Sunday, February 19, 2012

Carlson on the Roof.

Saab 96
Erik Carlsson aka “Carlsson on the roof”

The expression “Carlsson on the roof” originated from the children’s story Karlsson på taket by Astrid Lindgren, in which a Karlsson character lived on the roof of an apartment building. The name was given to Carlsson as a result of his habit of occasionally rolling a rally car onto its roof. In the Safari Rally, he even rolled the car intentionally, to escape from a mud pool. When journalists later doubted his story, he proved it by rolling the car again. The Ford factory team then tried the same stunt with their Ford Cortina, causing more damage to the car than had occurred during the entire rally.

Erik Carlsson has done a number of unusual things during his rally career. During one rally in the UK, he needed a spare part and happened to find a brand new Saab 96 on a parking lot. He and the mechanic quickly started disassembling the car when the rather upset owner discovered them. The co-driver managed to defuse the situation by explaining that Erik was a factory driver for Saab and the owner would be given a new car. In the end Erik could keep driving and they remained friends and still exchange Christmas cards. At the time, rally regulations often stipulated penalties for damage to the car at the finish. Towards the end of the rally, Erik’s car had acquired dents to both the front fender and one door, so to avoid the penalty points they stopped and switched the door and bumper with the support car. Then it looked a bit suspicious to have a clean door and fender while the rest of the car was covered in mud and dust. As they had no water they used the spare gasoline to wash off the car. Reporters covering the event were impressed that they had had the time to wash the car before arriving at the rally finish. After the finishing festivities, Erik Carlsson looked out the window from his hotel room and saw the support car parked outside: clean, but with a dirty door and fender, still with the starting number visible in the dust.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Icy Roads St. Louis 1949

I don't know where I got these photos from, they are identified as "12-12-49 Icy"

For some reason I think these are taken in St. Louis, MO. I had a time figuring out the sequence.

Photo 1. A car heading up the hill has it's hood up and looks like a left front fender smashed. A Jeep 2wd wagon is sliding avoiding hitting a Ford woody wagon. Over the top of the wagon is a truck. A wrecker and another sedan is on the side of the road heading downhill.

Photo 2: Better shot of black Buick with front end damage. Two other sedans are sliding down the hill. It looks like the jeep barely missed the Mack truck

Photo 3: Nope, the jeep clipped the left rear of teh truck. The two sedans finished their slide, looks like one slid into the sedan that parked on the side of the road--which may have hit a light pole. 1949 Ford coupe, 1948 Chevy pickup, and what looks like Mack city truck in background.

Photo 4: Police are on the scene. and cars are moving up the hill. It looks like a lamp pole got smashed also. That Chevrolet, going around the Jeep, with the Chevy Pickup following, thatlooks like a brand new car.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Loopholes Allowed for Long Vegas Vacation

You gotta love that headline!

From Amanda Becker, Roll Call Staff, comes this interesting story: Loopholes Allowed for Long Vegas Vacation

Here's the money quote:

Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), for example, flew to Las Vegas on Jan. 8 for a four-day trip, leaving the city Jan. 11. The association spent about $2,000 on hotel accommodations at the Wynn Casino, airfare and meals for Long and his wife. A post-travel disclosure form filed with the Ethics Committee shows that Long spent Jan. 8 in Las Vegas at his own expense, leaving two and half additional days to attend the conference and sightsee. Long’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

And this great rollcall photo by Bill Clark: The Consumer Electronics Association spent about $2,000 on hotel accommodations at the Wynn Casino, airfare and meals for Rep. Billy Long and his wife. A disclosure form shows that Long self-expensed one day of the four-day trip to Las Vegas.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Washington Press Club Foundation.... did you vet this guy?

From: Jim Lee
Sent: Wed, February 8, 2012 12:22:10 PM
Subject: About you headline speaker for your event tonight - Billy Long

Regarding the Washington Press Club Foundation's 68th Annual Congressional dinner this evening and one of your headline speakers.

I wonder if anyone vetted Congressman Long. Long is funny, quick with a quip and --he's an auctioneer, remember-- tells a good story. But as a legislator, he is a dismal failure.

I live in Billy Long's congressional district.

He is an embarrassment to all of us down here.

Long won the seat with 30% of the vote in a bitter, divisive, 7 man primary. In Republican dominated MO7, the real race is in the primary. Historically (since Dewey Short) the general election has gone to the primary winner.

Just yesterday Long was featured as the 'least effective' congressional tweeter.

Long has refused to hold open town hall meetings, refused to meet with constituents, refused access to members of the press to his press briefing and, perhaps most distressing of all, turned over to the F.B.I. the names of six constituents who wrote articles critical of Long, The FBI sent out an agent who, after conducting his first interview with a constituent-- which was recorded -- concluded that these constituents were well within their rights in holding their congressman accountable and that Long appeared to overstep his boundaries.

Long also admitted to sponsoring bills because he was asked by lobbying groups to 'drop a bill' The Joplin Globe published this editorial regarding Long's actions:

The very first day the House of Representatives was in session, when the constitution was being read, Long was not in the chambers, he was in his office meeting with the "Fair Tax" lobbyist.

In addition to making Keith Olberman's "Worst Person in the World" --- twice!-- Long's antics while in Washington are discomforting. During the primary, Long tried to pass off his playing in high stakes poker games --some with $25,000 entry fees) as just a way to relax.

Sarah Steelman's video interview (a series of 6) that was posted by Long's campaign to youtube and just as quickly deleted, remains a cult classic.

Billy is a combination class clown / bully. Recently at a meeting concerning the closing or rural post offices in MO7, Long said,

"You catch a lot more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. So, when you tell stories about me through some of your representatives that I want to privatize the Postal Service, which is an out and out lie, that doesn't help you any with me or my office. So...."

Unfortunately for Long, during the campaign, he did state he was in favor of privatizing the Postal Service, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the TVA.

Running as a "tea party" candidate, Long told NPR shortly after he was elected, that he "was tea party before tea party was cool." Long has distanced himself from the tea party in Washington (most likely on the advice of Roy Blunt, his predecessor) but still promotes his involvement when he returns to the district.

Long,who ran as a "Fed UP" candidate has quickly embraced the DC culture. A DC friend who works in government recently met Long for the first time in DC during the course of her job... she told me that "Billy was quite full of himself and really tripping on being a congressman." Not a positive endorsement.

Fed up? You bet we are.

Someone should have vetted Long more before he spoke to your group.

Feel free to contact me if you want anymore information.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

"He seems amusing" -- The 10 Most Engaging Congressional Tweeters

A couple of years ago Billy Long learned how to use his iPhone and started tweeting.

This bus stop from February 22, 2010 set the tone for Billy's tweets. About Last Night follows a series of tweets from Long while he was attending a wine tasting party at Big Cedar Lodge down in Ridgedale. You can draw your own conclusions. Hey, it was a wine tasting weekend.

This piqued enough interest to follow Long's twitter feed. Others in MO7 started following Long and his twitter statements.

Characterized by flippant attempts at humor and poor judgement, Long's tweets have mocked tornado drills, the death of Amy Winehouse (just pick anyone of these), the Navy SEALS attack on the Osama Bin Laden compound -(Long did a series of tweets on the raid and its aftermath that he later deleted).

But we didn't follow him for long, Long blocked our access to his twitter feed.

We weren't the only ones who attempted to follow Long. One DC blog said of Long, "He seems Amusing".
Read this:

The 10 Most Engaging Congressional Tweeters
By Rachel Greenway Feb 08 2012, 09:23 AM

Members of Congress are using Twitter more and more as a way to communicate with their constituents, champion causes or simply keep to in touch with each other and the world. But, like anything, even Tweeting is a skill that can be improved upon, and some members of Congress seem to have mastered the “social” in social media, while others are talking to virtual space.

Drawing from data over the past month, exclusive analytics from OhMyGov! uncovers the healthiest and unhealthiest Twitter feeds in Congress, and reveals the importance of the message—not just the medium.

The key to a healthy Twitter presence is not necessarily in the followers, and it’s definitely not in output. Just because Twitter makes it possible to provide minute-by-minute updates on a user’s current state of mind doesn’t make it a wise political decision to use it as such, e.g. Weinergate. The secret is in quality over quantity, and one measure of quality tweets is the amount of retweets an individual tweeter averages, revealing the popularity of the message.

The following chart reveals the strongest Twitter users in Congress by measuring the ratio of Retweets to Tweets for individual users.

*(H stand for U.S. House, S stands for U.S. Senate)

Of course, while the House of Representatives maintains some of the strongest Twitter feeds in Congress, it also bears some of the worst. The following chart shows a few of the least effective Twitter feeds in Congress, as measured by those with the lowest average retweets per tweet.

The strongest Tweeter in Congress is Allen West (R-FL) of the House of Representatives, who averages 112 retweets per every tweet he sends. That means that 112 different people find what he says interesting enough to share on their own walls every time he posts something new. West sent only 31 tweets last month, but collected a robust 3,501 retweets from his 43,000 Twitter followers who soak up his 140 characters ravenously.

On the flip side is Billy Long (R-MO), also from the House of Representatives, who averages 0.19 retweets per every tweet he sends. Last month, Long sent out 643 tweets (bus driver's note: 643? Does he ever take his nose out of his iPhone?), but those only managed to earned him 126 total retweets.

So what is the difference? Are West’s followers just more dedicated?

Yes and no. Twitter can’t prove whether anyone’s constituents are more loyal, but it can show who is using the social media platform more effectively for political purposes. This understanding of Twitter may result in stronger campaigns because the politician’s message is disseminated more clearly and consistently.

A big factor in attracting engagement, as measured by retweets here, is the size of one's following. West sports over 43,000 followers compared to Long's 2,185. In this case, size does matter, as more followers makes it more likely someone will retweet the message to their following, creating the viral flow of information.

One detractor from attracting retweets, however, is tweeting too much, whether they are original posts or a plethora of Retweets from favored politicians or celebrities. Too many posts in a day crowd up the feed, numb followers to yet another Tweet (if it’s 12 in the past hour), and fog up the overall message.

West saves keeps his Twitter feed well manicured, limiting messaging to promote political causes or his own writing for followers to share. Only one or two posts a day means that when he does tweet, followers pay attention to check out the new information he shares. It seems that on Twitter as often it is in life; less is more.

Rep. Long tweets upwards of 40 times a day, filling his feed with few original posts and a slew of retweets from journalists, politicians, and the odd celebrity. Sure they’re all entertaining on their own, but when jam-packed together they cloud the message Long is sending, which instead comes across as: look at what all these other people are saying about stuff!

Congressional leaders can check the health of their Twitter feed by understanding the importance of the tweet:retweet ratio. Their messages should be clear for their constituents, and worthy of passing on the message. A fun tweet every now and then reminds social media users that a politician can have a sense of humor as well, but a steady diet of it can water down the candidate's overall image.
But we knew that already.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Overheard in Aldi's.....

A frequent bus rider related this encounter to me:

Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday)around 4:00 PM she was shopping with her two-year-old niece in the Aldi's market on Battlefield and Jefferson
As she was in the checkout line, with her niece sitting in the child's seat in the shopping cart, an older man, also in line (a veteran as she soon learned as the conversation progressed), started talking to the aunt and her niece.

The conversation turned to the cost of groceries, the economy and finally healthcare.

The man volunteered that he received his health care at the VA Clinic in Mount Vernon, Missouri.
Then, and I swear by all that I value that this is an exact quote- as related to me by the aunt--whom I trust implicitly--, the man said, "They're closing the VA in Mount Vernon and moving it to Springfield because Billy Long said they can serve more colored veterans here."

White alone - 4,468 (98.7%)
Two or more races - 25 (0.6%)
Hispanic - 29 (0.6%)
Black alone - 6 (0.1%)

Read more:
White alone - 140,107 (89.1%)
Black alone - 5,471 (3.5%)
Hispanic - 4,711 (3.0%)
Two or more races - 3,814 (2.4%)
Asian alone - 2,414 (1.5%)
American alone - 388 (0.2%)
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone - 102 (0.06%)
Other race alone - 73 (0.05%)

Read more:

Thanks, Bro!