Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Today is Memorial Day a American tradition that began in the aftermath of the Civil War to honor those who had lost their lives in the War between the States.  While the weapons, equipment, and military strategies have changed over the years, the heart of the military remains the brave men and women who put their own lives and pursuit of happiness on hold while they serve, risking life and limb every day to help ensure peace and security for the people of the United States.

War should only ever be a last resort to solving disputes between Nations, but the role of the military has grown beyond resolving disputes between Nations and fighting hostile military forces.  Now the enemy we fight blends in with civilians and uses them as human shields. The battlefield has moved into the towns and villages leaving much of the high power miltary weaponry on the shelf, trading it for soldiers on patrol, always vulnerable to attack from those they protect.   In the 21st Century it's more about Nation-building than Nation-destroying.

I have the highest respect and regard for all of those who put their lives on the line in the US Armed Forces.   I didn't serve and I can't begin to imagine what it must feel like to head out into hostile territory or watch a friend die in a firefight.  I have seen the toll it takes on families and loved ones when a soldier falls and I think the worst thing for them to think at the time would be that their loss was in vain.  

So I hope that every government official takes serious their responsibility to adequately prepare each soldier and put them in a position where the mission is clear and the rules of engagement give them every chance to protect themselves and others in their units.

I hope every American voter takes serious their responsibility to elect politicians who are qualified to wield the power and might of the greatest fighting force the world has ever known.    And I hope we never forget the sacrifices it took of so many American kids throughout our Nation's history to bring us all the opportunity to live right here, right now.

We should all feel lucky every day to be Americans and be wise enough to remember and honor our countrymen and women who have died to make and keep our Nation safe and strong.  We owe every bit of our liberty and freedom to them.

Bill White, Neo-Nazi loser, takes his case to the American Free Press

You know every so often I like to visit the American Free Press site to read up on the latest conspiracy theories, anti-science blabber, end-times prophecy and of course to catch up on all the latest gossip about the Bilderbergers.  Its a crack-up kinda like the Onion, but technically it's not satire, so that makes it even funnier. 

Oh, and I forgot to mention that occasionally they devote space to defend Neo-Nazi white supremacists like Bill White.  This is rich..    Bill White, How I was Tortured, Told to Lie by the Obama regime

" In 2008, I was arrested because a federal informant—Harold Turner—claimed, falsely, that I was planning to assassinate President Barack Obama by detonating a truck bomb at the Poff Federal Building in Roanoke, Va. I was never charged with this crime, however. Instead, I was charged with a series of free speech violations for publishing a website and magazine critical of the government."

Read through these links to get the real story behind Bill White's legal problems and the original complaint filed against him.

Rockbridge Report: Roanoke man's trial to tackle First Amendment issues    
United States of America vs William White (pdf)

Using his website to threaten and intimidate the foreperson of the jury that convicted his Neo-Nazi buddy Matthew Hale. Nice.  That's quite a fine young man the AFP is using resources to defend.   Nothing proves how much you love and are prepared to defend the US Constitution more than intimidating a juror.   And this..    

"... After my detention, I was tortured by the Obama government. Initially, I was held in a small room under a bright light 24 long hours a day and subjected to sleep deprivation. I was denied showers, a shave, even a toothbrush, and it was in this condition—dirty and half dead from lack of sleep—that I was repeatedly taken to the courts and paraded before the news cameras."
Yes indeed the news cameras were there.  Judge for yourself if you think his picture bears out his story of being tortured and denied of sleep, shower and a shave. Did Neo-Nazi White go too far this time? 

The site has a full archive of White's legal travails all the way back to his original arrest.  Dive in as deep as you like there.

So the AFP, a so-called American patriotic site that promotes the 9/11 conspiracy, anti-vax nonsense, the Obama birth certificate conspiracy, global warming denial, and vile Antisemitism also now features press release puff pieces scribbled down by convicted Neo-Nazi white supremacists.

If this is what the GOP wants to become, You can count me out.  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where the heck did all this rain come from?

Seems like its been raining around here every day or so for a month or longer. The baseball season has been marred by rain delays and postponements, farmers are still waiting for the fields to dry out so they can plant crops, flash flood warnings and swelling river updates on the TV, it has been as wet a Spring as I can remember.

While I don't know beans about predicting weather I do know that the rain that falls in one location started out as water vapor absorbed into the air somewhere else.  Here is an NOAA loop of water vapor as it starts over the North Pacific and swirls to the East across the upper USA.   The psychometric chart demonstrates that as air increases in temperature it's saturation point for water increases exponentially so a small increase in air temperature can make a large increase in the amount of water a mass of air can hold.

That swirling warm humidified air mass then has to mix with another colder air mass to make the water vapor condense out as rain.  Otherwise the humid air would just pass right over without any rain falling.  There needs to be a ongoing collision of a warm humid air mass and a cold one to generate the persistent and massive rain we have seen lately here.  As long as there are polar ice caps, there will be cold air masses, and where those cold air masses collide with warm humid air masses there will be rain. 
The warmer ocean temperatures  and warmer atmosphere combine to increase the amount of moisture the atmosphere holds increasing the potential for monsoon-like weather when that warm humid airstream meets up with a cold front. Predicting exactly where, when and how much rain will fall is beyond our modeling capability but it is reasonable to say that as the ocean temperatures rise from the effects of AGW, we will see more rain, not less. And as the slow march of AGW affects ocean and wind currents, there will be regional changes in traditional weather patterns. Better or worse, the climate is going to change everywhere.

There are some 6 billion people on the planet and each one of us is using some amount of energy derived from fossil fuels every day. That process involves creating carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that holds heat in the air, and waste heat that goes into the air and eventually into the ocean. While an increase in temperature of the oceans might seem slight, there is a flood of data to demonstrate the exponential increase in the amount of evaporation resulting from warmer oceans and air.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You don't have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun your buddy.

There is an old joke about two hunters who angered a mama bear in the woods and she started chasing after them.  As the two men ran for their lives, one said, "It's hopeless, we can't outrun the bear!" And the other replied, "I don't have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you!"

I'm not sure the analogy works for the global economy because we're all kind of chained together, but it does seem that Europe is running from the bear just a bit slower than the USA lately.      
Europe Sinks Markets:  Stocks, Commodities Fall on New Debt Fears; Jitters Over Recovery
Anxieties about Europe's debt problems have been fanned further by an open dispute between the European Central Bank and euro-zone governments about what to do with Greece's large, and growing, debt burden. As well, a negative report on Italy's credit rating and a crushing defeat in weekend elections for Spain's ruling party intensified concerns that Europe's debt problems were entering a new, critical stage.
A European debt crisis wouldn't be a good thing for anyone, but it might pave the way for a stronger American recovery. When the dollar gains in value compared to the Euro, it may become a disadvantage to American firms that export to Europe, but that would be offset by less expensive imported raw materials used in American manufacturing and industry. The increased value of the dollar could lead to lower oil prices which would help fuel further economic recovery as consumers would gain in disposable income. By deteriorating the finances of European firms that compete with American companies, it may weaken their ability to invest in new product development and facility upgrades, the effects of which may not be felt for several years. While the markets tend to spread economic contagions by selling off everywhere based on negativity anywhere, that might not be the best strategy when one particular market is reacting normally to local conditions.

Europe is still struggling with harmonizing the economies and financial policy of diverse nations who are more concerned with the home front than they are with the state of their union. To work, the Euro zone must coordinate financial policy among all the member states. That's easy enough to do when times are good and the cash is flowing, but now that austerity and budget cuts rule the day the Euro infighting is going to make it tougher for them all to agree how to compete against the common enemies, namely the USA and China.

Through mountains of collaborative financed debt, the USA and China are bound together for the long haul and for mutual survival they will do whatever is necessary to keep each other's economies humming along.  If that means standing back watching a Euro debt crisis unfold, that's what they will do.

The USA should not just stand around and wait for the Euros to get up off the ground, dust off and get back in the race.  We should keep running as fast as we can and let the bear catch the slower guy.  That's what people who want to stay alive do.           

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Perseverance like an old oak tree..

Old oak tree in Brownstown Twp., MI 
Our subdivision was built in the 1990's, carved from undeveloped forest and land that tends to be a swamp in the Spring.  On our lot we kept most the original trees in the back and have a mixture of oak, cotton, maple, and shag-bark hickory trees among others.  The most impressive and oldest of the bunch is the large old oak tree pictured above.  I first noticed this tree when my wife and I walked around the empty lots in a new development where we were considering building a new home.  We eventually did buy into the subdivision and chose the lot with the old oak tree in the woods out back.   A tree I call Perseverance.  Click twice on the picture to enlarge it and you see why the name fits.

Every branch below 20 feet and some above that have been broken off in some violent storm over the last 100 years but the tree just survives and keeps coming back. You can see the truncated limbs all around the trunk of the tree and more bare branches weakening and falling down over time and yet at the top of the canopy new growth shoots out from the dying branches every Spring. That's inspirational.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

CAFE Math.. Why the gas hogs have to go.

Over a year ago the EPA released the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards going forward. New Federal CAFE standards officially released, 34.1 mpg by 2016
The overall fleet fuel mileage requirement will be an average between both passenger cars and light trucks, and NHTSA is predicting that the 2012 numbers will be 33.3 for cars and 25.4 for trucks in 2012, rising to 37.8 for cars and 28.8 for trucks by 2016.

And that doesn't sound like all that much of an increase from 2011's standards of 30.2 mpg for cars and 24.1 mpg for light trucks.  But a bit of math shows that this is not going to take just some minor tweaking here and there.  It is going to be very difficult, or at least expensive, to keep on offering high performance vehicles with poor fuel economy.  The key detail is in how the CAFE number is calculated. The average fuel economy is a weighted average of the harmonic mean, not the arithmetic mean of the mileage ratings of the individual vehicles.  I'll let the NHTSA website explain it to make the math clear..
The regulatory language describes the calculation as: “the number of passenger automobiles manufactured by the manufacturer in a model year; divided by the sum of the fractions obtained by dividing the number of passenger automobiles of each model manufactured by the manufacturer in that model year by the fuel economy measured for that model.”
SO,  based on that explanation, feel free to dive in and calculate the fleet average for a manufacturer that sold equal numbers of vehicles with 50 mpg and 30 mpg.  That would make the fleet average 40 mpg right?  Uh, not so fast.   According to the definition you have to calculate the fleet average based on gallons-per-mile, not based on miles-per-gallon.  The answer to the problem is 37.5 mpg, which just so happens to be close to the 2016 standard for passenger cars.  To comply with the CAFE standards in 2016, manufacturers will have to sell as many vehicles that get 50 mpg as 30 mpg. 

Hopefully we will actually get to see what a 50 mpg vehicle looks like sometime soon, at least in concept, seeing as in a few years they will have to comprise about half the total fleet.  That is unless manufactures go ahead and penalize customers who want a vehicle that gets only 30 mpg to cover the gas-guzzler penalty.

The harmonic mean method for calculating the CAFE number puts a severe penalty on vehicles with relatively low mileage because they drag down the overall mileage average.  As an extreme example consider that the average between 1 mpg and 100 mpg is only 2 mpg.   To acheive the 2016 CAFE requirement of 28.8 mpg for light trucks, manufacturers will have to sell one truck that gets 39 mpg for every for truck that gets 23 mpg.  Seeing as there is no truck that can get close to 39 mpg now it will be a real challenge to rely on that vehicle for half the sales of light trucks.   Either that or the approach will have to be increasing the efficiency of the lower mileage vehicles and there is no easy way to squeeze much more economy from a full size V8-powered pickup truck with current towing and weight capabilities.

True there are some substantial mileage credits manufacturers can get by offering flexible fuel vehicles, but soon those will diminish unless automakers can demonstrate that drivers are actually buying the E85 fuel, which they aren't.  It may be cheaper per gallon but it provides less fuel economy so it ends up more expensive per mile and truck owners are savvy enough to figure that out.  So I don't look for the flexible fuel credit to be the savior that enables a full portfolio of light duty trucks to meet CAFE long-term.

To comply with 2016 CAFE standards manufacturers will have to keep pushing the limits of engineering and technology to get maximum fuel efficiency out of each vehicle. But the way I see it, all of the best efforts of the automakers will not do enough to elevate the fleet average to enable the continued offering of high performance and full sized vehicles in significant volume.   The low mileage vehicles will be purged from the lineups except for the high end vehicles that can command the gas guzzler premium from customers.

So get used to those little B-class subcompact vehicles.  Good chance you'll be driving one in a few years.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Where is the price of gasoline going? Jeff Beck knows..

Ok, so before you read through the post and links, I highly reccommend playing this awesome Jeff Beck song for background music..

SO, where is the price of gasoline going?  Everyone wants to know where so I figured I'd figure it out.  But don't like go and invest any of your money based on my advice.  My lawyer told me to say that btw.

In the end, price is a function of supply and demand. I say market manipulation eventually gets overrun by the masses so lets ignore the conspiracy theories.  To predict the trend of the price look at the trends for supplies and demands and you should be at least be able to figure out if the price is headed up or down.

First look at the data and recent trends. The US Energy Information Administration explains how futures contracts relate to retail prices. Great resource for an economics geek.   The relationship between retail gasoline prices and NYMEX RBOB futures prices  and then read this story about oil storage capacity peaking out just before the price of gasoline fell in May 2010.  Rising reserves of unused oil put strain on storage.   In 2010, as the storage capacity for oil filled it resulted in a bump down in price of gasoline so there is some correlation between inventories and prices.

And this story explains the glut in Cushing, Oklahoma the world's largest oil storage facilty. So much of a glut that Canada is losing patience with our ability to handle their increasing flow of oil through pipelines from their oil production fields. Oil Glut at Cushing Oklahoma Could Last Two Years  Yet, the price of gasoline has not fallen to reflect that glut in oil supplies.  

Of course, you don't put oil in your car, you put gasoline in the tank and so refining capacity is also part of the equation.  And we've all heard about how there hasn't been a new refinery built in the USA since the 1970's..  but there is no shortage of refinery capacity.  Quite the opposite.  Ernst and Young compiled this report on the prospects for the refining industry.  Doom and Gloom and low margins because of overcapacity.  US Refining 2010: From the Golden age to the dark ages  

Going forward, refiners are likely to continue to be squeezed by upward crude price pressures as a result of increasing depletion rates, spending cutbacks, access constraints and costs, and from downward demand pressures caused by economic weakness and a sluggish recovery. Additionally, the growing “greenness,” which is manifested in the newfound appreciation of vehicle ef ciency, increasing use of biofuels, and improved hybrid vehicle economics threatens refiners’ margins. Quite simply, growing Chinese and Asian oil demand can’t carry the whole burden for the global refining system.

We have a glut in oil reserves already with oil production from Canada increasing and there is a glut in refining capacity along with a permanent downward trend in gasoline demand in the USA.  Although the stock of gasoline is used to gauge demand, I think that is a misleading long term trend.  As refiners' margins get squeezed, they will reduce costs and that involves trimming inventory levels.  So don't look at falling gasoline inventories as a textbook 'shortage' when there is excess capacity to refine more if needed and the storage tanks don't need to be kept full.   That all points in one direction which is a decline in the price of gasoline,   The EIA called for $0.25 per gallon drop this Summer.  I'll go a little bolder and call double that.  Ah but when.

The one caveat of course is a financial crisis that might ensue from a default on the dollar if the geniuses in Washington are incompetent enough to let that debacle happen. Then all bets are off. Otherwise, I see a nice drop in the price of gasoline coming soon and it will be like a mini-stimulus package for the economy, fueling more consumer confidence and economic recovery that will enable converting more of the American fleet to fuel efficient cars reducing the demand for gasoline even further. It would be good for us if a glut in the oil market could do for prices what the glut in the housing market did.

Those who interpret the recent falling price of oil as a bad-news indicator of a slowing economy are ignoring the supply and demand trends or misunderstanding the reasons for the trends.  Falling oil and soon gasoline prices are in part due to consumers' diverse efforts to reduce fuel consumption and this is a key enabler for sustained economic growth.  I can't wait to say I told you so.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020

Although I'm not typically a big fan of the UN, I think this is a great initiative.  I wrote a post about this topic a few months back.. here  so I am glad to see the UN also promoting vehicle safety.  Maybe it's not a forgotten war after all.   United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020

Road traffic injuries remain a major public health problem and a leading cause of death, injury and disability around the world. Each year, nearly 1.3 million people die and between 20 million and 50 million more are injured as a result of road crashes. More than 90 per cent of these deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world’s vehicles. Road traffic injuries are among the three leading causes of death for people between 5 and 44 years of age.

Road traffic injuries threaten to hinder achievements in economic and human development. It has been estimated that global losses due to road traffic injuries total $518 billion and cost Governments between 1 and 3 per cent of their gross national product. In some low- and middle-income countries, the loss is more than the total amount of development assistance they receive. Road traffic injuries place a heavy burden on a country’s economy as a result of their direct impact on health-care and rehabilitation services, as well as through indirect costs. They also can put considerable financial stress on affected families, who often must absorb medical and rehabilitation costs, funeral costs and such other costs as the lost earnings of the victim, in addition to extensive emotional strain.
1.3 million dead per year and another 20-50 million injured. Woah. True, most of the deaths occur in lower income areas where vehicles and roads aren't built to the same standards, city traffic is a hot mess and overloaded buses regularly plunge off mountain roads, but even in the USA there are some 40,000 accident related deaths a year. The perplexing thing to me is why do people seem to just accept those statistics and drive on. Where is the outrage?    

The world is pretty much stuck on a paradigm for the automobile that they ought to be comfortable, sporty, efficient, stylish, quiet, and oh by the way they should pass minimum government safety standards as well.  But I think the key design feature for an automobile should be occupant safety with performance and creature comfort features added in later. Start with a full roll cage structure and use 5-point seat belts or even roller coaster style restraints for the passengers.  The goal should be that customers don't get killed using your product. 
We should at least attempt to make the 16 year kid going 45 mph down the road as safe as a NASCAR driver going 200 mph down the straightaway. The technology is there to make ultra-safe cars, but apparently there is no demand from the market and so none of the world's many automakers see a business case to develop one. Instead they pore over minor improvements in the design and performance to give their products some incremental advantage over the competition.

But maybe the ultra-safe car is the sort of innovation that could totally change the way all cars are designed and built. As a completely untapped market, the first automaker that offers cars like this will define a new market segment and grab a leadership role that all the others will have to play catch-up to match. Every driver and passenger that emerges from a serious accident alive will become a loyal fan providing free advertisement that money couldn't buy.  

Why wouldn't an automaker take advantage of an opportunity to fill a void in the market and sell vehicles that people will clamor to buy for a premium instead of just slug it out with the competition for meager margins trying to make cars that are essentially alike but slightly different. Why not make a vehicle that blows away the competition in safety metrics even if it lags in performance and creature comfort? What other design feature could possibly be as important to a parent purchasing a vehicle for their child?

So cudos to the UN for promoting this initiative.  Hopefully it prompts the industry to design and sell  vehicles that make occupant safety the main priority.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Should the USA consider selling Alaska to Canada

I'm not advocating this, just thinking out loud here.  The United States public debt is $14 trillion and counting.   Everyone agrees that we need to do something to address both the yearly deficits and the massive accumulated debt, now up to one full year of the USA's Gross Domestic Product. Preserving the status quo is not an option and significant measures are needed or the debt will eventually crush our economy.

So why not consider selling Alaska to Canada. It could perhaps shave a few trillion of debt and reduce the yearly budget deficit as well.  I can't imagine the legal complexities, but I'm guessing it would take some sort of Constitutional Amendment to make it happen, and that might kill the idea as there is no way to get 3/4 of the States to agree to anything these days.  Also, there is no assurance Canada would want to make a deal for Alaska.  But here's the case for what its worth.

The US public debt has grown out of control. link  As a state, Alaska is a yearly drain on Federal tax revenue so it helps add to the deficit.  link  If we don't do something drastic to fix our balance sheet, the dollar could go into default collapsing the US economy along with the entire global economy into a giant heap of chaos. link  It makes more sense geographically that Alaska would be part of Canada than part of the USA anyway. link  The national security issues regarding Russia from the cold war era don't exist anymore and modern military technology can make up for the loss in strategic location.   Alaska has plenty of untapped oil reserves but our environmental restrictions limit their development and they  don't do us much good just sitting there.

The USA has had decades to come up with some sort of plan to pay down the debt, but the greatest generation and the baby boomers were too busy planning vacations and retirements and opted to let the kids figure it out someday in the future.   But the future is now and the gig is up.  Losing Alaska might be part of the deal when they divvy up USA assets after the financial Armageddon so maybe we ought to sell it first to avoid the collapse altogether.  That's somewhat akin to the situation Russia was in when they sold us Alaska for pennies per acre.  Sell it now before we lose it anyway. 

I don't think people realize the full implications of American financial default.  Based on the rhetoric surrounding the debt ceiling, politicians don't see that it's TNT they are playing with, not just fire.  To preserve the Union, the Union might just have to sell off part of itself.  That sounds drastic and extreme because it is.  Not to say this is the only way out of our financial straits, but it gives an idea of the order of magnitude of the solution we need.  Any fix for the debt will necessarily be drastic and extreme. It's way past the point of tweaking tax rates and working down budgets.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday Treat.. Jack Johnson: Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

A sweet video from one of the coolest dudes ever to strum an acoustic guitar performing one of his best songs.  Alls I can say is, How'd dey do dat?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Osama's death makes Chomsky spew BS like a salad shooter.

Oh this is rich..  Noam Chomsky, genius, has graced us with his musings about the untimely sudden death and unceremonious disposal at sea of his favorite mover and Sheikh-er, the biggest hero of the American radical left (especially fat slob movie makers from Flint, Michigan), none other than Osama bin Laden. or maybe it's Usama, I'm not exactly sure.   Aesop first wrote his fable about sour grapes centuries ago and now Chomsky has updated the old story with a new twist: he replaced the moral of the story with a moral equivalency, written from the perspective of the downtrodden fox.

Here is the updated fable:  Noam Chomsky: My Reaction to Osama bin Laden's Death  A couple points with which to disagree..
 In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany.
Using one 9+ year old quote to demonstrate that we still had no evidence tying bin Laden and Al Qaeda to the 9/11 attacks is weak tea coming from an intellectual claiming loyalty only to facts.  Apparently Chomsky hasn't had the time since August 2004 to read through the report from the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United Statesor any other of the information and intelligence that has been collected since. The 9/11 Commission's report made a myriad of connections between the 9/11 terrorist attacks and bin Laden's closest accomplices.  Chomsky is in full fact-denial mode here, what I would call being willfully ignorant.  I wonder who is his target audience here? The most brilliant man in the world feels compelled to write an opinion piece for ignorant dolts?  Or was it just a soothing eulogy for the pity party of super-elites like Chomsky who in light of the news of bin Laden's demise must feel like Princess Leia after having watched Alderaan get smoked by the Death Star.

In any case, Chomsky using a trick from Matlock's playbook to prove his client was innocent by uncovering the real culprit won't work with the jury this time.  He has gone back and forth between broadcasting fertilizer that the Bush Administration was the real culprit of 9/11  here  and trying to distance himself from the loons who actually believed him when he blamed Bush here .  It reminds me of the old 3-layered bulletproof criminal defense.  1) My dog didn't bite you because she is well behaved and would never bite anyone. 2) Additionally, my dog is always kept on a chain in a fenced yard. 3) Furthermore, I don't even have a dog.  If Chomsky had stuck with any one of the three he might still have some credibility.  But by using them all in an evolving defense for bin Laden he sounds more like Tommy Flanagan than Ben Matlock.

Back to Chomsky's other main point in pleading bin Laden's innocence.  The USA = The Third Reich. Only the names and dates have changed.
Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”         
Never mind that he's making shit up alluding to the Tomahawk tribe of Native Americans as victims of US atrocities, he probably just lifted that from Ward Churchill's thesis.  Here we have the world's most renown intellectual mashing up  Goodwin's Law with an ad hominen attack to form an argument.  A double-stack shit sandwich.  Why should we believe anything the USA says? After all, the USA names weapon systems like the Third Reich might have named their weapon systems if the Nazis had only been as diabolical as us.  Orly??  And I have to say, that is an interesting analogy coming from a holocaust denier like Chomsky.  Why would the Luftwaffe feel compelled to call a fighter plane "Jew".  Hasn't he flapped his jaws about how the systematic killing of Jews by the Nazis is a myth?

Actually Chomsky's logic defines a slightly different version of Goodwin's Law.   That the longer Chomsky attempts to formulate an argument, the higher the probability is that he will eventually make the point that the Nazis were not as evil as the shadowy neocon imperialist American military-industrial complex puppet government. 

This lame analysis from Chomsky is just another shovelful of dirt flying up out of the deep hole he has been digging himself into for years now. He started out with the premise that the USA and capitalism are the world's most evil entities.  Now in light of plenty of evidence otherwise thanks in part to Osama bin Laden's truncated mission to turn the clock back on civilization a couple thousand years, Chomsky sounds like a sore loser coach in a post game press conference blaming the refs, blaming injuries and the field conditions, etc, clinging to the fact that his team is actually the better team even though they got blown out .

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Elvis Sighting in Ohio?

I have private information that there has been a confimed Elvis sighting in a small town in Ohio a few hours from here. I am so confident in my source that I plan to make a recon mission tomorrow morning in a sweet new Chevy Cruze to see if I can locate him and take some pictures.  More to follow...

UPDATE:  May 08, 2011

The reports were true.  Here is a picture verifying that Elvis was in Medina Ohio this weekend.

That big dude in the red shirt is Elvis Grbac.  A legendary Michigan QB, so he rates for a post here.    Recruited by Michigan only because he happened to be the big giant guy who was handing the ball off to Desmond Howard in high school when the Michigan scouts came calling.  Elvis turned out to be a four-year starter at QB who appeared in four consecutive Rose Bowls with the Wolverines.

The event was the Under Armor combine at Medina High School in Medina Ohio.  Athletics at every level can be very competitive, but when a high school player's development can lead to league championships as well as college scholarships, then coaches and parents have a common interest to get the student athletes the best training available and immerse them in super-competitive environments to motivate them to try even harder. 

And the other good lesson for the 150 or so student-athletes in attendance.  Grade point average might just be their most important stat.    Unless you are 6'-4" and weigh 235 and hand the ball off to future Heisman trophy winners all the time and your name is Elvis.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Factory phrases...

I wish I could rememeber even half of the humorous things I've heard people say on the factory floor over the course of the last 25 or so years.  Some were before the era of sensitivity training and they wouldn't be tolerated now.. Might be somewhat amusing I guess..  As I remember more I'll add them to the post..

If your people are doing what it looks like they're doing, I want one of the puppies. 

Always give the toughest job to the laziest guy and he'll figure out the easiest way to do it.

The conveyor is jammed tighter than a bull's ass in fly season.

That hood looks dryer than a popcorn fart.

That new kid aint no ball of fire.

Son, if you can piss, you can paint.

Kiss my ass...  Mark the spot, you're all ass, or... Better pack a lunch, that's an all day job.

Sometimes he plays dumb and sometimes he aint playing.

Don't bird dog him or he'll turn into Mickey the Dope on you.

I can't take that call right now.  I'm on the crapper.  (Superintendent to dispatcher on the plant radio.  uh thanks Tony, I'll let him know...)

She couldn't find her ass with both hands.

Who could ever forget good-ol whats his name?

Three word retirement speech from a superintendent.  "Adios mother f*ers" .. that was it.

They took mule killer to medical on a stretcher?  No shit.. What happened?  He done fell out? They sent him to the hospital?  Where's his lunch?  (Team leader Slick, upon hearing that the button man Mule Killer done fell out and got taken on a stretcher to medical and his lunch was up for grabs)

Hes allergic to hard work.. got a phobia or something.

Hi, I'm from Central Office and I'm here to help.

Seagulls, they fly in, shit on everyone and then fly away.

If Goober and Gomer are both here, who's pumping gas back in Mayberry?

Didn't I already tell you?  No.  Then it must not have been any of your damn business then.

Its running like a scalded dog.  ( or like a raped ape.)

Temporary is one day less than permanent.

Don't say you aint gonna, say you don't wanna.

Better leave that one for the geniuses on day shift.

An expert is anyone who don't work here.

There aren't any conveyors running through the office, ladies..

I've been to two world's fairs and seen billygoats f* but I aint never seen no shit like this.

If I want any shit outta you I'll squeeze your head.

You dumb sonofabitch. You can't call that stupid mother f-er a stupid mother f-er!  (General foreman correcting a foreman at greivance meeting with committeeman)

Don't we have a sick, lame and lazy we could put on that job?  (referring to workers with doctor restrictions)

He's got his head so far up the boss's ass he can see what he had for breakfast.

Anything can happen to one car.  Call me if you get another one like that.  Related to..  If you want to make an omellete you gotta break some eggs. or the fall-back, Yeah I'm working on it.  

Inspector..  This car has spitters on the hood, sags on both fenders, the door is smashed in and there are craters all over the decklid and the roof..
Engineer..  Copy that.  So, how does the rest of it look?

You can't eat like a horse and shit like a bird.

Have I lied to you lately?

Its f-ed up like Hogan's goat.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Is Detroit leading the recovery?

For as long as I can recall the Detroit economy has been a sort of bellwether for the US economy.   We would be in recession before anyone else even saw it coming.  That same derivative function applies on the way out of the recession as well, so this is good news.  Financial Times: America’s ‘rust belt’ states lead recovery

Traditional “rust belt” states have seen the largest gains in American manufacturing jobs over the past year, official figures show, as the upturn in US industry revives what have been some of the most depressed regions in the country.
Michigan, the centre of the US motor industry, has been the success story, creating a seasonally adjusted 29,800 net new factory jobs in the past 12 months. It accounts for about 4 per cent of US manufacturing employment but about 15 per cent of the net job creation in industry over the past year.
Contrary to Tea Bag wisdom, a strong manufacturing sector is crucial for the US economy. And after a brutal period of massive transition to a global marketplace, American based manufacturers are poised to compete and maybe even dominate.  There is enormous potential for growth as the dollar loses value, the BRIC economies emerge, Japan reels from infrastructure meltdown and pent-up demand kicks in.  This all combines to give domestic manufacturers a unique opportunity to regain market share and lead the US economy out of the recession. 

As for the impact of high oil costs, if the prices continue skyrocketing, all bets are off for the manufacturing recovery and the US economic recovery in general.  Like it or not, petroleum is the lifeblood of the economy, and every dollar that leaves our shores to buy foreign oil can't bounce around inside the US, promoting economic growth.  But maybe there is a silver lining in the recent higher oil prices that will lead to long term lower prices.

Higher concern for fuel efficiency has prompted domestic manufacturers to align their portfolios for strong offerings in the long-neglected subcompact category and even dive into electrification of the automobile led by the very impressive Chevy Volt.  More people are trading in SUV's and pickups for passenger cars and more passenger cars have 4-cylinder engines than ever.  There are natural gas vehicles being offered for fleets and fuel efficient hybrid vehicles from all manufacturers.  

Meanwhile oil production is still chugging along and new sources are continually coming online to increase production.  Some of that development can only be justified by the current high market price,  but once the infrastructure is in place, production will continue even after oil prices fall.  And they will.  The price of petroleum has a perfect self-correction function.  The more it costs, the less the demand will be.  Eventually this leads to a glut which will lead to a price correction.  And as we saw with the housing market crash, a glut in supply tends to make prices fall off the table not just creep downward.

And a shout out to all those rational people who still think education matters to economic strength.  This nugget from the story..
Industry executives say the advantages of northern states, such as established infrastructure and often superior levels of educational attainment can be enough to outweigh the higher labour costs, particularly for high-tech manufacturing.
Like the billboard says, We Believe in Mich-Again!       

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Details of raid on bin Laden compound unfold

As expected, more details are coming out from the raid that ended Osama bin Laden's reign of terror. CNN: Details of raid on bin Laden compound unfold  (and by the way, gotta love that URL..  bin.laden.dead  - ed)

A few comments on some of the excerpts..
In all, said the U.S. official who sought anonymity, five of the approximately two dozen people in the compound were killed -- the two couriers, the woman, bin Laden and his son.

... But the Taliban have questioned the assertion. "Obama has not got any strong evidence that can prove his claim over killing of the Sheikh Osama bin Laden," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahed said. "And secondly, the closest sources for Sheikh Osama bin Laden have not confirmed" the death, he added.
Well, seeing that the closest sources for Sheikh Osama bin Laden happen to be the two couriers who were killed along with bin Laden, that isn't very surprising.  Deal with it.  It was the will of Allah that made the sheikh fish food. And this...

In a Washington Post column, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari expressed satisfaction "that the source of the greatest evil of the new millennium has been silenced, and his victims given justice" and defended his country's actions.

"Some in the U.S. press have suggested that Pakistan lacked vitality in its pursuit of terrorism, or worse yet that we were disingenuous and actually protected the terrorists we claimed to be pursuing. Such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesn't reflect fact," Zardari wrote.
Well, he can try to explain his Nation's duplicity all he likes but the fact is that while the US Miltary has been targeting Al Qeada and Taliban cells in rural Pakistan villages with drone attacks, the Pakistani government in some capacity has been shielding the Shiekh.  All the alleged innocent civilians who were killed in the crossfire in the in the hunt for OBL are on the Pakistani government's hands.  They watched those attacks go on knowing that the target OBL was tucked away safe and sound far away.  President Zardari has been exposed to his band of hyenas just like Uncle Scar at the end of The Lion King.  

The senior Pakistani intelligence official who spoke Tuesday to CNN said, "Yes, we did fail to locate him. Yes, we are embarrassed. But that does not mean we are incompetent and straddling the fence."
No I think it means that there is no actual legitimate chain of command in Pakistan.  And that's a worse embarrassment for a Nation that longs to be considered modern and civilized than mere incompetency.  That it took a secret raid by US Navy SEAL commandos to pluck off a well known target is all the proof the world needs to know that Pakistan was straddling the fence.  But that fence just fell over and I'm not sure to which side they fell.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama bin Laden allegedly killed by US forces in Pakistan. Update: W00t!

It appears the gig is finally up for Osama bin Laden. Its all over the news that President Obama will be announcing to the country tonight that OBL, the world's most wanted terrorist is dead after the result of recent US military action in Pakistan and apparently we have the body to prove it, so there! Boom done, game over, hope it was a slow end for him.    

If this pans out, this is great news for the USA and the civilized world in general. Congratulations to the fine men and women in the US Military for completing this key objective in the mission that started September 11, 2001. 

First he releases his Birth Certificate, now he's got the body of Osama bin Laden. Dang, President Obama is making things tough on the conspiracy theory crowd lately.

Brand new conspiracy theories about the killing of bin Laden launching in 4..3...2...1....

Update: 02MY2011..
The reports were accurate and Osama bin Laden is now residing at the bottom of the Arabian Sea with a few extra holes in his skull. I think this was the only option for disposing if his body without creating some kind of permanent jihadi shrine. Besides, its not like the world is unaccustomed to the idea of dumping trash in the ocean. BP, Fukushima, and now this. How much can our oceans take?  And yes, predictably the conspiracies have already sprouted.  My own made up theory is that Osama's body is actually now in deep freeze at Area 51 next to the aliens.  geesh.

 A few thought on this historic event.  This story points out that even though the USA may have a chaotic, fractured political divide, when it comes to facing outside threats our National priorities transcend internal squabbling. This manhunt spanned 10 years of political upheaval in DC, yet the mission kept progressing until it was finally completed.

It also points out we can't really trust anyone in the Pakistani government. There may be some Pakistani officials who were not aware of bin Laden's sekrit hideout, but its clear Islamabad can't rely on the official heirarchy for law enforcement. Or perhaps all cooperation with the USA is a complete sham. It will be interesting to observe the internal fallout if any over the insubordination within the regime in the coming days and weeks.

And a message to any sworn enemies of the the USA hiding out in the shadows or in plain sight. You shouldn't feel safe anywhere, ever. If the Commander in Chief wants you dead or incarcerated badly enough its just a matter of time till your mug is in the cross hairs and your safe house is reduced to rubble. Terrorize the terrorsists, its all they understand.

It was telling that the world's most revered jihadi was such a complete coward that he used one of his wives as a human shield in the shootout.  She was shot in the raid.  A true coward in every sense of the word.  And one might have thought OBL would have wired the place to blow up in case of a raid, but he was definitely not into the notion of being a martyr himself.  He saved that role for the dupes he attracted.

Congrats to the US Miltary for the amazing accomplishments in this long and bloody war against Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and terrorism of all sorts. The sacrifices were not made in vain.  History will look back at this era when civilization faced down and defeated the barbarians of entropy and ushered in a century of peace.  We can hope anyway.

Cudos to Presidents Bush and Obama for staying the course in a critical mission that was forgotten in the headlines long after its political shelf life had expired.  This is a great day for NYC, DC, the USA and for all civilization.

Sunday Sermon.. Don't be an a-hole like Pastor Terry Jones.

Just a quick reminder for Terry Jones, the Christian pastor who came all the way from Florida to nearby Dearborn Michigan this week just to stir up shit  and bring attention to himself.   Any good Christian pastor needs to be familar with this passage. from St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 4:29-32. 
29) Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30) Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31)  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  32) Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
 Now that doesn't sound very close to how Jones behaved in Dearborn. 
Jones repeatedly provoked the crowd and insulted them. At one point, he ignored police requests by ambling down to the front of police barricades while taunting his opponents.
Well, hopefully while he was here he at least had a chance to break pita bread with fellow alarmist Debbie Schlussel and load up on baba ghanoush and lamb shawarma on Michigan Ave.