Sunday, July 31, 2011

Paul Krugman vs. Grover Norquist



Just in case you’d like to watch Paul Krugman on This Week. Krugman is actually the lone voice in the wilderness on this panel. He realizes the reality -- the the Republican Party has once again outmaneuvered the Democrats. Of course, he’s the only one at the table that understands the economics of it all. The rest are just talking politics. It’s all so incredibly sad and frustrating.

I’ll let you find Part II on your own. Good luck.






Don Brown
July 31, 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Modern-Day Zeppelin



I didn’t know about this thing. Maybe you didn’t either.





Wish I was in Oshkosh.

Don Brown
July 30, 2011

Today’s Photo 7-30-11



Dare I say it? I shot two birds with one...camera. Well, okay, make it three.



© Don Brown 2011 (Click on the picture to enlarge)



© Don Brown 2011 (Click on the picture to enlarge)


The heron is actually behind the swans in the first shot. He’s always lurking in the shadows. But he stuck around a little longer than normal this morning and I was able to get set up for the shot.

Don Brown
July 30, 2001

Friday, July 29, 2011

Life Imitates Art



In case I lost some of readers the other day with my obscure reference to the Mr. Sterling TV show...I heard this on my iPod this morning.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Don Brown
July 29, 2011

A Resolution from America



I took it upon myself to find the enabling legislation from the last time we raised the debt limit. It really is simple.

Public Law 111-139
111th Congress
Joint Resolution


”Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That subsection (b) of section
3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the
dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu
thereof $14,294,000,000,000.”


There’s a bunch of other stuff tacked on but this is the meat of the legislation. And this is how simple it is to fix it.

”Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That subsection (b) of section
3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the
dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu
thereof $20,000,000,000,000.”


If I was smart, I’d put that resolution on a website where people could vote on it and the results would go to everyone in Congress every hour. But I’m not that smart.

Don Brown
July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Voice of History



My readers know my love of history. You also know I’ve tried to steer you towards a consistently excellent TV show -- Global Public Square with Fareed Zakaria. This is a brilliant interview with a brilliant historian -- David McCullough. Listen to these words of wisdom and contrast them to what you normally hear on television.





Be sure to look for the additional segments of the interview on CNN’s website if you have the time.

Don Brown
July 28, 2011

DeFazio (Still) Has the Flick



Did I tell you this guy was a great guy or what?







I wish I could vote for him.

Don Brown
July 28, 2011

I Have a Motion



Mr. Speaker, I move that the United States of America raise it’s debt ceiling limit to 20 (two zero) trillion dollars.

All in favor? Aye! All opposed? (chirp) In the opinion of the Chair the "Ayes" have it.

“Crisis” averted. Move on.

Obama waves State of the Union 2011

For those that don’t understand (how did you wind up on this blog?), it really is that simple. This “crisis” could be ended in less than an hour. Nothing has to change. No deals have to be made. “We hereby raise the debt ceiling.” That’s it. We are threatening the entire world’s economy because we can’t get 536 people to agree to six words about a mere technicality. It’s insane.

Don Brown
July 28, 2011

Today’s Photo 7-28-11



For two days in a row, the sunrise has been a complete bust. Fortunately, it’s only a short drive over to Meadowlark Gardens and the owner likes me (for some odd reason.)



© Don Brown 2011 (Click on the picture to enlarge)


Oh, yeah. The colorful bush/trees are crepe myrtles.

Don Brown
July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Thought for Boehner



Congratulations, Mr. Speaker. I just sold off my stocks and it’s all thanks to you. You see, I remember that you created this crisis out of thin air. You could have just raised the debt ceiling. Easy-peasy. But no, you had to play politics with it. You and your Tea Party pals had to use it for leverage -- like you’re in an episode of Mr. Sterling or something.

John Boehner official portrait

I’ve not a active trader. As a matter of fact, I hate having to keep up with money. I’m just looking for someplace (relatively) safe to put my money and earn a decent return. I doubt if hundreds of people are going to follow my lead, but thinking about it gave me an idea.

I’m always looking for a way that controllers can exert their power -- legally. It occurred to me -- as you Republican union-haters like to point out -- that air traffic controllers are some of the highest-paid employees in the Federal government. In addition, when your Republican Party was busy destroying everyone’s pensions and forcing them into 401ks (FERS for Federal employees) you turned every Federal employee (and much of the general public) into an investor -- whether they were cut out to be one or not.

Are you paying attention here, Mr. Speaker? We’ve gone from pensions -- professional investors looking out for average worker’s retirement and investing in safe securities -- to turning a bunch of amateurs loose in “The Market”. Take away the regulatory agencies’ powers -- another Republican hallmark -- and you’ve turned the wolves loose on the sheep. Average working stiffs at the mercy of the best and brightest professional traders Wall Street can lure out of the best colleges in the world. Gordon Gekko versus The Waltons.



Last Friday, your buddy John Mica got 4,000 FAA employees furloughed. He might be able to lie his way out of it with the rest of the country but air traffic controllers know that Mica was playing politics with the FAA Reauthorization Bill. Just like you are playing with the debt ceiling. Mica has turned a standard housekeeping measure into a crisis -- just to harm unions.

About those air traffic controllers...suppose they did follow my advice and sold all their stocks? What would your Wall Street buddies think of that? We have figured it out you know? Every payday, about 10% of the Federal payroll has to get invested in something. That’s the way FERS -- Federal Employees Retirement System -- works. A lot of that money goes into Wall Street’s pocket. Suppose it stopped?

Here, let me give you some numbers:

Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board

”The Thrift Savings Plan is one of the three parts of the Federal Employees Retirement System, and is the largest defined contribution plan in the world with over 3.7 million participants and assets worth over $244 billion dollars. ”

I wonder which number gets the most attention -- 3.7 million voters or $244 billion?

Suppose 3.7 million voters (you know they vote) took 244 billion dollars out of all the other funds and put their money in the G Fund? (Out of stocks and bonds and into government securities.) Would that get your attention Mr. Speaker? I bet it would get Wall Street’s attention.

I could type this whole idea out in detail but it would take a while to connect all the dots. Let me just outline it for my readers. The Federal government’s highest paid employees hire their own financial advisor. Not to maximize returns but to keep their retirement funds safe. Controllers start trading as a bloc of investors -- voluntarily. They then give this financial advice away to other unions, government employees and maybe even the General Public. There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s voluntary and it’s free.

Remember, the idea is no-hassle safety -- not get rich quick. People my age (and those that can think this through) know this sounds familiar. Unions used to be (and still are) in charge of some pension funds. And professional advisors were required to invest in safe securities -- those securities rated AAA. (Is it starting to dawn on you now?)

NYSE127

That’s right, pension funds -- the really Big Money -- were raided when Wall Street was able to get Mortgage Backed Securities -- backed by sub-prime loans (what we now call toxic assets) -- rated as AAA (Triple A) investments. Have you got the Flick now? America’s retirement funds -- both pensions and 401ks -- were stolen by Wall Street. The trick now is to keep the masses from figuring it all out. They understand they’ve lost the present -- that Wall Street stole the value of their house. What they haven’t figured out yet is that Wall Street stole their future too.

You might want to solve the debt celling problem you created real quick, Speaker Boehner. If someone that hates investing as much as I do starts having these thoughts, others that like investing will figure it out too. And we have plenty of people in government that like investing. Some of them like it a little too much. But that’s another story.

(Just for clarity, I sold most of my “personal” portfolio. I haven’t touched my TSP account in years. But if this goes much further, that might change. And don’t take financial advice from me. I say again, I hate investing.)

Don Brown
July 27, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

65 Years of No Change



Have you ever been so right that it feels like you’re wrong? I know some things about the airlines have never changed but I never really knew I was this right.

A loyal reader sent me an article from a series called Fortune Classic. I’ve never heard of it but Fortune magazine reruns some of it’s old articles on occasion. This one is about the airline business from 1946. I don’t really need to say anything else about it. It’s lengthy, so set some time aside to read it. But it is a “must-read” so I’ll leave you with some excerpts to make sure you get around to it.

What's Wrong with the Airlines (Fortune Classic, 1946)

”For many months the airlines have been adding schedules and adding flight after flight to those new schedules, and turning away as many as three passengers for every one they have carried. Before the war the airlines regarded 65 percent as a satisfactory load factor. Now the load factor is 85 per cent, with many flights 100 per cent loaded.”

-------------

”To say that the airports at San Francisco or Los Angeles are less squalid than Chicago is faint praise, for the difference is so slight that anyone passing hastily through would notice no real improvement. Almost all U.S. airports are utterly barren of things to do. The dirty little lunch counters are always choked with permanent sitters staring at their indigestible food; even a good cup of coffee is a thing unknown. The traveler consigned to hours of tedious waiting can only clear a spot on the floor and sit on his baggage and, while oversmoking, drearily contemplate his sins.”

-------------

”When the fog or storms come the aerial rat race begins. Planes must approach the fields on instruments -- landings on standard procedure then require from six to twenty minutes per plane. This automatically means a sharp reduction in an airport's traffic capacity. The airlines' busy schedule is immediately wrecked; planes and passengers clog the fogbound terminal on the ground; other planes and passengers clog the skies for hundreds of miles in all directions, backing up at distant airports. Only a few of the scores of approaching planes can be landed every hour; CAA's Air Traffic Control obviously must "stop" the planes in the soup. The result is what's known as "stacking."”

-------------

”One pilot who visited the La Guardia traffic-control center on a recent soupy day was so appalled that he told a company official: "For God's sake don't let any other pilots see what's going on in there or you'll never get a plane off the ground."”

-------------

”But the public still asks: what about radar? Here is an area of peculiar vagueness. Radar was sold to the public, perhaps oversold, as the great scientific achievement that brought hundreds of Army and Navy pilots -- home safely through instrument weather. Why not, therefore, use it on the airlines?

The industry says that all-weather flying, involving use of radar is five years off. Why?

In general the airlines argue that military radar is still full of bugs, that it is not yet adaptable to commercial use. The airlines, it seems, are holding out for an all-purpose radar system, instead of accepting the considerable, though partial, benefits of radar in its present form.”


Trust me, reading this article is a hoot. From the flowery prose to the quaint statistics to the black & white pictures to the corny graphics. You’re going to love it.

”And to increase the amount of off-airways flying, and thus relieve congestion on the airways, CAA plans to install nine low-frequency, high-power, omnidirectional ranges next year. On long flights these would give the economy of great-circle routes to the airlines, plus the comfort of flying around bad weather. To relieve the dangerous New York-Washington congestion, CAA and the airlines now plan to use three "tracks" in the sky instead of one, and a bypass system for flights such as Boston-Washington direct and New York-Norfolk direct.”

Don Brown
July 25, 2011

Another Mess from Mica



I have tried all weekend to find something to say about the furloughs at the FAA. I can think of many things to say. I cannot think of anything I would want my mother to read.

The reporting on all this has been pitiful in my opinion. Both the quantity and quality.

4,000 FAA employees furloughed

”Those facing furloughs are victims of a partisan stalemate over several relatively minor issues that have stymied passage of a long-term FAA reauthorization bill. Among those issues: Ground rules for unionization in the airline and railroad industries, and funding levels for subsidized air service to small towns.”

That’s fine. As far as it goes. Which isn’t far. A “sound bite” from Senator Rockefeller and Congressman Mica each is tossed out there and the readers are left to decide. Of course, 90% of the readers don’t have a clue about the background.

Here’s another example from the Atlanta paper.

Congress-FAA Furloughs

”Mica told me in the U.S. Capitol on Friday morning that he wasn't moved by all of the appeals for another short term extension of the FAA bill.

"I'm tired of playing games," Mica said.

"We're paying $3,700 to subsidize one plane ticket in one Senator's district - that's not right."”


While the reporter does a decent job of covering the facts in a limited amount of space, Mica’s statement is left basically unchallenged. And, this being the South, the Democratic side of the story receives less play.

As my readers know, Congressman Mica represents the worst in Washington politics. He started this food fight and could care less how many FAA employees he has hurt -- much less how it hurts the country. I read a Latin phrase just yesterday that seems apropos -- Res ipsa loquitur . The thing proves itself. (“Negligence”, “duty of care”, “breach” -- indeed.) The failure to keep the FAA running proves what a lousy leader he is.

Mica hasn’t changed. He hates unions. He believes everything possible should be privatized and he knows next to nothing about aviation.
The thought that a putz like this has replaced a giant like Oberstar makes me ill. (Hopefully, my Mom hasn’t learned Yiddish.)

Once again, I challenge air traffic controllers with this question: What are you prepared to do to defend your profession? Mica is nothing more than a bully. And until you stand up to him (and people like him), he’ll keep stealing your lunch money.

I knew I shouldn’t have started on this post. &%$#!!!

Don Brown
July 25, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Today’s Photo 7-24-11



I got to the lake over an hour before sunrise. I wanted to experiment with some long exposures. While it was still dark, the swans came over and parked themselves in front of my photography spot.

And occasionally, they were very, very still. You normally need a shutter speed of 1/60th to have a chance of freezing motion. This was shot at 1/20th of a second.



© Don Brown 2011 (Click on the picture to enlarge)


Don Brown
July 24, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Today’s Photo 7-23-11



It was a busy morning at the lake.



© Don Brown 2011 (Click on the picture to enlarge)


Don Brown
July 23, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Paying Attention -- T-Bills



This isn’t an investment blog. It isn’t even an economics blog. But I am very interested in the economy because it affects everything.





One of the things Krugman talks about is the rate on 10 year T-bills. He uses it to dispel the notion of the “bond vigilantes”. Here’s the idea:

If the world’s investors lose confidence in the U.S. they will no longer buy our bonds (lend us money) and/or (more likely) charge us more interest to lend us money. It’s really no different than your local bank. If you’re a good credit risk, you pay a low interest rate. If you’re a bad risk -- if you can even get a loan -- you pay a higher interest rate.

The U.S. is the best customer the world’s bankers have. We borrow more and (this is the important part) we have a perfect credit rating. The U.S. pays it bills. Every single time. For 235 years. We get the best interest rate there is -- currently about 3%. (For a quick education about how low that is go here and check the dates.)

That is the one good thing we have going for us in The Great Recession. We can borrow money cheaply. Until the Republicans mess it up that is. Krugman has been dispelling the myth of the bond vigilantes for years now. The Republicans keep saying that the investors are going to turn on us. We’re borrowing too much. When the bond vigilantes turn us it will be ugly because instead of paying 3% interest we will be paying 6%. Or 10%. Anybody that has ever had a mortgage rate change on them or the interest rate on a credit go up knows how painful this can be. It sounds like a sound theory. Except it never happened.

The White House Believes in the Confidence Fairy

”Obama has operated under severe political constraints, and those of us who criticize the inadequacy of the stimulus and other policies have to be mindful of that. But the White House did not have to concede the economic argument the way it has — especially when the confidence-fairy, invisible-bond-vigilante believers have been proved utterly wrong. I mean, how could you have a clearer test of liquidity preference versus loanable funds than having the US government borrow almost $3 trillion with zero, absolutely no, effect on interest rates?”

That’s right. We -- the United States of America -- borrowed $3 trillion dollars and the interest rates didn’t budge. If anything, they actually dropped (by a very small amount.) (Small amounts on interest matter when factored into a number with 12 zeros behind it.) So the screaming from the Republicans about rising interest rates has been thoroughly debunked by the facts.

And in typical Republican fashion, if the bad thing didn’t happen on it’s own, they’ll make it happen. Enter the debt ceiling debate. What could screw up our credit rating and increase our borrowing costs? That’s right. If we default on our loans we’ll get charged more interest for loans. If the truth be told, we might not even have to default. Just the idea that we might default could spook The Market.

But it will be an interesting exercise to see if I understand all this. So, for the next few days, I’ll be keeping my eye on the 10 year T-bills.

If you’d like a less complicated and more political explanation of all this, I’d recommend watching Rachel.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Don Brown
July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Are We There Yet?



Every parent knows the refrain; “Are we there yet?” “How much further?” I ask those questions today about the mood of our citizens.

I assume everyone is at least somewhat aware that Rupert Murdoch -- Chairman of News Corporation -- is in trouble for hacking some cellphones over in England. (Curse you Wikipedia! I just got started and already I’m being distracted by my research.)

”News Corporation, often abbreviated to News Corp., is the world's second-largest media conglomerate (behind The Walt Disney Company)...”

Think of how influential Disney is on kids. News Corp. is that influential on adults. Rupert Murdoch -- one man -- controls Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, 20th Century Fox, the National Geographic Channel, FX Networks, Haper-Collins book publishing and literally hundreds of other media outlets throughout the world.

Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper -- News of the World -- is being accused of hacking the cellphone accounts of various people, including some of England’s royalty. His companies are being accused of bribing London’s police force.

What really has everyone’s attention is that now the Public is beginning to suspect that Mr. Murdoch has bought the United Kingdom’s government.

”Team Cameron and Team Murdoch are undeniably close."

"Murdoch was the first visitor to No 10 after Cameron was elected,...”


Yes, that is the address of the Prime Minister -- David Cameron. Keep in mind, the news story at that link is from 20 days ago when Mr. Murdoch had almost sealed the deal on buying another television network.

It you have the time and you really want to have the Flick on what’s at stake in this situation, watch this interview of Bill Moyers and pay attention when he says, “The politicians were cowed.”

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Are we there yet? Have we, as a nation, figured out that powerful people running powerful corporations have taken the Public Debate hostage? Does it occur to you that Fox News has taken one of our political parties hostage? Have we figure out that that same Party has taken the “full faith and credit” of the United States hostage and threatened to ruin it if they don’t get their way?

As the US nears the brink, the budget row is exposing Republican madness

”But finally it exposes the dysfunctionality within the Republican party, whose conservative wing is behaving less like a mainstream electoral force than an ultra-left sect being advised by a petulant two-year-old. It is simply not economically feasible to cut the US deficit without raising taxes, given that Americans are enjoying their lowest tax burden since 1958.”

I chose that article specifically because it was published in the same paper that broke the phone-hacking scandal -- The Guardian. Pay attention.

Are we there yet? Have we arrived at the point of complete dysfunction? Call to mind the common refrain heard from the business community and their lackeys in politics; it’s the uncertainty of the regulatory climate that keeps them from investing in America. Think about the uncertainty this situation creates. I just finished listening to a podcast and heard something that stuck me. The reporter says the businessmen he talks to asked a telling question. In choosing between investing in the U.S. or China, China’s government makes a decision and does what it says it is going to do. Where would you invest? Think on it.

Don Brown
July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bike Beats Jet



I like this. Straight news. No need for me to comment.

Carmageddon race: Cyclists faster than JetBlue plane

”The bicyclists made the journey in 1 hour, 34 minutes. That was about an hour faster than the Wolfpack Hustle members who made the journey on JetBlue Flight 405.”

Don Brown
July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Today’s Photo 7-19-11



And now, for something completely different...



© Don Brown 2011 (Click on the picture to enlarge)


What can I say? I find cemeteries an interesting subject (visually and otherwise.) I understand Doc Holiday is buried in this one. At least that’s the legend.

In case the photogs are wondering, yes, I used a little fill flash to bring out some detail on the crosses.

Don Brown
July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Tax Picture



I was watching CNN the other day and saw some great graphics about taxes and the budget. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve just about given up on the TV media as a whole -- but don’t get me started on that.

Anyway, I immediately went to their web site to get them but couldn’t find them (of course.) Thankfully, I remembered to look again. All we’re looking at here is taxes and the budget.

Reagan cut taxes and the deficit more than doubled.



Clinton raised taxes and we went from a deficit to a surplus.



George W. Bush cut taxes and we went back into a deficit.



It’s just that simple. This is the subject of the moment. The Republican Party wants to hold the the nation the world hostage because of the money we owe. But they are the Party that drained the nation’s coffers with tax breaks.

What we should be talking about is jobs. The Republicans say tax breaks create jobs. Where are they? The Republicans cut taxes -- the “Bush tax cuts”. Where are the jobs? The Republicans refused to allow “the Bush tax cuts” to expire after Obama took office. I ask again, where are the jobs? The fact is, the link between jobs and taxes is a myth. This was the best graphic of all.



Remember, Clinton raised taxes and cut the deficit. And the economy created over 7 times as many jobs as it did under George W. Bush. (That’s just a hint at how awful the Bush II Presidency truly was.) But you know what the best part of the piece from CNN was? It was the fact that they got their numbers from the Wall Street Journal. Here. Have a listen. Sorry, but you’ll have to listen to a Georgia Congressman (Paul Broun - R) talk all around the subject while you get the numbers. The disconnect between what he’s selling and what the facts are is truly amazing to watch.



Don Brown
July 18, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Today’s Photo 7-17-11



An unusual sunrise this morning. There was a solid overcast with the edge of the cloud deck moving from East to West. There was very little color to start but it got real vivid right before the sun broke the horizon.



© Don Brown 2011 (Click on the picture to enlarge)


Don Brown
July 17, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Will We Listen Now?



Krugman is a must-read this morning. (Hey, it was morning when I wrote it...before the internet quit.)

Getting to Crazy

”A number of commentators seem shocked at how unreasonable Republicans are being. “Has the G.O.P. gone insane?” they ask.

Why, yes, it has. ”


Professor Krugman goes on to make his point. The one that hit me was this one.

”First of all, the modern G.O.P. fundamentally does not accept the legitimacy of a Democratic presidency — any Democratic presidency. We saw that under Bill Clinton, and we saw it again as soon as Mr. Obama took office.”

He has a point. Several of them. Read it.

Don Brown
July 15, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Credibility



James Fallows has it. Fox News doesn’t.

Like Pravda Covering Chernobyl: Fox News on the Murdoch Problems

”Check out the front pages of FoxNews.Com and NYTimes.com, taken at the same time about half an hour ago. You can click for a larger view of each, but no matter how big you make the Fox page, you're not going to see .... a certain fast-unfolding big story.”

”Here's a challenge: For anyone who denies that Fox is a propaganda operation rather than news, run by apparatchiks rather than journalists, let's see an explanation of the difference between these pages and the story Fox pretends isn't there.”

Obviously, I’m going to make you go to James’ blog to see the pictures. It’s only fair. Not Fox fair. The real kind of fair.

Don Brown
July 14, 2011

Head, Meet Brick Wall



I needed an image of a flight progress strip today and I didn’t have one. And that’s just silly. Anybody that has ever been to a Communicating for Safety conference knows I used to walk around with a pocketful of them.

In addition, I rediscovered this site and thought; “One day, my stuff will seem that old and somebody will want a picture of it.” So, I went and waded through some of the hundreds of flight progress strips I have stored away.

As I sorted through them, it quickly became apparent I kept mostly the problems. After all, I was the safety rep. I wasn’t saving strips on Air Force One, strange airplanes or a list of firsts (first B757, first B777, first A340. etc.) I was saving things that needed to be fixed. Here’s what I mean.


(click to enlarge)

Notice that one strip is bigger than the other. That was how big flight progress strips were before DSR came along -- around 1999-2001. You’ll notice that the departure point for the first two strips is the same -- PSK. That’s Pulaski, VA, New River Airport. Near Roanoke. For the first strip, the destination is POF -- Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

If you’re wondering what a straight line from PSK to POF looks like -- welcome to the club. That’s the reason you’re not supposed to file a flight plan that looks like that. There are a lot of reasons it’s important for a controller to know what a route of flight looks like -- before a pilot flies it. (It’s kind of a basic in ATC. Airplanes fly fast. By the time you actually see what it looks like it’s usually too late to do anything about it.) In this particular case, it’s really important to know. PSK sits right in the northeast corner of Atlanta Center. 10 miles east of it and you’re in Washington Center. 10 miles to the northwest and you’re in Indianapolis Center. Oh yeah. And it’s non-radar airspace too. Roanoke Approach owns it. They can’t see it (below 6,000), Atlanta Center can’t see it (Atlanta owns 7,000 and above over it) and neither can Washington or Indianapolis Centers.

It’s kind of important to know what PSK direct to 3646/09019 looks like before you give it to a jet airplane that you won’t see until it reaches 6,000. You might think that 3646/09019 is POF but you don’t know that. There’s no way to know it without looking it up. And back when this was done, we didn’t have a computer to look it up.

Which brings us to the last strip. N333TQ filed AVL direct ATL. Or did he? See the “FRC” in the remarks section? That means “Full Route Clearance”. Normally that means something went wrong when the flight plan was entered into the machine so you’re supposed to read the pilot the full route to double check everything when the pilot calls for clearance. Efficient huh? But look at that Lat/Long -- 4051/08628. You think it’s ATL (Atlanta, GA) don’t you? Then explain the fix under the time -- VXV042/048. Asheville, NC direct Atlanta, GA does not take you 48 miles northeast of Knoxville, TN. Near as I can tell, that Lat/Long is NW of Kokomo, IN. But enjoy the frustration of trying to figure out where it really is. Try to do it like we did -- without a computer.

Which brings me to the final point. That’s what everybody thinks we need -- a computer. Or a new computer. Or a better computer. In the remarks section of that last strip you can see “DUATS” is written in. That is how the flight plan was filed -- with DUATS. Did the pilot file it wrong? Or did DUATS get it wrong? Or the DUATS operator? Which DUATS operator? Did the pilot know that AVL is non-radar airspace also (when the Tower is closed)? How about the STAR into ATL (while we’re thinking)? A Baron (BE58) into ATL -- the BIG airport? Well, yeah, you can but should you?

Pilots think that they ought to be able to file direct anywhere and that the system just ought to adapt. That’s because they aren’t controllers. Regardless, the system wasn’t set up that way and for at least 5 years (the span of time represented between these two types of strips) they did it anyway. And if the truth be told, they did so with encouragement. Encouragement from controllers and flight service people. So, for at least 5 years (it was much, much longer) pilots ignored what the book said -- with the encouragement of some of the people running the system -- filed whatever they wanted (or whatever somebody told them to file) and we all just “made it work”. No matter had badly it bogged down the system. No matter how it compromised the safety of the system.

Do you really think automation is going to cure that problem?

I almost forgot. The second strip -- the middle one? Notice that it didn’t need a Lat/Long for the computer to recognize the destination (all the way across the country.) That was an automation “fix”. As a matter of fact, it was called NATFIX. It was a NATional program to enlarge the FIX database by 50,000 fixes. Instead of the computer only recognizing the fixes within a Center and its adjacent Center’s fixes (and a few other major fixes like JFK, ORD, etc.), everyone’s computer would recognize 50,000 additional fixes. So now, it was possible to reroute a Baron from North Carolina direct to some place in the California desert.

Except the airplane was going to GSP (Greenville-Spartanburg, SC) not TSP. I hope it crosses the minds of most of my readers that a Baron can’t make it from North Carolina to California nonstop. So much for “smart” computers. Back before the program was “fixed”, if the controller had tried to enter that routing the program would have rejected the route and issued an error message; FIX NOT STORED. The controller -- knowing that GSP was indeed stored in his computer -- would have figured out he had made an error. As opposed to not figuring out that he had made a error.

I say again -- Do you really think automation is going to cure that problem?

Don Brown
July 14, 2011

Today’s Photo 7-14-11



Mercy me. What a pleasant surprise this morning. I was sweating while I was taking them (71º with 95% humidity) but it was worth it.



© Don Brown 2011 (Click on the picture to enlarge)



© Don Brown 2011 (Click on the picture to enlarge)


Don Brown
July 14, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Academy Visit



I just happened to see this while I was sitting here dodging my lawnmower and the heat wave.



Is that what you Tower Flowers spent all your time doing? Our “low fidelity” simulator in the Center option didn’t come with visual aids.

Don Brown
July 13, 2011

Catch Up Day 7-13-11



It’s always the problem with going out of town -- playing catch up.

I’ve got emails I haven’t answered. Lots of them.

Robert Reich is back. Look right at the blog roll.

The Earth-bound Misfit mentions me and then proves me right -- even if I didn’t have courage in my conviction.





The Praxis Foundation has something new to say about NextGen. I thought of their piece about the privatization of space when I heard this story on Marketplace this morning. (Yes, I’m behind on that too.) We’ve privatized ourselves right out of the ability to get large objects into space and now we depend upon the Russians. Guess who gave us this policy? And guess who is going to give us a lesson in the economics of a monopoly?

Oh, and speaking of economics...Krugman is still being Krugman. Peevish, sarcastic and -- above all -- right. (Take it from me, Professor. They won’t ever admit you’re right until you retire. Being right isn’t nearly as popular as one might expect.)

Anyway, I’ve got to see what the Brits are going to do to Rupert. (Is the Tower of London still in operation?) Wake the ‘ell up. You ‘ave seen Fox News ‘aven’t you? And there’s still a question in your minds about giving Rupert ‘is own network?


Tower of London at night2


I also need to find out about the recall election in Wisconsin. I’m hoping Americans can remember what Republicans really act like for at least a year. Yeah, I know, that’s just crazy talk. (Are you blokes daft?)

Don Brown
July 13, 2011

Today’s Photo 7-13-11



Have I mentioned how important it is to show up?

Indefinite ceiling 100 , sky obscured, visibility 3/4 of a mile with fog.

(I’d stand a better chance of writing that the old way than I would the new (ICAO) way. That’s how memory works. W1X3/4F?)

It wasn’t going to be much of a sunrise and I knew it. But you can’t get lucky if you don’t show up.



© Don Brown 2011 (Click on the picture to enlarge)


Don Brown
July 13, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

FAA History Lesson -- July 2011



From the FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996...

”Jul 6, 1936: Federal air traffic control began as the Bureau of Air Commerce took over operation of the three airway traffic control centers at Newark, Chicago, and Cleveland. Up to this time, these centers had been operated by private airline companies (see Dec 1, 1935). The centers were placed under Earl F. Ward, whose appointment as Supervisor, Airway Traffic Control, had been announced on Mar 6, 1936. Ward reported to the chief of the Airline Inspection Service within the Air Regulation Division. When the Bureau assumed control of the centers, it hired fifteen center employees to become the original Federal corps of airway controllers. “

This is what happens when you go on vacation -- you miss anniversaries.




Most of my readers should know the story of the Federal Government asking the airlines to run the Centers until...well, no need to explain it. Just read it for yourself.

”Nov 12-14, 1935: Representatives of all segments of the aviation community, except manufacturers, met at the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C., with Bureau of Air Commerce officials to discuss airway
traffic control. Although the conferees agreed that the Bureau should establish a uniform system of air traffic control, a lack of funding prevented it from assuming control. Director of Air Commerce Vidal convinced the airline operators to establish airway traffic control immediately and promised that in 90 to 120 days the Bureau of Air Commerce would take over the operations. (See Mar 24, 1936.) On Nov 15, Vidal approved an interairline air traffic agreement between carriers flying the Chicago-Cleveland- Newark airway. He also relaxed the general ban on instrument flying by private fliers (see Nov 1, 1935). Those pilots could now fly by instruments if they filed a flight plan with the Bureau of Air Commerce and with at least one airline flying over the route they planned to use. ”


Most of my readers would surmise that something bad had happened to put everybody in such a rush.

”May 6, 1935: A Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA) DC-2 crashed near Atlanta, Mo., killing five of the eight persons aboard. Senator Bronson M. Cutting (R-N.Mex.) was among the fatalities. ”

I think it ironically fitting that ATC began in the Great Depression and it celebrates its 75th anniversary in the Great Recession. We’ve come so far to have learned so little. Or perhaps it would be more revealing to say, our technical progress has been amazing...for so little to have changed about human nature.

Don Brown
July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

MIT -- Money In Technology



Just a little blurb from CNET about what the boys in Massachusetts are up to.

MIT algorithm could help prevent midair collisions

”MIT researchers are working on an algorithm that could help reduce the likelihood of airplane collisions in the sky, part of work to overhaul the FAA air traffic system.

The FAA's NextGen overhaul mandates that by 2020 all commercial aircraft broadcast GPS coordinates, which would be more accurate than ground-based radar.”


In case the angle hasn’t hit you yet, think drones.

Harfang

Don Brown
July 11, 2011

Outdone Again



I hate it when I spend a couple of hours writing a blog post and then listen to a podcast that says the same thing I said -- only better. Especially when the podcast was done before I wrote the blog.

Let’s face it. I don’t have an audio/visual department. And Rachel Maddow is better at her job than I am at writing blogs.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Don Brown
July 11, 2011

The Song Remains the Same



This could have been written in 1970. Or 1980. Or 1990. Or in 2000. The FAA never learns.

FAA tries new strategy to attract controllers

”"They've been coming in hot and heavy for four years and we haven't had a completely successful one go all the way yet to full-performance level," said James Hall, a controller who is the union representative at the Terminal Radar Approach Control center, or TRACON, in Elgin.

The track record has been that about half of the experienced controllers who transferred to the TRACON and 80 percent of the new hires fail during initial training, officials said.”


And yet, the FAA keeps assigning kids straight out of the academy to Chicago, New York, Atlanta and L.A.

Sigh.

Don Brown
July 11, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stunned?



I picked up a copy of The New York Times on my way home from vacation yesterday. I finally got around to reading it.





Front page -- Headline on the right side: Feeble Job Numbers Show Recovery Starting to Stall

First paragraph :...startling evidence that that the economic recovery is stumbling.

Third paragraph: Economists were stunned.

Stunned? How can they be stunned? Paul Krugman writes for the same paper. Don’t they read what he says? As I read the article all I could think was that it was exactly what Krugman has been saying. (Okay. Maybe a little bit of Robert Reich too.)

Listenning

Listen up people. I know you’re busy.

1) The economy is broken. It will not heal itself.
2) “American” multinational corporations are doing fine -- in other countries.
3) Corporations will not create more jobs without demand from consumers.
4) There will be no demand from consumers until the consumers have jobs. Jobs that pay well.
5) The government (at all levels -- Fed, State, Local) is slashing good-paying jobs. State and local governments because they can’t borrow and they’re broke. Feds because Republicans won’t let us borrow any more.
6) The only entity in this country that can borrow and “create” demand is Uncle Sam. That means we need direct hiring by the Federal Government and BIG public works projects that employ millions. Think Hoover Dam. Times 100. Or maybe 1,000.

The alternative is stagnation at best or chaos at worst. The balance of power in the world will change. It will not be a smooth change. It might be cataclysmic -- as in World-War-II-like cataclysmic.

There is no light at the end of this tunnel. There is no “confidence fairy”. We -- the citizens of the United States of America -- will have to put on our big-boy pants and do something. It will have to be something big because it’s a big problem.

The first step should be to call your Representative and Senators and tell them to stop playing around with the debt ceiling. No negotiations. No bargains. No raising of taxes. No spending cuts. Just raise it. Pure and simple. We have enough real problems without manufacturing new ones. And make no mistake about it, the debt ceiling crisis is a manufactured problem.

Don Brown
July 10, 2011

Monday, July 04, 2011

A Bit of Intellectual Honesty



I cannot tell a lie. At least not well enough to be believed. I’m not even good at obscuring the truth. Oh well. It has brought me this far and I see no reason to change.

A couple of days ago I skimmed over an uncomfortable fact. On reflection it’s a fact of such consequence that I think it deserves more than skimming over it. Here’s the pertinent text:

”So, we could have had a $3 trillion economic stimulus and put a few million Americans back to work -- almost 2 years ago. The economy and the credit markets would have supported it. But we didn’t believe it was politically possible. In other words, the Obama Administration couldn’t get the Republicans to vote for it.

You are going to see this theme again. It has happened again on this very day.”


The “it” that happened was in President Obama’s weekly radio address. I skimmed over it by just providing a link to Krugman’s take on it. It was one of many links in the blog and I realize that most people don’t have the time to follow them all. In short, this subject deserved a blog of its own. So let’s get down to it.

Barack Herbert Hoover Obama

”(President Obama said: ) “Government has to start living within its means, just like families do. We have to cut the spending we can’t afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing, and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs.”

Yep, the false government-family equivalence, the myth of expansionary austerity, and the confidence fairy, all in just two sentences”


If you follow my blog (or Krugman’s) you know that this is worse than a political concession to Republicans -- it’s bad economics. At least I believe it’s bad economics. Some people think it makes sense. The point is that I don’t and it’s a big deal when the President of the United States seems to agree with it.

This is ugly. But just because it’s ugly doesn’t mean I get to skim over it. Perhaps President Obama knows that I -- and people like me -- are stuck with him and this is just a political calculation. I’m not voting Republican in the next election (probably not for the next 10 elections) but others might. As always, it’s the middle that has to be swung and perhaps this “moderate” language will sway them.

A better way to sway them would be to put people back to work. Cutting spending right now won’t do that. Loosening business regulations even more (“confidence” is just a euphemism for no new taxes and no new regulations) won’t do it either. And as long as Republicans are intent on proving that government can’t -- government won’t. Unless a real leader steps up and stirs up the American people. The American people can do anything. They’ve been proving that for 235 years. They can even boss their politicians around when they get stirred up.

Don Brown
July 4, 2011

Saturday, July 02, 2011

There’s A Lot of Good Stuff Back There



In case that line above doesn’t sound familiar (or it does and you can’t remember), it comes from Jimmy Buffett. He was referring to some of his old albums. And there are, indeed, some very good songs “back there”.





I was looking around my old ramblings and found something I forgot I was looking for.

Aftershock

”Last night, after BBC World News America, they ran a program entitled Aftershock. It was a look back at the beginning of the Great Recession -- one year after the fall of Lehman Brothers.”

”There is no Republican Party in China so when China decided to go with a stimulus plan, they spent big. It helps that they didn’t have to borrow theirs like we did. The numbers vary slightly (currency conversions, different methodologies, etc.) but China spent (or is spending) between 15-20 percent of their GDP. If America had the same size stimulus, it would be well over $2 trillion dollars.”

The numbers being bandied about now make the calculations much easy. America has a 14 trillion dollar economy (roughly the same size as our debt) so 20% would be 2.8 trillion dollars.

USDebt

I may be mixing up numbers (I’m not an economist) but $2.8 trillion reminds me of a number I just read on Krugman’s blog the other day.

”I mean, how could you have a clearer test of liquidity preference versus loanable funds than having the US government borrow almost $3 trillion with zero, absolutely no, effect on interest rates?”

So, we could have had a $3 trillion economic stimulus and put a few million Americans back to work -- almost 2 years ago. The economy and the credit markets would have supported it. But we didn’t believe it was politically possible. In other words, the Obama Administration couldn’t get the Republicans to vote for it.

You are going to see this theme again. It has happened again on this very day. Our recovery is economically possible. It is politics that is stopping it.

Oh well, I’m getting far afield again. It happens every time. I mean, I started searching for something, noticed some neat stuff in the archives, had to chase down a Jimmy Buffet song, got distracted by Krugman’s new posts and then, while I was searching for a number on the economy, I found this:

False Start

”(A bunch of ANSPs)... employ 11,497 ATCOs (Air Traffic Control Officers) ?

According to this same chart, the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) of the FAA employs 14,930 Air Traffic Controllers.

All told, all of these other organizations run 218 Air Traffic Control Towers. The FAA runs 448. (The Irish Aviation Authority runs 3 Towers.)”


My whole point in writing this post was that there is some interesting stuff buried here in the archives of Get the Flick. I hope you’ll use it as a resource. Or just browse around. There’s a lot of good stuff back there.

Don Brown
July 2, 2011

Simple Stupidity



In the coming weeks, you need to keep one thing in mind. Congress could raise the debt limit without any debate. No fuss. No muss. No spending cuts. No new taxes. There’s nothing stopping them from just raising the debt limit in the House -- “We hereby raise the debt limit of the United States of America from $14.2 trillion to $16 trillion.” -- running the Bill over to the Senate and then running it over to the President to sign. It could be done and finished in an hour.

Instead, what you are seeing is a giant game of “chicken”.



What you need to understand is that in this game of chicken, the whole world is in the car headed for the cliff. I’ve already shown you that Fareed Zakaria thinks it could be “catastrophic”. I’ve even showed you that the American Enterprise Institute -- an organization that I love to loathe -- is nervous about it and searching for an “out”. And now, here is what Krugman has to say about it.

To the Limit

”There will be dire consequences if this limit isn’t raised. At best, we’ll suffer an economic slowdown; at worst we’ll plunge back into the depths of the 2008-9 financial crisis.”

There are consequences for this foolishness already. Pretend you are in the Chinese government. They realize that this is a manufactured crisis. We could raise the debt limit right this second with no more that a few words on a piece of paper and a signature. But instead -- like foolish teenage boys -- we’ve decided to put the Chinese government’s investment in U.S. Treasury bills in jeopardy. We are talking about trillions of dollars. We are talking about the future of the entire Chinese economy -- over a billion people -- for a decade or more. We’ve put all that at risk for political ideology.

That scenario is being played out in the minds of every government official in every government in the world. And every one of them is having the same thoughts -- “Have these people lost their minds?” And the longer this insanity goes on the more likely it is that people in other governments around the entire world will come to the conclusion that -- yes -- American has lost its mind. More from Krugman:

”Not that the confidence issue is trivial. Failure to raise the debt limit — which would, among other things, disrupt payments on existing debt — could convince investors that the United States is no longer a serious, responsible country, with nasty consequences. Furthermore, nobody knows what a U.S. default would do to the world financial system, which is built on the presumption that U.S. government debt is the ultimate safe asset.

But confidence isn’t the only thing at stake. Failure to raise the debt limit would also force the U.S. government to make drastic, immediate spending cuts, on a scale that would dwarf the austerity currently being imposed on Greece. And don’t believe the nonsense about the benefits of spending cuts that has taken over much of our public discourse: slashing spending at a time when the economy is deeply depressed would destroy hundreds of thousands and quite possibly millions of jobs.”


It is really hard to grasp the simplicity of this issue once you understand the enormity of the consequences. We are going to drive our car towards a cliff -- voluntarily, without any prodding -- knowing that we will have to jump out at some point or die. And we expect this rest of the world to sit quietly in the back seat while we take them on a ride. How do you spell “insane”?

Make no mistake about it -- this is a Republican-Party-created crisis. The debt limit has been raised 10 times since 2001. It’s an issue now because the Republican Party is in the minority and they believe they can use the debt ceiling as leverage to get their way. And there is another -- darker -- reason. From Krugman again.

”They believe that they have the upper hand, because the public will blame the president for the economic crisis they’re threatening to create. In fact, it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that G.O.P. leaders actually want the economy to perform badly.”



If there was ever an issue to call your Congressman over, this is it. The message couldn’t be simpler. Stand down. Raise the debt limit. No conditions. No new taxes. No spending cuts. No negotiations. No anything. Just raise it. Just like you’ve done the 74 times before.

Don Brown
July 2, 2011

Friday, July 01, 2011

ERAM 7-1-11



I bumped into a couple of controllers this week. I didn’t have time for a discussion with either but when you mention ERAM, they just shake their head. It’s a open secret that no one wants to talk about -- the program is in trouble. And, it’s in the news. From Aviation International News:

The Dark Side of NextGen

”Unfortunately, several of NextGen’s ongoing development efforts also remind some of us of another movie, the one that brought us the Dark Side of the Force.

Regrettably, the implementation plan omits mentioning the ongoing delays and cost escalation in several of NextGen’s more advanced  systems, typified by those currently experienced with its $2.1 billion en route automation modernization (Eram) program, a foundational NextGen building block, upon which much of the eventual NextGen structure will depend.”


A billion dollars just ain’t what it used to be. The disaster known as the Advanced Automation System only wasted $2.5 billion. That was big money back then. Before ERAM is over, I bet it will be big money too.

”Because NextGen is a “system of systems,” Eram’s problems don’t happen in isolation, and they have a domino effect on other major programs–such as ADS-B, data communications (DataComm) and system wide information management (Swim)–that have already been allocated more than $500 million for Eram integration. Further, the IG pointed out, FAA documents acknowledge that Eram delays will affect development of trajectory-based operations and the planned transition to a common terminal and en route automation platform, while prolonged delays could affect future software enhancements estimated to cost $1 billion. ”

As you might be noticing by now, this article doesn’t have the usual cheerleading tone of most NextGen articles. I’ve been down this road before. You see, the Advanced Automation System once seemed promising and exciting too. Before it became known as “the greatest failure in the history of organized work.

The article goes on to discuss NextGen at great length. It’s good. You ought to read it. But it finally comes back to ERAM.

”The increasing pace of technology advance makes forecasting difficult and major government investment decisions even more perilous. On the other hand, if those new systems are anything as complex as Lockheed Martin’s Eram (still mired in software development problems after eight years and not expected to be operationally ready for another three), then we are already running late, even before we’ve announced what the future system is going to be.

But here, the planners have given the FAA and its budget masters a break. The estimate to complete all NextGen projects and accomplish full fleet equipage has previously been estimated to be on the order of $40 billion. Not long ago, the JPDO advised the GAO IG that full fleet equipage by 2025 would raise the stake to $160 billion.”


I believe $160 billion meets today’s threshold for “big money”.

I hate quoting myself. I really do. But it does save time.

”Don Brown, Ex-controller and current nobody

”No one is going to reinvent air traffic control. ATC evolves. Slowly.”"


If the FAA had forgone the “big bang” method of trying to transform ATC -- first with AERA, then the Advanced Automation System and now with NextGen -- and instead pushed for constant, steady improvement -- we’d probably already have NextGen. But that’s like saying if they hadn’t fired most of their workforce and 25 years later pushed thousands into retirement...

Don Brown
July 1, 2011

Fareed on “Fresh Air”



There are a lot of good reasons to listen to this interview on Fresh Air. Everyone knows I like Fareed Zakaria so we’ll skip that part. I like Terry Gross (the host of Fresh Air) and she is known for her great interviews.

Here’s an economic tidbit to whet your appetite.

”If you look at Germany, it's a fascinating role model. The Germans have maintained their manufacturing edge, despite being a high-tax, high-regulation economy. Why? Because the government really set about ensuring that it maintained funding for technical training, technical advancements, apprenticeship programs. It made a concerted effort to retain high-end, complex manufacturing, you know, the kind of BMW model, if you will. And they've done that so successfully that Germany, which has a quarter of America's population, exports more than America does. Think about that. We have four times the population of Germany and we don't export as much as they do. Again, it might be worth taking a look at that country and asking what are they doing right?”

That’s amazing. Especially when you consider that West Germany unified with East Germany in 1990. (Can it really have been 20 years already?) There’s another theme at work here too. What do these three countries have in common? Germany, Japan and South Korea? A boatload of American troops still providing military security.

But what fascinated me most about this interview was the political. Notice the clarity of thought in discussing Islam and Arab dictators.

”And my basic point in the essay "Why They Hate Us" was that in order to understand the rise of Islamic terrorism, you had to understand that in the Arab world, you had had dictatorships for 30 and 40 years that had prohibited any kind of dissent.

And as a result, opposition movements had grown that were within the mosque, the one place you couldn't ban, and that use the language of Islam, the one language you could not censor, and that therefore you had these extreme religious, fanatical jihadist movements rise. And that until we did something about the dictatorships of the Arab world, this was going to be a festering problem.”


That same clarity of thought is applied to American politics.

”Mr. ZAKARIA: Exactly. Because the truth of the matter is we tax at about 18 percent of GDP. We're spending at 23 percent of GDP. There's simply no way you can close that gap entirely with spending cuts. And the worst and most damaging thing that has happened in the last few weeks is that Grover Norquist has decreed - it's almost like Vatican pronouncements - that even the closing of tax loopholes cannot be abided, because closing a loophole is technically raising taxes.

So that stupid loopholes, that are really institutionalized corruption, that have been made in the tax code to favor certain industries or favor certain interest groups in return for campaign contributions - we can't even close those because he says that's technically raising taxes on someone and Republicans have signed a pledge that they will raise taxes on no one. So youve lost the one kind of easy mechanism that the Simpson-Bowles commission found to raise revenues without raising general rates. And as I say, it leaves you with the feeling that the system has now become, essentially, paralyzed.

And, you know, this Republican dogma about taxes is one piece - one very important piece of it because you simply dont, you know, this is not really about politics at this point, you know, political ideology. The math doesnt work. You simply cannot get to closing a deficit and a debt of the nature we have without some additional revenues.”


(How many times have I warned you about Grover Norquist?)

There is much more detail in the interview. You should read it or listen to it.

In the meantime, make no mistake about it, the Republicans are playing a very, very dangerous game. One that could blow up the world.

On what might happen if the U.S. defaults on debt

"I tend to think it will be catastrophic. I think, more importantly, there is a high enough risk here that this is surely a game we don't want to play. ... There are events that economics call low-probability, high-impact events that you don't want to test. You don't want to see if this is one of those things that is an unlikely situation but once it happens could have a huge seismic global effect, because then the cost of dealing with the after-effects is just cataclysmic."”


Don Brown
July 1, 2011

Today’s Photo 7-1-11



Show up. Get lucky.



© Don Brown 2011 (Click on the picture to enlarge)


Don Brown
July 1. 2011