Saturday, January 30, 2021

Well, That Was Embarrassing

The America’s Cup is so named because this nation won it the first time it was sailed in 1851. America won it continuously for 116 years, and at least participated in it until 2000. After failing to make it into the race for the next ten years, America returned in 2010, winning 2 of the next three cups, so the overall record is by no means bad.

This year has been beyond embarrassing. The American boat has been one of three competing for the right to challenge New Zealand for the next America’s Cup, and was disqualified yesterday after sailing in nine matches, losing all nine and forfeiting one.

One loss was what a non-sailor might consider close, 30 seconds in a race that took 26 minutes to complete (to a sailor, 30 seconds is not even hand grenade distance), but the rest have all been by two minutes or more. This would compare to a stock car losing at Daytona by 20 laps or more purely because it is slow and/or was poorly driven.

There was one conversation with the American skipper which pretty much summed up for me why the boat’s performance was so sub-par. In discussing why he lost the start of the race he said that the opponent, “got his timing right, so we were not able to execute Plan A.” The commenter asked how he could have executed his plan and he repeated himself. “If he gets his timing right, you don’t.”

If your plan depends on your opponent making a mistake, it is a bad plan. It is a plan that you should not be using. It is a plan that pretty much assures that you will lose. If I had been using such a mind-numbingly stupid plan I most certainly would not admit it on television. It’s like asking Dale Earnhardt how he plans to beat Bill Elliott in the upcoming race and hearing him reply that, “I plan to drive carefully and hope that he hits the wall.”

The commentator, of course, either did not pick up on the stupidity of “Plan A” or decided to ignore it, and moved on to other things. He was too busy, in any case, conducting a pity party and making excuses for the American boat.

The Americans, he lamented, had been forced to spend the downtime repairing their boat’s damage incurred when it capsized, while the Italians were able to spend that time improving their boat. Well, boo hoo. If the Americans hadn’t capsized their boat they would not have had to be doing repairs and could have been making improvements just like the Italians.

The commentator even went so far as to lament that he felt sorry for the Americans and that it was “..all so unfair. It’s just unfair.” Oh, get over it. It wasn’t an act of bad sportsmanship by the Italians that capsized the American boat. It wasn’t some freak fluke of nature. It wasn’t some arbitrary inequitable act by the officials. It was pure bad seamanship by the American captain and crew that capsized the boat.

There was nothing even remotely unfair about their plight; their hardship was entirely self inflicted. They’re lucky they only had to forfeit one race.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

What Comes Next?

When the pandemic started we were told that we would have to stay home, wear masks and close our businesses for five weeks in order to avoid overwhelming the hospitals. Given that the hospital ships sat empty the precautions either worked extremely well or were not needed.

Then, after five weeks, the empty hospital ships were sent home and we were told that we would have to "continue precautions" until we got a vaccine. This was known, somewhat cynically, as "moving the goalposts." They also sort of hid the goalposts as well as moving them, since they would not give us a time frame for the arrival for the vaccine, only that it would be a long time. Certainly not until after Trump was out of office.

Now the vaccine is here and the goalposts have not been moved again, they have simply been removed. We will have to "continue the precautions" even after vaccination, and now we must wear two masks instead of just one. Reasons vary from unlikely to absurd.

"We know the vaccine prevents the severe kind of Covid, but we don't know if it prevents the mild kind, which can still be spread." News flash. They are the same kind. The difference is in your body's ability to cope with the virus. Secondly, we should be afraid of a virus which is likely to cause death, but if all we have to be concerned about after vaccination is "the mild kind..." Please. Thirdly, we do know it prevents "the mild kind" because in testing the vaccine they tested for presence of the virus in any form after the vaccine was given.

That's even if you can get the vaccine. I'm 77 and high risk, and I can't. My health care system had 11,000 applications for 200 appointments and advised not even calling.

I'm afraid to ask what the next stage of this pandemic and its government controls might be.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Again: Thinking Things Through

The San Diego Mayor just imposed an upper limit on what can be imposed by third party delivery services who deliver food orders; 15% of the total amount of the order. He says that will help the companies that are selling delivery food, because drivers were adding as much as 30% to the cost of the order. 

 

 First, it's usually the customer that pays the fee, not the seller, so I'm a little uncertain of his thinking, but let's assume that the high delivery fees are driving customers away. How does it help if you drive the delivery service away? (You see what I did there? Twice!) 

 

Let's say you are delivering a $25 order. You have to get in your car, drive to the restaurant, wait for the order to be ready, drive to the customer, take time for the customer to pay you, process the credit card payment, pay the cost of the credit card payment (usually 3-5%), and then drive home. At a 30% fee, you would receive a princely sum of $7.50 for doing all this. The Mayor wants to cap this at a maximum payment of $3.75. 

 

Does that meet San Diego's minimum wage of $15/hr? I don't think so. Sort of an odd political agenda to want to raise what workers earn and then cap what they can charge. Still, he is a Democrat, so we should not expect consistency or logic from him.

 

What they Mayor did, of course, is raise to approximately $100 (for which the driver would get $15) the minimum food order that you can get delivered. That may be okay for four or more people who live together, but for a single person or a childless couple who want to stay home and have food delivered it might not work out too well.


Friday, January 22, 2021

The Cost of Oil

What liberals and the media will not tell you is that canceling the Keystone XL pipeline is not going to reduce oil consumption by one drop, and is not even going to reduce the amount of oil moving to the Gulf Coast. It's just going to keep the cost of that oil higher in dollars, environmental impact, and human suffering.

That oil is presently being produced, and most of it is moving to the Gulf. Some is going by way of existing pipelines, the rest is going by rail. Rail transport is much more costly than a pipeline, and it is incredibly more dangerous to the environment and to human life when trains derail and the oil burns.

The media did features in the past on such derailments, since they are very dramatic and make for colorful and frightening imagery on the nightly news, but the “ecology movement” has prevailed upon them to downplay that danger in favor of preventing the construction of pipelines.

Biden and his followers would have you believe that they are reducing the amount of oil used by blocking this pipeline. They are lying, because they know they are not. They are merely preventing the safer and less costly transport of existing and ongoing oil usage.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Garbage Wrapper

Wrapping your garbage in the San Diego Union Tribune has become an insult to perfectly good garbage these days. 

 

An article in Sunday’s paper (behind a paywall), which apparently required two “journalists” to compose began, “Online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73% after several social media sites suspended President Donald Trump and his key allies last week…” 

 

That’s much like saying that horseshit in the streets diminished after the sheriff shot and killed 90% of the county’s horses. It finds it useful to remark that horses don’t shit in the street after they are dead, and it asserts that shooting and killing horses is a virtuous act. 

 

Not to mention that it is “misinformation” only because they say it is.


Monday, January 18, 2021

Best Play of The Year

from space If 2021 gives us nothing else, we can look back to this; one last meeting between two old guys on the field at the Superdome, after the game. Tom Brady came out after the game to visit with an old friend and, among other things, threw a pass for Drew Brees' son to catch. Nice moment.

Paranoid Much?

Not only are Democrats (well, the Establishment in general) posting more than 25,000 armed troops in Washington to "keep the inauguration safe," they are vetting those troops to be sure that all of them are "loyal." 

 

What the "loyalty check" consists of is not specified, but probably footlockers are being searched for MAGA gear.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Section 230

Liberals and the media are fulminating at great length about “Section 230,” a law which they claim allows the internet companies to permit “hate speech” to be published on their systems without fear of lawsuit. In fact, Section 230 does precisely the opposite of that. Here is the “meat” of that section of the US Code,


"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected."

 

Note the words I underlined. This law, in fact, is precisely what allows internet companies to block hate speech (or anything which they consider to be hate speech) without recourse against them. It permits them to do what they are now finally doing, in fact, which is to cancel people whose messages they dislike.

It means the people who are suing them for cancellation will lose, because the law does not say who decides what material is “excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.” Cancelling Section 230 would, in fact, prevent internet companies from blocking hate speech and from cancelling objectionable (to liberals) contributors.

Liberals are cheering the “cancellation” of the “other side” and delighted that their platforms will no longer be contaminated by writings that they don’t want to have to read, and at the same time they are demanding repeal of the law that permits that cancellation to happen.

This is another instance of knee jerk irrational liberalism. They are so upset to discover that a law protects an institution which they hate, even when their daily political activity is utterly dependent upon that institution, that they don’t even bother to find out what that law protects the institution from.


Monday, January 11, 2021

Ships and Fires

The USS Bonhomme Richard recently caught fire pierside in San Diego and burned for more than a week before the fire was brought under control. There are many things of interest about that fire and the course that it ran, which I will not go into here. They do not reflect well on the Navy.

Even more interesting is the end result, which is that the damage was so extensive that the Navy decided to decommission and scrap the ship.

The major lesson that should be taken from this incident is that Navy ships are still vulnerable to large fires. Fire, in fact, is the sailor’s greatest fear at sea. The fear of sinking is so far down in second place that there is no second place. The thought of fire at sea causes nightmares.

Enter the Arleigh Burke class destroyer, the most numerous class of destroyers the Navy operates. It’s an old class; they’ve been around forever, and have undergone more upgrades than anyone can count. Among those upgrades was the brilliant (!) idea to build the superstructure out of aluminum. Doing so, the theory went, would lower the center of gravity and make the ship more stable in heavy seas.

It worked like a charm. The ships rode out storms very well indeed. Then one of the new ships suffered a major fire at sea and the aluminum superstructure melted, because that’s what aluminum does in such a fire. Steel just gets hot, maybe turns red, but aluminum melts. A ship with a melted superstructure is not a ship.

Subsequent Arleigh Burke destroyers, ships of all classes in fact, have been built with steel superstructures. Seemed like the Navy had learned a lesson.

Not so much. The new “Littoral Combat” ships not only have aluminum superstructures, they have aluminum hulls as well. That which has been learned can be unlearned.


Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Excellent Logic

This could happen only in California. 

 

The Public Utilities Commsion has approved an increase in electric rates during summer for the specific purpose of reducing power consumption, in the same month that Governor Newsom declared that 15 million vehicles must be replaced by electrically powered vehicles within the next 15 years.

 

Not to mention that the PUC authorized power companies to shut off power during times of high fire danger, so how does the governor suggest that people who have electric cars escape danger when there is a fire in their area?