Thursday, August 20, 2009

The real REAL story behind the "Compassionate Release" of the Lockerbie bomber. (updated)

It is well known that the majority of a person's health care usually happens in the last 6 months of life. By releasing this man when he has only 3 months to live, what the British are really doing is saving that money on his end of life care and foisting it off on Libya. You will forgive me if I don't get too worked up about it.

UPDATE: In the Sunday Times of London (H/T Dr. Kevin Whited) it was revealed that the real reason This scumbag was released was as a bargaining chip in order to get a multi-million Pound drilling contract between Libya and British Petroleum ratified. So it looks like I and everyone else was wrong on this. It had nothing to do with compassion OR with saving a little money. it was all about getting a choice drilling contract for the state run oil company.

Was it illegal? Probably not, but at this level of abstraction, there really are no rules but one...Win. Was it ethical? not in the slightest, but since when do ethics come into play? Every other country in the world recognizes that bribes and corruption are part and parcel of business when dealing with such corrupt third world pustules, it is distasteful but everyone else realizes it is just part of the game. The US on the other hand, actively ties our businesses hands in that regard. We cannot compete with countries that can buy the oil minister of a third world cesspool a new G-V jet so he can galavant over to Switzerland to roll about with his concubine du jour in his numbered bank account vault filled with cash, because it is illegal for a US company to pay bribes, whereas it is not only legal, it is accepted practice in the rest of the world.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The real crime.

Jurors rightfully threw the book, the bookmark, and the bookshelf at the woman who apparently in a drug fueled pique at her husband, mutilated her male child's genitals. Unfortunately, the real crime is that medicaid, which the child is currently insured by, considers genital reconstructive surgery "elective". Therefore this child will grow up with a distorted sexual identity and constant ridicule and shame as a result of being defenseless and in close proximity to evil incarnate. This is what Obamacare has in store for all of us: one size fits all health care rules compiled by some government paper pusher that have absolutely no relation to reality. I grieve for this child. He will never know what it means to be physically intimate with his wife, or to father a child of his own, or even the pure godlike pleasure of sexual release. And to heap insult upon injury, this child will grow up with constant ridicule. How that will affect his sexual maturation is anyone's guess, but there is a strong possibility that one possible result is homosexuality, another is sexual passivity or sadism. There is evidence that the brain may need sex hormones in order to fully mature and to maintain mental acuity once mature. Either way, a one size fits all rule will ruin this boy's life for every hour of every day he is alive.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Achtung Baby!

I'm off (some would say a lot) to visit the Deutschland for the next two weeks. So if things slow down a bit around here it's because I'm off ruining my diet swilling German beer and ogling Frauleins. If finances permit I may take a short side trip to London as well. Can anyone recommend sights to see and/or things to do while in Dusseldorf or London?

I expect the libtards to start in with the NAZI analogies in 3...2...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where's My Congress?

If you are trying to figure out where to go to vent your spleen at your boneheaded congresscritter over Health Scare Reform, or Crap and Tax, or the Porkulus, or Government Motors, you might just be able to find them here. If anyone has any info on unlisted townhall meetings, forward them to me or post them in the comments and I'll make sure they get added to the list.

Friday, August 07, 2009

More evidence that Airbus Aircraft are Deathtraps.

Since the downing of an Air France A330 flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in the South Atlantic, similarly equipped A330's flown by Delta/Northwest Airlines have detected over a dozen instances of aircraft losing airspeed information in flight. All of the aircraft used Pitot Tubes designed and manufactured by Thales, purportedly to Airbus specifications. All of the Pitot Tube assemblies were ordered to be replaced in the aftermath of the accident, but most operators replaced them with a newer model Thales unit. Airbus and the JAA (Europe's version of the FAA) have ordered operators to replace two of the three Pitot Tube Assemblies on each aircraft with competing units designed and built by Goodrich Corp. There is no word yet if the FAA is issuing an Airworthines Directive to that effect. But of course this would only be mandated by aircraft in The US, and Europe, other countries may or may not chose to make the the change mandatory for aircraft operated from their territories.

The Northwest incidents were discovered when Delta Air Lines, which merged with Northwest last year, reviewed archived flight data for its fleet of 32 Airbus A330s, the people close to the inquiry said. All of the incidents took place in the Intertropical Convergence Zone, which extends from 5 degrees north of the equator to 5 degrees south, and all the planes involved landed safely, they said.

Aviation experts said the discovery could provide clues to what caused Air France Flight 447 to crash into the Atlantic en route from Brazil to France on June 1, and what might be done to prevent future tragedies.

French investigators have focused on the possibility that Flight 447's sensors iced over and sent false speed information to the computers as the plane ran into a thunderstorm at about 35,000 feet.

An important part of the investigation focuses on 24 automatic messages the plane sent during its final minutes. They show the autopilot was not working, but it is unclear whether the pilots shut it off or whether it shut down because of the conflicting airspeed readings.

Three weeks after the Air France crash, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board announced it was investigating two other A330 flights that experienced a loss of airspeed data.

The most recent was on June 23, when a Northwest flight hit rain and turbulence while on autopilot outside of Kagoshima, Japan. According to an NTSB report, speed data began to fluctuate. The plane alerted pilots it was going too fast. Autopilot and other systems began shutting down, putting nearly all the plane's control in the hands of the pilot, something that usually happens only in emergencies.

In May, a plane belonging to Brazilian company TAM Airlines lost airspeed and altitude data while flying from Miami to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Autopilot and automatic power also shut down and the pilot took over, according to an NTSB report. The computer systems came back about five minutes later.

"These two cases we know were dealt with effectively by the crew, and we think this happened in Air France and maybe wasn't dealt with effectively," said Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety F,oundation in Alexandria, Va., an aviation safety think tank.

But of course Delta/Northwest isn't the only US carrier flying the deathtraps.

Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for the only other U.S. airline that operates A330s, US Airways, said it had not seen similar problems in its 11-plane fleet of the jetliners.

You can't find what you refuse to see.

Just remember, this is the aircraft that they are trying to get the US Air Force to buy as a replacement for the KC-135.

Previous posts about Airbus:

Airbus, GM, Chrysler, Government Ownership, and Safety

Airbus has a problem

Air France Decides not to take the (Air)bus, Air Canada doesn't either

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Taking names... How to be found guilty without ever knowing it.

Shortly after 9/11, a bill was passed in Congress that had the laudable goal of trying to help the federal government find and monitor people who's goal was to commit terrorist attacks within the US or on US interests abroad. But like most things the road to hell was paved with good intentions. The first issue that reared it's head was similar or duplicate names. Mohammed is not exactly an unusual name in that part of the world after all.

Initially this "watch list" was merely passive in nature. Those who found themselves on the list were not barred from flying or buying cars or anything like that, it was merely an intelligence gathering tool, but then it started to morph into something else entirely. First people on the watch list were pulled aside for extra searches and questioning when they took a flight, or were watched closely when they applied for pilot training. Then a subset of the list was designated a "no fly" list for those who would not be allowed to fly on an airplane at all. Then suspected domestic terrorists were added, and then the definition of a suspected terrorist was loosened to include people who attend political rallies or who have purchased guns recently, or are members of political groups, and now, they are asking people to turn in the names of people who disagree with Obama's Health Care Bill, or who are especially vocal at Congressional town hall meetings. People who appear on these lists are routinely denied credit, or the ability to purchase a weapon.

The simple fact of the matter is that once your name appears on one of these lists, you have very little recourse. You are generally not allowed to know you are on such a list (depending on the specific list), and you often have no means of having your name removed if it is on there by mistake (the TSA no fly list is an exception). These lists are not subject to freedom of information act disclosure, nor are they subject to the Privacy Act. Therefore they may keep your information forever. You have now been convicted of a crime and are barred from exercising your constitutional rights without ever facing your accuser or receiving a trial by a jury of your peers.

Now I can certainly see the usefulness of the plan as originally conceived. I am told on deep background that at least two similar pilot training incidents were detected here in Houston alone. But this has simply gone entirely too far. Am I on such a list? Are you? How would you or I know? And if we were to discover that we were, what could we do about it? Not much.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The fallacy of a public defender's office for Capitol Crimes

First off, for the record, I am not a lawyer, I am not an "expert" by any stretch of the imagination on this subject, but what I am about to say should be painfully obvious to even the most uninformed among us. But yet the "Newspaper of Record" in this town still fails to grasp this for some reason. Most likely because Jeff Cohen's wife just happens to be a member of a group that wants to outlaw the death penalty in this state. But of course that tidbit is never really discussed even though it is widely known among the Chronicle's critics.

The subject is the proposed formation of a public defender's office to defend capitol murder defendants. Currently, cases are assigned, ostensibly randomly (that is questionable), to members of a pool of lawyers that have volunteered to defend these defendants. There have been criticisms that some of these lawyers have milked the system for as many billable hours as possible while mishandling the cases and missing important appeal deadlines, and generally committing malpractice on a massive scale. There have also been criticisms that there appears to be a "good ol' boy" network at work, that shunts far too many cases for any one lawyer to reasonably handle to too few lawyers who just happen to be friends and/or campaign contributors to the judges on these cases. These criticisms aren't new, they've been around for some time.

The current proposal to cure this is to institute a public defender's office paid for by the taxpayer that would handle all indigent death penalty cases/appeals. This sounds good in theory, but there are a number of problems with this plan. First off, since this will be a government funded entity, the lawyers
and the legal staff that will be working for it will be chronically underfunded and will be working for what will likely be the legal equivalent of slave wages. This is not conducive to recruiting the best and the brightest to this office. Furthermore, the state will certainly not be able to hire enough people to handle the workload that they will be confronted with, as a result deadlines will STILL be missed, and the technical ability of the lawyers working the cases will be spotty at best. Third, since the job will most likely have long hours at low pay, I expect that there will be significant turn-over among the employees. So you will have people constantly cycling through that will be picking up cases in the middle and will have to spend most of their time just getting up to speed on the case before they say 'to hell with this' and move on to greener pastures doing criminal defense work for actual pay, having recieved a post-graduate education in criminal appeals paid for by the taxpayer.

Let's be frank, if you were about to be put to death, would you really want a guy who graduated from night school at the bottom of his class who is working for the state because nobody else would hire him defending you?

I didn't think so.

Perhaps a hybrid approach would be better. keep the volunteer plan we have now, but instead of allowing judges to shunt cases to their favored lawyers, put the state in charge of randomly assigning cases with an eye towards evenly distributing them to all volunteers. The problem I foresee with that scheme is that without the opportunity to gain favor with judges and/or attorneys, fewer attorneys will volunteer.

Ultimately, all of the plans have problems, but before you trade one set of problems for another, you should really sit down and think long and hard about the implications.

Inspired by a post by Unca Darrell