Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016 - Visiting A Hero

Today I took the family to the Machpelah Cemetary in Ferndale, Michigan.

Section 6 is the Veterans' Section.

Veterans lie there who have served and died in World War 1, World War 2, Korea and Vietnam.

There was one in particular to whom I wanted to pay respect to this day.

2nd Lieutenant Raymond Zussman, Born July 23, 1917 Died September 21, 1944. A tank commander in the 756th Tank Battalion he had first earned the Purple Heart after being wounded at Monte Cassino. Declining a headquarters position after recovering from the wound and requesting a combat command, he took part in Operation Dragoon.

For his actions on September 12, 1944 at Noroy-le-Bourg, France he was awarded the Medal of honor. His citation reads:

On 12 September 1944, 2d Lt. Zussman was in command of 2 tanks operating with an infantry company in the attack on enemy forces occupying the town of Noroy le Bourg, France. At 7 p.m., his command tank bogged down. Throughout the ensuing action, armed only with a carbine, he reconnoitered alone on foot far in advance of his remaining tank and the infantry. Returning only from time to time to designate targets, he directed the action of the tank and turned over to the infantry the numerous German soldiers he had caused to surrender. He located a road block and directed his tanks to destroy it. Fully exposed to fire from enemy positions only 50 yards distant, he stood by his tank directing its fire. Three Germans were killed and 8 surrendered. Again he walked before his tank, leading it against an enemy-held group of houses, machinegun and small arms fire kicking up dust at his feet. The tank fire broke the resistance and 20 enemy surrendered. Going forward again alone he passed an enemy-occupied house from which Germans fired on him and threw grenades in his path. After a brief fire fight, he signaled his tank to come up and fire on the house. Eleven German soldiers were killed and 15 surrendered. Going on alone, he disappeared around a street corner. The fire of his carbine could be heard and in a few minutes he reappeared driving 30 prisoners before him. Under 2d Lt. Zussman's heroic and inspiring leadership, 18 enemy soldiers were killed and 92 captured.

The 756 Tank Battalion Website has an except from the book, The History of the Third Infantry Division in World War II, that fills in more details of this series of heroic acts:

Lieut. Raymond Zussman, 0-1014997, Cavalry, Company A, 756th Tank Battalion, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, in action involving actual combat. On 12 September 1944, at 1900 hours, Lieutenant Zussman dismounted from his command tank and proceeded on foot, armed only with a carbine and followed by a lone M-4 tank, and assaulted Nory-le-Bourg, France. Forging ahead on the tank into blazing small-arms fire, he located and neutralized an improvised roadblock which had been booby trapped. Although intense enemy machine-gun and small-arms fire from a German position only 50 yards distant ricocheted off the hull and turret of the tank, Lieutenant Zussman stood beside it, fully exposed, firing on the enemy with his carbine and directing the tank's fire. When three Germans fell dead, the remaining eight surrendered to Lieutenant Zussman, who immediately proceeded to direct the fire of the tank on another center of resistance, killing three and compelling an additional seven to surrender. Having already exhausted his carbine ammunition, he seized a Thompson submachine gun from a member of the tank crew and advanced well in front of the tank, toward a group of houses occupied by the enemy. machine-gun and small-arms fire opened up on him from another enemy strongpoint 75 yards to his right front. Disregarding bullets which kicked up the dirt at his feet, he again stood in an exposed position and directed the fire of his tank until resistance was broken and 20 Germans surrendered. Leaving the tank behind, he rushed toward and enemy strongpoint in a house, firing his submachine gun as he ran, while the Germans tried to stop him with small-arms fire and threw hand grenades in his path. After a brief fire exchange, he brought up the tank and directed its fire on the house, forcing 11 more Germans to give up. His submachine gun blazing, Lieutenant Zussman again dashed forward into rifle and automatic weapons fire to another German held house, emerging after a short exchange of fire with 15 more prisoners. As the Germans fled before his whirlwind attack accurate tank fire accounted for 11 more killed. Noting an ideal antitank position, he plunged forward alone to reconnoiter. His submachine gun fired; his voice was heard above the tumult, shouting "Hände hoch!" and in a few minutes 30 prisoners, including the crews of two AT guns, filed around the corner. As night fell, he again went forward alone, to a truck; there was a hand grenade explosion, but when the smoke cleared Lieutenant Zussman returned with another prisoner. With lightning rapidity, Lieutenant Zussman had overwhelmed one enemy position after another. Fighting against all odds and on his own volition, he had blasted his way into and through the strongly defended town ahead of the infantry, killing 17 and capturing 92 soldiers, and capturing 2 antitank guns, one 20mm flak gun, two machine guns, and two trucks.

11 days after the incredible series of actions in Noroy-le-Bourg for which Raymond Zussman was recognized with the Medal of Honor, he was killed by a German mortar shell.

We said a prayer and we each left a stone to mark our visit to a fallen hero on this day.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Flying Lesson #52 - A Long Bumpy Solo Cross-Country

Today was the long solo cross country that became a bit longer than planned. It almost didn't happen at all, as the Outlook and standard briefing gave "VFR not recommended" due to thunderstorms coming in.

Dejectedly I went to the airport anyways.

Ray instead said based on the actual weather and radar tracks I could go - it would be the windiest I've ever been flying solo, but he wanted me to have a challenge. Was it ever.

He checked off my planning, endorsed me and sent me on my way. Good preflight and I taxied to runway 27 and asked for flight following at departure and got clearance to takeoff.

I held in the cross-wind correction on takeoff and things were good. I then contacted Detroit Approach per Pontiac Tower and got flight following and was handed off to Lansing approach as I headed for Marshall.

It took awhile to get to Marshall, and I could not get to my planned altitude of 6,500 feet - there was a line clouds that kept descending to a nice haze all the way there so I was at 4,500 to stay clear or clouds. The haze was annoying and I was making a habit of scanning the outside and instruments on a regular basis to prevent any disorientation. Light to medium turbulence that followed me throughout the flight made for a bit of a ride.

On the way there I got a traiffc advisory that there was a plane at my 12 o clock at 7,000 descending. I indicated that there was a solid cloud layer between me and the other plane and I would not be able to see it. Not a problem, they tracked it and let me know it would not be a factor after a while. Flight following is quite helpful that way.

Landing at Marshall sucked - crosswinds up to my limit and no one else flying in the area.

Then on to KFPK, Charlotte, a short flight north. Again my crosswind landing was not the best by any means and the winds did blow. I'm sure most of my issues with crosswind landings are mental by this point, just need to work them more I guess.

Then head back to KPTK - I picked up flight following from Lansing and they indicated there was a weather cell ahead of me and did I have any weather equipment on board?

I replied in the negative and requested routing around it as thunderstorms are bad.

So I got routed north towards Flint and handed off to Flint approach.

Flint nicely routed me around the cell and then sent me on my way back east to Pontiac. Again, flight following is a very good thing.

I then landed at Pontiac after two go rounds as the wind was 10-17 knots gusting and shifting, and again if the approach doesn't look right then it is not right and time to go around. Third time was the charm and I was safely down with a little bounce to continue the humbling theme of the flight. Just when you think you're getting decent . . . .

I tied the plane down and headed back to the shop, and Ray was waiting for me. He noted that he had deliberately made it a challenging flight to push my limits, but knew I could handle it.

That's 2.4 hours and 196 nautical miles flown, and my long solo cross country is done. I need more solo time and a lot more polishing but I'm getting there.

It is starting to thunderstorm and actually hailing large pieces of hail here now, but I've been on the ground over an hour. I'm sitting here nursing an Irish Coffee and thinking about how I can do things better on the next flight.

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Laughingly Good Listen By Larry Correia

The latest release by Larry Correia The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent available from Amazon on Audible is a hilariously good listen.

You won't be able to consider insurance boring after you read it, that's for sure.

Narrated by Adam Baldwin, yes that Adam Baldwin, it is hilarious - the story is funny as all get out, Adam Baldwin's narration is dead on, and at times deadpan. There's lots of good in-jokes most of which are funny even if you're not acquainted with the "in" part of the joke, as well as Firefly references and Wendell the Manatee has a speaking role.

Well worth the time that you will spend laughing while listening to it, and you can tell Larry Correia had a whole lot of fun writing it and Adam Baldwin is enjoying reading it.

After reading it, when you pick yourself up off the floor after falling there from laughing, you'll also realize that it's not too late to write in Adam Baldwin as a candidate for President. We could do a whole lot worse, and probably will.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Flying Lesson #51 - Slip, Slide And Landings

Today was a beautiful day. Sunny and not a cloud below 8,000 feet.

Winds from 240 at 10 gave a crosswind factor of 5 knots down runway 27R.

So I did the preflight on 73455 and after adding some oil all was good.

I met up with Ray and he decided that today was an excellent day to work on crosswind landings and no-flap slip to land. I had not done forward slips to landing before, I've done many side slips in cross-wind landings but this was to be a new experience.

So I handled the takeoff and he then demonstrated a forward slip, no flap landing.

Basically you're flying sideways towards the runway and dropping like a rock when you do a forward slip. It lets you quickly descend without gaining a ton of airspeed. You use your aileron in the direction of the wind and use lots of rudder to prevent any turn and to keep the nose of the plane opposite to the aileron side.

It was the most aggressive slip I've ever been in and it took awhile to get used to making that big of a slip and bank. Half the fun is holding the aileron in, easing the rudder to line up the nose with the runway as you land but also pulling back on the yoke all at the same time. You come in both higher and faster which makes for a fair bit of float down the runway until the plane is ready to stop flying.

I then gave them a try with Ray doing less and less each time and did it all by myself quite a number of times.

Ray also demonstrated a power off 180 and worked on sharpening up my pattern work and getting used to flying a tighter pattern.

15 no flap touch-n-go landings later I think I've got this forward slip maneuver reasonably well down. Ray thinks I'm doing well and wants to move me along, which is a good thing.

Let's hope the weather holds so I can get in my cross country long solo this weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

NRAAM - IWI Galil Ace

I toured the IWI booth at the NRAAM.

First there are the Galil Ace models.

The Galil Aces seemed very well built, with a lot of nice features. The fit and finish are very impressive and there is no appreciable gap for the operating rod, yet it operates and functions incredibly smoothly for an AK variant. The safeties are ambidextrous and easy to use. There's a nice top rail on the rifles. Flush fit rail covers are nicely fit to the rails on each sides so that they look like regular handguards.

There are pistol models that come with and without the stabilizing arm brace, and you can do the paperwork to SBR them accordingly.

In addition to 7.62x39, there are also Galil Ace models available in 7.62x51 (7.62 mm NATO) caliber.

MSRPs range in the $1,700-1,800 range which make them on the high end for AK variant rifles. In the late 80s, prior to the bans, Galils had MSRP's at about $900. An inflation calculator shows that is $1,820 in today's dollars. Like the Australian AUG, they've stayed rather stable price-wise when taking inflation into account.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Don't Be The Unarmed Opponent In A Battle Of Wits

I've blogged before of the dangers of going in to a police interview without an attorney present even when you know you've done nothing wrong. Indeed you may be sure down deep in your soul that you've done nothing wrong so why not go in and be helpful, you don't need an attorney, right?

Well one of my clients, before they became a client, did so as they clearly believe they did nothing wrong in a dispute with another person over something. Any guesses where this is going?

Without going into any details of the case, which for the purposes of this post don't matter, here's the lesson to be learned:

This person was invited in to give their side of a story in an incident.

When you're invited in to give your side of a story that's a warning - you're not being considered a victim, you're being considered a suspect.

Of course, this person agrees and goes in voluntarily, without an attorney, because why would this person possibly need one, they didn't do anything wrong, right?

Person goes in and meets a detective, in a small room that is delightfully well-equipped with a video camera with excellent image and audio pickup qualities.

Now detectives, as you realize, have some level of training and skills at interrogation. Indeed you may call them professionals at interrogation. After all, it's what they do.

Now our dear person is clearly an amateur at being on the receiving end of an interrogation. Are they ever.

The detective however, is a professional and a darn good one.

No good cop / bad cop games, no pounding the table or any other such silliness you might see on TV that would shut a person down and stop them from talking. No rubber hoses come out. Instead, there's just a nice gentle friendly opener with "My name is detective so-an-so, thanks for agreeing to come in and talk. I'm just here to get the truth and I promise to play it straight with you, I'm not hiding anything or lying to you and I hope you'll do the same with me." A rather masterful opening, complete with friendly and open body language. Followed by masterful gentle follow-up questions that elicit more and more statements that dig our person in deeper without our person even realizing what's going on or where this is going.

Our person in question doesn't have a chance, and it's cringe-worthy to watch in full color.

The helpfully and happily make lots of incriminating statements. Many statements are made, some of which are clearly due to the person not quite getting the drift of the conversation and not knowing how to effectively convey their side of the incident. Many of these statements, had the person had time to talk with an attorney and think about them and they certainly would have been answered differently to actually match the actual story the person presents and the events that allegedly occurred. Questions likely also would have been challenged for containing assertions without any evidence to back them up. Our person however flies right through and answers the loaded questions with a happy and unloaded mind and mouth.

Person finally retains an attorney, me, and all there is left to do is damage control.

As much as the person will now state they meant to say this rather than that, they darn well said that and did not say this, on video. Voluntary statements are fully admissible and it's rather well-nigh impossible to walk them back after making them.

Unfortunately, even if you're a good guy, you can talk yourself into a felony too darn easily, most especially when you think you've done nothing wrong in a dispute with another person.

Since you're a good guy, do what a smart good guy would do when you're invited in by the police to give your side of a story in a dispute:

Tell the police you'd be happy to cooperate just as soon as you've had a chance to talk with your lawyer to find out their schedule and then you can arrange for a mutually convenient time where you can give your statement with your attorney present. Then meet with your attorney first, and only after that arrange for the interview.

I'd much rather have the police focused on catching the bad guys rather than catching good guys who have managed after an incident to mishandle an interview and talk themselves into appearing to be the bad guy.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Lithgow Brings The Australian AUG To America

Lithgow Arms USA is importing the ATRAX rifle into the US.

A civilian variant of the Australian military rifle, the F90, The rifle is an update on the Steyr AUG.

This version takes AUG magazines, and a later variant to come will apparently accept STANAG magazines.

The Atrax rifles will come in both 20 and 16 inch barrel lengths. With a 20" barrel, the overall length is only 31.57 inches compared to a 20" AR-15 with an overall length of 39.49". The 16 inch variant has an overall length of 27.56" and is quite a handy little rifle. At 7.17 pounds it's rather light in weight as well.

Models should be available for purchase in the US at the end of 2016 and the suggested MSRP is around $2,000, with likely store price in the $1800-1900 range.

The trigger on the display model felt better than a typical Steyr AUG, though not quite as good as a Tavor. It's certainly a lightweight and handy rifle and if you like bullpups it's an interesting one with its Australian pedigree. It would also make a nice companion to a Lithgow Lee Enfield.

The fellows at the booth were very enthusiastic about the rifle and eager to talk about it.

They also had on display two very nice bolt action rifles, the L101 and L102. The LA 101 comes in .17 HMR and .22LR and the LA 102 comes in .223, .243, and .308. Both have integrated picatinny rails on top of the receiver for mounting optics.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Home From NRAAM 2016

After 7 hours on the road, we made it home from Louisville and a very successful NRAAM.

Meeting new friends, spending time with established friends, enjoying the awesome southern hospitality of Tom and Robin Rogneby, seeing lots of guns and learning lots of new things.

It was indeed a great time.

NRAAM 2016 was a great success.

I believe it was reported there were 90,000 in attendance this year and from the crowd on Saturday I'd certainly believe it. Sunday there was a bit more room to breathe in the exhibit hall - And with 11 Acres of awesome stuff and it was stuffed to the gills and I've got the aching feet to prove it.

I've still got a lot of pictures to process, and stuff to write up on the trip, so expect more gun pics shortly.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

NRAAM NRA Instructor Update Meeting

With over 700 instructors in the room, it was standing room only.

After a brief introduction there was a presentation by Ultimate Training Munitions.

Basically it is an interesting supplement to training idea - a replacement barrel is inserted into the firearm, preventing regular ammunition from being used.  Then the ammunition comes in three flavors - a silent blank that still operates the action and ejects, a noisy blank that similarly works the action, and a wax tip for marking targets.  This could be useful as a training aid for introducing shooting to student to shooting.  With the projectile running at slightly over 320 fps the round is similar to an air soft pellet and at 112 decibels it's quieter than regular ammunition allowing for practice off range.

At about $30 for a box of 50 in 9mm it's not the cheapest item but I can see the uses.

Then there was a presentation by NRA's affiliate Second Call Defense.

Then there was a presentation on the update and changes that have been made to the basic pistol shooting program.

The changes to the program, including an online portion as an initial phase that offers a higher level of standardization for instructors, and the online training does offer some good self-study opportunities for students.  

There was some definite pushback to the change by some in the crowd and certainly some instructors in the seats could be considered disgruntled by the changes. Change as always is difficult but it is very clear that NRA's training division is moving in this direction. Obviously, if you want to be an NRA instructor, you do what the training division requires and follow the curriculum accordingly. While the NRA training division was certainly taking the questions raised under consideration they made it clear, as if it even needed to be, that bad mouthing the changes to students or potential students is not a good nor appropriate idea.  Expect more course changes in the future.


HK had some new products on display, the SP5K, and they are now offering the VP series in FDE.

As you can see, the SP5Ks on display never stayed in one place for long.
With an MSRP of $2699 for a large semi auto pistol, you can expect there to be quite a bit of demand and for it to be bought by lots of HK fans, because HK.  

Yes, per the HK rep, the lower on the SP5K is different from the full auto version by quite a bit to prevent illegal conversions.  If you have to have an MP5K look alike, now you can.

No changes to the VP line yet except an offering of frames ion flat dark earth.  A VPSK (a compact version of the VP line) is in the works, as is a VP in .45 ACP, (yes jolts of Americans demand a .45, as indeed quite a few people were asking about it at the booth)  but neither is out on the market yet, maybe we'll see them at the 2017 show as they are being worked on.

Walther's New PPQ in 45

Walther was featuring two new products, The PPQ in .45 and the PPS M2.

The PPQ in .45 fits the hand quite well, with the grip being very form-fitting as Walther is getting rather famous for in their handgun design. With a twelve round magazine capacity it is thinner in the hand than a Glock 21SF.  For some reason, the Walther grip design on al of their PPQ/PPS/P99 models just fit in my hand rather perfectly.

The trigger was like any other PPQ - which was very nice indeed, very smooth for a striker fired pistol and better than any Glock trigger I've tried.

The PPS M2 is the same slim form factor as the M1, but with a standard push button magazine release compared to the paddle release of the M1 model. 

They also have the PK/S now in .22LR which was getting a fair amout of attention from the attendees. James Bond can still draw in the crowds for the venerable PPK and its variants.

Walther certainly is offering a very nice line of products for the US Market.  I expect the PPQ in .45 ACP will draw quite a bit of attention, and it fills a cartridge gap in the Walther line to meet the demand of those who demand a .45.

NRAAM CZ Czechtacular

Passing by the CZ Display I got a chance to Czech out their wares.

Since the CZ75 was one of the first pistols I've ever shot, I've always had a soft spot for these most excellent pistols.

These pistols were both great, the stock ones had nice triggers, but the custom ones have triggers that are incredible in double action or single action mode.

In addition they had quite a few of the Scorpion EVOs there, including this fully tricked-out one. 

They also had the Bren - the big brother to the EVO.

The Bren. A rather storied name, comes in 5.56mm, and while a very similar form factor to the Scorpion, it's completely different inside while still being very handy indeed. The Bren, like the Scorpion can take a SIG arm brace, or can be turned into an SBR after paying the transfer tax and getting  a stock kit from CZ.

Very nice firearms, the exhibitors were knowledgeable and enthusiastic and now I want a CZ.

Morning At NRAAM

Already there's a crowd waiting in the misting rain for the doors to open.

And we're heading in.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Firearms Law Seminar - The Final Presentations

Derek DeBrosse did a good job on  firearms rights restoration. 

The big three ways to lose your firearms rights are:

Felons in possession
Mental disabilities 

He discussed the ways to try and get clients' gun rights back:
Set Asides 
Nunc Pro Tunc
Voluntary Applications File

Having done expungement a for clients, it was a very good presentation that gave me some new and useful ideas.

Ther closing presenter was Johnathan Goldstein, a very dynamic presenter that did a great job to discuss preemption as a way to stop the antis' current attempts at the local level to attack firearms rights.

An excellent and comprehensive look at the Antis current tactics and ways to stop them, as well as the need to carefully watch state legislatures and make sure that preemption legislation is carefully written  and timely passed.

Overall the Seminar was truly excellent and well worth the day.

Firearms Law Seminar - Got Ethics?

Ernest J. Myers gave a talk on Legal Ethics, obviously a very short presentation, right?

Wrong. Lawyers, contrary to popular belief are a rather highly regulated professional snd there's a variety of things as a lawyer that you should not do, and things you should do.  It's a very good idea as a question of competence to know about firearms in order to represent clients about firearms.  As a lawyer dealing with firearms related clients knowing the gun control act and the national firearms act for that matter, not to mention state and local firearms laws is pretty darn vital.

Preventing client crimes, for example can't counsel clients to commit crimes. Instead advise clients what they are doing is against the law and may have  to disclose it if they go through with it.

For example interactions with BATFE, can lead to violating 18 USC 1001(a) - not allowed to conceal material facts, lie or false documents to anyone in executive, legislative or judicial branch of the USA. 

Lots of potential pitfalls for attorneys, not to mention the need to carefully counsel clients that no they should not try to violate the many varied and complex firearms laws.

Firearms Law Seminar - On NFA Trusts And Instructor Liability

Sarah Gervase, NRA's  Assistant General Counsel gave an excellent discussion on trusts including NFA Trusts.

Lots of great information on the effect of 41F and what will happen to NFA Trusts once the new rule takes effect in July.  She so asked the interesting question you know that you will be someday asked by a client - Can I be buried with my gun? Tha answer - It's complicated.

Next, Attorney Brent Weil discussed first and third party liability against firearms instructors.  There's a tremendous influx of new shooters that has occurred over the last 5 years with lots of people needing and seeking training.

Preventing an instructor from committing an act of negligent training is extremely important. Everything from premises liability to accidental discharge, mechanical failures of guns instructors might provide, to inappropriate tactics and wrong legal information given by instructors, as well as passing students that lack proficiency can be extremely bad.  All of this can expose instructors to liability.

So far there have been few lawsuits over negligent training, but it is expected that will increase given the influx in new shooters making their way through the proces of getting firearms.  Also generally instructors do follow the proper curriculum which gives good protection compared to doing your own freestyle SEAL-movie-inspired training regimen.  Make sure the training fits the need, the risk and the student involved. Also having an attorney draft an appropriate release for students to sign before teaching them is absolutely vital.

Both presentations were extremely useful for my practice in counseling clients, including instructor clients.

Firearms Law Seminar - A Dynamic Keynote Speaker

There was an American hero at the podium for the keynote speech:

Yes, that's Col. Oliver North. He gave an excellent speech on the need to protect our armed forces members at military installations and get legislation done to allow them to carry to protect themselves.

He cheerfully noted that the last time he was in a room with so many lawyers it was when the statement "The defendant will please rise".

You could say he gave a very contra-rary view from that held by the current administration.

Quite a compelling and amazing speaker, with a lot of neat details on a variety of things.

Firearms Law Seminar - FFL Compliance

Teresa Ficaretta, a former ATF agent and practicing attorney gave an excellent presentation on ATF Compliance Inspections. Less than 100 licenses are revoked per year and she gave an excellent presentation on preventing that from occurring.

Very useful information for representing FFLs. 

Firearms Law Seminar - The Attack On VA And SSA Beneficiaries

Chris Zeeland of the NRA gave an excellent talk on the Obama administrations executive action on gun control and how the executive branch can impose gun control even in the face of Congressional deadlock or active resistance from Congress.

His presentation started off with the fact that the Gun Control act does not identify what it means to be adjudicated a mental defective under the law.

Test now is danger to self or others or importantly if the beneficiary lacks mental capacity to contract or manage own affairs.

ATF's new proposed rule on those receiving social security benefits based on VA's ruling that mental defective new is on capacity contract or manage affairs  no findings of dangerousness or mental illness is required and can still lose firearms rights in a bureaucratic decision. Do not get due process rights for loss of a fundamental right and must affirmatively establish not a danger to self or others and get a mental evaluation and disprove an assertion the government never had to establish in the first place.

177,000 veterans have been reported under this to NICS as prohibited persons with only 298 appeals.

Now Obama is trying to move this standard to those receiving Social Security benefits.

4.2 millions social security representatives receive payments through representative beneficiaries and would be potentially prohibited persons under this regulation.  

SSA NPRM 81 FR 27059 now has a 5 factor test to apply prospectively allegedly will affect about 75,000 persons per year, and at least looking at underlying basis for disability. Will only report people after 18 but not reached full retirement age - rather under-inclusive - he noted you could be of retirement age and "bat guano crazy" and not be affected which is certainly rather arbitrary. Gives more focus on mental illness but no finding of dangerousness to lose firearms rights. Memory impairment, inflated self-esteem, sleep disturbance all qualify as impairments for losing firearms rights.

Again relief is only after losing rights and must get mental health assessment both present and over preceding 5 years. In other words need to prove not a danger to self or others when government never had to prove that in the first place and there is no pre-deprivation due process on loss of firearms rights.  He noted there are other benefits programs that might also be affected by this executive approach.

Some legislation has been introduced to reform this and provide some protection to both VA and SSA beneficiaries, but some have been blocked already by Democrats such as Senator Durbin in the Senate.

In short this regulation will have far reaching implications and is a definite threat to a large number of Americans' firearms rights.

Firearms Law Seminar - The Action At The Circuit Court Level

Joseph Greenlee - Spoke on how circuit courts have applied the rulings in Heller and MacDonald. There have been 150 post Heller second amendment decisions.  Excellent article and speaker regarding the decisions.

Mr. Greenlee noted that Courts are generally using the 2 part test - does the law implicate the Second Amendment and if yes then heightened scrutiny applies with a look at the severity of burden and whether law affects the core of the Second Amendment.  He gave an excellent overview of the Circuit Court approach since Heller and MacDonald.

Then David Kopel continued with the scrutiny analysis that has been applied to Second Amendment cases.

Opened with noting that today is the anniversary of the passing of the Firearms Owners Protection Act. When it showed up in House, Hughes blocked it but then McClure and Volkmer got a discharge petition to bring it to the floor directly. side form the Hughes amendment it was the most far reaching pro civil rights legislation on gun ownership at the Federal level.

Then he continued the analysis concerning Circuit Court application of Heller and MacDonald.

He Discussed the levels of scrutiny that are typically applied to legislation:

1. Rational basis - not insane, therefore ok. 
2. Intermediate scrutiny
3. Strict Scrutiny

But those three are not the only tests used as there are often subtests and standards. Like the First, the Second Amendment also is undergoing a variety of subtests and standards like the First Amendment analysis that has been used. Noted that prior restraints have been allowed in Second Amendment far beyond what is allowed in First amendment cases such as background checks and permit applications.

The closer to the core of the Second Amendment right, the closer to strict scrutiny we get. 4th Circuit for example had strict scrutiny with regards to arms in the home and intermediate for outside the home. Courts have generally held its a sliding scale with some aspects receiving strict scrutiny.

On this Monday, he noted the  9th Circuit issued a decision after looking at the Alameda County restriction on firearms stores within 500 feet of various things that factually prevented any gun store from opening in the county,  The 9th applied a standard that was not quite strict scrutiny to the law and remanded it to the lower court.

Mr. Kopel noted a key doctrinal question is what does intermediate scrutiny require in this context?

In short there's a lot going on at the Circuit Court level that will continue to affect Second Amendment rights, especially with the uncertainty at the Supreme Court level.

National Firearms Law Seminar

At the NRA National Firearms Law Seminar to learn from some truly brilliant legal minds and excellent speakers.

First speaker was Stephen Halbrook.

Stephen Halbrook -first photo and speaker. Good talk on lower courts in general deliberately ignoring second amendment and heller/Macdonald decisions,and how up until Catano Supreme Court has been ducking dealing with the defiance of Heller and MacDonald. He noted that Garland nominated for the Supreme Court has not exactly had a history as being pre-Second Amendment and in fact has been the opposite.

Happy 20th Anniversary To The Finest Wife In The World!

Just the fact that she traveled with me and the kids to Kentucky for the NRAAM, which just so happens to take place on our 20th Wedding Anniversary.

Instead of my suffering a mysterious demise from a freak firearm/diving/flying accident - all of which occurring simultaneously, she came along willingly, which is gives you an idea of how awesome and wonderful Natasha is.

20 years, how time flies. Unlike the old joke about how the judge said I would have been a free man by now, I wouldn't want to, nor do I regret being married to Natasha for an instant.

From being married as graduating undergrads to grad students together in a crappy studio apartment, on to a house and kids and professions, it's been and still is quite the wild ride.

Yes, there will be an actual anniversary celebration trip, just the two of us together, later this year.

Thanks Tash for everything, and here's to looking forward to celebrating the next 20 year anniversary milestone, and the next after that together with you.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

First Meetings At NRAAM 2016

So tonight, after arriving at the hotel, I first met up with Keads and he got to meet the family and we all had a good conversation over dinner.

After dinner we them met up with the proprietress of Random Geeking for a short but as always an interesting conversation.

It was a short conversation as everyone was tired from the drives we all made into town. We all headed off to our respective rooms and hotels to prepare for the next day.

So I'm prepped and ready for tomorrow's firearms seminar, and given the line up with some very accomplished and impressive speakers, it should be a most worthwhile and interesting time.

Made It To Louisville

Aside from construction in Michigan, including southbound I275 being shut, construction and congestion in Ohio, and congestion and construction in Kentucky, we would have been here a lot earlier.

As it was, we made it here to the hotel in decent enough time but not enough to go pickup media creds.

Tonight is dinner and a relaxing swim.

Tomorrow is the firearms law seminar.

Off To The NRAAM

All items are packed and we're ready to head off to the 2016 NRA Annual Meeting.

The car is all fueled, ready and loaded with some precious cargo for delivery to some good friends that I'll see at the NRAAM.

On Friday I'll be attending the NRA Firearms Law Seminar. I expect I will be wandering around the convention center the other days seeing what I can see, as well as taking in some attractions around Louisville.

Looking forward to again meeting and having excellent and interesting conversation with the usual suspects.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

89 Years Ago: Remembering The Deadliest School Massacre In America

The deadliest attack on a school in the United States took place eighty-nine years ago here in the state of Michigan.

Bath disaster: 89th anniversary of deadliest school attack

On May 18, 1927, in Bath, a town near Lansing, Michigan, a deranged farmer, school board member, and caretaker of the Bath Consolidated Schools committed the worst school massacre to date. He planned the attack after losing an election for township clerk and facing financial difficulties some of which he blamed on school property taxes. After killing his wife and setting fire to his house and barn, he went to the school as the timer had had set detonated bombs he had planted inside the school. He then set off explosives in his truck blowing himself up outside the school, killing the school superintendent in that blast.

44 people not including the perpetrator were killed, including 38 children who died in the blasts, and 58 were injured. Luckily one of the two bombs, with over 500 pounds of dynamite, failed to go off in the north wing of the school, or the carnage would have been worse.

Evil and insane people unfortunately existed in this world then, and still do now. Hopefully we're getting better at identifying and interdicting them before they do evil acts like these, but there are no sure methods to stop every such person in the free society we live in, and even unfree societies find they cannot prevent such acts either. Sadly there are not pat or easy answers for dealing with those intent on creating mayhem without regard for their own lives or consequences.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tonight's After Work Relaxation: Deadpool

After a hard day of work it was time to relax and enjoy something that just arrived in the mail.

Deadpool! I had missed it in theaters and had been looking forward to seeing it for quite some time now after enjoying the trailers, and I got to view it in the comfort of my own home.

The trailers really built up the movie, but didn't spoil it, and if you haven't watched it yet, you really should.

Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin (of Firefly fame) really had fun making this movie and it showed.

Lots and lots of humor, deliberate breaking of the fourth wall, and fun overkill levels of action throughout. Think falling over laughing fun if you enjoy rough humor.

The movie has a fast pace and and 108 minutes are over before you know it. There's nothing unnecessary in the movie - it just rips along from one humorous scene, to action scene, to humorous action scene to humorous action scene non-stop.

It's a superhero movie that is definitely NOT for kids, think of it as a guilty pleasure for adults.

Simply excellent and mindless fun with no overbearing message that you often get at the movies these days.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Regionalism - Blue State-ease for "Bail Out"

Regionalism sounds like a wonderful idea, everyone in a region living in harmony and being interdependent and all that. Nice that is, until you get to the details.

Regionalism and interdependence nowadays means that well-run suburbs and areas outside the failed blue-state model cities will bail out the blue state cities' failures.

The Detroit News: Editorial: Highland Park should pay its own water bill

Highland Park, a city landlocked within Detroit, is indeed a showcase of the failed blue state model in Southeast Michigan - a city that didn't even bother sending out water bills for years. Couple it with the failure of the blue state model at the Detroit Water and Sewer Department to even bother trying to collect on the debt for years and you get the current situation where the suburbs are now picking up the tab.

No, it didn't take any special foresight to predict that counties around Detroit would get hosed in the deal, and sure enough it looks like that's happening, starting with all the region having about 3.2% of an upcoming 5% water rate increase to paying off Highland park's unpaid water bill of $30 Million dollars.

As predicted, the regionalism of the corrupt water and sewer department was indeed done to bail it and the City of Detroit and now the City of Highland Park out of their corrupt and failed mismanagement.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Spring Steps Along Slowly As Life Cycles On

Today was a rather chilly spring day, with temperatures in the 30s accompanied by a cold wind.

It was also the last day of the kids' religious school. So, at the end of the classes this morning we had a small ceremony. Awards were given to students for perfect attendance, which our kids didn't quite have.

Leah, in lieu of perfect attendance, won a far more meaningful award: She won first place in her age group for an essay she had written for an all-school competiion, which was a very nice ending to her religious school year.

At the end of the ceremony, as part of commemorating and celebrating Lag B'Omer, we headed to outside the synagogue and a traditional bonfire was made, and the kids made smores.

A nice way to end a religious school year that passed by really fast.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

This Month You May Or May Not Be Flying

Today looking at the forecast we have and will have MVFR conditions at Pontiac and at the two airports I've got planned to visit on the long solo cross country.

In addition, winds are forecast at 15 knots gusting to 23 out of 340 or so and are currently 15 knots, giving a really nasty crosswind component that I'm not allowed to fly in.

To top it off, there's a chance of scattered rain-showers expected during time of flight.

So I texted my instructor to say that based on the weather it would be a cancellation. He concurred with my assessment.

So good for me for being able to read the weather and make the appropriate call that there will be no solo cross country today.

If it wasn't for the weather, I think I would be a bit farther along by now, considering that's two cancelled Saturdays in a row.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Obama Admin - We Manipulated And Punked The Media To Pass The Iran Deal. Media - Oh Well, Yawn.

You have to admire the sheer audacity.

It's one thing after all to deliberately lie to the media, setup fake experts to feed the party line and dupe the Media b creating an echo chamber.

It's yet another to come out and admit it in an interview to The New York Times while the event is still fresh.

It takes rather a lot of nerve for the administration's deputy national security adviser for strategic communication Ben Rhodes to say to a major media outed that he not only punked the American people by using the mainstream media to sell the Iran deal but that he punked the media while he was doing so as well.

Yes, there's actually a post in the Obama administration for "deputy national security adviser for strategic communication" which seems to consist of Ben Rhodes effectively obfuscating and lying to the American people and the media about national security in furtherance of his master's goals. That it seems he did it quite easily is an indictment of the Washington Media scene, as Michael Totten points out very well.

Considering that there has been very little mainstream media play, and even less outrage concerning Ben Rhodes' rather astonishing statements from the mainstream media, it seems to indicate he's right.

It's one thing to pull dirty tricks like that, it's quite another to blatantly announce to the world that you did it and rightly expect there will be no consequence from doing so - after all he setup the echo chamber in the first place, so why worry?

The only useful thing gained from the entire sorry situation, which will harm our national security for years as a result, is that it yet again aptly shows the lapdog role the media has taken on for the Obama administration.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Flying Lesson #50 - Breaking In A New Instructor, Or Is He Breaking Me In?

So I got to fly with Ray for the first time today.

I had done the preflight and the airplane was looking good. N757MK had just had its left fuel tank repaired after leaking fuel and had test flighted ok, but this was the first real flight since the repair. So the pre-flight brief was that if fuel started spurting out of the vent or if we saw any leaks it was his airplane and we would be getting it on the ground ASAP.

We had a bit of a crosswind of 8 knots from 130 for runway 9, so we did cross wind practice to hep me get over my not so happy experience of the last lesson.

So we briefed the flight and got going. It's always interesting switching instructors, while the curriculum may be the same they always have different personalities and items they consider more or less important and they don't know you yet.

I handled the calls and got clearance for the takeoff form 9L, and Ray talked me through the first landing and we did a couple more and I had the hang of it ok, I just need to practice more and make it even better. He considers that I'm safe and capable at landings and has no problem signing me off on the long cross country.

Then Ray wanted to show me some power on turning stalls to show why we don't want to do greater than 30 degree banks in the pattern and the issue that pilots have if they overshoot the turn from base to final. So we left the pattern and cleared KPTK's airspace and climbed to a safe altitude and he demonstrated how the stall will occur at a higher airspeed in both 45 and 60 degree banked turns. Very good stuff to actually see and experience. He also showed some power off stalls and wanted to make sure I knew you did not need to dive the plane down at the ground to break the stall but instead get the power on and the nose down enough to break the stall without overdoing it and losing too much altitude.

We headed back to the pattern and I did a few more cross-wind landings with no problems. This was good.

Ray definitely is very precision oriented and noted I'm good but wants me to get better. This is what I will need in order to pass the checkride and be a safe pilot, so that's a very good thing. He will sign off on the long cross country assuming the weather is suitable Saturday and then comes the work to make sure everything meets or beats the private pilot test standards.

That's 1.3 Hours and 8 cross-wind landings and a very good lesson with a new instructor.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Hindus and Hindon'ts For Candidate Trump

The general consensus in the US this election cycle seems to be "Heaven Help Us".

In India, those in favor of Trump's candidacy have now one-upped that generalized sentiment. They've now held a ceremony requesting divine intervention in his favor.

The Detroit News: Indian Hindus ask gods to help Trump

This 2016 Presidential Election is certainty going to provide lots of entertainment worldwide.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Two Stabbings, Two Kinds Of Coverage, And Interesting Excuses

Today there were two stabbing attacks by Islamist on two different countries. One Got media coverage, the other did not.

The attack in Germany where one person was killed and three wounded received worldwide coverage, including in the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News.

The one in Israel where two elderly women were stabbed in a similar attack received no coverage outside of Israel.

Watching the Germans stumble over and trying to describe the attacks is rather interesting:

The assailant made “politically motivated comments” as he attacked, Ken Heidenreich, spokesman for the Munich prosecutor’s office in charge of the case, told The Associated Press.

And what was the politically motivated comment?

He said his office was investigating witness reports that he yelled “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great.”

The German police are trying to downplay and dance around the elephant in the room by claiming the man was simply mentally ill:

Police spokesman Karl-Heinz Segerer said the attacker "expressed political motivations" during the attack but didn't elaborate.

A 56-year-old man died from his injuries. The other victims were men aged 43, 55 and 58. Their names weren’t released.

The incident happened around 5 a.m. local time in Grafing, a Bavarian town east of Munich. Early reports indicate the man was not known to police.

Bayrischer Rundfunk, a regional broadcaster, said police were investigating eyewitness statements that the attacker may have yelled "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great") while carrying out the stabbings, although that has not been confirmed.

Joachim Herrmann, Bavaria's interior minister, told the German news agency DPA that there did not appear to be an extremist motive and that the suspect may have mental health problems and issues with drug use.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Not Flying - Know Weather Or Not To Go

I was all set for my long solo cross country, route all planned, checkpoints set, time and fuel burn calculated.

Last night's TAFs (terminal area forecasts), online weather, and the call to Flight Services for an outlook briefing unfortunately said otherwise.

Forecast was for turbulence and a line of thunderstorms staring while I would be in the return leg of my one hour and forty-five minute flight with conditions deteriorating into a ball of seriously dangerous suck and fail.

Such a forecast means the flight is to Nopeville in Nopeistan.

I didn't even have to wait for the briefer to say the magic words "VFR flight not recommended". I told the briefer that conditions as forecast were way beyond what I could do, and she agreed with my assessment and we both agreed there were lots of other days for flying.

Flying even near a thunderstorm in a small plane is beyond both Nope and Heck Nope on the official Nope Scale. A thunderstorm on route is right up to Family-Blog-Word Nope.

The TAF was even forecasting thunderstorms and I got to see the code CB in real life for the first time - CB stands for "Come Back here you idiot, don't even think about flying in this!" Amazing what they can fit in two little letters right? Actually, it stands for cumulonimbus clouds, the presence of which equates to the same thing.

Confirmed this morning with it hitting even earlier, right on my route and then closing in on my home airport to preclude any safe landing so that's such a definite scratch. Instructor texted and confirmed it's a no-go.

If you fly you really should always start your flight with a call to a weather briefer. Not only are they knowledgeable and very helpful people, but having full knowledge of weather conditions on your flight is a legal requirement and a call to the weather briefer provides recorded proof that you did in fact do so.

Disappointing, but in conditions like that it's so much better to be down here wishing you were up there than the other way around.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Limits of Democracy, Reached: No Ship Named Boaty McBoatface For You!

An online poll, that itself made waves, made Boaty McBoatface the sailing away favorite for the name of the new British polar research ship. Britain's National Environment Research Council that conducted the poll was not amused by the results, no matter how delightful the name was and the worldwide attention it gained.

British Official: 'Boaty McBoatface' ship name is a no-go

Instead, the ship will be named the RRS Sir David Attenborough.

However, as a sop to the fans, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) on the ship will carry the name Boaty McBoatface, but that's now a misnaming and that is rather an inappropriate taxonomic classification for a scientific vessel, as it's not a boat.

Instead it really should be properly named Rovy McRovface, or if you want to expand and identify if by family rather than genus, Subby McSubface.

Wow, Everything Really IS All About Him

Obama has been called the Narcissist-in-Chief by many as in every speech covering every situation he always injects himself into it as an example of the topic.

In his appearance in Flint Wednesday, he really got the lead out.

The Detroit Free Press: White House explains Obama's remarks on lead exposure

The White House on Thursday further explained President Barack Obama’s comments made a day earlier in Flint that he, too, likely was exposed to lead as a child

The Freep notes that Obama said

"if you are my age, or older … you got some lead in your system when you were growing up.....“, "I am sure that somewhere, when I was 2 years old, I was taking a chip of paint, tasting it, and I got some lead,”

Yep it's all him, all the time, even when it comes to lead poisoning.

His ingesting lead paint chips may certainly explain somethings, but his recollections of how he was nibbling a few chips of paint as a child really doesn't compare to a messed-up water supply of the entire City of Flint, caused by a failure of epic proportions at the city, state and federal levels.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Waiting For Me In The Mail When I Got Home

How prescient of them:

Flying Lesson #49 - Crosswinds Blow, And They Really Suck

This morning it had evolved to pretty much clear skies by 9am and I decided to do some solo pattern work.

Winds were forecast and actually at 7 knots at 330, so not terrible for Runway 27 and I needed more crosswind practice.

Crosswind practice is like spinach or broccoli- you may not like it but you need to do it.

So I did a good preflight in N73455 and got clearance to taxi and then takeoff.

Winds while I was up doing the pattern quickly increased to 11 knots at 360 and then up to 12 knots which is right at my endorsed limit and its a full 12 knot crosswind factor which is my crosswind limit.

So I come in for a landing on 27R and it's not good at all, I'm not handling the crosswind right even as I think I'm properly cross-controlling it, but I'm just not lined up as I should be.

So instead of doing something stupid, I do a go round.

I then do a couple more go-rounds, one of which is just before I touchdown - could I have gone with it and landed at that point? Maybe, but it didn't feel right or look quite right, and when in doubt, go round. Basically, I'm really just not getting this today and not enjoying myself. On the other hand, my go-rounds are really frickin' excellent and safely executed.

Since this is not working, I ask to try Runway 36, and Tower nicely obliges. Tower is actually very solicitous at this point clearly seeing I'm not having the best time of it. They're good helpful folks.

Runway 36 at 2,582 feet is a lot smaller than 27R at 5,676 and 27L at 6,521. It's thinner too at 75 feet wide so it looks like you're landing on a very small spot indeed. First time landing on it solo and I have only landed on it once before. Oh, and the wind then shifts to 340 at 12 so I still get to practice a crosswind landing.

So I settle down, get in the pattern, come in final and then I bounce it nice and high, so I go to full power and do yet another go around as I'm not going to unsafely bounce the plane down the short runway trying to force it to stay down. Am I having fun yet? Why yes, yes I am.

I do another pattern and then get it down on 36 with a really nice flare and touchdown.

I thanked the Tower for their assistance as well as their patience and taxied the plane back to the Flight School.

One darn good landing, 5 go rounds, .7 hours of crosswind fun and lots of things learned with one solid landing.

On the upside, I can commend myself for the decent judgment in doing the go rounds and for requesting 36, not to mention settling down enough to land the plane. On the downside, I really need some higher crosswind landing work as while I'm ok with 4-7 knots the 12 knots was too much, so I'm going to book some instructor time pronto.

Interestingly enough, Will was up in another plane in the area and listening in and texted me to see if I was ok after I landed. He said I was making all the right calls to go around and he's happy I made safe decisions while flying.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

And Then There Were Three

Great, just great.

Now we're down to a choice between a Commie, a Crook, and a Clown.

It's probably time to consider voting for the ultimate drop-in candidate.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Flying Lesson #48 - Onward To Jackson!

Finally the stars fell into the proper alignment.

The plane was available.

The weather was excellent.

It was time to fly.

Good preflight and I called the FBO for fuel as it was pretty much down to unusable fuel in the tanks.

The only wrinkle was that to do a solo cross country I would need a new cross country endorsement as the one I had April 20 when the aircraft cancelled the attempt would not suffice for today's flight.

Luckily, a CFI was in to redo my solo cross country endorsement to Jackson, a Class D airport, so I could do the cross country today.

Skies were clear, winds variable at 4 knots and it was time to go.

Good start and all was going well. Tower had me taxi to Runway 27L as opposed to 27R which was interesting as we rarely get to use that one.

Did the runup, got clearance and I was off!

I climbed up to 4,500 feet.

Checkpoints were made, all was going well, and I got the ATIS showing winds were 350 at 5 knots at Jackson and so I then contacted Jackson tower.

Interestingly, Jackson Tower had me do a right downwind with a right pattern to runway 32 even though they're typically a left pattern for all traffic. It actually gave me a better pattern entry from my position so I happily took it.

Decent approach and landing, I came in on final a touch high but that's better than low and no problems, and I came to a full stop.

Here's a shot of Jackson's tower.

Then I taxied back and held short of runway 32 and got takeoff clearance.

Good takeoff after getting clearance and I headed back to KPTK. I flew back at 5,500 feet, and it was just beautiful out.

I descended to 3,500 before I entered Detroit's Class B outer ring. The ring starts at 6,000 feet, so I was legal at 5,000 but I figured that was a good point to start a gentle descent for Pontiac anyways, and it worked quite well.

Pontiac was all sorts of busy today. Lots and lots of traffic. I called them at 12 miles out and they had me call when I was at a 2 mile left downwind for 27L. I did, getting a word in edgewise between other transmissions, and then got a landing clearance and brought it in to land with no problems.

Then, I got held between the two runways waiting for a few planes to land on 27R before I could get clearance to cross it and head back to the flight school. The Tower was earning its pay today as he was landing planes on both runways in very tight sequences. It was rather fun to watch them all come in from a great vantage point as I remained on tower frequency as instructed awaiting permission to cross runway 27R.   I then got clearance to expedite a crossing of 27R then contact ground on the other side, which I did.
I then got ground taxi clearance and taxied back following behind a King Air, the pilot of which apparently got lost and missed his turn on a taxiway so it took a bit for Ground to straighten him out so I could get to where I needed to go. No big deal, as it happens, and I'm sure it'll happen to me at an airport in my future.

A darn good and fun solo cross country with 1.7 more hours in the logbook and two full-stop landings. If the weather holds and the planes keep flying then Saturday will be the long cross country.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Socialism In Venezuela Nears The Endgame

Margaret Thatcher once said the problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people's money.

Socialist Venezuela may be topping that one, as they're running out of other people's money to be able to even be able to print their own money.

Detroit Teachers: Please Reward Our Bad Behavior, Or Else

The Detroit Public School system, teetering on the thin edge of bankruptcy, running on a gift of $49 million in state aid, is a prime example of why Johnny can't read with an 8th grade literacy rate that is actually lower than the unemployment rate for the city.

So, on the announcement that the school system will run out of money by June when the latest State bailout ends and will be unable to pay teachers, what does the teacher's union do?

Well, today they organized a coordinated sickout that shuts down 94 of 97 schools.

Strikes by public teachers are illegal but this, the latest in a series of organized sickouts is somehow not considered an illegal strike, and had anyone in authority had any spine they would just fire them all and start over, as Detroit probably can't do much worse.

Considering the lack of actual learning that seems to take place within the DPS, it is unlikely the students will notice the sickout or even notice if the teachers were all fired en masse, but the sickout will affect those parents who actually are employed who will now have nowhere to warehouse the kids for the day.

Unfortunately, Snyder is amazingly going full bore ahead on reinforcing failure and corruption by pushing for a 715 million dollar bailout of the failed system.