Monday, July 28, 2014

The Crime Of The Century


“Many of the city’s best and brightest investigators” — including detectives from homicide, counterterrorism, intelligence, transit, and four different precincts — have yet to crack the case of the crew who strung two bleached American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge. While the stunt does not appear to have been terror-related, it could have been, so the NYPD is taking the breach pretty seriously. Which just makes it more sad that they haven’t caught anybody yet, considering the leads they do have point to some punk kids, not Ocean’s 11–style masterminds.

Investigators are also scouring social media, pulling phone logs and running hundreds of license plates, police sources said. They are tracking down all calls made from the bridge around the time the flags were replaced early Tuesday. They obtained the online handles of at least two of the suspects and are going through computers records for their proper names, the sources said.

If law enforcement can go to such great lengths for what "could have been" a terror-related crime, what stopped them from prosecuting investment and bank executives who criminally tanked the economy back in 2007? Instead the government bailed out the banks and the banks had to pay fines, which barely dented their profits.

But young people committing what could have been a terror-related crime. They need to be caught and made an example of. We can't tolerate such lawlessness in our society.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bike Project Progress

I went to Pedals 2 People on Saturday and used their tools to remove the bottom brackets from the Specialized and the Fuji. I had the Fuji almost completely stripped of paint so now I was able to remove the rest and start painting. The Cistristripper was great in removing the paint from the Fuji. I used a wire wheel to get the stubborn bits off. Then I sanded with 400 grit paper. Last of all I washed the frame with Mineral Spirits.

I hung the Fuji frame in my makeshift paint booth, which I changed during the day since I had the garage door open. The painting seemed to go well. It's important to resist the urge to hurry so you don't get runs or drips.

The interesting part is coming up. I decided to go with orange and blue on the Fuji and I'm trying to come up with a design. I want it to look nice but since this is new to me, I don't want to do something complex and frustrating. Plus, art and design are not my strong suit so I got that going for me. Regardless, I'll gain experience and hopefully do something worthwhile on the Specialized frame.

Specialized covered in Cistristripper.

Cistristripper on the Fuji's remaining paint.

 Paint booth.

 White primer on the Fuji.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

As Seen From A Bike

A doe and her two fawns this morning.

Looking Out For Her Constituents

Cathy McMorris Rodgers posted this on her Facebook timeline yesterday. Surprisingly, the majority of the comments are calling her out on her hypocrisy.


So what's the deal here? Medicare Advantage Plans are still Medicare but they're offered by private companies. These companies must follow the Medicare reimbursement rules, but they can charge different out-of-pocket expenses and they can set different rules for obtaining services like specifying which doctor or facility you can go to. (Remember how our congresswoman was so concerned with the government telling you where to go for health care? Not so much when it's a private company doing the same thing.) Medicare beneficiaries are not required to use Medicare Advantage, but they can if they choose to. And they can choose which plan they want. The term of each plan is one year. There's a ton of information about Medicare Advantage that eligible persons need to research before they make a choice.

One part of the Affordable Care Act contained a reduction in subsidies to Medicare Advantage. Remember the $700 billion Medicare talking point? The reduction is in payments to private companies. Medicare Advantage subsidies are a huge part of their profit line. From a Kaiser News article:

At UnitedHealth Group, one insurance giant, Medicare Advantage plans account for a fourth of all profits, said Ana Gupte, an industry analyst for Leerink Partners. Another, Humana, owes two-thirds of its profit to Medicare Advantage, she said.

So you can see why the insurance companies are against lowering the subsidies. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Children Of The Sun Trail Maintenance

Last week I called the state DOT maintenance office and asked if they were going to sweep the trail. I was told that because of the budget they were focusing on road repair. Sweeping the trail has not worked its way up the priority list yet.

I also told them about the mini-sinkholes in the asphalt on both ends of the bridge crossing Farwell. That got their attention and they patched those up quickly.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Just Hangin' Out

...on my pergola.

Bike Project

Some time ago I obtained a free Fuji Sundance Juice Sparkler 10-speed and I've been wondering what to do with it. Since I'm getting more into the nuts and bolts of bikes I've decided to strip this one down, repaint it, and make a fixed gear. I got everything apart except the crank. I'll be paying Pedals2People a visit since they have the tools I need. More later as this progresses.

Not in as good as shape as this one.

 Sold by Two Wheel Transit back in the day.

 Cheap sticker instead of a badge.

 More stickers.

Just need a crank puller to finish.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Jedermann Grand Fondo

This was my first time riding the Jedermann Grand Fondo. I signed up for the 100 miles. The first 40 minutes went great. There was a long double pace line and we were moving right along. Fortunately I brought two water bottles because I lost one. 

After getting a drink, I told myself, "Don't drop the bottle because there's a buttload of riders behind you, Hank." I looked down to make sure I was putting the bottle in its cage, thought I had it, and then let it go. Off it went to my right side onto the shoulder.

Cries of, "BOTTLE!" cascaded behind me. 

Things changed after we turned onto Williams Lake Road and we hit a couple of climbs. The strong riders pulled ahead and I straggled behind. Just to make it interesting, a strong wind was in our faces for the first 50 miles until we got to Harrington. What a relief it was to turn and go with the wind. 

I slogged along solo until the Edwall food stop at the 75-mile mark. I connected with Larry who I had been chatting with earlier on the ride. We finished the ride together, making the last of the miles much more enjoyable than suffering in solitary. Almost all of those last miles were with the wind, which helped our damaged psyches a lot. We finished just under seven hours.

Thanks to Emde Sports and all the volunteers for putting on a great ride.

The t-shirt.

 The food.

 The pancakes!

The first 40 minutes.

 The last six hours.

 Somebody flatted. 

 Same somebody flatted again.

 The EPO gods denied me.

 Third flat's a charm. Fixed with a for reals $5.00 tire patch.

Found me some beach front property.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Nice Car

Because a parking violation could turn into a high-speed chase.

Vandalism Downtown

Someone busted a window on a Postal Service van and wrote something weird on the window. Maybe the security camera above got a good image of the culprit(s).

Thursday, July 17, 2014


 A couple of students from the Spokane College of English wanted me to take their photo. Great glasses on the left.

 Somebody got the boot.

The coolest parking spots in town.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Prime Lens

I've been shooting a lot with the 35mm prime lens and really digging it. I have to "frame with my feet". Not being able to zoom in or out forces me to frame the shot in my mind and then move to where the framing fits.

 Board on Riverside.

 Something I found riding my bike some place different.

 All appearances of an abandoned stolen vehicle.

Shadow lines.

Where pets refuse to go.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Riding On Downtown Sidewalks

No person may ride a bicycle or non-motorized vehicle upon any sidewalk or other pedestrian way within the retail zone of the congested district of the City as defined by SMC 16A.04.010 and SMC 16A.04.020, provided that nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit the riding of a bicycle or non-motorized vehicle upon any sidewalk or other pedestrian way within any area other than the retail zone of the congested district of the City.

Here's a map showing the retail zone as described in the municipal code.

And here is the number of citations issued since 2009 enforcing this law.

I work downtown and I see people riding on the sidewalk every day, less so during the winter. I know one person was seriously injured by a downtown sidewalk cyclist back in 1995. Given the number of bikes on the sidewalk compared to the number of citations, I have to question the need for this law.

When It's Time To Stop Flying

Airbus has applied for a patent for sardine seats. The fact that increasing the number of seats is achieved to the detriment of the comfort of the passengers, is widely known. What isn't so obvious is that the reduced comfort remains tolerable for only one or a few hours. The definition of a short haul flight is apparently not clear cut. At least one airline defines it as up to three hours. Airbus must have a pretty loose definition of tolerable. It must mean that passengers will grouse, snapchat photos of sardine seats, and tweet their misery. Hang on to your $6 beer because the seat back tray is no more.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Let's Climb A Mountain

Thirteen intrepid souls left Riverfront Park at 6:00 am for a 34.3 mile run to the top of Mount Spokane. This race has held a special place in my heart since doing it back in 2011. A friend of mine said he was running it but he wasn't at the start so something must have happened. I was only able to be out there for a couple of hours so the photos I captured are of the first 12-14 miles. I hope they all did okay in this heat.

 First water stop and it's already hot.

 Heading north on Market.

 The leader was well out in front.

 This guy had music blasting.

 Getting caught by a relay runner.

 The only solo woman.

James Derby's thirteenth consecutive running of this race.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Suing For The Wrong Reason

Republican House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican-dominated House are going to sue President Obama for failing to fulfill his constitutional duties.

As I’ve said, this isn't about Republicans versus Democrats; it’s about the Legislative Branch versus the Executive Branch, and above all protecting the Constitution. The Constitution states that the president must faithfully execute the laws, and spells out that only the Legislative Branch has the power to legislate.

Is this about the administration's extrajudicial killing of American citizens overseas? No.

Is it about the National Security Agency spying on American citizens? No.

It's about delaying the implementation of the employer mandate in the Affordable Care act, a law that the Republican-dominated House did their best to repeal, defund, and delay. Boehner and company have reached a new level of ridiculousness.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cathy McMorris Rodgers Facebook Question Time

Overall, this was just as productive and informative as one of her town hall meetings. You know, where she sticks to talking points, never really answers the question, and never brings up specifics on any issue. I have to wonder how the congresswoman thinks the use of a Facebook Q&A actually serves a useful purpose.

First question she answered--obvious softball.

 This question would have been a great opportunity to speak of her experience herding sheeple.