Who IS this guy?!

'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)

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Monday, January 30, 2012

News About the Chevy Volt

So I'm grabbing lunch today and I happen to pick up a copy of this week's "Tech Center News"- basically an industry rag that you can get for free, usually at Donut Shops or Gas Stations.  And I'm reading an article that I would like to share with you all regarding the Cheverolet Volt.  Called "Volt Is Not a Political Punching Bag."

First though, a little disclosure: I am an engineer in the Auto Industry. Secondly: I love the Volt, as a Liberal, yes, but as an ENGINEER first and foremost. I am still blown away by what GM has finally managed to do: Design and market a TRULY electric car.  And while the price is too high, and the gas-free range not nearly long enough, with time and further development? I predict that THIS is the fundamental power-plant model that will eventually ween us off of gasoline entirely and forever.

A little math, and I'll get back to the article.  The current Volt costs around $45,000. And not only GM sell them at a loss, but even their #1 fan (ME!) will admit that in no one's wildest fantasies in this a $45,000 car.  So to anyone who wants to argue the BUSINESS CASE of the Volt? Let me save you the time: I concede on all points!  For a purely business perspective, and by itself, in a vacuum? The Volt is a loser.  But what GM has designed here remains a TECHNICAL marvel. Lemme 'splain:
Fully charged, the current Volt can go ~35 miles without consuming a drop of gas.  And personally? If I were going to even CONSIDER spending that kind of money? I need AT LEAST a 50 mile range to get me to and from work every day.  But, as you may or may not know, the range of an electric car, at any assumed speed, is a purely linear function of it MASS.  Put simply? Cut the weight in half and you DOUBLE the range!  So, let's see... How do we get from 35 to 50 miles, gas free...?  Well, TAKE OUT THE INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE for a start!  See the Volt, unlike the Prius, just doesn't need it! So take it out! Save that weight! And the weight of the Alternator. And Radiator. And 10+ Gallons of fuel. And any extra Body Sheet Metal that you no longer need. And the engine mounts... You get the idea.  Because of how the Volt works, you don't actually NEED any gas at all.  The BATTERY drives the wheels, and the engine only acts to keep the battery going once it's depleted. But once the range is adequate for your daily needs? You can pull the engine out and never miss it!
Can't do that with a Prius. Because the Prius' wheels are still driven primarily but the Internal Combustion Engine, which is only ASSISTED by an electric motor. So while more efficient that standard vehicles, you still NEED gas.  It's like Doctor Emmet Brown said:
"[While] Mr. Fusion [...] powers the time circuits and the flux capacitor, [...] the internal combustion engine runs on ordinary gasoline; it always has."
And in the Prius? It still does. Not so in the Volt. And that? Is fucking AMAZING.

SO, with my personal biases disclosed and out of the way, I would like to refer you back to a story that NPR (and others) ran awhile back about FIRES in the Chevy Volt.  See... I'd like to file this under"Behold:Your Liberal Media!" And at first blush, some may miss the sarcasm in that. After all" General Motors? FIRES? Sounds familiar no? And what could be more Liberal than showing how a HUGE CORPORATION is putting out UNSAFE PRODUCTS and MISINFORMING THE PUBLIC, right?
Yeeeeeah...

Except that this in the VOLT. And apparently the media's oil-industry sponsors are as afraid of it's implication as I am impressed by them.  How do I mean?
Well... While NPR was fair - fairer than most - there were some small details that they failed to give proper prominence to in their story.  Like the fact that the fires happened anywhere from three days to three WEEKS after the NHTSA Crash Test: 35 mph into a solid, unmoving barrier.
So what? What does that matter? The cars still caught fire, right? What if it were parked in my garage? It could burn my house down, no?!
*sigh*
Well... That's the impression I felt the NPR stories would leave people with. But it's utter hogwash.

The fires occurred due to a COOLANT leak that corroded the terminals and after three days to three weeks caught fire.  Where was the car at the time? In the equivalent of A FUCKING GOVERNMENT JUNKYARD! Which is exactly where YOUR CAR would be after a 35+ mph crash! And, OK, suppose your car's not totalled. I can still guarantee you it's IN THE DAMNED SHOP!

I've been on both the receiving and giving end of SEVERAL crashes in my ~22 years of driving. NONE of them were over 35 mph. I know this for a fact because my airbags never deployed, and airbag typically deploy between 15 and 20 mph. So these were LOW SPEED crashes.  But anything over ~10? And my car (and usually the other guy's) was definitely IN THE SHOP.  It NEEDED repairs.  And if your mechanic notices a LEAK? Of literally fucking ANYTHING? That's pretty much the FIRST thing s/he's going to address!
(BTW... "she or he" (s/he) is used here as MY mechanic happens to be female. Odd but true, and she's AWESOME at it!)
See... These kinds of things: fires after a crash? Are a HUGE problem if it's something like GAS that's leaking. Mainly because that can catch fire while you're still in the car!  But as GM chairman Dan Ackerson was quoted as saying:
"[...] as one of our customers put it: If they couldn't cut him out of the vehicle in two or three weeks, he had a bigger problem to worry about."

 
And that's it. This? Is NOT A PROBLEM. "Fire" might make for a good story, but it a non-issue here, folks!  Do you what GM has to do about this? Precisely NOTHING. (Although they still are reinforcing the battery.)  But in all seriousness? As a bit of an industry  insider? Alert the mechanics that the coolant could be flammable if allowed to sit on the battery terminal for several days and that's pretty much IT.

Here are some FACTS about the Volt:

For you flag waving types? It's made in the USA, exclusively in GM's Hammtramack plant...
For you anti-supply-siders? ...by UAW, Union labor.

For you flag waving types? It will break your / our dependence on foreign oil.
For you eco-warriors? It can potentially eliminate your personal transportation carbon footprint.

And for you car enthusiasts? This thing looks COOL:


OK, so it's not the Corvette, or the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Skye. THOSE? Were some damned fine lookin' cars. (The 'Vette still is, though I'm a  Mustang-man through and through myself!) But other than those? GM's not exactly known for it's bold styling. They've been making ugly Cadillacs for decades now, and I'm sure y'all remember the Aztek and wish you didn't, am I right?  But hey: I'll put this up against any comparably priced Toyota or Honda in terms of style and performance - not to mention SAFETY. Yes, SAFETY, as it was award a FIVE-STAR CRASH TEST RATING in both Driver and Passenger Frontal Impacts, Side Impacts and Rollover Rating.

Now... At $45,000...?

Nah, still too much. But lose the engine - which this power-plant makes possible - extend the range and reduce the cost? (Starting with the cost of the engine you've got to pull out ayway?) And this thing will one day be regarded as the Car that changed the world...
...or at least the point at which it all started!

...And the oil industry KNOWS IT!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

This is so cool...

No politics this time.
This is just so cool, I had to show it to you.( I'm such a gamer nerd.) I've beaten the original NES Legend of Zelda, The Adventures of Link, Occarina of Time, Majora's Mask and I was 98% done with Twilight Princess when my kid accidentally erased my game. But for someone who has spent no small part of his formative years, and adulthodd playing various chapeters in the Zelda series, this just sofa king rocks

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wow. Month's just about gone.

And I've posted just TWICE? WTF?

Sorry, guys. I just have no idea where the time went this month!  And what a month it's been too!  For three straight weeks now we've watched the Republican Party show just how divorced from reality they are as they keep talking about how imperative it is that they defeat that "Radical Socialist" Barack Obama, and yet have tried every trick in the book to make sure they don't nominate the one guy who would have a snowball's chance in hell of actually WINNING, because he's that dreaded word that all true Conservatives have been conditioned to break out in hives at the sound of: A MODERATE.

Don't get me wrong, Mitt Romney won't get MY vote or backing. But come on! Newt Gingrich?! One of the most despise politicians in American history?! Rick Santorum?! That fucking DOUCHEBAG?! Rick Perry...? Who's learned the hard way that the rest of America in not fucking TEXAS?! And after the revolving side show loonies - Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Donald Trump... Who the hell IS John Huntsman anyway?!

*shakes head*

But enough of that...  I'd like you to take a listen to the following clip. It was from ~1986 IIRC, and it's both hilarious and depressing in it's relevance. L & G, the late, great George Carlin:



And here's another one. Great clip in it's own right, but the PICTURES the user put over it elevate it to BRILLIANCE:



That's right, Rush. A BIG, BROWN DICK!

Oh, and, uh... If SOPA and PIPA had there way? YouTube could be shut down over these clips. Great country we're living in, huh?

Couple of other things that caught my eye...

A few posts back, William found it appropriate to mock my calls for comprehensive sex education as a way of reducing abortions. well, here's an article that, while fairly stunning, shows, once again, that I'm right and Conservatives generally suck.

And there something else that I'd meant to post before the holidays, but I lost the link.  It appears the Occupy movement isn't going away.  Well... The Tea Party took over the House and all they managed to accomplish was to derail the economy with an artificial debt crisis and put more people out of work an out of home just as things were finally starting to turn around. Well done, cockmunchers.  So I for one, would like to see what influence this new movement can have. Probably not as much - it lacks corporate sponsorship and media backing for one - but at least the article was BEGINNING to clarify the actual political agenda.  Because that's really what's lacking here. WHAT DO THE WANT TO ACCOMPLISH?

And there are a few things that I think would make some pretty powerful, populist and scary (to the status quo) talking points.  Two that I think REALLY should be at the top? 

1) Overturn the decision in Citizens United, via Constitutional Amendment, if needed.
2) Strip Corporation of their "personhood" status.

The whole "no more bailouts" thing... Meh, not so much. That's Tea Party talk, and mostly the area of people who let their anger get in the way of better judgement.  Bt ending corporate welfare via tax loopholes? No longer allowing corporation to write legislation?  Ending for-profit prisons?  Hey: There's some good political grist in this mill.  Don't get me wrong, I'm under no illusions that it will WORK.  But hey: You show me an OCCUPY Candidate? 

And S/He'll have my vote!

Anyway, I realize this isn't all that deep, but I figured I'd drop in and post, so you'd all know I was still alive anyway.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA & PIPA now!

OK. So you're probably not surprised that I am opposed to these two fascist acts of government-enabled, corporatist censorship.  After all, I'm a free-speech advocate that once took to defending that scumbag, Fred Phelps' right to spew his bile even at military funerals. But what might surprise you is that it took me until today to actual come around to opposing them!

You see... This was originally going to be a post asking for some advice / information / schooling from all of you as to WHY, exactly I should oppose these acts. Serioulsy. For the longest time, reading what little I could about them (becuase the biggest problem that I saw was that the media was stifling all coverage of them, so there really was no public debate about them!) I could find very little that didn't seem right-minded.  I mean... free speech is not about protecting the piracy of copyrighted material. And all the “It will end the internet as we know it!” stuff just sounded like so much alarmism to me.  My inital thought was, "Bullshit. Global Warming is more likely to end the WORLD as we know, than any one bill is to end the Internet."

And while it pays lip-service to protecting site like YouTube, who would voluntarily take down copyrighted content, the fact is that this is just another exampel of a BAD LAW, that gets made when OLD MEN (and their corporate bosses) start legislating about things they don't understand.

Part of me wants to laugh - because this law will be largely uneforcable in any meanigful way. The U.S. Gov't has no jurisdiction to stop some site in Mozambique from hosting Pirated Content. And the fact that Google links to them? Hey: I can see that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. I also firmly bvelieve that Intellectual Property must be protected. But this? This is not the way to do it.  I think the Wikia folks make the best case:

While the goals of SOPA and PIPA are clear and we support them, the way SOPA and PIPA attempt to accomplish the goals amounts does not work for the internet and companies such as Wikia because:
  • they assign legal liability to site owners for ALL user generated content -- Wikia would have to inspect and filter everything users upload -- all text, images or video for copyright infringement and prevent it from being posted. This would be almost impossible to do and would create a terrible user experience with long delays between content submissions, approval and posting. We would have to do this even though we are not a target of this legislation.
  • they completely bypass today's notice/takedown provision of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) where content owners can demand copyrighted content be taken down and site owners have to comply -- which was a carefully constructed approach that balances the needs of internet companies and the content industry. This will stifle innovation on the internet that has become the 7th largest sector driving the health of the economy.
  • they deny site owners the due process of law by enabling DNS blacklisting based on any good faith assertion by an individual copyright owners. A site like Wikia could essentially disappear from the web because of the claim of a single content owner who asserted they saw infringing content on our site without recourse.
  • they also compel payment processors to stop doing business with the web site in question. Wikia could have our entire revenue stream stopped because a single good faith assertion of infringement on a single page in Wikia.
  • while the laws are aimed at foreign companies in general, they can be equally applied to US companies such as Wikia.
The internet is free. And it must remain free to continue to accomplish all of the good that is has. Al Gore knew this when he drafted, sponsored an dpuch the legislation that created it. And there is no doubt in my mind that a hypothetical President Gore would have already given the signal that a VETO would be awaiting this legislation. (I am not so optimistic about Obama doing the same.)

So to show my solidarty with those who have also chosen to stand up and educate the public about this facsist law (seeing as how the media refuses to) here as some screen captures from various members of my Hall of Fame from earlier today, in protest of SOPA and PIPA:

Google:






And, of course, the folks who starte dthe movement to protest this: WIKIPEDIA:


so TAKE ACTION.

RAISE HELL.

Contact your representetive and remind them that when s/he took office they swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and Protect our FREEDOM.  And while protecting Intellectual property (and let's face the profits of the corporations who own it) is important, it must never take precedence over our liberty, and our right to free expression.  The Wikia Page will help you do this. So take action. It's your interent. Don't let our Government - or ANY government - censor it.

BTW...

Here an AMV that I love which might make you wish you never heard of 'FAIR USE" (something the Robert's court, despite their relatively decent record with overly broad laws, has apparenlty NEVER HEARD OF.)  And I don"t know what's more shameful - that I know all the words to the song, or that I've seen about 80% of the Anime used in the Video!  Anyway... ENJOY IT, before the Government comes to take me (and YouTube) away!




LOL.

Come on... Would you REALLY want to live in a world where that's a felony?!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year!

*exhale*

Long break. Very long. And it's good to be back.

Before I get into anything substantial, over the holiday I saw four movies and read a book that I'd like to give my opinions on.

The first was Sleuth starring Michale Cain and Jude Law.  This was a remake of the 1972 Film starring Sir Laurence Olivier and (ironically) Michael Caine. I've not seen the original, but after seeing the performances or Cain and Law, I'd really like to. I highly re-commend this based mainly on the witty verbal banter that goes on between the two leads as each tries to put the other in his place. It's dry British humor and polite insults at their best. Really great stuff. And it's also interesting as it takes place entirely within a single setting (a single SET, even) and possibly with the smallest cast ever filmed, outside of a stand-up comedy routine. Very interesting and if you (still) have Netflix, if well worth a spot in your queue.

The Second was The Invention of Lying starring Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe and Jonah Hill. (Side note: DW went to grade school with Jennifer Garner. For real!)  An interesting high concept film, that imagines a world in which humans (except for ONE MAN) are incapable of lying, and people's words are always taken at face value.  What it lacked in production value and dynamic performances (despite a very talented cast, which also included Louis C.K., Tina Fey, Jefferey Tambor and Christopher Guest) it made up for in what I consider to be a fairly profound philosophical exploration of what we consider knowledge, how dogma forms, and the nature of humanity well beyond the fairly trivial deceits that we use to simply get through the day without killing each other. One thing I found particularly apt and amusing is that before the main character learned how to lie, there was NO RELIGION. And after he "invented" lying, he almost immediately (albeit inadvertently) started Religion and the belief in God and heaven. (And almost immediately the irreverent humans started asking questions and picking it apart. In any case, it was an amusing and had some pretty profound statements about humanity and religion (and it REALLY does a job on MARKETING!) and for that reason believe that it's well worth giving a chance. (Again, one for the Netflix queue.)

Third was The Muppets, starring Jason Segal, Amy Adams and (of course) Kermit the Frog and Company.  OK, so I saw with my kids, but I also saw it as a 38 year old kid who to this day still counts Jim Henson amongst his heroes.  I haven't seen ALL of the Muppet Movies over the years, but I've seem most and aside from the the original Muppet Movie (and apparently the Muppet Christmas Carol, which I haven't seen but I've been told is one of the best renditions ever done) most have been crap.  This one? Well, this one took me back a bit.  I'm only slightly ashamed to say that I shed more than a single tear hearing Brian Henson (sorry, it was Steve Whitmore!) singing "Rainbow Connection" through his Father's old avatar.  Also going for it was Fox's collective freak-out over the fact that it "secretly" (secretly!) tries to "turn your kids into liberals." (I mean... Jim Henson was a hippie? Who knew?!)  But yeah, this one really captured the spirit of what the Muppets had back when Jim was still running the show - arguably the first time Brian Henson (steve Whitmore) has REALLY gotten it right. If you loved them as a kid, you SHOULD see this.  There are just a few things I do have to point out... First off? Nowhere near the level of celebrity cameo's as in teh past. You could making a drinking game out of that in the first movie. This movie? I counted maybe... like three.  The musical numbers... *gag*. Too many,m and they were almost all sung by humans. Somehow...? It just goes down easier when it the Muppets doing the singing. And finally? It's very... dark. And fairly depression. It doesn't even END well, unless you include the throwaway ending during the credits. It had a really dark and depressing and somber tone throughout so many scenes. It's not a bad thing, necessarily, but it's a far cry for the sunshine and rainbows of the first movie.  (Of course this country, and world, is a far cry from the one Jim Henson lived in and made better by his presence, so maybe that's appropriate.)

Finally, we saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer. Holy shit, what a fucking trip! AWESOME movie, MUST SE. In fact, it was so good that I plan to see the original Swedish version.  Mara gives a performance the likes of which you will likely never see again, immersing herself in the character on a level that I would not have imagined was possible. She deserves an Oscar, but (as usual) the Academy will likely fuck her over in favor of a  more bankable starlet.  But seriously: SEE IT. It's brutal, raw, in-your-face and AMAZING.  Shoot... I may even go back and read the book!

Speaking of books...

Over the break I read Killing Lincoln, by (of all people) Bill O'Rielly.  And while it may seem an incredible oddity for me to endorse ANYTHING by that buffoon, I have to admit: It made for one HELL of a read! Yeah, I was aware of a couple of historic inaccuracies, but overall I found it to be very balanced (even objective!) from a political standpoint and, for the most part, present a very conventional, non-revisionist view of the historical events being depicted. (Hey: It was Bill O'Rielly, not Glenn Beck!)  It's reads more like a novel than an historical text, and does an amazing job of really putting you on the ground, in the taverns and saloons, on the battlefields and into the halls of power, where the events of history played out for better and for worse.  I'd never thought I'd say it, but...

Bill O'Rielly did a fantastic job with this, and it is well worth giving it a read.

You will come away with a greater appreciation for the Civil War, and for what Lincoln, Grant, Lee, the Soldiers, the Slaves, the North, the South and Lincoln himself were facing during these times of trial.

Now, having read this, it got me to thinking...

Where the hell does all this HATE all this RAW, VISCERAL, unfiltered and unadulterated HATRED of  President Obama come from? From the Right, I mean. Seriously. What has this man DONE to justify this level of blood-boiling HATE?

While it's been largely lost to myth, one of the things that most people forget is that Abraham Lincoln was HATED, really hated and reviled by many, MANY people in this country during the Civil War, and immediately after and leading up to his assassination.  And really, regardless of how we in our modern and relatively progressive world might look back on the issue of Slavery, if you put yourself in the South at that time, one can see WHY so many felt this way.  Beyond the mere economic upheaval that abolition would bring about, these people's very ways of life were being turned upside down: Blacks as equals. Black VOTING. Blacks marrying white women, even! Holy crap: One day, one might even run for president!  We can laugh now, but when one considers the Country that Lincoln was endeavouring to Govern (and were it not for his untimely death, rebuild) it is easy to understand where those feelings come from.

Fast forward almost exactly one hundred years to Lyndon Johnson and the Civil Rights Act. Again, arguably the most partisan and divided this country had been since the Civil War and through to today. And again, regardless of how you feel about Jim Crow and segregation, it it not difficult to appreciate how profound that legislation was, and the impact it would have on what so many people considered "normal, moral and decent" for so many years.  We may shake our heads now, but in there shoes one can see why Johnson "lost the South for a Generation." (Actually Lyndon, it's been THREE so far, and counting!)

And fine... even when progressives and liberals are on the "winning side" (which is merely to say the RIGHT one, which history has shown us to ALWAYS be on) it's not hard to appreciate where the bitterness comes from when looking at someone like Lincoln, Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson.  What I DON'T understand is how these same people (generationally speaking, the Right / Conservatives) can find the same (or even a greater) level of hatred for a guy who HASN'T DONE ANYTHING.

(And not doing anything, in this case, is a reason for LIBERALS to dislike him, rather than Conservatives!)

Example: We're watching TV and the Kennedy Center Honors are up next.  And my Mother says to my Father, "Well, we don't need to watch that, unless you want to see Obama jigabooing it up on stage."

OK. Now I KNOW that my parents are Conservative Republicans, but really"Jigabooing?" Jigaboo isn't even a VERB!  It a NOUN. And it's second to "Nigger" as arguably the most racist and hateful noun in the dictionary! Look... You can support whichever candidate you want, but I doubt my mother could even articulate WHY she hates Obama so much. I mean... she's not racist. *cough, cough* And, as I and a thousand other bloggers have already pointed out: OBAMA HASN'T DONE ANYTHING!

He hasn't freed the slaves! He hasn't reversed a hundred years of lynching and segregation!

Shit: He hasn't even brought about low-cost health care!

(Or stopped the previous administration's policies of torture, rendition and murdering American Citizens without trial!  Again: A reason for LIBERALS to hate him, but Conservatives are he ones who STARTED that shit! They should LOVE this guy!)

And I've asked this question before: Absent racism, what explanation IS THERE to justify this level of hatred form the Right? What has Obama ACTUALLY DONE that is so offensive to them? Seriously. And they wonder why all we're left is:

1) He's black.
2) He's a Democrat.
3) He's the President.

And that's two out of three things he has in common with Eighteen other presidents, few of which (three or four) were anywhere near as reviled as much as this man.  But to be fair... this country ISN'T going to tar itself apart and fall into civil war over Obama's policies.  So... I just don;'t get it.

THANK YOU , Bill O'Rielly (of all people) for driving home that perspective.