Posted by: bkivey | 27 February 2020

Cult of Personality

Of late conversation around the bar has turned more toward politics, and while observant of the Big 3 Taboos (sex/religion/politics), it is time for another national election, and it is very Blue here. Progressives love to talk about some politics.

I have long followed the advice of Maurice Switzer, because it’s good advice, and while silence is often mistaken for consent, in some situations it’s the better part of valor. I do not have a burning need to interject my opinion in every conversation. There is a blog for that. But I have been going to this bar for five years, and those who know me know my opinions. Those who don’t, well, no one needs more enemies. I am not going to shift someone’s philosophical foundation in two hours at a bar. If asked, I’ll offer my opinion, but mostly smile and nod politely.

But I do listen. And what I hear makes me seriously question just how many people know how this country works. Really. These are American citizens, born and raised, that seem to have little idea how the Federal government works.

All I hear is Trump, Trump, Trump. Trump can’t manage coronavirus. Mike Pence is a buffoon whose idea of a crisis response is prayer circles. On the other hand, Bernie is going to do this, that, and the other. Executive orders will flow like water.

That’s not how this deal works. The President has essentially no power over the citizenry, and purposely so. The executive orders so beloved by Progressives only have effect on the Executive branch of the Federal government. Orders can affect how agencies do their jobs, but they still have to pass muster with the Judicial branch, and as we’ve seen the past four years, the entrenched bureaucracy will actively resist change it doesn’t like.

The United States of America was set up so that the power and money would be in the Legislative branch, consisting of the people’s duly elected representatives. That is the ‘exceptionalism’ in ‘American exceptionalism’. Not for what we’ve done, but for how the nation is constituted. This was a radical idea in 1776, and it seems the modern-day Progressives consider it radical still. They really seem to want to revert to the historical ‘strong-man’. That’s not progress.

On the day-to-day, the President is little more than an ideological figurehead. Yet the Left seems hell-bent on focusing public attention on that office. Sure, it’s much easier to pay attention to one person than on the machinations of 435, but those folks are the ones that run your life. One need not look far to witness the abject failure of Progressive policies, so the Democratic focus on the Presidency may be motivated in part by self-preservation.  Perhaps the rank-and-file Democrats should take a look behind the curtain.

Driving Excitement

We’ve had really nice weather most of the last two weeks. Like cloudless skies and 60F kind of nice. This is not your father’s Northwest February. No one is complaining.

Enter the Mazda. It lay dormant in December and January, to the point I had to drive it every now and then to keep the battery charged. I was looking to sell it, because that’s an expensive thing to just have sitting around.

It hasn’t sat much the last couple of weeks. A sunny day, a fun car, and a number of twisty roads within half an hour of the house. Oh, what fun it is to play, in a quick, red sleigh.

T-45 Goshawk Air Combat Maneuvering

The T-45 is the US Navy’s advanced jet trainer, and while looking for something else, I stumbled upon the ‘rolling scissors’ section of the T-45 ACM manual. A ‘rolling scissors’ is a defensive air combat maneuver that consists of both aircraft doing a descending series of barrel rolls. The idea is to try to get the plane behind to overshoot. The manual is moderately interesting on it’s own, but what is notable is the laconic aviator humor that peppers the manual. Some examples:

“If you find yourself in a ‘scissors’, you have made a mistake.”

Implied, but not stated; possibly a fatal one.

Apparently for this aircraft, the rolling scissors is not viable below 2500 feet. As the manual notes, if you find yourself in this situation, you have some choices:

” . . . you must either flatten the roller, convert the maneuver to a horizontal scissors, disengage, or be scraped off the deck.”

And you need to keep an eye on fuel:

“The bogey pilot can add a flag to the side of his cockpit if you flameout and lose your aircraft.”



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