Thursday, February 26, 2015

Imad Hamad: No Idea What Could Be Causing All This Violent Extremism?

Yet another unconvincing bit of taqqiya and kitman from Detroit's own Islamist public propagandist, and disgraced alleged sexual harasser, Imad Hamad.

The Detroit News: Hamad: Violent extremism is a universal challenge

Imad, you see, has no idea what might be causing all this violent extremism going on around the globe. He seems to be suffering, just as President Obama suffers, with willful blindness as to the cause and nature of all this "violent extremism" going on.

Reading the article, Hamad puts up all the standard tropes about poverty and injustice and then comes across as having no idea what the "original problem" that is the cause of "violent extremsm" could be, and he conspicuously fails to identify what it is that could possibly be linking all of these violent and extremist acts.

Nope, No idea at all as to what could be the link between all these violent extremists.

To Hamad, a suspected member of the PFLP terrorist group and supporter of Hamas and Hezballah, it's a complete mystery what the perpetrators of these violent acts all have in common and it beggars belief that he completely ignores the stated reasons the perpetrators publicly proclaim as the reason they are committing these acts.

Well, Good.

The Detroit News: Women with CPLs surge in Michigan

A continuance of a welcome cultural shift:

The number of women statewide who received or renewed concealed pistol licenses rose from 10,862 in 2010 to 25,418, a gain of 134 percent.

More women in Michigan getting trained and being able to defend themselves can only be a good thing. Let's hear it for actual female empowerment.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

No Virginia, There Are No Warning Shots In Michigan

I sympathize with the view of people like Tam and Kathy that training should be hortatory but not mandatory for carrying a firearm, but I respectfully disagree.

After all, I've gone beyond the minimum required training in Michigan by far - not just the 8 hour CPL class but two Massad Ayoob classes (back when they were LFI-1 and LFI-2) (both worth their weight in gold btw, if you get a chance to take him, do so). I became an NRA-certified instructor. I've gone on to take a Todd Green class in shooting skills (again, worth its weight in gold - hopefully Todd fully recovers and gets back to teaching soon, as the man is one fantastic teacher). I've done and other training and competition, as well as regular practice, not to mention further legal studies in the self defense realm all on my own and the only mandated class was the Michigan CPL one. But then again, it led to all the others.

I understand the fear that training requirements will be, as they are in some states, deliberately made so expensive and onerous as to discourage firearms ownership, but that's a bare minority of states and most states that have required training have it so that it costs less than the firearm you plan to carry and at least covers safe operation and the basic legal requirements of using deadly force in self defense.

Those of use who are responsible and serious about self-defense tend to take a higher view of such things and expect others to behave likewise as rational thinking beings to go out and get training. They won't.

I understand the argument that requiring someone to take a class may make them less likely to seek to self-improve later, but its an unproven assertion at best. How any people have really said after taking a single training class that they now know everything and will never take another class again? If it happened then their instructor failed to tell them about all the other training opportunities there are out there and how they should seek such.

On the other hand, a lot of people may carry firearms and not seek to self improve at all, but requiring them to take a class, so long as it is serious, reasonably comprehensive and has a legal component to it, may just open their eyes to the realities of the responsibility they've assumed as they exercise their right to own and carry a firearm. It should also, assuming it's a good class, inspire them to seek additional training to get better.

Otherwise, you're expecting people to be self-motivated enough to get out, get training on their own that they would have to pay for when they otherwise would not. If they lack that motivation or even the bare information that such classes exist, they instead could then remain blissfully ignorant and depend on what they've learned in the media and in the movies for self-defense law. Many will choose the second option.

And therein lies the problem because what they think they know, with no one else to inform them otherwise, is so very, very wrong.

Let's take X for example.

X moved to Michigan from another state.

X did not take any training on Michigan's law of self-defense, and did not get a carry permit so X didn't need to do so, and seems to have only a hazy idea on what self-defense law was in X's home state even though X did have a carry permit there.

So, one night X hears pounding on the door of X's home and an angry male voice X does not recognize demanding entry. Continual pounding with an angry voice that sounds like the locked doors is about to be broken down. The doors, yes in this case more than one, remain unbroken and in place.

X, determined to exercise X's rights and not be a victim doesn't grab a phone to call the cops. Instead, X grabs a pistol.

To help prove the point, due to a lack of training, X is unable to operate the pistol and it will not fire.

Dear Reader, had X stopped at this point we would be happier with that displayed level of incompetence, we could have had a rueful chuckle at X and helped X get some competent training. But no, X then grabs a second pistol and manages to make that one work.

X then cranks off a "warning shot" aimed high that ends up going through the upper portion of the closed door. Said shot penetrates both doors and goes off into the night

X then cranks off Three. More. Warning shots.

The person pounding on the door apparently leaves at some point in this fusillade but is never identified, never seen by X, nor is there any evidence of his presence, nor are there any marks on the door or outside of the house aside from the four exit holes from X's warning shots.

Please note that there is no such thing as a warning shot in Michigan law.

X gets arrested, makes a long incriminating and 100% admissible statement to police with all of the above details, and only then calls an attorney.

Guess who gets to try to reduce the stupidity tax that X is about to pay?

That people, is a gun owner without any training mandated or otherwise, who not only is in a world of legal kaka (it's a family blog so we won't use the more appropriate term here) but will be used by the media as a shining example of the stereotypical gun owner.

Now wouldn't you wish that X had to go through at least some minimal training on firearms operation and self-defense law?

Would you want X out carrying in public at X's current level of firearms training and understanding of the use of deadly force?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Got MIGs?

A short but neat snippet of an article on Israel's MIGs, many obtained through subterfuge by encouraging enemy pilots to defect, and how they've been used to familiarize Israeli (and also American) pilots with the opposition's aircraft capabilities. IAF's Enemy Planes

Note that the MIG-21 obtained in an Israeli Mossad operation when an Iraqi pilot was encouraged to defect had a most fitting identity number painted on it - 007.

Give That Young Man A Hand

The Detroit News: Man injured in Orion Twp. by homemade explosive

From the description of the items as "compressed air devices", it appears that someone was playing with what was likely dry ice in 2 liter pop bottles and then learned how unstable they can be the hard way.

When the pressure exceeds the burst value of the container, then container go boom.

If you're holding it at the time, then as this fellow found out, it's going to suck to be you.

Don't try that at home kids, you can't handle the pressure.

Disney Cruise - At Sea

On the Eastern Caribbean cruise, you spend three days at sea not counting your departure day.

You would think that would be boring, but with so much to do on the ship, that's not the case.

First there were live shows every night including ventriloquism comedy acts, world-class magic shows, and live theater presentations.

There were also first-run Disney movies, for free, on the ship in a great big theater.

We saw Guardians of The Galaxy and Big Hero 6 in 3D and Strange Magic.

Strange Magic, while highly under-publicized and apparently not quite drawing in the viewing audience, was actually quite a fun movie - almost a rock opera with lots of classic rock songs for the adults enjoyment and the kids loved it as well.

Big Hero 6 was a really great, cool and fun movie. It's well worth taking your kids to see and enjoy, and adults will like it too. It also opens the door for a sequel that I'd take the kids to see should it happen.

There were family activities like animation classes where we learned how to draw Disney characters:

The kids had a ton of activities including ridding the Aquaduck, a watercoaster on the ship, but there were also many things for adults to do on board.

They also enjoyed playing mini-golf on the top deck of the ship:

We signed up for champagne tasting and got to try some serious Champagnes like different kinds of Moet Chandon and Tattinger, and yes they do actually taste different and the Champagne Sommelier took us through the history of champagne and the differences in type, appearance, and taste of each.

We learned how to mix drinks from some master bartenders in a mixology class.

From Tequila Sunrises, French Martinis, and more were taught to us in a very fun and hands-on manner.

Here's a neat one, and the final drink we made. The Tiramisu. A dessert shot: 1 oz Kaluha on the bototm, 1 oz Creme de Cacao in the middle and a shot of Bailey's on top for a layered effect. It went down smooth and tasted like a Tiramisu cake.

This was a lot of fun to make and it looked quite impressive and tasted even better going down.

We also got a galley tour to see how all the incredible food is made on board:

The galley was spotless and one of four on the ship. Learning how they feed 4,000 people in a smooth and tasty manner was very impressive and interesting.

Of course, if you don't want to do any activities, you can always just sit and watch the view as the ship sails through the sea:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Islamists Just Wanting To Look For Jobs On US Soil

Legal Insurrection: Al-Shabaab branches out, calls for attacks on U.S. soil

Homeland Security like the State Department is now concerned about the potential for workplace violence due to Al-Shabab members wanting to apply for retail positions in their search for employment and then being frustrated with a minimum-wage sales position.

Once again, for this administration, the situation is clearly desperate but not serious.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Well This Is Going To Be Just Great Part 2

Well it turns out the scum who falsely filed a Federal tax return in our names have also filed a false Michigan State tax return as well.

We've sent in the appropriate fraud affidavits, flagged our credit etc.

But, to date no one at IRS or Michigan State Treasury has contacted us regarding this, nor can we get through to a live human to make sure this is being dealt with. Still no assistance on how to file valid returns to make sure they are accepted, but I've at least found out the returns will need to be on paper with all sorts of additional hassles.

Apparently this fraud is becoming even easier because you can now get the option that instead of a traditional refund check or direct deposit to a bank account, the IRS can send out a Visa Card loaded with the refund money.

Can you say thanks for enabling fraudsters?

Not amused at all.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Nothing Like Telegraphing Your Intentions

US News: U.S. Announces Plan for Massive Counter-ISIS Attack

OPSEC, this administration hasn't got it. Announcing the troop strength, date and location of an upcoming offensive for the world and the enemy to see is generally not considered a good practice.

My bet is the State Department is behind the announcement.

After all, In their view it's not a military offensive but a jobs fair, and they want to let all of ISIS know where they can submit their applications.

For the Obama administration, the situation is clearly desperate but not serious.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Now For Your Creepy Story of The Day

Especially if you hate clowns, or even worse, robotic clowns, or even worse than that, a combination of a robotic clown and a pedophile sex offender.

The Detroit Free Press: Missing animated park clown found in sex offender's house

Some things are best not known nor bear being thought about too much.

Your Global Warming Feel-Good Story Of The Day

The Detroit Free Press: Yep, it's cold: Lake Erie has 98% ice cover

"The Great Lakes as a whole experienced 85.4% ice cover as of (Wednesday)," Leshkevich says.

"Nobody expected 2014 to be as bad as it was, almost record-breaking for ice cover and this year it's the same thing with these very cold temperatures," Leshkevich says.

Ignore the shivering in the room, and keep trying to sell the Global Warming line.

Today In Michigan

Call it a polar vortex, call it winter, whatever you call it, it's darn cold.

-30F with the wind chill. Schools are closed and life goes on, albeit chillier than before. Just please don't bring up the specter of Global Warming as the cause, or I'll throw a snowball at you. We good use some gorram Global Warming around here, right now.

Mid February and I'm already sick of winter and wondering why I didn't stow away on the ship for another cruise in warm climes....

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Found Gold Coins? You Can't Keep 'Em. On Incentives and Valuable Archaeological Finds

Or as kindly pointed out to me by Murphy's Law this post could also be titled: "2,000 reasons to keep your mouth shut".

And that is the problem.

The story from the UK's Daily Mail: 'Priceless' trove of 2,000 gold coins used by 10th Century Caliphate which once ruled much of the Middle East is found off the coast of Israel

In what is every warm-blooded diver's dream dive, a bunch of divers came upon a treasure trove of 2,000 Fatimid-era gold coins, off the historic and beautiful port of Caesarea, so in Israeli rather than international waters.

Unfortunately, as is often the case in the majority of countries around the world, the law provides that the divers don't get to keep any of the find when it is found in a country's territorial waters, and it all goes to the state.

Lest you think this wouldn't happen in the USA, try and take an artifact you discover, that no one else knew existed, from the bottomlands of the Great Lakes. Your head will spin as to how fast you will not only lose the item but have all your dive-gear and possibly your car (if it drove you to the dive site it can be fair game) confiscated as well. States are touchy about treasure located in their national waters.

2,000 gold coins provide a powerful incentive to shut up and pocket the find and not tell anyone you found them, especially if you won't receive a finder's fee. This creates some bad incentives as hiding the find would prevent archeological discovery, documentation and exploration of the site and creates an illicit market in the coins.

Passing off 2,000 gold coins of the era would cause quite a stir and lead to them being prosecuted, so the divers rightly followed the law by reporting the find.

The divers should be, and would be in a more perfect world, allowed to keep some percentage of the find considering it was unknown to exist until they found it and it was found by their efforts. This would ensure the site to be properly explored, preserve the coins and reward the finders to keep them and future finders honest and willing to come forward about such discoveries.

A great find and hopefully they'll at least be publicly named and given credit for the discovery, and it wouldn't hurt if they could be allowed to keep a few coins for themselves.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gee, I wonder Why That Is

Kevin Drum, writing in Mother Jones magazine can't seem to figure out why it is that Anti-Semitic violence is on the decline in the USA but on the rise on Europe and elsewhere.

All Mr. Drum seems able to conclude is that:

I just thought the stark difference between the U.S. and Europe was interesting, as was the fact that the U.S. numbers appear to be driven by overall levels of violent crime, while European numbers are driven by something quite different.

What ever could that "something quite different" be? Amazing how he lacks the ability to look at the data and even hazard a guess. It's apparently an imponderable and great mystery to him.

There's an elephant in the room that Mr. Drum dare not mention and keep his progressive credentials, and he tries to claim the far right is behind the uptick in violence and ignore the jihadi behind the curtain.

As always with the progressives, they fear that dark night of fascism is descending in America when instead it is on course to land in Europe.

In this case Drum and his fellow progressives just can't mention, nor even consider, the I-word -- Islam -- and radicalized Islamic adherents in these regions which would well and truly explain the source of the rise in Anti-Semitic violence outside the USA.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dives 250 And 251 In The Warm Waters Of The USVI

Dives 250 and 251 took place on February 10 in the beautiful, warm, blue waters of St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands.

Right after the Disney Fantasy had docked and lowered the gangway, I was off to find a taxi to take me to the Coki Dive Center for the dive.

The drive introduced me to an oddity about this US territory.  Even though the vehicles have left-hand drive just as at home, they drive on the left side of the road British-style (and formerly Dutch-style whence their tradition came) which caused me quite a start initially.  This was especially so as all road signs and road markings look like you're on the US mainland but you're driving the wrong way.

In any case I made it to the shop, got onto the boat with five fellow divers from various locales, and we were on our way.

No wetsuit was needed, as the water temp was a blissful 81 degrees.

Dive 250 was at Vetti Bay. Max Depth 46 feet for dive time of 45 minutes.

The highlight of dive 250 was a turtle that swam by:

There was also the wreck of a small trawler.

The dive was in 81 degree water, and there was a fun medium-speed current that made much of it a drift dive where you just let the current carry you along.

Dive 251 took place at Spring Bay and was to a max of 55 feet for a 46 minute run time.

This dive featured fish, corals, and spiny lobster.

The dives were operated by Coki Dive Center in St. Thomas and they run a great dive op - on time, safe, and fun with a boat captain and dive master that was very on the ball both in keeping track of all six divers and finding marine life for us to look at and enjoy.

So if you're looking for a first-class dive operation in the US Virgin islands, Coki Dive Center is highly recommended.

Fantastic, warm and easy dives.

Jett's Vacation

Unlike us, Jett did not get to escape to a warmer clime this trip.

Instead he went to our pet-sitter, up north a-ways for his great adventure.

You see, the pet sitter in addition to pet sitting breeds and raises show-grade Great Danes.

She has not one, not two, not three but seven Great Danes on her farm.

Each one, while standing on all four legs, is approximately small-pony-sized and taller than Leah.

So, he got to be a Great Dane Chew Toy during our vacation. However, the sitter noted that was only when they could catch him which wasn't often.

Jett as usual lived up to his name, performing high speed runs and BFMs that likely would have made Juvat proud to see.

All eight dogs played well together and he was reported to be a perfect guest and had a great time.

The sitter dropped him off and while he was happy to see us, he's one tired-out pooch.

Disney Cruise 2015

Yes, we first went to Ft. Lauderdale to visit my Dad and then we went to Port Canaveral and took the kids on a Disney Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, as opposed to the Western Caribbean where we took them two years ago. This cruise had stops at St. Thomas, USVI; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Disney's Castaway Cay.

We were on the same ship as last time, the Disney Fantasy. Boarding was quick and efficient and the kids loved it when on boarding every family was announced by family name and welcomed on board with clapping from the crew.

We had lunch at the Enchanted garden restaurant after we boarded and then the kids raced off to join the Midship Detective Agency and play an interactive game where you solve mysteries by going around the ship and discover clues in talking animated paintings.

After that, the rooms were opened up and we checked out our stateroom and then headed up onto the main deck to watch the ship cast off.

The pilot boat was real close to the ship the whole time.

We then attended the mandatory lifeboat drill.

After that we changed and went to see the opening show and have dinner. A towel animal (quickly named Bun-Bun) was awaiting us when we got back to our stateroom to sleep.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Where We've Been

We were blissfully out of range of any cell tower.

Now we're back safe, sound and a lot colder than where we were.

Here's a couple clues as to where we've been:

Lots of blogging with the details to follow.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Nature Walk

So the day after we arrived and met up with the paternal relatives, they took us for a nice nature walk in a nearby nature preserve.

The area featured many different types of birds and these creatures:

Yes alligators.

They also had some cute baby alligators in the indoor educational center:

The nature center also featured some frisky turtles.

A little menage a trois turtle action.

There were many birds about in the nature area, many of which gave a clue to their dinosaurian heritage:

It was a mile plus walk around the preserve and a beautiful escape from the snow and ice of Michigan.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Leaving And Leaving On A Jet Plane

Travel can be interesting sometimes.

In this case we spent a longer time on the plane on the ground than we did in the air.

None of these issues were really the airline's fault, in this case Spirit, just a bunch of circumstances that snowballed into a massive delay.

Boarding was actually quite efficient so kudos to Spirit Airlines for making the process actually work for once.

First there was a long line for deicing of the plane. Since conditions were for ice, ice, and more ice, this wasn't optional.

Then just after we got deuces the wind shifted and instead of taking off directly from the runway right beside the deicingpad we had to do a tour de tarmac.

Then just as we reached the hold short line at the runway an announcement came over the intercom "is there a doctor , nurse or paramedic on board?"

It seems an elderly gentlemen on the way to a wedding started having some serious health issues. An ambulance arrived and he and some of his party were offloaded. Then they had to remove their luggage, refuel and deice the plane yet again. As the air conditioning system can't be running during deicing this made the plane rather hot and stuffy, but overall it a huge deal. We finally got to the right runway and took off to much applause from all. The pilots and crew were pretty good about it and rather apologetic but it wasn't their fault.

We arrive about two and a half hours late for a three hour flight. But, we did arrive safe and sound and it's warmer by far where we are now so I'm not complaining.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

No, Really, Stop Doing That.

Whoever was this guy's CPL instructor needs a talking to for failing to get across the message about the appropriate use of deadly force. Also it may not be the instructors fault and this guy may just be an unteachable moron, but the instructor likely should have picked up on that as well.

The Detroit Free Press: Mirror bump leads to shooting, arrest in Erie Township

While media accounts can be 100% wrong, this account if taken at face value shows no indication whatsoever that displaying, much less repeatedly firing a firearm was even remotely appropriate.

Authorities said the 61-year-old Erie Township man got out of his vehicle and fired a pistol three times to "gain the attention" of another driver after their outside mirrors bumped Monday about 6:15 p.m.

The vehicles were headed in the opposite direction on Luna Pier Road, east of Bay Creek Road, in Erie Township, according to a news release from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

No one was injured, and the other vehicle, which was westbound on Luna Pier Road, was not hit by gunfire.

The man, who has a valid license to carry a concealed pistol, admitted to a Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputy that he had fired at the other vehicle.

"According to witnesses, just after the minor crash occurred, the subject immediately exited the driver side of his stopped vehicle, retrieved a pistol from his waist area, and then fired the pistol several times towards the opposing vehicle," the release said.

Again, and hopefully it sinks in for the idiots out there, you can use deadly force to protect yourself if, and only if, as codified in MCL 780.972 and elsewhere in the law:

(a) The individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another individual.

(b) The individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent sexual assault of himself or herself or of another individual.

If your situation does not fit into either a or b, do not display your firearm, do not draw your firearm, and do not fire your firearm.

This situation neither option applied. Here he didn't even achieve option (c).
(Oh, you noticed there wasn't a c? Good. You're way ahead of the moron who is featured in this story who somehow thought c equaled a minor fender-bender).

So now he's going to be facing a ton of charges, and this will be reported, as it's being reported already, as a CPL holder acting like a dangerous moron.

Again, if you're not reasonably experiencing the threat of imminent death, great bodily harm, or forcible sexual penetration Do not Display, Do not Draw, Do not Shoot, and Do not Pass Go or you're going to jail.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Ah, Those Gun-Free Zones

They may be law-abiding person gun free, but they sure as heck aren't armed criminal free.

The Detroit News: Warning issued after armed robbery at WMU dorm

The Kalamazoo school says in a statement the male student was robbed at gunpoint about 4:40 p.m. Sunday in the third floor hallway of LeFevre Hall.

Under Michigan law, college and university dormitories are prohibited zones for carrying of firearms.

Apparently the criminals didn't get the message, or indeed they did get the message that they would have a plethora of unarmed victims there they could rob at their leisure.

Note that according to the article this is just the latest in a string of such incidents in this (law-abiding) gun-free nirvana.

That's Quite A Bit Of Snow In One Go

While they predicted 3-6 inches we got over a foot.

The Detroit News: Metro Detroit digs out after record snowstorm

Digging out this morning was some tedious, long, hard and heavy work. Shoveling snow can be a darn good workout.

Schools are closed, courts are closed, most places are closed today. Most likely due to the plow operators having to sleep it off after the Superbowl parties in the area.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Snow, Lots And Lots Of Snow

Snow has been falling without letup since about 1am this morning. While its not been heavy, it's been steadily ongoing with about 4-5 inches of global warming already down on the ground in the form of some very heavy wet snow.

On the upside it's not the evil slippery snow, but man is it heavy to shovel to make a path up the driveway so Tash could get her car up the Driveway of Doom.

Now it's almost as if I hadn't even shoveled and it's still coming down as steadily as it has been falling all day.

Schools are already announced as closed for tomorrow. 

I'm done shoveling for the night and I'm not looking forward to tomorrow morning.