My First Electric Car

We recently bought a used Nissan Leaf. I am still waiting to see what charging it will cost, but I have a hard time believing it will be more expensive to run than the overly complex machinery built into the average internal combustion engine. Hopefully this story is correct.




I had no idea that I would need a postscript to this post, but I really didn't know that the Koch's were this stupid.  They've decided to go to war with Elon Musk over the future of the electric car.
The oil and gas industry may have thought it had killed the electric car, but sales — boosted by generous government subsidies — rose dramatically between 2010 and 2014, and energy giants are worried the thing may have come back to life. 
Time to kill it again. 
A new group that’s being cobbled together with fossil fuel backing hopes to spend about $10 million dollars per year to boost petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies for electric vehicles, according to refining industry sources familiar with the plan. A Koch Industries board member and a veteran Washington energy lobbyist are working quietly to fund and launch the new advocacy outfit.
Elon Musk, of course, wasted no time and no snark when it came to responding to this threat.  As the linked article rightly notes, electric vehicles are not the only vehicles that receive subsidies.  Oil fueled vehicles, plastics (everything) is enabled by heavy subsidies to the oil and gas industry.


As the Tweeting Elon Musk linked article at the Guardian explains
Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.
The Koch's may object to subsidies for all industries, but I don't see them rejecting them personally. They are more than happy to cash those government checks themselves in spite of their ideological opposition to them.  Nothing cures the hurt of grave violations of your personal beliefs quite as well as millions of dollars of infused cash.



The October bill has arrived and, given the difference between last October and this October temperature-wise, the increase in electric consumption for last month was > 300 KWH which amounts to just over $80 in additional electricity.

Given the fact that in regular drive mode I can beat any sports car off the line, and that maintenance costs are near zero for the vehicle aside from replacing batteries and maintaining the moving parts in the front-end, I consider this car to be an excellent enhancement in city mobility.  I think I'd like to have two of them, one for each child. 

Why Would a Liberal Vote for Gary Johnson?

This is actually a very good question, one that echos why I don't identify as libertarian anymore, and why I don't support most of the candidates that the LP fields. The LP is GOP lite these days. Or if you believe him (which you're a fool if you do) Donald Trump, whose website is a laundry-list of libertarian wish-fulfillment. Just don't listen to the words coming out of the Orange Hate-Monkey's mouth. If you do you'll notice a jarring disconnect between what he says and what his website says.

Here is the Mother Jones Article the title comes from.  Here is the list as a quote;
  • He supports TPP.
  • He supports fracking.
  • He opposes any federal policies that would make college more affordable or reduce student debt. In fact, he wants to abolish student loans entirely.
  • He thinks Citizens United is great.
  • He doesn't want to raise the minimum wage. At all.
  • He favors a balanced-budget amendment and has previously suggested that he would slash federal spending 43 percent in order to balance the budget. This would require massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and social welfare programs of all kinds.
  • He opposes net neutrality.
  • He wants to increase the Social Security retirement age to 75 and he's open to privatization.
  • He opposes any kind of national health care and wants to repeal Obamacare.
  • He opposes practically all forms of gun control.
  • He opposes any kind of paid maternity or medical leave.
  • He supported the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • He opposes any government action to address climate change.
  • He wants to cut the corporate tax rate to zero.
  • He appears to believe that we should reduce financial regulation. All we need to do is allow big banks to fail and everything will be OK.
  • He wants to remove the Fed's mandate to maximize employment and has spoken favorably of returning to the gold standard.
  • He wants to block-grant Medicare and turn it over to the states.
  • He wants to repeal the 16th Amendment and eliminate the income tax, the payroll tax, and the estate tax. He would replace it with a 28 percent FairTax that exempts the poor. This is equivalent to a 39 percent sales tax, and it would almost certainly represent a large tax cut for the rich.
It is an excellent reference list of things that the average liberal disagrees with the Libertarians about. I could add more things that I quibble about, but we can start with this list and work from there. 

Charity vs. Public Assistance

Libertarians have a hard-on for charity. Something they share with conservatives and Republicans, even though they swear they are different.

Charity is totally ineffective at getting people what they need when they need it. This has been demonstrated.

Government assistance doesn't get people what they need when they need it. This has also been demonstrated.

Giving people (families if you prefer) money is the only thing that has been demonstrated to work. So when I say the government (the structure that regulates markets and prints money) should just give families enough to live on, leaving them to find any additional funds they want by productively working, you can understand from that that I accept reality as it is on this subject.

Unwatchable Debates

Confession time.  I have watched none of the debates so far in this election season.  I didn't watch any of the Republican debates because the only centrist running (that would be John Kasich) wasn't in them.  The Republicans, as I referenced in this piece about Hillary Clinton (?), have decided they don't need the 75% of the nation that isn't conservative/religious fundamentalist/whackadoodle and excluded anyone who might have been electable in the general election from the main debate stage.

I guess they just want to lose this year.

I didn't watch the Democratic debates either.  Not because I wasn't interested in the candidates, but because I knew that Hillary Clinton was going to be the nominee.  It was a close thing in the end, but since she was the favored Democrat running (the only one at the end) I knew she would ultimately end up with the nomination one way or the other.

Party politics are pretty predictable if you know what the rules of the game are.

I did watch the Democratic convention.  I started to pay attention to the Republican convention, but as soon as the rules committee reported that they were not going to advance any real rules changes, I knew that the Orange Hate-Monkey (Donald Drumpf) The Birther-in-Chief, the Real Estate Developer, had bought the leadership of the convention and he wasn't going to be facing a floor fight for the soul of the GOP.  That is, if the Republican party actually has a soul.  It doesn't appear that they do; as in they don't appear to agree on what their core principles really are and it is pretty hard to defend them if you can't name them. 

All that aside, I watched the entirety of the Democratic convention.  Watched the hardcore Berners exit stage left as predicted. Watched Barack Obama give yet another excellent speech. Watched Bill Clinton spend a half-hour apologizing to his wife on national television in the best way possible.  Watched Hillary Clinton accept the nomination, making US history when she did so. 

I left that experiencing thinking I might be able to watch the general election debates, and I might have stuck to my guns if the Libertarians had managed to leverage their candidate onto the stage. It briefly looked like he might pull that off, but a series of gaffs, plus the rigging of the system mention repeatedly in this blogs history, kept them from reaching the potential number of voters.  The hinted at support from Mitt Romney never surfaced and the funds that were supposedly going to go to finance the LP's candidates this year doesn't appear to be making any difference either. 

It is just the two of them, Hillary and the Orange Hate-Monkey on the stage together.  Talk about politics making strange bedfellows. 

Why can't I watch? Here's why; they let the Real Estate Developer talk, and he's been demonstrated to be lying 80% of the time. It is actually detrimental to my own mental health to consume that much untruth in so short a time. Besides, while I support Hillary Clinton in the most lukewarm fashion possible, I really don't like to listen to her talk either. 

Can't laugh at the Orange Hate-Monkey, the threat to civilization is too serious. Can't take him seriously because he is such a bad, bad liar. As someone who grew up surrounded by used car salesmen, as someone who has worked directly for more than one Real Estate Developer, I'm pretty well versed in the art of the deal. I can't watch, and I can't listen.

But I can watch and/or listen to others dissect the event. Nate Silver and Fivethirtyeight are the only resource I'm willing to lend credence to in this election as far as predictions go.  The rest of it is just so much guessing that I really don't have time to waste trying to understand what they are telling me. 

Unfortunately Nate Silver and Fivethirtyeight don't make themselves easily quotable or particularly shareable, so you'll just have to click one of those two links to read what they had to say.  NPR on the other hand has a lot to say on the subject.  More, in fact, than I really wish they would say.  They aren't nearly hard enough on the Orange Hate-Monkey for my taste, but then I guess they have to pretend he isn't a certifiable nutjob.  Here are the two podcasts dealing with the debate (one I will link again later)



Ms. Clinton did well for the few short minutes that I did watch; and the Real Estate Developer looked like a petulant child being told to do something he didn't want to, which made Ms. Clinton look downright presidential by comparison. I may peek between my fingers again for the next debate. Doubtful but possible. 

Logical Failure. It's a Math Problem.

This is the only way to share Facebook video.  Have I mentioned I hate Facebook video? Recently?



Apparently there was a miscommunication somewhere in my past. I never got the memo that I was supposed to humor the idiocy. My apologies to any idiots I've offended.

Here is the larger work this snippet came out of.



It is at approx 48:30 in the video if you just want to skip to it. This hour-long segment is part of an even larger audio/video work known as The Trialogues which appears to be available in full from Rupert Sheldrake's website. Expand your mind. 

September 11, not 9-11

This is adapted and expanded from previous articles.  I intend to keep updating and reposting a version of this article annually until the US collectively demonstrates learning something from history, or I pass from existence. Given prior evidence, I'm betting on the latter.


My dad was born on September 11, 1938.  On his sixty-third birthday terrorists destroyed two American icons and shattered forever the illusion that we were beyond the reach of the people intent on doing us harm. There are many lessons to be learned from gaining that insight, but it doesn't appear that the US has learned anything in the intervening years.  We re-live the events of 9-11 over and over again on each anniversary; wallowing in our collective angst, while repeating the same mistakes that lead to that day, that sprung from that day.
Every year on this day we bathe in the blood of that day yet again. We watch the towers fall over and over. It's been 15 goddamned years, but we just can't get enough. We've just got to watch it again and again. -Jim Wright, Renegade 9-11
Every year.  Every goddamn year.

My father did his time in the military.  I was born overseas because of the Cold War, and my parents answering the call to serve.  Dad didn't like military life very much, and left the service after 4 years to return home to Kansas and his family there.  As a teenager I foolishly contemplated joining the military myself, and mentioned it to him to see what he thought. "You like taking orders?" he said.  I didn't, I replied. "Well, then you don't want to join the military." That was his thinking on the subject, in a nutshell. He never elaborated more, but that view has stuck with me ever since.

Every year after 2001, he complained that the terrorists had stolen his birthday.  Every year until he died, the day that he had looked forward to through childhood had become something terrifying and repugnant.  It annoyed him that his day had been the day they picked. I can understand that.  It is captured in this sentiment;
This new generation has lived under the shadow of those falling towers every single minute of every single day since the moment they were born. -Jim Wright, 9-11 Thirteen Years On
I'm reclaiming today and every September 11th after this one for my father.

Happy birthday dad, wherever you are.

I am reclaiming it for my father and for all the young Americans born since that day. People who deserve more than to be dragged into battles that have been going on since before they were born. I promise to spend more time thinking of him and of them than of the other events that make this day stand out for average Americans.  Because really, why remember if we aren't going to learn anything from it?

This is not the Warcraft it Used to be.

A week into the Legion expansion and I can tell I'm on the outs with Blizzard already.  The backing image on my Battle.net launcher has been changed to the Burning Crusade packaging image from the image that adorned the packaging of the Warlords of Draenor.



You may well ask "Why Burning Crusade?" at this point. Burning Crusade is the first expansion of World of Warcraft, not the vanilla version, the original version.

The answer to that is both simple and complex.  The simple answer is that Blizzard has dropped the myth that Burning Crusade is a separate expansion (even though you can buy packaged versions of it and later expansions from Amazon) and back in the days of Mists of Pandaria they bundled the two together, creating a default image for WoW that was different from the vanilla version of the original game.

With the current expansion they have dropped the pretense that any of the previous expansions were actually expansions to the original game in the online store. So why are they sticking to the Burning Crusade image? Because changing it would take work, and they are on a budget from Activision. It is either that or perhaps there is truth in advertising. Burning Crusade is what the current WoW experience seems most like. Burning Crusade is where the new class was the enemy of choice. Burning Crusade is where the Burning Legion was first assaulted directly.  Legion is a rehash of Burning Crusade in much the same way that Warlords of Draenor was a rehash of story content first introduced in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal.

In the online store you can't get any of the previous expansions. You can only purchase World of Warcraft and Legion. There is a problem with this, and that is where the story really gets complex. It gets complex because there really isn't two versions of the game.

Blizzard will tell you that there are two versions. There is the version of the game which includes preserved content from previous iterations of the game.  Then there is the version with the additional content that they want to charge you almost three times as much to play, as well as the cost of a monthly subscription.

Never mind that the content represents the smallest expansion of World of Warcraft to date. The problem is that what they are calling World of Warcraft isn't World of Warcraft. What you are purchasing is a disabled version of the accumulated base programming that Blizzard has put into their World of Warcraft project. You are being asked to pay for what the programmers who first put together Blizzard gave away for free. A shareware version of content to whet your appetite for what Legion has to offer. That is because there really isn't a version of WoW other than Legion.

Having played every version of the game since and including Burning Crusade, I can tell you the differences between each expansion it pretty gory detail. I won't bore non-players with too many of these details.

It is worth noting that major sections of each expansion have been lopped out of the current game structure.  The legendary quest lines for Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor have been removed. It may not seem like much, but those quest chains marked the actual progress through the game as it was played when it was the current version of the game. If you are playing the game today and you wonder why certain factions, structures and islands still appear in the game, what you are seeing are the remnants of endgame content that has been bypassed and pruned.

This is aside from the fact that playstyles of the various classes have also been changed and simplified. If I was purchasing and playing the first game called World of Warcraft, I would have to have extra space in my bags for soul shards while playing a Warlock. Brew poisons as a Rogue. I would have to have arrows or bullets for my weapons. There would be no professions of inscription, jewelcrafting or archeology.  There would be no Pandarens, no Blood Elves, no Draenei. No playable versions of Goblins or Worgen. There would be no Death Knights or Monks. You would have to be in a particular faction to play Paladin or Shaman. I would not see a disabled option for creating and playing a Demon Hunter.

In short, it would be a different game if it was really World of Warcraft.  This is the bigger problem for Blizzard. Last year Blizzard shut down the fan-run server Nostalrius.  Fan run servers do present a threat to Blizzard's intellectual property, and they had every right to shut that server down; but the existence of the site and others like it present the problem and question that Blizzard wants to go away.

Players want to play the games they purchased, and those games don't exist anymore.

There really is no place to play the games that I have faithfully purchased from Blizzard over the years. I cannot play Wrath of the Lich King. I cannot participate in the battle at the wrathgate and then storm the Undercity in retaliation, facing off against the opposing faction in the throne room of Sylvanas herself.  That pivotal moment in the game is lost.  The Kor'Kron and the rise of Garrosh? Also lost.  Orcs no longer guard Undercity watching the forsaken, guarding against another attempt to turn all of the living into puddles of goo.

If you click one of the many links above (aside from the battle.net links) and purchase one of those products right now, you cannot play the game that is pictured on the outside of the box.  You will be forced to play the disabled version of Legion, the version now called World of Warcraft. There are no servers which run the historic versions of the server software, software needed to play the games historically sold under the World of Warcraft banner.

A consumer should be able to be assured that their purchases can be used in the fashion advertised. This is business 101.  That none of the expansions exist to be played in the fashion the game was intended to run at the time of publication and purchase presents a problem to Blizzard, specifically because they make noises about this being one of the longest running games in the history of computer gaming. Because they are still making money off the franchise they have created.  Because they have a lot of disgruntled fans out in the hinterlands who have previously purchased games they'd like to play but are prevented from playing them because Blizzard does not maintain a copy of previous integral parts of the game's programming.

If this is one of the longest running Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games Blizzard, why can't the fans of previous versions still log on and play the game they played then?  I really wish someone at Blizzard would take the time to answer that question.