$33 Billion More For War, Cuts For Education

h/t KL

My New Roof Rack For My Annual Trip To Oregon

2 pieces of angle iron, welded into a "Z" There is a piece of rubber I used to reduce vibration that is wrinkled/wavy in the picture above. The aluminum tube has expando foam in it to reduce whistling as we drive.

Square aluminum tubing makes the crossbars and rails. The bungees are there to disrupt wind flow and reduce the noise the rack makes when driving over 40. There is NO noise with the bungees.

Cool little cleats on the rails

I don't have much money. To buy the stock roof rack for my car costs about $200. In order to put one of those fancy bike racks on the roof (that you see in pictures I got used for $60 for the pair), you need a rack and another rack to attach to your rack. The rack that attaches to your rack costs about $200-$400, then you have to buy the special bike racks that mount on the rack you buy to go on the stock rack on your car already, or the one you bought.

Sound convoluted? It is. A Yakima or Thule rack that attaches to the roof of your car costs too much money, as does the Honda stock rack upon which the Yakima or Thule bike rack will mount.

I decided to make my own. With some angle iron, aluminum square tubing and an incredibly nice guy with a welder, I was able to make my own rack for about $40 in parts.

I found some plans on an Element owner's forum. I was originally going to drill holes in the 2 pieces of angle iron that make up the mount that attaches to the car and secure them together with bolts (as in the original plans linked above). This was going to require drilling 2 holes in each of 2 pieces of angle iron 4 times, not to mention the 3 smaller holes in each bottom piece of angle iron that gets screwed into the roof. I tried to drill them with my cordless drill, but getting them spot on and drilling through iron proved nearly impossible for my cordless drill, even with a $5 titanium bit.

I realized I was going to need a drill press. I put an ad on Craig's List begging for some drill press time on anyone's drill press. I didn't really expect much.

I got a response that day from a dude named Stephen Powell. He told me to come by his shop in Concord, CA and we can drill my holes (get your mind out of the gutter).

I got to Concord in 20 minutes, showed Stephen what I was trying to do, and then watched him decide my plans were not so great; he decided to weld the 2 pieces of angle iron together rather than bolt them. Saved time and was much more secure.

What was originally supposed to be about 20 minutes of drilling turned into about 90 minutes of Stephen being anal and making my mounts perfect. What a guy. He is a handy man, jack of all trades, master of none, as he put it. He was thorough, patient, nice, thoughtful, and enjoyed playing rock n roll trivia as we listened to the shop radio while I watched him work. He was awesome. If you need a guy like Stephen to help you out, let me know and I will put you in contact with him. Technically he is a mechanic/machinist.

And here is my car with a bike on top. There will be 2 bikes on the roof and 1 on the back rack. I will tie down lots of other stuff to the new rack, making our annual trip to Oregon--this year with a Frustrated Friend to accompany the Frustrated Son--much easier on the inside of the car. We used to fill it up, but with an extra body and extra bike, I needed the rack. I love it, I made it (mostly) and I am proud of it. The Frustrated Son is tired of hearing about already!

So as of Monday, June 14, blogging will be light as we will be hanging out with family and friends in Portland, Oregon, then on to our friend's cabin in the woods near Crater Lake. Wish you could be there!!


Rare Photo Of Slave Children

From Salon:
A haunting 150-year-old photo found in a North Carolina attic shows a young black child named John, barefoot and wearing ragged clothes, perched on a barrel next to another unidentified young boy.

Art historians believe it’s an extremely rare Civil War-era photograph of children who were either slaves at the time or recently emancipated.
h/t Alternet

Friday Cartoon Bonus Fun: Confusion Prince Edition

Friday Cartoon Fun: Impotence Edition

Real Men Read

Bruce Lee


Pat Condell On The Ground Zero Mosque: No!

He makes a convincing argument.

Welcome To The Newest Third World Country

From the Foundation for Child Development report:
The worst has yet to come. Our research shows that conditions for children deteriorated through 2009 and are projected to bottom out in 2010. Virtually all the progress made in the family economic well-being domain since 1975 will be wiped out. Families, schools, neighborhood and community organizations, and governments continue to cope with budget cuts and the loss of jobs, producing the anticipated “lag time” in economic recovery.
h/t WI

BP: The Juice Gatherer

According to Senator Nelson, top-kill may have blown out the part of the well casing under the sea bed. This means that the well can never be capped. The only way to stop the flow is to drill relief wells.

Since we are clearly not going to stop drilling for oil in the Gulf, the least we can do is require that relief wells be simultaneously drilled from now on, and all existing wells also have relief wells drilled. I assume this would cost a shitload of money, but if we want to protect ourselves, we pay.

All the boom being touted by BP isn't doing much, and from what oil cleanup experts say, it simply won't. But it could at least get tended to better, or at all.

I have 6 of the 8 feeds on the live BP feeds page and watch them frequently.  I have not noticed much change in anything.  I mean, the feeds are cool, but they don't show how the oil is being captured that BP says is being captured.  There must be other feeds--they don't have any other way to do their work down there.

BP totally screwed this up. They are the 4th largest company in the world.  They are so big they have virtually nothing to fear.  Their greatest asset is the American people.  Until we don't need them, or want them, they do what they are supposed to do--make money extracting our juice.


Quote Of The Day: Sick Man Edition

There was a time, a century ago, when Turkey was known as the sick man of Europe. Today America might be called the psychopath of the planet.
h/t 3QD

Picture A Bright Blue Ball Just Spinnin'...

Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin, spinnin free,
Dizzy with eternity.
Paint it with a skin of sky,
Brush in some clouds and sea,
Call it home for you and me.
A peaceful place or so it looks from space,
A closer look reveals the human race.
Full of hope, full of grace
Is the human face,
But afraid we may lay our home to waste.

There's a fear down here we can't forget.
Hasn't got a name just yet.
Always awake, always around,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Now watch as the ball revolves
And the nighttime falls.
Again the hunt begins,
Again the bloodwind calls.
By and by again, the morning sun will rise,
But the darkness never goes
From some men's eyes.
It strolls the sidewalks and it rolls the streets,
Staking turf, dividing up meat.
Nightmare spook, piece of heat,
It's you and me.
You and me.

Click flash blade in ghetto night,
Rudies looking for a fight.
Rat cat alley, roll them bones.
Need that cash to feed that jones.
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Commissars and pin-stripe bosses
Roll the dice.
Any way they fall,
Guess who gets to pay the price.
Money green or proletarian gray,
Selling guns 'stead of food today.

So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Heartless powers try to tell us
What to think.
If the spirit's sleeping,
Then the flesh is ink
History's page will thus be carved in stone.
And we are here, and we are on our own
On our own.
On our own.
On our own.

If the game is lost,
Then we're all the same.
No one left to place or take the blame.
We can leave this place and empty stone
Or that shinin' ball we used to call our home.

So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Shipping powders back and forth
Singing black goes south and white comes north.
In a whole world full of petty wars
Singing I got mine and you got yours.
And the current fashion sets the pace,
Lose your step, fall out of grace.
And the radical, he rant and rage,
Singing someone's got to turn the page.
And the rich man in his summer home,
Singing just leave well enough alone.
But his pants are down, his cover's blown...

And the politicians throwin' stones,
So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And it's all too clear we're on our own.
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Picture a bright blue ball,
Just spinnin', spinnin, free.
Dizzy with the possibilities.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

By the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir and EFF's John Perry Barlow

Orly "Birther" Taitz Might Win CA Election. Chilling.

"Barack Obama is a terrible president, and we have to get him out of office by any weird loophole we can make up," she [Orly Taitz] said on an appearance last summer on the Colbert Report.
This is a starkly anti-democratic statement. Tomorrow, we will find out if it is the majority opinion of the Republican Party.
h/t Open Left

Roger Ebert On That Mural In Prescott, Arizona

Roger Ebert:
How would I feel if I were a brown student at Miller Valley Elementary School in Prescott, Arizona? A mural was created to depict some of the actual students in the school.

Let's say I was one of the lucky ones. The mural took shape, and as my face became recognizable, I took some kidding from my classmates and a smile from a pretty girl I liked.

My parents even came over one day to have a look and take some photos to e-mail to the family. The mural was shown on TV, and everybody could see that it was me.

Then a City Councilman named Steve Blair went on his local radio talk show and made some comments about the mural. I didn't hear him, but I can guess what he said. My dad says it's open season on brown people in this state. Anyway, for two months white people drove past in their cars and screamed angry words out the window before hurrying away. And the artists got back up on their scaffold and started making my face whiter.
Go read the whole thing.

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