Angry Diesel Engineer Rants

Let’s be honest – regardless of what label one applies to him, Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) manages to make that entire group look bad. In case anyone wanted a list of his potential rules violations, the NYT has cordially provided it. My favorite highlights are included below
These include:

–Approval of the purchase of four first- and business-class commercial airline tickets for a June 2008 trip during which he met with his mistress in Argentina.

— Personal use of state-owned aircraft for trips such as the birthday party of a campaign contributor in Aiken, and flying from Myrtle Beach to Columbia for a ”personal event,” including a haircut.

— Reimbursing himself nearly $3,000 using campaign contributions, including about $900 for expenses to attend a Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami and a hunting trip in Dublin, Ireland, several days later.

As Angry Diesel Engineer astutely noted: “What an idiot! You can’t take the gubernatorial helicopter to Supercuts, because your new do will get all messed up when you get back in the thing!”

The bigger news is that my good friend Angry Overeducated Catholic has begun his descent to madness. Rather than condemning Sanford’s inability to follow the laws of the state he governs, AOC has been reduced to shouting “ZOMG Democrats are teh sux0r!” Witness gems like:

AOC on Sanford’s purchace offirst/business class tickets to meet his mistress:
Note that this would apparently have been legal if he’d flown coach. (Or used his own money, naturally.) Well, or, let’s be honest, if he’d been a Democrat, although possibly only if he’d also chartered a private jet instead.

AOC on Sanford’s personal use of aircraft:
Of course, again, all of this is legal and standard for Democratic Congressmen. Remember the giant Midwestern funeral which was also a giant Dem campaign rally! Sadly, poor Sanford had the bad sense to join the wrong party for those without ethics.

AOC on Sanford going to Miami, and Dublin on campaign funds:
That is odd, since you’d think that attending the Governors Association would generally be covered by good old taxpayer funds, as it is in states where Democrats are governors. But he might also have used monies or goods provided by a “good friend”, another SOP across the aisle. And a decent Democrat would certainly have successfully argued that a trip to Ireland was for “economic development” for his state (hey it works for Daley).

So, as I suspected, Sanford’s real crimes: being a Republican and an asshat. Fool that he was, Sanford forgot to switch parties before defrauding folks and sleeping around. Bad for him, but good for us, since he got exposed, deposed, and now indicted…none of which would have happened to Gov. Sanford (D).*

*Well, he might have resigned. I should be carefl here, as some Democrats actually do resign when their shady deals are exposed. I’m just presuming that since this guy was such an asshat, he wouldn’t have done the right thing even when outed. Instead he would just emulate Kennedy, Jefferson, Clinton, Frank, Reid, etc. and bulled on through.

Though Republicans are chomping at the bit to eviscerate each other for being insufficiently conservative, evidently flagrant ethics violations only get a “But Democrats are worse!” It’s just one of those reasons why the Republicans are headed into permanent minority status. Well, that, and assclowns like Tom Tancredo who make hating mis amigos an article of faith. You know, just like the Anglo Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself; unless, of course, he is a filthy Mexican.”

Money down the Drain

Do your pockets feel a little lighter than they used to? Perhaps about $7,000 lighter? Well don’t worry, that’s just the cost of the economic stimulus for each tax paying American! That emptiness you feel is just feeling of our economy being stimulated by Obama’s package! So now that we’re out $7,000 each the question is, will it work? Will our economy finally get the treatment it needs to get up again? Will we be driven into the cold deadly arms of Socialism? Is Obama’s $825 billion package really as big as everyone seems to think it is?

The Angry Men weigh in on the issue, and hopefully you, dear reader, will as well. We want to know, what do you think of Obama’s package?

Angry Midwesterner

Despite having voted for Obama over McCain, I have to agree with McCain on this issue, the so called “stimulus package” is mostly pork. Even the slightest bit of research shows us that only around 3% of the stimulus money will be spent in the next year, and in two years time only 16% of that money will be spent. A huge chunk of the money isn’t even marked to spent before 2011. So how exactly is this the crucial time sensitive stimulus it was sold as? How does it help America if the money isn’t even being spent? This isn’t about reviving our economy, it’s about never letting a crisis go to waste, as Rahm Emanuel has mentioned, many times.

The worst of it is, the pork isn’t even good pork. It’s mostly wasteful spending probably driven by lobbyists. If Obama really wanted to pork the US so badly, I at least wish he’d had the decency to not lie to us and claim it would stimulate our economy while the special interest groups he is beholden to got theirs too. This stimulus package is a violation of the trust America put in Obama, and is most definitely not the change we voted for.

Angry Diesel Engineer

I don’t see how this massive piece of legislation (almost 500 pages in the form Obama signed) is supposed to “spend us out of our recession.”  

While I completely disdain Obama’s socialist utopia (believing that I am better suited to manage my affairs than Uncle Sam), I am interested to see what happens with all this oversight that gets put in place.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, is an interesting website, with lots of ambiguous statements about how our crazy reckless spending is going to help everyone keep their job.  I am disappointed that millions of dollars are going to create government bureaucratic jobs for said oversight positions though.

I am interested to see where this takes us especially with health care.  I’m not sure how making all medical records electronic will help save jobs (unless you get a job on the H.I.T. board).  All in all, I have great distrust in the government making health care decisions for me.  If they were making decisions for you over  100 years ago, your free health care would have been mandated by the gov. to let your blood.  In a field that is constantly improving in technique and knowledge, free market is the only logical way to go.

Angry Overeducated Catholic


I think Angry Midwesterner’s boiling it down to $7000 per taxpayer is a great way to think about this. Another is how much money is being spent per job created (about $300,000 if I recall). And a third is to note the areas most impacted by the current economic woes, the areas where the most money is going, and then notice that they don’t really line up:

At first glance, Nevada, for example, should be up in arms. In fact, that map doesn’t look at all like the map of a package intended to help out those hurt by the recession. Actually, though, the per-capita map shows you that it’s not really that bad, but it’s still somewhat disconnected from the unemployment rate.

Because, after all, it’s not really about helping those hurt by economic turmoil…it’s about buliding the Great Society v2.0 (aka New Deal v3.0).

And that $7000 price tag? Only going to go up folks, or should I say, suckers! You tax-paying, hardworking chumps whose money will be systematically confiscated and transferred to the ne’er-do-wells, luckless souls, aging Boomers, shiftless bums, and criminal classes across this great land! The Democratic leadership views you as so many stupid hick sheep to be sheared for the Greater Glory of the People’s Government. It’s just the start!

Remember: Obama is going to cure cancer…with your money, all of it if that’s what it takes.

Angry Political Optimist

The size of the stimulus package is not so much of an issue. At the end of World War II, the debt as a fraction of GDP approached 100%. Even if the dire predictions of the Republicans bear out, and Obama’s administration creates a $4T running deficit, a functional United States of America can recover in less than ten years. 

What should be worrying people is the implicit surrender of what makes America great that is embedded in these packages. Since when do Americans look to the government for assistance? Remember when people listed the classical set of great lies and number two on the list was “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you?” Americans need to look inwards to themselves and to each other for support, not to Obama and his minions. If we accept what Obama and the Congress tells us we are — what is implicit in this package — then we will NEVER recover as a nation.

As a practical matter, spending money requires an efficient bureaucracy, even if they only spend on themselves. Bush’s Katrina fiasco was caused not by an unwillingness to assist black residents but by the total unwieldiness of the FEMA distribution system. Wal-Mart, and for that matter, the US Military were on site and assisting within days (only to be rebuffed and hindered by FEMA). Does anyone really think that doubling down on the bureaucracy in Washington will allow them to spend the stimulus money. Do the math. You have to distribute $2.2B a day. (I realize that this is not the way it works, but really, by 2010, I bet that most of the money is still just an allocation on the liability side of the balance sheet. One that can be wiped away with a stroke of a pen in 2010 I might add.)

Obama and the Congress have shown their true colors. They make the Republican porkers look like pikers. Let them have their day in the sun, and then in two years bury the bastards for another 40.

[Editor’s Note: We hereby welcome our latest writer, Angry Diesel Engineer. I hope you enjoy his perspective on flex-fuel vehicles – ANM]

The Big Three have announced that by 2012, half of their production will be flex-fuel vehicles.  I’ll leave it to the other Angry Men to debate whether it makes sense to run your car on food at all (I’m sure Angry Biologist would have something to say about it), but ramping up on our current production FFVs is not the way to go about it.

If you’ve ever seen a FlexFuel sticker on a car in America, it means that that car contains an engine and fuel system which was designed and optimized to run on gasoline, but made to tolerate E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.  Ethanol is not a bad fuel, per say.  Compared to gasoline, it has 61% the energy content (Lower Heating Value),  and, conveniently enough, 61% of the Air/Fuel ratio for Stoichiometric combustion.  For this reason, it blends well with gasoline as a fuel – a higher volumetric consumption releases the same energy.  Relative to gasoline, it actually has a much higher knock resistance (Octane rating), comparable almost to racing fuel. Coupled with the it can be made from a variety of sources, most of them renewable, and it becomes downright attractive.  

But gasoline it ain’t. Gasoline has about a 90 year head start on ethanol in engine optimization, infrastructure deployment, and the like. It bears the aforementioned higher energy content, so for the same weight and/or volume (both large considerations for vehicle designers), it can be converted to produce more work.  And, as Americans, this is the measure our car’s efficiency – units of work done per volume of fuel consumed, or miles per gallon.

Which brings me to the topic of this rant: chemical  energy to rotational force conversion systems, or as they are commonly called, engines.  The modern internal combustion engine is a marvelous piece of engineering.  It has been highly refined over more than a century resulting in ridiculous increases in specific output and efficiency.  Despite its advances, a modern example is rarely found operating at even 33% efficiency. That’s right, over 2/3 of the energy (gasoline) you are putting into your car is wasted.

Long ago it was discovered that raising the compression ratio (the maximum cylinder volume : minimum cylinder volume) increased the efficiency of the engine, but also uncovered the tendency of liquid fuel/air mixtures to explode spontaneously, as opposed to the desired flame-front propagation.  Spark ignition engines are by design “knock limited,” meaning were it not for this spontaneous combustion, the engine output or efficiency (or both) could be improved.  Historical solutions to this knock limit have been found, but in the end were deemed environmentally irresponsible.

“But wait,” you ask, “didn’t you just say that E85 has a higher octane rating, which means it should tolerate a higher compression ratio and thereby actually run more efficiently?”  And you’d be right to ask that.  Yes, an engine designed to run on E85 could theoretically achieve higher thermal efficiencies, achieving miles-per-gallon similar to (but probably still lacking compared to) its gasoline counterpart.  

Which brings us to Detroit’s folly.  In an age when fuel economy is the ultimate quest, and green house gasses are on the brink of being regulated, Detroit is saying “up yours” to mother earth.  FlexFuel engines are designed to tolerate E85, not actually achieve anything from it.  Actually burning the stuff results in about 2/3 the fuel economy compared to straight gasoline.  All that potential for any increase in mileage is scoffed at.  Detroit does with it what it does best: throws it out the tailpipe.