sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Random Musings

White Wolf Mine (update)

I reminded the general contractor yesterday that "winter is coming" even though it's mid-summer. You always have to keep in mind that summer won't last forever and I'm waiting to move into the hovel. 

The drywall is complete, and the framers are finishing up last bits before the finish carpentry begins, kitchen cabinets are installed, etc. So things are moving forward toward a September 15 finish date. 

Things have been very hectic with deaths in the family and so forth and business has also been insane for me. Combine the two and I don't get up to the mine as often as I'd like to. I can bolt into the desert for day trips in 122 degree heat, but my "winter is coming" philosophy does not effect the weather gods one bit. Ask LSP in Texas. They don't regard his fishing schedule at all.

While it's hot as the surface of the sun in the Phoenix valley, it's a balmy 85 at the mine. Sometimes it gets warmer in the high country but not often and not for long.

Feeding Detained Illegal Aliens

Illegal aliens facing deportation are unhappy with the meals that they are served. Ok, it's prison food, the same sort of meals that Fredd's Aunt Sally feeds the people she loves most in the world. It's sort of like basic Army chow. I was in the Navy and we ate better (not the t-bones and lobster that the Air Force eats, but better than the Army).

Aliens can self-deport and ask to be returned to their points of origin at any point in time. All they need to is ask. USGOV will ship them home (maybe with a box lunch to eat on the airplane?). If they don't like the prison food in the US, they can go back to beans, tortillas and rice. Nobody is keeping the people who entered the US illegally one day longer than they have to.

Elections in Pakistan

General elections are in progress in Pakistan. Voting began early on 25 July. Imran Khan’s Pakistani Movement for Justice (PTI) party is still considered the front runner.

There are reports of violent clashes between party workers. One person was killed and two were injured in one location. Several people were injured by gunfire at another location. In Quetta, an explosion killed 25 people and injured several dozen. The number of violent incidents continued to increase.

A summary of the election follows, from Pakistani newspapers.
-The Pakistani National Assembly contains 342 seats. From the total seats in the National Assembly, elections are held for 272 seats; 10 seats are reserved for religious minorities and 60 are reserved for women to be filled by proportional representation among parties with more than 5% of the vote. 
- A single party needs to obtain at least 137 of the directly elected seats to form the government on its own. Otherwise the winner in a plurality must form a coalition government. 
- A total of 3,459 candidates are contesting the 272 general seats in the National Assembly; 8,396 are running for 577 general seats in the four provincial assemblies – Sindh, Baluchistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provinces. 
- Eligible voters can cast their ballots for two seats in each constituency: one for the National Assembly (the lower house of Parliament) and one for their Provincial Assembly (which runs their provincial government).
The election campaign has featured violence and animosity among candidates. This is an important election because the stakes are high.

One Pakistani commentator observed that the PTI’s electoral success would be significant. It would mean that a third party succeeded in breaking the hold on civilian government by the Sharif family and the Bhutto family. 

The Sharif family is synonymous with the Punjabis, read Lahore. The Sindhis -read Karachi- are the base of the Bhuttos. Imran Khan represents the peoples west of the Indus River- read Peshawar and Quetta- plus Islamist parties. The traditional civilian power structure appears to be fracturing with the help of the Pakistan Army leadership.

There are several additional implications. If the PTI forms a government, it would mean that the Pakistan Army leadership had found a way to control the civilian government through elections, without resorting to a coup or an overtly military -backed administration. It also would mean that Islamic fundamentalist parties in the PTI will have gained more political clout than ever.

Just Another Scam

One overarching thought for this blog post, and one that I'm always faced with is the concept of fairness. We teach the concept to children so that they will share toys and food and not pound each other to dust. Outside of that, there's nothing that links the concept to the real world. The concept of treating others as you would have them treat you is a high and lofty goal for the clouds that is rarely present down here in the mud and the blood and the beer.

Planned Failure

2014 Raptor out of the shop today.
Planned failure has become a part of many modern automobile manufacturers design parameters. It makes money primarily for dealerships because they make most of their money in service and parts.

Is there a brand of automobile that doesn't do this? Possibly Honda and Toyota and their luxury brands, Acura and Lexus (respectively).

I paid cash for the Raptor. I was serious about keeping it...forever or until I died, whichever came first, maintaining it as I do by replacing every part that even looked as if it might be worn.

Let me tell you MORE about my 2014 Ford Raptor, which just spent SEVEN DAYS at the dealership for the repair of a motor and an actuator that controls airflow in the cabin of the vehicle. Ford lists the repair as a six hour job in their book.
Part #  AL8Z19E616F   Motor Asy  &  Part # DL3Z19A618A  Duct Air
Before I move forward with the rant, I need to point out that I bought an extended factory warranty on the vehicle, so this is not about the repair costing me anything beyond the original outlay for 'insurance' at point of sale. The dealership's rental department called me every day that my rig was in the shop, asking me if I wanted to rent a vehicle from them...not a loaner. I explained that I have several vehicles, over and over, and no, I did not need a rental.

The Raptor (a souped up Ford F-150 pick up) is Ford's entry in the truck market for people who want a pick-up that drives like a Ferrari with premium off-road/rough road suspension. I bought the fourth year model of the Raptor because (a) I thought they had time to work the bugs out; (b) future models would not have a steel I-beam frame - they'd be aluminum unibody; (c) future models would have a 6 cyl engine with a supercharger, not the 6.2L V-8 that my rig has.

The Easter Egg

I have 35,000 miles on my four year old Raptor and it looks and smells like new. Even the tires look new. There I was, driving it from there to here and I noticed a sound accompanied by vibration when I turned up the A/C.

The service associate was as cynical as I was. I asked, "If this is such a common problem, why didn't Ford fix it?"

He replied, "If Ford was interested in fixing things, why hasn't it fixed the transmissions in the Ford Focus that implode at 75,000 miles?"

(see above) I pointed out that Honda and Toyota never to seem to have these problems, and used my Honda Accord as an example. He said, "See that guy over there? That's the service manager. He drives an Accord. What does that tell you?"

Future Plans

The Raptor is living on my driveway on borrowed time. Eventually, and I am not sure when, I'll sell it to a private party and then I'll replace it with a Toyota Tundra pick up with a large V-8 engine and steel I-beam construction. The Trump Administration is trying to roll-back mileage mandatory on vehicles made and sold in the US and to allow smaller diesels into the market. (Imagine a Toyota HiLux making its way into the American market - almost a guaranteed 500K miles) That may bring about positive changes in manufacture, but I don't trust Ford, Chevrolet or Chrysler not to screw me. This planned failure event underscored my concerns.

Some say that it's not 'fair' for me to buy a Japanese truck. I say that it's not fair to plan failures that cost thousands in labor in my American truck.