVG. (Imperator Probus Augustus). Emperor facing right in armor with double diadem.

Reverse: ADVENTVS AVG (The arrival of the Augustus). Emperor on horseback facing left, right hand raised in greeting, left hand holding a scepter, captive at the horse's front feet and RXZ in exerge.

The Mint Mark R(star)Z is for (R) Rome, Z is zeta or seventh officinae, the mint sub-office where the coin was minted, and the star is a control mark. The green flecks you see on the reverse is verdigris, the result of the underlying bronze being exposed to air for a long time, in this case about 1737 years.

The Adventus series of coins commemorate the visit of the emperor to the city designated in the mint mark of the coin. In this case, the coin was minted for his arrival to Rome in 277 AD.

Other cities featured in the Adventus series include Ticinum (Italy), Siscia (Croatia), Lugdunum (in Gaul), Serdica (now Sofia, Bulgaria), and Cyzicus (western Turkey), which indicates a fair bit of traveling for the Emperor.

Coins of Probus are very fun (and affordable) to collect. There's lots to choose from given the variety of types, legends and symbols that appear on his coins. There are 12 different obverse legends alone, and the emperor can be depicted in various types of armor, helmet and weapons, and that's just on the obverse of the coin. On the reverse are multiple types and lots of different mint marks and legends.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Sure(Dry)Fire Course Of Improvement

So I've decided to work on improving my shooting skills.

Since time constraints prevent me from going to the range daily or even weekly, the solution is a dedicated course of dry-firing in addition to range trips whenever I can fit them in.

Two tools are going to help me with this.

The first is this:

Yes, it's the Pocket Pro II timer. It's been great on the range but it's really shining as a dry fire aid. You may think you're fast and smooth, the timer will tell you differently.

With the help a random start setting (or the world's cutest RO pressing the button) and the par time option, you can use it for dry-firing by setting the interval to perform whatever drill you're doing and try to accomplish it within the par time, before the second beep sounds. The timer does the job very well indeed, and it doesn't lie.

Now you shouldn't just dry fire aimlessly, though there's nothing wrong with some un-structured dry-firing from time to time, but you should have a plan for improvement and use it to work on your skills. Dry firing needn't be boring, and it should be challenging.

That's where tool #2 comes in:

It's a book: Champion Shooting: Guaranteed Results in 15 Minutes A Day by Jay Hirshberg and Ben Stoeger, both champion shooters.

This book is awesome - a comprehensive dry firing course that when done for 15 minutes a day will help you improve.

Each page has a different dry-firing routine, and each routine has variations to work on specific skills like drawing, sight-picture, reloads etc. Each variation has suggested beginner, intermediate and advanced times, and they're not easy. On most I can do the task in the intermediate time, but a few I'm stuck at beginner and for a very, very few so far, I can make it in the advanced times.

For example, a dry fire El-Presidente (3 targets, facing up-range on beep turn and two shots each target, reload, two shots each target) has the following suggested times: Beginner 5 seconds, Intermediate 4 seconds, and Advanced 3.5 seconds. That's pretty darn fast.

In four days I've gone through 6 of the exercises, and I'm going through the book in order. While you can pick and choose the drills as you wish, I figure I need improvement in everything so I might as well start from the beginning and make my way through to the end.

We'll see how well a dedicated course of dry firing helps out at the next match.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Epic Infrastructure Protection Is Epic

Driving along I noticed a facility with a lot of interesting pipes and valves and a very imposing gate festooned with severe no entry, no trespassing signs and warnings of danger:

Looks nice and secure right?

Let's zoom out a tad.

As you can see, the fence does not enclose the facility and you can even fit your car or truck around the gate and get to all those interesting looking valves and such. Basically the gate and warning signs will only keep out those who don't want to get in, as anyone who wants can get in with no effort at all.

Borepatch's often quoted statement that security wasn't an afterthought, it wasn't thought of at all seems to apply, and not just to cyber-infrastructure but to the physical. If you're not reading Borepatch regularly, you should.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

More Michigan Firearm Law Incremental Improvements

How do you get to a pro-gun environment and fix what years of anti-gun and gun-ignorant laws in Michigan have wrought?

You do it one bill at a time, or in this case with two bills at a time.

The first bill, HB 5085 which just passed the Senate fixes a ridiculous restriction in state law.

Under current Michigan law, if you're under 18, you cannot legally posses a pistol “for the purposes of target practice or instruction in the safe use,” of a handgun unless the “person’s parent or guardian is physically present and supervising the person.”

It fixes this by adding that anyone can be the youth's supervisor if they are over 21 and have taken a pistol safety class equivalent to the concealed carry class. It's a sensible fix and now allows the Boy Scouts and others to teach firearm and pistol safety and shooting. So if it passes you're no longer committing a crime if you teach youth to shoot pistols without their parents or guardians being present.

The bill has passed both House and Senate and is being enrolled to be sent on its way to the governor.

The second bill, SB 789 eliminates the County Gun Board system and simply has the County Clerk process the license. Under the proposal, the Clerk now must issue the license within 45 days and the application and receipt is proof of renewal, and is the carry permit if it takes over 45 days for the license to issue.

This fixes both the games played by various counties in delaying the issuance of a carry permit by malice or incompetence, and gets rid of the gun board system, which in some counties is still used to harass applicants by making them needlessly take time off work to appear before it only to have the board immediately approve the application. The bill also reduces the application fee from $105 to $90.

This bills now heads to the House for its consideration.

With luck next up will be reform and elimination of the no-carry zones, as there's still a lot of room for improvement with Michigan's firearm laws.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Meanwhile, Some Dangerous Mentally Ill Fall Through The Cracks And Death Results

Sometimes the mentally ill don't get the treatment they need, even when its glaringly obvious, until they kill somebody. then it's too late.

The Detroit Free Press: In Walled Lake case, cops say it's not easy to tell odd behavior from real threat

As described in the article, the Walled Lake Police well and truly screwed the pooch on this one:

The day before Charles Simkins shot and killed his neighbor over a dog, police went to his Walled Lake home on a complaint that he was threatening an animal control officer.

On that December afternoon, they found the Iraq war veteran in a rage. He had an illegal Glock handgun in a holster at his hip, screamed and cursed at police, and at one point, stripped to the waist — despite subfreezing temperatures. Simkins was furious they were questioning him about his dogs and the gun, which he insisted he had a right to carry.

As they tried to reason with him, he knelt bare-chested in the snow, threatening to expose his genitals and begging to be arrested. Worried about their safety, officers snatched the handgun out of his holster and told him they were confiscating it, further enraging him.

But they did not arrest him that day on the gun charge and instead left the scene. Nor did they run a background check that would have showed he had an additional 22 registered handguns stored in his trash-filled home on Sigma Street. He used one of those guns 33 hours later to kill neighbor Edwin Criswell.

Really, you don't take someone in after they threaten an animal control officer while armed, kneel in the snow and beg to be arrested? Especially when you have an easy arrest for the threats to the animal control officer and carrying concealed in a vehicle when his CPL was expired?

Did no one at the scene think this is abnormal behavior, even for and most especially in Walled Lake where people are pretty boringly normal for the most part?

No one checked to see if he had other firearms, and he's not arrested after the police were worried enough that he was threatening them to take his firearm from him?

Even better they didn't consider an armed threat and his behavior to be a danger to himself or others?

Well, they amazingly didn't.

A day later he shoots and kills a neighbor.

Some Teeter, Some Tip.

There's a fine line between artistic talent and insanity, and some cross the line rather spectacularly.

I had a potential client come in on what had been described to me as a copyright problem and accompanying litigation, and they had been referred to me from another person who had been represented by another attorney that I know.

Well, it really wasn't a copyright problem as described.

The potential client comes in, lugging a tone of stuff including a huge box full of large prints of paintings.

The first clue something is amiss is that she wants to meet in a room without a computer and no cell phones because people can listen in on them.

Then it gets better.

You see, she's not just being sued for not paying for prints from a printer for a couple grand in small claims court and he's withholding the original print images from her.

No, instead the printer is in fact the mastermind behind a CIA/NSA/Mafia conspiracy that is surveying her, including overflights of her house by low flying aircraft, surveillance bugs in her walls, clicking sounds in the house and they are watching her through her TV, and following her wherever she goes.

And that's just for starters.

It gets better including random people approaching her on the street saying they know what she's been doing in her house, or even when she's in her hotel, to the printer being able to make people disappear, to having the TV newscasters repeat things back to her that she says.

Understand that she solidly believes this and is absolutely convinced this is actually happening.

Can you say Paranoid Schizophrenia or the very manic stage of Bipolar Disorder boys and girls?

Gently asking as to whether she's seen a psychiatrist she answers she doesn't like them and the medication prevents her from painting. That's another pretty good clue right there.

Apparently she wants to counter-sue the printer for her damages from this grand conspiracy against her.

Ok then. I point out that we don't practice the kind of law she wants and really can't assist her in her quest.

Needless to say I'm not representing this person and gently and repeatedly indicated to her that we can't represent her, and she's not happy about that and expects us to do it anyways.

Eventually it gets through to her that we're not going to do so and she should seek help elsewhere.

Sadly, she clearly needs help, not of a legal nature but rather of a psychiatric kind. But, as she's not overtly threatening or a danger to herself or others there's nothing I can do.

Hopefully someone that knows her intervenes and gets her the treatment she very clearly needs.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Another Race-Based Assault On A Driver In Detroit

On the heels of the attack on Steve Utash by a mob that left him hospitalized, another race based assault is being reported.

The Detroit News: Motorist claims he was beaten after accident on Detroit's east side

Police are investigating the beating of a white motorist who claims three black men pummeled him while using racial epithets after he caused a traffic accident over the weekend on the city’s east side.

The incident Saturday, as described by the victim, shares some similarities to the April beating of Steve Utash, whose assault by an angry mob following an accident made national headlines two months ago.

Nathanial Szczerbinski, 34, of Eastpointe, said the incident happened near Vernor and Chalmers at about 4:15 p.m. Saturday.

“I was heading the wrong way down a one-way street, and a car came out of nowhere,” said Szczerbinski, who was interviewed by The News on Monday as he prepared to undergo surgery for an eye socket fracture sustained in the beating.

“I got out to check on what happened, and three guys (from the other vehicle) got mad and started kicking my (expletive),” Szczerbinski said. “They were hollering, ‘White (expletive)’ while they were hitting me.”

Here the driver was at fault for the accident, unlike in the Utash incident.

Sadly, yet again it is reinforcing the idea that you do not get out of your car or remain at the scene after an accident in Detroit, but instead call the police and drive to the nearest police station to report the accident.

Regardless of fault, it is still unacceptable to have a racially-biased 3-on-1 beat down due to a car accident, even in Detroit.

How To Cry With Statistics - Safe Real Estate Edition

Yet another feel good survey using a methodology so questionable that even the newspaper headline trumpeting it takes pains to point that out.

The Detroit News: Report has flaws but names Detroit safest city from natural disasters

Detroit has been named the safest city in the nation. When it comes to natural disasters anyway. ... “One thing that is problematic about the study is that it only includes the last 10 years,” Thompson said. “It seems to be more of a climatology of weather events over the last 10 years more than a risk assessment. We still have the possibility of tornadoes, hail, strong winds, flooding, and major snowstorms.

This is how the study also concludes that San Francisco is ranked third of the cities safest from natural disasters.

You'll note the study is also silent on man-caused disasters.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

A Good Sunday Match

Just returned home from the USPSA match. The day and the match started out during a drizziling rain, which faded and was replaced by a blazing hot sun and humidity from the water the rain had just deposited throughout. To say I'm wiped would be an understatement.

Six challenging stages including one classifier.

Two stages were darn tricky, with some very alrge ones with a lot of steel and targets, some of which could be seen from multiple ports, and some hidden and only viewable from just the right position. It took a fair bit of thinking while shooting to clear those stages.

The dark house stage was awesome as always, this time with a zig-zag pattern that made for an interesting variation and challenge.

I did pretty well overall, and I'm starting to shoot a bit faster which is good.

The classifier this time was The Riverdale standards. It had three strings of fire but only 20 rounds.

The first string was 4 shots, 1 per target freestyle, reload and repeat one per target freestyle.

string 2 was 4 shots, 1 per target freestyle, reload and repeat one per target strong hand only.

String 3 was 4 shots, 1 per target support hand only.

Overall I did pretty well on it, but had a failure to feed on the last string, probably from not holding it strongly enough in my support hand. Quite a few people had malfunctions during that part of the classifier.

And another good match done.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Virtus Of The Emperor - A Coin Of Probus

Virtus in this case meaning the personification of the military virtues of manliness, courage and virtue. These virtues were vital for a third century Roman emperor to display and propagandize, lest his subordinates consider replacing him with someone more virtuous.

Obverse: IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG. (Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Probus Augustus) Emperor in armor facing left, wearing double diadem and carrying a spear.

Reverse: VIRTVS PROBI AVG. Virtue walking right, carrying a spear and trophy, Q in the right lower field.

The obverse of the coin shows the Emperor in later roman armor, carrying a spear showing his military virtues, and wearing the double diadem that marks the coin as a double denarius, today known as the antoninianus.

On this coin, the bronze can be seen beneath silver wash on the obverse, but the details of the emperor and his armor remain nice and sharp. A fair amount of the silver wash remains on the reverse with only a few bits of bronze showing through the silver.

This coin, from the Ticium mint, which has a mint mark of XXI. Just like the previous coin of Probus from the mint of Rome, it also has a letter from the word AEQVITI added to the coin's reverse, in this case a Q.

The obverse legend is interesting - Probus a third-century emperor who reigned from 276-282 A.D., is titled as Imperator or emperor, Caesar and Augustus - tying himself to the glory and power of Rome's first emperor and imperial dynasty.

Friday, June 06, 2014

D-Day Historical Question And Answer

Who Was The Greatest German General of World War 2?


Floriduh PD Loses M16, Only Sanction is No Free Armored Vehicle For The PD

 A police department in Florida that lost an assault rifle given to it through a federal government program will not receive an armored assault vehicle through the same federal government program that gave it the gun.

Florida Today reported Thursday that the Melbourne Police Department can't find a Colt M-16 rifle that had been given to it through a government program that gives surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies nationwide. The rifle was one of 65 the program gave to the Melbourne police and was discovered missing in January.
The paper reported that it is unclear if the gun was assembled at the time it disappeared or whether it is fully or semi-automatic.

So if you lose a rifle given to you by the feds, you don't get a free armored vehicle.  What the Melbourne PD would need a free armored vehicle for is never asked, and apparently not getting one isn't the end of the world either which makes one wonder if they needed one in the first place.

Blame is being placed on a lousy inventory system.

Just consider the consequences if you, as a non-police officer, lost a Class III firearm and didn't report that until a federal audit revealed the loss.  I'm quite positive that the penalty would be more severe than losing the shot at being given an armored vehicle, nor would blaming your inventory system do you much good.

70 Years Ago Today: They Stormed The Beaches At Normandy

The order of the day for June 6, 1944:

At 00:15 hours seventy years ago, pathfinders began dropping to mark the landing zones, and a minute later, the British Airborne landed gliders to take Pegasus bridge.

By 06:30, troops began an amphibious landing on five beaches - Omaha, Utah, Sword, Gold and Juno. By the day's end, 160,000 men would land on the beaches, but the first .

It was start of the greatest air and amphibious invasion the world has ever seen, nor will its like be seen again.

Saving Private Ryan, has an opening that gives one a view to what happened that day. Combine the opening of the film with some Sabaton and you have quite the tribute to the opening moments of the landings on the Sixth of June:

The invasion involved over 9,000 ships from Battleships participating in the bombardment to LCVPs transporting the assaulting infantry, 12,000 aircraft, and 160,000 men.

By the end of the day, one Canadian, three American, and three British infantry divisions, and three airborne divisions were established in Normandy, and it was the beginning of the end for the 1,000 year Reich in Western Europe.

4 Medals of Honor were awarded for actions on D-Day, including one to Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

One Victoria Cross was awarded for action that day - to Company Sgt Major Stan Hollis.

We shall not see the like of these men, nor a day like D Day again.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Not Shopping At Walgreens Anymore

It's a criminal empowerment zone that punishes employees that act in self-defense.

Back in September 2011, two armed robbers broke into a Michigan Walgreens pharmacy at 4:30 am.

The pharmacist, Jeremy Hoven, who was present and had a CPL, fired at the armed intruders and saved both his own life and his two co-workers.

Video of the incident confirms without question that it was an act of self-defense and the police investigating stated they would have acted in the same manner.

Walgreens then fired him.

The Detroit Free Press: Walgreens pharmacist who fired gun at thieves loses appeal

It's perfectly true that he was an at-will employee. Being a firearms owner and acting to save your own and others life do not provide discriminatory grounds that would prevent him from being fired, unlike for example if he was fired on the basis of race, gender etc. As such Walgreens, an Illinois headquarters company, could legally terminate his employment even as he did something that to any rational person should be considered praiseworthy and not grounds for termination.

It's a lousy situation where you're stuck with the choice of potentially losing your life or losing your employment. He made the right choice and hopefully is gainfully employed at a Pharmacy that recognizes his talents and good citizenship.

Walgreens has the legal right to terminate his employment.

You and I have the right to no longer patronize Walgreens as a result of their lousy though legal decision, and we can politely let them know why.

Unfortunately their corporate office seems to lack an email address to register your displeasure, but you can politely write to them at: Walgreen Co. 200 Wilmot Road, Deerfield, IL 60015, to let them know why you will no longer patronize their stores.

Remembering The Ritchie Boys

The Ritchie Boys was a US military intelligence unit were Jews that had fled Germany and Austria from the Nazis to America and joined the US Army.

Trained at Camp Ritchie in Maryland they were trained in intelligence, counter-intelligence, interrogation, investigation and psychological warfare. Speaking fluent German and understanding German culture, they were very valuable in providing timely intelligence to the Allies.

Detroit Free Press: 70 years after D-Day: West Bloomfield man remembers how he fled Nazis, then helped defeat them

Stern was one of what came to be known as the Ritchie Boys — German Jews who had fled the Nazis to America and returned to Europe with the U.S. military. Their fluency in German and understanding of cultures and customs helped them provide intelligence to U.S. commanders.
At Camp Ritchie, he spent two months of grueling training, learning close combat, aerial maps, interrogation techniques, Morse code, terrain intelligence and other skills.
Mr. Stern, the Ritchie Boy featured in the article had the job of interrogating German POWs to gain actionable intelligence and did his job very well indeed.

After the war, he sadly learned that his parents and siblings, who had not be able to flee Germany, were killed by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland.

The Ritchie Boys made an important and little-known contribution to the Allied victory in World War 2.

 An interesting documentary movie about these men, The Ritchie Boys and it is well worth watching.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Hop Along There Cassidy, Cause Being That Stupid Hurts

Look, in regards to Badges, just don't wear no stinkin' badges - especially if you haven't earned the right nor are appropriately employed to wear one.

Also dressing up like Dog the CIA bounty hunter while wearing a fake badge in a movie theater doesn't help much either:

The Detroit Free Press: Armed Michigan moviegoer with phony CIA badge faces sentencing today

A man who carried a loaded gun and wore body armor while seeing a movie near Flint faces sentencing for a phony CIA identification badge.

Cassidy Delavergne is scheduled to appear Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Flint, where he earlier pleaded guilty to having the badge.

From the article it appears he was carrying openly, while wearing visible body armor and displaying a false badge. It just does not get much more stupid than that.

When you look up the phrase "Stupid and inexplicable things you should never do while armed." - this is one of them.

Regardless of whether your badge came from the back of a magazine, a Cracker Jack box, or even if you made it in your garage, wearing it in public to pass yourself off as a law enforcement officer of any sort when you're not one is asking for serious trouble.

Oh, and because he had a concealed pistol license, this gets recorded as a crime committed by a CPL holder. Thanks ever so much for that.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Ice Ice Baby

So it's June 3, and there's still a very significant amount of ice on Lake Superior.

Go take a look at it all: Detroit Free Press: Michigan's endless winter: Yes, there's still ice on Lake Superior

Tell us again about Global Warming, cause you apparently forgot to to tell the ice about it.

Update: As of June 11, for the first time in seven months, the Coast Guard has officially declared the Lakes to be ice free. Sure took it long enough.

Propper Holster Concealment

Two items just recently arrived and are of considerable assistance in enhancing concealed carry.

The first, as the title of the post suggests, is the Propper Covert Button Up Shirt.

It's straight out of the package so it needs an ironing, but you get the idea. It's quite the excellent cover garment. Comfortable, breathable material, long and thick enough to both conceal the firearm and break up its outline with its pattern, and it has a raft of features.

Most useful is the fake button front.

While the top two buttons are real, the rest are a clever facade covering quick snaps that let you quickly open the shirt to access your firearm.

There are also velcro closures at the lower side of each seam that are easy to open to get access to a firearm that you may have on your hip.

In addition there are also two semi hidden chest pockets closed by magnetic closures that work quite well. Possibly useful for storing cash in a hidden location or important paperwork, but less valuable than the snaps and velcro.

Overall, the shirt is excellent for carrying concealed, and a full-sized M&P pistol hides beneath it with no issues at all. The only downside is it is very square-cut which is not my personal style and I look very blocky wearing it. For people that don't know me it won't be an issue, for people that do know me they'll likely wonder why the heck I'm changing my style of dress quite that much.

We'll see how it stands up to being washed and worn, but for now it's excellent casual concealed carry wear.

The second item that just arrived yesterday is a JM Custom Kydex AIWB holster.

To say this holster is carry-lifestyle-changing is an understatement.

Much more comfortable than the Vanguard 2 (which is still an excellent minimalist holster, don't get me wrong), it fits the M&P like a glove and completely changes how you go about carrying appendix style. I decided to get it after reading this extensive discussion on and decided to try it out.

The holster is made from a single piece of Kydex superbly molded to the shape of the pistol. Rounded edges prevent it from digging into your body and yet with the extra tuck option in rides in close and disappears under a dark loose t-shirt. It is both thinner and far more comfortable to wear than I expected.

I got it with the extra tuck option, and after a couple months wait I've received it and it makes carrying appendix position both more comfortable and much more secure than the VG2.

I didn't realize how much the holster would really improve carrying and it truly does: sitting is easier, holstering is much easier and safer, unholstering is faster, concealment is if anything easier, and the solid belt loop really keeps it in position. Most importantly, with the JM Custom AIWB holster, the front sight stops digging into spots most tender, which is really, really gratifying.

This holster is quite simply life-changing in terms of how much it improves safe and efficient concealed carry.

While everyone is different, if you intend to carry appendix style, a JM AIWB would be a really great choice and seems to work very well for most people who have ordered one, and it's worth the wait.

Note that I paid for both of these items with my own money and neither manufacturer requested nor knows that I'm doing this review.

Both the Propper Covert Shirt and The JM AIWB will really enhance your concealment of your pistol.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Thought For The Day: Patience

To Be Patient When It Is Tolerable To Be Patient Is Not True Patience.
To Be Patient When It Is Intolerable To Be Patient Is True Patience.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

So Make An Unauthorized Database Of Americans' Personally Identifiable Information. What's The Worst That Could Hppen?

Borepatch notes that even Law Enforcement Surveillance software is vulnerable to being compromised.

But worry not, the Feds, namely the The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), are rolling out what is quite arguably, at least by Republicans as the Democrats don't seem to care, unauthorized expansion of their authority to create a mortgage database that will potentially contain all borrowers' personal identifying information including social security numbers, race, address, mortgage payment history, all credit lines including student loans and credit cards, employment status, education and religion.

It would cover these details on every home purchased with a mortgage since 1998. It may have full data and persoanl identifying information to match against other datasets or just samples with the personal infor removed for further data analysis.

Categories of individuals covered by the system is blithely described in the regulation notice is "Individuals who have records in one or more credit bureaus or consumer reporting agencies."

In the modern USA, that's just about everybody.

A one-stop identity theft database, where you can bet security may get as much as an afterthought or not even a thought at all.

It is not quite fully explained as to why the the FHFA and CFPB want this expansion and what they will do with it, and the effect on consumer privacy that it will have on Americans for these government agencies to have this data at their fingertips is not discussed. On top of that, the potential for far too much havoc if the database is compromised certainly makes it worth worrying about, and for this expansion to be stopped until both its unintended and intended consequences are fully understood.

The Hill: Federal mortgage database draws privacy concerns from GOP

Gun Banners Coming To Realization That Emotional Fact-Free Rants Don't Work

So they're desperately trying to find a Plan B after finding out that Plan A, dancing in the blood of the dead is failing.

The Detroit Free Press: Grief, photos no longer inspire change in gun debate

Yes, no longer can a blind appeal to emotion sway most Americans from realizing that gun owners are not responsible for the acts of the few insane individuals that committed spree killings.

The Gn Controllers using the Santa Barbara incident are realizing they're haivng an uphillclimb, one fathers public rant notwithstanding because:

1. Yet again, its a narcissistic individual with a very long history of mental problems that commited the crime.

2. Yet again the authorities failed to intervene after clear warnings that he was a danger to himself and others.

3. In addition to using a firearm, the killer also killed just as many people with a knife and also used a BMW as an attempted murder weapon - blaming the gun alone when it was only used for 50% of all deaths incurred is hard to do.

4. it took place in California, an A rated state with the Gun Controllers for its ridiculously restrictive gun laws. Even with all those laws, the system still failed to prevent it, thus showing these laws to be pretty darn useless in deterring such spree killings,

So the transition to plan B is hard, instead of pure emotions, they're going to shift to emotions and lies at a local level.

Since last Friday, when Elliot Rodger murdered University of California-Santa Barbara student Christopher Michaels-Martinez and five others in Isla Vista, Michaels-Martinez’s father has publicly processed his grief and rage on viral videos by calling for gun control and blaming “craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA.”

But even as the videos racked up views on YouTube, political journalists across the country spent the week writing soberly about how Martinez’s grief won’t affect the gun debate.

Thay is why gun-control advocates are already experimenting with new tactics after grieving fathers like Daniel Barden (Sandy Hook), John Green (Tucson) and Tom Teves (Aurora) failed to spur action at the federal level.

Again, blaming the NRA for this is ridiculous and is a nonsensical appeal to emotion that doesn't fit the facts. All the progressive journos covering it were wondering why it didn't work, 'cause as usual it worked on them and fit their world view even as it didn't fit the facts.

So now they're trying to have people ensure their 401Ks don't have gun companies as part of their investments.

The film was released in April by the Campaign To Unload, an initiative backed by 20 to gun-violence prevention groups that encourages 50 million Americans with 401(k)s to check whether their retirement funds invest in gun companies.

Good luck with that bit of BDS insanity. The firearms sector, thanks to Obama and the gun banners has been doing very good business-wise with excellent profitability. If they are dumb enough to "unload" that will create an excellent buying opportunity for the rest of us.

But as usual, don't expect common sense form gun grabbers. They're still in the early stages of realizing they're losing.

et since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, almost every state has enacted at least one new gun law, according to the San Francisco-based non-profit Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Nearly two-thirds of those laws eased restrictions or expanded the rights of gun owners.

The really amazing part is they now that they are losing, even with millions of Bloomberg and Joyce Foundation money and politicians in their pockets are trying to cast themselves as the underdog and being for civil rights.

“I look to the gay-rights struggle, the civil-rights struggle, for inspiration,” Budde said.

The civil rights model has four steps: a group must self identify; establish leaders; create a public face, including marches, acts of civil disobedience or message-filled art; and it must promote its goals by electing members to political offices and creating institutions, such as magazines, newspapers and academic programs.

Here's the difference folks, the gay rights and civil rights campaigns succeeded as they were correctly advertised as steps to gain people rights. The gun controller's aim is to take away the majority of American's civil rights. That is why they will fail.

Indeed, it is the NRA, its members, and gun rights proponents in general that have been following the civil rights model as depicted, not the gun banners with their AstroTurf organizations, big money donors and lies and emotional appeals to authority.