Saturday, October 30, 2010

Navistar and Cummins: Working with government to force you to purchase new trucks

From The American Machinist website, via Quick Manufacturing News. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are set to mandate cuts in fuel emissions ranging from 10 to 20 percent starting in 2014, for a full range of gas and diesel trucks, both on- and off-highway models. The full impact of the proposal would not be felt until 2018, at which time the vehicle manufacturers would be expected to have raised their average fuel-efficiency rating from 6 to 8 mpg.

The government has issued a decreee.  You WILL invent a semi-tractor that gets an average of 8 miles per gallon. 
These are the people who can't consistently deliver Sports Freakin' Illustrated to East Fort Worth. 
These are the people who can't go in, kick the snot out of some nomads on camels, declare themselves the winners and get the hell out of Afghanistan. 
After hurricane Katrina, Wal-Mart's fleet of relief supplies beat them into New Orleans.
What could cause them to throw down an edict like this one? 
Back to The American Machinist....

...In their announcement, EPA and DOT projected that their comprehensive program will “reduce GHG emissions by about 250 million metric tons and save 500 million barrels of oil over the lives of the vehicles produced within the program’s first five years.”

And how much energy will be consumed in the production of these new miracle trucks?  The article doesn't say. 

But overall, it's bullshit.  If the trucking industry can find a tractor whose fuel economy justifies the purchase of a new truck, the trucking industry will buy that truck.  It's that simple. 
What could possibly be behind this insanity? 
Let's continue....

Responding to the announcement, diesel engine and truck manufacturer Navistar International asserted its ongoing fuel-efficiency improvement and GHG reduction initiatives, and affirmed willingness to working with the federal government. we're getting somewhere.  Can you believe that a truck manufacturer, someone in the business of selling new trucks, has actually affirmed its willingness to work with the federal government in forcing truckers to buy their new wonder trucks? 
Go here to see a list of the government's employees that Navstar is "working with" by giving them lots of money. 

Go here to learn about an economic concept called Regulatory Capture. 

“While it’s too soon to evaluate all elements of the proposed regulations, we are committed to engaging with the EPA and DOT on this issue,” stated Daniel C. Ustian, Navistar chairman, president and CEO. “We look forward to working together with government and industry leaders in the months ahead to implement changes that will benefit the customers and communities we serve with cleaner, more fuel efficient commercial vehicles.”

This farce is going to make Cash For Clunkers look like The Louisiana Purchase. 

Another major engine builder, Cummins Inc., expressed support for the regulatory proposal, too.

A shocker, I know.  But yes, Cummins Diesel is supporting a proposal that forces people to buy their newer products. 

“For some time now, Cummins has advocated for consistent and responsible regulations that recognize the needs of business, offer clear direction and provide incentives...

....provide incentives..... That's another phrase for "Giving Cummins Diesel Your Money"....Go here for a summary of the campaign donations they've made in exchange for (ahem) incentives. companies that create innovative technologies as well as jobs in this country,” stated Cummins Engine Business President Rich Freeland. “We look forward to working with the EPA, DOT and other stakeholders in developing the final rule.”

Didn't you just know that they would all have a seat at the table, and that they would all look forward to sitting down around it?  The manufacturers, the regulators, and their whores.  Can you believe that Rich Freeland referred to that unholy crew as "the stakeholders" ???? 

Everybody will be there, working together in a bipartisan fashion to screw the people who actually purchase and operate the damn trucks.  

Why you should vote for Libertarian candidates

Unless you've been living under a rock, or watching CNN (pardon the redundancy), you know that we are going broke. 
Your share of the national debt is approaching $50,000.00
Your share of the promises we've made that we can't keep?  It's somewhere north of $400,000.00.

Libertarian solutions to this problem are supposedly too extreme.  Excessive.  "Out of the mainstream". 

Our national debt grows by $1 million dollars every 24 seconds. 

Can we continue sending our military overseas to defend Germany, Japan, and South Korea?
Can we continue to prop up a public school system that simply does not get results?
Can our government continue claiming to be the best solution to all problems, the cure for all ills, the savior of all who suffer, when it simply cannot accomplish anything more effectively than the private sector? 

I'm sorry, but there is no moderate, mainstream, or painless solution to this problem. 
When you continue voting for Democrats or Republicans, you are postponing misery.  They have proven time and again that they are incapable of showing any reasonable restraint. 

Outside of throwing someone in a cage, the worst infringement on a person's liberty is a crushing debt.  Our government specializes in both. 

The Libertarian Party has a stated goal of providing the smallest government possible.  We want to allow you to get on with your life. 

If the U.S. had been governed by liberty-lovers for the past 20 years, would terrorists be mailing explosives to us?  Lobbyists, maybe, but terrorists would have very little to be pissed off about. 

Would there be any reason for a Drug War like the one currently destroying Mexico if Libertarians wrote our laws?  No way.  Smuggling marijuana into the U.S. would be as profitable as smuggling corn into Iowa. 

Is there any Republican out there who believes that the Republican Party will repeal ObamaCare? 

Is there a Democrat alive who thinks that the Democrat Party, which until next Wednesday controls the Presidency and both houses of Congress, will ever do anything to recognize gay and lesbian marriage? 

The Democrat and Republican party platforms undergo violent changes every four years, depending on which way the wind is blowing.  Their only constants are the desire to retain control and the desire to continue spending your money on their constituents. 

The Libertarian party platform remains the same, for all practical purposes, every year. 

We want to leave you alone.  We want to stop the spending.  Provide some infrastructure, enforce contracts, and do a little refereeing on externalities.  Defend the borders (ours and no one else's).  We believe that if elections matter to you, then your government has gotten too big.  The unpleasantness of next Tuesday should be no more important than selecting a new lawn service, not the most important economic event of the year. 

How much worse are you going to let it get?  We're waiting.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

P.J. O'Rourke on Climate Change

This is from P.J. O’Rourke’s soon to be classic book “Don’t Vote. It Just Encourages The Bastards”.

The following excerpt is P.J.’s take on Global Cooling Global Warming Climate Change Global Climate Disruption.

What makes it so funny is the context, which I really can’t provide here. Whereas the chapters on Taxes, Gun Control, Healthcare Reform, Foreign Policy, and Terrorism are all several pages long, this entire chapter on the Chicken Little Movement is only three short paragraphs.

This is all you need to know on the subject:


There’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it. Maybe climate change is a threat, and maybe climate change has been tarted up by climatologists trolling for research grant cash. It doesn’t matter. There are 1.3 billion people in China, and they all want a Buick. Actually, if you go more than a mile of two outside China’s big cities, the wants are more basic. People want a hot plate and a piece of methane-emitting cow to cook on it. They want a carbon-belching moped, and some CO2-disgorging heat in their houses in the winter. And air-conditioning wouldn’t be considered an imposition, if you’ve ever been to China in the summer.

Now, I want you to dress yourself in sturdy clothing and arm yourself however you like – a stiff shot of gin would be my recommendation – and I want you to go tell 1.3 billion Chinese they can never have a Buick.

Then, assuming the Sierra Club helicopter has rescued you in time, I want you to go tell a billion people in India the same thing.

The End.

So, next time a politician or the EPA starts mandating limits on this or caps on that, all in the name of appeasing The Weather Gods, ask yourself what they think they’re accomplishing. (Correct answer: rewarding donors from the regulatory and green industries.)

Painful video from New York Assembly debate

Go here for the details.  This is New York Assemblyman Bob Reilly, in the most painful debate performance I've ever seen. 
My favorite part isn't the imitation of Carl Kyle, but the 10 second glare at the end.  It's like he's saying, "Top that, sucker !!!"

I know Kyle, and Bob nailed him.  Give that man an Oscar !!! 

Best story of the year

From Reddit:

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Kentucky back country.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn't stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.

I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man. And as I played 'Amazing Grace,' the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "I never seen nothin' like that before and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

Apparently I'm still lost....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Every time Debbie Wasserman Schultz comes on CNN, Meet The DePressed, or MSDNC, I start flinging a barrage of dachshunds at the TV. 
The woman can only add.  She can't subtract. 
By her Wasserman Schultz Accounting Standards, I've won hundreds of thousands of dollars playing blackjack. 
How is this possible?  I only count the winning hands. 

How can Debbie Wasserman Schultz claim that Obama has created more jobs than were created during the past 8 years combined?  Well, every time the census hires someone, lets them go, and then re-hires them, those all go into the "created" file. 

The "lost" file doesn't exist. 

Reason magazine has figured it out, and called her on it. 

David Gregory, Rachel Maddow and Company no longer have an excuse.  They've got to start calling her bluff on this crap. 

We are in the Redneck Divorce stage of American history

There is no better metaphor out there. 
We are in the Redneck Divorce stage of American history. 

Our politicians know what is coming.  They aren't going to be able to keep blowing money on useless enterprises any longer.  That cozy lobbyist/manufacturer/politician relationship that began on that drunken night at the Tractor Pull so many years ago?  That threesome is over.  That comfy arrangement where the Democrats and Republicans take turns driving the 1958 Ford pickup in the same direction down the bad gravel road, with the Charlie Daniels Boxed Set blaring through a boom box hooked to a tractor battery in the back?  They know it's going to end soon, and that before long the bank is going to repo the pickup, the boom box and the battery. 

I am qualified to use the term "redneck" because I've studied redneck behavior for years.  (Instead of saying redneck, I experimented with the politically correct phrase "Unevolved American".  It became tiresome, and I dropped it.)
Also, if you scratch through the thin veneer of British mini-series, Brahms and books that has built up on my upper spine, you'll see red.

Hello, my name is Whited, and I am a redneck.
Hello Whited !  
It's been 29 days since my last relapse.  I had all these beer bottles on the seat beside the dogs, and my wife and daughter were in the back of the truck with the goat, and I didn't see all the cops when I decided it would be fun to throw some bottles at that mailbox ..... 

When rednecks get divorced, in the Year Of Our Lord 2010, the following things happen:

1) Lots of stuff gets destroyed out of spite.  If the courts say she can't have it, she's not about to let him enjoy having it, by God.  Coon dogs are taken to the pound.  Guns are given away to relatives.  Cars and trucks are sold for a dollar. 

Or.... Someone comes up with a program called Cash For Clunkers, in which 625,000 vehicles are destroyed.  One trillion dollars is taken out of the private sector, giving us the worst economy since Franklin Roosevelt started taking money out of the private sector.  Somebody halfway passes Cap'n'Tax, with no other objective than to punish people who make things and hire people.  We are in the hands of redneck leaders who are destroying things, the economy, and us.  Out of spite.  There is no other explanation.     

2) During every spat leading up to the redneck divorce, one spouse or the other will move out of the trailer and move back in with a brother, sister, or Mama 'n' them.  The spouse that moves out will always, always, always call Child Protective Services and report the other spouse for child abuse.  Always.  This will continue until every kid produced by the relationship has turned 18.

In the last 40 years, we've had Watergate, Monicagate, Iran-Contra, and scores of other little mini-lawsuits and investigations.  If you think those have become tiresome, just wait until the Republicans take over Congress. 

3) Before every redneck divorce, as soon as both sides know that it really is over, there is a mad rush to max out every credit card.  Whoever spends the least, loses.

If you need an explanation of that one, go away.  Go back to watching kitten videos on YouTube.

Pics came from here and here and here,   For those who don't believe it's possible for Barack Obama to be a redneck, please check out Black Rednecks And White Liberals by the great Thomas Sowell.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Don't bother reading this. It's just a series of funny pictures to make a very small point

From John Merline, on AOL News:

(Oct. 25) -- Throughout his presidential campaign and into his first two years in the White House, President Barack Obama portrayed himself as a champion of the middle class, ready to wage battle with big business and Wall Street fat cats to make sure the wealth got "spread around."

Back in March 2008, at a speech given on Wall Street, for example, he said that in the past, "we let the special interests put their thumbs on the economic scales. The result," he said, is "a market that favors Wall Street over Main Street."

In September of that year, he argued that "for too long, [the Bush] administration has been wiling to hit the fast-forward button" to help Wall Street firms, "while pressing pause when it comes to saving jobs or keeping people in their homes."

The next month, Obama said the country can't afford "four more years of the economic theory that says we should give more and more to millionaires and billionaires and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. It's time to turn the page."

Main street vs. Wall Street

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis,, Dow Jones industrial average.
This chart shows the changes in employment, earnings, home prices, disposable income, the Dow and corporate profits since President Obama took office.

And he said had a plan to do just that. "I've put forward a series of proposals," he said during the campaign, "that will foster economic growth from the bottom up."

But whatever his intentions, Obama's policies so far haven't exactly produced the results he promised.

In fact, the opposite has occurred.

As the nearby chart shows, by almost every measure, the middle class hasn't benefited much at all over the past two years – the number of employed has fallen while wages, disposable income and home prices have pretty much flatlined.

At the same time, Wall Street and big business have made out like bandits. The Dow is up 30 percent since Obama took office, and corporate profits have shot up 42 percent.

Meantime, companies are sitting on so much cash -- nearly $2 trillion worth -- they don't know what to do with it all. The non-financial companies in the S&P 500 index have seen their cash stockpile climb 26 percent over the previous year. Apple alone has amassed almost $26 billion in cash.

Obama may be right, as he said in August, that "on issue after issue, the Republicans in Congress have sided with corporate special interests over middle-class families."

But when it comes to actual results, Obama might want to take a good long look in the mirror.

The mirror pics came from here.  Let's throw in some Michael Jackson for your Monday.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My trip to the Creation Evidence Museum in Glen Rose, Texas

This past Saturday I went to the Creation Evidence Museum in Glen Rose, Texas. 
Admission is two dollars, and if I ever find myself in that part of Texas again, I'll gladly pay three. 

The Creation Evidence Museum is the work of Dr.(sic) Carl Baugh.  Go here to read about Baugh's academic credentials. 
Now that I've done some reading on the guy, this place might replace Lee Harvey Oswald's grave as my favorite destination to take out of town guests. 
Cedric Katesby, get ready.  If you ever make it to the U.S., we're going. 

The place is a shapeless mass of....things and ideas and stuff that "isn't even wrong" and generic rocks and hyperbaric chambers and glass cases of unrelated fossils and evangelical kitsch. 

You begin your museum experience with a 30-minute video of Dr. Baugh explaining how the fossil record proves the 6-day creation account found in Genesis.  I can't find the exact video on YouTube, but this one works just as well....
Don't bother watching or listening.  While you're reading, just hit play and let the pseudo-scientific gobbledygook bathe you in the hyperbaric chamber of Dr. Baugh's mind.  More on the hyperbaric chambers in a moment. 

Baugh's timeline is illustrated by a series of paintings, each one illustrating the condition of our planet on that day of creation.  A lot of his focus is on a "canopy" that was once over the earth (about 10 miles up), and this canopy of hydrogen and oxygen (known in academic circles as "water") remained in place until Noah's flood.  All land was in one mass until the flood, and it was only then that North America split off from Europe, South America broke away from Africa, and a sprinkling of fossils found their way onto mountaintops.  Or something. 

Here's some of the general flavor of what Baugh claims was going on during one of the creation days.  I don't have the patience to figure out which one....

The harmonic creation was established to endure forever. A crystalline firmament suspended above the planet filtered out short-wave radiation, and with its physical structure in place universal radio signals serenaded the earth with morning melodies. Planets in the Solar System were distributed at harmonic intervals on a large scale, consistent with the energy fields living seeds produce on a small scale.

I could write for days about that last sentence.  Planets in the Solar System were distributed at harmonic intervals on a large scale, consistent with the energy fields living seeds produce on a small scale.  What does that mean?  Is it possible for it to mean anything?  The planets were distributed at harmonic intervals?  And these intervals are "consistent" with the energy fields that seeds produce?  The (musical) intervals are consistent with the energy produced by seeds?  Ahhh....but it is on a smaller scale.  The seeds, as compared to the planets.   

Baugh continues:

The radiant sun transformed and ruled the day, and its glowing energy extending into the firmament illuminated the night. The reflecting moon added a romantic invitation to the sky. The stars produced measurable references by which time could be told; their colors and formations were as varied and imaginative as eternal reflection could appreciate.


Ok, on to the hyperbaric chambers.  You'll never know it by going through the museum, but there are two hyperbaric chambers in the place.  Unless you're in the know, you'd think they were some leftover East Texas oilfield equipment, painted white and outfitted with some Disney-esque control panels and viewing windows.  Here's an explanation from a previous visitor, a guy who didn't have nearly as much fun at the museum as I did:

The Creation Evidence Museum also includes a large magenta-windowed "hyperbaric biosphere" in which Baugh claims to have recreated "earth's original pre-flood environment" (Figure 3). According to Baugh, the biosphere — which is connected to an oscilloscope — increases organisms' life-spans by 300%; it also detoxifies copperheads' venom. Near the biosphere is an aquarium in which Baugh grows "vegetarian piranhas." Baugh believes his discoveries support the vast life-spans of biblical patriarchs such as Adam (who allegedly lived to be 930), and the harmonious environment (that is, no carnivores or death) before Eve introduced sin into the world. Baugh hopes to grow dinosaurs in the biosphere. On the museum's walls, visitors can view paintings in which pre-flood children play with a baby Apatosaurus in the nearby Paluxy River. Visitors can purchase these replicas, as well as books, posters, and other materials such as certificates honoring recipients as "visionaries" for "supporting truth in education."

Get it now?  The hyperbaric chambers recreate life the way it was before the flood, before the "canopy" of hydrogen and oxygen came flooding down on Noah. 
Another item of interest is this:

See the human footprint covered by the dinosaur footprint?  That proves that humans and dinosaurs existed at the same time, right?  And that we really could have an earth that's 6,500 years old.  Readers wanting to scoff at this discovery can go here, and scoff up a storm. 
All I'm going to say is that compared to all the other dino tracks in Glen Rose, this thing is a little too perfect. 

There were other exhibits that proved Creationism by using the pictograms found in Mandarin Chinese.  The display only offered a hint of the theory.  You have to buy a DVD to get the full story. 

There was something going on in one display of meteor fragments, comparing the meteors to the 7 seals and trumpets in the Book Of Revelation.  I never did figure that one out. 

They have a massive painting of Noah loading all the critters onto the ark.  Note the soon-to-be-drowned scoffers in the bottom left corner.  Velociraptors are strangely absent. 

You can purchase paperback copies of Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study in the museum gift shop. 

And they have Brontosaurus neckties with this verse from Job 40:15 - "Now look at Behemoth which I made along with you - he eats grass like an ox". 

Get it?  Get it?  Along with you?  Like, at the same time?  And your footprints are all mixed up with each other? 
I'm gonna start going to NFL games and holding up that verse in the end zone. 

Here's an entry for The Apostrophe Abuse Blog.  In a freakin' museum, ferchrissakes. 

But the main thing you'll notice is the big statue.  You hesitate to ask who it represents, but in the back of your mind, you know.
As you go through the museum, the statue's unblinking eyes look down on you and your group, lovingly, compassionately, but also giving the impression that he's not going to tolerate any dissent.  In his right hand he holds the names from The Lambs Book Of Life....  Or perhaps they're the names of The Just And The Unjust?  The Tibetan Book Of The Dead? 

We'll never know what he is holding; his Sphinx-like gaze betrays nothing. 

You ask why he's there, why Dr. Carl Baugh's Creation Evidence Museum has him up there, larger than life, looking down and casting judgement on believer and skeptic alike. 

I have no freakin' clue. 

But yeah, overlooking the entire Creation Evidence Museum is a massive statue of Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry. 

I loved every inch of this place.  Loved it, loved it, loved it. 
Some of the pics came from Flikr.