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Friday, August 19, 2016

Harley outlaws busted by EPA sheriffs for bypassing emission controls

WTH? I guess that "outlaw" image that Harley-Davidson works so hard to promote has some truth to it!

EPA and DOJ just busted them for doing something similar to what Volkswagen did with its diesel cars and SUVs. Emission control defeat devices.

Get the details at the following link:

Harley-Davidson gets busted by EPA

Photo credit: This is from Harley's website. I think they call this Fair Use. I have no idea if this was one of the bikes involved or not.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

EPA and DOT adopt new truck rules that pay for themselves - America! What a country!

Hey, I live in a place - Bakersfield - that has just about the worst air pollution in the country. It's pretty bad, but, at least I'm not in China - the air there is about a zillion times worse. Makes this place look like a pristine tropical paradise. Well, maybe I exaggerate a bit.

Anyway, government agencies are always proposing and adopting new laws to reduce pollution, and the people that have to comply with those regs are always bitching that they cost too much, will put them out of business, and/or they won't do what they are supposed to do anyway.

Sometimes those arguments get ripped to shreds.

Case in point: Today EPA and DOT announced some new rules for big ass trucks and other heavy duty vehicles. The rules are gonna reduce CO2 emissions by over 1 billion tonnes (that's the fancy schmantzy way of saying metric tons for you non-science types reading this). They're also gonna reduce oil consumption by over 2 billion barrels and the fuel savings from that alone will pay for the new controls in about 2 years.

So the new regs essentially pay for themselves!

In addition, the public will reap a net benefit of over $230 billion - that's a benefit-to-cost ratio of about 8:1.

Not bad, not bad at all.

You can get all the details at this link: New EPA/DOT truck rules pay for themselves

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Don't swim in Bakersfield's Lake Ming - you might get sick

Hey - have ya' heard the news about Bakersfield's (cough, cough) pristine environment? No, well, it turns out that Lake Ming, you know, that place where regular folks bring their kids and families for picnics and splashing around, where they have Iron Man swim competitions, where some people even practice yoga on paddleboards!!! (wtf is THAT all about), is CONTAMINATED with harmful bacteria!!!!

Photo: Lake Ming, Kern County website, Fair Use

You think I'm making this up? An announcement from the Kern County Public Health Department today says we need to stay out of the water. They've plastered signs all over the damn place to warn people about it.

Gee, maybe Bakersfield should try to get the next Summer Olympics, no? Sounds just like Rio, except instead of Samba music, we'll have the Bakersfield Sound.

Click on the link below for more info:

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Elon Musk blames Air Resources Board for $300 million loss, says Tesla needs more stringent regulations to make money

Wow, I thought I'd heard everything until I picked up the Los Angeles Times today and learned that Elon Musk apparently went full out raving mad ballistic against the California Air Resources Board yesterday.

Musk is the CEO of Tesla and the company lost almost $300 million last quarter. He blamed the loss in part on "pathetically low" air pollution standards and said CARB should "...damn well be ashamed of themselves."

Geez - he also implied that the loss was because CARB was colluding with other car companies to rig the price of ZEV credits and associated air regulations.

What do you think?

Click on the link below for more info:

Elon Musk blames CARB for $300 million loss

Monday, August 01, 2016

Fix your damn ATM machines!!!!

I'm so pissed off. Was on my way to play tennis at the local tennis club - once again had made my way back to Court #1 in the Monday night King of the Court doubles competition - when I decided to stop by Bank of America and deposit two retirement checks.


My first clue that this was gonna be a bad idea was the two dozen car traffic jam queued up to use the 2 drive thru ATMs. I thought of backing up and going inside the bank, but, figured there'd be too many people this time of day, around 5 p.m.

So I stuck around and waited. And waited. And waited some more.

Finally, my turn comes and I drive up to the ATM. I give it my Debit card, enter my pin, and tell it I want to deposit some checks. It tells me to insert the checks, so I do, then I hear a bunch of grinding noises I don't think I'm supposed to hear.

The ATM stops - the screen asks me if I want to complete the deposit of $388 dollars.

I say, "Hmmm..." (My checks only total $240.)

So, nice guy that I am, I tell it to cancel the deposit and give me my checks back.

I hear some more loud grinding noises, but, no checks. I wait a few more seconds. Again, I hear some more loud grinding noises, but, no checks. The screen flashes - "Your transaction has been cancelled."

WTF - where are my checks? Then I think, "Wait, where the F*&# is my Debit card? The ATM machine never gave it back. I start looking for some button to push to cancel everything and get my card back - there isn't anything.

ARE YOU FRIGGING KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?  I have to play tennis in 15 minutes!!!!

So I notice a phone number to call if the ATM breaks down. I call it. I'm on hold a while. Finally someone comes on, asks what the problem is, and I tell her: "Your frigging ATM machine misread my check deposit, won't give me back the checks after I canceled the deposit, and now won't even give me my Debit card back!!!! What are you gonna do about it!!! I need the Debit card!!!

Then she tells me, "Sorry, since the machine won't give you the card back, we're going to have to cancel that one and send you another one." You can also go inside the bank and ask them for a temporary one.

Right, sure, I am now 10 minutes from start time for tennis.I'm sure I'm gonna be able to park the car, walk into the bank at 5:20 p.m. I tell her I don't have time for that. What do I do? So she gives me a toll -free number to cal to file a claim. Just as I'm ready to hang up, the ATM machine makes a noise and I see my Debit card coming out. I grab it and tell her, "The ATM just gave me my debit card back."

She says, "Great, I will reactivate it." Then she tells me to call the claims number to get my deposit recorded.

So, I'm still parked in the car. The people behind me start honking their horns because I've been there so long. I try to get out of the car to tell them the ATM is F*^#ed up, but, I can't open my car door because I had to park too close to the ATM to reach it. (I have a sports car.)

'I dial the number, I get a recorded message asking me for my Debit card number. I enter it, "We're sorry, we have no record of that number in our system." WTF - the card never got re-activated. Now WTF am I gonna do?

My checks are gone, I can't get thru to anyone to help me because of the stupid phone mail system, and I have to play tennis in 5 minutes.

So I call another B of A number on the back of the Debit card. I get a real person. He's sympathetic. He confirms my Debit card is now active. He then gives me a direct line to the ATM claims department, but tells me not to call until 8 p.m.or later because they are so busy.

Frustrated, I drive off, barely make it to the tennis club on time, and walk onto the court steaming with anger, anxiety, and frustration. This is no way to play tennis, with a head full of crap about something not at all related to tennis.

And it shows.

We start playing doubles. I almost get hit in the head with a volley. Another one misses me a few shots later. Then I get hit in the elbow. A couple of games later, another shot to the gut. WTH is my partner trying to do, kill me?!?!?!?

Too make this long-ass story shorter, I end up playing pretty poorly, but, I still have a chance in the last set to win enough games to stay on Court 1 next week. All I have to do is win by at least 6-4. My partner and I get up 4-1. We have a chance to go up 5-1 but we each blow some easy shots. We lose the game and now lead 4-2. I'm serving.  I get the first point on a bad return of serve by my opponent. The next serve I boom an ace to the sideline. We're up 30- Love. I can taste victory.

Well, we frigging fell apart after that. We lose every frigging game and go down 6-4. Four games in a row we lost. I'm about ready to explode.

So, after the match I decide to call B of A. I get put on hold...For 30 frigging minutes!!!!! Jeez, I'm ready to drive my car over a bridge into the Kern River, except there ain't any water in the Kern River!

Finally, someone answers and tells me cooingly how B of A takes these matters seriously. She asks me some questions and says a credit for the 2 checks will appear in my account while they investigate the matter.

I'm thinking, "Right, I'm gonna spend the money, then a week or 2 later, you're gonna tell me that all you found was a bunch of shredded up checks. Then you're gonna charge me  an overdraft fee after you delete the credits you gave me."

I'm fucked.