What Is A Leap Year?

Neat little video on leap year and why there is a extra day (February 29) every 4 years.

Lesbians Cannot Be Accused Of Hate Crime Against Gay Man.

It is called the “Equal Protection Clause” of the United States Constitution. Sired in the Declaration of Independence and birthed after the Civil War, the Equal Protection Clause is part of the 14th Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

For years, opponents of “hate crime legislation” have argued such legislation is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Essentially the argument is that if a person is assaulted the reasons behind the assault do not matter – only that the person was assaulted. It makes no difference whether a person was assaulted in a dispute over a lawnmower or in a bar where the the victim was gay, a minority, or some other protected class. “Hate crime laws,” it is argued, allow different charges to be proffered against person for the same action.

For example, if Johnny and Sam get into a bar fight, assault charges may be filed against one or the other. If that same fight occurs and Johnny uses a racial slur or slur against Sam being gay, the assault charges may still be filed but Johnny may also be charged with a hate crime. If convicted of the hate crime aspect, the penalty is much greater than that of simple assault.

But what happens when one protected class assaults another protected class?

Gibson Guitar Raid – Update!

You may remember on August of 2011, the Gibson Guitar Company was raided by Federal agents who seized millions of dollars in woods used to make instruments. followed up on what has happened since that day in August.

Essentially, the answer is “nothing.”

Gibson has lost its materials and no charges have been filed against it. The Department of Justice is not commenting. No government agency is responding. Gibson cannot even get in front of a judge to explain its position, or hear the charges against it.

When The Government Invests Your Money – The Green Edition.

William Teach over at The Pirate’s Cove has a post concerning Obama making gasoline prices and oil exploration a talking point as he travels around the country.

As usual, Teach is on top of his game with the 411 on the subject. at the bottom of the post, however, he makes what can be almost described as a “throw away point” on a company called A123 Systems who manufactures batteries. The company is in financial trouble after taking over $250 million in Federal funds plus another $100 million from the taxpayers of the state of Michigan. Teach’s point, and it is a good one, is that while Obama is out there lying talking about all he has done for oil and gas exploration, the energy sources he favors and the companies to which the administration has given money continue to fail.

The company’s name rang a bell with us and when we went back and looked at it, what we saw was a rip off of the American people again.

In May of 2008, the “green” section of the website Autoblog said of A123 Systems:

A123 Systems is pretty hot right now. How hot? It’s got more sizzle than the A123-powered Killacycle (pictured above). It’s been on the receiving end of $100 million investment dollars in a little over a year. That’s definitely hot. And it’s not all about “what ifs” and “could bes”, these guys are making all kinds of batteries for companies like Black & Decker and Hymotion. They are testing with GM’s Volt and stand a good chance of becoming the main supplier (or at least one of the main suppliers) for that model. So it seems A123, as they say, will strike while the iron is hot and issue an IPO.

According to Scott Kirsner over at Innovation Economy, the deal could put the company’s worth up around $1 billion. If you want to get in on the action you should have the whole summer to save up. Kirsner predicts September will be the magic month.

Autoblog was wrong about the projected date of the IPO. Instead of being in September of 2008, the IPO happened in September of 2009. In terms of investments, the IPO was solid.

When A123 went public in September 2009, it inspired visions of easy profits and growth. On its first day of trading, the stock jumped from its IPO price of $13.50 to close at $20.29. Within two weeks the stock had more than doubled, hitting a high of $28.20.

And why not?

The month prior to the IPO, A123 Systems received a grant of $249 million dollars from the Federal Government to develop batteries. One of the batteries A123 Systems was developing was for the Chevy Volt. As stated above in the Autoblog article, A123 Systems was a leading contender to make the battery packs for the Volt.

Yet in 2009, GM chose another company – LG Chem of Korea – to build the battery packs for the Volt. Without the contract, one would think the government would step back and pause a moment on investing more into the company.

One would be wrong.

There Are Things We Don’t “Get.” Other Things Are Very Cool.

In 2007, the Lego Corporation released the LEGO Star Wars: Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon number 10179.

It is recorded to be the largest set ever produced by LEGO, measuring 33″(84 cm) long by 22″(56 cm) wide and 8.3″(21 cm) tall. It has been designed to be to scale with the minifigures, unlike most other ultimate collector’s series sets. The model is very intricate in detail with many special SNOT (Studs Not On Top) techniques involved in the front “spikes”, so the set was designed more than just a toy, but mimicking the basic Star Wars technology and architecture.

Upon its release in 2007, UCS Millennium Falcon is the second largest LEGO set ever produced, after the 10189 Taj Mahal, with more than 5000 pieces and a 311 page instruction manual. The first copies of this set sold through received a special first edition certificate of authenticity.

Okay. We don’t get this. If you want to build a massive reproduction of the iconic Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars saga, go ahead and build a model of the thing. Carve it out wood. Scratch build a model from plastic. Heck, even try making a guitar with the body of the Millennium Falcon with a “R2D2” headstock.

But a Lego set with 5,195 pieces? Nah. We don’t get that one.

It’s just not for us especially given the price of the set is $2499.97 at Sorry, by $2500 for an overblown Lego set just doesn’t do anything for us here at Raised on Hoecakes. We are glad that people buy the product and enjoy putting it together, but it is not for us.

But what if you didn’t have the money to buy the kit? Or what if you didn’t have the space to display the model once it was completed?

Activist Sought To Have Fur Wearer Killed.

Meredith Lowell of Meredith Heights, Ohio has been arrested and charged with soliciting a man to actively find a wearer of fur and kill that person.

For the murder, Lowell would be willing “to pay this person up to $830-$850 which is far more than I was originally willing to pay.”

The woman, who prosecutors say was Lowery, wrote that “I would like to create an online community on facebook whi8ch would allow me to find someone who is willing to kill someone wearing fur toward the end of October 2011 or early November 2011 or possibly in January 2012 or February 2012 at the latest.”

While the time frame was left open, Lowell had some standards for the hit:

In a mid-November email between her and the agent, outside of Facebook, she said she could only afford to pay $730, and advised him “top bring a gun that has a silencer on it and that can be easily concealed in your pants pocket or coat. Do not wear anything that even remotely looks like fur. If you do not want to risk the possibility if getting caught with a gun before the job, bring a sharp knife that is at least 4 inches long.”

She went on to specify that she wanted the person “to be dead in less than 2 minutes (under 2 minutes or 1 minute or less would be better.)”

In another message she told the agent “I am paying you to kill one person wearing fur who is 12 or older (but hopefully at least 14 years however 12 years old or older is fine.)”

She went on to write that “I plan on staying after the hit for reasons of benefit to the movement. And I think being caught would actually benefit me personally.”

Yes, because we all know a dead body and a lifetime in jail is always a good career goal.

Rock For The Ages – The Petra Praise Edition

We have written about the group Petra before, focusing on their change in lead singers, styles and “non-praise and worship” albums.

As part of a project we are doing for a Christian school, we went searching through the vast library of albums and CD’s here are Raised on Hoecakes and came across the “Petra Praise” albums. Sadly, we must admit we had somewhat forgotten these gems.

“Petra Praise” (Volume 1 and 2) put what can be best described as a “Petrification” of contemporary praise and worship songs.

After all these years, these albums prove two things. First, good praise and worship songs are timeless and secondly, there is a reason Christ told Peter he was rock. Even then, Christ knew rock music fits praise and worship like a hand fits a glove.

Fist up, from the first Petra Praise album, “Salvation Belongs to Our God.”

And from Petra Praise 2, “Lord I Lift Your Name On High.”

See ya next time!

The Post Office Comparison And ObamaCare Continues To Reap Rewards.

Way back on August 13, 2011, we wrote how Obama had compared his health care proposal to the United States Postal Service.

Explaining why he believes a public option would not crowd out and ultimately eliminate private insurance, Obama said, “My answer is that if the private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining…then I think private insurers should be able to compete. They do it all the time. I mean, if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems.”

What was amazing about the statement was that in comparing the USPS to his proposed plan, and comparing private insurance companies to FedEx and UPS, he was making the argument of how inefficient and wasteful ObamaCare would be and how it would not be able to be successful if allowed to compete “head’s up” with private insurance companies. He was, in fact, agreeing with opponents of ObamaCare and saying the plan wasn’t sustainable in the open market.

In August, we mentioned the staggering losses of the USPS and the affect that might have on the USPS itself.

On February 9, 2012, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe issued a statement saying the losses for the USPS during the first quarter of the fiscal year (October 2011 – December 2011) were $3.3 billion dollars. Projected out over the course of the year, that is over $10 billion in losses.

The USPS continues to look aggressively at closing post offices, ending Saturday delivery and ways to handle benefit and pension commitments.

One way to cut costs that is now in the works is the closing of half of the USPS mail distribution centers. The closings will result in the loss of 35,000 jobs.

Predictably, the Postal Workers Union is not happy about this.

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