What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

We’ll Wait Until November…

Filed under: Politics — dave @ 2:32 pm 2010/09/30

Last weekend, Senator Harry Reid – D, released a statement saying that there will be no vote on extending the Bush tax cuts until late Novemberafter the mid-term elections.

“The reality is, we will not pass what needs to be passed to change this either in the Senate or the House before the election,” said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate.

You know, if those tax cuts are such terrible things and are ‘costing’ the country so much in revenue, then repealing them should be a no-brainer for the Democrats with their solid majorities in Congress and a supportive White House. But I guess Harry is at least smart enough to know that with so many Democrats seeking reelection following 18 months of dwindling polling support, he and Nancy Pelosi would have a heck of a time rallying their people to pull the plug on the Tax Cuts For The Wealthy™.

There; I gave him credit for being smart.

Steve Martin on Twitter

Filed under: Fun! — Tags: , , — dave @ 9:39 am

Throwing stand-up comedy one-liners on Twitter seems to be a perfect match, judging by Steve Martin‘s Twitter page, SteveMartinToGo.

I tell wife I need printer paper. Am now driving car in Beverl. Hill. Californi. (I abbreviated Beverly Hills, California to save space).

2:10 PM Sep 25th via web

Have just been pulled over by cop. He wants to know why there are monkey paw prints on car. Asks me to remove paper sack.

2:10 PM Sep 25th via web

Because of frozen Botox face, my expression does not match my driver’s license photo and I am arrested.

2:11 PM Sep 25th via web

Handcuffs force me to Tweet with nose. Kindly cop holds phone to face. K-9 corps dog smells monkeys, attacks.

2:11 PM Sep 25th via web

Am held in non-celebrity section of jail. The cappuccino is cold. No one recognizes me. Other inmates think my impression of myself is bad.

2:11 PM Sep 25th via web

I’m in dire straits. Need help. Suggestions taken.

2:12 PM Sep 25th via web

I love me some Steve Martin. I don’t think I’ll get much done this morning…

All Ur Money Are Belong To Us

Filed under: Just Stuff,Politics — dave @ 1:20 pm 2010/09/23

This is a slightly scary proposition.

The UK’s tax collection agency is putting forth a proposal that all employers send employee paychecks to the government, after which the government would deduct what it deems as the appropriate tax and pay the employees by bank transfer.

Would anybody be surprised if this was tried on our shores? Give the Democrats another two years with their current majority reign rule, and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit, especially with Obama still in office.

After all, in their view of the world, it seems that it all belongs to them anyway… Tax cuts “cost the government.” Reducing taxes is something the government “can’t afford” to do. “A rebate” is what is given to those who pay no taxes at all after confiscatory tax rates are applied to another group. Complaining about high taxes is labeled as “selfishness.” Lower taxes cause deficits. Increasing the national debt by a few trillion dollars is justified by counting fictitious “jobs created or saved.” Campaign promises of “tax cuts for 95% of the population” result in the shrinking of our paychecks.

The Music of The Nürburgring

Filed under: Cars!,Fun! — Tags: , , — dave @ 4:15 pm 2010/09/22

Speaking of the BMW M1, here’s a great video on YouTube. Click the full-screen button, slip on some headphones (or crank the speakers up uncomfortably loud!), and enjoy the ride.

That Hans Wagner is one heck of a driver, and the M1 Procar is one heck of a car.

Put Away The Leeches Already!

Filed under: Cars!,Politics,The World — Tags: , — dave @ 9:21 am

Here’s another good article from American Thinker yesterday…

There are two hypotheses, at least. One is the standard story of the government-as-savior crowd. TARP and other bailouts fixed the financial crisis and Obama’s stimulus stopped the economic recession that resulted. Without either one, things would have been worse, much worse.

Here is another hypothesis. We had a recession, just like the other ten times since World War II. As in every other such case, this recession would have ended in about a year if government had done nothing in particular. But this time, the extra costs and uncertainties caused by government “fixes” in fact prolonged and deepened this recession and threatened a double dip or stalling out of economic activity.

Neither hypothesis can be “proved,” since all we know is what government did and what happened. We do not know what might have happened had we done something else.

But here is my take. The times we let government do the most to “fix” a recession, meaning the Great Depression and our current Great Recession, were the very times the economy did the worst. When government let things more or less alone, the economy recovered fairly quickly and with minimal damage.

We also have the academic studies by, of all people, Christina Romer, Obama’s initial chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, that say fiscal policies (e.g. government spending or “stimuli”) did not get us out of the Great Depression or any of our postwar recessions.

The analogy is bleeding a patient. If the doctors bleed a patient and he gets better, they take credit. If the patient gets worse, the doctors say he was not bled enough.

I think, at this point, we have enough evidence for both bleeding as a medical cure and fiscal stimulus as an economic cure that we can stop killing patients by bleeding them to death.

We have two good pieces of advice in such matters, one from Hippocrates and the other from our space program. Hippocrates said, “First, do no harm.” Our space program’s rule of flight control was “If you don’t know what to, don’t do anything.”

I think we need people in Washington, DC, who follow the advice in that last paragraph. Lots of them.

Happy Constitution Day!

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , — dave @ 9:20 am 2010/09/17

Today is the 223rd anniversary of the signing of our Constitution; Constitution Day. Time to read up, again & see what our Founders had in mind for us at the outset, and how it applies to us today.

“… it tells you the whole story in just three words: We The People.”

Ronald Reagan

A Banshee on eBay?

Filed under: Cars!,Favorite Things,Fun!,Uncategorized — dave @ 11:32 pm 2010/09/14

Look what showed up on eBay… half of the Pontiac Banshees in existence. (Well, yeah; there were only two built…)

Banshee-9

So far the price is up to just over $85,000 (reserve not met), but I predict it’ll go much, much higher in the five days left in the auction. I might throw a bid in there, knowing I’ll get out-bid, just so I can say I was THIS close to buying that car…

But really, I’m surprised to see this car on eBay; it would likely do much better in an auction house like Barrett Jackson. But the seller didn’t ask me I guess.

Pontiac didn’t ask me if they should’ve built them back in the ’60′s either, but that’s just as well because I was just a dopey little round-headed kid back then. But seriously, this car should’ve seen production. It was designed to go head-to-head against the Mustang, and as it stands I think it would’ve kicked the Mustang’s butt in the market. But then again these were concept cars, and the production version probably would’ve had a back seat, which would’ve added to the roof length and thrown the visual balance of the car way off…

Maybe it’s best that we just have these two. Or in my case, just the photos.

eBay Link

1964 Pontiac XP833 Banshee Concept Car Coupe

Title: 1964 Pontiac Banshee Firebird Corvette Concept Show Car
Mileage: 1,498 miles
Location: Milford, CT

Vehicle Information
VIN: 66L23060
Warranty: Vehicle does NOT have an existing warranty
Title: Clear
Condition: Used
For sale by: Private seller

Features
Body type: Coupe
Engine: 6 – Cyl. Cylinder
Exterior color: Silver
Transmission: Manual
Fuel type: Gasoline
Interior color: Red

XP-833 CONCEPT CAR
BANSHEE

Created by John Z. Delorean – then General Manager of Pontiac
Built by the Pontiac Motor Division of General Motors
Debuted as a Banshee Prototype in 1964

**This car is the original one-of-a-kind prototype Pontiac Banshee Coupe**

History of the XP-833 Banshee

The early Ford Mustangs were so popular that Pontiac’s brass decided to build a Mustang competitor while DeLorean wanted to offer a two-seat sports car as a Corvette alternative to compete with the Mustang. Secretly, the XP-833 project was born. DeLorean declared the XP-833 Banshee a Mustang beater after the concept prototypes were built.

The XP-833 prototype was a preview of future GM designs to come. Long nose, short deck, swooping “coke-bottle” profile, broad grille with chrome bumper surround, raked windshield, bulging fenders, triple slit taillights and hidden headlights with a suggestive power bulge on the hood.

However, the design of the XP-833 was so far ahead of its time that GM’s top executives became worried that it might be too much of a threat to their prized Corvette so they stopped the project. To compete with the Mustang, in 1967 Pontiac ultimately came out with the Firebird that shared both chassis and sheet metal with the Chevrolet Camaro.  In 1973 John Delorean left General Motors and formed the DeLorean Motor Company to create his dream sportscar the DeLorean, which was later featured in the movie “Back to the Future” and the rest is now history…

Unfortunately, the Banshee never reached production, but most exterior angles of the redesigned third generation 1968 Corvette interestingly mirrored the XP-Banshee prototype except for the distinctive Pontiac grille and Firebird style tail panel.

There’s so much Corvette influence that a Banshee prototype was shown at Bloomington in 1990 and this car was even invited to be displayed at the Meadow Brook Hall Concourse d’Elegance in 2001 as a legend of automotive history.

Amazingly, the two drivable Banshee prototypes (a coupe and a roadster) avoided destruction by being hidden in shipping crates after the project was canceled by GM. Eventually, the cars were spared death by the crusher and sold by GM to employees that were closely involved in the XP-833 project.

Bill Killen received this prototype coupe directly from GM and the Killen family has owned the car until it changed hands a few years ago. The car has less than 1,500 original miles on it with most of the miles coming from the early developmental days while at Pontiac. The car is a true unrestored survivor as it still is the way that it was when shown to the GM management over 40 years ago including the original paint, interior and drivetrain…

The Banshee prototypes and their legacy remain a huge part of automotive lore and have been featured in countless automobile history books and car magazines over the years. Now that we have seen an end to the Pontiac marquee, this historically important Pontiac will surely be a much sought after car by collectors and enthusiasts into the future.

This car is a one-of-a-kind prototype and was built with the following features

Silver exterior with a red interior
  • Unique solid-body construction of exterior fiberglass with Steel underbody
  • Special hinged roof/top that flips up for easy access
  • Specially-built cross flow head OHC inline six engine (155 horsepower)
  • Four-speed manual transmission
  • Solid live rear axle
  • Cooling air intakes under its long nose
  • Fixed seats with adjustable – movable pedals
  • Stylish sport car dash
  • Large 120mph speedometer
  • Large 8,000 RPM tachometer
  • Gauge pack (temp, oil pres, oil temp, water temp, amps, clock)
  • Wood sport steering wheel
  • Pontiac radio
  • Rally II style wheels
  • For additional information or to set an appointment to see this car in Connecticut, call Mark at (949)226-7053**

    Happy IBMLTIWS Day!

    Filed under: Family,Fun! — dave @ 8:22 am

    Translation; it’s “I’ve Been Married Longer Than I Was Single” Day!

    On my last birthday I realized that I was twice the age I was when Yvonne & I married. That got me to wondering when exactly I would have been married longer than I was single, so I did some figuring to determine my age in days when I got married, then added that number to our wedding date (Excel makes this pretty easy.) What I came up with is today.

    Nothing magical or anything, but I seem to be the first one to think of marking this milestone in life. Or maybe the only one weird enough to think of it. But I think a milestone like this is something worth celebrating, especially with so many marriages ending prematurely.

    So when is your IBMLTIWS Day?

    BMWotD — 1980 M1

    Filed under: BMW Of The Day,Cars!,Racing — dave @ 8:31 pm 2010/09/13

    Now this is a car…

    5962415-640-0

    The 1980 BMW M1, aka the E26. With the exception of the kidney grilles and the BMW roundels, the M1 actually looks more like an Italian supercar of the same vintage, which should come as no surprise as it was designed by Lamborgini for BMW. Thankfully, the doors swing horizontally, as God intended.

    5962411-640-0

    The mid-engined, two-seat M1 was designed & built a homologation special — it’s classified as a production car but was only built in sufficient numbers to allow BMW to race the car (with some important but relatively minor modifications) in certain events. The cars that were not raced, like this fine machine, were sold to the public.

    One cool thing about the M1 is that it’s exclusive as all get out, but since it uses many off-the-shelf BMW parts, it’s still a very maintainable car. The engine is a kissing-cousin to the M88/S38 engines found in the e28 M5s and e24 M6s. The addition of the tuned headers makes the view under the hood a work of art; maybe not hanging in a gallery, but I like it enough to have it grace my desktop!

    5962425-640-0

    Because it’s considered a production car, the parts database for it is listed in RealOEM right along with every other production BMW. I doubt, though, that there’s a Bentley service manual available for it, and there’s definitely no M1 equivalent to the rabidly fanatical MyE28.com crowd!

    5929153-640-0

    Because of their rarity & cost, most M1s have been babied since new. I first saw this particular M1 in the Hemmings.com classifieds; it’s got a mere 26,999 miles on the clock, and it sounds like it’s had a nice restoration done to it to put it back in factory original condition. Its original owner was actually Christopher Cross, who bought it (and a twin M1 to it in Hennarot Red) to celebrate his rise to fame after the 1980 Grammy Awards. There he was awarded the Best Record & Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist for his song, “Sailing”. (just thinking of that song brings back high school memories!) Even with the restoration and the car’s history, I don’t know if the seller’s $250,000 asking price can be justified. Other similar examples are going for about half that, but who knows.

    5962425-640-0

    While I consider the engine to be a work of art, and the car itself is a work of art as well, some went a bit further with the M1. Andy Warhol and some people at BMW saw a Group 4 race-prepped M1 as a canvas on which a work of art ought to be painted. I guess that makes it an art car… a really fast art car, that actually did battle in & finished the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1979.

    warhol_m1_8

    I can’t say that I’m impressed by this car as art, at least not in photos. That might have something to do with Warhol spending all of 22 minutes painting it. The car was featured in a recent Jalopnik post, and I think the author’s impression of it was the same, at least before he saw it in person:

    … and then I am left with a glass of champagne and the M1. There it sits under high ceilings, a time capsule from the late ‘70s, corpses of long-dead and mummified bugs still stuck to its radiator, Andy Warhol’s finger-painted signature on its rear. It’s a menacing, purposeful object, a riot of color, and it’s very, very real, it’s not a museum piece to be observed while drinking a glass of champagne on a barely air-conditioned summer afternoon and nodding thoughtfully, it is a race car which has gone out and raced, which has survived the hell of Le Mans, and here it sits, a testament to all that’s great about BMW and about motor racing, it makes you wish for a gas mask and a quick-acting synthetic vaporized opiate to knock all the museum guards out cold, so you can take your dear time filling up the M1’s fluids, gently prodding the M88 engine to life, its red velocity trumpets waking like both the space marines and the xenomorphs in Aliens, so you can pop open its un-Lamborghini door and toe the accelerator and motor out and away, and then, once it’s warmed up, see what it sounds like in the upper reaches of the 6000s.

    In a sense then, it is great art after all.

    warhol_m1_10
    (more…)

    Mountain of Debt?

    Filed under: Just Stuff,Media Bias,Politics — dave @ 3:12 pm 2010/09/08

    While watching the news a few nights ago KELO showed some clips from a debate between the three candidates for South Dakota’s lone US House of Representatives seat. In it, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin made a pretty outlandish statement about the country’s mounting debt load…

    We have to make some hard decisions to sustain and strengthen this recovery and the economy, because if we don’t it makes it that much harder to dig out of this mountain of debt that has been accumulated over nine years…

    Wow. First off, what recovery? And that “mountain of debt that’s been accumulated over nine years” comment had to be crafted by her handlers as a sly way for her to cast the blame for the debt on George W. Bush. Stephanie tries hard to come across as a moderate Democrat, and seems to do a good job walking that line, but comments like this only serve to show that she’s just as interested in placating the left-wing fringe.

    Most people like to tie changes in the National Debt around the neck of the President who happens to be in office at the time, but the fact of the matter is that it takes more than a President to drive up the debt or bring it down. Congress writes the bills that drive the budget, and they are also guilty of adding a multitude of unrelated amendments to bills to get their pet projects funded. The Senate and House leadership is just as culpable for the ballooning federal debt as any President, so let’s take a look at who has been running the show for the last nine years…

    national_debt

    Over the last nine years — the time frame chosen by Stephanie in her comment — the national debt has increased by about $9 trillion (the graph above includes the estimated debt that will likely accumulate in the next four months of 2010). George W. Bush was in office for a little over seven of those nine years, and in his two terms the national debt grew by about $4.3 trillion. By the end of 2010 Barack Obama will have been in office a mere two years, but the debt will have grown another $4.4 trillion by that time.

    But a what most Congressional incumbents seem to think is inconsequential is that Congress has been under Democrat control for much of that time as well, and the sharpest increases in national debt have occurred during the tenures of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

    This is in no way giving a pass to the Republicans; they were spending like drunken sailors during the Bush years and squandered what was a golden opportunity to show the leftists that governing on solid fiscal conservative principles could do.

    The stigma built by Obama and the Democrat leadership in Congress over the last several years is an albatross around Stephanie’s neck, and her polling numbers in this race show she is having a tough time distancing herself from that stigma. To give credit where credit is due, she has voted against some of the legislation that has built up that “mountain of debt” and is less popular here in South Dakota, but I would bet money that her votes weren’t cast before getting the approval of Nancy Pelosi after the Democrats made sure they had enough votes to get their way.

    Challenger Kristi Noem is leading in the polls, 51% to 42%, and I would hazard to guess that has less to do with anything Kristi or Stephanie have said or done in this campaign. What I can’t get over is how the Democrats — and the media — just can’t get over blaming Bush for everything that’s wrong with the country today.

    Numbers source.
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