Tag Archives: politics

Things have been too hectic to write much lately

Both externally and internally, things have been busy in the ramp up to the election. So much so that sitting down at the laptop was basically impossible. Collecting my thoughts enough to get them out my fingers got me running inside my mind so much that I just gave up and decided to experience the moment instead of trying to analyze and record it.

On politics, we had a 50-50 day here at Casa de El Poeta, Beto lost, but Colin won, and I still haven’t found out if my state rep is the Tea Party loser from the last 4 primaries or the Democrat. The seat was open as the woman who beat the Tea Party loser in the primary decided to spend more time with her family and less time getting threatened by party bosses. Google finally got me to a 100% ballots counted and the TP loser lost again. The TP crazy that was my state senator lost to the Democrat. It won’t change much in Austin, but at least I will have a voice in my state government. Now maybe we can get something done about the crazy traffic laws, like reducing the minimum posted speed limit from 50% fatal to pedestrians (and cyclists) 30 MPH to 5% fatal 20 MPH, and a 3 feet to pass law for cyclists and pedestrians. Anywho, anxiety about what level of crazy was going to represent my views in the legislature as well as in the Senate and Congress prevented me from organizing my thoughts enough to write.

Physically I haven’t been sitting at the computer for writing much either, as I have been away from the house more than usual, for self-care. I got a massage, and did some shopping at the Harbor Freight, and last week I got my toes done so I don’t claw Mrs. the Poet in my sleep. I still need to get a haircut, but that will have to wait until I get more funds. I’m down to the point I need to conserve money for bus fare until the end of the month.

On the T-bucket front after last week’s assessment of assets I came to the conclusion that a mid-engine bucket is out of the question from a ride and handling standpoint. The parts I have are just not right for a mid-engine car, and the unsprung weight would result in tires not spending time in contact with the road surface. Front tires not on the road causes massive understeer no matter what you do about front to rear roll balance, if the front tires aren’t on the road it doesn’t matter what you do with the steering the car won’t turn.

And that’s about the limit of what I can get my head around to write today.

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Negative campaign ads just make me want to shoot all of them

Seriously, the politicking this year makes me want to just go out and kill every one of them. I’m just reaching the limits of my endurance and tolerance for my fellow-man. But there is a huge gap between want and do. So if you read about some political rally blown up with a mini nuke, I don’t have the money to buy the parts to do it. Nor the supply chain to get the parts even if I had the money. Nor the foggiest notion of where to look. So if it happens, I didn’t do it. I have been thinking about building other things, mostly.

Now what I have been thinking about when I’m not thinking about using WMD to level the political playing field has been another A-Mod build using the Predator 670cc V Twin from Harbor Freight and a “torque converter” CVT. The great thing about this is the engine and torque converter are right at 100 pounds together, and all the CVT needs to survive the 22 HP V-Twin is an upgraded aftermarket belt and adjusting the engagement speed via weights and springs. I can hang this in front of the right rear tire and move the driver left of center to balance the car and stay under the 900 pound minimum weight leaving room to ballast up and adjust the front-to-rear balance and also keep the CG low.

One thing I’m not going to do is use a steel straight tube axle. After my last post where I either calculated, actually weighed, or weighed “at the catalog” every part in the front suspension for the Sprint-T/TGS2 and discovered I had an absolutely ghastly sprung/unsprung ratio at the front end of the TGS2, I’m going for light weight over “stout” when it comes to front end bits. I’m going back to my composite days and using moldless foam core composite construction to create a flyweight straight tube or double a-arm front suspension. Now if I wasn’t concerned about banging off curbs or potholes I could make an axle you could carry with one hand and still have two or three fingers left over, unlike the 23 pound behemoth I bought for the TGS2 that takes all 5 fingers and careful handling to prevent wrist damage because of the polar moment from its 58″ length. I might do that anyway because it would be easy to make and not super expensive when compared to steel. For this build steel fabrication would be the economic benchmark, because of raw material costs and fabrication costs. And because I have the most experience recently with steel fabrication, that also makes the process my benchmark. At this point my composites experience is about 30 or more years old. I built some parts for the CVCC race car. And if you know what CVCC means you know the car would now be eligible for vintage plates.😁 And this was also the first car I bought new back in 1978…

Everything for this car would have to be built except consumables like tires, wheels, and brakes, plus brake pads. Virtually nothing could be bought “off the shelf”. Even the steering would have to be made because available boxes are too heavy and slow and rack and pinions are either heavy, slow, big or all of the above. What I envision for this build is basically a go-kart with power steering that has the pitman arm on a pivoting shaft connected directly to the steering wheel through an electric assist, with stops mounted to prevent more than about 80° motion in either direction. I see the prototype made from steel, with subsequent versions made from aluminum or composites, or a combination of materials. Get the clearances and motion paths and the places that needed more material worked out first, then build the expensive version from exotic materials, like unobtanium and noweightium. Even the chassis I’m looking at welding up the tub from sheet steel as a mockup then pulling a mold off that and building a composite tub. In fact back in the ’70s I sketched up an idea of laying up composites in a female mold, then injecting expanding foam to make a foam core and also press the laminate together and into the details of the mold, but before I could sell the idea the state of the art passed me by, making the idea interesting but ultimately useless. But getting back to that welded sheet steel tub, if it’s under the minimum weight I’m just going to leave it at that. No sense building an expensive lightweight chassis just to bolt lead in it. Or tungsten because lead is too plebian for a composite chassis. But if it’s floppy and flexible then the foam and fiberglass come out to replace the steel, because I know they are rigid from working on airplanes and other people’s completed airplanes. The process is also used on things like boats and surfboards. It was possible to buy pre-molded cores to apply your own fiberglass skin and make your own surfboard back in the day. but we kids just used the cores as floats…

And 1) I’m starting to wander about the verbal landscape and 2) I have a Shadowrun game later and I need to get up early-ish for it. so this would be a good place to call it a night…

Sorry about missing an update

Short version: I got distracted.

tl;dr version I was following the vote on destroying the economy of the USA so that some rich people could get even richer and couldn’t decide if I wanted to watch the world burn or arrest the people casting “yes” votes for conspiracy to commit murder by withholding care. I mean seriously the estimate was 20K dead the first month, potentially making the GOP the worst mass-murderers in US history.

And then I couldn’t either concentrate to write, or make my brain shut up so I could sleep. So I was stuck in a limbo of wakeful chaos that I couldn’t turn into a pile of understandable words. And so exhausted that I was bouncing up and down like one of those drinking bird toys from the ’50s and ’60s.
The head goes up and down as the liquid evaporates from the beak.
Because I could see the fallout from taking away the money that was paying for the care of people in long term care facilities who would have to leave at the end of the month this law took effect, BTW that was the source of the 20K dead in a month. I know some people in LTC and they are touch and go with 24/7 nursing care, some would be dead in 24 hours and they are all on Medicaid or Medicare.

Now I need to get my toes done since I ran outta daylight to do it yesterday.

I hate getting political here

But desperate times etc.

We now have to deal with President Tire-Fire-At-The-Landfill so that the fire doesn’t spread and burn down things we need or love or both. In other words how can we contain the damage to just the tire area of the landfill without allowing it to spread beyond the landfill.

I this simile “tire fire” = “Trump’s constant tantrums against ‘other'”, “landfill” = “Trump supporters and fellow travellers”. The conundrum is keeping the damage from spreading beyond the people actually causing the damage, while the violence is directed outwards against the “other”. How do we convince them that the “other” that was actively causing harm is currently within their ranks?

Second point to this blog, this is the day we thank the veterans who are still with us for their service in protecting our freedoms, but how can we do that in light of what we just elected to lead us? “Thanks guys, but we changed our minds”?

I’m starting to recover a bit from Tuesday/Wednesday in that I finally went for a walk last night. But I’m still a long way from what I was on Monday. I read the rules for next year’s Goodguys autocross competition and found a tiny loophole. If I build a pickup bed big enough to put the engine in I can still run as a “Truck” and have the fuel cell anywhere I need it to be. I don’t know how I’m going to cover the engine now, but I have a rule that will let me run the car. That means I need to get a bed for the body from Speedway and stretch it to fit, then cut the sides where the suspension peeks through. And also have the frame running everywhere outside the body because it ain’t gonna fit inside the bed. This is (still) gonna be fun.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable Badass

The computer crashed and I lost everything… on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Flash and Chrome OS have not been playing nice lately and I have had several mild computer crashes lately, but I had one last night that just wiped a bunch of stuff off my little Chromebook and put me dead in the water for hours when I got up this morning. Seriously, every site was asking for something to show I had been there prior or my password(s), none of my subscription sites were responding (those will take a pair of e-mails to get me back on) all because I had 3 tabs open with multiple Flash advertisements in them.

Now compound that with a sinus headache because I have been dealing with an allergy attack (during January in the Northern Hemisphere!) and got a secondary infection in the old snot factory, and things just got miserable. I have been up twice so far today, about 1100 for some hydration and pain meds and about 1600 because I was sick of being in bed. But not being in bed is so uncomfortable I might just end this post at any moment and go back to bed. Then again we are having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner in a few minutes…

Oh, yes, the original topic for today was supposed to be… POLITICS. Specifically with one side being so opposed to anything resembling bicycle infrastructure in the US, why haven’t I made more noise about that in this blog? One reason is because of gerrymandering the people who do this are quite literally in a lifetime office that is theirs until they either die or decide to leave it. My Congressional district goes almost to Texarkana but a couple of miles away that district goes out by Paris, and a few miles in the other direction the district goes out past Terrell. My area is strongly Democrat, but we have been “represented” by the GOTP for almost 15 years now. There are almost 40% of Texans who are Democratic, but the people that make up our “representation” in Congress are 25 GOTP and 11 Dem, not even close to the population. And I’ll give you 2 guesses as to which group thinks (actually says out loud when they think people are not listening) that bicycle infrastructure is “inspired by Satan”. Yep, the people who are “representing” me.

At the moment there ain’t much I can do about this situation. The current state legislature is if anything gerrymandered worse than the Congressional Districts which had to be drawn under Federal approval prior to the Voting Rights Act being gutted by the SCOTUS. The Texas legislature was not as subject to the pre-approval process and we ended up with small areas that were packed with blue voters in the middle of urban areas getting attached to rural areas with less than 1/20th the population density with the zoning lines going down the middle of a street but not extending to the buildings on either side until they got to strongly GOTP but sparsely populated areas where they were unlikely to encounter anything except livestock and Republicans.

And all the “feel good” I had built up prior to the spaghetti is now rapidly leaving my body as I have been out of bed almost 3 hours now and I want to go back to bed and watch the episode I recorded of Mythbusters.

And TV and a warm bed sounds better than posting to a blog, sorry.

PSA, Opus

Mrs. the Poet’s retirement has made for her keeping me from working, and the Feed

I love my wife, I really do. BUUUT (very long “uh” sound there) she refuses to acknowledge what I do as “work” and is constantly telling me to stop “playing on the computer” and do what she wants me to do, basically denying the validity of what I do. I do not know what to say about this, especially at the time she says it because of my aphasia not leaving me with the vocabulary to respond. Sure I sound all glib and insightful in the blog, because I have the time to stop and think about it, lower my stress levels by meditating, and allow the words to flow out of my fingers bypassing my mouth. The process in and of itself is much less stressful than trying to actually speak with my wife making a rejoinder to a comment she made. As a result I’m frequently unable to respond with anything more cogent to her “playing on the computer” remarks with anything more than “Go away, I’m working here!”

Up first, the lowlife scum that hit a Miami cyclist with his vehicle so hard that the roof was collapsed around the driver’s head and then left claiming he “didn’t know” he had hit anyone violated his parole. Driver in Fatal Hit-and-Run Crash on the Rickenbacker Causeway Heading to Prison After Probation Violation and Driver Guilty In Cyclist’s Death Sentenced To Prison For Probation Violation When I saw one link I was thinking they were really looking to violate this guy, but then I read another link that said he had been checking in with Foursquare at bars and clubs, places he was not supposed to be and in violation of his parole, so he basically violated himself on this one. I hope he has a life-affirming moment in prison and never drives again. I was going to type something else, but then I stopped to think “Is what I want vengeance against this one idiot, or do I want a cultural change that keeps idiots like this from being able to hurt people because they lack the means to hurt people?” And I have to say that while vengeance against that idiot would make me feel better for a little while, making it so that idiots like him can’t hurt people would make me feel a lot better in the long run.

Next a little lifestyle from a little south of the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell. Round Rock memorial bike ride honors avid cyclist Killed in a wreck very much like mine in many respects, just trying to get where he was going and make a living.

Our Daily Ted. Morning Links: Awkward cycle track in Marina, PCH closed at Point Magu, fight North Fig parking at City Hall

Trying to change the legal infrastructure in the land of the automobile. California Bicycle Coalition Announces Its 2015 Legislative Agenda

CA riders remember a fellow rider killed on an epic ride in OR. Riders finish avid cyclist’s last journey

Still in CA, I would love to see drivers held to the same standards as cyclists when motor vehicle infrastructure is discussed. Dick Spotswood: Marin bike lobby’s political clout is slipping Really, not another freeway or even a pothole filled until drivers stop speeding, running red lights, turning right on red through crowded crosswalks, driving on sidewalks to get around people stopped a red lights…

So, what about people who don’t have smart phones, like me? Tech solution for “dead red” lights

Bicycle advocacy in America’s Amsterdam. Guest Article: Four things BikeLoudPDX has learned in their campaign for SE Clinton

They’re starting to learn lessons from the Netherlands. Cycling reduces the death toll on our roads…

OK I don’t know if you will be able to read this or not, but if you can’t copy and paste the headline into a Google search and read it from there. There is at least one city determined to not kill it’s citizens. A Plan to Limit Cars in Paris Collides With French Politics

Another e-assist article. Bultaco Brinco Is a Really Interesting E-Bike, but Not Exactly Cheap I used to have a ‘taco motor in my shifter kart… I don’t think this one would work the same. I like that the pedelec mode has a 100 km range, but I’m thinking there isn’t much assist in that mode. I built a bike with a lot smaller battery that had almost that range but used a constant pedal cadence mode and powered cranks. It is somewhere in the garage which means archeologists will be the next people to see it. At least I hope it’s in the garage. If it isn’t that means I had another bike stolen and I won’t even be able to give the police an exact year, much less a time of day…

And those were all the links I could find today, enjoy!

Billed @€0.02, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

They finally finished counting the votes and I’m screwed, and the Feed

The votes are counted and batshit insane won out over just crazy. I’m screwed because batshit has made public statements against government spending on any bicycle infrastructure as being “socialist”. News flash for you Batshit, all infrastructure is socialist to some extent. Installing bicycle infrastructure just gives people a choice as to how they use it. Right now we have a choice between cars, trucks, and SUVs when selecting our mode of transportation, but public transit is kinda sorta useful if you have the time. Riding a bicycle is physically uncomfortable because of the climate and emotionally uncomfortable because there are so many cars, trucks, and SUVs using the infrastructure that the operators have no earthly idea of how to share with bicycles. And Batshit wants to make that worse for people riding bicycles. Of course opposing bicycle infrastructure is a minor issue with this guy, oppressing women and voters of the “wrong” kind is much higher on his agenda. This is still not good for me because I’m the “wrong” kind of voter: “not-rich”.

Up first is a hit-and-run from down south a few day’s ride. Deputies: Hit-and-run suspect later found unresponsive behind the wheel and Driver arrested in FM 1960 hit-and-run Let’s see, line of cars moving over a lane to make a legal pass on a cyclist legally using the road, one driver moves out of the line and hits the cyclist then merges back in line and leaves the scene, later found slumped over the wheel of the weapon vehicle and unresponsive to LEO commands. No toxicology report back yet but I’m willing to bet alcohol, drugs, or possibly an out-of-control blood sugar level. I’m putting my money on good old-fashioned ethyl alcohol.

Update on an OH left cross fatality. Trial date set for truck driver charged with death of cyclist The cyclist’s family is being very understanding and Stockholm Syndrome about it claiming the fact that the driver is disturbed about having killed “is punishment enough”. Listen people, everyone is disturbed about the first time they kill if they have any shred of compassion in them. The ones that aren’t just need to be placed where they can’t hurt the rest of us ever. But if drivers are allowed to kill and face no sanction for killing, no matter what the mode of transport of the victim, then there is zero incentive for the drivers that don’t have that shred of compassion to not run over the cyclist or pedestrian that causes them to have to slow down a bit. Swerve enough that the vehicle isn’t damaged too much to drive and keep on trucking, because you will get a worse ticket for tossing a cigarette butt out the window than for leaving a dead or dying human on the side of the road.

A MD driver that killed a cyclist tries to get the sentence dismissed because the felony conviction interferes with her life? Sentence in death of bicyclist stands Another sociopathic driver thinks it’s all about her after leaving a corpse in the road. Consequences are a bitch, aren’t they honey? Less than a year in jail with work release after killing a human and discarding the body like a cigarette butt and you want that expunged so you can “get on with your career”? You changed your career path when you left the person to die on the road, now you have to live with that choice. And this was not the first time you hit a cyclist either, you hit one in 2008 that left the victim with a permanent and life-altering brain injury, for which you essentially skated.

A cyclist in the UK is killed by a pothole that the relevant authority was notified about weeks before the wreck. Cyclist mown down during charity bike ride after hitting a four-inch deep pothole that police had warned about more than a month before One thing I like about UK tort laws is they specifically allow local governments to be sued when they commit an action or an inaction that results in people getting injured, unlike here in the US where most municipalities invoke “sovereign immunity” at the first hint of a lawsuit.

And another cyclist hits the pavement because it has holes in it. Exeter pharmacy staff help “pot-holed” cyclist The cyclist was lucky to not have been hit by a motor vehicle like the previous paragraph.

Even comic strip characters can’t escape the pothole monster. Frazz by Jef Mallett I do hope that one goes to “freeze-thaw cycle”, it’s impossible to test.

Lots of infrastructure news today. This one is from America’s Copenhagen, Portland OR. Video of right-hook collision shows risks at NE Couch and Grand First up this video is a near-perfect example of using intersection protocols to minimize damages from a right hook, the cyclist ran out of road before the driver finished the turn.

Infrastructure news from CA. Beverly Hills tells bicyclists to drop dead; LAPD to focus — finally — on traffic violations this year As I commented in the article Beverly Hills needs to be sued for violating CA’s Complete Streets law. They have been reminded several times of the law’s requirements, I think a little smackdown from a judge would be appropriate. More Beverly Hills City Council Disses Road Safety, Slaps Riders in Santa Monica Boulevard Session

A slightly fun infrastructure link. If Your Local Elites Have Gone Completely Bonkers, You May Have Bikelash It would be impossible to tell here, our “elite” varies between “disturbed” and “batshit crazy” every other minute.

An infrastructure link that is only marginally about bicycles. Detroit study to examine effects of bad air quality As we all know installing bike lanes reduces the local pollution on streets that have them, I don’t know how well that transfers to networks of bike lanes in entire cities. That’s something that hasn’t been studied.

A really unhappy lifestyle story from CA. Popular pre-L.A. Marathon bike ride canceled after city permit snag I thought that the powers that be liked the Crash because it acted like an additional sweep of the course the organizers did not have to pay for.

And those were all the links that gave me fits about bicycles. There were a couple more that just were kinda “blah” so I thought “Why include “blah” in my blog?” Also apparently I have been missing a lot of clicks to this blog because I don’t put a tag on the Daily Feed posts that this is about bicycles. What, they can’t look at the blog title and tell that most of the posts are going to be about bicycles? But anyway I’m going to be adding a “Bicycles” and “bikes” tag to the Daily Feed posts so that people looking for information about bicycles can find these posts.

> sigh <

Billed @€0.02, Opus

#occupybikeseat, Wreck-free Sunday

Aside from demanding punishments that fit the crimes when drivers kill I try not to inject too much politics into this blog. Sure there is the Gay Marriage Challenge page that “supports” gay marriage by asking people to convince me to do otherwise. But I have kept out of the really big political questions, for one reason: Transportation is not a partisan issue. Or it shouldn’t be, anyway. But for some reason making the roads work for everyone has become a political issue with “conservatives” on the side of “everybody drives a car” and “liberals” on the side of “the roads belong to everyone”.

What this and the headline are leading up to is I went to a “History of Occupy Dallas” meeting at First UU Church of Dallas. We heard the 23 grievances from the original Occupy movement, how the main goal of the movement is to extract corporations and corporate money from politics and from the government, so that government can go back to protecting the people from the abuses of power inherent in a corporate structure (The corporation does not actually “exist”, so there is nothing you can physically do against a corporation when they breaks laws that would result in a real person going to prison). Basically the only thing you can do to a corporation is fine them, which leads to some really stupid decisions as to “how much” a murder costs, and do you charge by the body count or like when a human commits murder does one count cover all the deaths. And how does a corporation commit murder you ask? By deciding that a certain number of deaths are “acceptable” when selling a product or providing a service. The most famous example of this was when Ford decided that saving $9/car on gas tank shields on the original Pinto would cause x number of deaths at $Y per death payable by the company. The problem is that there was nobody who could be blamed for the decision, which meant that the person who decided that a certain number of deaths from a defective product was acceptable could not be charged with murders, a deliberate death of random people being one of the lesser classes of murder, but still murder. In the Ford case they had a number of civil cases to fight, and after the document was made public about the saving $9/car would cost less than the settlements for the lawsuits, well those settlements went up by orders of magnitude. And at the time the only recourse against corporate murder was one-at-a-time civil lawsuits by the families of the deceased, if you had no surviving relatives then the corporation got away with your murder.

Now as weak a protection as that may be, there are moves afoot to take even that away from the people. There is a provision in a trade agreement called the TPP that prevents people from suing if it impacts the profits of a company, likewise it also prevents enforcing laws that negatively impact the profits of a company. Basically what it would mean is that the only laws that would apply to any company would be the ones that protect their profits. Anything else they could ignore with impunity. I don’t know about you, but that strikes me as a recipe for turning the US into China or Vietnam, only worse. I mean seriously, they could claim that minimum wage laws impair their ability to make a profit and refuse to pay anyone or allow them to quit working. In other words it would allow slavery without the need for the worker to actually be housed and fed by the slave master… and they could shanghai people from the street to work for them if they needed more workers, without fear because laws that impair their profits could not be enforced against them… And if anyone tried to resist these companies the company would still be protected by laws against violence or vandalism. This is what Occupy is fighting against.

And what does this little blog have to do with all this? I’m sure the regular readers have noticed that nearly every wreck I link to could be prevented by getting the infrastructure right. Well a big part of that would be getting the laws right so that hitting a cyclist or pedestrian would be a crime, not an “oops, sorry!” If that were to happen it might impair the ability of oil companies to make a profit and they could veto enforcement of those laws. I’m not sure about if they could actually do anything about changing the physical infrastructure to make riding a bike physically safer even if they could veto enforcement of laws that make people not in cars safer. That would take some finagling, because then you would have the oil companies fighting for their profits over the construction companies profits. But you can see how that could “work” fir cyclists.

And that’s your ration of Doom and Gloom for today.

PSA, Opus