Saturday, October 30, 2010

Where’s That Leave You?

You know?...I read a line once, in a book (at least I thought it was in a book) and it has haunted me ever since. I finally Googled it and -- much to my surprise -- I found it was in the movie Mississippi Burning. Maybe it was in the book. I don’t remember reading the book but I don’t remember a lot of things I’ve done in life.

Anyway, it’s a ugly line. I guess the language of hate always is. But there’s a truth in it that won’t leave me alone. I knew at the time I read it (or heard it) that it explained much about what I knew of the South. It still does.

Think about that line -- "If you ain't better than a nigger, son, who are you better than?” -- in today’s reality.

If you were brought up to believe whites were better than blacks, where’s that leave you when a black man is President of the United States?

”Where does it come from, all this hatred?”

Mostly, it comes from fear. Mixed with shame. It bred a hatred that still lives today. And if you don’t think so, you haven’t read this story.

Protester Is Stomped Before Debate in Kentucky

”With tensions running high in the Kentucky Senate race, a volunteer for Rand Paul, the Republican candidate, assaulted a liberal activist in Lexington Monday night, stomping his foot on her neck and shoulder.”

Do you really think a Republican volunteer stomping a woman’s head into a curb in Kentucky is any different that what happened in the South back in the 60s? Do you not think this evil has the same roots? Mr. Paul will throw his supporter under the bus of course. That is how this game has always been played. The point is that Rand Paul empowered him in the first place.

Do you think Sharron Angle with her “Second Amendment remedies” is any different?

”TPM reports this morning that Angle was a member of the far-right Independent American Party, a pro-gun, states-rights party...”

I’ve told you about “States rights” before. It is still a message of hate no matter how you dress it up. It always has been. Remember where Ronald Reagan gave that speech? That’s right, Mississippi. Just a few miles down from where those young men were murdered in Mississippi Burning. Maybe you should watch that clip again.

Election day is coming up. You need to get out the vote. You really don’t want The Confederate Party to win. Trust me on that one.

Don Brown
October 30, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mark This Down

The news for the Democrats in the upcoming election looks bad. It is shaping up to be a historical moment. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you have probably already pieced all this together. For those that don’t read this blog (and the links), let me make a short summation.

The Great Recession began under President George Bush. A Democratic Congress and President Bush bailed out the financial system (TARP) before Obama got elected. It isn’t what I would have done but it worked. For the most part. Except for unemployment.

The stimulus Bill -- passed under President Obama -- was too small. The Republicans -- by filibuster -- made sure it was. Unemployment stayed high. This half-a-loaf approach has made it seem as if the stimulus failed. It’s like saying you got kicked out of your apartment for only paying half the rent. Paying rent wasn’t the problem. Not paying enough was.

A second stimulus was needed. There have been some things done, but nothing as nearly massive as what was needed to cure unemployment at nearly 10 percent. If the Republicans win the House (as appears likely), there won’t be any more stimulus. There will be a long, slow, painful period -- much like what Japan has suffered for the last decade.

If you won’t believe me -- if you won’t believe the people I point you towards; Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, perhaps you’ll believe the Financial Times of London. At least their chief economics correspondent, Martin Wolf.

You can read the story (free registration is required) or watch the video.

”That’s very disturbing...

...we’re looking at many, many years of weak growth given the lack of stimulus...”

You’ve been warned. In 10 years, you won’t be able to say you weren’t. You won’t be able to feign ignorance -- that you didn’t know what could happen -- or your inability to change the course of history. Getting people to vote is done one person at a time. Changing someone’s mind isn’t a two-minute process. It’s a long process requiring patience and persistence.

”I think most of the criticisms are just pure politics. They have nothing to do with a serious analysis of what’s happened.”

You can be helpless or you can vote. You can be helpless or you can try to convince your friends and neighbors that they might want to listen to what economic experts are saying. Instead of Fox News. Or Glenn Beck. Or their local candidate.

Mark this down. In 10 years you’ll want to remember this period so you can tell your kids -- how we succeeded. Or how we failed. How poisonous politics triumphed over rational analysis. How fear defeated intelligence.

Or how Americans proved everyone wrong. How ordinary Americans saw through all the rhetoric and made the rational choices. You’ll want to know how America led the world out of The Great Recession.

Our fate hangs in the balance. As always, it is in the hands of the American voters. Make sure you are one of them. Take somebody with you.

Don Brown
October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-27-10

Rain. Wind. Overcast. I was supposed to be photographing the fall colors. After all that driving, the conditions were disastrous.

You can’t get lucky if you don’t show up.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

Sunrise on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Mount Pisgah overlook.

There are (or will be) more on Facebook.

Don Brown
October 27, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-25-10

I was on the edge of a thunderstorm this morning. You know what that’s a traveling day. I’ll post when I can.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

Don Brown
October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-24-10

I like when pictures stand on their own -- without an explanation. And I think this one does.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

There are times, though, when even I want to explain a picture. This isn’t a sunrise. It was taken 17 minutes before civil twilight began -- over 40 minutes before sunrise. This is the lake lit by a full moon.

Don Brown
October 24, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mica Messing Up

I don’t even remember what got me started on Congressman Mica this morning. I know I read about his latest exploit over at the Earth-bound Misfit but there was something else a few days ago too. Oh well. Whatever it was, I’m sure it was bad. That’s just the way it goes with Congressman Mica. Take a look at the history. (And make sure you read some of the comments.)

Bill to reopen FAA labor negotiations fails

”A lone lawmaker, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., argued against the legislation, stating that Congress' responsibilities are to the taxpayers and to a sound aviation system.”

Mica Gives Air Traffic Controller a Hard Time

Mica, of course, is entitled to his opinions and his personal style. But if he wants to continue playing a lead role in addressing FAA policy, he might use his political capital to better effect.

That particular incident is worth watching. Congressman Mica plays nice (in his own awkward manner) with Captain Sullenberger and his crew. But if you’ll watch, you can see he’s really just trying to set up the controller. Unfortunately for Congressman Mica, he’s clueless about the principles of air traffic control -- much less the nomenclature. Geez, talk about “dumbing down”. Be sure to catch the moment when the air traffic controller -- Patrick Harten -- bursts Mica’s bubble without even trying. Funny how “just being honest” seems to work for controllers.

You have to wonder why the folks in Florida keep reelecting this guy.

Don Brown
October 22, 2010

P.S. I almost forgot about his appearance with “Hookers and Blow”.

Today’s Photo 10-22-10

Moonset on the lake this morning.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

No one is more surprised than me that this photo actually worked. Technical info so fellow photographers can scratch their heads.

Nikon D80 -- Nikon 80-200mm F2.8

116mm F8@13 seconds ISO 100

Don Brown
October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

At Least They Aren’t On Fire

For the non-Southerners out there, I saw a perfect example of national politics on a local (Southern) scale yesterday. I didn’t have to look far. I was “in town” doing some business and picked up the local newspaper. On the front page, taking up the entire bottom half (minus the advertisement) was this story:

‘Still a Christian nation:’ Local church going on campaign

”“Our president has made a statement that we’re no longer a Christian nation,” said Associate Pastor Kenneth Horton of Family Worship Center, a Congregational Holiness church on Church Street in Griffin.”

Well. That was certainly news to me. It never ceases to amaze me. No matter how many papers I read, newscasts I watch or radio programs I listen to, I always seem to miss the big news. Even if it’s old news. Check the date on this from

"Did Obama say we "are no longer a Christian nation"?

Unfortunately for Obama, he stumbled just a bit when he delivered the actual quote, as can be seen in this video of his speech, posted on YouTube by the Obama campaign. The way it actually came out was:

Obama, June 28, 2006 (as delivered): Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers. ”

The fact that some whacky Christians have decided to start a movement (that nobody has joined) doesn’t bother me. This nation was founded by whacky Christians. What bothers me is that the story took up half the front page of the local paper less than two weeks before a national election.

It’s all very subtle but it’s all very real. Front page. With a picture. It gets attention. At the beginning of the story -- the inflammatory quotes. The lack of any rebuttal by the reporter. Even a direct quote from the President would have been shorter than the reporter’s unhelpful and non-clarifying explanation of the event.

”Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”

And last but not least, after insinuating that there was a national campaign underway...

”He said other churches in other parts of the United States are engaging in a similar campaign...”

....we find out that -- so far -- nobody else has joined up locally.

”He said there are many churches in Griffin and he would like all of them to participate. Thus far, it is only the Family Worship Center that is participating.”

Those of us that bother reading stories until the end noticed that. But we (that includes newspaper people) all know that most people don’t read stories all the way to the end. How many of you read the story until the end and caught this?

”And if this is the centrally organized effort that it appears to be, we would like to remind its supposedly Christian organizers of the Ninth Commandment: "Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour."”

Can I get an “Amen” brother?

Don Brown
October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

They’re Playing Dixie

Here’s an article that is pretty appropriate for what I’ve been saying here at Get the Flick.

Democrats’ Grip on the South Continues to Slip

”The Southern white Democrat, long on the endangered list, is at risk of being pushed one step closer to extinction.

From Virginia to Florida and South Carolina to Texas, nearly two dozen Democratic seats are susceptible to a potential Republican surge in Congressional races on Election Day, leaving the party facing a situation where its only safe presence in the South is in urban and predominantly black districts.”

Right now, my conservative, Southern readers are nodding their heads wisely. For all of those, (you know who you are) let me ask a few questions.

When we kept the unions out of the textile mills, what happened? The textile mills went overseas before the car makers did. The unions got the autoworkers into the middle class. We’ve got busted mill villages that look every bit as bad as Detroit. Did the cotton mills get anybody into the middle class?

When you wanted to hold onto the family farm what happened? Nixon’s man, Earl Butz, said “get big or get out.” “Big” and “family farm” don’t work together.

Would you like to talk about guns? I’ve still got mine. How about you? Do you still think Obama is going to take them away? The government didn’t even tinker with the ammo (that you paid way too much for.) By the way, does anybody know a Democrat that owns a gun store down here?

The Party of the Confederacy is still playing Dixie. Let me rephrase that for you; Dixie is being played. Wake up. If you keep voting the way you’ve been voting, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve been getting.

By the way, who do you think has been hiring all those illegal Mexicans and other Latinos the Confederate Party wants you to be scared of now? Was it Democrats or Republicans that hired them? Yeah. Not many Democrats in the local Chamber of Commerce down here are there? I say again, you (Dixie) are being played.

Don Brown
October 20, 2010

Trust Me, They Can Shoot

I’ve been mulling over what to write about for days. The obvious peril is the foreclosure fiasco -- “fraudclosures”. I’m not sure I can wrap my head around it. It’s huge. I can’t imagine a bigger issue than not being able to figure out who owns what in a country based on private property rights. I read an article where the merits of starting over -- if you posses it you own it -- was actually being considered. It would be the end of the world as we know it.

Professor Krugman’s words keep coming back to me. “America has turned Japanese.” In case you haven’t kept up with this line of reasoning, you can see what is in store for us (if we can’t find the political will to do otherwise) in this recent article from The New York Times.

The Great Deflation -- Japan Goes From Dynamic to Disheartened

”First, he was forced to reduce trips abroad and then eliminate them. Then he traded the Mercedes for a cheaper domestic model. Last year, he sold his condo — for a third of what he paid for it, and for less than what he still owed on the mortgage he took out 17 years ago.”

But I believe I found the words to unlock it all in (of all things) a movie review my brother sent me from Vanity Fair. The movie being reviewed -- “Inside Job” -- is appropriate material, but the words in the review itself are what set me off.

”The sticking point has been what to do about it. Although we might feel like we’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, the complexity of the crime confounds our ability to decide on a remedy. Meanwhile, the financial industry’s well-paid, well-resourced, and well-connected advocates have swooped in and re-defined the debate. In fact, they haven’t even had to re-define it. They just want to give us a headache so we’ll move on and think about something else.”

It boiled down to this for me. This is where I fear the wheels are going to come off. One day, even the relatively smart rednecks are going to come to the conclusion that they can’t outsmart these crooks. If they can’t outsmart them, they’ll decide to just shoot them. And trust me, they can shoot.

We have an election in less than two weeks. Vote. While you still can.

Don Brown
October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-19-10

The Great Blue Heron finally had enough of the Great Egret walking into its territory and chased it across the lake. Fortunately for me.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

There are more on Facebook.

Don Brown
October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-18-10

Finally. Now if I can end the writing drought.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

Don Brown
October 18, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-16-10

The Great Egret keeps walking into my scenic shots. And that’s okay with me.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

Don Brown
October 16, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

A History Lesson Before You Vote

Before all you “conservative” controllers run out to vote in a couple of weeks, there’s an article in Time magazine you should read. Pay particular attention to the historical part of it -- unless you just like repeating history.

Why Washington Is Tied Up in Knots

”But it was only after Reagan and his GOP successor, George H.W. Bush, left office that congressional Republicans realized they could use political polarization to stymie government — and use government failure to win elections.”

”With the GOP no longer controlling the White House, a new breed of aggressive Republicans — men like Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay and Trent Lott — hit on a strategy for discrediting Clinton: discredit government. Rhetorically, they derided Washington as ineffective and conflict-ridden, and through their actions they guaranteed it.”

Is any of this sounding familiar yet? There’s a reason the Republican “Pledge to America” sounds just like the “Contract with America”.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Postcards From the Pledge
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

”In Clinton's first two years in office, the Gingrich Republicans learned that the vicious circle works. While filibusters were occasionally broken, they also brought much of Clinton's agenda to a halt, and they made Washington look pathetic.”

”When the parties are polarized, it's easy to keep anything from getting done. When nothing gets done, people turn against government. When you're the party out of power and the party that reviles government, you win.”

”On the surface, it appeared that Obama took office in a stronger position than Clinton had, since Democrats boasted more seats in the Senate. But in their jubilation, Democrats forgot something crucial: vicious-circle politics thrives on polarization. As the GOP caucus in the Senate shrank, it also hardened. ”

”In 2009, Senate Republicans filibustered a stunning 80% of major legislation, even more than during the Clinton years. GOP leader Mitch McConnell led a filibuster of a deficit-reduction commission that he himself had demanded.”

It’s simple, the Republican Party doesn’t want the Federal government to work. That is an interesting realization when you’re a Federal employee -- an air traffic controller to boot. Play with that thought for a second. Do you want the government to fail if you are the government? Do you want air traffic control to fail? It’s government, right? Do you not want air traffic control to be in government?

When you’re done chewing that over you can read the next article in Time. It was written by none other than Newt Gingrich.

It's Time to Team Up

”Some GOP partisans so deeply distrust Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Harry Reid that they assume even meeting with them is an act of betrayal.”

Gee, I wonder where any Republican ever got that idea, Newt?

(From the previous article)

”After moderates broke a 1993 filibuster on campaign finance, GOP conservatives publicly accused them of "stabbing us in the back." Their pictures were taken off the wall at the offices of the Republican Senate campaign committee. ”

”The Obama White House spent months trying to lure the Finance Committee's ranking Republican, Chuck Grassley, into supporting a deal on health care reform and gave his staff a major role in crafting the bill. But GOP officials back home began threatening to run a primary challenger against the Iowa Senator. By late summer, Grassley wasn't just inching away from reform; he was implying that Obamacare would euthanize Grandma.”

Be careful how you vote. Remember, PATCO endorsed Reagan and you see what that got them.

Don Brown
October 15, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Notice of Term

I’ve thought about it and thought about it and I’ve reached a decision. The Earth-Bound Misfit has come up with an appropriate (if snarky) moniker for today’s Republican Party -- The Confederate Party. Instead of twisting myself in knots when trying to explain the Southern wing of the Republican Party, in the future -- where appropriate -- I’ll just refer to it as The Confederate Party.

Make no mistake about it, I am a Southerner. I love this place (well, except during June, July and August. And most of May and September.) But the South never got over the Civil War and -- to be honest -- doesn’t want to in far too many places. You can twist it anyway you want, but the Old South could never have existed without slavery. There are good people down here. A lot of them. But the disease of slavery and bigotry has infected the South for generations. It infects us all. I have no idea when or how it will ever end.

Abraham Lincoln -- a Republican -- freed the slaves. For generations, Southerners were “yellow-dog Democrats”. Blacks were Republicans -- if they were allowed to vote at all. Lyndon Johnson -- a Democrat -- made sure blacks were allowed to vote. Blacks became Democrats and whites became Republicans. At least down here. No matter how complicated it gets, it’s just that simple.

It all gelled into Nixon’s Southern Strategy. That’s just the cold, hard fact. I find the term, Party of the Confederacy, appropriate.

Don Brown
October 14, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-14-10

Another beautiful, if cloudless, sunrise. Some clouds did show up, slightly after sunrise.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

In case anyone wonders, the dots in the water are tree stumps. Except for the big one. That’s the Great Blue Heron. You can see more of him (and the Great Egret) on Facebook.

Don Brown
October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-13-10

Being forced to adapt isn’t always a bad thing. We can grumble about it. But every once in a while, things work out.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

There were finally some clouds this morning. Unfortunately they covered the southeast, where the sun was rising. There were a few interesting ones up high, but the horizon was just a dull gray. With an interesting foreground and a reflection of the pretty part of the sky, I think things turned out nicely.

Don Brown
October 13, 2010

See If Your Banker Howls

For those that may have forgotten, I fell in love with Elizabeth Warren the first time I ever laid eyes on her.

No more tricks to boost bank profits: Obama adviser

”"The room for anybody in the financial services industry to make their money by squeezing you here and squeezing you there, tricks and traps, that is going to go away," she told an online White House forum to which the public submitted questions.”

”Warren made plain that the new bureau was designed to put lenders who relied on trickery out of business for good.”

Be still my beating heart.

If your banker does howl about Mrs. Warren, you might consider finding a different banker. Unless you like trips, traps and trickery. Make no mistake about it, the banksters on Wall Street are howling. Here’s a excerpt from an interview on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS last Sunday.

”ZAKARIA: But, as you said, all your Wall Street friends, to a man, I'm -- or a woman, are just incensed. What do you think explains the level of anger against Obama from the business community?

RATTNER: I think a couple of things. First of all, because -- because there is a lot of -- of tough rhetoric about Wall Street. The president does believe that Wall Street was a significant part of the problem, more of a problem than Wall Street believes it was.

I think Wall Street is a little bit in its own little bubble, and doesn't really get what's going on out in the country and understand the extent to which they need to be responsive to it, need to appreciate it. Whether they agree with it or not, they have to accept it. ”

Who is Rattner?

”ZAKARIA: There have been many czars in the American government, but "Car Czar" is a title that has been bestowed on probably only one man in history. Steve Rattner is that man, asked by President Obama in February 2009 to fix the auto industry.

Rattner spent most of his life on Wall Street, in senior positions at Morgan Stanley and Lazard Freres. He then set up his own private equity company. Before that, he had spent years as a reporter for the "New York Times".”

An interesting guy. And it was an interesting interview. If you have the time, I would recommend you watch the show. Watching Robert Caro take Peggy Noonan apart -- piece by piece -- in the earlier panel discussion is worth it. Trust me. (The panel discussion starts at the 3:40 mark. The interview with Rattner start at 23:50.)

Before I get too far away from my point, if your banker howls too much he may be too close to Wall Street. Just saying. Nobody being regulated likes regulations. They are not supposed to like them. But anyone with any honesty will admit that regulations are needed to keep everybody honest. Which is the whole point. You deserve an honest banker. And the dishonest ones should be put out of business.

Don Brown
October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Plop! Plop!

I never thought I’d write a blog about a comment. Oh well. There’s a first time for everything I guess.

First, you’ll have to read the short, little story at ABC News.

Wall Street Pay Hits Record High -- What's Your Reaction?

”A year after President Obama's pay czar was charged with reviewing executive compensation, Wall Street workers have enjoyed record-high pay days this year, reports the Wall Street Journal.”

Then you have to click on the comments section. Look for the one written by Arturdingus that starts with “Hmm, what's that scratchy sound?”. I laughed so loud my wife heard me in the next room.

What can I say? Controllers have a dark sense of humor. I’m sure it’s just some kind of coping mechanism -- being able to make a joke about a gut-wrenching event. You probably saw the other comment about a Wall Street job being a stressful job. Where’s my six-figure bonus? I bet firemen, policemen and soldiers would like to jump on that band wagon too.

Oh, that’s right. We just try to keep people safe. The really important jobs are where you can make yourself obscenely rich while blowing up the world’s economy. What was I thinking? I must have lost my head.

Don Brown
October 12, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-12-10

There were a few clouds this morning. But the sunrise couldn’t compete with the goldenrod.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

Don Brown
October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-11-10

Still no clouds for sunrise. I hope you like the subtleness of this one.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

Don Brown
October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-10-10

Look who finally showed up again.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

For those just joining us, it’s a barred owl. They have a really neat call, “Who! Who! Who cooks for you!”

Don Brown
October 10, 2010

Friday, October 08, 2010

You’ve Got To Admit

This is pretty funny.

A phone application that threatens security

”The Plane Finder AR application, developed by a British firm for the Apple iPhone and Google's Android, allows users to point their phone at the sky and see the position, height and speed of nearby aircraft.”

Shazam!!! How’d it do that Sergeant Carter?

”The programme, sold for just 1.79 pounds in the online Apple store, has now been labelled an 'aid to terrorists' by security experts and the US Department of Homeland Security is also examining how to protect airliners.”

Golly! What’s that? About 3 bucks American?

”The new application works by intercepting the so-called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcasts (ADS-B) transmitted by most passenger aircraft to a new satellite tracking system that supplements or, in some countries, replaces radar.”

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

50 billion dollars worth of NextGen infrastructure perverted by a 3 dollar computer program you can run on your phone. The article concentrates on the threat to civilian aircraft. But if military flights are going to mix with civilian flights (and they do, every day) then military flights will be using ADS-B too and they can be tracked also. Helicopters, cargo flights, fighters, bombers, Special Air Missions, the whole kit and kaboodle. There are enough scenarios there to keep us in thriller novels for years.

Keep in mind, everyone in the aviation business has realized this for years. This isn’t a new threat. It’s just new to the people that have been (unknowingly) funding it all along -- the taxpayers and their governments.

Don Brown
October 8, 2010

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


If you recognize the identifier, you’ll understand the video.

I’ll refrain from making comments about private/corporate jet jams while unemployment is nearly 10 percent.

Don Brown
October 5, 2010

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-5-10

I can’t buy a cloud these days. Sunrise nor sunset. I just didn’t want you to think I wasn’t trying.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

Birds, however, are plentiful. Both pictures are severely cropped. As a matter of fact, they’re both horizontals cropped to vertical.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

Don Brown
October 5, 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

Remember Your Friends

Here’s a video of Congressman Pete DeFazio, back when the FAA was driving the controller contract negotiations to an impasse so they could impose their work rules on you. You remember -- Joe Miniace, Marion Blakey and George W. Bush. All you need to do is watch the first few minutes to refresh your memory.

Now, watch this segment from the Rachel Maddow and see what the people that believe in the kind of government Marion Blakey, Joe Miniace and George W. Bush believe in are trying to do to Congressman DeFazio.

This is the way politics works. You can tell yourself that you don’t want to play but all that does is ensure you lose. If you don’t want somebody like Congressman DeFazio there to help you when you need help, then don’t get involved and he won’t be. The guys -- the nameless, faceless guys -- that have $165,000 to toss into attack ads will have their guy in there. Who knows? It could be Lockheed that is behind Concerned Taxpayers of America. That’s the point -- you don’t know. And these tactics work.

These kind of tactics -- vast sums of money from wealthy sources -- paid for Citizens United, which got the case to the Supreme Court, which had been picked by politicians elected with the money from these same sources. You might recall, they even picked a President.

I’m sending Congressman DeFazio $25. It isn’t much considering his opponent got $165,000 without even asking. Maybe you ought to send some too. All you need is 6,600 people to do the same and you can level the playing field. I hope that gives you an idea as to how powerful $165,000 can be.

I just saw a good quote that is suitable for closing this entry.

”Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” -- Will Rogers

Get moving. Send some money to your friends. Vote. Get others to do the same.

Don Brown
October 4, 2010

Making Sense of Glenn Beck

I bet you never thought you’d get to hear Glenn Beck on my blog.

I suspect I’m just one of a million blogs that will have this posted by the end of the day. I got it at Roger Ebert's who got it from BoingBoing.

Don Brown
October 4, 2010

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-3-10

Another cloudless sunrise. It’s a good thing the heron keeps showing up.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

There are more on Facebook.

Don Brown
October 3, 2010

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Hey! Where’s FSS?

This passed with hardly any notice. Avweb caught it, so I’ll give them the hits.

Flight Services Contract Extended

”Lockheed Martin's contract to run the automated flight service station system has been extended for three years at a price of $356 million. The company announced the agreement Tuesday. The three-year extension begins Oct. 1. Lockheed Martin took over the AFSS function in 2005 and substantially trimmed the number of flight service stations and staff.”

If you have any trouble remembering this situation -- or following my logic -- I recommend you read this summation at Praxis Foundation. Let’s pretend that something bad happened at Flight Service and that Lockheed was found wanting. The General Public was screaming for somebody’s head and it was decided that Lockheed should not have their contract to manage FSS renewed. Who would run it?

(cricket’s chirping)

Lockheed stole was given the Federal workforce to do the job. They were given the Federal Government’s equipment and databases. The communications system. Who else has all those things? They’ve rewired the whole system to be run from three locations. Who owns all that now? The software? If you were a really motivated individual and decided that you wanted to bid on the FSS contract, how could you win it? Where would you get the employees to run it?

(cricket’s chirping)

Hopefully it’s pretty obvious that this isn’t a contract that is really in play. There isn’t any competition. How can there be? It’s not a private industry. It’s government -- contracted out. This is $100+ million a year corporate welfare for Lockheed.

I‘m curious, how is it working out for controllers and pilots? Seriously, I don’t have a clue how it’s working now. Take a look on the internet. See what you can find. It’s like it dropped off the radar. Everything I see is from 2007 or earlier -- or from Lockheed. Somebody let me know where the FAA is hiding Lockheed’s quarterly report card. We all know how the FAA is with contract oversight. There is some oversight, right? Where is it? Anybody?

Don Brown
October 2, 2010

Research Hazard

The problem with doing any research on a blog entry (instead of just writing off the top of my head) is that you run into so much interesting stuff that you get sidetracked.

Challenges Facing the Implementation of FAA's Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast Program

”On October 17, 2007, the Inspector General testified on FAA's implementation of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Program (ADS-B) before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation.


Our work shows that key areas for FAA oversight include managing requirements and having the right in-house expertise and skill mix for effective management and oversight. This will be particularly important since FAA will not own the ADS-B hardware, software, or infrastructure. We are concerned that FAA could find itself in a situation where it knows very little about the system that is expected to be the foundation of NextGen. FAA must take steps to ensure it effectively addresses this risk.”

(Emphasis added)

I figure those word are worth saving for a rainy day. Back to writing.

Don Brown
October 2, 2010

Friday, October 01, 2010

Today’s Photo 10-1-10

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky this morning so sunrise was a bust. There was a lot of fog though. And the Great Blue Heron decided to stick around until it burned off.

© Don Brown 2010 (Click on the picture to enlarge)

Don Brown
October 1, 2010