Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Writing Was on the Wall

This warning came from a NY Times article - in 1999.

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending

By STEVEN A. HOLMES
Published: September 30, 1999

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.''
- (snip) -
In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

"From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us," said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. "If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry."
So anybody who says that nobody could have foreseen this whole thing coming is full of shit. This guy saw it coming before it ever began.

Hat-tip: Don

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Just So That We're Clear on This

Oh, this financial "pickle" we've found ourselves in. It amazes me how so many people have so many different explanations as to the "how" and "why" of it all, and how many of them get it wrong, facts be damned. Again, many on the right and the left want to politicize this, and the spin is making me dizzy. I hate the party politics because as much as I hate the Democrats, the Republicans are no angels, either, and what really gets me is how party hacks on both sides refuse to admit their own party's mistakes.

In this case, however, despite there being blood on hands from both sides of the aisle, the facts clearly indicate to me that it is the Democrats who have more blood on their hands, namely Barney Frank who said, "THE PRIVATE SECTOR got us into this mess. The government has to get us out of it." Too bad for Barney the facts just don't tell the same story.
Barney Frank's talking points notwithstanding, mortgage lenders didn't wake up one fine day deciding to junk long-held standards of creditworthiness in order to make ill-advised loans to unqualified borrowers. It would be closer to the truth to say they woke up to find the government twisting their arms and demanding that they do so - or else.

The roots of this crisis go back to the Carter administration. That was when government officials, egged on by left-wing activists, began accusing mortgage lenders of racism and "redlining" because urban blacks were being denied mortgages at a higher rate than suburban whites.

The pressure to make more loans to minorities (read: to borrowers with weak credit histories) became relentless. Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act, empowering regulators to punish banks that failed to "meet the credit needs" of "low-income, minority, and distressed neighborhoods." Lenders responded by loosening their underwriting standards and making increasingly shoddy loans. The two government-chartered mortgage finance firms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encouraged this "subprime" lending by authorizing ever more "flexible" criteria by which high-risk borrowers could be qualified for home loans, and then buying up the questionable mortgages that ensued.
And here's the bottom line that sums it all up nicely:
All this was justified as a means of increasing homeownership among minorities and the poor. Affirmative-action policies trumped sound business practices.
Read the whole article, please. There are many, many good links to various sources that spell this thing out. If you are a liberal/Democrat/socialist be honest enough with yourselves and your beliefs to admit that your guys got it wrong this time. I know that's asking a lot, but I know there are a few honest liberals out there that can see past their partisanship.

And please review the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which enabled banks to become "one-stop shops" for all banking, insurance, and investment needs. That is where the Republicans have to own up to their blunders because, while the GLBA opened up competition and did away with a lot of the restrictions of Glass-Steagall, it invited corruption and perhaps stimulated competition where there was really no justification for it. Keeping banking and investment services to consumers separate was probably a good thing.

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Global Warming: Two-fer Tuesday



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Friday, September 26, 2008

RANT: On the Financial "Pickle" and Bill O'Reilly Goes Off

I don't get a chance to listen to very much US talk radio these days unless I'm near a computer where I can listen on-line, and that isn't too often. Hell, even if I could I probably wouldn't. It's so polarized - with left-wing bomb-throwers who try to be entertaining because they certainly can't be informative; and right-wing hacks who are somewhat entertaining and somewhat informative but just end-up sounding like mouthpieces for the Republican party (Limbaugh, Hannity, and Medved come to mind). Well, today somebody from back in the States sent me an email telling me how Bill O'Reilly just went off today on his radio show.

I don't quite know how to take O'Reilly. He comes off trying to sound like the embodiment of his Fox employers' slogan, "fair and balanced", which sometimes works and other times fails. His radio show is not very good, but occasionally I catch his TV show on Fox. I agree with him on his take that the far-left will ruin the United States, and that the right-wingers can be just as bad; that's about where Bill and I part company. Take a listen here, where Bill just loses it. It isn't great radio, but I can understand his frustration - to a point.



In that clip from his radio show on September 25, 2008, I disagree with the first part where he says that the current financial "pickle" is Bush's fault, that he could have stopped it from happening by calling for oversight. O'Reilly is just wrong. The president DID call for Congress to act numerous times since 2001 - 17 times alone in 2008! I hate having to defend President Bush because I disagree with him on so much, but I equally can't stand it when the guy is blamed for things that are not his fault.

Now I did get a chance to catch a bit of the O'Reilly Factor today, and I was about to start throwing shit at the TV. Bill had this guy, a Fox "contributor", Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, a professor in "urban studies" or some bullshit like that. I've seen him before, and he's just another Marxist sociology professor who just irritates the crap out of me because he's always bleating on about "class" and "race". Anyway, he was going on about basically how he doesn't feel bad for people making $50,000 a year who may have gotten themselves in over their heads in debt - they're "greedy" - but he feels bad for poor people making $20,000 a year because they were "taken advantage of" by "unscrupulous" lenders. That's all Marxist code for, "Middle class whitey can get fucked, but we should feel sorry for the minorities because they don't know any better and they have a RIGHT to housing." BULLSHIT!!! BULLSHIT!!! FUCKING BULLSHIT!!! He went on about how the poor need protection from these kinds of lending practices, public housing initiatives, and rent control! Hill never - not once - acknowledged that it was BAD LENDING PRACTICES FORCED onto financial lenders BY THE GOVERNMENT that got us into this mess in the first place!!!

I HATE THESE FUCKING PEOPLE!!!

That is why I rarely watch the news, but, rather read it. Reading it can get me riled-up, too, but it just doesn't have quite the same effect.

It's things like this, boys and girls, that stir-up violent fantasies where I pray for the day that the militias come out of the mountains of the Northwest, take to the streets, and clean fucking house of all the leftist fuckwits that pollute the very air that I breathe. That day will come in the next 50 years, but today ain't the day. It won't be pretty.

RANT OFF.

I think it's time to look at some titties.

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Global Warming

Pendulous Globes for Jesus


Globes in the Grasp

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My Old Stomping Grounds

Back in the mid 90s during my last year in the Marine Corps I began racing motorcycles at Willow Springs International Raceway, a 2.5 mile, 9 turn paved roadcourse (shown below) in the high desert northeast of Los Angeles. Dubbed "the fastest road in the West" it is a fast track where overall speed and momentum are the key, as opposed to a "point and shoot" kind of track with slow turns and long straights.
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I had a lot of great times and met a lot of great people during my 10 years of racing. Two of those people are Jim and his wife, Lynn. Jim is a multi-time, multi-class champion in the WSMC. I never beat him, but we had some good side-by-side action on a few occasions; and I learned a lot from him. Jim is still racing, and he recently competed in the Ninja Cup, a race series where the riders all compete on Kawasaki Ninja 250cc, 4-stroke twins. These bikes, capable of just over 100 mph (160 kph) don't have awe-inspiring speed or acceleration like a 2-stroke of the same displacement, but they are light and handle well. Below is an on-bike video from the August 2008 Ninja Cup race. The video quality is very good considering that the track is quite bumpy in places. I'll let Jim's wife, Lynn, give you the set-up for what you are about to see.
Here’s a 9 minute video of one of our races at Willow Springs Raceway. Jim is in the yellow leathers. He is on a Kawasaki 250 Ninja (rented for the day).

The guy renting the bikes, Richard Barnett, has the camera on his bike and is chasing his pit-mate.

The first part of the race is interesting, but it gets down right exciting around 4 minutes into the video.

You will see a rider in yellow leathers - that's Jim - come whizzing between the two riders going into turn three and then he makes a bonsai pass going into turn five then a lap later at 7 minutes they are coming out of turn nine and the other rider reaches over at 100+ miles per hour and lets Jim know he’s there. Like they say… rubbin’s racin! It’s all friendly. Great video! Enjoy!



Ah, the memories...


My first race bike, a highly modified 1977 Yamaha RD400, a 400cc 2-stroke, air-cooled twin. Making over 60 brake horsepower at the rear wheel and weighing about 280 lbs. (~130kg.) this bike was capable of speeds over 125 mph (200 kph). It never quite handled the way I wanted (very unstable at speeds over 100 mph), so, with the help of my good friend, Todd, I upgraded to the heavyweight class and began racing the bike shown below. I should note here that with a little help from guys like Todd and another mate, Scott, I engineered and rebuilt both these bikes from the frame up. Aside from some custom welding and machine work I did the engines and tuning myself.


This is a 1978 Suzuki GS1000, a 1000cc (overbored to 1085cc), 4-stroke, air-cooled 4 cylinder monster. Making well over 100 horsepower at the rear wheel, this bike was capable of 1/4 miles in the 10's and top speeds over 140 mph (~230 kph). And with a big, fat torque curve it launched like a rocket and drove out of corners very hard. With a few suspension mods, woefully inadequate stock brakes and wheels, this bike was still a BLAST to ride! While difficult to turn into a corner (by today's standards), its long wheel-base made it very stable once turned in, making it a very capable bike for Willow Springs, enabling me to get a few podium finishes.


That's me on the GS in Turn 4 during a Saturday practice.

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Speaks for Itself

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Global Warming - Nudist Edition



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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Light Posting and Some Personal Observations

Just a note to anybody out there who still reads this rag of mine. Posting will be a bit light for the rest of the week. I am...how shall I put it....digesting a lot of information right now. I have to do this every now and then...sort of re-charge my brain and re-focus. You see, I get bored very easily, and not very much excites me. I've been like that all my life. It's not an ADHD thing; just the opposite, in fact. I immerse myself completely in whatever it is that interests me, and once I get a handle on some subject or task I have to move on to another challenge or at least take a break to re-group and return with a fresh perspective.

PhotobucketSo, for instance, in the current political scene with OBAMACAIN '08 I am temporarily burned out. I've had enough of Palin-gate. I think she's a breath of fresh air for the GOP, but I can't fawn all over her like the rest of the conservative blogosphere. I think it's just disingenuous of them to jump on the bandwagon, saying how great she is, like they have known her since high school or something - all in an attempt to circle the wagons in order to fend off the scumbag liberal media and the rest of their fellow travelers on the left who attack her character and know equally little to nothing about the woman. Sarah Palin is a big girl, and she's playing in the big leagues. I don't think she's gone into this with her eyes shut, and I think she knows what to expect. She'll defend herself as she sees fit, and if she can't fend off the leftist barbarians then now is the time to find out; not later.

On the financial crisis - there is enough blood on hands from both sides of the aisle to spread around. Clearly, anybody who has a brain and leaves their partisan politics at the door should be able to see from the evidence out there that this is the result of poor lending practices forced onto lending institutions by MOSTLY Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank and other liberals who sought to exploit for their own financial gain the socio-economically disenfranchised. It was affirmative action run amok - again. It began way before George Bush ever arrived on the scene. Bush had nothing to do with it, but the Bushitler types will make it a Bush problem; that is what they do.

So, rather than look for stories that I can beat like a dead horse, I'll take a break and just watch. When I have to try at this it's no good. Like Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" Callahan said in Magnum Force, "A man's got to know his limitations." And I know mine. I'm reading a light fiction novel that is pure entertainment and escapism; nothing "heady." I'll pick up the guitar and re-familiarize myself with some songs I've forgotten, break a few lap records on my old PS2/Gran Tourismo 3, and do a few things around the house. I'm also working on a global warming piece that I hope to have ready in a week or so. I've also got another music video that's in the concept stage right now.

In the meantime, keep up with the current day to day stuff by checking out some of the links in the blogroll. One in particular is Dissectng Leftism; fascinating stuff and well written. The blog's author, John Ray, wrote a long essay that details the link between leftism and fascism, debunking the myth that fascism is a "right wing" thing. Here's a taste that lays out the general thesis:
...the connection of Fascism to Leftism is quite seamless. Its origins were in the intellectuals of the 19th century German Left, it was developed and made politically influential by the American Left around the beginning of the 20th century and it reached its full implementation in the hands of one section of the European Left in the 1920s and 1930's -- i.e. Hitler & Mussolini. And both Hitler and Mussolini campaigned as socialists and never ceased advocating socialism...
Like I mentioned, this is a long read, but I strongly urge anybody who really wants to understand the origins of fascism in America and abroad to read the entire piece. It is worth it.

Check back often; I should be back in a few days.

Cheers,

Joe

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Come Together

There are less than 3 months until the election, an election that will decide the next President of the United States. The person elected will be the president of all Americans, not just the Democrats or the Republicans. To show our solidarity as Americans, let's all get together and show each other our support for the candidate of our choice. It's time that we all came together, Democrats and Republicans alike.

If you support John McCain, please drive with your headlights ON during the DAY.

If you support Obama, please drive with your headlights OFF at NIGHT.


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Hat-tip: Don

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Life in New Zealand: What's It Like?

I guess that after nearly four years living and working in New Zealand it would be a good time to tell you all a bit about some of my experiences here. I'll gloss over the general stuff and just tell you that the natural beauty of the country itself goes without saying. I have only seen a tiny, tiny portion of the country personally, and what I have seen is beautiful. I would love to see more of the country, but trying to arrange my vacation time with Mae's and the kids' in order to do that is nearly impossible. Combine that with the increasing cost of fuel to actually drive anywhere, like to the South Island (which involves driving to the bottom of the North Island and taking a ferry across Cook Strait) and the task becomes financially daunting and virtually out of reach. Public transport is almost non-existent - only buses and air travel for now, and trains are only now being revived (the government sold off the rail system years ago and the purchasers bailed after several years, leaving the infrastructure in tatters, all as a result of a terrible contract that allowed it all to happen that way). Needless to say, the cost of living here is quite high, so there really is never any money left over for us to do much.

What I really want to talk about today is the people and the prevailing political culture. Let me say right now that most Kiwis are very friendly people on a person-to-person basis, and any criticisms that may be expressed herein are not meant to be an indictment nor should they be taken as "Kiwi bashing." They are my opinions based on personal experiences and observations stemming from personal interactions with people I have met and work with, as well as from watching TV news, listening to talk-back radio, and reading the various print media. Based on what I have encountered in most all forms of media, there is no doubt an anti-American sentiment that runs through the culture here. It ranges from outright hatred of all things American (especially US foreign policy) from the far left (which, trust me, makes even the most far left wing-nuts in the US look like patriots) to sarcasm, by which I mean a kind of glee whenever the US appears to stumble or not "get it right." In other words, the media and people, in general, love to gloat at anything they perceive as a failure on our part, the two biggies that come to mind are Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.

A lot of this anti-American sentiment goes back to the mid-1980's when New Zealand declared itself a nuclear-free zone. New Zealand's Prime Minister was David Lange (Labour). The US President was Ronald Reagan. As well as being NATO allies, there is the ANZUS Treaty Alliance (Australia, New Zealand, US). With Lange having declared NZ "nuclear free" the US destroyer, USS Buchanan, was in February 1985 denied entry into NZ waters. As a result, the US suspended its obligations under ANZUS, declaring NZ "a friend, but not an ally". There has since been a big rift between the US and NZ governments, which in recent years has thawed considerably due in large part to a good working relationship between US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and NZ Foreign Minister, Winston Peters. Many New Zealanders are very proud of their stance against a major superpower.

And then, of course, there is President Bush: I would have to say that 9 out of 10 people here think that Bush is a complete, bumbling idiot. And, let's face it, if we are completely honest with ourselves, based on the way the man speaks in public, as many times as he stumbles and fumbles and mangles the English language, you can't blame them. Even you Bush supporters out there, be honest: If he were a Democrat, you would be making the same criticisms. The leader of the free world, regardless of whether or not you agree with his performance or policies, should be able to communicate better than he does. And like it or not, people around the world judge America based on how they perceive our president: They perceive this president as an idiot, and they perceive us as idiots because we elected him. It's that simple, and while it may not be correct, we all know that perception is reality. Let's just say that a great many people here are looking forward to Obama becoming our next president, and the media are pushing that idea very hard. I have called into a few national radio talk shows to give them the other side of the story because far too often they are partially or completely misinformed.

So, how do I handle it, you may be asking yourself? I have quite often been confronted with quips like, "Man that Bush is a real idiot;" "What do you think of Bush?" and, in reference to Katrina, "How does your president let all those people in New Orleans suffer like that?" If I have the time, I try to educate them on how our government works in terms of the division of responsibilities of local, state, and federal government. You must understand that most countries around the world, whether they are "democratic" or not, do not have multi-level government like we do in the US. Most governments have singular, centralized authority, and New Zealand is no exception. A lot of it has do do with mere geographical size - most nations are not anywhere near the size of the US. Which leads to my next point: Most people I talk to have no idea of just how large the US is, and they look at things through the prism of this tiny nation of New Zealand which is about the size of Colorado in terms of square miles. So I have to put it to them in that way; that the US is about the size of 50 New Zealands and has a population about 75 times that of NZ's, that we have half a dozen cities with as many or more people than in all of New Zealand. Then they start to understand.

The one big difference, however, whether people "like" the US or not, is how people view the role of government. Although I have met quite a few people who believe in smaller government, less government regulation, and who want less government interference in their daily lives, most people, especially those under 40 years of age, look to government to solve everything. They believe it is the government's job to engineer society for the overall public good. And that makes for a perfect segue into the next post...

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Conversations With Moonbats

Back in July of this year Mae and I attended my company's annual mid-winter dinner for employees and their spouses or "partners" as is the current politically correct term for those who may be in a committed relationship but might not be married; you know where that all comes from; more on that later. Anyway, it was a nice affair, much better venue and food than the year before despite the weather being the same: cold and raining. Following the meal people began to mingle and move around, and a few of us, mostly smokers, went outside with our drinks to have a smoke. Mae and I had been sitting with one of my co-workers - let's call him "Ward" - from another department and his daughter (whom he brought instead of his wife) - I'll call her "Buffy" - and they joined us outside.

Ward and I are gear heads (or "petrol heads" as they are called down here), and we often discuss racing and cars and bikes and engines and...you get the picture. Well, Buffy is also a bit of a petrol head as well, and the three of us were having a good ol' time "shootin' the shit". Mae is not a petrol head: "It's all tin and rubber," she is often heard to quip, so she had wandered off not long into the conversation. Ward, not one to have an empty bottle in his hand on such occassions soon was back at the bar for a refill, leaving just Buffy and me having our conversation. She was telling me how much she really liked old American hot-rods and how she wanted to build one some day when she had saved enough money to do so. I was impressed; a girl who not only liked cars but who also apparently realized the merits and value of saving money toward achieving a goal as opposed to being only able to spend it as fast as she got it. That's where the conversation went sideways.

Out of the blue - and to this day I still can't explain how - Buffy, who is about 20 years old, made a comment about America having a terrible health care system and how there were so many poor and homeless people yet so many rich people who run everything and don't give a shit. I said, "Slow down; one thing at a time." I asked her what she knew about health care in the US and where she got her information from, to which she replied, "The news and that Michael...what's his name? The 'Fahrenheit 911 guy'. I just saw his film where he went to Cuba and got better treatment than the US."

"Oh, you mean Michael Moore, that fat fuck who lies and uses creative editing to make anti-American propaganda films and calls them documentaries," I responded.

Buffy, a bit shocked at my description of Moore, asked, "Well, the US doesn't have free health care, do you?"

"Nobody has FREE health care, Buffy. You don't have it here in NZ, either. You pay for it in taxes," I told her.

"Yeah, but we don't have to pay for going to hospital or for most surgery. You do."

"That's true, but you still have to pay to see your family doctor," I said, and went on to explain further. "You see, Buffy, most people in the US have private health insurance, and most reputable employers offer group HMO or PPO policies to their employees and dependents. It cost me like $50 per month. I had a good plan where I worked for a company of less than 20 people in San Diego. The last time I went to the doctor there the visit cost me $10 out of pocket and the prescription cost me $15. When I had to see a doctor here it cost me $50 just for the visit and another $30 for the prescription. Even had I been a resident or a NZ citizen it would have been only 10 or 15 dollars cheaper. So who's got the better deal?"

Buffy, quite surprised at that revelation, then asked the BIG question: "But what about the poor people who don't have health insurance?" Here's where it got REALLY interesting!

I said with a straight face and a calm tone, "What about the poor? Fuck the poor."

"What do you mean, 'Fuck the poor'," Buffy screeched in utter dismay and disbelief.

"Just what I said. First, define what 'poor' is. Let me explain a few things to you. People who live below the poverty line and actually have a paying job get all their income taxes returned to them at the end of the year, so they, in effect, pay no income tax. Furthermore, many of them get tax credits, or free money from the government, which comes out of my pocket and every other American who DOES pay income tax. These 'poor' people - many of them are home owners; drive cars less than 5 years old; have cable TV, cell phones, and broadband internet. Many of them don't have such luxuries, but it is all a matter of choice what people do with their money, regardless of how much or how little they have. Is it my fault if people choose to spend their money frivolously or my responsibility to make sure that people get their priorities straight and live within their means?"

"But the government should do something. They should provide health care at least."

"Why? You realize that when you say 'the government' you really mean the rest of the tax-paying citizenry. The government has nothing; it only has money that they collect from people who work and pay taxes. So what you are saying is that the government should have the right to force me, by coercion, by theft of my money, to pay charity."

"Well, it's for the good of society," Buffy said.

Channeling Ayn Rand I told Buffy, "I don't live for the good of society. I am a free man of free will, and if I choose to give charity, then it shall be my choice as to how much and to whom I give it. No government should ever think it has the right to force me, against my will, to live for the sake of another man. I have the right to be selfish."

Frustrated, Buffy asserted, "Well, if I ran the world, I would take all the money from all the greedy, rich fuckers and give it to the poor so there would be no more poverty."

"Then," I told her, "you are a communist and a fascist."

Buffy stood there, looking at me with eyes wide and obviously quite upset at this point, and proclaimed that she was not a communist. I then told her that redistribution of wealth to make everybody "equal" is the cornerstone of communism: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." The conversation was pretty much over at that point.

Mae informed me later that Buffy had told her about our conversation and was quite upset that I had called her a communist. Mae told me that she had set Buffy straight on a few things, telling Buffy that she was just young, naive, and idealistic. Then Mae gave Buffy the best advice she could give her at the time: "Have another drink."
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The preceeding conversation illustrates a fundamental difference in how two people, and to some extent, how two different cultures, view the role of government. Myself, an individualist who values freedom, free will, and self-determination, sees government as having a limited role in the lives of its citizens. Government should spend tax-payer money on things that benefit all individuals, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status - no "group" is entitled to preferential treatment or special rights promising "equality". Freedom means the freedom not only to succeed, but to fail. The US Constitution guarantees the pursuit of happiness, not happiness itself.

Conversely, people like Buffy see the role of government as being some sort of provider, there to guarantee equality. They see the individual as secondary to the overall collective social welfare. They believe in engineering society into some Utopian ideal where nobody wants for anything; where nobody gets offended. Government is there to protect people from themselves and provide a life-long safety net to catch them when they fall. Those who have more should have more taken from them and given to those who have less, all in the name of equality. As Orwell once wrote in his parable, "Animal Farm", there will always be those who are "more equal" than others. Equality is a myth.

Just remember one thing. In the 20th century alone, scores and scores of millions of people were murdered or tortured in the name of "equality" by communist or fascist regimes, but, whether or not they knew it, those people actually died for freedom. Think about it.

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Global Warming: Retro Style

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Weekend Funnies

Caption This

Friday, September 19, 2008

Help Wanted

Vilmar sent me this the other day:

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OK, for those outside New Zealand, I'll need to clue you in on a few things. Ponsonby is a yuppie district in Auckland about 5-10 minutes (traffic depending) from the city center, full of upscale, European wannabe coffee houses, overpriced cafes and restaurants serving underportioned meals (you know, where the "presentation" is excellent, but there's more empty plate than food to cover it), and, of course - LIBERALS. Lots of 'em. That's why I don't go there often.

There are also lots of "niche" places, and this "Murder Burger" looks like an attempt to be another one. They appear to be trying to use the same controversial "shock and awe" marketing tactic used by the now very well established nationwide Kiwi pizza franchise, Hell Pizza. Hell makes a damn good pie and is second only to Dominos in that segment of market share. Hell is doing so well that Pizza Hut, like Starbucks, may soon be extinct on the New Zealand food and beverage landscape.

You may be wondering, "What the hell is 'P'?" "P" is what they call crystal meth down here. Don't ask me why; I have heard several explanations saying that it stands for "pure" (yeah, like pure battery acid) to "phosphorous". Doesn't really matter. Meth heads or (as we call them in the States) "tweakers" suck.

Now, the ad itself. I'll overlook the redundancy in the header. Looking for "Arts, Architecture, and Humanities students." Hmmm, liberals? Also looking for "student nurses and student teachers" because as Geordie, the apparent proprietor (or at least the one in charge of hiring staff) has dated them in the past and found them not only "awesome" but "more awesome" than he (she?) - so much so that the relationships failed. Hey, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again, right? You have to admire the tenacity. With that kind of perseverance, Murder Burger just might make it - or at least Geordie might get laid.

As for not wanting "politics students" because "we just don't understand you" that could go either way. Conservative thought may be so foreign to them that it defies all comprehension. Liberal thought might do the same because the liberal arts types are perhaps more of the feeeeling type - any mention of Marx and questions about Groucho and Harpo are raised.

Regarding the cat in the photo, all I can say is that I'm a cat person (which, according to Michael Laws, means I am gay), so I hope they don't actually plan on serving cat meat. I realize that the Free Trade Agreement with China goes into effect soon, but, again, I hope that the acceptance of cat meat isn't one of the residual "benefits" we have to look forward to. Fur burgers have their place; just not on a food menu.

Anyway, if Geordie or anybody else from Murder Burger reads this, please don't take it personally; no malice is intended. It's called satire, and I'm just having a go at the ad. Besides, if you make a good burger, I'll stop by on the way home from my office in the other yuppie district, Newmarket.

I truly wish them luck because I am a "buy New Zealand made" kind of person, and I'll pay a little more for it (as opposed to the cheap garbage that comes from Asia).

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On the US Financial Crisis

Steel lays it out plain and simple.
Okay. Listen up. I am going to keep this as simple as possible because it really is that simple. Back in 1929, banks were letting everybody 'play' the stock market. From the guy who washed dishes at the local diner to the truck driver who transported the food to the wife in Waukegan who wanted to have her own nest egg - everybody could play - often with just pennies.

Back then, banks would take those pennies, nickels and dimes and combine them all into larger amounts and enter into the stock market orders to buy OR sell (short) the stocks chosen by all those 'little people'. Margins - the amount the bank required to make those trades of those 'little people' were very small - typically less than 10%. If the chosen stock moved in the wrong way a bit - the 'little people' would be asked to put up 10% of the total value of their holding in that stock. No big deal - confidence was high, the market was moving progressively upwards and everybody was getting rich.

One day, the market moved a lot in the wrong way. This caused a few banks to realize they did not have the funds on hand to 'cover' the trades made by all those 'little people'. But far worse, those banks didn't even have the money to cover the day-to-day transactions of those 'little people' and they were forced to close their doors. The 'little people' panicked and ran to the bank and demanded their money. Word traveled fast, and soon all the 'little people' were pounding on the doors of their own banks all across the land demanding their money, too.

All of this caused the Great Depression. Banks failed, people lost their entire savings and their mortgages went unpaid. At the time, 50% of all mortgages were in default, as compared to just 2% today. Businesses closed. Banks were shuttered. Brother can you spare a dime time. In their infinite wisdom, Democrats blamed the banks for allowing 'little people' to participate in what was obviously a far too complicated endeavor. So Congress passed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.

This forbade commercial banks from 'playing' the stock market and allowed for the creation of another kind of bank - the 'investment' bank. A place where smart rich people could risk their money, but whose account minimums and margin requirements were way out of reach of the 'little people'. 'Little people' were encouraged to save their meager funds in commercial banks with federally insured deposits and stay the hell out of the stock market. This was the law of the land until 1999.


Then came the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. The pie chart above shows the Senate vote allowing the final passage of GLB - the vote was 90-8 in favor. Only seven Democrats voted against the GLB Act. Bill Clinton signed it into law. This allowed banks to once again offer 'investment' services to 'little people'. Portfolio management. 401Ks. Retirement funds. All vehicles which traded the various markets - primarily the stock market, REITs and equity funds.

But once again, in their infinite wisdom, Congress allowed those commercial banks to seek their own asset protection. This was usually in the form of 'insurance' or trading into 'hedge funds' to alleviate or mitigate the risk involved. All was good. Everyone was getting rich again. They were getting so rich in fact, that they needed to find creative ways of avoiding taxation. The best way to avoid taxes for most people is to have a mortgage.

Well, the banks were only happy to oblige. They began offering mortgages to anyone. You may recall how several banks were even offering home loans to illegal aliens with nary a blush. The chairman of the Senate Housing Committee, Barney Frank, demanded that the requirements for home loans be reduced even further - to allow the participation of all races, colors and creeds - even more 'little people'. The banks knew there was an inherent risk in doing this and they balked. So Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were created. Basically government entities which guaranteed all those risky loans. Subprime loans. Ninja (no income, no job, no assets) loans.

Along comes an Internet bubble burst, a spike in oil, unrest in the Middle East and WHAMMO! Lots of those 'little people' once again were unable to pay their mortgages, many now 'adjustable rate mortgages' - liberally offered as additional enticements to the 'little people'. Nothing down! Pay later! A few banks fail, no thanks in part to Chuck Schumer (who is the second most powerful Senator and who just happens to sit on ALL the committees involved in this mess) and large investors became uneasy. They withdrew their money and put it in safer places. This caused a liquidity problem, more banks failed, equity funds shrank to nothing, investment banks which had been buying all of that risk and the companies which insured all of that risk failed. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed.

That brings up to today. Let's review, all of the Democrats who are screaming bloody murder about this crisis now - voted in favor of allowing it to happen - even in the face of historical fact. They repealed Glass-Steagall. They once again allowed banks to service 'little people'. They created government organizations to underwrite the risks. They DID NOT creat any new mechanism of overseeing any of it. In their infinite wisdom, they left that to organizations which were created in the 1930s along with Glass-Steagall. The SEC etc. We were driving Ferraris on dirt roads, all thanks to an accommodating Congress.

Now, you may ask yourself 'why' in THE hell would those idiots do that? Welp, that's easy. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became money machines for the Democratic party. Even though they were supposed to be 'quasi-governmental' entities, they were spreading around millions and millions in campaign contributions. And guess who got the lion's share? Yep. Democrats. In fact, Barack Obama, even though he's only been in the Senate for a couple of years was the second largest recipient of those donations in the entire Senate - over half a million dollars in just over three years. Oddly enough, the Democrat who sits at the chair of the Senate Banking Committee was the only guy who received more - Chris Dodd (D-CT).

I won't even mention Charles Rangel, currently under investigation for numerous tax evasion questions, who sits at the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee - the committee which writes all the laws pertaining to taxation and oversight. Are you starting to see a pattern here? Now, just today, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have stated that this mess is 'just too hard' to solve and they are going to adjourn Congress early and let it all fester until after the elections. Both received lots of money from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and both voted in favor of repealing Glass-Steagall.

None of what is happening comes as any shock to George Bush. A independent bipartisan panel recommended to him that this might happen over five years ago and he asked Congress for some oversight. They did nothing. They continue to do nothing. Because everyone of those bastards has been bought and paid for by the various entities which are going belly up faster'n fish in a drying lake right now. In fact, most of 'em are so dirty with the money, they have given 'filthy lucre' a new definition - 'campaign contribution'.

You want change? Throw every incumbent legislator out of office in November - especially Democrats. Elect John McCain. He turned down private contributions and stuck to his pledge to use public funding for his campaign - unlike Barack Obama, who after pledging to do the same - reneged and is currently raking in millions from the same dirty sources. John McCain has fought 'special interests', like Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and corporate lobbyist pork his entire political career. With a group of new and previously unpurchased politicians, he might be able to get some things done.



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Funny Pics

Totally unrelated, but the bouncing breasts on the right are in perfect time with "Green Eyed Lady" by Sugarloaf. Just thought I'd pass that on.






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Which Came First?






















Take a look at the photo, above left, and the painting/print, to the right. I have had that photo for quite a while, and I found the painting/print just last week. It was then that I noticed more similarities than differences between the two. Look at the overall pose, the positioning of the arms, the tilt of the hips, the positioning of the head, and the perspective angle of both subjects.

Is this life imitating art, or art imitating life?

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Global Warming

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just When You Thought the Campaign Couldn't Sink Any Lower

WASHINGTON - Hackers broke into the Yahoo! e-mail account that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin used for official business as Alaska's governor, revealing as evidence a few inconsequential personal messages she has received since John McCain selected her as his running mate.

The Secret Service contacted The Associated Press on Wednesday and asked for copies of the leaked e-mails, which circulated widely on the Internet. The AP did not comply.
Then the Secret Service should seize all assets of the AP and hold them as co-conspirators. I do not believe the actions of the AP in this case are protected by the Shield Law. They are not protecting any sources, and one would think they would want to do the right thing.

I guess they're choosing to do the left thing.
The disclosure Wednesday raises new questions about the propriety of the Palin administration's use of nongovernment e-mail accounts to conduct state business.
Really? So what? Yahoo email is free. Dumbfucks.
The practice was revealed months ago — prior to Palin's selection as a vice presidential candidate — after political critics obtained internal e-mails documenting the practice by some aides.

One person whose e-mail to Palin apparently was among those disclosed, Amy B. McCorkell, declined to discuss her correspondence. "I do not know anything about it," McCorkell said. "I'm not giving you any comment." Wired.com said McCorkell later confirmed that she did send the e-mail to Palin.

Another of the e-mails apparently revealed Wednesday was an exchange in July with Alaska Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell discussing a talk show host who had been critical of Parnell. Parnell declined to discuss the matter.
Where's the proof that she profited in any way from these emails? More innuendo and unsubstantiated bullshit.

I know that dirty tricks like this happen on both sides, but it seems to be the left who perpetrate this kind of nonsense more often. Here we are once again focusing on Sarah Palin and not on Obambi, McCain, and the policies of each. It pisses me off, and I start to have very nasty thoughts that would make Janet Reno, Hitler, and Stalin blush.

Now, of course, this could be a Reichstagging by McCain/Palin's own people, so I'll withhold final judgment. Either way it has to reflect poorly on Obambi and his Obamaniac supporters.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pink Floyd Founding Member Dead at 65

Pink Floyd's founding member, Richard Wright, died yesterday at the age of 65 after a long bout with cancer.
Richard Wright Richard Wright, keyboard player and founding member of Pink Floyd, died yesterday at the age of 65 of cancer.

Wright's most famous composition was The Great Gig in the Sky which featured on the band's album The Dark Side of the Moon. It begins with a voice saying "I am not frightened to die" and is for many fans the band's most moving song.

The track was one of five Wright is credited with on the album and he featured on every Pink Floyd tour, where he became famous for his ghostly, atmospheric keyboard sound. But Wright had a rocky relationship with Roger Waters, the band's bass player and leading light, who forced him to resign at the end of sessions for 1979's The Wall album, although he was later reinstated. In 1978 he released his first solo album. Back with Pink Floyd, he co-wrote five songs on The Division Bell album in 1994. He also took part in the Floyd reunion which was the highlight of the 2005 Live 8 concert in Hyde Park.

Wright was born in Hatch End, north-west London, the son of a biochemist, and educated at Haberdasher's Aske school. He is survived by his daughter Gala, sons Jamie and Ben, and grandson Stanley.
As a tribute to Richard, Dark Side of the Moon will be the featured Album of the Week. We'll begin with the aforementioned Wright composition, "The Great Gig in the Sky."

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Female Nude Art - Frank Frazetta

I'm starting a new feature here at The Yank: Female nude art. I love the female form, and female nude art is an expression of that form. Don't worry, there isn't going to be any explicit material or porn, just what I consider tasteful renderings in paintings, drawings, and photography. And since it's my site, I determine what is tasteful. Remember, there is a disclaimer at the top of the sidebar, and if the reader finds this distasteful or offensive, you are free to skip these entries or start your own blog. My hope, however, is that you will enjoy these features.

We'll begin with an artist with whom many of you may be familiar and is one of my favorites, Frank Frazetta. He is most noted for his art-work on the original Buck Rogers comics, Tarzan, and Conan the Barbarian. His paintings, "Death Dealer" and "Dark Kingdom" were featured on the album covers of two albums from the Southern rock band, Molly Hatchet - the first self-titled and the second, Flirtin' With Disaster.

Frazetta also drew female nudes. One of his trademark techniques was the use of exaggerated body features; his male figures were very muscled and symmetrical, and his females curvy and vivacious, also well-toned and symmetrical. His paintings juxtaposed elements of fantasy, science fiction, mythology, nature, and Gothic eroticism.

More information on Frazetta and his works can also be found at Wikipedia.

Here are a few samples of Frazetta's female nudes.


"Castle of Sin"


"Catgirl"


"Princess and the Panther"


"Princess of Mars"

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Global Warming

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another Leftist Myth

In writing a story last week about "the Hugo" inviting the Russians to participate in military exercises with the Venezuelan military, I thought about the possibility of having to deal with el presidente para vivir much like what happened in Chile when Augusto Pinochet overthrew Salvador Allende in the coup of 1973. I decided to do a little research, a bit of a refresher on the subject, so I didn't go off half-cocked, and what I found was more than enlightening.

For as long as I can remember the Pinochet coup has been a favorite topic of criticism among the left regarding US "imperialism", American foreign policy "bully tactics", and the CIA providing covert aid to minority right-wing militias in overthrowing popular, democratically elected foreign leaders in order to further US interests abroad, thereby subverting the will of the people. The purpose of this discussion is not to defend, justify, or otherwise address the ethics or agendas involved in US foreign policy which has admittedly been flawed in certain cases; that is a matter for another discussion. What I will tell you is that concerning the Chilean coup of 1973, there is more myth than fact surrounding the circumstances of what led to the coup and the actual level of involvement of the US and the CIA in that coup.

Normally I would not cite Wikipedia as an authoritative or scholarly source on most subjects, but here it does provide with many outside sources a fairly factual overview of the history and events leading up to the coup and fairly good background discussion on both Allende and Pinochet. The real "meat and potatoes", however, can be found in this accounting which, presented in outline form, cites multiple sources from both right- and left - wing perspectives giving what can be as close to an objective analysis as reasonably possible (although it can be stated from the author's commentary that, while maybe not far-right, he is at the very least not sympathetic to the left or Marxist view).

So, what are some of the myths?

Myth: That the US supported a right-wing policy in Central and South America.
Fact: Not initially.
In the later years of President Jorge Alessandri's rule (1958-64) and even more under "Christian Democratic" President Eduardo Frei (1964-1970), Chile was an intended showcase of US President John F. Kennedy's "Alliance for Progress." Supposedly, if the US supported democratic left-wing reformers with generous foreign aid, potential supporters of Communist movements could be bought off.
Does this policy of appeasement and bribery sound familiar? Think of the similarities in how both the Clinton and Bush administrations have used the lure of greater foreign aid with North Korea's Kim Jong Il to not develop nuclear weapons. Also, consider Obama's proposal of negotiating with Iran's President Ahmadinejad.

Myth: Allende won the election in 1970 by a majority of votes cast.
Fact: Allende won the three man race with a plurality of 36.3%, barely edging-out right-wing candidate Jorge Alessandri (34.9%), and the remainder of votes went to the other leftist candidate, Radomiro Tomic (27.8%).
Frei was Constitutionally barred from succeeding himself in 1970, and the Right-moderate-Left coalition that had supported him fell apart. The Right nominated former President Jorge Alessandri, while the Christian Democrat Left stuck with Radomiro Tomic, who sounded almost as Left-wing as Allende. Alessandri had been favored to win the 3-man race; Allende's plurality (Sep 1970) was a surprise.

The Left's actual popularity was higher than Allende's 36.2%. The 27.8% vote for Christian Democrat Radomiro Tomic cannot be considered anti-socialist, since Tomic ran a Left-sounding campaign.

Under Chilean law, Congress (who had the final say) were not required to elect Allende President with only a plurality. Nevertheless, Congress had not previously challenged a plurality, and moderate Christian Democratic deputies were not ready to start now. Congress elected Allende on conditions (Oct 1970), the most important of which turned out to be the Army's autonomy (de Vylder, p. 233--note 8 on chapter 3).

Myth: The CIA was largely responsible for the coup and Pinochet's rise to power.
Fact: While the CIA was involved in undermining Allende's rise to power and supporting Pinochet's subsequent reign, there was clearly no mandate by Nixon to put Pinochet into power.

One must understand that, since the 1950s, Allende had been backed by and had been receiving payment and aid from the USSR and was actually a KGB operative, codenamed "Leader". That is something the left conveniently fails to disclose or acknowledge. It was classic Cold War activity, so the US had every right to counter such foreign influence. That is something that the left refuses to acknowledge. Following the election of 1970 (but prior to Allende taking office), a botched kidnapping of Chilean Army Commander-in-Chief Rene Schneider, who opposed a coup, resulted in his death. The group of Chilean army officers to which the CIA had given guns returned those guns and reportedly another group of officers carried out the final action. That is where the situation gets a bit murky, but that is about the greatest extent of direct CIA involvement. Pinochet's coup in 1973 could not have been foreseen at the time of Allende's election in 1970, and Pinochet did not come onto the scene until just prior to his seizure of power which was the result of many other factors. In fact, Allende himself was arguably directly responsible for his own demise which will become evident under further examination.

During the first year of Allende's rule the economy did OK as he seized foreign controlled mining interests, paying only a fraction of the total worth, thus enabling him to pay down some of the previously accrued debt:
from a book value of $663.7 million, Allende's accountants deducted enough "excess profits" and other items to offer a laughable compensation of $28.3 million (De Vylder, p. 127). In any case, however, US economic pressure was only one of many unfavorable factors (de Vylder, p. 106); Allende's Chile continued to get credit from other sources, and engaged in substantial foreign trade to the end.
From then on the economy began to fall apart due in large part to "selective" wage increases and increased government spending. There were strikes and lockouts, street fighting between left and right wing militant groups, and property seizures. On top of that, Allende could not shore up support on any front: He was too moderate for the radical left, and too leftist for the opposition-controlled Congress who found him in violation of the Chilean Constitution and issued a declaration stating such.

Now, here's where the Leftist argument falls apart in glorious irony:
In the final weeks before Pinochet's coup, the Army used a 1972 gun-control law to conduct numerous searches for weapons in Leftist-controlled factories (Roxborough et al., p. 216). Apart from disrupting the formation of Leftist militias, this enabled Army commanders to collect intelligence on who their likely enemies were in each factory, and who among their own troops might be unreliable (Loveman, p. 306). General Carlos Prats, considered too sympathetic to Allende, was forced by other officers to resign as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. Allende appointed General Augusto Pinochet, a man without a political record, as Gen. Prats's successor (24 August).(emphasis mine)
Did you catch that? Allende himself appointed Pinochet, the man who would bring him down in just over two weeks from the time of his appointment - August 24 - to the date of the coup - September 11!

The aftermath was, unfortunately, mired in systematic violence and torture against Allende supporters. Of course, leftist "human rights" groups like Amnesty International inflated the numbers in their initial evaluations. The official numbers obtained by the center-left government after 1990 when Pinochet retired were found to be much lower. Regardless, the resulting violence and bloodshed would have been unavoidable given Allende's complete mis-management of the country during his three years in charge.
Pinochet's supporters replied that a bloody collision was inevitable after Allende's coalition had so thoroughly wrecked the economy, polarized society, and destroyed respect for law. The radical Left had begun to mobilize for civil war, and Pinochet simply hit them before they were ready. (emphasis mine)
It is hoped that in debunking these myths of direct US involvement in the Chilean coup of 1973 I have also provided a prime example for the reader to perhaps understand more clearly the dangers of Marxist/Communist doctrine and socialist (communism "light") policies which may look good at first, offering at best only short-term solutions, but are unsustainable in the long run, inevitably leading to economic ruin, social unrest, and ultimately civil war or worse - totalitarian dictatorship.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Engine Porn

Just as the title suggests, this is Engine Porn, engines that are just plain sexy to look at. Those of you who are into engines will know what I am talking about; those who are not interested in racing or fast cars will probably just have to skip this. This is for the guys and gals who are gear heads (or petrol heads as they are known down-under). I have selected a few legendary powerplants that have made their mark in auto racing over the last 50 years as well as some newer engines on the cutting edge.

We'll begin with the small-block Chevy, the winningest motor in history when one takes into account every type of motorsport in which the engine has been used. From stock car, drags, road racing, boats, trucks - the small-block Chevy has been the staple powerplant due to availability (and hence, pricing) and interchangability (mix and match) of parts. Now there's a new small-blcok Chevy, the R07 NASCAR engine with modifications enabling reliable operation at engine speeds approaching 10,000 RPM and power levels well over 800 HP for extended periods required in NASCAR and other forms of long-distance racing.
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This is the all new small-block Chevy R07 designed for NASCAR Nextel Cup racing. Aside from having a push-rod actuated, 2 valve per cylinder layout, it has nothing in common with the previous design except for being a V8.
Per NASCAR specifications, the Chevrolet R07 displaces a maximum of 358 cubic inches with a maximum cylinder bore diameter of 4.185 inches. The block is a precision iron casting with integral oil and coolant passages that eliminate the need for most exterior lines. The distance between the Chevrolet R07's cylinder bores is 4.500-inch (vs. 4.400 inches in the SB2 small-block). This wider bore spacing improves coolant circulation around the cylinder barrels. In conjunction with a targeted cooling system, the R07 block design minimizes temperatures at critical locations.

The R07 block has a new six-bolt head bolt pattern instead of the small-block's traditional five-bolt design. The revised head bolt pattern improves head gasket sealing and reduces cylinder bore distortion.

The R07's camshaft is located higher in the block than the camshaft in the SB2. The raised cam operates pushrods that are correspondingly shorter and stiffer, thereby improving valvetrain dynamics at high rpm. The raised cam also provides clearance for inboard piston squirters that spray the underside of the pistons with oil for cooling. The camshaft tunnel is isolated from the crankcase to minimize windage losses caused by oil falling onto the rotating crankshaft assembly from the cam and to contain the valvetrain parts in the event of breakage.

In contrast to the SB2's "mirror port" cylinder heads, the Chevrolet R07's aluminum cylinder heads resemble production LS-series small-block cylinder heads with alternating intake and exhaust valves. The R07's shallow valve angle produces a compact, efficient combustion chamber design that produces the required compression ratio with a lightweight flat-top or slightly domed piston. GM Racing engineers optimized the R07's intake port layout for the single, centrally mounted four-barrel carburetor mandated by NASCAR.

The aluminum intake manifold has an extended plenum to equalize fuel distribution among the cylinders. The manifold is dry; a separate valley cover carries coolant from the cylinder heads. The R07's distributor is located at the front of the engine to facilitate adjustments in ignition timing.

The Chevrolet R07 rocker covers are rigid cast aluminum with O-ring seals. The covers incorporate integral valve spring oilers that are pressure fed from passages in the cylinder heads, eliminating the need for external oil lines. GM Racing also designed a high-efficiency water pump and a carbon fiber front cover that shields the aftermarket camshaft belt drives used by NASCAR teams.
Read the rest of the informative "white paper."

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A fully dressed R07.

I couldn't find a video showing the R07 on a dyno, but this will get your blood flowing just the same. It's a NASCAR Tour motor with a small (rules mandated) 390cfm carb, and it sounds awesome! In case you have problems with the video loading, here's the direct link.

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The Greatest Movie Line - EVER

This is just beautiful. Beautiful.



Hat-tip: Don


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Global Warming - Weekend Edition



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Guest Editorial: One Sentence Says It All

Courtesy of American Daughter where I frequently cross post.
By William Bradford Krones | Thursday, September 11th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Here, in one single elegant phrase, written two thousand years ago, we have the essence of the modern American conservative movement’s foreign policy ideal.

In the universities these days, we are assured that there is no such thing as absolute truth; yet, here we have it. “If you wish peace, prepare for war.” A timeless concept that was as valid when our ancestors were living in caves and fashioning weapons from sticks and stone as it remains today in our nuclear age. One could take every treatise on diplomacy or military history ever published, reduce it to that one simple idea, and not be far off of the mark with respect to the causation of the failure of diplomacy and resulting hostilities in any era, at any level, or in any geographic setting. The details and personages come and go, but human nature, human perceptions, and the concept of behavioral incentives rooted in risk/reward remain timeless.

For but one example, consider World War II. The English, Russians, and Americans did not follow our simple precept. The French tried, but made a hash of it. Thus, global warfare and fifty million dead. Sound too simple? Think about everything that you have ever read or seen about the years leading up to September 1, 1939, and try and name one other factor that predominates or even approaches the failure of the Allied powers to apply our little theorem. Yes, we have left out an analysis of “the bad guy” in Germany, but that is the point. There are always evil-doers who control rogue nation-states, or now, terrorist groups, and they are always prepared to feed off of their weaker neighbors if they calculate that the rewards trump the chances for a negative outcome.

Here in America today, and in Europe, the modern so-called liberals have bypassed this basic truism. The Jimmy Carters of this world believe that “If you wish peace, get rid of your weapons, get down on your knees and convince the other guy of your sincerity.” Not quite the same thing as our original precept, you will note. Obama is in this camp, as is Joe Biden, and much of the Democrat Party (and, sadly, even some of the Republicans). Bill Clinton knew better, but he eviscerated the DOD for cheap political gain so that he could declare a “balanced budget.” Which is the worse, the naive idealist, or the cynical politician who knows better but does it anyway? If you believe that I am all wrong with this, as I know that several of you will, I would enjoy responses.

On a final note, it occurs that Barrack Obama’s take on foreign policy is reminiscent of that of another Democrat politician, Henry Wallace, FDR’s Vice President who was dropped off of the ticket in 1944, for good reason, in favor of Harry Truman.

© William Bradford Krones, all rights reserved

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Duuuude, Where's My Email?

That's the tone of Obambi's latest "attack" on John McCain in the soap opera that is Campaign '08.
Obama mocks McCain as computer illiterate

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - John McCain is mocked as an out-of-touch, out-of-date computer illiterate in a television commercial out Friday from Barack Obama as the Democrat begins his sharpest barrage yet on McCain's long Washington career.
- (snip) -
"Today is the first day of the rest of the campaign," Obama campaign manager David Plouffe says in a campaign strategy memo. "We will respond with speed and ferocity to John McCain's attacks and we will take the fight to him, but we will do it on the big issues that matter to the American people."
- (snip) -
"He admits he still doesn't know how to use a computer, can't send an e-mail, still doesn't understand the economy, and favors two hundred billion in new tax cuts for corporations, but almost nothing for the middle class," it says. It shows video of McCain getting out of a golf cart with former President George H.W. Bush and closes with a photo of him standing with the current President Bush at the White House. "After one president who was out of touch, we just can't afford more of the same."
- (snip) -
"Our economy wouldn't survive without the Internet, and cyber-security continues to represent one our most serious national security threats," Pfeiffer said. "It's extraordinary that someone who wants to be our president and our commander in chief doesn't know how to send an e-mail."
So Camp Obambi thinks that's a "big issue"? Maybe for my kids that might seem like a big deal, but, sorry, I think most Americans could give a rat's nut-sack whether or not McCain knows how to send an email. And the bit about the tax cuts for "corporations, but almost nothing for the middle class" that's an old, tired line the Donks have been using for decades. Make no mistake when the Dem-libs use the term "middle class" they are referring to "the poor" who already get full tax refunds and tax credits, so this is nothing more than promising not tax cuts, but more free gifts from the public treasure. If the big, evil corporations are getting big tax cuts, the real middle class will probably get their taxes cut, too; but just not as much because they (we) aren't paying as much to begin with. Remember that the top ten percent of those who earn money are paying 2/3 of the overall tax burden already.

And of course I'm always looking for the liberal bias, both subtle and obvious, in the reporting, and here's an obvious example:
Still, Obama has been playing defense as McCain has tried to grab the change mantel, created new enthusiasm with his pick of Palin and accused Obama of maligning her when he said putting lipstick on a pig is still a pig. In fact, Obama had not been talking about Palin when he made the statement...(emphasis mine)
Really? Why? Because Obambi said so in a bit of back-tracking after the fact? Oh, how quick this AP asshat is to dismiss the gaffe and take Obambi at his word when I know that had it been McCain, they would not let it go so easily.

Here's a not-so-obvious or easily overlooked example of what I perceive as bias.
At the time I wrote this the webpage had a link to Obambi's website at the bottom of the story. Where's the link to McCain's website, hmmm?

Also some disparaging headlines like this one: "Palin tries to defend qualifications in interview". Tries, implying that she failed to defend her qualifications. Wouldn't a more objective headline have been "Palin defends qualifications in interview" and let the reader decide whether or not she succeeded?
And here's some more below. I suppose it's legitimate, but I just get the feeling seeds are being planted..."What? 'A task from God?'"
Well, that's it for me on the campaign for today. Frankly, this shit just bores me to tears. Like I have said over and over, it's like a bad soap opera, and the blogosphere is just chock full of folks on both sides of the aisle who are more than happy to cover the day-by-day he said/she said. Feel free to check out the blogroll in the sidebar to get your fix if that's what you're into. Sorry, but that's just not me anymore.

So I'll have some more boobs, music, an essay on the Chilean coup of 1973 (Huh? Where did that come from, Joe?), some news from New Zealand, and a new thing called "engine porn" for the gear-heads out there. But that will have to wait until tomorrow. Right now it's just after 11:00pm, and I've been up since 5:30. Time for some sleep.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2001 - In Memorium




I remember...













...and I hate.





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