Mopar151's Journal - Archives
Yes, an overloaded container truck full of sewage sludge overturned in Newington, NH, fueling speculation that the Gingrich campaign is returning to NH. "Must be Newt's - nuthin' else could be that full of shit!" claimed a local observer.
Full story at the link: http://www.wmur.com/news/28033758/detail.h...
The most disturbing thing we have done in a long time was visit the museum of slavery. Curacao was the center of the Dutch slave trade and many artifacts are on display. This image is of the bowels of a slave ship. The Ships had many levels where the slaves were shackled hand and foot for the trip of 8 weeks from Africa. Approximately 12,000,000 slaves were officially accounted for in the 400 years of the trade. That number only accounts for the slaves who actually survived and were sold to a master. When all the ones who died or were killed during the hunt, it is estimated that 50,000,000 human beings died during those 400 years.
Rodger Richards is one of my favorite racing photographers. Recently, he was in Curaco shooting their spring drag races, and did a nice photojournal of the trip. Roger was formerly a big-money wedding photographer, and his "people pics" are one of the best things about his work. He was obviously quite moved by this image.
The whole journal is at http://competitionplus.com/drag-racing/rac...
And is worth a look for both the "tourist" and racing pictures.
"Pretty fly - for an old guy."
So says this month's INC magazine, in an article titled :
In Norway, Start-ups Say Ja to Socialism
We venture to the very heart of the hell that is Scandinavian socialism—and find out that it’s not so bad. Pricey, yes, but a good place to start and run a company. What exactly does that suggest about the link between taxes and entrepreneurship?
In 1998, Dalmo quit his job, bought a used pickup truck, and started calling on clients as an independent contractor.. He kept hiring, kept bidding, and when he looked around a decade later, he had a $44 million company with 150 employees. This is exactly the kind of pride I often hear from the CEOs I have met while working at Inc., but for one important difference: Whereas most entrepreneurs in Dalmo's position develop a retching distaste for paying taxes, Dalmo doesn't mind them much. "The tax system is good—it's fair," he tells me. "What we're doing when we are paying taxes is buying a product. So the question isn't how you pay for the product; it's the quality of the product." Dalmo likes the government's services, and he believes that he is paying a fair price.
Welcome to Norway, where business is radically transparent, militantly egalitarian, and, of course, heavily taxed. This is socialism, the sort of thing your average American CEO has nightmares about. But not Dalmo—and not most Norwegians. "The capitalist system functions well," Dalmo says. "But I'm a socialist in my bones."
But there is precious little evidence to suggest that our low taxes have done much for entrepreneurs—or even for the economy as a whole. "It's actually quite hard to say how tax policy affects the economy," says Joel Slemrod, a University of Michigan professor who served on the Council of Economic Advisers under Ronald Reagan. Slemrod says there is no statistical evidence to prove that low taxes result in economic prosperity. Some of the most prosperous countries—for instance, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, and, yes, Norway—also have some of the highest taxes. Norway, which in 2009 had the world's highest per-capita income, avoided the brunt of the financial crisis: From 2006 to 2009, its economy grew nearly 3 percent. The American economy grew less than one-tenth of a percent during the same period. Meanwhile, countries with some of the lowest taxes in Europe, like Ireland, Iceland, and Estonia, have suffered profoundly. The first two nearly went bankrupt; Estonia, the darling of antitax groups like the Cato Institute, currently has an unemployment rate of 16 percent. Its economy shrank 14 percent in 2009.
Every Norwegian worker gets free health insurance in a system that produces longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality rates than our own. At age 67, workers get a government pension of up to 66 percent of their working income, and everyone gets free education, from nursery school through graduate school. (Amazingly, this includes colleges outside the country. Want to send your kid to Harvard? The Norwegian government will pick up most of the tab.) Disability insurance and parental leave are also extremely generous. A new mother can take 46 weeks of maternity leave at full pay—the government, not the company, picks up the tab—or 56 weeks off at 80 percent of her normal wage. A father gets 10 weeks off at full pay. These are benefits afforded to every Norwegian, regardless of income level. But it should be said that most Norwegians make about the same amount of money. In Norway, the typical starting salary for a worker with no college education is a very generous $45,000, while the starting salary for a Ph.D. is about $70,000 a year. (This makes certain kinds of industries, such as textile manufacturing, impossible; on the other hand, technology businesses are very cheap to run.) Between workers who do the same job at a given company, salaries vary little, if at all. At Wiggo Dalmo's company, everyone doing the same job makes the same salary.
LOTS more in an excellent article: http://www.inc.com/magazine/20110201/in-no...
My take on the article: A good social(ist) safety net is actually helpful to entrepenuers - It reduces a lot of the cash flow burden of a startup, and the higher taxes don't take away 'til you actually make money! And workers with degrees don't start out with a crushing burden of student loans, or worried sick about healthcare costs.
Even if it is proven false, they don't really care.
The NY Times interviewed David Mekkelsen of Snopes.com recently. A short quote:
Times: You would think that with the instant communications of Internet, that all this misinformation and urban legend stuff -- that people would catch on that it's not true.
DM: The flaw in that theory is that for a good many people, it's not important whether things are true or not. It reflects what people want to believe. It reflects a worldview. It's their way of passing along things that concern them. Things they're afraid of.
A lot of dumbass Amurricans desperately want to beleive in "reverse racisim", because it validates their fears and guilt about issues of race - and class - in this country.
My sister-in-law would LOVE the "America is a Christian Nation" meme to be true, because it would make her feel godly and patriotic at the same time. Instead, the literal-minded members of her family conclude that she's an intolerant fool.
David Souter is not the only resident of Weare, NH with political significance. Art Brennan is a retired NH Superior Court judge. I met him briefly when he spoke at the "funeral" of my old roomie, Tommy Banks - who was a friend of Art's. Your average pol would have fled, lest he be seen associating with such a motley bunch! Art is a quiet man, whose integrity extends to the core of his being - if he says it stinks, it'd gag a skunk.
In Iraq, corruption unabated
And our own government is deceiving us about it
Arthur Brennan / For the Monitor
July 18, 2010
I am a retired New Hampshire judge. Like Judge Joseph Laplante and U.S. Attorney John Kacavas I went to Iraq to try to help, and in the summer of 2007 I directed the short-lived U.S. Embassy Office of Accountability and Transparency.
OAT's mission included assisting and advising the three Iraqi ministries responsible for fighting corruption in Iraq. The OAT team worked with Judge Radhi al Radhi, the director of the Iraqi Commission for Public Integrity. My tour of duty was cut short, and the OAT program barely outlasted me. This is because Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's corrupt government was in a fight to the death with Radhi and his investigators, who had uncovered evidence of the theft of billions of dollars by Iraqi leaders allied with the prime minister. The CPI had evidence of the murder of hundreds of Sunnis through the operations of the Iraqi Ministry of Health, which was controlled by a close associate of al-Maliki who eventually became the "czar" of the al-Maliki anticorruption program. This is the same so-called anticorruption organization that Kacavas and Laplante visited.
The Iraqi judiciary is corrupt. This is not because any particular judge is dishonest but because an independent and impartial Iraqi judge making decisions against the leadership of Iraq is very likely to end up dead.
"They're goin' to ruin us all, by and by
I'm tellin you all beware
I think they don't really care
And they just sit up there
And just get high"
Nice acoustic version - Van Zant brothers
Live, in the day
It did'nt matter how bad the loans stunk. They could be written up on dead fish and there's brokerages clamoring for them - 'cuz they can sell 'em, and bet against them (with credit default swaps) at the same time. Tell me there ain't loaded dice in this game, and that the cops ain't on the take. Tell me, please, 'cuz I missed the Easter Bunny.
That bullies are often the popular kids, the varsity jocks, the moneyed and well connected. They are trying to "put a person in their place", and enforce an existing social order. That is a lot of why, IMHO, that teachers "did'nt see anything" - because teachers and administrators are trying to join or maintain their position in the "popular crowd", too.
With our political right wing, you can see the same thing. Fools hate the President, because he does'nt need them to bolster his base. They have "lost their country" already - one where being a white, male, ass kisser to the rich meant something, dammit!
To draw a paralell to the infamous Columbine case, Eric Harris and accomplice Robyn Anderson played the role of today's "teabaggers" in politics - used because of their dissafection with society - while Dylan Klebold filled the Blankenship/Beck role of manipulation of the dissafected, and psychopathic disregard of consequences. Much like the radical militias of today, Klebold and Harris had grandiose views of their own importance, and a pathological affection for violence and revenge.
But these fuckin morons have been waiting all their lives for SOMEBODY to be scared of them. What the FBI and BATF did at Ruby Ridge and Waco was incredibly stupid - incompetence like that should have resulted in prision terms. But loot at haw the recent case of tax protesters Ed and Elaine Brown was handled, and we are seeing a new model - same thing with the Hutaree.
Listen, you stooopid bastids! It does'nt matter how many cops you murder, how many innocents you slaughter. You will not advance your cause in any way, you will not get to be boss! The people who enslave you are not in the White House, they don't come near smelly fools like you. They ride in executive helicopters and private jets, and they are using the threat of you to delay the day they have to pay their fair share of taxes, or get on the same airplane as you. if it takes killing 10 of your children to make their lawn greener, they are fine with that. You are being set up to be their goon squads, their mine police, their Klan - to make war on unions, on liberal churches, on social workers, on educated professionals and skilled craftsmen, on miners and millhands - for the security of the rich, to grind us "back where we belong" - begging for work at starving wages, building castles for the rich while our world falls apart.
Not that he does'nt deserve it. But a lot of the manufacturers with experience in Asian sources (at least in the automotive aftermarket) tell a more cautionary tale. I saw a lot of this in the SEMA trade journal, FWIW.
Basically, the word is to not put all your eggs in one chinese basket, and try to keep a good share of critical processes and final assembly in North America, and watch the quality control on basic processes like a hawk.
Tom Lieb, of Scat engine components, is one of the most succesful at this. He originally went to China because he could not buy small quantities of steel alloy forgings in the US. He spends 2 months a year, in China, personally - and most of the finish machining and heat treating is done at Scat's plant in California. So much so that the products he makes can be legitimately labeled "Made in USA". Other manufacturers in the same game do more in China, and it shows in their product.
According to the SEMA article, the LAST thing you want to do is import a product finished, packaged and branded - you'll be seeing copycats in months, if not weeks. Except that the quality will stink, so not only do you lose the sale, but your reputation as well.
What did we do before Scat started making crankshafts? Most high-performance crankshafts and connecting rods were reworked from used parts ("cores"), or machined from OE forgings obtained through factory involvement in racing. High end stuff was/is machined from high quality bar or plate stock, aka "billet", and priced accordingly.
If your x-buddy's product involves castings, specialised metals (like tool steel), or precise finish machining, he ain't gonna be happy. He's seeing nothing but dollar signs right now, and that's sad. Worst part is, if he were to hire back some of his old employees, on a low inital wage/profit sharing basis, he'd come out better in the long run.
LOOKIT - THE TOYOTA UNINTENDED ACCELERATION PROBLEM DOES NOT APPLY TO THE PRIUS! And it never did - it applies to US assembled cars using the CTS pedal assembly, and the US specific engine control calibration program.
Whether or not the San Diego Speeding Prius is a hoax, or operator stupidity, or demonic possesion does'nt really matter, UNLESS YOU ARE USING INTENTIONALLY DEFECTIVE LOGIC! This should do nothing to change Toyota's problems (or "be a gift to Toyota")- of which they have many - or "rehabilitate" their reputation, or put them into the "MALIGNED HERO PHASE".
There are a lot of you who have been smug, happy Toyota customers, because the car that your car nut buddies, with their Beemers, WRX/EVO/SHO, mid-life crisis cars, or those awful hot rods and "classics" , told you was slow and boring and looked cheap, rated higher than theirs. It says so, right here in the magazine that says it's so unbiased.
When they show you stuff in "their" magazines, there's a bunch of mumbo-jumbo in there that does'nt matter in the case of your beloved 'Yota - transitional handling, brake bias, torsional stiffness, 2-sided gal-fan plating, electrocoat primers, drivetrain inertia, bumpsteer, and high speed data bus. All you want is to look OK when you pick up your kid after school, and to have as little to fix or change (and no winter tires!) as possible, 'til you trade it in because you're scared it might need work, or 4 new tires.
And now your'e finding out you got played, by a company who got really good at covering things up. But-but-but you trusted them! Their recalls were not in the paper all the time! It must not be their fault! Sorry, pal - Toyota had your number, all along. And some of the things they did, to keep up their image, were wrong. Big, bad wrong. And no amount of finger-pointing at old Fords, or Corvairs, or old wierd-hair furrin cars, will change that.
We have a winnah, raht heah! They are proud of buying the right car, the top rated one, just like their washing machine and fridge. The fact - THE FACT - that their perceptions have been played like a fiddle for a couple decades is almost too much to bear. So they deny, and deny, and deny.
There are several regional series like us - Pennsylvania, Colorado, and the Northwest that we know of - and some notable stand-alone events. Mt. Washington ran 1990-1999, has had a couple other heydays (like the 1905 event). Pikes Peak, Colorado (with a relationship to CHCA like ours with Mt.Washington), Virginia City, NV, http://www.crowmountainhillclimb.org/, Rumman, Jordan
http://forums.evolutionm.net/motor-sports/... - the Sirroco/Audi/Buick hybrid was originally built for our series.
There is a lot of crossover to rallying, and some to roadracing & oval track.
England has several short hillclimbs (driveways to castles), and there some Europaen events we've found on YouTube, as well as Australia and NZ.
We, and most series like us - have little accomidation for spectators - but are always looking for voulunteers for flagging/communications. Communal lunch and beer after are the usual perks.
Though current economics have me flagging instead of driving. Our local track evolved badly,(promoter started drinking, 2nd generation promoter drunk, loud, and stupid) and I discovered hillclimbing - the land of the misfit toys! www.hillclimb.org is our website.
Bunch of our gang has You Tube vids up - here's links to a couple.
Butch's Blazer is a stock car underneath, all flea market parts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pq3hqtfIUEA
Starting line action. Marcel is an art photographer who hangs out with us sometimes - crazy as a soup sandwich, but really has an eye : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VU0bGqym2v4
Alex Grabau's Evolution 8, RHD, big turbo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWi42LXHUq8
I grew up around Modifieds - my Dad part-timed as an offical at our local track, starting when they were still called "Jalopys". I've seen all sides of the sport, and some pretty sad scenes - but the producers of Madhouse had to go a long way to find a show as ugly as Bowman-Gray. "Bugs Stevens" was about as good a shoe as ever strapped into a Modified, and his remarks on the current state of drivers like the Myers boys and Junior Miller bear repeating "It does'nt take much of a driver to run into somebody else!".
I find myself disliking the whole Myers family - loud, nasty, can't even get along with themselves. Junior is a product of a track unsuited for Modifieds, and officials that tolerate dirty driving. I'd love to see Chris Fleming and the Browns on a good Modified track - Though Chris needs some good help in the gararge.
Jesse muttering "It may be great TV, but it's no way to work..." (Model A Sedan, built on the East Coast), or the show where National Guard guys built a twin engine Jeep puller with zero drama, and Jesse prasing them on their ability to work together.
I don't think the Patenaudes (the Maine guys) are long for the reality show world.
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