Monday, May 20, 2019

23 And Us

23 years Ago today, Tash and I got married.

While many things change, we've remained together throughout, not remained the same mind you, but we've gotten better as life goes on and we've grown together.

This also marks the rather unbelievable milestone that I've now been married for 50% of my lifespan to date. Hard to believe, but true.

If you told me 23 years ago that I'd be where I am today, with the life I have, and the great family that has made it so, I doubt I would have believed it.

It's been quite the good life together, and I'm looking forward to the next 23 years together and beyond.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Driving By Miss Abby

The cardio health stress test continues apace, as Abby has decided she likes driving my car more than Tash's car, so I've been with her for the majority of her practices.

Today she drove to her high school, which is and will be the man reason for her getting a driver's license in the first place. We made it there no problem, not too much traffic on a Sunday aside from a bit of a jam near a church, and iut got her on some main roads and doing left turns in traffic and changing multiple lanes.

Thence we took an alternate route home so she could try merging onto a highway. Yes, my circulatory system is strong.

She did fine, traffic was light enough, and I was able to talk her through it ok. Lots of neck cranking on my part during the merge and lane changes. No permanent indentations in the armrests.

Then down to Best Buy to pickup an SD card that I had a rewards coupon for, so a 64GB SanDisk Pro card instead of costing $28 cost only $10, which is a nice bargain for a very nice and fast memory card for the camera.

She did good and parked reasonably well by the store.

Then back in the car and thence up and through a roundabout that is ranked the 2nd most dangerous intersection in the entire state, because roundabout plus traffic light - yes, really.

She did fine but did need some help on getting into the roundabout safely as it was kinda hair-raising. Again, I passed this stress test with flying colors and did not even try to curl into a ball and drop onto the floorboards, as tempting as that was.

It's interesting the things she doesn't know that she doesn't know.

For example, she was getting set in the car and I was still in the house with the keys. She got her seat adjusted, mirrors set and had the headlights full on without the car running.

I explained that wasn't a good habit to get into as it drains the battery when you leave the lights on with the car off. She didn't know that, but does now.

Other things included how far should you get over when the police have a car stopped on a road that is one lane in each direction, and traffic lights that are only flashing yellow.

I talked her through these and she did just fine. She's certainly coming along as a driver and getting smoother and more confident, which is a good thing. We spent over an hour on the road, and then to top it off, she drove herself to a friend's house in some heavy rain, which was good experience, so she definitely got her practice in today.

I figure the next driving mission will be to have her drive the gas station to teach her how to fill the car up.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Progressives on Mass Transit: Not Working? Do It More And Harder.

Yet again, the advocates while at the same time claiming that the Q-Line would be the future for mass transit are now admitting that its failing, and their solution is to double down and do it again.

The Detroit News: Opinion: Detroit can still make transit succeed

She notes that already predicted reality: Ridership is down to about 2,490 beow what is required to sustain it and its down, especially from when rides were free - who could have guessed? On top of that, the streetcars are delayed and not reliable, and the system isn't exactly up to spec maintenance-wise.

Again, who could have seen that coming?

But reality never dissuaded mass transit enthusiasts.

Her first proposed solution? Free rides during the time it would be in highest demand for people to pay for rides, to show people will ride it . . .so long as its free. Yes, really.

First, its private-sector benefactors should declare a four-month holiday from the fares, just as when the streetcar first launched operations — and just in time for baseball season, and for the streetcar to take travelers from downtown hotels to the ballpark.

If your system depends on it being free in order to work, there's something a tad wrong with your system, especially when you need rider fares to sustain the system.

Then, after bemoaning that the current payment system is difficult and often malfunctioning, for the poor people who can't afford cars, she claims it can be fixed with credit card readers on every streetcar.

Second, the QLine should install credit-card payment infrastructure onboard, with options for people who don’t have credit cards to pre-pay their fares at shops alongside the route.

Using credit card swipes for a $1.50 fare is a bit much, not to mention the time it takes to process each swipe transaction as a passenger boards and pays over the 3.3 miles that Q-Line travels. Of course, she somehow expects the payment system to be better maintained than the operating history of the system with its current broken payment systems that she has indicated it will be so far, right?

Note how these proposals still won't increase the streetcar rate from the current 20 minutes or more to the 8 minutes that was promised. Bit she does recommend losing a lane on Woodward in each direction to jam traffic in favor of a slow moving streetcar, because, mass transit.

Remember, this is all for a 3.3 mile long system that moves at best at about the speed of a normal walk.

Monday, May 13, 2019

What In The Counter-Factual F Was That Tlaib?

Rep Tlaib (D - Dearbonistan) never fails to enliven up the news.

Her latest faux pas that she's now claiming she was "misquoted" about was her feeling calm about the Holocaust and the hilarious and impressively counter-factual claim that her ancestors the "Palestinians" created a "safe haven for Jews"

The Detroit News: Tlaib says critics are 'twisting' her words as Trump attacks in tweet

Kinda hard to twist this any other way than how she said it:

"There's always a calming feeling, I always tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust and the tragedy of the Holocaust in the fact that it was my ancestors, Palestinians, who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, the human dignity," Tlaib said.

"Their existence in many ways have been wiped out and some people's passports. All of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews — post the Holocaust, post the tragedy and horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right? And it was forced on them.

Yes that's exactly what she said and what she believes, or or at least would have you believe she believes.

Her statement is both rather shocking to those who don't know the Arab mindset about Jews and the Holocaust, and otherwise pretty hilarious as it omits the plethora of anti-Semitic massacres and attacks by Arabs of the region against Jews - so much so that the claim that her people "created a safe haven" is beyond laughable. On top of that, there never was a state of Palestine, so no passports would have existed that said Palestine on them.

The amazingly counterfactual claim that her ancestors provided Jews a safe haven is rather amazing and shows a deliberate distortion and rewriting of history on her part. With her ancestors palling it up with Adolf Hitler and planning to kill all the Jews in the Palestine mandate had the Nazis won, it sure promised quite a safe haven. Such a safe haven they gave, with features like the Hebron massacre even before World War 2, and then countless acts of violence afterwards all the way up to and beyond the founding of the state of Israel.

Of course once she's exposed she tries to claim her statements were twisted is the standard trope of "Who ya gonna believe - Tlaib or your lying eyes and ears?"

Between Ilhan Omar and Tlaib, the Democrats are sure positioning themselves heading into 2020 as the leaders in anti-Semitism and revisionist history.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Doom, Now With Subterranean Gloom

You know Australians live down under, but one Australian at least in advocating everyone lives deep down under.

Yahoo News: The only way is down: subterranean survival warning

In short, no, not just because this is the typical earth is doomed nonsense we've been hearing since The Population Bomb, but also, because Morlocks.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Get That Art In A Burqa, Stat!

The Times: Saatchi Gallery covers up SKU artworks after complaints by Muslims

The artwork itself is now covered in what very well looks like a burqa, as can be seen in the linked article.

The art, being a critical commentary on Islam and its interaction with the west, had Arabic script overlaid on some nude images. If you couldn't predict what was going to happen when you did that. . .

Well, just like the real life interaction between Islam and the West, there's been a rather fractious and vociferous uproar of blasphemy and offense from the Muslim community.

Rather provocatively, the artist included the Shahada, or Muslim declaration of faith, on the image and that's where the outrage began, including comparison to the Satanic Verses. Note the author of the Satanic Verses got a fatwa and multiple and very real death threats and attmepts on his life, so the artist in this case is likely also in a bit of trouble too.

Offensive? Most certainly.

However, clearly no more offensive than for example Piss Christ or Mary in Elephant dung, and Banksy's anti-semitic art display at Art Basel in Miami -- all of which were on prominent display in art galleries without fear, nor were they ever covered up. This is because Christians and Jews, while they may get annoyed and consider it offensive, and even write letters to the editor complaining about it, in the West they don't kill people over offensive art these days.

If you're going to display provocative art, knowing it is provocative, retreating after there's a reaction to the provocation is rather weak indeed, and it tends to reinforce and reward threatening behavior. Setting a policy that offensive art is ok, just as long as it doesn't offend Islam, has some very bad consequences.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Good Morning Guv'nor, Department Of Pre-Crime Calling

The city of London's pre-crime unit must be having to work overtime with the latest news on the results of the facial detection system installed for London's surveillance cameras:

The Independent: Facial recognition wrongly identifies public as potential criminals 96% of time, figures reveal

Facial recognition technology has misidentified members of the public as potential criminals in 96 per cent of scans so far in London, new figures reveal.

The Metropolitan Police said the controversial software could help it hunt down wanted offenders and reduce violence, but critics have accused it of wasting public money and violating human rights.

Is the 96% false positive rate a bug or a feature? After all, in the United Kingdom's new and improved Orwellian surveillance state, it's not that the system is misidentifying the public as criminals, it's just they haven't been caught in the act on camera yet.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Sunday Flyday

After the rigors and drama of the forensics competition over the last two days, it was time to hit the sky.

Not having flown since February, I headed to the airport and preflighted the club's Archer. Peter had finished flying it a half hour before I arrived, so it was nice and warmed up for me.

It started up without any hesitation, and then I did the run up, and headed off of Runway 27R for some pattern work.

It was like I had never stopped flying the aircraft. Even with the PAPI lights out of service, I was doing some nice stabilized approaches and landings. Crosswinds were light to non existent with wind blowing from 310 to 270 from 8-10 knots so no problem at all.

Landings were good.

Lots of other planes were in the pattern, even the Civil Air Patrol came out to get some pattern work in.

DCT's 3EJ was in the pattern as well.

It was busy, and the tower did a great job managing traffic. On my last pattern I had to extend my downwind, following a Cessna Cardinal that also had to extend and we got a pretty good distance away before we could both turn base and head back in to really nice landings.

In short, it was a beautiful day to get legal again to take passengers and good to knock the rust off my wings.

Forensics - Missed It By That Much, But Won In Many Other Ways

Unfortunately, Abby didn't make it into finals.

She placed 7th, missing the 6th place required for finals by 3 points - out of 1,100 possible points.

At State Finals the difference in competitor's scores and performances really is measured in millimeters.

7th in oratory in the whole state is nothing to sneeze at. Quite an accomplishment for someone who only started forensics in November and had never done any public speaking before.

She took not advancing to finals well, and it will give her something to work towards next year.

She made lots of new friends, enjoyed the effort required to compete and really came out of her shell, so it was a highly positive experience.

She's sad its done for the year and already misses the friendly competition and how the competitors, while all trying to win, still support each other and almost all have really good camaraderie and sportsmanship.

Judging these competitions is hard. At the state level the talent of the performers is amazing and it does become rather subjective. Most of my assessments through the competition were typically in line with other judge's perspectives of the competitors, and sometimes not so much. You always want to be fair and its hard to always pinpoint exactly what it is about a performance that really is better than another, especially when both are outstanding.

I judged the Duo finals and to say the performances were all stunning would be an understatement. Incredibly well done, and I had to ask all the competitors at the end how the schools all happened to bring in professional actors as ringers. Not kidding, these kids could take these performances to a professional stage and the audience would be well satisfied.

Again, differences in performance came down to millimeters. I was consistent with one of the of the other two judges as to which performance came in first, and that one won the entire state competition on points throughout, so I was at least assessing the performance in line with all the other judges as to how it was really outstanding. I had swapped places for 2nd and 3rd with the other judge, and was pretty consistent on 4th, 5th and 6th place. The third judge was very different in perspective. Note that we don't discus our ranking with the other judges and it is all independently decided on, so it is interesting to see where we all agree and disagree.

After the awards ceremony, the team all went out to a restaurant together and this is a really good bunch of kids - bright, learned, well-mannered and quite a few will be going on to college next year, and the rest returning to compete in forensics again.

The coach, a teacher at the school who does this on a voluntary basis, puts in a ton of work all year to make this happen - talk about a teacher making a real difference for a lot of kids. She did a fantastic job indeed and the team did quite well with many placing in the finals.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

And She Breaks into Semis

After the first 4 rounds,the semi final match-ups have just been released.

Abby made it to the semi-finals, so she's now in the top 12 competitors in the state for oratory.

Regardless of whether she breaks into finals or not, as a freshman doing forensics for the fist time, she's come a very long way in a very short time. We'll know soon.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Fun With Forensics - Michigan State Finals

Today I get to put the mental in judgmental.

Abby made it to the state finals for forensics in the category of oratory, so that means I get drafted to judge the state final competition. Happily, its being held at Oakland University so it's close and convenient enough at around 45 minutes or so away in traffic. Luckily I was able to keep y schedule clear today so I could judge, I'm now a certified judge for forensics having passed the certification test, which is nice, I guess.

Downside, today I get two sets of two rounds back-to-back, in different buildings, with a trip to the statistics office and a prep room between each to drop off the evaluations and grab the prep sheets for the second time limited event, with not enough minutes in between the rounds to get it all done. In short, I'm getting some exercise in.

Further downside, it's from 9am to 9pm today and it runs through tomorrow all day as well.

So far I've judged Storytelling and Broadcasting, with some very talented high school kids from all over the state putting their best performance forward. Yep, these kids are all alright.

On a very high upside, the Oakland University Center that is the headquarters for the competition has a food court, and in that food court:

One of only two Chik-Fil-A restaurants in Michigan.

Very, very tasty chicken (spicy chicken sandwich, if you please) and waffle fries makes up for all the inconveniences of running around the campus from building to building. Chik-Fil-A seriously rocks.

The line up for it is super long as its a very popular item indeed, and its worth it.

So I have prose and extemporaneous coming up in a couple hours and going late tonight and then dramatic interpretation and unassigned semi-finals and finals tomorrow. Going to be a very long weekend, but kinda fun.

Ladybird Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap

I'm a listed attorney for a prepaid legal service. As part of the deal, I get referrals from the service, and the customer gets 25% off my legal fees for being a member of the service. Not a bad deal, and it does bring in quite a range of referrals from absolutely insane people, to those with an incredibly strong and unearned sense of self-entitlement, to time wasters, to decent clients, to really good clients.

So, I had a referral six months ago for a potential client who wanted some ladybird deeds done.

Ladybirds are a special kind of deed that, to put it simply, if done right, lets you bypass probate with the property, name who is going to get the property when you die, and still give you complete control over the property including the right to sell it up until you die.

Basically, the deeds are good to avoid probate and can be used in some circumstances for Medicaid planning. See your attorney for details to see if it works for you or not - it is really not the right solution for everyone.

So I chat with this client and she wants 6 Ladybird deeds. Kinda unusual, typically one for the person's residence is the request as that typically works for Medicaid, and if you own more properties you may want a trust and/or LLC structure to handle that.

She insists she wants ladybird deeds and doesn't want a trust or anything else. She insistently wants ladybirds and nothing else will do. It is the first case of complete Ladybird fixation I've ever come across. Fine, I outline the advantages and disadvantages and then quote her the discounted price on doing and recording all 6.

She then hangs up and doesn't call back and I figure she was either kicking tires, or just didn't want to pay for the service.

The provider service calls me three months ago asking if I had dealt with her. I noted I had had a conversation with her 3 months before then, but she didn't retain me or pursue the matter. They then refer her to me again as she apparently wants to do it.

So she calls again, I quote her the price again, and she faxes me over the current deeds to look over. I quote her the price yet again, she doesn't retain me and actually asks for a further discount as, according to her, since I would be doing 6 deeds she should be entitled to a bulk discount. I calmly explain that she's already getting a 25% discount off the cost and if she can find it done as well for cheaper she's welcome to go do so. Then she hangs up and nothing happens for a couple more months.

She then calls last week, deciding she wants to do 4 deeds and wants to meet with me after hours, because she works. Fine, I stay later one night last week and she comes in, she asks lots of questions about the process, again asks for a bulk discount on 4 which I again explain isn't going to happen as she's already getting the 25% discount. She hems and haws, I expect her to leave after wasting my time yet again, but finally she writes a check for the 4 deeds - At this point I know to demand the full fee upfront for the deeds as I can tell exactly what will happen if I don't do so.

So, I get the deeds done, and actually correct an error in the legal description on one of the deeds that has crept into it, and they're ready to go.

She called me yesterday in the late afternoon wanting to come in immediately to get them done, after hours of course, because she be working.

Well, the first after hours day I can fit her in is next Tuesday, as I'm booked solid yesterday, and Friday and Saturday and not available due to other things going on, and even if I was, not sure I'd be inclined to make a special trip to the office and set aside Saturday time for this person after all this nonsense and attitude.

I note she can see me during normal hours on Monday or normal hours or later on Tuesday.

She states she's very concerned, because what if something happens and she dies over the weekend?

I tell her that the deeds aren't effective until they're signed and notarized. I then state to her in a rather deadpan manner that she should avoid unnecessary risks before coming in.

She's very insistent though and all wound up about doing them before Monday, because after her delaying doing anything for over 6 months, she wants them done quickly just in case, and I should drop everything to make that happen and arrange to meet her at her convenience.

I calmly point out she's waited over 6 months to do anything and odds are that she should statistically should survive until Monday to sign the deeds.

After a fair bit of carrying on, she then agrees to meet Monday during the day, we will see when she actually shows up.

She then actually asks that if she dies before she signs them, will her heir get a refund of the legal services?

Yes, seriously.

I explain that no, the heir would not get a refund as the work is done and awaiting her signature. She gets all wound up about that.

I tell her to be careful, drive safe, and I'll see her Monday.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

NRAAM - Honor Guard Pistols

Wandering around first with DaddyBear and Drang, I soon met up with some attorney friends and we then unfortunately got separated from DB and Drang.

Moving around the show floor, we met and chatted with Michael Bane by the Honor Defense booth and chatted with him and the Honor Defense rep.

Honor Defense is a US company located in Alabama making a nice compact Shield-like pistol, the Honor Guard.

Some differences from the Shield include a modular chassis approach similar to the Sig 320, so you can change grips and slides on the same firearm and customize it to your own preferences, including adding a manual safety. Honor Defense also claims the pistol is more accurate than the Shield and comparable compacts such as the Walther PPS and Glock 43.

Overall, the operation is very Shield like and it is of comparable size, while the grip feels a little thinner and fits better in the hand and the trigger felt nicer, but that's rather subjective wihtout taking ti to the range and trying it out. Seems like a nice pistol if you're looking for a compact carry 9mm.

It's at a price point comparable to the Shield and Walther PPS. You can also customize one direct from the factory for shipping to your FFL.

The Honor Defense rep noted the market in compact handguns is rather soft currently, but he expects the market is going to heat up come election time in 2020.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

NRAAM - Trijicon - The MRO And The SRO

I wanted to checkout Trijicon's MRO and the new SRO.

The MRO is a very nice, lightweight rifle red dot

Lined up for comparison with other Trijicon scopes, the MRO has the green label on top. Darn nice dot in both red and green varieties, its very easy to acquire and it has good battery life.

Next, I looked at the new SRO.

The SRO is an update to the Trijicon RMR. The Trijicon rep told me that with the gaining popularity of red dots on handguns they wanted to make one that was easier to acclimate to compared to their RMR.

Trying it out, I believe they succeeded. The dot is acquired a lot faster when you bring the pistol up to the eyes compared to the RMR.

It seems well built, and the rep noted it has a battery life of a year when left active on the "4" setting and it then varies depending on the dot brightens chosen.

The SRO would be a solid choice if you want to mount a red dot onto your pistol or SBR.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

NRAAM - IWI

I met up with Daddybear and met Drang for the first time (now added to my blogroll accordingly), and we headed out on the floor.

First stop: IWI.

I had to handle the Tavor X95 SBR.

To say it fits me like a glove is an understatement. It balances very well, comes up very instinctively for me and has a 13 inch barrel in a very compact package smaller than AR pistols with much smaller barrels. The trigger is very nice for a bullpup, not a match trigger by any means, but very off-the-shelf good AR like, and definitely serviceable and smooth.

I will be ordering one forthwith. Unfortunately, I expect the Form 4 processing will be long and tedious but such is the current state of affairs.

Daddybear was also successfully marketed to, and his awesome Irish Woman has granted her conditional approval for him to buy one as well. There was much rejoicing.

Meanwhile, Drang decided that 5.56 was potentially insufficient and handled the Tavor 7 in 7.62 with aplomb.

It's heavier than the standard 5.56 Tavor by a noticeable amount but again it handles very well and is well-balanced.

He also admired the IWI Galil Ace pistol with shoulder brace.

Lots of great products at IWI.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Morning At The NRAAM

Met up with the usual esteemed cast of characters.

Old NFO

Ambulance Driver

Daddybear

Tam

EMS Artifact

Check their pages for Indy NRAAM 2019 Goodness.

Off to walk till I drop on the convention floor.

Friday, April 26, 2019

A Hero Seen At The Firearms Law Seminar

I had the honor to run into this gentleman at the firearms law seminar:

The gentleman in the red hat is Dick Heller.

Yes, The Dick Heller of District of Columbia v Heller fame.

It was an honor to meet and chat with him. A very nice guy indeed, and in the firearms community we all owe a lot to his stepping up as plaintiff in that vital case.

NRA Firearms Law Seminar - Range Legal Issues

Ranges are often attacked on nuisance grounds, and some laws have been adapted to protect them.

Michael Jean Associate counsel at NRA gave a solid presentation o the issues ranges face.

Attacking ranges is a great way to attack the gun culture, if you have no where to shoot your shooting culture won't be lasting very long.

Many states adopted the NRA range sourcebook as a standard but that has problems as the standards are 627 pages long and is advisory and discretionary with no absolute set standards.

Environmental standards is another avenue of attack, and he gave a good overview of them and how they are used against ranges. Clean Water Act and RCRA is often used against ranges via lead entering wetlands. Lots of the statutes are poorly worded and difficult to push through with lots of different application on a circuit to circuit court basis.

EPA has a manual for ranges and record keeping is a necessity.

In short, lots of complex info was delivered in this presentation.

NRA Firearms Law Seminar - On Making And Gunsmithing Firearms

If you're interested in 80% firearms, this was the presentation to watch.

Stephen Halbrook gave a great presentation.

He gave good definition of firearm, manufacture, dealer, all of which definitions interrelate to this issue.

ATF position can lead to absurd results defining far too wide a set of manufacturers,for example they held bluing a gun built by another manufacturer would make the bluer a manufacturer and required to have a manufacturer license and all requirements likely including adding a serial number, place and name of manufacture or have to get a variance to do so. On the other hand, cerakoting is not considered manufacturing. Not very clear, is it?

There's no actual legal standard and definition as to what is an 80% receiver. He hasn't seen indictments on unfinished receivers where fire control parts cannot be placed into them and it would be a decent defense to the claim, as it does not fit the definition of a receiver. No trial on that issue to date, so no law is really set on it, partly because its very easy to get a manufacturer's license to avoid the entire problem.

He notes not a single person has ever been charged with the 1984 undetectable gun law, and that law would cover 3D printed guns.

He noted you can do a Form 10 to donate unregistered Class 3 items if found in someone's estate for example, to a state museum without having to identify the transferor, which would be a good way to preserve items found that were not registered in time before the NFA registry closed for machineguns.

NRA Firearms Law Seminar - Terminal Ballistics

Dr. Paul Maurer gave a great presentation on terminal ballistics - the study of interface between physics and the projectile moving in space and the impact with biologic tissue.

He noted biologic tissue is incredibly random and variable as compared to physics of how the projectile move up until it hits biological tissue.

He has quite a fun sense of humor as a surgeon, he notes forensic pathologists tend to be a day late when assessing a shooting subject. To say he had everyone's attention was an understatement.

He also knows Martin Fackler very well and worked with him in the army.

From a surgeon's perspective he noted much of what people believe about terminal ballistics is myths not science.

Goal is incapacitation in a lethal force encounter.

Incapacitation is achieved by a hit to the Central Nervous System - the brain or spinal cord hit which is a small surface area; or Exsanguination - namely blood loss.

Even a shot to the heart the person can still act for about 3 seconds.

He gave some great case studies on incapacitation.

He notes gelatin is useful to scientifically reproduce results.

He addressed the bigger hole more blood loss noted the 9mm or 45 ACP when you put a hole in the fluid container it does similar damage, and once you hit a certain threshold its all about real estate- location, location, location, and bullet design as there is no perfect answer when dealing with biologic tissue.

You do get a stretch cavity with a handgun bullet, and tissue does become dysfunctional even if later it looks ok at an autopsy. Question becomes where did the stretch cavity go if it causes any significant damage and hits tissue where it is used to stretch like a lung or intestine. Rifles on the other hand bring a lot more energy to the party.

stretch cavity is figured out by the kinetic energy calculation Ke=1/2 mass x velocity squared.

Any projectile penetrating the body 7-8 inches will get to the heart. Nipple to bottom rib on right side is a high fatality injury. When you hit 30% blood loss you're incapacitated. In short if you do your job with shot placement, the bullet will do its job.

Absolutely outstanding presentation.

NRA Firearms Law Seminar - Gun Rights And The VA

If you're adjudicated as mental defective by a federal agency it gets reported to NICS as a prohibited person.

If any PTSD or mental health issue then VA investigates and sees if there is alack of capacity, which to them includes anyone who lacks capacity to manage own affairs including disbursement of funds.

So even if only applies to inability to manage own funds or assigned a fiduciary, VA takes it as making the person a prohibited person and unable to purchase a firearm, and they tend to over-report including people who are not truly incompetent.

The VA is the biggest source of prohibited purchaser records from federal agencies to NICS for such mental capacity disabilities.

The VA does have a NICS relief program and can keep fiduciary and takes considerable evidence, or can seek to reconsider the incompetency determination and then would not have a fiduciary.

He then went through the steps to seek relief from the VA and it is very involved. Expect lots of delays in the process but firearm rights restoration can be possible.

Firearms Law Seminar - Derek DeBrosse On NICS Checks And Appeals

This presentation had lots of interesting stuff and I tend to deal with NICS appeals and firearms rights restoration so it was a good presentation.

Pleading to even simple assault can still violate Lautenberg, so you need to be careful how you plead any domestic-related misdemeanor charge.

Since 2018 NICSis getting more records and details on assault and similar convictions to see if there is a domestic violence nexus and thus the person my be classified as prohibited when they were not before.

He noted from 1994-2014 of the performed 197 million NICS checks in that time period, 1.5% were denied.

3 databases are hit in the NICS check, and states may have more stringent rule on transfer.

NICS proceed records are supposed to be destroyed the next day after the proceed is given.

If you're buying a firearm for your trust or other entity such as a on a Form 4, there is a certification you should do when completing the 4473.

2018 Act was done to encourage completing records and make sure federal agencies report disqualifiers to NICS to prevent the recurrence of cases where for example a Department of Defense conviction was not reported, letting the fellow to buy a gun and shoot up the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

He noted the Voluntary Appeal File processing time for NICS appeals is around 3 years currently but highly variable without rhyme nor reason for why some is quicker and others slower.

NRA Firearms Law Speaker - David Yamane

A sociologist, Professor Yamane gave his keynote speech on how a liberal sociologist became a member of gun culture 2.0.

His main point: Guns are normal and normal people use gun.

Growing up in a liberal bubble, he only shot a gun for the first time when he was over 40 years old.

He takes an interesting sociological approach to Gun culture 2.0 which is interesting.

His studies found that Gun Culture 2.0 is more abut protection and carry than the older approach of hunting and collection and that GC 2.0 is becoming more diverse but with an interesting look at what is being owned:
Women twice are likely as men to own only a handgun
Blacks and Hispanics also 3 times as likely to own only handguns
Liberals twice as likely as conservatives to only own handguns.

He stated we as a culture need to resist efforts to stigmatize gun owners by showing the positive face of gun ownership and we need to promote the act of shooting whenever possible to introduce people to it as it is fun and challenging.

He also noted that gun culture is inclusive, after all, he describes himself as a liberal card-carrying snowflake gun owner.

His website GunCulture2point0 is worth checking out.

NRA Firearms Law Seminar Part 3

Next, Sarah Gervase presented on the topic: Another Arrow in the Quiver: State Constitutions as Independent Guarantors of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Most litigators and others have focused on the US Supreme Court as the arbitrator of civil rights.

State Constitutions have largely been ignored as a source of firearms rights.

6 states lack any right to keep and bear arms in their state constitutions.

Left wing is already moving to use state constitutions to further their goals.

States can provide higher levels of protection than the floor of the US Constitution.

She noted under the Delaware constitution there's been good movement for the firearms rights movement.

In Vermont the state right to bear arms section of the state constitution predates the Bill of Rights, nut has been ging very blue with some new gun control laws that are currently being challenged.

She noted you will need legislative history as to the state constitutional right to keep and bear arms and show how state history is favorable to your position, and be careful about combining state and federal claims. She noted you also need to know your state supreme court as some are distinctly hostile to firearms rights claim.

NRA Firearms Law Seminar Part 2

Contrary to popular belief, lawyers do have ethics.

Good lawyers have ethics anyways.

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven H. David gave a great presentation on ethics. To say he's a very accomplished justice is an understatement.

He gave a great talk on professionalism, civility and ethics. He presented with an interesting analogy of firearm safety to Legal practice with caution that use of either skill set should be used carefully, and in accordance with standards of professionalism, ethics and civility.

Certainly one of the more engaging ethics CLEs that I've heard. The Justice has good humor and engaging manner and he presented with an excellent style and quite a way to get a point across.

NRAAM Firearms Law Seminar Part 1

To start the 22nd Annual Firearms law seminar, Professor George Mocsary gave a presentation on Perceiving and Measuring Judicial Defiance of Heller

In short, Heller is being underenforced if not ignored by the lower courts.

Notes that revocation of CPLs nationwide is around 1 in 10,000 so CPL holders are extremely law abiding.

Massachusetts is particularly bad with a one year mandatory minimum for carrying an unlicensed firearm for an otherwise law abiding citizen while at the same time the courts there regularly give rapists probation and suspended sentences.

Assault weapons term created by Josh Sugarman when Americans were not interested in banning handguns and take advantage of the general publics ignorance.

Notes that there are tens of millions of AR15s in existence not being involved in crime.

A Duke Law Journal study looked at 997 opinions on 2nd Amendment challenges and found that intermediate scrutiny challenges were somewhat working, and the typical 2-part test was adopted in a minority of challenges. 2nd, 4th, and 9th Circuits saw higher success rates for challengers of gun regulations which may indicate gun laws in these areas are often so indefensible, such as in the 2nd Circuit the defining of a pump-action shotgun as a semi-automatic weapon - really. Otherwise more substantive challenges on less facially insane laws tended not to succeed.

His study statistically shows Heller is being under-enforced by the courts.

Lower court decisions in Drake and Caetano cases were outright defiance of Heller.

He noted to expect judges to start masking their defiance and dislike of the Second Amendment in their analysis with lots of pretextual arguments. Lots of cases claim to apply heightened scrutiny but then applies a rational basis test against the requirements of Heller. Courts are also improperly reversing the burden onto the Plaitniffs rather than the government which is required under heightened scrutiny.

In short, the courts are still not taking Heller and the 2nd Amendment seriously.

David Thompson went next with a presentation titled A Survey of Current Second Amendment Litigation - including the new U.S. Supreme Court Case, NYSRPA v. City of New York

He noted far too many courts have rubber-stamped bans on carry and semi-automatic firearms, taxes, bans on 18-21 year olds purchasing.

He stated Carriage is a critical issue. There are 250,000 Americans attacked every year by 4 or more individuals and carrying is the only effective defense.

Gave an example of a 71 year old female Mary Sheppard who had moved from Pennsylvania and was armed and trained there but moved to Illinois and was there attacked by a 230lb criminal in a church when she was unarmed. Illinois then lost in court and the absolute ban was finally lifted but other states still effectively completely ban carry under may-issue regimes such as California.

No other right is so predicated on having a good reason, but courts do uphold the bans by ignoring the 2ndAmendment and Heller by arguing there is a public safety exception.

Guns went from 140 million to 300 million while the homicide rate dropped 80%. So the antis claim of more guns more crime is not valid at all. 2.5 times greater risk of injury to women who are unarmed compared to those who are armed per Kleck's study.

There is no study at all that shows allowing law abiding citizens to carry increases crime and no causal link between carry laws and crime rates. There are no public safety consequences from shall issue laws per the CDC of all places.

Unfortunately most 2nd, 4th, 9th circuits have upheld may issue under intermediate scrutiny. But they're not even faithfully applying intermediate scrutiny such as should have been done such as in the VMI case, instead we get public safety is important and the courts will defer to the legislature which does not meet an actual intermediate scrutiny test. Fails as there are plenty of less restrictive requirements.

Rogers case Supreme Court will decide if they will take it up as there is a Circuit Split on carriage so it might be taen up and we'll finally get a decent answer.

On assault weapons , the courts have been unable to explain how a thumbhole stock or adjustable stock has done anything to increase an actual crime, meanwhile if they applied Heller the result would be they're in popular use with over 8 million plus in circulation, also their claim its a small percentage of 3% of all guns in circulation and thus not in common use doesn't matter - after all Honda Accords are 3% of the car stock but certainly not unusual.

He also noted that magazine bans have not reduced crime at all and as such are ineffective, does not reduce them in the hands of criminals, nor of the substitution effect where criminals obtain them anyways and are not effective. Meanwhile it harms public safety.

Antis are switching focus to mass shootings, even Everytown has stated that in 89% of all mass shootings have no evidence of any high capacity being used. They don't even believe it themselves as continue to allow manufacture of the magazines in their jurisdictions.

Courts have upheld the bans on strange reasoning, ban even if it won't doing any good it will reduce the perceived risk of crime as the public will feel safer per the 7th Circuit - without any actual evidence of such. Simply would not fly for any other right. the magazine and assault weapons bans are screaming for Supreme Court review and application of Heller or at least real intermediate scrutiny.

Ban on 18-21 year olds from having firearms is an attack on the gun culture and leads to absurd results. After all 18 year olds have always been of military age and should be able to purchase firearms. 18-21 year olds are not children under the history of the 2nd Amendment and under the Militia act they were supposed to bring their own firearms.

He stated the Supreme Court will need to deal with this sooner rather than later.

NYSRPA case: Only was a typical New Yorker can get a handgun is via a premise license to keep it in their home with exception to go hunting or to maintain proficiency to a licensed shooting range in city limits - there's only one such range in all of NYC. For example you cannot transport that same handgun to a second residence outside of NYC. Hoping is Court will apply Heller to it and strike it down and city is now trying to moot the case via a proposed regulation to avoid Supreme Court review.

In short, we need Supreme Court review to articulate the propoer standard and get the Circuit Courts to properly apply Heller.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Which Part Exactly? - The Corruption?, The Crime?, The Racial Gamesmanship?, Or Just The Whole Failed Blue State Model Overall?

DNC Chair Tom Perez:

“Detroit embodies the values and character of the Democratic Party,”

The Detroit News: Democrats set to hold second presidential primary debate in Detroit

So how does crime, corruption, constant race card playing, and a failed blue state city embody the value and character of the Democrats? Pretty much nails it I'd guess.

The Dem's leadership really lacks any self-reflection -

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes called Detroit "one of America's great cities."
"And I can’t wait to welcome our amazing Democratic candidates to Michigan as we show the American people that we are truly the party of working people.”

The party of the working people? Sure, when all your candidates just happen to be millionaires. Your socialist and enviro policies will make the price of energy sky-high and kill the economy at the same time, hurting workers the most. Your medicare-for-all will lead to rationing of healthcare for the middle and lower classes. Party of the working people, pull another one, it's got bells on.

On The Way To The NRAAM

Now heading out on the road to Indy.

Looking forward to the firearms law seminar, which I will live-blog.

I'm also looking forward to running into friends and bloggers I know while I'm there.

That's One Way To Get A Cardio Stress Test

After 7 hours of driving with an instructor, hours of observing others drive in an instructional setting and classroom learning, Abby now has her G1 license.

She got to experience the joys of the Secretary of State office to get her license - first lining up to get a number, then over an hour and a half sitting waiting to get called up to get processed.

Good people watching though - one enraged and rather entitled lady yelling that she had her license in Detroit, moved out of state and now wants to switch her license back to Michigan but she keeps failing to being documents and she's been trying to get this done 3 times. One young lady is getting her license picture taken while she's in a costume and makeup like a baby doll - complete with pink and white makeup on her face, pink streaks in the hair and a body type really not suitable for the outfit she's wearing. I wonder if someone had her do it on a dare. That license picture is going to regrettably stick with her for a long time.

So Abby gets processed, and yes I have all the required documents, and it goes very smoothly once we actually get to the counter.

The G1 only lets her drive with a parent or other licensed adult in the vehicle, and she needs 50 hours with at least 10 at night over a 6 month period and can then proceed to a G2 license.

So I took her on her first drive at night yesterday.

This is a little disconcerting and tense as I have no additional brake nor wheel on my side of the car, its not like in a plane where you can take over from the right seat. You have to trust that she knows enough but also have to be ready to give her some hints if need be.

I had her drive to her old middle school as she has now driven the route in the day a few times to give her something familiar for her nighttime driving. She did good,and we did some practice parking and driving all around and then came back drove through the neighborhood for a bit and then back home for a good first experience.

I am rather impressed with her driving instructor. She's driving quite decently if with some standard new driver hesitancy and slow speed, but I'm impressed with how far she's come already, and she'll get there. It doesn't hurt that she really pays attention to what she's doing and what is going on around her.

49 more hours to go until her G2.

Monday, April 22, 2019

That's Not How A Conflict Of Laws Works

Invoking a higher power in court rarely turns out well.

The Detroit News: U.P. deer hunter who said he didn’t need license found guilty

Ron Ehinger of Ontonagon County claimed he didn’t need a license based on the “laws of nature.” The Daily Globe in Ironwood reports that a jury needed just 10 minutes to determine that the laws of Michigan applied instead.

Not exactly a great defense to a charge of poaching.

Laws of the state beat the laws of nature in state court all year round.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Happy Passover 2019!

A very nice time was spent with the extended family celebrating Passover.

We went to Toronto for the first Seder on Friday and had a great time meeting up with all the cousins and catching up with all the folks.

It was a good time for all as we retold the story of the departure from Egypt, with the oldest in the room in their 80s, and the youngest at 4 weeks all enjoyed the Passover story and meal.

We brought Matzah Crack to the Seder. What's Matzah Crack you may be asking? We'll its the tastiest Passover-approved dessert. Caramel and chocolate on top of Matzah along with other toppings. Varieties included chocolate with pieces candied ginger - which was a surprise hit, Chocolate mint, Chocolate Cherry, and White Chocolate almond Cranberry.

Making it is really rather simple:

Matzah Crack

Ingredients:
4-5 pieces of matzah
2 sticks / 1 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (If you're doing white chocolate cranberries, use white chocolate chips for that flavor series)
chopped pieces of candied ginger, or dried cherries or cranberries as desired as additional toppings.

1. Break Matzah into pieces and array on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil that has been sprayed with no-stick spray. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Take 1 cup butter and melt in a pan with 1 cup brown sugar, mix together over medium-high heat and stir until boiling, foamy and it becomes thickened around 3 minutes after it starts bubbling.

3. Pour the mixture over the Matzah and spread around covering the top of the Matzah.

4. Place in the oven and back for 8-10 minutes to set the caramel.

5. Remove from the oven and cover the caramel with a goodly portion of chocolate chips and spread over with a spatula as it melts. Add additional toppings as desired. Chopped pieces of candied ginger are highly recommended.

6. Let cool in the fridge for a few hours until the chocolate and caramel have solidified.

7. Cut into smaller pieces with a knife, and then enjoy. Bet you can't eat just one!

Happy Passover to all, and a Happy Easter to those of you celebrating Easter.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Monorail! Now With Proposed New Expensive Connections To Toledo and Monroe!

The fever dreams of urban mass-transit planners and their love of trains is so quaint. At least it is until you realize taxpayers will be on the hook for these vanity choo-choo projects.

The Detroit Free Press: New 110-mph passenger train could connect Detroit, Toledo and Ann Arbor

A new study presented to Toledo officials looked at a rail concept — dubbed the T because of its layout — that would connect Detroit, Toledo and Ann Arbor and cities in between.

If it were built, you could leave Detroit and get to Toledo in about an hour, about the same as if you drove straight down I-75, assuming you didn't run into any construction detours, rush-hour traffic, major accidents — or make any stops to top off your tank with gas.

Toledo City Councilman Chris Delaney, who has championed the study, said Wednesday that the T would not be just for "the luxury of being able to board a train." He viewed passenger rail service as a means to longer-term economic development and prosperity.

Like we've never heard that before.

Note in the article they plan to use existing freight rail tracks, for at least some of the run. This means that their claimed 80-100 mile speed will not be so fast in reality as they're going to have to stop and wait for freight trains and no, you really won't get there as fast as you would in your own motor vehicle. Cost is estimated at $390-$524 million, and given the cost overruns we've seen on similar train projects, you can safely double those estimates to get an idea of the true cost for this project.

Of course, once you get to Toledo or Monroe, you're going to need to call an Uber or rent a car or something to get around, certainly negating the savings of taking a train, the ticket price for which will almost assuredly be higher than the mileage cost for driving that distance or will be heavily subsidized by you up front from your taxes - probably both.

These planners love the idea of train projects - nice, expensive, programs with lots of opportunity for graft, vanity naming rights, and union feather-bedding combined with their disdain of the proles for daring to drive themselves where and how they wish. Reality tends to indicate people don't actually want these trains to nowhere.

And an excellent example of the hand-waving and excuses made when these rail projects don't quite work as expected in reality is displayed in this very article when it looks at the regions latest choo-choo project that cost over $182 million:

In its first year, the QLINE was expected to deliver 3,000 to 5,000 rides a day, and it hit that goal for part of the year. But from November through March, average daily ridership dipped to 2,700, potentially because of colder weather.

Nice slight of hand there "potentially because of colder weather". Yes, because riders don't like to be in enclosed vehicles during colder weather, right? Not so much. Ridership of Qline didn't decline because of the weather, ridership actually dropped when riders had to actually pay for a train that moved as fast as a slow walk for all of 3.3 miles.

Also note that in order for QLine to break even, they need 5,000 rides per day, not 2,700 meaning guess who is going to pay the difference?

$524 million would be far better put to use repairing the multitude of potholes, bridges and infrastructure that already lies along that route. Not nearly as sexy, there's no opportunity to rename the route for favored persons or entities in that, and no guarantee of continued subsidies to operate it. But, people will actually use it to go where they want, how they want. Urban planners hate that.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Replied The Snake: “You Knew What I Was When You Picked Me Up”.

The UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies sponsored an event about Gaza and well, surprise!

Totally Unexpectedly, multiple acts of Antisemitism occurred, along with biased and counter-factual anti-Israel activism, on the taxpayer dime, no less.

ABC 11 News: Some sponsors want money back after anti-Semitic remarks made at UNC conference

What sponsor was stupid enough to be surprised this was going to happen at such a conference?

Apparently many departments at UNC and the Rotarians, of all people, failed to evaluate the conference based on the very long track record of antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda at such conferences.

They failed to heed the tale of the Girl and the Snake.

Good luck getting your donations back.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

An Engaging New Music Style - Meaningwave Lo Fi

There's an interesting new music style out there.

Called Meaningwave, created by Akira The Don, it sets lectures.speeches of some interesting people to lo-fi music, revising them into songs while making their meanings come across very easily.

In short, its a rather entertaining and easy way of listening to the highlights of the thoughts and words of some very smart people. Sort of a Coles Notes edition set to music.

He has quite a few of Jordan Peterson, including a very humorous cut of his thoughts on alcohol, or his now famous rules for life. Everyone can take some element of what Peterson's saying and apply it to make your own life better. While reading the 12 Rules Book is highly recommended, this isn't a bad way to get some listening time in when you're in the car.

Then, if you need a boost in the morning, well, if you can't get motivated by listening to his version of Jocko Willink's stuff on the way to work, you may very well have no pulse.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Tax Day - Women And Minorities Hardest Hit

Because there's no Tax Day like Intersectional Tax Day.

So sayeth PBS.

PBS: How U.S. tax laws discriminate against women, gays and people of color

The quick answer is, the tax laws don't actually discriminate on that basis, but you'd have to read the entire article to figure out they're seriously reaching with some very weak examples to get to that conclusion.

Both arguments used don't support the position taken.

The first argument is the claim that the tax benefits that occur in the situation where there is a marriage with one working spouse and a non-working spouse is discriminatory against gays, minorities and women, which is one helluva overreach. See if you can figure out why that is so, it's not exactly hard to see the blatant fallacy in that argument.

Then, there's the claim its not right that personal injury awards are exempt from income taxes but employment discrimination awards are not, and they claim that that is discriminatory against gays, minorities and women. Never-mind that employment discrimination is by definition discrimination that is having an effect on your wages -- which are taxable -- and if you succeed in an employment discrimination case you're getting an increase in wages to make up for what you weren't paid due to the discrimination. In short, you're getting more wages from your employer which is the very definition of taxable income.

That's the two examples they choose to make about how horribly discriminatory the tax laws are to women and minorities. No mention of the tax law penalties for being married with two working spouses, as that wouldn't hit 'em in the intersectionality.

In short, the article and its examples, written by a woke law professor no less, badly fails to actually show any real discrimination against the identified groups at all but ends that the tax laws must "create a more just society rather than one that just rewards privilege".

In short, waving your arms and shouting "privilege" with nothing to actually back it up is just not a viable argument.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Somebody Just Made It To State Level For Forensics

Abby had her regional forensics competition on Saturday.

She thought she did well, and it turns out she did indeed do quite well. She came in second, making into the top 5 competitors at the regional competition which means she gets to advance on.

She's advancing to the Michigan State Forensic Competition for oratory, quite an accomplishment for a new freshman competitor with all of 5 months forensics experience.

Her school also did quite well with a lot of competitors from the forensics team advancing to the state championship to be held in May. It really is a great bunch of kids.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Friday Friend's Furniture Follies

Friday morning before work, I'm out walking the dog and pass by one of my neighbors, Casey, further down the street with his dog out in his front yard. The dogs are god friends so they get to playing while we chat.

He asks if I could help him that afternoon to move and load up some furniture that they were donating.

It's a light enough workday so why not. I leave the office around 1:30 get home and change and walk over to his place to help.

He's got a small Ryder truck already in position and another friend helping him move stuff. Heavy stuff.

One bookcase must have weighed about 500 pounds - that sucker was solid, shelves all in place, and not movable and it was a bit of an effort to get that thing out the front door and loaded up into the truck.

After that the sofa and loveseat were easy by comparison but an old curio cabinet, which again weighed a ton and didn't have a lot of spots to get a solid grip which made for some more fun. A few more sundry things and the truck is loaded and ready to go. Casey's other friend heads off and I volunteer to go with him to drop the stuff off.

Then off to the donation site, only to find out as we pull up that this week they're not accepting furniture. Oops. A little unexpected twist there.

So we head off to the Salvation Army, after I call ahead to verify that they are taking furniture, and they are, which is nice.

Unfortunately the guy taking the donations isn't helping unload the stuff as he has a half hour until his shift ends, so Casey and I are doing all the work. This kinda sucks as its rather frickin' heavy stuff and an interesting angled loading ramp. I do get to see the warehouse area of the Salvation Army which is interesting as normally you can't go in there, but since were the ones dropping stuff off, we put it all in there anyways. Good thing I was there or Casey would likely still be there unloading the stuff.

So we finish up and head back to his place and he offers me a nice cold Bells Third Coast Old Ale.

Very tasty, then it quickly hits like a brick. Checking the label its a 10.2% alcohol beer. Good thing I'm not driving.

It's a barley wine and is a smooth, tasty, 10.2% alcohol treat. It's a fantastic beer, but have one and you're really not driving anywhere as it certainly buzzes in fast. You may be sore after moving stuff, but after a nice cold bottle of this you don't mind so much, great stuff.

So back home I go with my good deed done for the day.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Just When You Thought It Was Spring...

Yes, this morning we woke up to Third Winter:

Spring, would ya mind sticking around for awhile, please?

Odd that, I was told that snowfalls were just a thing of the past only a few short years ago.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Kid And The School Bus Driver

So Leah had a recent incident that was rather disheartening.

Two days ago she was getting on the bus leaving school, tripped, and fell on the stairs entering the bus.

As she picked herself back up, the bus driver, the people-person that he is, said "Are You Dumb?"

She was quite simply in her own words mortified.

Understand that this is a kid that breaks the top of the scale on standardized tests - As a 12 year-old she reads at what is at least a 12th grade level and has a vocab to match, with math and all other tested scores in the top percentile. She's also a darn good student, a leader in her class, and not a disciplinary problem at all. To be called dumb was extremely insulting to her. She did not answer back but went and sat down and was upset enough to tell us about it.

This bus driver has been an a-hole for as long as he's been on our route and likely before. He's been sarcastic to the kids, and yelled at all the kids on the bus before for no reason, and while his driving is fine his personality is not exactly suited for the job. Unfortunately there is a shortage of bus drivers and I guess his union keeps him in place as there's been a lot of complaints.

Up until now we just told the kids to ignore it and just put up with it as it tended to be generalized idiocy. But, we decided this was worth complaining over as it had singled her out and embarrassed her for no justified reason, and we contacted the schools vice principal who handles such things.

Wouldn't you know it, but the day before the incident they had installed video and audio equipment on the bus and caught the whole incident.

The audio wasn't perfect but they got the incident and the school transportation administration claim he may have said to her "Are you Done?" rather than dumb, which again is still hardly an appropriate question to someone who just tripped.

So the school has stated they will be handling it, so we'll see what the outcome will be. Considering the presence of video and audio on the buses now, I expect his behavior is going to improve. Otherwise, there will finally be plenty of evidence of his unsuitability to be driving kids around, and maybe it will be enough to amount to cause to replace him with someone better.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Taxes Done, And The Tax Cuts Worked As Promised

Just filed the taxes for the year.

Yes, Trump's tax cuts did result in us seeing an actual tax savings over last year, which is definitely a nice thing, and quite welcome.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Scenes From Court Today

So criminal call today in with my client, who happens to be all sorts of guilty, on video no less. In short, no way this is going to trial.

So I do my thing, and we get a decent plea agreement for a first time offender with restitution, probation, and if in full compliance of all terms of probation, a nice erasure of the record. Not bad for a 2-count felony case with a max of 5 years in prison on each of the two counts, where there is no question of guilt at all.

But before all that, we get to watch a few people go through the system and its rather instructive.

For one lady, it is her tenth, yes tenth sentence for felony theft. She states she's now turning her life around. The judge dryly notes that her daily reported use of marijuana certainly isn't making her any smarter and clearly not helping her do so. The lady seems unable to stop stealing other people's stuff, and is likely going to continue to do so.

Another person gets sentenced on an assault-related felony, committed while high on marijuana. Again not the brightest tool in the shed. He's turning his life around too.

Bit of a pattern regarding regular marijuana use and felonious conduct is developing. Quite a number of people on marijuana seem to have trouble keeping their hands to themselves and off other people or other people's property.

And so it goes, then there's a break in the marijuana follies as we get one fellow with a 3rd DUI and a firearm in the car at the time. A bad call that. Fellow blew a .20 so yep, he was drunk alright. 3rd DUI is a felony, and then having a gun in the vehicle while under the influence is a misdemeanor. He pleads to both and gun is forfeited. Sentencing to follow. Don't do that folks.

One fellow comes in and has only done 60 of the 360 hours of community service required as part of his probation. He's right up on a due date and is likely to blow it leading to his being violated yet again as he'd have to do community service full time for 2 months to make those numbers, and he's not even close as he's doing a couple hours a week, tops. On top of that he had previously absconded so the court is not particularly sympathetic and gives him a rather stern warning then sets a new hearing date for the latest probation violation.

Then one fellow with one heckuva probation gift blows it badly - apparently he keeps leaving in-resident treatment to go drinking which means he's going to go back to jail, and for a large number of years.

In short, the majority of people there were for felony crimes committed while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

If You're On Woodward Today, Watch Out, New Teenage Driver!

Yes, Abby is taking her first in-car driving lesson as we speak.

Michigan now has a graduated licensing system so for her to be allowed to learn to drive, she first needs to take this class and get her =Level 1 permit, then we can start taking her driving.

So far the classroom portion has been described as varying between deathly boring and hellishly boring.

In short the theory instructor is really lacking any effort, phoning it in and mainly playing AAA videos and repeating the info contained in them.

The workbook is pretty close to useless. For example the dashboard it has you identify gauges on depicts gauges that aren't on most cars these days including an ammeter gauge, a battery gauge, and a manifold pressure gauge for a turbo - seriously.

Why is the classroom portion of driving instruction so consistently deathly boring?

You'd think they'd have improved the delivery of the material and the material itself by now. After all driving is a rather important part of people's lives and learning to do so is important. The Level 1 segment requires 24 hours of in class instruction, so there's unfortunately a lot of time for boredom as they really seem to no be using the time effectively.

Since Monday they've learned about wearing seat belts and being sure to check all around your car for obstacles before getting in and adjusting the seat and mirrors. This should take 20 minutes, not the six hours so far.

They should be able to make an engaging and instructive curriculum but for whatever reason, they dnn't. She's learning more by self-studying the What Every Driver Must Know state handbook than anything in class.

Well, 6 hours of in-car instruction and 4 hours of in-car observation should prove to be instructive.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Mueller Investigation Back On!

This morning, Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced that he was resuming his investigation into the question of collusion of Russia with the Trump campaign.

Democrats all across America cried tears of joy, a clear contrast to the rivers of sadness that had been flowing since the release of the Special Cunsel's report.

Mueller announced that after $29 million dollars spent and 2 years searching for evidence of Russian collusion without finding a shred of any such activity, he realized he had not searched everywhere yet.

"I had looked high, I had searched low", he said, "and I found nothing".

"But in all this searching I forgot to look under my bed. I just looked there this morning." He said. "Sure enough, there was a dossier labelled "Open this for proof of Russian Collusion" and it had everything I needed to prove all the allegations made by the DNC. The million dollars in small unmarked bills right beside the dossier with a note that said 'Get Trump, Love H.' didn't influence his decision to reopen the investigation one bit.

Mueller plans to release an updated report this afternoon.

Happy April Fools' Day, Democrats.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Winter Is Coming...Again?

Probably as an effect for the Game of Thrones Season 8 opener, Winter is not done with us yet.

From temperatures that were downright Spring-like, yesterday it rained all day and then in the early evening the rain turned to snow.

This morning the temperatures have dropped even further and snow covers the ground.

A few Canadian Geese were rather put out by the sudden reappearance of winter, and one of the two pictured was rather loudly vociferous about it.

Dammit Carl!  You said winter was over and we could fly back to Michigan!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

If You Were Wondering Why There's Crime In Detroit . . .

The situation: An illegal, having confessed to drug trafficking more than 6 kilograms of cocaine, and would be facing up to life imprisonment for drug trafficking, not to mention deportation at some point.

He was released on a $200 bond.

Surprise! He promptly absconded and is not in custody. Guess he didn't care about the $200 bucks he spent.

The Detroit News: Accused Mexican drug smuggler skips court after posting $200 bond

On top of that, a probationary Detroit cop just got busted for drug dealing.

The Detroit News: Chief: Detroit cop arrested, fired for allegedly dealing drugs

Detroit likely needs to tighten up their bond requirements, not to mention their background checks on new hires.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Special Sirens For Special Weather Awareness

Didja know that this week is Severe Weather Awareness Week?

Me neither.

Of course, Severe Weather Awareness Week is now being held when the weather this week has been pretty much the opposite of severe. There's been sun, it's been warming up, and no severe weather event of any kind has happened so far nor is it likely to occur this week.

Why they don't hold it during actual severe weather-worthy weeks like during the recent polar vortex is beyond me.

So today, for a special treat to raise awareness, the tornado sirens went off. To raise awareness. We're now aware the sirens work not just on the first Saturday of the month at 1pm but now on a Tuesday too. I am now much safer from this awareness moment.

Which leads to the next confusing severe weather point - without looking it up does anyone know the difference between a Storm/Tornado Watch and a Storm/Tornado Warning? Which one is worse? Who thought that using two similar W-words to distinguish the possibility versus the actuality of a dangerous event was a good idea?

Interestingly enough, for those who didn't know, a Tornado Warning is worse than a Tornado Watch.

One would think that if someone tells you to watch out for something it would be more severe and pose a greater danger than just getting a warning about it maybe happening, but that is not so.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Jett Is Taking No Chances

Currently some in the neighborhood are in a frenzy over reports of coyotes in the area.

People really need to calm down, but the neighborhood forums are ablaze with coyote spotted messages including panicked calls to secure your small animals indoors and ensure small children are not left out playing in yards as tasty coyote treats.

Never mind that there's been no actual reported incidents of a coyote around here actually attacking anyone or being aggressive, or anything of the sort, but some people are pretty high strung. It's as if they've never seen any wildlife before. I half expect squirrel alerts to be next coming from the overwrought ADHD homeowners around here.

As a result, Jett, before his walk last night, wanted to make sure he would not be misidentified as a coyote by some fearful neighbor.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Sometimes You Really Should Shut Up And Take The Deal

Had a client come in with a speeding ticket problem.

Officer had given her the ticket and while she was speeding 11-15 over, he cut her a break and reduced it to impeding which is zero points and just a fine.

That’s a decent deal right off the bat considering he had her dead to rights on radar.

Somehow, and I’m not sure how exactly, she decided to represent herself in court and instead of just paying the ticket managed to get it reinstated against her as an 11-15 over 2 point offense and fine. She is then found responsible for it and gets the full hit. That takes some talent.

Situation clearly not improved she hired me to fix her mess.

So I entered an appearance and today met with the prosecutor before the hearing and got it reduced back to the impeding charge, got that entered on the record and she’s all set.

Sometimes you need to accept the gift you’re given, smile, thank the officer and pay your fine and move on rather than trying to fight a ticket in a rather ineffective manner.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Winter Isn’t Giving Up Quite Yet

The past couple days were warm and wet, with rain and snow melting and beginning to feel like spring.

So of course this morning winter decided to get another hit in.

Heading to Abby’s forensics competition the roads are a complete sheet of ice, cars in ditches everywhere and slippery as hell.

Now it’s starting to snow, and heavily.

Traffic has slowed to a crawl and adding stress before even arriving at the competition.

Winter can’t be done soon enough and it’s really worn out it’s welcome if it ever had one.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Queen's Own Rifles Museum - The Fenian Raids

Sir Henry Pellat in addition to being a financier and builder of Casa Loma was also a member of and later became Colonel of the Queen's Own Rifles in 1910, and ended his sixty years of military service as a Major General.

The Queen's Own Rifles museum is located on the third floor of Casa Loma, and is well worth a visit if you're in Toronto.

The Museum exhibits start with the formation of the regiment and its early history. Formed in 1860, The QOR's riflemen armed with Snider-Enfields and Spencer Rifles, had their first engagement occurred in June 1866 at the Battle of Ridgeway against the Fenian raiders.

The Fenians were Irish Americans, many of them veterans of the Civil War, who came up with a rather cunning plan to obtain independence for Ireland from Great Britain:

Invade Canada, and then trade Canada for a free Ireland.

As you might imagine, the plan wasn't quite fully thought through, and did not achieve its aims, but Fenians began invading Canada, under a name that would be far more famous in the 20th century - The Irish Republican Army.

The first raid led to the Battle of Ridgeway.

Unfortunately The Battle of Ridgeway was not the QOR's finest hour and earned the Queen's Own Rifles a rather derogatory nickname - "Quickest out of Ridgeway" for their rather disorderly retreat from the Fenian assault - a battle that turned out to be the only successful attack perpetrated by the Fenians.

The first Canadian soldier to die in that battle, Ensign Malcolm McEachren of the QOR was shot in the abdomen and died. The uniform jacket he wore that day is on display at the museum.

The exhibit on the Battle of Ridgeway was an interesting look at early Canadian military history.

The Fenian raids and the fear of further invasion was one of the factors that led to the unification and formation of Canada in 1867.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Today's Trial: It Was A Dog-Bites-Dog Kind of Case

Just finished a nice half-day trial.

Yes, it actually was about an idiotic Defendant letting their pit bull roam free and attacked my client's dog, causing a few thousand in vet bills.

Not only idiotic as their city bans pit bulls and they had one anyways, nor just because you're required to control your dog, but idiotic as they refused to pay anything for the medical bills and demanded to go to trial. Most people would step up and pay for the damage their animal did, these folks decided to give it the ostrich treatment. They actually were busy claiming their dog hadn't bit my client's dog and had only gotten out that one time and nothing happened.

Witnesses who were at the scene begged to differ. Witnesses who noted the dog had escaped on multiple times also differed with their story of this being a one-off.

Their attorney did his best, but had to run with an inconsistent story - that the dog didn't bite my client's dog, and if it did then the damages weren't all that bad. This led to some strange questioning from him, including playing math and mind games with the vet bills, but in the end it wasn't nearly enough and I got a judgment in favor of my client.

It was kinda crazy to be going to trial on this as most reasonable people would have settled or offered to pay or even arrange a payment plan or something to get this resolved. Not these bozos.

Trial record remains undefeated.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Toronto's Castle - Casa Loma

On the weekend I took the family to Toronto for some family stuff and see the relatives.
In addition to the regular relative stuff, we took the kids to Casa Loma.


(CC By-SA 2.0) Photo by Priscilla Jordão
Built between 1911-1914 by Sir Henry Pellat, it has 98 rooms covering 64,700 square feet it cost 3.5 million dollars at the time.

Unfortunately during our visit they were running the Imagine Dragons exhibit which put in lots of Medieval stuff and holograms of dragons flying around which took a bit away from the ambiance.
The climb up to the towers to see the sights was demanded.



The route to the towers isn't completely finished with exposed wood beams, concrete, and stone for floors and bare brick work, much of it bearing graffiti from visitors over the years.
A rather large machine is seen on the way to the first tower.



Both towers have a narrow winding staircase going up to the top of each, only enough room for one person at a time goign up or down, so it can get quite congested and you had to wait your turn to go up or down.

The first tower is capped off so you can view through the windows.


Still you can get some nice views:



Off we went to the next tower, which is open to the elements.


The winding stairs are indeed steep and narrow:


The view was worth it though.




The tower's unicorn was rather prominent.



Everyone agreed that the towers were well worth the visit all by themselves, but there was much more to see.

Next Stop: The Queen's Own Rifles Of Canada Museum