Monday, September 21, 2015

Last Call For The Walkering Dead (Final)

Me, Sunday before last:

Rick Perry was only the first Republican to get crushed by the Trump/Carson/Fiorina revolt of GOP primary voters against Republicans who have actually held public office and failed to annihilate America's liberals while doing so. Looks like the next domino to fall may very well be Scott Walker.

Me, last Wednesday:

Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker (currently polling around two percent in the primaries) is going all in on destroying America's unions in order to save his collapsing campaign.

Me, yesterday, as Scott Walker polled at 0.5% in the most recent post-CNN debate poll:

Walker behind Christie and Santorum, deep in the Kiddie Pool and drowning. Like Rick Perry, it's only a matter of time before he exits the race...

Schadenfreude, today:

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has concluded he no longer has a path to the Republican presidential nomination and plans to drop out of the 2016 campaign, according to three Republicans familiar with his decision, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 
Mr. Walker called a news conference in Madison at 6 p.m. Eastern time. 
“The short answer is money,” said a supporter of Mr. Walker’s who was briefed on the decision. “He’s made a decision not to limp into Iowa.” 
Mr. Walker’s intended withdrawal is a humiliating climb down for a Republican governor once seen as all but politically invincible. He started the year at the top of the polls but has seen his position gradually deteriorate, amid the rise of Donald J. Trump’s populist campaign and repeated missteps by Mr. Walker himself.

By the way, all the pundits who thought Perry and Walker would be in the race longer than Trump, please put your badge in the box here on the way out the door.

And now the bad news:  Wisconsin, like Texas, doesn't have term limits, so Walker can run again for Governor in 2018.  I'm betting he will.

The Walkering Dead will almost certainly return in the future...

StupidiNews Focus: Time To Unpimp Zee Auto

Patrick George over at Jalopnik takes a closer look at today's Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal story and puts it into perspective.  The automaker is facing tremendous EPA fines, almost certain recalls of half a million vehicles, and most likely criminal lawsuits from the US Justice Department.  Volkswagen's not done or anything, but they are going to be hurting for years from this.  So how did it work? George explains it's all about the pee in your diesel gas tank:

First, we need to start by talking about urea.

In order to meet tougher emissions regulations that went into effect in 2008, most automakers started supplying their diesel cars with tanks of a urea-based solution (often referred to as “AdBlue”) that cuts down on nitrous-oxide emissions. 
Many larger diesel engines on big sedans and SUV, including some from Audi as well as competitors at BMW and Mercedes, use such a system. But VW and Audi said their 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine was able to meet the requirements without a urea injection system — although many people have wondered exactly how. (Update: Just to clarify, newer TDI models like the MK7 Golf, made from 2015 on, do include urea injection.) 
On Friday, the EPA announced they found the TDI cars contained “a sophisticated software algorithm” which detected when the car was being tested for emissions. When that happens, the software drastically reduces the emissions as compared to normal driving, indicating to testers that the car had passed. 
Basically, it’s like taking a test when you already know what the answers are. It appears the cheat device was present on all TDI cars, not just ones sent for emissions testing.

And the fines alone are going to pretty much cripple the company.

We’re talking about a maximum possible fine of $37,500 per vehicle, which could add up to as much as $18 billion for Volkswagen and Audi. That’s astronomical even for what is now the world’s biggest automaker, but then again, this appears to be a staggering violation of the law. 
In addition, the EPA is working with the U.S. Department of Justice on the case, so criminal charges could arise from the situation too. And with a self-professed renewed focus on white-collar crime, VW could be the target the Justice Department is looking for right now.

The best part?  Volkswagen was busted because an NGO wanted to prove that Volkswagen's amazing urea-free "cleaner diesel cars" sold in America would work in Europe.

The Volkswagens were spewing harmful exhaust when testers drove them on the road. In the lab, they were fine. 
Discrepancies in the European tests on the diesel models of the VW Passat, the VW Jetta and the BMW X5 last year gave Peter Mock an idea. 
Mock, European managing director of a little-known clean-air group, suggested replicating the tests in the U.S. The U.S. has higher emissions standards than the rest of the world and a history of enforcing them, so Mock and his American counterpart, John German, were sure the U.S. versions of the vehicles would pass the emissions tests, German said. That way, they reasoned, they could show Europeans it was possible for diesel cars to run clean. 
We had no cause for suspicion,” German, U.S. co-lead of the International Council on Clean Transportation, said in an interview. “We thought the vehicles would be clean.”

Precision cheat on emissions tests.  Nice work, Volkswagen.

Tsipras Takes The Fifth

Greece's fifth national election in six years sees the Syriza Party victorious again in a sizable win, returning the recently ousted Prime Minister to power.

Alexis Tsipras has hailed a "victory of the people" after his left-wing Syriza party won Greece's fifth election in six years.

He said Greeks faced a difficult road and that recovery from financial crisis would only come through hard work.

The conservative New Democracy party earlier conceded defeat.

With 60% of votes counted, Syriza is projected to be just short of a majority but the Independent Greeks have agreed to join a coalition.

The latest figures give Syriza 35% of the vote, compared with New Democracy's 28%. The far-right Golden Dawn is set to be the third biggest party, with 7.1% of the vote.

Golden Dawn being in the running at all is a serious problem, as these guys are neo-Nazi skinheads with slightly nicer suits and a PR campaign.  They will cause problems for Greece and soon.

Mr Tsipras said his decision to call an early election was vindicated and that he had been given a clear mandate.

He told thousands of jubilant supporters in central Athens: "In Europe today, Greece and the Greek people are synonymous with resistance and dignity, and this struggle will be continued together for another four years.

"We have difficulties ahead, but we are also on firm ground. We won't recover from the struggle by magic, but it can happen with hard work."

Mr Tsipras was joined on stage by Panos Kammenos, leader of the the nationalist Independent Greeks, who also entered a coalition with Syriza after the previous election in January.

"Together we will continue the struggle we began seven months ago," Mr Tsipras said.

We'll see how long this particular government lasts, but I'm betting it won't be very long.  None of the rest have since Greece's economy tanked, and more austerity will only make things worse, not better.


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