U.S. Politics the Third

Alkaid13Alkaid13 Georgia
edited August 22 in General
Aka: The Search for Sensability. Same as before, don't be an asshole. Otherwise have fun.
DeeKingKobra
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Comments

  • Alternative title: Revenge of the Steve.
  • I'm not sure we need this one, politics is all done.
    akritenbrink
  • cdrivecdrive Houston, TX
    1st page!
    KingKobraBrawn
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    edited August 22
    Here's one topic that should be less partisan then others, the mystery of the Global Supertanker

    Here in the Western US and Canada wildfires are a massive problem every summer, and one of the ways wildfires are fought is by air. Most of our air attack tanker fleet are small aircraft or are very old, there was back to back fatal accidents of military surplus tankers in 2002.

    So about 15 years ago Delbert Smith who owned a cargo airline personally directed development of a new air attack tanker based on a Boeing 747 jumbo jet, well his airline went bankrupt, Del Smith died but not before the advanced spray system was developed and the FAA supplemental type permit (a legal license permitting modification of an existing aircraft design) was issued.

    The Supertanker was finished by another company, it can carry 19,000 gallons of water, the next biggest carries 8,500, in addition the spray system contains numerous sprayers and the ability to aim the spray of the water, whereas all other air tankers just drop water like a bucket. If firefighters get trapped it can with amazing precision cut an escape path, saving lives on the ground. Say it took off from Boeing/King County international airport in Seattle it can fly to anywhere in WA/OR/ID/BC in under an hour.

    It has been used to great effect fighting fires in Chile, Spain and Israel.

    But the US Forest Service has for over a decade refused to use the supertanker, the Canadians are the same story. They have never provided a reason, this season they finally said "ok we will contract the supertanker but it can't load more then 5000 gallons of water or retardant" well the supertanker is expensive to operate which is why it's 19,000 gallon capacity is the selling point, it carries so much and has such an advanced delivery system that the higher cost is justified by fewer flight hours and better use.

    So the supertanker remains sidelined while British Columbia and Washington are facing the worsening fire seasons

    like I said, US and Canadian authorities have refused to use the supertanker, and they have never provided a reason, initially the US Forest Service claimed the FAA had safety concerns (even though the FAA certified the tanker with an STP) then the forest service went mute. To this day they still won't use it, won't provide reasons

  • From my brief research on the topic it appears to be mostly the cost of using it which prevents the Forest Service from employing it more often, which if that's the only reason does seem like a bad justification. It's not like we don't already spend ridiculous amounts of money on less useful things than putting out wildfires more effectively.
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    edited August 22
    It's because of Trump. He hates the environment and wants us all to burn. 
    Just kidding. 

    About 5 minutes of internet sleuthing has taught me that there were various federal regulatory hurdles for this supertanker that it just cleared last month, and the Forest Service has put out some kind of RFP for bids for "Very Large Airtankers" with a capacity of 8000 gallons or more for FY18. (We're in FY17 now and FY18 starts Oct 1, 2017). 

    So I fail to see what we are outraged about. The government doesn't have a blank checkbook to just buy huge ticket items the day they pass the regulatory process. If they did, we would be outraged by that. Most government agencies have to follow a public process for purchasing.

    Next?
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    Alkaid13 said:

    From my brief research on the topic it appears to be mostly the cost of using it which prevents the Forest Service from employing it more often, which if that's the only reason does seem like a bad justification. It's not like we don't already spend ridiculous amounts of money on less useful things than putting out wildfires more effectively.

    I would argue it's cost is worth it. For three reasons, first off i recently read an article about a county in Colorado that signed a "call when needed" contract with the supertankers owner. The quoted rate is 38,000 dollars per flight hour, but the next biggest aircraft, a modification of the old Douglas DC-10 (which is no longer used in passenger service because it's an old design that burns too much fuel for its capacity) commands 29,000 dollars, and carries less then half the capacity, is slower (thereby racking up more flight time) and it doesn't have the directional sprayer. Like picture the DC10 being like a bucket, and the the supertanker being a hose. Once you dump the bucket it's empty, the supertanker can put 2000 gallons here, 10 thousand there, 5 thousand here, etc in the same flight. And the other air tankers can't be used well in conjunction with firemen on the ground because the weight of the water can crush human beings and vehicles flat, but the supertanker can apply water as a mist and it's safe to fire fighters on the ground, as well as livestock and buildings, trees equipment etc.

    And every few years you see where fire crews die when they get surrounded by wildfires. I think their lives are worth 38K an hour
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    edited August 22
    Bob help me, I think on the little information I have here, I'm going to agree with @emnofseattle. Surely the cost (both in money and lives) of fires outweighs the cost of something effective to control them. We have bushfires in Australia that have completely decimated towns and killed hundreds of people in a day. There would be riots in our streets if the government had access to an effective means of dealing with it and just went, "Nah, too expensive."
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    edited August 22

    It's because of Trump. He hates the environment and wants us all to burn. 

    Just kidding. 

    About 5 minutes of internet sleuthing has taught me that there were various federal regulatory hurdles for this supertanker that it just cleared last month, and the Forest Service has put out some kind of RFP for bids for "Very Large Airtankers" with a capacity of 8000 gallons or more for FY18. (We're in FY17 now and FY18 starts Oct 1, 2017). 

    So I fail to see what we are outraged about. The government doesn't have a blank checkbook to just buy huge ticket items the day they pass the regulatory process. If they did, we would be outraged by that. Most government agencies have to follow a public process for purchasing.

    Next?
    But this RFP was very recent, this platform has been around for over a decade, it's seen international service, its based on a reliable airframe from Boeing

    It's seen international service

    It's good to see they may use it next season, fires are burning today.

    We need to forest service, especially because they're a virtual monopoly, to be willing to test out some innovative equipment that has new capabilities.

    I think instead of pushing this off another year, they should waive the process and get the supertanker in the air today

    The government wouldn't be buying the whole airplane, they would pay a fee for the flight hours. It's only 8 grand an hour more then the next biggest plane and it probably three times as effective.

    It must be noted too the development of the supertanker was almost entirely privately financed
  • I think we should probably shell out the money and use these sooner than later. Bureaucracy is helpful to prevent wasteful spending but obviously we're already wasting money on silly shit anyways so why not waste money on something useful.
  • Dee said:

    Bob help me, I think on the little information I have here, I'm going to agree with @emnofseattle. Surely the cost (both in money and lives) of fires outweighs the cost of something effective to control them. We have bushfires in Australia that have completely decimated towns and killed hundreds of people in a day. There would be riots in our streets if the government had access to an effective means of dealing with it and just went, "Nah, too expensive."

    Have you taken your meds today? It appears as though it's a possibility for the upcoming budget, so while I "agree" (I haven't eaten today forgive me) this would be best served as a community action to let them know that this should be purchased. Saying that, it's all depending on the actual allocated budget (I'm sure it's there, but who knows). It sounds to me instead of being upset at something that has already failed, this is something the community should fight to get. Of course this is just based off what Angie posted.
  • Alkaid13 said:

    I think we should probably shell out the money and use these sooner than later. Bureaucracy is helpful to prevent wasteful spending but obviously we're already wasting money on silly shit anyways so why not waste money on something useful.

    Then you'd expect that all the time? Ain't no body got time for that :p
  • True, not many people have debates that we spend our money too effectively. I'd love to see someone try to run on a campaign of "the real problem in the US is we spend our money too efficiently and what we really need is to buy more dumb pointless shit".
    KingKobra
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    edited August 23
    Dee said:

    Bob help me, I think on the little information I have here, I'm going to agree with @emnofseattle. Surely the cost (both in money and lives) of fires outweighs the cost of something effective to control them. We have bushfires in Australia that have completely decimated towns and killed hundreds of people in a day. There would be riots in our streets if the government had access to an effective means of dealing with it and just went, "Nah, too expensive."

    Even better, currently only one supertanker is in existence, and I believe your fire season should be opposite ours, and this plane has done operations in Chile in the past. I also learned it has a room in the upperdeck where normally first class seats would be in an airliner which has a complete command center set up where an incident commander and three staffers can be sat to observe the fire from the air and communicate via satellite with commanders on the ground

    It can easily be used in Australia during our winter season, and what's great is, it's a fast plane, it can travel almost 1000 kmh and probably be anywhere on the continent within 2 and half hours of a base in Australia, and since Australia has a good general aviation culture like us, the landscape is dotted with capable airfields for this airplane to operate out of I'm sure supertanker services would love a contract for Australia.

    It's also saved lives on the ground already, during the fire season in Chile last winter the Supertanker used its spray system to create a fire break that saved five members of a Chilean fire crew.

    http://fireaviation.com/2017/01/28/747-supertanker-protects-a-village-and-later-5-firefighters/
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    Just for disclosure, I not financially affiliated with supertanker services in anyway, this isn't an advertisement, I am a total geek in all things airplane related, so cool airplanes excite me, but I also am posting this topic on other threads, I want Americans and Canadians asking their congressmen/MPs why when these fire seasons are bad and getting worse, the most advanced asset yet built to combat them isn't being utilized, because it's tested and proven, and in existence ready to fly tonight. It's not a panacea solution, nothing is, but it is leaps and bounds above other aircraft used for wildfires
    akritenbrinkOldGriswold
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    @emnofseattle I don't know exactly what, but I am certain we have had overseas assistance during some of our bigger fires, and I know our guys have travelled to the US and maybe Canada (?) to help out there too in recent years.

    Australia doesn't stint on throwing money around when it comes to bushfires, thankfully.
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    edited August 23
    Dee said:

    @emnofseattle I don't know exactly what, but I am certain we have had overseas assistance during some of our bigger fires, and I know our guys have travelled to the US and maybe Canada (?) to help out there too in recent years.

    Australia doesn't stint on throwing money around when it comes to bushfires, thankfully.

    well god bless those guys, because wildfire work in the US is very demanding. They physically dig firebreaks and cut dead trees. Here, thanks to our outdated school calendar developed for midwestern farm kids in the 19th century, college students usually have the summer off and so it's very often college students studying forestry or fire sciences or something like that who work wildfire crews, they get paid very little but some fire departments will also pay part of your tuition for doing it.

    I am very much in awe of those people, they do such hard and dangerous work for far less then should be socially acceptable to pay them

    We get some cross border help from Canadians and our guys go up there two, but usually not in great numbers because we have the same fire season
  • Dee said:

    @emnofseattle I don't know exactly what, but I am certain we have had overseas assistance during some of our bigger fires, and I know our guys have travelled to the US and maybe Canada (?) to help out there too in recent years.

    Australia doesn't stint on throwing money around when it comes to bushfires, thankfully.

    There are 80 Australian firefighters in British Columbia right now helping out with the brush fires here.  Thanks :)
    Dee
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    edited August 23
    @emnofseattle Fireys are pretty much the highest on the ladder of respect here. A huge number of them are volunteers too - my stepdad has been a volunteer fireman for decades and every summer he's out there, even though he's 70-ish now.
    KingKobra
  • Back in the mid 80's/early 90's, my grandmother really didn't like our Prime Minister - Brian Mulroney.  She'd call him "Lyin' Brian" and it eventually got to the point where whenever he came on tv, she'd mute it.  I never really understood that, I didn't like him either, but I always wanted to know what he was saying, what was going on etc.

    Tonight I reached that "Lyin' Brian" point with Trump.  I tried to tune in to listen to his speech, but everything about it angered me and I ended up turning it off.

  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    The next fiscal year starts in like 6 weeks... Lol
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)

    Back in the mid 80's/early 90's, my grandmother really didn't like our Prime Minister - Brian Mulroney.  She'd call him "Lyin' Brian" and it eventually got to the point where whenever he came on tv, she'd mute it.  I never really understood that, I didn't like him either, but I always wanted to know what he was saying, what was going on etc.

    Tonight I reached that "Lyin' Brian" point with Trump.  I tried to tune in to listen to his speech, but everything about it angered me and I ended up turning it off.

    And you're not even an American!
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

  • davemcbdavemcb Melbourne
    like @Dee said most of our firefighters are volunteers and in fact we have a lot of non-urban areas where the fire risk is at its highest they are almost all volunteer services, they have excellent training and equipment is funded by locals who need them to be able to save their property. There have been many instances where they were saving one house from fire only to find out there own house/property had been taken. 

    @emnofseattle Whilst we have such a massive landmass we actually don't have that much vegetation in the middle of the country so most of the fires will be fought on the east and southern coasts so something similar to the supertanker would actually work here. But we have 2 different climates here there are the southern states Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and parts of Western Australia that have a dry hot summer so they tend to have the fire season in your winter but the Northern parts of the country have wet summers so they tend to have their fires at the same time as your fire season. But the vegetation and population isn't as dense up there so it does have less impact. 
    Dee
  • Back in the mid 80's/early 90's, my grandmother really didn't like our Prime Minister - Brian Mulroney.  She'd call him "Lyin' Brian" and it eventually got to the point where whenever he came on tv, she'd mute it.  I never really understood that, I didn't like him either, but I always wanted to know what he was saying, what was going on etc.

    Tonight I reached that "Lyin' Brian" point with Trump.  I tried to tune in to listen to his speech, but everything about it angered me and I ended up turning it off.

    And you're not even an American!



    It's become too painful to watch...it's a tragedy unfolding in slow motion.

    Did you watch his speech tonight?  The country is crying out for a unifying message, he had the biggest - and easiest - opportunity to do the first Presidential thing of his career...and instead did the exact opposite. 

    It's gone well beyond political and partisanship criticism...he's damaging the country in a way that it may not recover from.

  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    We'll recover. We've had way more fucked up times in our history. At least he's not accomplishing much of his agenda.

    I've watched a grand total of one Trump speech and that was enough. I have to find articles that reprint what he said so I don't have to watch the videos.
    CretanBull
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

  • We'll recover. We've had way more fucked up times in our history. At least he's not accomplishing much of his agenda.

    I've watched a grand total of one Trump speech and that was enough. I have to find articles that reprint what he said so I don't have to watch the videos.

    For sure, but you've always had leadership to navigate your way through it.  At the moment, the President is the problem - instead of looking for solutions, he's looking for fuel to throw on the fire - and you've got a neutered Congress who won't do or say anything because they still value tax reform over the obvious crisis that's right in front of their faces.
  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Boston MA
    this is really bad. he needs to go now and the republican party needs to be ground into dust.

    I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is."


  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    We have leadership in the form of state and local governments. That seems to be something non-Americans don't see, but the federal government doesn't control everything, and the President doesn't control the federal government. I hate Trump as much as the next guy and he will definitely do some damage, but he's not going to take us down. We're too disorganized lol
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

  • Vasilnate1Vasilnate1 Salem, MA
    He's just a terrible human being, politics aside, hes just a giant pile of shit...period.  And I do think he has some dementia starting to set in, and I'm not sympathetic, he's still a piece of shit.  I'm fine with republicans, and if you you want to support your party thats fine.  But, anyone that stands behind him proudly, and thinks the things he says are good is also a bad person.  He's morally, emotionally, and intellectually unfit to hold this position.
    "because everything would be what it isn't"
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    Trump isn't a Republican though. He rode to power through one of the many vast fissures in the GOP last year.
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

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