Friday, July 31, 2015

Detroit To Issue Its Own Matricula Consulars

Now, isn't that special?

The Detroit Free Press: Detroit ID could allow voting, services for homeless

While the headline doesn't mention illegals, the proponents of this municipal ID sure do include them amongst the intended recipients:

Immigrants, homeless people and others in Detroit who struggle to obtain a government-issued photo ID could soon get a Detroit municipal ID, City Council members and other officials announced this morning.

Documents the Secretary of State requires for a state ID can be restrictive, making it difficult for some to prove their identity and gain access to vital city services, Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez said.

“We would like it to be accepted as broadly as possible,” Castaneda-Lopez said at a press conference outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. “The goal is to have a card that people can use, that’s easier to acquire and they can use it at multiple institutions.”

The application for a Detroit municipal ID, as envisioned, would remove barriers to obtaining an ID in several ways. It would not ask for immigration status, for example, and someone who is homeless could use a local shelter as an address if the person has been staying there for a sustained amount of time. Officials have not yet defined a requirement for duration of residency; it could be between 15 and 60 days.

Indeed, they expect it to be used for voting, after being acquired in a manner far less "restrictive" than a state issued ID. Think lack of verification of a claimants identity before being given an id card in whatever name the person chooses.

Supporters of the Detroit ID want the card to be accepted at banks, libraries, museums and city service providers. It is possible the municipal ID could be used for voting, officials said.

What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Michigan Citizens' Ballot Proposals For Access To Other People's Pockets

Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote:

"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

We've certainly gotten to that point, and then some.

In a demonstration of direct democracy, some activists have discovered they can push ballot proposals to give them access, through the government, to other people's money.

The Detroit Free Press: 3 citizen initiatives could get OK for signatures today

The initiatives include:

To allow for voting by mail: Read that as "Make vote fraud easier".

To increase the corporate tax rate to 11%: As one wag in the comments noted, it's the "Help businesses move to Ohio" initiative. Hey if you can get corporations to pay for your government largess and you don't understand the economic effect on both business and your economic opportunities as a result, why not right? What could possibly go wrong?

To force small businesses to have up to 40 hours worth of paid sick days and other businesses up to 70. That won't increase employer costs and move small businesses even closer to the edge now will it?

I'm surprised the initiatives didn't just cut out all the games and instead push a ballot proposal demanding the State of Michigan set a minimum wage of $60 per hour to make everyone in the state middle class.

After all if they vote for it, it must be make such a result, right?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

That's A Lot Of Boots

NBC News: 18-Foot Python Captured in Florida Everglades

That's one big snake that you wouldn't want to encounter on your own, and it would make a lot of boots.

You Don't See That Kind Of Accident Report Everyday

The Detroit News: NTSB: Pilot of spaceship unlocked braking system early

That the NTSB conducted an investigation of an accident involving a spaceship sounds like something out of the world of tomorrow.

Sadly, it's all too real today that the co-pilot died in the accident and the pilot was badly injured. The article states the report points to the not so fail-safe design of the braking system and human error as the culprit.

Unfortunately, we learn often by the dangerous mistakes of others and improve from there.

No one said space flight was going to be risk-free, nor can it be if we are eventually going to have a real space program - both private and governmental - with people going into space and really doing things in space. Hopefully all the right lessons are learned from this accident.

They Say That Like It's A Bad Thing.....

Detroit Free Press: Nation's capital sinking into the sea, study says

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Awesome Underwater Find Of Golden Treasure

Fox News: Florida family unearths gold coins worth over $1M from 1715 shipwreck

A Florida man has uncovered gold artifacts worth over $1 million from the wreckage of a Spanish fleet that sank in a storm off the Florida coast three centuries ago.

The find by Eric Schmitt was announced late Monday by a salvage company that owns the rights to the site where the coins and jewels were found.

"The treasure was actually found a month ago,” Brent Brisben of 1715 Fleet — Queens Jewels LLC told Florida Today. Keeping word of the haul from getting out was "particularly hard for the family that found it," Brisben added. "They’ve been beside themselves."

Among the artifacts are 51 gold coins, 40 feet of gold chain, and an extremely rare coin called a "Tricentennial Royal", minted for King Philip V of Spain. Schmitt told the Orlando Sentinel that the "Tricentennial Royal" alone is worth approximately $500,000 due to its rarity and near-perfect condition.

An awesome find and video of the discovery is at the link in it you can hear Eric Schmitt's happy yell when he discovers the treasure.

Congrats and Bravo to Eric Schmitt on his find. Well done indeed.

20% of the find will go to the State of Florida, and the remainder will be split between Schmitt and the 1715 Fleet — Queens Jewels LLC, the company that is running the salvage operation.

Hmm perhaps I should investigate becoming a sub-contractor, after all I've got the diving skills and this could certainly pay off in a big way . . . . You up for a trip ML?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

One Hot Match

Today's USPSA match was a real scorcher.

The sun was out and it was brutal with nary a breeze to stir the air during the match.

By the end of the match I was seriously dragging - 9 stages felt like an eternity.

Some bays had covered rest ares which were helpful but they often weren't large enough for everyone, and four of the bays at one end were cruelly naked under the sun and you were in the open to bake for a long time.

Even worse there was a major bottleneck at our very last stage.

Due to an error in course design, there were a ton of re-shoots which slowed everything down so we were stacked up 3 squads behind the squad shooting it in the very next bay. We sat around for an hour waiting to get a turn to shoot our last stage.

The problem was that not only was it a large and confusing stage with 32 rounds consisting of two runs, as well as hidden and angled targets, but it also had a center portion where it had 3 poppers clustered behind 4 no-shoots laid out in the vertical square so you were shooting through a small hole between the no shoot targets to get the poppers. Knocking a popper down through a no-shoot target caused the re-shoot and a pause as the entire stage was pasted and the shooter got to go again. That sucked. Our Squad RO declared that if a no shoot was hit and a popper dropped, he was just going to score it and not declare a reshoot. We all agreed as by then we were not going to drag this out anymore than it had to be to get it done.

Even with lots of sunscreen, a hat and drinking a liter and a half of water I still felt dehydrated. I'll be sure to bring more water next time.

I was dragging badly by the end of the match, so I came in 20th of 28 limited class shooters with 1008 out of 1085 possible points.

The M&P 40 Pro still ran like a champ. One magazine with the Taylor Freelance base did not lock the slide open on empty which is apparently fixable with a stronger spring than kjust the factory magazine spring, while the other worked 100%.

Lots of people had magazine seating fumbles as the day wore on, mostly due to heat exhaustion. There were lots of issues due to reloaded ammo not being powerful enough to operate the guns, especially with 1911s. One Glock shooter had a front sight fly off while shooting in the open, not due to hitting any object, which locked the gun up for a bit as the screw holding the sight jammed the slide until it was cleared. Loctite is a mandatory thing for sight attachment screws people.

It was a long hot match for everybody with over 217 rounds fired.

On the upside, I found out I made C-class in Limited from last month's classifier match. Considering how i flubbed my way through the classifiers that was rather happy-making, but I've got a long way to improve.

Friday, July 24, 2015

It's Harder To Cheat Honest Men

But the fraudsters are getting more clever.

I had a referral from another attorney regarding a commercial matter.

I communicated with the potential client by email, but noted they had a gmail address. Their address however checked out as a Michigan company. I also spoke to the person by phone - the area code was correct for the location of their company in Michigan but the guy had a rather strong African accent. Some indications from the conversation had me thinking something wasn't quite right.

He indicated he had not been paid by another Michigan company and wanted to retain us. I check it out and the company mentioned is a real company. We discussed rates and I sent him a retainer letter.

He returns it signed via email but his email message accompanying it is very strange indeed.

Here's the bulk of it:

We have been communicating with our debtor, Kevin Kayne of IMAGE MACHINE & TOOL INC, over the past few days regarding our intention to take legal action against them, we have informed them that your firm is now in charge of the claim and that any further communication should be directed to your office. However, they have stated clearly that they want an out of court settlement, thereby pleading for time to set up the payment. As I have earlier anticipated, We prefer to reach an informal resolution and still maintain a good relationship with our client. This Morning, I received a call from Kevin Kayne, that they will make a partial payment of the money owed to us to avoid any legal action against them and also will be responsible for our attorney's fee as stated in our contract agreement. He stated that the reason for the delay in payment was that the goods were shipped to their subsidiary office in Canada. We strongly believe that they have resolved to make this payment due to our recent involvement with your firm in this matter. The high reputation of your firm has played a great role in this recent development.

They have promised to send the partial payment directly to your office on or before 24th of July, 2015 and the balance will be sent on the 28th of August, 2015 to avoid any lawsuit. I suggest we take no action for now, neither do you make any form of contact with them but wait till the requested date for them to come up with the payment, and if they should fail to make good their promise this time, then we can proceed accordingly.

Please, be rest assured that if your office should receive this payment as promised by our debtor, your fee will be paid according to the agreement.

I await your acknowledgment of this email and also give me a call if you have any questions.

At which point I'm about 95% sure I'm now dealing with a Nigerian-type scam. Note that both Kevin Kayne is a real person and Image Machine and Tool Inc are real companies in Michigan and they're not to blame for this matter but are being impersonated here as is the real person and company on letter writers end. The language is off as is the content. Michigan business people do not write this way.

I reply that since we haven't done anything he might as well have the payment go direct to their company. I look up his phone number and note while it has the same area code and prefix of the actual company the last four numbers do not match. Could be a direct extension, but that's another indicia something is off.

Today I was 100% sure it was a fraud.

Today we get in the mail an envelope, with no return address, but stating "Image Machine Tool Inc", with a Canadian stamp and a processing mark that shows it came out of Toronto. Inside is a letter and a Scotia Bank Check drawn on a New York bank for $197,950 made out not to the company but to our firm. Yeah, its fraud all right.

Clue #1 - The check doesn't have the banks address on it. However, they've clearly done some homework as the routing number is the right number for that bank and while the paper doesn't feel right they have some darn good coloration and double sided. It helps that I've held a real Scotia Bank bank check before and know it feels off. Second the amount is goofy as is the script for it on the check and it looks like it was printed on a laser color printer, albeit a very good one.

Clue #2 - The letter is on a very non-business-like colored paper. The paper though has the Michigan address for the company on it and is "signed" by "Kevin Kayne" but has a wacky gmail address of Remember, the envelope came from Canada.

So, I contact the Bank of Nova Scotia and verify that it is indeed a fake check. So I obviously do not deposit it and the scammers will be rather disappointed.

They're certainty getting more clever, but that was far too pat indeed. It and would only con either someone who was greedy or lacked the reading and thinking skills to pickup on the scam.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

US: We Have A Deal With Iran! Iran: Death To America! Kerry: Oh That's Troubling, But We Still Have A Deal

The Telegraph: Kerry says Iran vow to defy US 'very disturbing'

John Kerry, US secretary of state, said a speech by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Saturday vowing to defy American policies in the region despite a deal with world powers over Tehran's nuclear programme was "very disturbing".

Part of the problem is the western diplomat's and politico's willful blindness and twisted desire to believe such statements aren't really meant and are just for domestic consumption and aren't actually meant.

They mean it, and while they may not have the ability to carry it out yet, they sure as heck have the desire.

"I don't know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that's his policy," he said in the interview with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television, parts of which the network quoted on Tuesday. "But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it's very disturbing, it's very troubling," he added.

In other words he's disturbed that Iran's public policy is in fact death to America, but that shouldn't get in the way of, or holdup the deal that will indeed move Iran forward on its path to indeed inflict death on America.

This country is in just the best of hands, now isn't it?

Monday, July 20, 2015

First Flying Lesson Is Now Booked!

To say I'm psyched would be an understatement.

It's set for the first week of August, more updates as it happens.

The Unkind Coupe Of An Aircoupe

Since I'm planning to get aviating quite soon, I figured I'd pay more attention to aviation goings on, or in this case going in. The Detroit Free Press: Michigan pilot walks away from second crash in 6 years

A very shiny classic 1966 Alon Aircoupe A2 crash landed in Western Michigan Sunday evening, and there's pictures and video at the linked article.

Thankfully, the pilot walked away with only minor injuries and he carefully landed away from people on the beach and came to rest in the sand dunes. No telling the cause just yet, witnesses said the prop wasn't moving when it came in for a landing so to early to know if it was engine failure, fuel starvation or otherwise.

Hopefully the plane didn't get damaged too badly.

Number 1 Child Returns

Abby returned from sleep-over camp yesterday. We picked her up from the bus and she wanted to head straight home.

At 25 days, it was the longest time she's been away from home.

She had a great time, met new friends from all over the US and Canada, and had such a good experience that she wants to go back next year.

I think she actually grew a few inches while she was away and likely gained some more wisdom as well and lost a baby tooth while she was there.

The first thing she did on returning home after hugging the Jett was to give her bookshelf a hug.

That's my girl.

After that was a hot shower for her, and a festive welcome home meal.

This was followed by the washing of tons of camp laundry.

She had a glowing review of the camp, its activities, her new friends, and most especially its awesome counselors that now Leah is all fired up to go with her next year.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Some Needed Sighting Improvements Made

I just swapped the factory sights on my M&P 40c for a set of TRUGLO TG13MP1A Brite-Site TFX Handgun Sight for S&W M&P Set, Black.

The difference is simply amazing.

And when there's a light source, they're much, much brighter than the standard sights. Incredibly easy to pickup.

Of course in the dark, it's no comparison. The stock sights disappear as they're have no tritium inserts while the TFXs glow nicely. Not as bright as a pure tritium night sight but bright enough that you can pick them up without any issues. Thwe daytime rapid acquisition more than makes up for it.

The front sight is markedly longer than the factory, but it fits all my holsters just the same with no issues. The rear sight matches the overall length of the factory rear sight.

The sights are much faster to pickup and get on target in daylight especially during rapid strings or after drawing from a holster. At night, now the tritium lets me see the sights very well indeed, unlike the non-tritium standard factory sights.

To put them on, I used the Ameriglo Smith & Wesson M&P Rear Sight Installer Tool. Model # SW Tool 12.

This is simply an excellent tool. This was the latest model with the larger cut for the sight pusher so installing TRUGLO TFX sights was pretty much a snap. Both front and rear sights both came off and went on so much easier than using a punch that it is not even funny, and with much more precision to boot. Save yourself time and aggravation with one of these sight pushers, as well as not marking up the sights while installing them. The instructions are a bit scant on details and the alignment instructions are a bit vague, but you can puzzle them out reasonably well and it didn't take long before I had the slide in and secured in the pusher and the factory sights off and new TRUGLO TFX sights on.

A great product and if you own more than one M&P and want to change the sights, it pays for itself very quickly.

As to the TRUGLOs, without question, they're a huge improvement over the factory sights and highly recommended.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Me In A Plane!

I've been wanting to learn to fly for quite awhile now, and I may be on my way.

For Father's Day, Tash and the kids had bought me an intro flight at Flight 101, and I had it booked for today at 3pm.

Looking at the weather and walking the dog in a sudden rain shower at 1pm had me worried as to if we would have to reschedule, but the rain ended and the clouds parted so that it was a VFR with over 6sm visibility day with the overcast layer way up there and not a factor.

So I arrived at Flight 101, and checked in and met my flight instructor, Sean, for the ride.

It was a very hot and humid day, so hot and humid that the engine of the Cessna 172 we were about to fly in wanted to give some issues starting, but once it was running it was smooth as silk.

The instructor handled the radios, takeoff and some maneuvering to get us past an aircraft towing a banner that the tower was rather concerned about, then he put us on a course for Detroit and let me fly.

We flew by the downtown and to the Ambassador Bridge and I was at the controls enjoying myself profusely and admiring the view. Then he got the controls and I got to take some pictures.

So here we are at 2,750 feet, under Detroit's Class Bravo airspace and having a great time.

Here's a nice shot of the Ren Cen with a freighter on the river, the Ambassador Bridge to the lower right, and Canada in the background:

Flying over the Detroit area highways sure beats driving on them.

We flew over a truck yard:

We also flew over this interesting building complex that stood out from the rows of houses:

I then put the camera away, and I got to fly us back to the airport, where Sean then took over and put it down with the greatest of ease.

It was awesome, and I had no problem keeping the plane straight and level as well as doing a few minor turns.

I'm going to need to sign up and schedule some lessons sometime real soon.....

Friday, July 17, 2015

Whatever You Do, Don't Say The I-Word

The Detroit News: Chattanooga gunman’s motive a mystery

Quite the politically-correct willfully induced blindness there, wot?

To quote the most eminently quotable Tam: "Ooh! Ooh! I know the motive! Pick me! Pick me!"

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Checking Out His Possible Future Residence, Or Just To Visit An Old Buddy?

The Detroit News: Obama to visit Kilpatrick’s prison in Oklahoma

President Barack Obama will visit Kwame Kilpatrick’s federal prison in Oklahoma on Thursday, offering a reminder of how far their careers and fortunes have diverged since both were viewed as rising political figures eight years ago.

The News then quotes Kilpatrick's memoirs:

Kilpatrick wrote that he felt pride at seeing a fellow African-American win the historic election, but he writes that feeling later turned to enmity.

Kilpatrick writes he “hated on” Obama “a little, asking God, ‘Why? Why him and not me?’”

Because you got caught red-handed with your hand in the cookie jar Kwame, that's why. Well, that and your opponents were other Democrats so the media wouldn't keep covering up for you in the face of your blatant corruption.

How About "No" For An Answer?

The Detroit News: District wants lawsuit over open-carry dismissed .

So the Clio, Michigan school district went off and declared itself a weapons free zone, sort of like the city of Fresno, California declaring itself a nuclear weapons free zone - it feels good but it doesn't stop anyone bent on evil intent. Indeed, just like Fresno's ordinance forbidding any civil defense efforts against a nuclear attack, disarming the law abiding in a school zone doesn't exactly prevent an attack by the criminal element.

It also happens to violate state law, Michigan's firearms preemption statute, MCL 123.1102 is pretty clear that a local unit of government cannot enact any ordinance, tax or otherwise regulate "the ownership, registration, purchase, sale, transfer, transportation, or possession of pistols or other firearms, ammunition for pistols or other firearms, or components of pistols or other firearms" except as provided for in state and federal law.

In short, their motion to dismiss should be pretty easily denied, especially considering the Capital Area District Library Case has already applied preemption to quasi-municipal boards as local units of government and a school board is a local unit of government.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Obama's Historic Iran Deal Is A Historic Disaster For The US

This deal is going to go down with Chamberlain's Munich moment as yet another failure by the Western democracies to achieve peace by appeasement.

The Detroit News: Historic Iran nuclear deal reached

So desperate was Obama and Jerry to make a deal that the inspection terms while nice sounding are meaningless - Iran can block and delay them with plenty of time to hide the evidence of violations while keeping its program intact as well as an infusion of billions of dollars to not just drive its nuclear program forward but to project its interests and terror far beyond its borders.

On top of that, so eager were the Western powers to make the deal that the deal amazingly and gratuitously "even lifts sanctions against Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers during the campaign in Iraq."

Another way you absolutely know this is a historically bad deal - Obama is putting more effort into threatening Republicans in Congress to ensure the deal passes than he put in to ensure the Iranians will comply with curbing their nuclear weapon ambitions.

The Detroit News: Obama warns Congress not to stand in way of Iran deal

This is not going to end well at all.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Minions At The Drive-In

Yesterday night we took Leah to see Minions.

But not at a movie theater.

Instead we took her to the Summer Drive-In at Compuware Arena in Plymouth Township.

A classic drive-in experience, we paid, drove to the appropriate screen parking lot, backed in and setup to watch the movie from the trunk of the family runabout.

There was quite a crowd of cars there for the film yet it was quite family oriented and everyone present was well behaved. We had brought along a portable radio so we could leave the car off and not wear down the battery while watching film. It worked out very very well.

Minions was a darn fun movie. Telling the implausible origin of the Minions in an entertaining and historical way.  Set mainly in the 60s, it had a ton of classic rock music and references that adults got and kids enjoyed without knowing the context.

We didn't stay for the second film of the double feature because by the time the Minion movie ended it was already 11:30 pm and way past Leah's bedtime and she wasn't awake enough to want to stay and see the next movie, Max. Truth be told, it was a heckuva week and we weren't awake enough to stick around for it either.

The downsides to the experience was the ridiculous amount of advertisements shown before the movie began, that and the screen wasn't quite fully taunt so there were some annoying waves that were present when watching the film. Also, people with cars with exterior lights that would flash on whenever they opened their doors, and quite a few people had kids hopping in and out from car to car, which was also somewhat distracting.

The second downside was very apparent this morning, when I awoke with a very sore neck from leaning back in the trunk to watch the movie for two hours. Ouch. I can't turn my head to the left at the moment.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Community Outrage Can Work Sometimes - Tsimhomi Kids To Be Freed

Public pressure and media attention can do amazing things sometime to rectify outrageous injustices.

The Detroit Free Press: Judge to release 'jailed' kids, send them to summer camp

Oakland County Family Court Judge Lisa Gorcyca lifted her contempt of court rulings and ordered the release of three children at the center of a contentious child visitation case. The decision means the kids won't spent the summer in the county's juvenile detention center.

"The court agrees with the children's guardian's recommendation as to the best interests of the children," Gorcyca said this afternoon. "The court finds that is in the children's best interests to grant the father's and the guardian ad litem's motion to allow the children to attend summer camp. Children's Village is to facilitate the transportation."

Nicely done people, nicely done indeed. Now remember this when she's up for election in five years.

A Spare Buck Or Two

Last evening while walking Jett around the neighborhood, he alerted me to the fact that we were not alone.

This was the first time I've seen male deer on our street, up till now it's always been does.

The racks on each buck still had downy fuzz on them, and they were nice sized indeed which points that would make them quite the prize.

The bucks had no fear of people and seemed rather curious about Jett and his human rather than being afraid.

I'm pretty sure they know they're out of season and in a no hunting area.

They then walked off after a bit after staring us down for quite awhile and we got on with our walk after that interlude with the wild animal kingdom, male herbivore division.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

When Contempt Is Contemptable - Oakland Family Court Judge Gone Wild

Some Judges cross the line with their contempt powers, especially when used against children, and this is an especially horrifying and egregious example.

At a hearing on June 24, 2015 Judge Gorcyca of Oakland County Circuit Court Family Division put three siblings - two boys ages 15 and 10, and a girl, age 9, into Children's Village, a place for juvenile criminals for the offense of refusing to have lunch with their father after being ordered to do so by the judge.

Oh, and they're basically ordered held there until they're 18 with a review hearing in September.

Think about spending all summer in juvenille detention for refusing to have lunch with their father, and possibly being stuck there for years.

Even worse, they can't even clear the contempt even if they wanted to - under the court's decision, only their father, who is out of the country, can apparently get them sprung.

Even worse, under the Court's order, their mother is not permitted access to visit them nor is anyone on the mother's side of the family allowed, nor are they allowed to be with each other in the facility. Only their father and people he chooses can visit them along with the GAL.

Think about that for a moment.

This is a cruel and vindictive punishment far outweighs any "crime" the kids committed by refusing to obey the Judge's order that they go have lunch with their dad. One would think already being locked up for 2 weeks would be more than sufficient but they're stuck there until at least September, which will mean all summer when they should be out playing and being children.

Juvenile criminals who have committed violent serious crimes have been sentenced to far, far, less for so much worse.

Were the judge intentionally trying to emotionally damage the kids, she couldn't do a much worse job than this.

The transcript of the contempt hearing shows the whole thing is completely off the rails. The kids attorneys were hastily appointed literally at the hearing, and the kids are basically railroaded into juvenile jail.

The judge was extremely belittling to the children at the hearing and the exchanges in the transcript is cringe-worthy.

Regardless of the family situation, throwing minor kids in jail over a refusal to communicate with a parent is wrong. Period. End of story.

Fox 2: Judge orders kids held in juvenile center after refusing to see dad

My kids know the two younger kids and go to school and play with them. The Tsimhoni kids are good kids. That they got railroaded like this is insane. To hammer a ten year old and a nine year old not to mention, the 15 year old, on the spot like that with such a draconian punishment is totally unacceptable.

This is a travesty of justice and part of the reason why I don't practice family law. Unfortunately, Judges in Michigan are not only immune but also exempt from recall elections as the entire community is aghast at this happening and were it possible you'd see a recall on this.

So far, quite a few parents who know these kids have demonstrated for their release, an online petition has been launched, and the media are taking notice. Hopefully the pressure will cause the judge to apply a more calm and reasoned approach to dealing with these kids and get them out of juvie jail.

The Detroit Free Press has picked up the story: Judge jails kids for refusing lunch with dad

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

An Unfortunate Multilingual And Cultured Taste In Books

Jett has eaten another book.

After digesting the Latin philosophy of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Jett has now decided on some lighter fare and now has moved into classic military dark comedies and a whole new language by eating the Russian translation of the Good Soldier Švejk.

Maybe it is the old glue that attracts him, or just a taste of different worlds, cultures and times.

This time he was clearly very contrite when the damage was discovered.

Darn dog. You're supposed to encourage your kids to love devouring books and the knowledge they contain, but not literally darn it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Ah, That British Welfare State Keeps Paying The Danegeld

Welfare For Jihad, UK style: The Telegraph : Cleric said to be behind Tunisian beach massacre is living on benefits in Britain

In addiiton to Sibai, the British welfare system also funds jihadist Anjem Choundary and many others.

During the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, it was often said the IRA would be hosed and would immediately lose the fight if the Brits ever suspended welfare payments to the families of the IRA members as they'd have to go out and get jobs rather than attacking squaddies.

Now the British welfare system has switched away from the Irish and is busily at work distributing welfare payments for funding Jihad.

You really can't make this stuff up. No one would believe it if it was fiction.

Ok, Where's The Australian Casualty?

The Detroit Free Press: 2 Americans, 1 Briton gored in Pamplona bull run

There's always at least one Australian that gets gored during the Running of the Bulls, and with seven more days to go, and the festival is clearly not yet over until an Aussie gets the bull by the horns.

Some Australian male with less brains than bravado should be upholding that proud Aussie tradition shortly.

Condolences to the gored, especially to the one with the groin wound.

Stupidity is gonna hurt.

That's A Waste Of Good Helium

Detroit Free Press: Man faces charges after flying lawn chair with 100 balloons over Canada

Canadian man is facing charges after attaching more than 100 helium-filled balloons to a lawn chair and floating over Calgary, Canada.

Daniel Boria, 26, took flight on Sunday evening and was arrested after he "jumped from the chair and opened a parachute attached to his back," according to a statement from the Calgary Police Service.

Boria was charged with one count of mischief causing danger to life.

The 26-year-old devised the stunt as a marketing ploy to gain attention to his all-natural cleaning solution company, the Toronto Star reported.

He told the newspaper that he spent $12,000 on helium and planned to skydive onto the Calgary Stampede grounds until bad weather foiled his plans.

To be chairitable, we'll give him points for imitating a scene from UP and for having the foresight to strap on a parachute. But, that's quite a waste of a whole lot of Helium that could be put to better use for very little return indeed.

It will be interesting to see if the charge is for endangering himself, or others with his scheme.

Ah, That Progressive-Puritanical Strain With It's Fear That Someone Is Having Fun Without Government Oversight

The Detroit News: Fireworks spark backlash in Metro Detroit

As of Monday evening, more than 13,000 people had signed the online petition posted on by Brad Lang, a West Bloomfield resident who launched similar drives in 2012 and 2014.

The petition calls on lawmakers “to immediately repeal the Fireworks Safety Act of 2011,” which legalized the sale and use of airborne, commercial-grade fireworks in Michigan.

“The result has been a drastic increase in the amount and violence of private fireworks displays all over the state of Michigan, thereby endangering people, pets and property,” a statement accompanying the petition states. “It is not worth the additional revenue.”

Violence of private fireworks? Sheesh, the terrible fear that anyone other than a professional could use a firework responsibly is a sad commentary on the Progressive mindset.

Yes, as listed in the article, some idiots have managed to harm themselves and their property in impressive ways with fireworks this weekend (I particularly liked the fellow who managed to shoot a firework into his open car trunk that was full of his other fireworks with predictable results . . .), but temper that with the thousands of people who managed to set off fireworks safely without having a professional do so.

Some people just can't stand the thought of other people having fun and celebrating our Independence.

In other news of a similar vein, Tam points to the mother of the special snowflake that did himself in by launching a firework off his head.

Lady, its a shame your son killed himself because he was stupid. Don't assume the rest of us are that dumb as well. Tam of course stated this far more aptly and poetically than I just did, so go read her post.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Baby You're A Firework

Yesterday we met up with some friends and went with them on their boat to watch the fireworks.

First there was a beautiful sunset on the water like something out of a Monet painting - Still life with Pontoons.

Then as the sun went down, the fireworks went up.

In addition to the lake communities putting on their displays, it seemed like every lakefront property owner was trying to out do the other in converting money into flashes and explosions. Everywhere you looked along the shore would explode into flashes of light and sound.

In short, it was one heckuva show.

After the main event, we headed back to our friend's house and put on our own display - Roman candles, cakes, fountains, and mortar shells went screaming into the air one after another in quick and joyous succession.

 It was a great way to end the 4th of July.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Celebrate the day we declared our independence from Great Britain and its dynastic monarchy.

Then reflect on the fact that the two contenders put forth for the presidency are named Bush and Clinton.

Go forth, celebrate with family and friends, and make a lot of fireworks go boom in a happy-making fashion.

As you do remember the struggles and bravery of our founders that put everything on the line for our independence.

Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 03, 2015

ABFT-DT Dives 252 and 253

After a five month hiatus, I finally got back in the water today.

While not nearly as warm nor as tropical as my last two dives these were pretty good.

I got an invite from my old dive instructor to come along with him and some other divers to Whitestar Quarry just to go get in the water and kick around.

The other divers were all pretty new - one had five dives, another 30, so taking them through the Whitestar Quarry tunnel was right out.

First we passed by a bicycle:

Then we swam by a dog peeing on a hydrant:

Imagine swimming by that if you were narced. Since it was only at about 40 feet, no one had any narcosis, but it sure causes most divers to do a double-take when they see it for the first time.

We then went to the crusher building and showed the newbies the entrance to the tunnel:

The tunnel entrance beckoned most invitingly, but it will wait for another time.

We then came out of the rock crusher building the way we came. Note how the new divers are vertical in the water - a sure sign of new divers who are taking their vertical position on land and adapting it to the aquatic environment. More experienced divers get horizontal for streamlining.

Then we swam back and that was the end of dive one.

Dive Time: 39 minutes

Maximum depth: 66 feet

Water Temp: 70 degrees

psi used: 1,000

For dive two I was paired up with one of the new divers who now had 6 dives to his log book.

He had some problems at the outset, having reduced the amount of weight he was carrying based on an instructor's suggestion as he had way to much during dive one - unfortunately he took too much out and could get down. No problem, he just held onto the manifold of my double tanks and I was the express elevator getting him to depth.

The other newer diver wanted to shoot some compass courses so we followed along.

Here she is shooting a compass course

We saw rocks

We saw more rocks

We saw trees and rocks

Having encompassed all the rocks that could be seen on that heading, we headed back having basically swam right across the quarry.

Things then began to get slightly interesting.

Not only was the diver with 6 divers running low on air, his low air state further reduced his weight (yes, air has weight when it's in a scuba tank) and he promptly popped to the surface from 20 feet.

I went up and got him and after making sure he was ok, brought him back down but he really couldn't stay down unless he went deeper and used more air, for as soon as he hit 25 feet he'd start to porpoise for the surface. So after a bit of kicking around trying to get him to a happy medium without running him out of air, we finished the dive with a surface swim back to the entry point.

Dive Time: 39 minutes

Maximum depth: 48 feet

Water Temp: 70 degrees

psi used: 1,000 (including some used during the surface swim.)

Not a bad couple of dives to get back into the scuba of things.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Seriously, Don't Try This At Home Kids

As the time comes near for Americans to make joyous festive noises celebrating our independence comes a cautionary tale:

The Detroit News: Walled Lake man dies after putting firework next to head

Walled Lake — A 47-year-old man died Sunday night after jokingly placing a powerful firecracker to his head, believing that it wasn't lit. It was.

As one would expect, alcohol was involved, as was the reckless handling of a powerful firework. That's one very dead man killed in a most stupid and avoidable act of negligence, in front of his family no less. It's a serious waste of a life for no reason whatsoever.

Just like firearms, fireworks and alcohol do not mix.

While a low order explosive, fireworks are still explosive devices and need to be handled with care and a healthy respect for the power they contain.

Be safe and careful out there and enjoy setting off your fireworks, but don't let your celebration end up as a warning to others of what not to do.

Happy Canada Day, Eh!

A very happy Canada Day to all my Canadian readers!

Here's to Canada as a true and stalwart ally of the United States, our greatest trading partner, and excellent neighbor and co-owner of the largest undefended border in the word.