Sunday, January 27, 2013

Let Them Eat Shakes!

Quick Quiz!

By a show of hands, who remembers the man featured in the photo above? 

Hey, put your hands down, I was kidding.  It's not like I can actually SEE you through that video camera on your laptop or anything... 

Or, can I???  Hmm, I wonder...

I cannot, of course, but just between you and me?  You might want to knock that cowlick down on the left side of your head if you plan on going out in public today. 

Today's post has absolutely nothing to do with your hair, that unblinking camera lens above your laptop monitor, or my ability to see you. 

Today's post has more to do with those people who CAN see you.

"They see you when you're smoking,
They know when you over-eat,
They see if you're on Blood Pressure meds,
They know if your knees are weak..."

In case you've forgotten who this guy is, allow me to call upon a series of 0's and 1's to decode the following digital representation of the wit and wisdom of... 

In defense of Alan Grayson - D, FL, (ousted in 2010) he was 50% correct in his assessment of the state of health care in the Nation.  From a purely statistical perspective, this makes him roughly 10 times more accurate than the majority of members in his party.  

His mistake, of course, was in saying that it is Republicans who want folks to 'Die quickly'.  The rest of what he said was pretty much dead on based upon what I read this morning. 

Yes, I am here today to tell you that:

Alan Grayson is a Visionary
I'll give you a few moments while you clear the milk you just sprayed out your nose off the keyboard. 
Again, just between you and me, you missed some.  Grab a paper towel and dry that spot just above your shirt pocket.  Cleanliness IS close to Godliness you know... 
And as I type this, I find myself a little closer to God than I was just yesterday.
ASSOCIATED PRESS, JANUARY 26, 2012:  Do penalties for smokers and the obese make sense?
NEW YORK (AP) -- Faced with the high cost of caring for smokers and overeaters, experts say society must grapple with a blunt question:
Instead of trying to penalize them and change their ways, why not just let these health sinners die prematurely from their unhealthy habits?
Annual health care costs are roughly $96 billion for smokers and $147 billion for the obese, the government says. These costs accompany sometimes heroic attempts to prolong lives, including surgery, chemotherapy and other measures.
But despite these rescue attempts, smokers tend to die 10 years earlier on average, and the obese die five to 12 years prematurely, according to various researchers' estimates.
"This is my life. I should be able to do what I want," said Sebastian Lopez, a college student from Queens, speaking last September when the New York City Board of Health approved the soda size rules.  [Moos Note:  No one has seen Sebastian since he made this comment  - nah, just kidding.]
Critics also contend that tobacco- and calorie-control measures place a disproportionately heavy burden on poor people. That's because they:
- Smoke more than the rich, and have higher obesity rates.
- Have less money so sales taxes hit them harder. One study last year found poor, nicotine-dependent smokers in New York - a state with very high cigarette taxes - spent as much as a quarter of their entire income on smokes.

- Are less likely to have a car to shop elsewhere if the corner bodega or convenience store stops stocking their vices.


There always seems to be a fight whenever this kind of public health legislation comes up. And it's a fight that can go in all sorts of directions. For example, some studies even suggest that because smokers and obese people die sooner, they may actually cost society less than healthy people who live much longer and develop chronic conditions like Alzheimer's disease. 
So let's return to the original question: Why provoke a backlash? If 1 in 5 U.S. adults smoke, and 1 in 3 are obese, why not just get off their backs and let them go on with their (probably shortened) lives?


From an economist's perspective, there would be less reason to grouse about unhealthy behaviors by smokers, obese people, motorcycle riders who eschew helmets and other health sinners if they agreed to pay the financial price for their choices.

That's the rationale for a provision in the Affordable Care Act - "Obamacare" to its detractors - that starting next year allows health insurers to charge smokers buying individual policies up to 50 percent higher premiums.

A 60-year-old could wind up paying nearly $5,100 on top of premiums.

The new law doesn't allow insurers to charge more for people who are overweight, however.  [Moos Note:  Well, at least not YET]

It's tricky to play the insurance game with overweight people, because science is still sorting things out. While obesity is clearly linked with serious health problems and early death, the evidence is not as clear about people who are just overweight.


That said, public health officials shouldn't shy away from tough anti-obesity efforts, said Callahan, the bioethicist. Callahan caused a public stir this week with a paper that called for a more aggressive public health campaign that tries to shame and stigmatize overeaters the way past public health campaigns have shamed and stigmatized smokers.

National obesity rates are essentially static, and public health campaigns that gently try to educate people about the benefits of exercise and healthy eating just aren't working, Callahan argued. We need to get obese people to change their behavior. If they are angry or hurt by it, so be it, he said.

Should I shift gears and jump into the debate over Gun Control and WHY people are hoarding weapons and ammunition over the past few years?  No.  I won't.  You can connect those particular 'dots' on your own. 

I'd like however to take a Left Turn towards a thought process which will solve ALL the problems referenced above.  I'm going to put on my Progressive Hat and use their logic to FIX the problems outlined above (you'll want to scrub your hands, face, and eyes with alcohol when you're done reading the section below):

How to fix!

  • Obesity,
  • Smoking,
  • Insurance Costs,
  • Over-Population,
  • and, sure, why not? "Global Climate Change"

Allow me to use the  AP logic to fix the ills of society today:

  • Cut all Federal Subsidies to the Poor which go towards 'food' - people will eat less, lose weight, and Live Longer (unless, of course, they starve to death - but if they do, hey, they'll die 'the healthiest' they've been in YEARS!)
  • Force manufacturers to lower the price of their cigarettes while implementing a higher TAX on them.  This does two things, First, it punishes the richest Americans for their bad habit, and Second, it still allows the Poor to obtain prescription narcotics via Welfare and / or Medicaid at their local physician's office, sell it on the street (at market prices) and allow them to continue to smoke - for FREE!  It's the compassionate thing to do - they needs thems smokes.
  • Provide Abortion on Demand - regardless the age of ANY patient!  Unborn, Newly Born, Teenaged, Middle-Aged, Geriatric?  No problem!  All it takes is a 'relatively painless' needle stick and viola!  Good night Irene!   Pop 'em down the chute into the furnace - boom, done!
  • Dozens of well-meaning and thoughtful Progressive Scientists agree with ME that the problem with the Earth is...  US!  If we weren't here mucking things up, the sacred Earth could continue upon it's merry way spinning, and spinning, and spinning, and...  (Any further elaboration would require scientific research and I'm not going there, okay?)
  • In the end, by allowing people to starve while continuing to smoke, we'll reduce the surplus population, save the Earth, and make the World a better place - for the, um, World.  We, of course won't be here to see how things turn out.
  • Now that I think about it, perhaps I should remain behind to make sure the Earth fully recovers from us?  I'm willing to do this not for myself, but for Mother Earth, Gaya, this Big Blue Marble spinning forever in space.  It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. 
  • As for the rest of you folks, let me know if you have any cool stuff at home because I'm coming to get it when you're gone...  YOU won't need it any more. 
  • And don't expect me to bury you, I'll be chillin' with your XBox for days on end.  Just throw yourself into a fire or something when you begin to feel, really, really, bad, okay?   I don't want you laying around stinking up the place for me while I'm looting your home.  Thanks, that'd be great. 

No.  I don't want your stuff.  You keep it - I've got plenty of stuff of my own.  I guess in the end I ask you to keep your eyes open so you can see what's going on around you.  For example, if a Nationally known Politician is laughed off the national stage for using the phrase, 'Death Panels' to explain a provision of a national health care plan and a few years later you trip across an article which begins the way this one does - questioning whether the Fat or Smoking deserve to die???  Well, let's just say that in 2013 I don't believe in coincidences any longer. 

There are proponents of Eugenics in all levels of the Federal Government. They want people 'like them' to survive. 

And between you and me?  I'm not one of THEM.   

Hey, before I go, you've got a little bit of green stuff on your front tooth - salad at lunch today, huh?  Good for you.  Hope you had the Lite Ranch dressing (I see a little something on your collar).

Live long and prosper...  While you can, at least. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Congratulations President Obama!

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Well, it's time.  I've put this off too long.  Between you and me, I am concerned that when I write this that I will spontaneously-combust (99.94% sure, anyway).  Okay, probably NOT the most rational thought pattern, but just to be sure, I have aluminum foil on the floor surrounding my rolling desk chair, I've basted myself with Kikkoman Teriyaki Glaze and...  I've got three cups of rice started in the new Rice Cooker up in the kitchen.  You know, just in case there is a sudden burst of heat and I 'go into the light' over this one.

With the November, 2012 elections nearly three months in the rear-view mirror, I want to take a break, to slow down, and share with you a few words of praise for the President.  Oops, I'm sorry, he's OUR PRESIDENT.  He represents all of US, doesn't he? 

Yes.  Yes he does.  

The Constitution works.  He won.  Time for me to get over it.  

And now, a few heartfelt words of praise and thanks for the President for his victory and the hard-fought battle so many made possible... 

Now is the time.   Now is the place.  Now is the post:

Words of Praise for the President of the United States and His Party

The world breathed a sigh of relief and a shout of joy went up clear across the country when Ohio was called for President Barack Obama on election night, putting him over the 270 electoral college threshold to win four more years.

Yet in that shout of joy for a giant people's victory was also the realization that we can't miss a beat going forward in this ongoing battle to wrest the country from the grip of the reactionary, corporate right-wing extremists.

We and the country have been through a remarkable, challenging, grueling, exhausting and exhilarating year, really two years.  We have given our all within a maturing, expanding broad  electoral alliance and people's movement.

Congratulations are in order!

Our projection that the election was at the heart of the class struggle, that we were at the crossroads for democracy has been born out.  Our policy of the need for and commitment to help build a broad united alliance against the extremists is being proven sound.

The election of tea party Republicans to Congress and Governorships and State Houses in 2010, reflecting a racist backlash from the election of the first African American president, brought with it a full blown campaign to undo every democratic achievement ever won by the people of this country.  Finance capital was on overdrive to grab every public asset for the private profit of a few at the expense of the many.

The extremes between great hoarded wealth and growing poverty exposed the inequalities of capitalism and gave rise to giant struggles for livelihood and the right to be heard. 
Millions became engaged, many for the first time, from the massive fights for workers' rights in Wisconsin and Ohio, to the dramatic protests of economic inequality by Occupy and at Bainport, to the inspiring actions for social justice by the Dreamers, to courageous stands in defense of women's reproductive rights and marriage equality, to  determined fightback against racist voter suppression most notably in Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania, and then the realization, in the wake of Storm Sandy, that yes, we are all in this together.

All these challenges, experiences, and organizing drives laid the groundwork for a historic effort by labor, civil rights, women and youth along with environmental and LGBT organizations.  The result is majority repudiation of the politics and policies of the 1%, exemplified by the glimpse into raw class warfare as Mitt Romney dismissed 47% of the people.

Romney's outrageous statement blaming his loss on "Obama's gifts" (like healthcare and student loans) to "certain groups" ramps up the class warfare and disrespect.

The media plays up the idea that the election shows a widening racial divide.  In reality, what this election shows is a new level of co(m)ing together, of class and social solidarity, of rejecting racism.

It was growing class consciousness that made victory possible for so many progressive candidates and ballot measures which featured anti-corporate arguments in their campaigns.

The high finances and tactics of Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and company to seize this election did not work.  Gerrymandered redistricting, restrictive voting laws, anti-Communist baiting, racist ads, lies and trickery backfired.

These blatant attacks got people's attention.  They gave rise to a civil rights style movement in communities across the nation embracing the increasing diversity of our country.

Determination and resolve became the order of the day to overcome all obstacles and get out the largest vote ever.  In Ohio the mobilization by African American churches and organizations, refusing to be disenfranchised, filled long lines at early voting stations for a month.  On election day, in some precincts the wait was hours long (in Miami-Dade County till 1:30 am!), but people stood it out.  In New Jersey and New York, despite the consequences of storm Sandy, voters cast their ballots.

President Obama carried all the tipping point swing states.  His electoral college sweep and popular vote win is a tremendous accomplishment made possible by a powerful grass roots on-the-ground effort joining together labor and progressive democratic-minded forces.  It set the framework for all the other races.

While the U. S. House of Representatives remains in Republican hands, it is a different House with new dynamics.  Republicans won the majority of seats due to gerrymandering, but more votes were cast for Democrats nationwide.

Six tea party incumbents were defeated by progressive democrats.   Additional progressives won open seats, although every race was not won.  Tea party leaders Alan West, Joe Walsh, Brian Bilbray and Mary Bono Mack are out. Progressives Alan Grayson from Florida,  Tammy Duckworth from Illinois, Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster from New Hampshire, Dr. Raul Ruiz from Riverside California, and Mark Pocan, a leader in the Wisconsin walkout, are in.

The composition of the 200 member Democratic Caucus will make history. In the words of Nancy Pelosi, "for the first time in Congressional history -- the majority will be women and minorities. We expect to have 61 women, 43 African Americans, 27 Hispanics, 10 Asian Americans and 6 LGBT Americans in our Caucus."

In the Senate, the Democratic majority has been enlarged to 54.  Notorious tea party Republican challengers Todd Aiken and Richard Mourdock went down to defeat. Newly elected progressive women bring the total of women Senators from 17 to 20.  Mazie Hirono the first Asian American woman, Tammy Baldwin the first openly gay woman, and Elizabeth Warren who said "the system is rigged against you." Heidi Heitkamp won in North Dakota, Chris Murphy defeated billionaire wrestling mogul Linda McMahon.  Sherrod Brown, who was a top target of the right-wing, won re-election in Ohio as did Bernie Sanders in Vermont. Tim Kaine won in Virginia.


The attempts to minimize the vote for President Obama and the progressive shift in the overall election is a continuation of the vicious racism since 2008.  The 2012 victory was definitive despite every possible tactic used by and on behalf of the Romney/Ryan campaign.

The vote was not spontaneous.  It was hard fought and unprecedented.  It was the result of millions of conversations at doors, at work, on the phone and on social media.

In the last four days alone, AFL-CIO members from 56 unions made 10.7 million door knocks and phone calls. SEIU members knocked on 5 million doors including 3.7 million in battleground states on those final days.

70% of union households voted for Obama in Ohio, and 65% nationwide. The contribution of the labor movement with its multi-racial, male-female, young-old, gay-straight, immigrant-native born membership to this election cannot be over stated.  This includes release time given to staff, mobilization of members, and especially in framing the debate around class issues and exposing Romney/Ryan for undermining jobs, not creating them and threatening the future of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

In battleground states, where Workers Voice, the AFL-CIO super PAC was utilized, union members were freed up to speak with all voters and not just other union members.  Nearly 400,000 Workers Voice volunteers made 80 million phone calls and knocked on 14 million doors.

Hearing their message helped shift the thinking of white workers who had been for Romney.  In these battleground states, white working-class voters rejected racist appeals and supported Obama at a much higher rate than elsewhere.  In Ohio, 65% of white union members voted for Obama.

Working America households, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, voted 66% for Obama.  In battleground areas where there was extra focus, Working America households voted 74% for Obama.

Yes, congratulations are in order.  So here they are, in black and white, just above, on your computer, tablet, or mobile device screen.   

For those of you who have known me for a while, you already know that I did not write the above sections in italicized text.  And, you also know that I will never lie to you (well, not knowingly, at least). 

Please remember at the beginning of this post I promised to post,  "a few heartfelt words of praise and thanks for the President for his victory and the hard-fought battle so many made possible... ". 

So, I did.  They just weren't MY words.  See?  I didn't lie to you.  Please do not hold me to a higher 'truthiness' standard than you hold the President to. 

The words above belong to a group which works tirelessly to advance the principles, philosophies, and precepts of the Democratic Party. 

The above text (and more, so MUCH more) were published by the DNC's first cousin, the: 

For the folks not accustomed this this particular acronym, it stands for "Communist Party USA". 

As in...  These guys


Yes, the fawning words of support for the President, the devotion to Unions, outreach to the 99%ers, and every fringe wack-group in the country is right here, residing at your NEW (no, not improved) Democratic Party Headquarters the... CPUSA! 

"Radical Ideas.  Real Politics." 

Oh yeah, groovy baby!  (Please read the preceding as Austin Powers might, if he was actually a real person.)

The above "Ode to Communism and Nothing But Love for POTUS" was found under an CPUSA post entitled, "The People are Fired Up and Ready to Go!"

I was hoping that I would find the American Nazi Party had weighed in on the President's re-election efforts, but I realized quickly after skimming their site that they're probably NOT tremendous fans of the "man-of-Kenyan-descent" currently in the White House. 

So, not surprisingly, they sat this election out. 

Hey, better luck next time Aryan Brothers and Sisters!  As I ponder this (I often 'ponder' when I'm alone), Hillary COULD pass for a Nazi - she's got the look AND she most definitely has the 'tude  Go ahead and Turn Those Frowns Upside Down you happy-go-angry Aryan folks!  2016's Looking good for you and your fellow "Master Racers"!  

Hang in their Nazi boys and girls, you'll get your moment in the sun (again)!  But just don't get TOO MUCH SUN, because then you'll be hating yourself - ya know what I mean?

So that's it for today, as promised, a few words of praise for the President on his milestone accomplishment (just not MY words), an update on the CPUSA (coming soon to a bunker near you!), and a general update on the lack of any update on the American Nazi Party.   

The worst part of monitoring the Nazi Party Website is that I found out they didn't have a Christmas Party announced this year.  2011's I heard that 2011's event was a real Cross-burner...  

Oops, did I confuse my Extremists?  Sorry, the world of Hate is so confusing to me. 

I hope you have a great weekend, and remember, when you have nothing nice to say about someone...

Just go the CPUSA website and they'll give you the words you need to write a post 'you weren't even thinking about' when you woke up this morning. 


Friday, January 25, 2013

Fire In the Sky

Boeing 787 Dreamliner - Dream a Little Dream of...  Me

Picture yourself in a seat on a airplane,
Above far away trees, flying through ice blue skies,
Somebody shouts, and you turn so slowly,
The stewardess with red-rimmed eyes...

Hot pokers of flames both orange and red,
Lick at the ceiling above your head,
Look for the Captain with fear in his eyes,
And he's gone...

Li-ion battery in the sky on fire,
Li-ion battery in the sky on fire,
Li-ion battery in the sky on fire, ahhhhhh!

"Hey kids, do you know what time it is?" asks the man standing in front of Mrs. Dimwiddy's Fifth-grade Science class.

"Time to call School Security?" laughs the boy with a full head of red hair and more freckles than Congress has debt.

"Ha, that's a good one Tommy!" says the man as he drapes his overcoat over the back of the wooden chair and sets his briefcase on the desk in front of the classroom.  "A funny answer, but unfortunately...  NOT correct!  Would anyone else like to take a guess?" he asks.

A tall girl with straight brown hair parted down the middle asks, "Is it time for us to discuss something which has something vaguely to do with, um...  Science?  Since this is Science class, you know..."

The man at the front of the class leans down, rifles through his bag and pulls something from his open briefcase and throws it to the girl.  "Very good Carol, it DOES have something vaguely to do with Science!  And because you guessed correctly, here, have an iPhone!!!  Just, um, don't turn it on just yet, okay?"

The kids, previously half-asleep, find themselves now sitting upright in their chairs, eyes wide-open and boring in on the man and the contents of his wonderous briefcase.  Each student wonders quietly to himself: 

"Does he have more stuff in that bag of his?"  

"Will I need to declare any gifts he tosses MY way on my W-2 via a 1099-MISC for next year?" 

"Did I forget to do my Math homework?  And if I did, do I CARE?"

"Will it be taxed at the rate for non-standard income?  Oh crap, if I get anything from this guy, I'll pay more in taxes than Warren Buffett!" 

"Whoa, what's that smell?  Did Barbara's Mom pack her an egg salad sandwich again for lunch?  Smells like somebody's been cooking possum in a boy's locker room after a football game every time she does..."

"Huh, you know, with that new iPhone in her hand, Carol's kind of pretty...  Wow, I wonder if she thinks I'm pretty too???"

[Meanwhile, back in the front of the classroom...]

"Ahem, kids, look back up here, pay attention, you are about to learn valuable scientific life lessons!"  The man gestures to Mrs. Dimwiddy who walks to the light switch and flips off the lights as the overhead project glows to life in the suddenly dark room.

"You see kids, there are many things in life which you need to learn about in order to be successful in life.  There are yet other things which you must know about...  To actually stay alive."  The man steps aside as the projector hums quietly and an image fills the white board in the front of the classroom.  "This is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  Has anyone heard of it before?"  

A short boy wearing a red plaid shirt and cargo pants jumps from his seat and shouts, "The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a modified 747-400 passenger airplane that can haul more cargo by volume than any airplane in the world.  Each Dreamliner is 235 feet, 2 inches long and has a wing span of 211.5 feet, with a cargo capacity of 65,000 square feet.   The final assembly point of the 787 is Everett, Washington."  He executes a brief bow and falls back down into his seat.  A second later he's back on his feet staring down into his hand, "Oh, and, the National Transportation Safety Board Sunday added a new twist to the high-profile probes of electrical malfunctions aboard a pair of Boeing Co.'s airliners by disclosing that the battery that caught fire on a parked Japan Airlines Co. jet earlier this month "did not exceed its designed voltage."  When finished he collapses into his seat with a huge grin on his face. 

The man at the front of the class leans back against the teacher's desk spreads his arms apart and asks the question he's been wondering since Jeff began speaking, "How did you KNOW all that?"

"I don't need an iPhone, I have a Samsung Galaxy S III, it rocks." the boy says as he holds the phone up for the visitor to see. 

"Well, yes, that is correct, the Boeing 787 has been 'lighting up' runways lately.  While no one is sure exactly WHY several of the planes have caught on fire, it appears to have something to do with the battery packs running the electrical systems on the planes.  According to the Huffington Post:

Airlines that have grounded the Boeing 787 continue to cancel flights as safety officials continue to investigate the planes' batteries to find the root cause of malfunctions that have caused an emergency landing, a fire and other problems."

Then he asks, "Can anyone think of any other modes of transportation which may be impacted by a similar battery 'issue'?" 

A hand shoots up in the back of the classroom, "Trains, because trains can be electric!  Right?", unsure of the answer, the boy in the back of the classroom retakes his seat.  He knows he won't be getting an iPhone based upon the frown on the face of the man in front of the class.

"Well, there are electric trains, but they are powered via a central generating hub, typically powered by coal or other reliable fossil fuels."  Mrs. Dimwiddy standing at the back of class clears her throat loudly at this comment.  "There are also diesel-powered trains, which can run on traditional diesel, or on environmentally-friendly 'bio-fuels' made from chicken fat, fryer grease, and the fat rendered from the bodies of Hollywood celebrities following lyposuction surgery."  he continues.

"Is that true?" asks a girl in the third row.

"Yes, Veronica, it is.  McDonald's fry oil, Burger King's 'pretty much anything on their menu', Purdue Over-Stuffer Roasters, Roseanne Barr, Gene Simmons, and / or Beyonce Knowles can each power federally-subsidized Amtrak trains.  Actually, looking at the folks listed, some can power 'more' than others. 

Jessica Simpson might get a train three yards down the track - Roseanne Barr, on the other hand, could alone pretty much power the Auto Train from Virginia to Sanford, Florida. 

Missing from this list, of course, is Michael Moore.  If this guy ever had lyposuction surgery he could power the US Navy Pacific Fleet, but I'm not sure that the military would ever buy the goo in this man's body.  And, I'm pretty sure he'd be an environmental hazard according to the strict guidelines of the EPA.  But mostly he'd be an affront the Navy personnel around the world." he concludes. 

"Can anyone else think of what type of transportation these batteries be found in?  Think "Shopping Carts with Windows" here..." as he says this he points to a Toyota Prius parked right next to the building.

"Oh, oh, oh, they use these batteries in CARS, right?" shouts a girl in the front row.

"Yes.  Yes, they do, as a matter of fact." he says as he turns back to the white board.

"Hey, Mister, where's my free phone?" the girl asks.

"Oh, gosh, sorry, I'm plum out of free phones.  Hey, how about a Fresca?" he asks, remembering the old line from Caddyshack.  "You need want a prize for answering a question for which I pointed out the answer to you?  What do you think I am, a lackey for the NEA?" 

"I think you're a cheapskate..." the girl mutters as she retakes her seat.

"Okay, yes, so we have established automobile manufacturers also use lithium-ion batteries for their hybrid and EV vehicles.  So why would we be putting batteries which can catch fire, explode, or spontaneously combust into YOUR car?" he asks.

"Because you're a LIAR?" asks the girl who 'didn't get a phone'.

"Oh, I'm sorry, you would be wrong.  I may be cheap, but I never lie." says the man as he points to a slide which has just appeared on the white board.  "This is from Wikipedia, the place from which most of you copy, um, I mean, do your independent research for your homework assignments":


In March 2007, Lenovo recalled approximately 205,000 batteries at risk of explosion. In August 2007, Nokia recalled over 46 million batteries at risk of overheating and exploding. One such incident occurred in the Philippines involving a Nokia N91, which uses the BL-5C battery.

In December 2006, Dell recalled approximately 22,000 laptop batteries from the US market. Approximately 10 million Sony batteries used in Dell, Sony, Apple, Lenovo/IBM, Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi, Fujitsu and Sharp laptops were recalled in 2006. The batteries were found to be susceptible to internal contamination by metal particles during manufacture. Under some circumstances, these particles could pierce the separator, causing a short-circuit.


Transport restrictions

In January 2008, the United States Department of Transportation ruled that passengers on commercial aircraft could carry lithium batteries in their checked baggage if the batteries are installed in a device. Types of batteries affected by this rule are those containing lithium, including Li-ion, lithium polymer, and lithium cobalt oxide chemistries. Lithium-ion batteries containing more than 25 grams (0.88 oz) equivalent lithium content (ELC) are exempt from the rule and are forbidden in air travel. This restriction greatly reduces the chances of the batteries short-circuiting and causing a fire.
Additionally, a limited number of replacement batteries may be transported in carry-on luggage. Such batteries must be sealed in their original protective packaging or in individual containers or plastic bags.

Some postal administrations restrict air shipping (including EMS) of lithium and lithium-ion batteries, and products containing these (for example: laptops, cell phones). Among these countries and regions are Hong Kong, Australia and Japan.

On 16 May 2012, United States Postal Service (USPS) began a ban of shipping anything that contained a lithium battery to an overseas address due to fires resulting from transport of batteries. Because of this restriction, it became exceptionally difficult to ship anything containing them to military troops or personnel stationed overseas, due to the USPS being the only method of shipment to these addresses. The ban was lifted on 15 November 2012.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner contains lithium cobalt oxide batteries which are more reactive than newer types of batteries.

"So the batteries that they're using to run critical systems on the Boeing Dreamliner today were illegal to bring on a plane prior to November 15, 2012?  And, now, they are POWERING the critical systems of the plane that they used to be banned on?" a boy from the middle row asks. 

"Ah, what a bright boy you are!  Here, have an iPad!" the man says as he lobs an iPad at the boy.  [In the front row of the classroom a girl without a phone shoots the man an icy stare...]

"But, what do they mean when they say that the Dreamliner has lithium cobalt oxide batteries which are 'more reactive than newer types of batteries?  Is this a good thing, or a not so good thing?" the boy asks.

"Well, hold on there little buddy, I've got a Mac PowerBook 4 for you!" in the front row a girl slides from her chair onto the floor where she begins to sob loudly.  "Returning once again to your homework source, Wikipedia, you will find the following information:

Thermal runaway refers to a situation where an increase in temperature changes the conditions in a way that causes a further increase in temperature, often leading to a destructive result.

It is a kind of uncontrolled positive feedback. "

"Yes, kids, the hotter the battery gets, the, um, 'hotterer it continues to get' until a 'Destructive Result' occurs..." says the man as a new slide appears on the white board.  "Like this one.  Say 'Hello' to a destructive result on a brand spanking new - Boeing 787."

"So car companies are putting these batteries into Electric and Hybrid cars too?" a boy in the back of the class asks.

"Yes, yes they are!" the man says as he begins to re-pack his briefcase and hefts his overcoat back up from the chair.

"But, why would they do this?" asks Jeff.

"Because they HAVE to.  The Federal Government issues guidelines which Automobile Manufacturers must abide by.  These are called CAFE standards.  If the automaker does not meet these mileage objectives, they will be forced to pay huge fines and the very real possibility of embarrassing stories about their companies in the Media." the man shrugs into his overcoat and begins to pull on his leather gloves.  "They are using the current battery technology because they have to do something to comply with the regulations compelled by the President and Congress.  It's cheaper to have a few lawsuit payouts from fires than it will be to pay the fines of non-compliance with CAFE guidelines."

"What?  That's it?  You tell us about this and then you leave?  What's up with that?" asks the boy peering over the display of his new Mac PowerBook. 

"Hey, kiddo, don't get mad at me because I told you about the problem - get mad at the people who DIDN'T tell you what was going on.  Start with professional News people, work your way to Congress, the NTSB, EPA, and then up to the White House.  Ask questions and demand answers of them, not from some guy who writes blog posts in his PJ's in the dead of night.  I just came here today because I heard somebody was giving away free Apple 'stuff'.  If your teacher had told me that I had to buy the gear to give away, I probably would have slept in.  Hey, here's another 'life lesson' for you, next time, ask more questions before you agree to do something for someone." the man says as he lifts his briefcase from the desk and begins walking to the door.

In the darkened classroom there is a burst of blue flame, a hint of ozone, and the scream of a girl.  "I told you to wait until I left the classroom before you turned that iPhone on...  Some of them, too, have burned up.  Looks like you got one of THOSE.  Oops.  It only takes one bad Apple to, ah, never mind."

The kids turn to watch him leave the room as the teacher switches the overhead lights back on.  "Any questions kids?" 

Hands go up throughout the classroom as the teacher leans back on her desk and lets out a long sigh.

It's going to be a long day for her.

January 25:   The FAA certified the 787 battery system even though lithium ion batteries are more susceptible to catching fire when they overheat or short-circuit than other types of batteries.
Securaplane, an Arizona company that won a contract to design a battery charger unit for the Boeing 787, had a fire in November 2006 that ignited when the battery used by an engineering technician exploded during testing, destroying the firm's labs and production building, according to a summary of findings prepared by an administrative law judge who heard a whistleblower complaint filed by the technician.

The technician went to court after he was fired.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fifty Shades of Hay

A few weeks ago my wife came home and told me that she heard about a book from the "Girls at work" that she thought she might buy.  Why?  Because it was about 'relationships', of course.  Sure, after a mere 48 years of marriage, my wife wants to learn about "Relationships".

Really?  Relationships?  I'd have thought she'd have ENOUGH of relationships by now (being married to me).   

The premise of the book, she told me was different than 'regular romance novels' as it had to do with, she believed, relationships regarding people who were older - presumably like US.  

"Why do you believe it's about 'crabby old people' relationships?", I asked.

"Because of the title of the book, and what the girls at work were saying, of course." she replied.

"This wouldn't be that "Fifty Shades of Gray" series, would it?" I wondered aloud.

"Oh, so you already know about it?!?!" my wife asked with her eyes widening.  She seemed happy to learn that I had a CLUE as to another topic (besides politics) on which we could 'share'. 

"Yes.  After 57 years of marriage, you, above all other people, should KNOW that I 'know everything' by now."  I said.  

[Note to self:  Dig out old wedding invitation and find out how long we actually HAVE been married.  "57 Years?"  Is that all?  Some days seems like longer than that - well, at least for her.]

"Oh yeah, sometimes I forget, but you're always there to remind me, aren't you?" she replied.  

"Uh-huh.  And just so you know, that book you're talking about isn't really about 'normal relationships', at least based upon the comments from the hens I hear clucking around the blogyard at work.  Well, not unless being restrained, tied up, and otherwise 'in bondage' is something you feel good about, of course." I said. 

"Oh, I didn't know that." my wife said.  

"I was kind of hoping that you didn't." I said.  "Because after 63 years of marriage, I don't know if my system could take the shock of finding out that I was married to some kind of lunatic pre-vert."

I found the following 'plot summary' excerpt online (where else?) and showed it to my wife:   

"The tension between Ana and Christian eventually comes to a head after Ana asks Christian to punish her in order to show her how extreme a BDSM relationship with him could be. Christian fulfills Ana's request, beating her with a belt, only for Ana to realize that the two of them are incompatible. Devastated, Ana leaves Christian and returns to the apartment she shares with Kate."

Oh, for the love of God, someone, please, stick pins in my eyes.  Yeah, this is what I want my wife (or anyone for that matter) reading in their spare time.  Turns out that this book and its requisite spin-off sequels have outsold the Harry Potter series of books worldwide.


Whether my wife actually knew what the book was about or not, I don't know.  But I suspect that if 'the girls at work' were talking about this GREAT READ about relationships, my wife is smart enough to 'read into' the storyline as to what the heck they were talking about.  

Perhaps she only heard a 'bit of their conversation' vs. the whole "Whip me, beat me, hurt me, show me how much you care!" plot?  

I'd like to believe this is the case.  

In the end, after 72 years of marriage, I still don't read 'her stuff' and she doesn't read 'mine' (I'm hoping this rule extends to this post).  So if she was thinking she was going to sneak some middle-aged-Twilight-Saga-sado-bondage-relationship stuff into our house, I guess that I wrecked this bit of erotica for her.

Just one request of you if I may?  If you ever call my house and my wife tells you that I can't come to the phone because, "He's all tied up at the moment..."  

Call 911.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Cars (Part III)

Photo:  General Motors

At last we come to the end of the past week's "Cars Trilogy"...  On par with such epic adventures as, "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy", "Back to the Future I, II, and II", and "The Bad News Bears" (yes, Classics each), we find ourselves at the end of the "Cars" series of posts and we are left wondering, "How will it end?", "What happens next?", and "For the love of God, will you ever post Part Three so I can get back to reading the "OMG!" page on Yahoo!?"

Well, wait NO MORE!  The epic "Cars Trilogy" of posts ends now!!! 

Well, not exactly right now, more of as in, "Very shortly ending once I get past this bit of prologue... right now!"

This officially marks the BEGINNING OF THE END of...  The MoosRoom Cars Trilogy" (Please hold your applause 'till the end - thank you!)

In "Cars - Part I" we learned that obscure federal and state agencies are working hard to come up with innovative ways to bill YOU for the miles you drive for work and play (because you shiftless Americans are NOT taxed enough already).  

YOU have been buying Electric and Hybrid Vehicles (and collecting those Federal Tax Rebates all the while) resulting in lower gas tax revenues required to maintain our 'aging highway infrastructure'.  Yes, I know that the $866 BILLION Stimulus bill was intended to do all this and more, but turns out...  It was only kidding.  That $866B mostly went to Unions.   You don't like it, call Jimmy Hoffa and tell him about it - sorry. 

In "Cars - Part II" we learned that the NHTSB wants EV's, Hybrid Vehicles, and Oxen-Pulled-Wagons to 'Make more noise' because they are too dang quiet, especially when the oxen are wearing PETA-sanctioned-organically-grown and environmentally-friendly footwear (a.k.a.:  Ollie Ollie Oxen Frees).  AND that since the Feds have been paying taxpayers a 'Rebate' to BUY Hybrids and EV's (okay, so I made up the Oxen Wagon 'thing'. 
It's NOT approved yet, that legislation is held up in the Senate currently) I felt the Feds ought to pay reparations to the 2,800 Americans (their number, not mine) 'per model year' injured when stepping in front of a 'SBD' (Silent Butt Deadly) Electric Vehicle.

All caught up?  Excellent!  We now begin the official beginning of... 

"Cars  - Part III"    

For years the friendly folks in the Federal Government have been handing out tax credits (i.e.:  taking taxes from YOU to give someone else a tax credit for doing something the Feds like) to the wealthiest Americans who have the foresight (and sizable enough bank account) to buy either an EV or Hybrid automobile.  

Why do I say the 'Wealthiest' Americans ("Holy smoking gun of the Richest 1% Batman!!!")?  Because most folks can scarcely afford a new gas-powered auto let alone the bleeding-edge cost of an EV or Hybrid vehicle. I wish someone would look at an honest comparison between high mileage gas-powered vehicles and their 'environmentally friendly green' counterparts, the EVs and Hybrids.

Oh, look, someone DID...

January 4, 2013,  
Are High-MPG Gas Cars Better than Hybrids?     

If a buyer springs for a high-mpg gas car, savings in fuel costs can be substantial. At current gas prices, a vehicle getting 30 mpg will save its owner $838 at the gas pump per year and $4,190 over five years, when comparing to a car that gets 20 mpg and if the gas price is $3.35, according to the Department of Energy.
But not all fuel-efficient cars are created equal when it comes to making up for their higher sticker prices, according to a recent study commissioned by The New York Times. Only two hybrids in the study, the Lincoln MKZ the Toyota Prius, made up for extra costs in a short time (1.2 years and 1.8 years, respectively.)  

Other hybrids took up to a decade or more to make up the cost, with the Chevrolet Volt taking as much as 27 years.


It's the Little Things

Shoppers should not only consider a car's mpg, but also smaller features that can increase fuel savings. The way we drive, such as how we accelerate, affects how much fuel our cars use. New models are coming out with gauges showing how efficiently the vehicle is being driven, with the hope that it will educate drivers on maximizing fuel economy.

"No one really recognizes how much of a difference your driving can make on efficiency," says Joe Wiesenfelder, an executive editor at

Building a Better High-mpg Car

Vehicles are able to get more miles per gallon in part because of the materials they are now being made of. Companies are making vehicles lighter, turning to high-strength steel, aluminum and carbon fiber composites -- materials that weigh less but are strong enough to perform well in crash tests. Cars 10% lighter can boost fuel economy 6% to 8%, according to the Department of Energy.

Automakers are also making cars more aerodynamic and are investing in turbochargers, which are low-weight options for making an engine operate more efficiently and produce more power.

This emphasis on speed and power for high-mpg vehicles is a big shift from 10 years ago, when high-mpg cars relied on cheaper materials and weaker engines. Today, one can generally expect them to perform as well as their standard mpg counterparts.

"In many cases, there's no difference in how they perform," says Wiesenfelder. "It's not like the days when you were buying the smaller, weaker engine."

Huh, how about that?  In the past ten years, automakers have responded to the rising cost of fuel by building vehicles which get better gas mileage?  Who'd have thought it?  

Oh yeah, I know a few of you are shouting at your monitors, "Hey Cow Guy, but that's only because the Federal Government MAKES them do it via the aggressive CAFE standards put in place by President Obama!!!  So how about that?!?!?"  

Not so fast Buffalo Breath - let me ask you this:  How about the CAFE standards beefing up mileage requirements approved in 2007 - were they Obama's idea too?  Oh, that's right, it was President G. W. Bush in the White House - so if you're going to give anyone credit, please feel free to give it to him, okay?  AND since technology does not turn on a dime, the ramp up to recent MPG improvements to automotive design takes years, rather than months. 
What are CAFE standards?  
(Please note the following excerpt has nothing to do with the school lunch program.  Thank you!
The following from provides a good overview:  Why are carmakers going green all of a sudden? In short, they have to, because Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are getting tighter and tighter.

CAFE is the average miles per gallon of a car company's entire fleet of cars and trucks that each weigh less than 8,500 pounds (3,856 kilograms). Basically, these are minimum fuel economy standards that a car company must meet using its entire fleet of models averaged together.  And those standards got tougher in 2007 and 2009 with the goal of bringing the average up to 35.5 miles per gallon (15.1 kilometers per liter) by 2016.


The nasty part of CAFE standards is that if a manufacturer's auto line is NOT compliant with the average MPG requirement, they will necessarily produce small, cheap, shopping-cart-sized vehicles to bring the overall gas mileage of their fleet up.  Those who do not get their MPG's in line with the standard face 'Stiff Fines' from the Feds.  

These 'Stiff Fines' will be passed along to you, the car-buying public.  Oops, once again, if it feels like a 'Tax', it most likely IS a tax.  In the end - you will always pay for whatever the government demands.  Thanks for playing!

If you followed the link above, you noticed that the original article was posted on and re-linked by  There will be those who say, "Sure, ANOTHER Fox pack-o-lies perpetuated by the lying liars in the Low Life Lying Liars in the MoosRoom!!!"  

And to you, I say...  "Hay."

As in, "Hay, look, I found something on that says pretty much the same thing as those wascally wabbits over at Fox Business... 

Hybrid, or Just High MPG?
The new breed of turbocharged gasoline cars will also reward you. Many achieve 40 mpg in gentle highway driving, but offer pleasing punch when you reach a twisty road. And let's face it, gasoline engines are still more tuneful than their diesel counterparts.

Hybrids perhaps lag behind on this factor, though that depends on the car you buy--there's a lot of fun to be had driving cars like the Lexus GS 450h. And the sporty little Honda CR-Z hybrid even has a manual gearshift option, for driving purists.

In the end, the market will decide (in spite of governmental 'bets') which manufacturers and vehicles win market share.  A Chevrolet Cruze 'Eco' gets roughly the same MPGs as a Chevrolet Volt on the highway.  The major difference is that there's no tax credit on the Cruze, and the cost of the vehicle is approximately one-half that of the Volt.  

So which would you buy, all things being even?  

I don't believe that the government should be in the business of attempting to pick 'Winners' and 'Losers' in private-sector enterprises.  GM and Ford (I personally don't care about Chrysler as they're not really American any longer) will make decisions based upon the market based upon feedback from consumers.  

If we're not buying something (go visit you local Chevrolet dealership and check out his inventory of 2012 Silverado trucks - oh yeah, they got them - they got LOTS of 'em in stock) they'll reduce production - well, in this case, they SHOULD HAVE reduced production sometime back in August based upon their current inventories in 2013.

I was sooooo close to finishing this post when I received a link which, I believe, will be the perfect epitaph for this one. 

Obama Administration Scaled Back on Electric Vehicle Purchases in 2012 -- January 14, 2013,
In 2011, President Barack Obama's administration set a goal of purchasing only so-called alternative-technology vehicles for its fleet by 2015, but in 2012, the administration reduced its purchases of hybrid and electric vehicles by one-third, following a trend that's been ongoing for three years straight.

The statistics were reported last week by Detroit Free Press, which obtained numbers under a Freedom of Information request from the U.S. General Services Administration.


In 2009, the federal government purchased 8,139 hybrid or electric vehicles. That figure dropped to 6,467 in 2010—and fell to a disappointing 2,645 units in 2011, before dipping to 1,801 in 2012. That is a 32 percent decrease in 2012 (compared to 2011), representing only 3.6 percent of the 50,114 vehicles purchased by the federal government last year. Overall, vehicle buying by the federal government dropped by 8.6 percent in 2012.


If the Obama administration intends to follow through on its plan to purchase only alternative-technology vehicles for government fleets by 2015, then this downward trend will need to be reversed in 2013.

About 54 percent of the 1,801 alternative-fuel vehicles purchased by U.S. government agencies last year were built by Hyundai, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda.   

Oh President Obama, yet another promise broken to all those 'Greenies' out there - they're not going to like that.

Just another "Do as I say - Not as I do" from the friendly folks of the Federal Government.

Boom.  Done.

An appropriate end...