Tuesday, May 19, 2009

GOP Change

"This change, my friends, is being delivered in a teabag."

"And that's a wonderful thing." Wild Applause
Michael Steele to the RNC

Your laughter is optional...

Harley Porn

What you're looking at is a 2009 Screaming Eagle Springer Softtail by Harley Davidson's Custom Vehicle Operations. What that amounts to is one had motor scooter.
***Click the picture for full size***

CVO is a separate operation from Harley's assembly for stock bikes, they are Harley Davidsons built the way afficianados would modify their bikes.

The engine is a Screaming Eagle 110 cubic inch (1800cc) hot rodded V-twin. The motor produces 110 lb/ft of torque at 3000 rpm, if that doesn't mean much to you suffice to say, a boat load of power.

The transmission is a 6 speed with 6th gear being an overdrive that is used above 60 mph. In the first 5 gears if you are at the sweet spot in the power curve and turn up the throttle it goes like a rocket - I haven't tried that in 6th, guess why.

This version of the springer front end is very accurate in tracking and subdues road nasties very nicely. Having spent my riding career on bikes with tube forks I am astonished by how nicely this thing handles.

The tank close up shows off the details that all the bike's flames have. I have friends who are professional painters and they are astonished by what Harley has done with this bike. The silver part is the metal that has been scored with a machine tool to create the appearance of waves while the paint surface is smooth as glass.

When you deal with a lot of power you need some rubber on the road, this is a lot of rubber on the road. That amount of mass spinning at the circumfrence of a wheel increased the gyroscopic effect, leading to increased stability.
This is a rider's bike and if you like Harleys you'd love this one. Well, maybe I'm prejudiced since it's mine...

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Short One On The Harley Break

I present for your consideration a new Harley, a springer soft-tail.

***click for full size***

It is a very new Harley, it has about 250 miles on the odometer in this picture. What you are looking at is one of Harley Davidson's "Custom Vehicle Operation" products. This is a Screaming Eagle Soft-tail, which means it is a custom built motorcycle packing a hot rod 110 cubic inch engine (1800cc for the metricly inclined) and assorted high end improvements put together in Harley's one-off shop with a custom paint job.

The travel gear is now off of it and once I get the bug slaughter removed I'll take some "Harley porn" shots of it. There are some nice travel pictures now on file but I'm too worn to amuse you tonight, the trip was right at 400 miles on a brand new bike. I'll close on this note, this is one bad motor scooter.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Chuck for..." Taking A Harley Break

Due to some re-thinking of logistics this blog will be taking a break Friday and Saturday and the logistics have to do with laptops and cement mixers called Harley Davidson. This map shows where I'm going from (Baker City) and to (Salem) and some idea of the topography. The other day I reserved a nice room complete with WiFi so I could do some blogging for my loyal audience on my laptop. My bike is clean of the additional features many big bikes have, things like windshield, faring, suitcases, highway pegs, you know - stuff. I have over-the-seat leather saddle bags sort of like horse back saddle bags that only go on the bike for trips requiring gear.

I have room to strap the laptop on board in its carry case since I am riding solo. My concern is the 40 cubic inches each cylinders in the V-twin with pistons going up and down fore and aft in a 45 degree V. The problem being that there are no countervailing forces in the equation of mass in motion. The upshot is that it has Harley shake at an idle and engine vibration at speed - thus the reference to cement mixer. Over 5 hours of sustained vibration could be very hard on something with rather delicate moving parts included in its design like a laptop. My body won't tolerate more than about 2 hours of high speed travel vibrations at a time and I'm even more dubious about the lap top so it stays home. No laptop means no blogging so you're on your own for a couple days.

I'll try to make up for it by taking the nice and very capable digital camera and shooting some cool pictures. There will be two Harleys in this little jaunt of several mountain ranges and pretty much 300 miles of two lane riding. George, my pal, will be riding a 2003 Anniversary Deuce and I'll be on the 1998 Super Glide. The Deuce is a large frame low slung bike and the Super Glide is a medium frame semi-low riding bike and the Deuce has a somewhat larger engine and his is also clean of add-on creature comforts. The style of both bikes is commonly called cruiser versus either sport or touring. Either is capable of running over 85 miles per hour all day long but they lack rider saving accessories like windshields and fairings and luggage capabilities. The Deuce has a counterbalanced engine which seriously reduces engine vibration that the Super Glide didn't have at the time of build.

I don't scoff at other people's non-Harley bikes, they suit their owners tastes and needs as the Harley does mine. Harley Davidsons are what they are and there is no sense owning one if you don't want that because they are aggressively just that. There are some other V-twin builders and their bikes have the same characteristics and they sure aren't for everyone. The big V-twins aren't high revving motors, they are torque monsters - the Super Glide will happily idle along at 35 mph in top gear (5th) and accelerate without bogging. There is a reason going for a ride on a Harley is referred to as going for a putt - they will happily burble along at engine speeds other bikes simply won't tolerate. There are a lot of riding philosophies just as there are a lot of bikes and I break the wind with my body and do my bug killing personally which would drive many people crazy and the only music going on is the roar of the V-twin (and it does). The bows to civilized riding are fenders and turn signals - I am very much riding a bike not driving a car and that is what I want to do.

Some of the really great riding is available around here and any of the "Chuck for" crowd that'd like to go for a putt are cordially invited to do so - a standing invitation and it needn't be a Harley, just able to keep up. See ya in a couple days...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dawn Johnson Hung Out To Dry? Our Senate? Whose?

Barack Obama's choice to head the DOJ's OLC, Dawn Johnson, is hung up in the Senate for a lack of 60 votes to move the nomination to the floor. This hang up is supposedly because she did legal work for a pro-choice organization years ago - that might have something to do with anything if the OLC had anything to do with abortion. It doesn't, but what Dawn Johbson's real sin is was her endorsement of the rule of law. You know law, that thing the DOJ is supposed to enforce? Well, there are limits, like whether or not you were a part of the Bush Administration. In case you were, then you are obviously not to be a part of the enforcement function of the DOJ - you are special, you are elite, you are exempt because...because...well it would be really inconvenient if the powerful had to follow rules, those are for the little people, the proles.

If you want to know how you're represented in the Senate take a look at this issue. Who the fuck do you think you are to assert that any law you are subject to applies to the powerful? You do realize that a whole 33 Senators voted to cap credit card interest at 15% while those companies are charging up to 41% on money the Fed is handing out essentially for free. Try going into that business and charging that rate and you'll be jailed for loan sharking. You know there is a little matter of TARP funds for most of those issuers and Fed bailout funds of untold TRILLIONS. But a 15% cap is so damn unreasonable that only 33 bleeding heart socialistic communist running dog Senators could be rounded up to vote Yea.

Since you aren't a bank or a torturer of helpless humans you DO NOT COUNT. I'll just bet when you voted for one of these pricks you thought you were voting to be represented, didn't you... Too bad for you.

Any Teabaggers listening? Not a chance.

Lindsey Graham On Torture - WTF, Over

If you understand this crock of horse manure you have a very convoluted brain. This moron contradicts himself every other sentence.

When you try to defend the indefensible you are going to have a real big problem with using reason. The funniest part of this is Lindsey's claim to having been a prosecutor most of his life - certainly not now - I'm curious how his reasoning applies to those he put behind bars.

Let me be real clear, I rank torturers and their apololgists with child rapists and keeping their goddam partisan tour away from me would be real damn smart. That's right Lindsey, I don't have a polite adjective to hang with your name and I sure don't have a polite reaction to you. Ten years ago you'd be a pariah for this little speech - that you aren't today speaks volumes to the levels of debasement to which GWBushCo took this nation. I've had you pathetic worms, all of you and your debased supporters.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

GOP, How Does This Work?

While I realize that most of the Bush Admin. was Republican, how does it work out for the GOP to play the role as the Party of Torture? How does it work out for that Party to have the figurehead of the news cycle be one of the least popular figures in the public mind, Dick Cheney, snarling and grumping about a popular President making the nation less safe. In fact how does it work to their advantage to have the serial exaggerator of smoking gun mushroom cloud WMD Iraq al Qaida issues make the case that this President is risking our lives? In point of fact, how is it in the interests of the GOP to have someone as physically unappealing and as rhetorically disturbing as Cheney continually lowering the bar for the Republican torture appologists to limbo under? As hard as it may be to believe, this guy's popularity is now lower than it was when he and GeorgeII escaped office.

Americans have shown themselves to be a bit tired of angry fearmongering and disaster portending and ready for some optimism. Not some Americans, a whole lot of them have shown a disinclination to be bullied anymore - especially by Republicans. They'd like to feel good about themselves and their prospects and even their government and what the opposition is treating them to is anger and fear. It is probably fortunate for the future of the nation that the Democrats are frequently their own opposition Party because the (R) version of opposition isn't doing the job.

It isn't my part to offer these people good advice, it would be worth it's price in how much attention they'd pay to it and besides - I think they really suck in this incarnation. I don't care if the Grand Old Party vaporizes itself, a responsible opposition will arise in its place and they deserve that fate. I don't care for Charlie Christ, I've called him an unrepentant liar for the trouble he tried to stir in the Democratic Presidential Primaries - and he was. But he also is their best chance of holding onto Martinez's Senate seat and someone who has shown that he can cooperate with the other Party in the interest of his State's citizens. That instinct could also play out to the interests of his nation's citizens as a Senator, a rather large plus for the Party of Torture. What he's got is a Club For Growth opponent in a Primary he ought to win easily otherwise and he'll emerge with less money and banged up if he manages to win.

They can play at being Theocrats trying to impose their religious order on a nation deeply suspicious of it and Teabagging squeals of imaginary socialism and government intrusion against an Administration trying to shed the Imperial Presidency of their predecessors and their offenses against the Bill of Rights and large chunks of the Constitution. They can do that and please an ever shrinking piece of the electorate - and lose. With the losses will come increasing desperation and lack of credibility and influence. The only aspect of importance in their demise is what happens in the period of their impotence and the rise of a party with actual ideas relevant to the electorate of the US.

I don't care for the version of partisanship that is the victory of my tribe versus theirs, a clan based mindless competition. What they've managed to create is an atmosphere where I whole heartedly advocate the destruction of the stinking dead corpse of their supposed ideology based entirely on their initial, (R). What elements of value they had have either been abandonded or slaughtered by their politicians in the service of fear and greed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Oregonian Is An Ass, Once Again - About Guns

As a blogger and as a citizen I am a vast fan of printed newspapers. I am also a willing critic when they engage in assholedom. The Oregonian's Editorial about keeping concealed weapons permits public record is such an engagement - possibly wedding. They assert that their opposition to restricting access to these records allows Sherriffs to be reckless and unaccountable. First though they strike out at an Oregon Representative.
Indeed, Eugene Democrat Chris Edwards said of the measure, House Bill 2727: "It's about protecting the rights of the good guys. This is not about protecting the rights of punks, of hooligans, or meth tweakers."

There is a word for this sort of overblown rhetoric. Pandering.

"Pandering?" Well now, suppose we wait a bit and see about pandering...
In the 20 years that concealed-carry permits have been public, no violence has been committed against an Oregon concealed-weapons permit holder -- by a punk, hooligan, tweaker, cuckolded spouse, gulled lender or any other kind of bad guy -- because the victim's name was on a gun permit.

Does it pass muster as pandering to make an entirely unsourced and most probably unknowable assertion like this? That might be a reach so we'll move right along. Oh wait, there's a loon waiting in the wings.
In fact, the only recent connection we've noticed between crime and gun permits was the recent news item mentioning that Jiverly Wong, who murdered 13 people in Binghamton N.Y., last month, e-mailed his back to the police department before going on a shooting spree. Among other things, it makes you wonder what would prompt a police agency to give Wong a permit in the first place.
More importantly, there is the matter of just how good a job Oregon sheriffs actually do in properly enforcing even this lax law. State Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, and an outspoken advocate of stronger gun laws, said that a recent rough cross-comparison between a list of permit-holders and a list of jailed criminals showed hundreds of apparent matches.

There is no mention of any single actual instance of this in the entire editorial. Note, they talk about possibilities not facts. It would be a simple enough matter to bring forward a fact - they don't and neither does Ginny - serial 2nd Amendment infringement offender.

Citizens ought to be able to easily check whether their sheriffs are doing their duty properly, or whether they're giving out concealed carry permits to every Jiverly Wong who strolls up to the front desk.

The big closer, pandering in its most offensive and lying form. You cannot stroll up to any desk anywhere in Oregon and just get a concealed weapon permit, not even close to it, not even in the same universe as it. You can take a state mandated course conducted by a state approved instructor in order to qualify to apply, then you will pass an extensive background test and provide recommendations from known responsible citizens and then have a photo and fingerprints taken. You will be provided no legal relief for any crime committed while carrying, in fact they will be enhanced.

A load of tripe suitable for lining a hamster cage, inhabited by more evident brain power than the author of this. Which other pieces of information will they push to have public, driver's licenses? There are very good reasons for some pieces of personal information out of general hands. This thing is evidence of the wisdom of keeping keyboards out of some people's hands. Ah well, The Oregonian is failing pretty fast - lack of talent and relevance?

Monday, May 11, 2009

DPO Gun Owners Caucus To Sen Wyden

Senator Ron Wyden
223 Dirksen Senate Office BuildingWashington, DC 20510-3703

RE: Supreme Court nominations and the Second Amendment

Dear Senator Wyden:

We are writing to you on behalf of the members of the Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon. As a caucus, the second largest within the DPO, we exist to promote appreciation and understanding of the Second Amendment within the Democratic Party, and to work for the election of Democratic candidates within Oregon to further our party’s goals of economic justice and civil rights for all.

One way in which we work for the election of Democrats is in advertising our party’s strong record on civil liberties, including respect for the Second Amendment. Our members represent every county in Oregon from the most liberal to the most conservative but share the central belief that individual gun ownership is a Constitutional guarantee and one that has served to support our Democratic freedoms.

The official position of the Democratic Party of Oregon shows the same depth of support for the Second Amendment as it does for the entire Bill of Rights. The party’s official position on gun ownership as a right is summed up in Resolution 2005-008, which was overwhelmingly passed by the members of the State Central Committee in 2005. This resolution reads as follows:


WHEREAS, the Democratic Party has long been dedicated to the preservation of civil liberties; and
WHEREAS, the Democratic Party has long been dedicated to the preservation of freedom and social justice.


Section 1. To recognize and support the right to keep and bear arms in Article 1 Section 27 of the Oregon State Constitution and the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America as an individual right not granted by the government, but rather guaranteed by the government.

Section 2. In recognition of the tremendous personal responsibility engendered by the right to keep and bear arms, the Democratic Party of Oregon further advocates severe penalties and their enforcement for criminal use or misuse of the right.”
Further information on our caucus and the position of the Democratic Party of Oregon regarding Second Amendment guarantees is posted on the party website: http://www.oregondemocrats.org/gun_owners

Today we are writing on behalf of our members to express our hopes and concerns for the replacement of retiring Supreme Court justice David Souter.

President Obama has made his position clear in regards to Second Amendment rights—he has stated he agrees gun ownership is an individual right. In this position the president shows his agreement with by both the Democratic Party of Oregon and the precedent set by the Supreme Court in last year’s landmark ruling “District of Columbia vs. Heller.” As Democrats it is our greatest hope that the president will follow up on these expressed beliefs and in his first Supreme Court nomination assuage the concerns of those gun owners who would otherwise vote Democratic if they were convinced of the sincerity of the party’s support for gun rights. We believe this can best be done by choosing a nominee with a strong history of supporting both Second Amendment rights and the concept of stare decisis, especially in landmark cases such as Roe v. Wade or D.C. v. Heller which have settled long-standing civil rights struggles.

We do not feel researching the background of a nominee to gauge his or her prior opinions or readiness to uphold or overturn prior case law represents a litmus test or unreasonable queries. Further, given the freshness of the Heller decision, we suggest and request you should do a service to those who value civil liberties by asking direct questions about the Heller case, in addition to other cases directly affecting interpretation of the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments.

The Oregonian recently noted that during a town hall meeting you held in Fossil, Oregon this year, a young girl asked you what so many in the crowd were clearly thinking—“Is the president going to take away our guns?” Your response, in our view, was perfect—you noted that the president has done nothing to diminish Second Amendment rights and you do not believe he intends to. We believe it is of utmost importance that future events allow this statement remain true. It would be even better if the president were to do something truly positive for gun owners by appointing a justice with a deep passion for the Second Amendment and empathy with the concerns of the 30 million gun owners who voted for President Obama in 2009. There are as well as millions more watching who would also vote for Democrats if only for their concerns around this single issue could be soothed with action as well as words.

Appointment of a pro-gun rights, pro-Heller-decision justice with a history of respect for stare decisis is, in our opinion, how the president and yourself can “seal the deal” with gun owners in Oregon and through the U.S. Please do not miss this opportunity to show Democratic support for this central tenet of American democracy.

Sincere regards,

Zak Johnson, Chair Chuck Butcher, Vice Chair Brian Reichhoff, Treasurer
Portland, OR Baker City, OR Portland, OR

Contact: Zak Johnson, 503-230-2314, Zakariah.Johnson@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

jeff Sessions And The Confederate Party of Republicanism

Some have mentioned the Republican Party having some difficulties with minorities and youth in the voting arena. What is the upshot of putting an unreconstructed racist pig asshole like Jeff Sessions in Minority Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee? This is the guy who as a US Attorney referred to a white lawyer litigating for black civil rights as a disgrace to his race. If that one doesn't get you, how about calling the ACLU a communist inspired organization? It might get you going that he prosecuted blacks for voter fraud and ignored white fraud - and by the way, lost.

It is only fair to note that he called filibustering SCOTUS nominees as destructive to the Constitution and the democratic process. Sure, that was Republican Bush nominees he was talking about...

There are some rightwing loons in the Republican side of Congress, Sessions is the exemplar on the Senate side. Grassley and Hatch were too liberal for the seat...too librul. There were warning signs of a cliff in front of the Republican juggernaut, they just ran over the signs.

Filed seriously under "Terminal Stupidity."

Monday, May 04, 2009

Where To Republicans?

There has been a lot of talk and punditry about where the Republicans go from here and what they need to do to get somewhere. They do have a real problem, it's called the Democratic Party. That could be taken as silly partisanship, it isn't.

The problem Republicans have is what to offer and what that would be that isn't Democratic if it isn't what they've got now. Try it as an exercise, come up with some political points for them to use that would appeal to a sufficient number of voters to be competitive in a Presidential race held now without a (D) being required after the name of the candidate. The whole point in having more than one Party is that being a member of one isn't pretty much the same as being the member of the other one.

A 20% base is a real problem because it leaves a heck of a lot of ground to make up with those who aren't just your own. It gets even worse if you toss most of that 20% overboard even if they drive you into a ditch with a huge chunk of the electorate. Bases are real important to parties, especially in mid-term elections because they will come out and vote - they care. The hard core base of the Democratic electorate is well left of most politicians but they lack a religious fervor that runs through much of the Republican base.

You, as the imaginary leader of Republicans, have to come up with something that doesn't send the base screaming into the streets and yet not only doesn't offend the middle but actually appeals to them. You now have a real problem. I may laugh at some of the things Michael Steele says, but I also recognize what a hard spot he is in. (no, I don't feel sorry for him)

Presupposing a catastrophe for the Republicans in 2010&12 takes some rather undecided issues as successful for the Democrats and that is a bit of a stretch. The economy and warfare/terrorism are both open questions at this point, but supposing abject failure there is not a good basis for building a Party back. (any more than taking success as granted is a swell idea) The personality of the President and many of the more vocal high ranked members presents additional problems for building the Republican Party.

It's tough to use anger and fear as a basis for political success, it is generally a short term strategy - seen by the current state of Republicanism. The Republican voices are pretty much angry and fearful. Americans have heard a lot of that for about two decades, more if you take into serious account some of the Reaganisms. It involves tiring emotions, it wears and wears, and that is an awful lot of it. Tea Parties weren't about sunshine and flowers, their basis was anger and fear; and worse than that - regarding fake issues. Howling about taxes at historic lows is silliness and fury over socialism in the face of what actual socialism is about seems...well excessive. As a movement it is a complete loss, it appeals to those who wouldn't vote Democratic, ever - it is essentially a tribal ritual.

I am somehow underwhelmed when those who are directly dependent on those government bailouts cry socialism about very limited interference by the biggest investor in their business. As Wall Street is yanked back up the cliff they've driven off of they yowl about the undeserving getting breaks, penalizing success, and governmental interference. Biting satire can't do justice to the howlingly funny aspect of them advocating policies for everyone else that would have put them into the poor house - or at the short end of a lynching rope and the entire economy into chaos. Worse yet, Republicans wind up yoked to the Libertarians and that is sufficiently looney-tunes to be real off-putting to ordinary voters.

It isn't a good bet that an unfettered Democratic Party won't make stupid mistakes like re-igniting a seriously based gun rights fight. Currently there is no stomach for it; sorry NRA your Republican allies are full of it and so are you. Some time ago the NRA ceased to be a Second Amendment organization, they dumped their credentials some time ago and became a right wing noise machine with gun pictures. I was a member forever and a day but not anymore, I can't take a Glen Beck whoredom seriously. The Second Amendment isn't about left and right, it's all about authoritarianism and I'll have that fight but not on their terms.

The point of these examples isn't to make fun of Republicans, it is to point out that today they are dependent on nearly complete failure and stupidity by Democrats. That isn't a positive position, it is entirely negative - The Party Of No. That just won't do. The Confederate Party of Republicanism won't do. Counting on the Democratic Party breaking up into pieces won't do. Politics demands action, things that can be perceived as positive in direction. One part of the Republican Party could re-brand as the Christian Republican Party and probably keep much of the base and cast loose the business oriented wing though I have no idea where civil libertarians would go (the few who haven't already bailed). A business oriented arm could peel off some of the Blue Dog Democrats maybe called the Republicans. (I bet the Christian wing keeps the name, though) Folks like Ben Nelson are already under some strain as Democrats but the religious wing is too much strain for a switch now.

The real battle ground is the non-affiliated voters, sometimes called Independents. A real problem the Republicans are running into is that their religious base scares them or offends them, beyond the failure of the capitalistic agenda policies just in the past. Given the nature of the current Democratic Party it is hard to see how they over-reach and offend the middle in that regard. It is a problem for Republicans that statistically more Democrats are church going and their marriages last longer. Tossing in being The Torture Party doesn't help much in that regard.

So, Republicans where do you go or does it have to be done for you?

****Want a nightmare for Republicans? People have four years to get used to a black guy President, the economy recovers strongly, and diplomacy is relatively successful - ouch.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Go Get'em Senator Merkley

Some months ago I was helping this guy with his election and we were Chuck and Jeff, now it's a bit different, he's Senator Jeff Merkley (OR-D) and out there doing the things he said he would; not only for Oregon but the USA. If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Oregon's freshman Senator, make it happen. You will find a very intelligent, dedicated, and down to earth man - an Oregonian - prepare to be charmed.

MSNBC had our Senator on the Ed Show Thursday 4/30, take a look.

Sure, I'm a Democratic activist; but it sure is easy to support people like Sen Jeff Merkley.

Banks And Cram Downs

They may no longer be the Masters of the Universe but bankers proved they are the Masters of the Senate today. Legislation enabling bankruptcy judges to renegotiate the terms of mortgages went off the rails today with Democratic Senatorial help.

Now in case you buy into the idea that such a thing would create a situation of lessening personal responsibility you need to look at the reality is that second home mortgages and yachts and such are subject to cram downs, just not primary residence mortgages. You can see the justice in that, it should be obvious that those who can afford such things are morally superior to the proles who can only afford one house and no yachts. People like bankers, who can, certainly should not be subjected to the onus of just losing their second homes or yachts or...really anything.

Bankers didn't think much of the idea...

Ah well, Republicans are happy too, so all is not lost for everybody.

Souter To Retire

Justice David Souter plans to retire from the US Supreme Court. Despite being picked by George HW Bush Souter has in his late career been a fairly liberal justice. Perhaps this would be a way out of the 9th Circuit for Bybee, there's a pick for you. Surely his torture memos are a pretty liberal interpretation of law, liberal with the BS brush...

This will be interesting to watch - especially the part where Republicans lose their collective minds.