The Future is BEB (Battery-Electric Buses)

This is a long piece by the great Dave Roberts in Vox, worth scanning at the very least, but the upshot is that as battery technology has leaped forward the market for electric buses is on the way to exploding.

Cities are going to be replacing their entire diesel fleets.  But these BEBs are better than the natural gas powered buses too.  Air pollution kills 6.5 million people a year around the world, with particulates from diesel engines being the largest offender.  The world is urbanizing and those urban managers have caught onto mass transit as a defining asset of the better places to live.  Quiet buses with no tail emissions are just what cities need, everywhere!

Finally, electric buses are also just a much, much nicer experience — lower to the ground, roomier (diesel engines take up lots of space), not choked with the smell of fuel, and quieter, indeed close to silent. It is difficult to quantify the impacts of noise pollution in urban areas, but, well, imagine a dense urban area without big diesel engines roaring to life every few seconds. It would be nice.

More than nice.  Kind of essential.

It Would Sure Be Nice If The “Smart” People Said Smart Things

David Gergen has been on CNN forever because he’s one of those unassailable, smart, bi-partisan people who worked for Democrats and Republicans so he’s got that all elusive “credibility.”  Only problem with all of that is he often says really dumb things that show he’s not some smart bi-partisan font of wisdom, he’s just another beltway creature with all of the built in prejudices of the beltway that tilt the field towards stupid in the main and Republicans in the particular.

Gergen:  Opposition research Funded by the Opposition Tarnishes it.

The right answer is that whoever funded the research means nothing, all that matters is whether it’s credible.  Also, too, in addition, it’s not like this document is the only reason that we have the Mueller investigation.

Of course, Trump and his jackbooted orangeshirts will shout that it’s all fake news because of course they jump on anything that can muddy the water.  Especially important since so far it’s held up under scrutiny.  Helping the turds by giving them the cover of making noises that seemingly back them up makes one want to gargle Clorox.

 

 

If the Swamp Actually Got Shit Done That Would be One Thing

I’m okay with some graft and looting so long as the greater good is being served and the overall tasks are being achieved.  If a union leader got a little something something for himself so long as the contract was fair and the workers did well, I’m good with that.

I’m certainly a good government guy, but you have to be flexible.  Not necessarily “forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown” flexible where murder and daughter fucking are part of everyday life, that sort of all pervasive corruption is never okay – see Russia!  But again, it’s just as self-defeating to be a strict by the book good government stickler and achieving as little as the corrupt bastards achieve.

Bush sucked and handed our military and many essential government services to companies like Halliburton, who could at least do the job.  With Trump we’re in another model of dysfunction, assigning very important contracts to campaign contributors’ companies that have no business, literally, getting that contract.

A tiny Montana utility company that received a $300 million contract to help restore power to Puerto Rico after its electrical grid was devastated by Hurricane Maria is financed by major Trump donors and run by a CEO friendly with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a series of recent reports has revealed.

The company had two full-time employees when the storm hit.  So Puerto Rico is still 85% dark and will be for a while.

This is so Trump, so GOP.  So awful for all of us.

 

Kelly Shows There’s No Hope For Decency, Proves His Trumpster Bona Fides

On social media there were people who had put all their faith into Gen. Kelly as a moderating force on Trump. They hope he’ll keep us out of war and the like. But today proved that no miracles are forthcoming from Kelly. If anything he’s there because his sensibility is more Trumplike than the hopers thought.

Imagine, if you will, if Kelly really was a decent person who could be Trump’s conscience. If Trump got into another stupid war of words over a gold star family, even worse with a new widow whose husband died on Trump’s watch and the typical Trumpist boasts of being better than Obama. Kelly could rap him on the wrist and tell him to back it up and fix it! It’s a sensitive situation, apologize and get it behind you. That’s what a decent chief of staff would have advised and done.

But that’s not what Kelly did. Kelly defended his bosses’ stupid, reflexive attack on the Congresswoman and his childish denial of what he said on the phone. In all of Kelly’s words he actually admitted Trump said it, while enabling Trump’s non-apology. Kelly added gasoline to the fire by further attacking the Congresswoman and spewing a few nonsensical culture attacks that merely show he’s the kind of older white man that, hey shocker, voted for Trump. Looking backwards at a time that never existed, when “women were sacred”.

He gave Trump’s bluster a veneer of sympathy by whoring out his own military experience, his son’s death, to paper over Trump. Sad!

People will say that Kelly made that speech to impress his boss. Nonsense. He made that speech because he’s a kindred spirit of his boss. He thinks like Trump, just moderately more responsible.

It was a pretty damning performance showing that nobody is going to rein in Trump’s worst instincts. If you can’t get him to stop a fight about insensitive words to the widow of a dead soldier, if you actually keep it going, you are no hope at all.

P.S.: in Kelly’s version of the story it was the Khan family that demeaned gold star families, not Trump.

P.S.S.: In reaching for a negative thing to drop about Congresswoman Wilson, Kelly got the facts wrong (lied) about the incident.  Film from the Miami Sun-Sentinel proves it.  Kelly is now officially a big liar like his boss.

Larry Elder to Sean Hannity: “17 unarmed black men were killed by the police last year. 17. That is not very many.”

So what are players even protesting?  That’s what passes for a hot take on Fox News.

17 unarmed black men were killed by the police last year. 17. That is not very many. As opposed to 5,000 blacks killing other blacks. Mostly young black men killing other young black man.

Larry Elder takes a knee in protest of other black people.

I Admit Things – Sexual Assault

Jim Jefferies is one of my favorite comics and he has a show on Comedy Central on Tuesdays at 10:30pm.  Last night he admitted to some self-reflection about sexual assault jokes after Mr. pussy-grabber won the election.  He said he thought he was doing okay as a man for all the “non-rape” he was committing, but now he feels like he can do much more to be sensitive to women.  Yes, we can all do better.

In thinking about the pervasive sexual assault problem it’s easy to think, “yeah but I’ve never done that.”  And then that voice in the back of your head says “oh yeah you have, remember that time…” and it comes flooding back.

I started thinking about how I grabbed the naked buttocks of stripper at a bachelor party.  Which is embarrassing.  She turned and shot me a look.  Her bouncer bodyguard came over and gave me a warning and I, me, had to sheepishly back away in shame while apologizing profusely and pleading that it won’t happen again.

Five minutes later the naked stripper was on top of my brother miming having sex with him, but nevermind, my lack of self-control in reaching out and touching her butt cheek makes me cringe about twice a year when I think of it.  The rule was no touching and I broke the rule.  And just because it was a naked stripper and I would never do that on  a subway car isn’t exculpatory.  I did it.  It was wrong.

But thinking about that brought back memories of a much worse incident.  It came back to me like a flood of shameful recovered memory.

When I was 11 or 12, in 6th grade, we had frequent Saturday night parties at each other’s houses.  Lots of boys, lots of girls in the group.  Up till that year, almost everything we did was separated by gender.  The boys played sports and hung out together.  The girls did whatever they did and hung out together.  This year, these parties, were the first time for all of us that we were involved in co-ed activities, not separated by gender.

There would be kissing games, of course.   But we also had a seance once and freaked a bunch of us out when we thought we brought back the spirit of John F. Kennedy.   It was varied, it was fun and it was exciting to be that age and to finally have human relationships with girls.

At one party, an older boy showed up.  He lived on my block and maybe, I can’t remember for certain, maybe I was responsible for him coming to the party.  He was probably in junior high at the time, 13, maybe 14.

I remember the party devolving into the boys chasing the girls around in order to grab and expose their boobs.  The older boy had a knife and tried to cut the girls bra straps.  I don’t remember if he succeeded.

Things get fuzzy trying to remember that far back, it’s pretty far back indeed.  I do know that the girls weren’t exactly happy with this.  It’s not like they wanted this.  However, I do know that there were no repercussions that I can recall.  I am not certain if what happened that night essentially just went unspoken thereafter.  I’m curious to reach out to people who were likely there that night  and see if they have recollections of it, I don’t completely trust my own because I know memory is not reliable.

I do know that I ran into one of the girls at that “party” years later, as adults.  I recognized her and stopped her, excited to see her.  She seemed cold and uninterested in a reunion.  I remember at the time wondering if that stupid night was the cause.  Although I could swear that we had remained friends after that year, through junior high and high school, that meeting on the street felt like a cold shower along with her cold shoulder.  I had liked her in school and I think maybe I had exposed her breast that night.  Maybe the next day we went on about our lives as if it hadn’t happened.  But maybe she really didn’t.   Maybe only I did.  To think that her memory of me from those days are that I assaulted her, not that I was a classmate and a friend, is pretty haunting.

In both of these instances I saw how my own best instincts could be completely disregarded in the bravery of the crowd.  Oh it can happen to any woman and any man can do it under the right circumstances, I know it.