Friday, June 26, 2009

Cap & Tax

One thought just hit me. I am hearing reports of studies that conclude this cap & trade bill currently being debated on in the House of Representatives will drive energy prices anywhere from 50%-88% over their natural levels.

Now, I hope those numbers will discourage the passage of this bill right now.

What do you think when that comes to pass the government will be blamed for the price increases? Does government taxation & regulation ever take the blame for increases in price?

The HWY 23 Job Loss Corridor - Stillwater & Fond du Lac

Just some background information on Mercury Marine.

Mercury Marine's Stillwater plant is responsible for production of its IO engines (Mercruiser) and the Fond du Lac plant is geared towards outboard engines and its parts and accessories business.

In addition, Mercury Marine is a division on the Brunswick Corporation headquartered in Lake Forest IL. Here is the Wiki entry on Mercury Marine.

Two interesting stories. The founder (Carl Kiekhaefer) of Mercury Marine is legend in his drive and his work ethic (or worhaholism if you will) it is reported he fired engineers unwilling to entertain discussions at odd hours (e.g. in the middle of the night) and a story where a guy was sitting around a loading dock doing nothing. The founder stormed up to him and asked his salary and the founder pulled out a wad of bills and gave the loafer two weeks of salary and told him to get off the premises. Turns out the loafer was a delivery guy from a vendor waiting around for his delivery to be offloaded.

One story that is very interesting is how Mercury Marine engines came to be black. They used to be green and the larger engines were a straight six design and the story notes the large size of the engine gave rise to many nicknames a favorable one being "tower of power". One engineer was talking to his mother about the problem and their need to downsize the engines without a sacrifice in performance. The engineer's mother then noted when a woman wants to appear smaller she wears black. The engineer took this thought back to the shop and they performed experiments that showed the perceived size of the engine was about 20% less in black than green.

The HWY 23 Job Loss Corridor - Responding to Dad29

Dad29 says:
But distribution counts. Wisconsin is located in a part of the country which is very cold in the winter; people do not use powerboats on frozen lakes. The South doesn't have that problem, AND the South actually has lakes. A lot of them. And fishermen, too. (We could also postulate that "taxing the rich", a Wisconsin "solution" has an effect on boat-and-motor purchasing.)
Source: Dad29 — Merc Outta Here?
I don't know if Dad29 is being serious with this point, perhaps some sarcasm I am missing?

If Mercury Marine engines were only sold and distributed to local dealers — meaning WI, IL, MI, and perhaps MN then I would agree. However, Mercury Marine engines are sold worldwide meaning the winter season is going to affect Mercury Marine sales regardless of their actual location. A major portion of Mercury Marine's market is frozen every year and a move to Oklahoma will not change that.

The only consideration Mercury Marine must give to being located in the Frozen North is their ability to test their products during the winter and their test location is located in Florida not in Oklahoma.

At his blog Dad29 reiterates the word distribution. He says that he is talking about the cost to ship parts and accessories, which he believes (with good reason) down south still sell during the winter. While he does have a point I don't believe (no solid figures to back me up on this point, just a gut instinct) that to be a large or even a mid-sized factor. We are seeing WI not only strike out at luring new job centers to WI but are losing ones already here, this is not the first time.

The HWY 23 Job Loss Corridor - Reactions

Not what one would think.

  1. Owen at Boots and Sabers thinks:...Governor Doyle will dispatch an intern from Commerce to explain the benefits of a regional cap and tax system to them.

  2. The Liberty Tree Lantern views this as yet another reason why Wisconsin Can't Wait for the election to get rid of Governor Doyle.

  3. The Mayor's Page notes the story and sets off a comment discussion on the impact of Fond du Lac losing 1,900 some jobs.

  4. Dad29 weighs in: mulling over other factors that may be in play.

  5. Northshore Exponent pretty much says Doylediddit

Now, surprisingly enough that is about the sum total of the blog reaction to the MJS story and radio reports on the possibility of Mercury Marine consolidating in Oklahoma.

The Appleton Post Crescent presents a few notable facts. First, everyone in a position to know anything is not disclosing information, a lot of the standard comments saying things like "I have no comment on anything that may or may not be discussed", which essentially says (especially in light of the rumors) yeah we are talking about it.

Unlike the Thomas Products Case the state of unionization at both plants is being reported. The Post Crescent in the above story reports the Stillwater plant is not unionized and I know for a fact that there is a union at the Fond du Lac location and that union is the International Association of Machinists. In the Thomas Products case I had to talk to a friend involved with negotiations to save the jobs to find out there was unionization on both ends of the transfer (making the union factor equal in both locations).

I really fear for those jobs and if you think the job loss stops at 1,900 direct Mercury Marine employees you are mistaken.

I will be following this case closely.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Record Sales

I remember back in the mid 90s after Jerry Garcia died, I went to a local music store and could not find a Grateful Dead record in the shop. I bet the same thing is going on with Michael Jackson records around the world.

I was never a big fan of his but this is sad, if for no other reason, an icon from my younger days is gone. RIP Michael Jackson.

The HWY 23 Job Loss Corridor - Mercury Marine

Somewhat fresh off of the Thomas Products announcement in Sheboygan we are now starting to hear that Mercury Marine based in Fond du Lac may consolidate operations in Stillwater Oklahoma. That my friends, is one huge loss of jobs for Fond du Lac. I am guessing a number of people will transfer down but many will not and instead look for a new gig in Fond du Lac or the area.

A source I have reports they are uncertain if this will affect all of Mercury Marine but he notes the Oklahoma people believe this to be the case.

So, Wisconsin is once again bidding to save jobs this is starting to be a regular occurrence. Geeze, wonder why that could be?

The Onion once ran an article talking about how a vast tract of land was discovered between the East & West coasts of America. In the article they noted the places have names that seem to mean "summer vacation places", is that what Wisconsin is to become? Seems so.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Misrepresentation No Matter How You Say It

The other day I reported on Whallah abusing one of my posts. I referred to it as being taken out of context. Capper responds (in the comments) by saying it is paraphrasing but claiming being taken out of context is better for the martyr card. Whatever, because no matter if it was being paraphrased incorrectly or taken out of context (that is what I claim it is) Whallah misrepresents my post.

The gist of what Whallah was saying was that I was blaming the WI left for the outing of the relationship. I did no such thing. If they want to accuse me of blaming them for driving Jessica from the WI blogosphere I'll gladly accept that blame as it was the point.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Going Green — Iran and The Future

One of the talking point a lot of people are using to dismiss the events in Iran is that Mousavi is not all that different from Ahmednijihad, a view I hold at least in general. The implication being it is not worth supporting the Iranian Greens because the new boss will be the same as the old boss.

The position being contested is one that works within a framework of the mullahs who are the real power in Iran, they hold a veto over what the president does. I think it fair to move from that point to believing that Mousavi was a 100% approved candidate that his views on most affairs were not significantly different from the other candidates, Ahmednijihad included. However, it is quite obvious there is some terrible difference that at least the likes of Ayatollah Khameni can not tolerate.

Now, what would be my guess of Iran's future if the Green movement succeeds? I don't expect a full fledged Jeffersonian liberal democracy or republic to emerge. I expect a nation more liberal than its current self but it will be a very very long time before trendy cafes in Isfahan will be hosting showings of Eve Ensler's famous work. I suspect too, a nation more willing to give up some of its nasty habits (e.g. assasinations, supporting the likes of Hezbolalalah and Hamas) and perhaps a nation we would be okay with exploring nuclear energy. Remember, it isn't the weapon, but the finger on the trigger.

Now, as I said above, I agree Mousavi is probably not very dissimilar from Ahmednijihad, so why do I still support the Iranian Green movement? Because it weakens the mullah's grip on power on Iran, even if this movement fails it has both weakened the mullahs and unmasked them for what they are. If it succeeds it is hard to say what will happen to Mousavi if he will continue to ride the wave he is on or if other forces will displace him.

I do not fear Iran lurching in a less liberal direction on account of the Mullahs, but I do fear Iran lurching leftwards one site I was reading talked about the Marxists organizing labor strikes and they could very well be riding that wave at the end of the storm.

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Is Blogger Beer Breaking Out?

I see I have been taken out of context by one of the bigger WI Lefty blogs Whallah: Blogger Beer alternates between it's just people being human and it's all the lefties' fault. Does this mean I am finally coming of age in the Wisconsin blogosphere?

Here is what I said. My comments put into proper context state it is the fault of the lefties that Jessica quit blogging. Nowhere do I assign partisan blame to anyone over the affair, that blame lay solely with the participants in the affair. I also note the left is most likely full of mirth & glee something commonly referred to as schadenfreude — an all too human (and regrettable) trait.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Infidelity In the News

Two prominent people in Wisconsin have been outed as having affairs with each other.

One was a conservative blogger and she has been the subject of commentary here at Blogger Beer. In addition, I have commented on marital infidelity too. I'll not name names, I am sure a quick google can turn that information up for you here, I am not writing to expose them anymore than what has been done already.

I have tenuous contacts with the woman in this case and in the past she used to blog but stopped doing so due to the misogynistic venom the lefty Cheddarshpere spewed at her. I am sure, those same lefties are full of glee and mirth today to see this happen.

In my previous comments on the marital infidelity of Eliot Spitzer I noted it we should not be cynical or harsh on Eliot's wife because marriage is as much about forgiveness and assisting our spouse as it is about being faithful.

One should never be gleeful in the downfall of another, as downfall is an all too common occurrence for humans. I offer prayers of support and encouragement to both parties in this case that they may find healing and forgiveness.

It is not about hypocrisy or any other such thing (finding hypocrisy is as easy as finding speeders at a NASCAR race) it is just a reminder we are all fallen and morally crippled.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Twittercus - The Signal to Noise Ratio

Is very very low. I suppose that is sorta the intent is to pump out a lot of noise so as to make it hard for Iranian thugs to discern who is an Iranian they can go after and who is out of bounds.

I am seeing a number of messages that are verbatim 100x over. I would encourage new recruits to the Twittercus army to lurk and read for a bit, this will help you learn the reliable sources and the messages that do not need incessant repetition.


The purpose of this guide is to help you participate constructively in the Iranian election protests through Twitter.

1. Do NOT publicise proxy IP's over twitter, and especially not using the #iranelection hashtag. Security forces are monitoring this hashtag, and the moment they identify a proxy IP they will block it in Iran. If you are creating new proxies for the Iranian bloggers, DM them to @stopAhmadi or @iran09 and they will distributed them discretely to bloggers in Iran.

2. Hashtags, the only two legitimate hashtags being used by bloggers in Iran are #iranelection and #gr88, other hashtag ideas run the risk of diluting the conversation.

3. Keep you bull$hit filter up! Security forces are now setting up twitter accounts to spread disinformation by posing as Iranian protesters. Please don't retweet impetuosly, try to confirm information with reliable sources before retweeting. The legitimate sources are not hard to find and follow.

4. Help cover the bloggers: change your twitter settings so that your location is TEHRAN and your time zone is GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches. If we all become 'Iranians' it becomes much harder to find them.

5. Don't blow their cover! If you discover a genuine source, please don't publicise their name or location on a website. These bloggers are in REAL danger. Spread the word discretely through your own networks but don't signpost them to the security forces. People are dying there, for real, please keep that in mind...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Am Twittercus! NO! I'M TWITTERCUS

The events in Iran are testing the usefulness of the Internet application Twitter. The opposition in Iran is using Twitter to communicate with the world.

What is happening is those around the world in supporting the Iranian opposition are changing their settings so their location & timezone appear to be that of Tehran Iran. What this means is Iranian security agents have a whole lot of noise they need to filter in finding legitimate Iranians posting events to Twitter.

Boing-Boing publishes a set of guidelines for those of us hoping to support the Iranian opposition using Twitter. Common sense stuff, but it all needs mentioning.

Now how about the wisdom of shouting "I AM TWITTERCUS?".

Word of the events from Iran needs to get out, to show the nature of the regime in Iran. However, the opposition candidate Mousavi is part and parcel of the current Iranian regime. His victory over or loss to Ahmednuttyjihad is not significant. However, in the chaos the current Iranian regime could come crashing down. Robert Fisk is on the streets of Tehran and opines this unrest is not at all aimed at the revolution or Islamic rule and my notion that Mousavi is no reformer plays into Fisk's notion.

Wretchard at the Belmont Club made the following point:
I hate to interpolate my own experiences into current events because the parallels are inexact, but back in 1986, when Marcos’ Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile rebelled against the dictator, a million people rushed out to build a human wall around a man who only weeks before, was their arch-enemy. That was the EDSA Revolution. In the strange calculus of conflict, the enemy of the enemy is my friend. Yet the fundamentals remain. Enrile was no democrat and he was soon marginalized because most people understood that opportunism, not principle, led him to turn away from his dark master. He was forgiven his trespasses, but never trusted.
Source: The Belmont Club — Follow The Money
That is, even though Mousavi is a player of significance in the drama we are watching he does not have control over hte situation.

In the end, the Islamic Revolution in Iran may not be entirely repudiated but I have a hard time it is going to survive in its current form.

Getting Around Proxy Servers

I have discussed this before, but with the events going on in Iran I will open this discussion again.

One frequent tactic totalitarian states use to restrict access to certain websites is to make everyone access the web via proxy server. Those proxy servers can then be used to restrict and monitor web traffic.

Here is a tactic I used to get around proxy servers. It has its limitations, but it should work and provide inconspicuous access to websites.

Here are the conditions that need to be in place for this to work:'

  1. You have access to an internet account elsewhere in the world that does not have proxied web access.

  2. You can access that account through either telnet or secure shell, remote desktop, or similar.

  3. The account has all the standard Unix/Linux programs utilities.

Now what you need to do next is to get online and then connect to your foreign account. Once you have done that, you should be able to surf freely. Usually you will be using a low bandwidth access method such as telnet or SSH so you will have to use a text browser and that is lynx. You will not be able to see images but you should be able to submit forms & download images and files.

Using a client & protocol such as secure shell provides even more security as the traffic is encrypted with telnet data is not encrypted meaning Iranian thugs can read your traffic (though it will not appear like web traffic), I am guessing remote desktop will be mixed secure & insecure (plus remote desktop will not be lite in terms of bandwidth needs).


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Air Force One is Here!

Let it be known I am no fan of President Barak Obama or his policies. I considered joining the protests being organized by Todd LoHenry and Jerry Bader. That said and out of the way.

This is a very cool event. In fact, my brother just called to tell me Air Force one just flew over his house.

I had a close encounter with Air Force One back in spring of 2004 when I drove in the motorcade that conducted President Bush, staff, and guests from ATW to downtown Appleton and back. It was a thrilling experience. On the way I saw supporters and opponents lining the roads. Some opponents expressed respectful disagreement some did not. I am hoping today's protesters keep their disagreement respectful.

One thing though. I am going to hear complaints from people about being inconvenienced from the visit, we are going to hear people P&M about the expense to the local and national taxpayer. I have no sympathy for those arguments and in any event they tend to come from anti-President partisans trying to score cheap political points (especially the part about expenditure of taxes). This is a visit from OUR President no matter how you feel about his positions on matters it is a sign of respect from him to the many people of this nation for him to visit.

Presidential visits are not cheap. The expenditures for this trip began way before it was announced as I am sure his organization started planning this a long time ago and this means the Secret Service had to spring into action a long time ago as well.

So take the visit as a good and grand thing, because no matter who the President it, it is a scene to behold!

Tiered Healthcare

The debate in Green Bay is about publicly run health care.

I lived in a nation for six years that had a public health care system. Fortunately, they also had a private clinics and hospitals and did not bother if someone purchased insurance policies for overseas treatment.

One thing we were told in our introduction to the UAE course was — you get one visit to Hospital X don't waste it. Hospital X was a general hospital restricted to locals and those with good wasta. Otherwise ex-patriates were restricted to Hospital Y. Hospital Y's reputation was not great.

The point being, a dual track medical care system resulted. Does anyone think a publicly run health care system in this nation will result in anything different? All one has to do is to look at our public education system. There is no doubt a dual track system there. I fully expect the hospitals and treatment centers in Hollywood will be a lot better than those in let us say South Central Los Angeles.

Many note, one of the drivers of health care is indirect costs — that is, costs associated but not directly dealing with the delivery and provision of health care. Again, look at public education as an example of what will happen.

In any event, the old idea of comparing the costs of lasik & cosmetic surgery to that of other health care. The government and insurance companies do not pay out for lasik & cosmetic surgery — the costs are born directly by the consumer and look what is happening to those costs!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Service vs. Self Enrichment

I have come to be very sick of the phrase "false dichotomy" as it is being used and abused by the current administration. However, in this case that is a very concise description of a topic that has been publicly discussed by President Barak, Michelle Obama, and and and Rush Limbaugh.

The President and The First Lady have repeated (especially the First Lady) almost incessantly that we need to lead lives of service. However, they use service euphemistically.

Rush Limbaugh rightly criticizes the First Lady and the President for their attacks on profit, but he does not see the euphemism.

People do not profit unless they provide service. Service does not necessarily mean abasing one's self and joining Mother Teresa's Convent. That is what Michelle and the President are trying to tell us to do, not provide service to others but to join a vocation (vocations are not necessarily religious) and forswear material comfort. Ask the Franciscan Priests & Nuns how lives of prayer, service, and poverty does for them.

Service in terms of creating objects of value, be those objects food, art, computer programs, mowed lawns, etc is what people give money for. Without that service rendered one does not become wealthy.

To the President and the First Lady -- there is nothing wrong with getting rich, nothing wrong with striving to become a corporate attorney. It does not become you to suggest otherwise.

To Rush -- see their euphemism, service to our friends and neighbors is vital without providing service to others one is a lazy sluggard.

WWF Advert on Polar Bears

Two words:



When I lived in the UAE I saw a commercial talking about how the extinction of some tiger would happen in ten years. This was after the Internet came to the UAE so I got the website and visited and left a note. I complimented them on the use of that old and sure play — to claim a disastrous event is going to happen between five and ten years from now. Soon enough to lend urgency but distant enough people will forget to check on the accuracy of the predictions. I got a testy note back claiming X tigers were being killed/year and the population of tigers was 10X, I quite distinctly recall the "zinger" "You do the math".

One thing people learn if they keep with math & science long enough is that discovery lays in exploring assumptions. I did not take my correspondent's word on both tiger mortality & population. Not saying tiger populations are booming, but they are not extinct. Seems to me I have not heard of any tiger species going extinct lately and I have been away from the UAE for nearly 11 years now.

This polar bear ad the WWF put out is making the same play (the language is even more slimey than normal — most could be gone within our children's lifetimes). Now, it seems to me most reports on polar bear numbers is they are on the uptick: the Skeptics Society passes on a report that polar bear populations are 5x what they were in 1970 and the thought that warmer weather will most likely promote seal population growth. When your food availability increases your chance of survival increases.

Now, skimming this document, I see a lot of argument that the warming of the earth and disappearance of Arctic Ice will negatively affect the polar bears what I don't see is actual numbers (here is that advert again).

I keep coming back to this point: at what time in the past is the climate in its pristine state? It seems to me the answer to that question would probably be in the mid 1960s.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Jack Voight

Former state treasurer Jack Voight announced he is running for Outagamie County Executive. I am glad for it too, however, current County Executive Toby Palzer is not running for another terms so I will not see him go down in defeat.

So far only Jack Voight and Charlie Kramer have announced bids for the position.

I know and trust Jack so I am going to support Jack!

Really, I Did Not Think Adam Was That Obvious About "It"

Adam Lambert confesses he is gay. Really? I never would have known! Yes, that is sarcasm you detect. Makes him all the more perfect to replace Farooq as the head man for Queen.

You know, there is talk among Adam supporters that the Christians ganged up and voted against Adam. No, I don't buy that for a second, I think it was young women who voted for Chris, and yes I think the sexuality part had something to do with it. However, it was more subconscious than conscious — that is the young girls voted for the more virile guy.

Adam is a fantastic singer and performer, no doubt about that, but in the format American Idol is in, cuteness plays a role too and Adam is not a cute guy.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Political End Times

Remember from 2000 to 2008 how we constantly heard how President Bush and his administration would gin up an emergency and call off the elections and assume dictatorial powers? Sure, I recall hearing it all the time, in addition, I constantly was reading from those "in the know" how the administration was about to instigate a war with Iran?

Sure, I read about it all the time too. Those with sense realized what the talk was and that is paranoid lunacy — the cry of the "barking moonbat".

Well, I am seeing the same thing here on the right. Usually it comes in the form of election rigging via ACORN and similar. Of course, such talk does not account for dealing with the presidential term limit (where is the term limit for members of congress) but I am sure quite a few people will be able to come up with something, after all, many are not giving up on the notion that President Barak is not a citizen of the US.

When Obama Took Office

Gas was about $1.95/gallon, at least that was the average in Wisconsin on the day Obama took office. Now, we are looking $2.70/gallon and in the last few weeks the prices has been on the rise about a dime to two dimes per week.

Why, bring this up? Due to a bumper sticker I saw stating: When Bush took office gas was $1.48. I wonder if dude is going to replace that sticker with a similar one with Obama. At least President Bush advocated realist policies promoting energy independence whereas the current President is pursuing the energy fairy. In fact, it seems many of President Obama's supporters are hoping and pining for the days of hyper-expensive gasoline.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Burning Sun - The Shooting of Dr. Tiller & the Army Recruiter

What ground there was for this distinguished consideration
shall duly appear in the natural course of this lecture. I wish however to say just here that there was no foundation whatever for the charge that I in any wise urged or instigated John Brown to his dangerous work. I rejoice that it is my good fortune to have seen, not only the end of slavery, but to see the day when the whole truth can be told about this matter without prejudice to either the living or the dead. I shall however allow myself little prominence in these disclosures. Your interests, like mine, are in the all-commanding figure of the story, and to him I con-secrate the hour. His zeal in the cause of my race was far
greater than mine — it was as the burning sun to my taper light — mine was bounded by time, his stretched away to the boundless shores of eternity. I could live for the slave, but he could die
for him. The crown of martyrdom is high, far beyond the reach of ordinary mortals, and yet happily no special greatness or superior moral excellence is necessary to discern and in some measure appreciate a truly great soul. Cold, calculating and unspiritual as most of us are, we are not wholly insensible to real greatness; and when we are brought in contact with a man of commanding mold, towering high and alone above the millions, free from all conventional fetters, true to his own moral convictions, a " law unto himself," ready to suffer misconstriuction [sic], ignoring torture and death for what he believes to be right, we are compelled to do him homage.
Source: Full text of "John Brown. An address by Frederick Douglass, at the fourteenth anniversary of Storer College, Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, May 30, 1881" via the Internet Archive
So spoke Frederick Douglass on the Fourteenth Anniversary of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry Virginia. Recall John Brown was tried, convicted, and hung for treason.

John Brown attempted to solicit aid from Frederick Douglass for the Harper's Ferry venture. Frederick Douglass attempted to dissuade John Brown from the venture.

In both cases, I am quite sure the assailants fancied themselves as God's tool to destroy wickedness or at least rebuke it. However, how are proper Christians supposed to view this? Thinking about this leads to all sorts of contradictions not only in the viewing of current day events but in historical as well.

John Brown is advised by Frederick Douglass not to launch his raid, not on account of the violence entailed, but because of the likelihood of the plan's failure & Brown's death or capture. In the end, Frederick Douglass comes to hail John Brown as a martyr to the abolition cause. An even more interesting irony is the man who prosecuted John Brown is on stage sitting behind Frederick Douglass when he gave the above speech. Does the fact that Frederick Douglass praised John Brown and also agitated for violent action (though a more subtle form of it) make him and the cause bad? I hardly think anyone today will dispute the justice of the cause for which Brown hung.

If Dr. Tiller's murderer is subject to the death penalty then I hope it is applied. The pro-life movement and its supporters need to remember the story of Icarus, get too close to the burning sun and your wings melt.