Friday, April 22, 2016

So Who Says Juggling In Bed is Weird?

Hi,

It's me.  I'm still (virtually) here, but I've been busy (very, very, busy) since 2015 ended (so abruptly, and unexpectedly, I must add).  There are many things which I've wanted to say, in actuality, there have been WAY TOO many things I've wanted to say - so, I've kept myself to myself and I've kept my 'yap' shut like a good little minion.




Like they say, if you've got nothing nice to say, well, you shouldn't say anything at all.  

So I'm not saying anything today either, but rather, I'm going to let Bernie and Hillary say it all...  

Well, sort of...


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

No Gas Car for You!


Yes, I know that today is New Year's Eve day.  And yup, I also know that your mind (well, my mind, at least) is running a bit slowly following the acres of candy, cookies, and mass quantities of food eaten over the Christmas Holiday with family and friends.  

Although, in reality, this post, and the one it discusses is pretty much about - well, nothing.



Remember when George and Jerry pitched their TV show that was about 'Nothing'?  
The following is a story from HyrbridCars.com; also about 'Nothing'
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Eight States Pledge To Reduce New Gas Car Sales To Zero By 2050 
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Early this month eight U.S. states and five countries pledged to eliminate the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2050. 

In a statement made Dec. 3, 2015 at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, California along with Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont pledged to ban the sale of new cars powered primarily by gasoline and diesel fuels by 2050. 

"Thirteen North American and European governments announced today that they will strive to make all new passenger vehicles in their jurisdictions zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) by no later than 2050,” said a statement issued after the decision. “Achieving this will accelerate the global transition to ZEVs and could reduce transportation sector climate impacts by more than 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year by 2050, lowering global vehicle emissions by about 40 percent.”

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The countries of Germany, Norway, Quebec, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom also joined in on the pledge made by the International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance, established in 2014.

According to Alex Barnum, deputy secretary, Communications and External Affairs for the California Environmental Protection Agency, this decision however is not meant to be interpreted as a “ban.” 

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These efforts would assist in achieving a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions more than one billion tons per year by 2050, said the ZEV Alliance.

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It remains to be seen whether the ZEV alliance has the legal authority to impose such a sales restriction, however. 
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The states of California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont have each pledged to ban the sale of new cars powered primarily by gasoline and diesel fuels by 2050 to an organization which (most likely) does not have the authority to impose such a sales restriction.  Interestingly enough, their full proposal ALLOWS you to purchase Hybrid vehicles for the next 34 years, and then, yup, those Hybrid vehicles are 'Out of Here' also, simply because they have gas-powered engines in them.

It's probably just me, but I've got a couple of questions for the pocket-protected-clip-board-toting-tree-hugging geeks who flew to Paris on HUGE HONKING fossil-fuel burning planes about their ZEV Alliance:
 
  • Who elected THEM to vote away my rights for me?  I live in New York State - if these whack jobs get their way, I either need to either buy a non-gas-powered vehicle or drive my current 2013 vehicle for the next 50+ years (I plan on being very, very old when I die).  Like, since when did I move to Castro's Cuba?
  • The ZEV Alliance also wants to provide state monies (incentives to consumers), infrastructure (charging stations paid for by the consumer?), and implement policies that force state agencies to buy ZEV vehicles.  Why?  If these ZEV vehicles are so throw-down excellent, I would think that Americans, Germans, Brits, and others would be flocking to buy these electrified shopping carts with roofs.  What's with taking money away from the poor, the homeless, and the hungry to provide 'Cash Back!' to rich people so they can buy a vehicle which won't survive a head-on collision with a squirrel?
  • Which technologies will individual States DICTATE that we need to use?  Midwest states could, I guess, use corn (which used to be cheap food for feeding the poor, chickens, and cows - but, no more) and convert it into fuel, the southern states might choose Solar Power, but up here in the northeast, what, are supposed our vehicles supposed to run on distilled arrogance or something?  And if you move from a state with a vehicle 'running on sunshine' to one which requires that you 'run on arrogance', what then?  Perhaps the state will issue you a vehicle that you can return prior to leaving and pick up the new official state vehicle when you get where you're going?  Sure, that'd be swell - thanks for that ZEV Alliance!
  • AND if they decide we all ought to be driving Electric Vehicles, any ideas where the electricity will be coming from?  We don't build nuclear power plants any longer, Obama wants to do away with coal, so this leaves, hmm...  Fossil-fuel powered plants!
  • Who's going to replace state and federal infrastructure spending provided by Highway Taxes which come from buying a gallon of gasoline?  Huh?  Who's going for fix that concrete stretch of twisted, broken, pavement I take to work every day?  Huh?  Huh?  Huh?  Whaaaat, whaaaaatttt about meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!?!?!?!
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Oh, sorry, I let my inner Liberal / Progressive get out for a second - it won't happen again. 
 
In the end, this Hybridcars article is a story about nothing other than a bunch of people flying on fossil-fuel burning mega-planes, meeting, drinking (an assumption on my part - or perhaps Marijuana is legal in France?) waxing philosophic about the perfect world they believe your kids should have, and then holding a press conference to discuss their ban; which a member of the committee described after, as 'not actually being a ban'.
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Unfortunately, this is how most Bad Ideas are born - bureaucrats release whatever group-thought random synaptic firings and they see what happens once they are released into the ether.  If we are complacent about them, they'll take the next steps until we're driving ZEV cars powered by Hummus while wondering, "How did this happen?"
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It happened because you were busy living your life (it's what we do).  Someone else, of course, is busily trying to control your life because they know what you need better than you do.  As for me, I plan on being 'room temperature' by 2050 so if any of the above lunacy happens I'll leave this weirdness behind and take joyful memories of driving large fossil-fuel-powered vehicles with me.
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Drive on America.  Drive on...  Before the Grave Digger gets you.



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Climate Change - Pre-hysterical Climate Change

Image:  Investors Business Daily
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Yup, you've heard it before, and you'll hear it again today.  YOU (personally) are destroying the Earth!  Bad human!   Bad!!!
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As a by-product of your existence - you harm the planet which nurtures, feeds, and loves you (and loves you without measure).  Without YOU the Earth will be a beautiful, natural, vibrant place full of wonderful animals which will live harmoniously together, hug each other, run playfully, and frolic endlessly across fields full of wild flowers, orchids, and the occasional bit of broken concrete and brick-front where the Wendy's fast food joint stood just several thousand years earlier (a remnant left from the bad old days of...  Humans). 
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Ah, what a wonderful world it will be when we quit stinking up the joint with our constant carbon-heavy presence!  
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Too bad we'll never be there to enjoy it, you know, because we're all be gone...
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Okay, now that you've had your moment of Zen, it's time to get to the actual topic of the post, which I'll get to with great haste.  The introduction above was for the benefit of those deluded humans who HATE themselves (and you) for being born, and, just to keep the record straight (and also so they won't feel so completely alone)...   
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I HATE them too.  
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I don't know about them, but I sure do feel better for saying / typing that out loud.  
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Today's oft-deferred post IS actually about Climate Change.  No, no, no, not Man-Made Climate Change (for more detail on 'MMCC' reference any speech made by President Obama in the past two months since Terrorism has become 'popular' again), but I am speaking specifically about your basic "Earth-Made Climate Change" (feel free to use this new terminology just to tick the glassy-eyed 'Earth Firsters' off). 
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I came across an article which warmed me to my very core.  It was based upon 'Science' (and as you know, 97% of Scientists agree that 'Science' is 'Cool' and chicks LOVE the pocket-protector and white lab coat!) unfortunately, this particular bit of Science presents a conundrum for the planet-hugging folks on the Left because, well, while it IS science, it's not science that they will approve of...  
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It won't allow them to pull money out of your pockets.

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Earth, the Final Frontier
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Ancient Tropical Forest Found in Norway
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An ancient tropical forest found in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, may explain one of the most dramatic climatic shifts in Earth's history. Some 400 million years ago, Earth's atmosphere witnessed a 15-fold reduction in carbon dioxide. Climate scientists have long tried to account for the drop.
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Some scientists believe it was the rise of forests just like the one found in Norway that precipitated the change. As the planet came to host large plants for the first time, the mighty tropical trees sucked millions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.   
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The newly unearthed forest -- dated at 380 million years old and with its tree stumps preserved still in their upright positions -- may mark the beginning of the transition from small plants and grasses to large tree forests.
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"These fossil forests shows us what the vegetation and landscape were like on the equator 380 million years ago, as the first trees were beginning to appear on the Earth," researcher Chris Berry, a professor of earth sciences at Cardiff University, said in a press release.
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Over the course of the ancient forest's long existence, the now-frozen trees have enjoyed a lengthy journey. During the Devonian period, 420 to 360 million years ago, the Norwegian archipelago was part of Laurasia, one of two supercontinents along with Gondwana. The ancient trees grew up near the equator, several hundred miles south of their current home.
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The forest's discovery supports the theory that the emergence of forests led to a drop in CO2 levels. In addition to sucking up more carbon dioxide, the tall trees also helped block out more of the sun's radiation. Slowly, the planet cooled to temperatures closer to today's. .
Sunny (and Tropical) Oslo, Norway
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So, Chris Berry, Earth Sciences Professor at Cardiff University, reports that the Earth's Climate HAS changed, continents have shifted, and temperatures / CO2 levels rise and fell over the past 420 MILLION years without the intervention of...  Man???  
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What manner of dark sorcery is this?  Who does this dude think he is?  White lab coat or not, somebody needs to have a talk with this guy because he is using the scientific method in describing Earth Made Climate Change.  If our President has anything to do with it, they're going to pull this guy's Pocket Protector, and repo the Lab Coat. 
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It's a shame, really, Professor Berry seems like a guy I'd like to have a beer with.  Unlike this guy...
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Barack Obama releases CO2 in France
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"I've come here personally, as the leader of the world's largest economy and the second-largest emitter, to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it."
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...
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"Here in Paris, let's also make sure that these resources flow to the countries that need help preparing for the impacts of climate change that we can no longer avoid. We know the truth that many nations have contributed little to climate change but will be the first to feel its most destructive effects. For some, particularly island nations — whose leaders I'll meet with tomorrow — climate change is a threat to their very existence. And that's why today, in concert with other nations, America confirms our strong and ongoing commitment to the Least Developed Countries Fund. And tomorrow, we'll pledge new contributions to risk insurance initiatives that help vulnerable populations rebuild stronger after climate-related disasters."  - President Barack Obama, November, 2015
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Does it seem strange to anyone besides me that the President ALWAYS seems to make it 'about him' while managing to yet again blame America (you name it POTUS, we're guilty as sin) in his opening remarks?  And then to show his gratitude for being invited by the U.N. he spoke for 14 minutes, roughly 11 minutes longer than the U.N. requested.  I wonder how much CO2 he added to the environment from this single speech?  
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And what will our 'commitment' to the Least Developed Countries Fund cost us ($248 MILLION - sorry, I had to look), knowing that we don't have enough health providers (or funding) to support our Veterans and protect our borders?  
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If I were writing the check, which in reality, all of US are - I would prefer to support the people who protect and defend our Nation, rather than those who are looking to shake US down for cash for perceived injustices over the past four hundred years.  WHY do we need organizations like Paralyzed American Veterans and Wounded Warrior Project?  Shouldn't the Federal Government be providing the necessary care for our wounded Veterans? 
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And if the organizations are necessary, then might each of these organizations benefit from a $125 MILLION cash injection to care for our Veterans?  
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Yeah, that's what I thought...


 


 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Driving Inequality

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Once again I am reminded of how COMPLETELY unfair Life/America/Fate (all terms equally interchangeable at this point) is.  This Sunday morning I am shamed into admitting that my life is just TOO DARN GOOD.  (I need to work on this...) 
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Why?  Because, of course, I am 'more equal' than others (and SHOCK...  You may be too!!!). 
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Oops, sorry, here I go again, beginning a post in mid-stream.  I guess that I had better fill in a few details so that you can get to the middle (where I already am) and then we'll trudge together through to the end where you too can decide if you're 'more equal' than 'most Americans'.   
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HINT:  You probably ARE ' more equal', but perhaps The Washington Post just hasn't told you (in the past fifteen minutes) that you are.  If they haven't, have no fear, your equality-guilt awaits!
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Okay, so here goes...  (I'll type slowly - you know, so that you can keep up - since I may be even 'more equal' than you are...  Come on, that's a JOKE - don't get weird on me now)
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The Washington Post, October 1, 2015:  
The hidden inequality of who dies in car crashes
.Traffic fatalities in the United States have been plummeting for years, a major victory for regulation (strict drunken driving laws have helped) and auto innovation (we have safer cars). But that progress obscures a surprising type of inequality: The most disadvantaged are more likely — and have grown even more likely over time — to die in car crashes than people who are well-off.

.New research by Sam Harper, Thomas J. Charters and Erin C. Strumpf, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, finds that improvements in road safety since the 1990s haven't been evenly shared. The biggest declines in fatalities have occurred among the most educated. As for people 25 and older with less than a high school diploma, fatality rates have actually increased over time, bucking the national trend:
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.The underlying issue here is not that a college degree makes you a better driver. Rather, the least-educated tend to live with a lot of other conditions that can make getting around more dangerous. They own cars that are older and have lower crash-test ratings. Those with less education are also likely to earn less and to have the money for fancy safety features such as side airbags, automatic warnings and rear cameras.


.The number of trauma centers, the researchers point out, has also declined in poor and rural communities, which could affect the health care people have access to after a collision. And poor places suffer from other conditions that can make the roads themselves less safe. In many cities, poor communities lack crosswalks over major roads. The residents who live there may have less political power to fight for design improvements like stop signs, sidewalks and speed bumps. As a result, pedestrian fatalities in particular are higher in poor communities.

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(There is more, of course, but you can read the rest of it HERE , you know, if you really want to - I read it for you, so you don't HAVE to...  I don't want you to feel bad about yourself like I do.)

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Key Take-Aways from the above 'article':

  1. They claim that older vehicles have lower "Crash-Test" ratings?  According to the iihs, they began testing vehicles back in 1995 - the authors claim blaming accidents on 'lower crash-test ratings' is ridiculous, as everyone KNOWS 20+ year old vehicles with (200,000+ Miles) are JUST AS SAFE as new ones built today.  Shoot, I'm sure that the 'less-educated poor' are keeping up with their manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedule as I type this!  
  2. Perhaps the Federal Government should mandate that Owners Manuals be written at the Fifth-Grade level so everyone (well, almost everyone) can understand the importance of proper vehicle maintenance:  "Change your oil every 3,000 miles and make sure that your brakes and lights work before you leave your home to drive to Colorado to buy pot.  Failure to do so can generally mess up your day and NOT allow you to access your necessary herb...  Seriously dude, not kidding.  Just keeping it real...  Make sure to check your lights, because the Po Po is on the lookout for you."
  3. The authors also state that less-educated / poorer people buy (steal?) cars which are older and do not have 'fancy safety features' like side air-bags, automatic warnings, and rear-facing cameras.  Hey, Sparky, my 1998 Volkswagen had side impact air-bags, and that was, um, at least, (taking off my socks to count) yeah, like almost twenty years ago!  
  4. And yeah, regarding those necessary and wondrous 'automatic warnings' systems?  Here's an idea for you "less-educated / poorer" drivers, how about you turn down that 1,200 WATT AM/FM/CD/USB/Bluetooth-connected radio (with active sub-woofer, built-in GPS & Satellite Tracking system) that vibrates 'under-carriage rust showers' from beneath your 10+ year old vehicle?  Then, why don't 'cha lower the windows a little to let the cigarette smoke and engine exhaust fumes out, so that you can hear the sounds of other terrified motorists screaming, "Oh, God NO!!!" as you ignore the STOP sign / RED Light while you plow through the intersection at 46MPH without so much as a HINT of braking?  Yup, this could have a real impact on your (and everyone's ability) to live long enough to spend working peoples' tax dollars on the hearing aids which the government will provide you with because you had that 1,200 WATT...  Ah shoot, never mind. 
  5. Next the authors delve into something which is NOT EVEN the subject of the article:  Pedestrians - BECAUSE poorer communities do not have Raised Cross-Walks above streets.   HORROR:  The poorest among us have to cross streets which may have...  (Da da da!!!)  CARS / TRUCKS on them!?!?!?!  What the Heck is going on in America???  Can't we please just elevate crosswalks for the less-than-average (according to the authors, not ME) Americans who do not have the political 'clout' to make this happen for themselves?  Thank you, thank you very much...  If we keep them up on crosswalks, we'll know who they are, now won't we?  [Evil laugh]
  6. I'm not even going to address the 'number of Trauma Centers', because as everyone KNOWS, with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, any criticism of healthcare in America is completely and totally UNFOUNDED.  These authors CLEARLY have no idea what's going on in America today (perhaps they were born after 2009?).  So I will say no more about this vicious attack on the President of the United States (um, this is still Obama's Reign, right?) and the Democrat Congress which passed this legislation without a single Republican vote.  No, I will NOT sit idly by and have them cast aspersions on my President!  The authors are nothing but a bunch of Racists...
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So I wonder...  (Wondering Sequence begins in 3, 2, 1...)

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  • How do the authors of the article feel about the Federal Government giving tax breaks to the more-equal Americans who are purchasing the majority of Hybrid / EV / Alternative fuel Vehicles?  Sure, they've got ALL the bells and whistles in those new 'safer' cars for the Rich, AND average Americans are helping to subsidize this?  Hmm?  The authors can't like that, can they?  They seem to want ALL Americans driving Cool cars or ALL Americans driving Old crappy cars, you know, just to balance things out on the highways of America.   
  • Might these authors be the 'PR Crew' to suggest that have a do-over of the 'Cash-For-Clunkers' of 2009?  You know, a 'little money' (according to TIME Magazine we lost BILLIONS on this deal which 'patriotic' (a.k.a.:  Rat) Democrats tied to a Military Spending Bill supporting our troops in harms way overseas) from the Federal Government?  Might this 'prime the pump' for the poor / less-educated among us to have their CHANCE of moving their 1,200 WATT sound system from their Plymouth Neon into a spiffy new 2016 Dodge Dart?  That sounds really fair, doesn't it?  It's always fair when you are using OPM (other people's money) - unless, of course you are one of the 'other people' actually paying for this fairness).
  • Perhaps they would like the Federal Government to design 'Safe' Vehicles for the poor & less-educated among us.  What might these Transportation Wonders look like, I wonder?...
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Body by GM - Design by the NTSB

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  • And within 20 years, future generations of the still poor, less-educated Americans will take these vehicles, add some after-market accessories and turn them into...  Death rides of the future (but they'll SOUND awesome!)


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Once again, your tax dollars CAN be at work, relentlessly altering our future by providing for the less-educated and the poor - so they won't have to do it for themselves.  [Sigh]
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Drive Safely folks!  The life you save will 'most likely' be your own (from a purely statistical perspective)... 
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