Politics and Mother Nature intrude on our peace of mind but we struggle on with thoughts of note or amusement….
Seeing all those long lines of folks trying to get gas after the hurricane Sandy remind again of the logic and sensibility of having mechanical backup systems for electrically powered devices. One of the biggest problems facing those folks is that there is no electricity to run the gas pumps so stations may have gas in the underground tank but it does no good if you can’t get it pumped into your car. We have way to many of our devices we use daily that are dependent on electricity that could be operated just fine with human muscle. When I was a kid there were still many of the gas pumps at the service stations that were purely hand/pump operated. The gas pump would have a handle on the side and you would pump it a few times and mechanically pump gas to a large canister on the top of the tank (many were made of extra strong glass so you could see the amount). After the canister was filled you would take the hose and put it in your gas tank and let gravity do the work from there. I don’t remember exactly but I think most of them only held 10 or less gallons. You were charged by the gallon as the gas flowed into your tank. It was slower than the electric pumps no doubt. But ask those millions of people up East if they would be willing to hand-pump gas to a canister and then down into their tank. I still don’t understand why they don’t have at least one of those per station as a back up. Just like having a hand crank for your windows when the electric system goes pfft in your car.
Benghazi mess only gets worse with each passing day. Becoming apparent now that those poor guys were asking for help and had even marked targets. They were left twisting in the wind for political purposes purely. Mistakes happen in war- like conflicts and that is understandable but to deliberately go out and lie to try to protect a political ideology is inexcusable. I mean how often does and embassy or consulate send messages that it is “under attack”. Some kind of help should have been dispatched immediately even if they couldn’t save their lives. They should have tried.
We notice that the authorities have declared that Sandy was a “post tropical storm system” or some such in an effort to avoid calling it what it obviously was–a hurricane. They will allow the homeowner in many instances to save substantial money because their deductible for hurricane coverage is much higher than for ordinary storm damage. Ok, the politicians like to look good at the front end. But, but, but….those lost deductibles will only result in even higher premiums down the road for everyone in the East. The insurance companies can’t exist if they don’t make money. You do want them to make money or they couldn’t pay your claim. So as usual, the pols like a short-term feel good moment in exchange for a longer term headache. In spite of political promises there is still no free lunch.
You can always find true North in the night sky if there are no clouds. Here in the US just look around for the Big Dipper, it looks like a dipper!, and those two stars at the end of the dipper where you would pour out liquid are your guide. Make a straight line from those two and measure off about 5 times the length between those two stars and you will see Polaris, the North Star. It is not the brightest star in the sky at all but it is constant. If you then imagined a straight line from the North Star down to the horizon that mark would be within 1 degree of true north. It is more accurate than a magnetic compass.
BO’s recent silly remarks about bayonets calls to mind the importance of those weapons over the year and centuries. The British army at its height during the Napoleonic war era was famous for its bayonet charge. Those old muskets were time-consuming to load. On many occasions the army would fire one volley and then immediately make a bayonet charge. That charge usually struck terror in the opponent. You can read about the fear of such tactics and their effectiveness by looking at letters and memoirs from the Revolutionary War. Washington realized that one of his biggest challenges with the state militias was to get them to stand firm in the face of such a charge. Even in our modern age there is still something very intimidating about a line of troops with bayonets attached. Such methods are still employed regularly around the world for crowed control when things really get out of hand. Yes, they use water cannon and rubber bullets, etc. as long as they can but when push comes to shove they still line up with those bayonets and without fail they can push back almost any unruly crowd. I sure hope the military is keeping zillions of those old M-1’s and some of the heavier and older guns for just that purpose. Those hinky-dink plinkers that fire those .223 rounds aren’t suitable for a bayonet because they are so small.
Next time you hear another pundit talk about the benefits of a cashless society take another look at those folks after Sandy. Without power those credit cards are worthless. The Feds of course would love a cashless society because they could track literally everything you do. Cash is more anonymous and it doesn’t require a lot of infrastructure to utilize. Sometimes simpler is indeed better.
In 1876 Hayes ultimately won the Presidential election. But if you think Bush-Gore was controversial you weren’t there. Right after the election Tilden (the Democrat) led in electoral votes 184 to 166 only one short of victory. S. Carolina, La. and Fla were all highly and hotly contested. Remember those states were still under Reconstruction by the Yankees and political corruption was rampant. Hayes had to win every contested vote. It went to the House where all Presidential disputes are ties are resolved. Hayes led in So. Carolina, maybe, but Fla and La. Republicans ruled many Democrat votes invalid under murky circumstances. A special commission was appointed to resolve the issue. It was a 15 man panel of Senators, Representatives and even five Supreme Court Justices. It was divided along party lines with 7 Democrats and 8 Republicans. Guess what–Hayes won the vote and became President by an 8 to 7 vote along party lines. Open rebellion was again in the air especially in the South but Tilden restrained them and Hayes immediately shut down Reconstruction when he go into office. So political drama is nothing new. Imagine reading about all this in the papers for week after week not knowing how it would turn out.
“It is our turn to guard our heritage from the Mongol, and Persian and Moor, before we become engulfed in a limitless sea.” Charles Lindbergh, 1939. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com