FAA gives first-ever approval for a flying car

By day, the I-Tec Maverick is a canvas covered car that does 0-60 in under 4 seconds.

Also by day, the Maverick flies!

The I-Tec Maverick, which is a roadworthy dune buggy powered by a Subaru engine, has finally been granted the first certification from the Federal Aviation Administration for a flying car. Developed by the Indigenous People’s technology and Education center, The I-Tec Maverick is certified as a “powered parachute,” which comes with a 170-hp, 2.4 liter Subaru four-cylinder built into a canvas-covered frame. The Maverick can do up to 60mph in under 4 seconds, and can take off within 100 yards. The car priced at $80,000 deploys a cloth wing on a 22-foot mast and takes flight.



To serve and protect

"On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that a man had called the police to report that he'd been sold bad marijuana. "It was nasty," he said. (But probably not as nasty as the revelation that he was being charged with a crime). This dude's cluelessness could translate into brilliance in California. If the cops are worried about losing their jobs eradicating marijuana, why not just change the job description and have them eradicate criminally awful schwag? Now that would really put the Mexican cartels out of business."

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Meanwhile, there have been reports of cabbage rustling

I'm a fan of kimchi, and would like to see more variety of it available in the States. Most of the kimchi I've had has been pretty much of the same variety. Anyone in the area have any suggestions?

I have to agree with Troisgros here:
For most Westerners, however, kimchi remains an unacquired taste. It can offend not only with its taste but also with its odor, which can linger on a person for hours. And for those unused to its fire and fury, even a small dish of kimchi can appear less as a delicacy than as a kind of incendiary device.

“To a Western palate, with all the other options out there, kimchi won’t rank very high,” Mr. Chinn said.

A gathering was held in Seoul last week to promote Korean food, with European master chefs coming in for panels and demonstrations. Michel Troisgros, the renowned French chef from Roanne, listened to a Korean official hold forth on the wonders of fermentation and an ambitious project to export Korean foods like kimchi.

“I think you have to stop talking about fermentation,” Mr. Troisgros told the man. “It’s not sexy.”


If you think this is going to happen, you are probably high right now

Ex-heads (not to be confused with X-heads) of the DEA take to the WSJ to explain that California can't just go and legalize the weed. Scott Morgan of stopthedrugwar.org responds. I've highlighted the crux of Mr. Morgan's argument in red, and I've hilighted the marijuana-incded wishful thinking in leafy green.

For another layer of absurdity, consider that one of the authors, Karen Tandy, presided over the DEA during a dramatic expansion of the medical marijuana industry that she now claims is legally impossible, even though it actually happened in real life while she was in charge of federal drug enforcement. She knows as well as anyone that California can make its own drug laws whether the DEA likes it or not. It's true that she could have prosecuted everyone in sight under federal law, but for a variety of practical and political reasons, that isn't what happened. It's not likely to happen if Prop 19 passes either, at least not unless Obama has a masochistic desire to further alienate his base as we heads towards 2012.
Morgan's absolutely right that the law is one thing, and politics is very much another. And he's right that the success, to date, of medical marijuana has definitely been one of pragmatism and politics trumping the letter of the law.

But let's take a step back and and stop projecting our pothead wish fulfilment onto our President. B-Rock's got things he's trying to accomplish, and greening up the west coast is probably not at the top of his list.

If Prop 19 passes, Obama is going to have three choices.

1. Come down on California like a stern parent, and explain that this is not a choice they get to make until they move out and go to college. 

Morgan's right, that's going to disillusion a lot of people. But half of them were going to forget to vote.

2. Hold up California as an example of the way forward, and instruct his Justice Department to disregard relevant federal law in California, and maybe on the whole Pacific coast. 
Can you imagine? While some of us would be celebrating a move towards sanity, Republicans would be popping champaign corks as well as they began drawing up strategy for the ultimate 2012 wedge issue. It could cost Obama his second term.

3. Try to ignore it, hoping it will go away. 
Same result as #2, just slower to take shape.

What do you think, stoners?

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Texas State Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire (D - Houston) thinks there might be a problem:
“Some people shouldn’t be driving after one drink — probably below the 0.08 limit — and this could address that. It might also free up courts and prosecutors to focus on the repeat offenders.”
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo agrees:
He noted that one person may drive dangerously at the 0.08 level — the nationally accepted standard for being drunk — while others “may be at 0.05 or 0.06. It depends on the person.”

“People sometimes focus on how many drinks they can have before they’ll go to jail,” Acevedo said. “It varies. ... A person may be intoxicated at 0.05, and you don’t want them out driving.”
 Acevedo testified before Whitmire's committee on the subject and supported 'mandatory blood samples for repeat offenders, allowing police to operate DWI checkpoints, and adding a new offense of aggravated DWI for offenders who are found to have a breath-alcohol reading of 0.18 or higher.'

I have two problems with all of this.  For one thing the presumption that a person exists who is too intoxicated to safely operate a motor vehicle at a blood alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.07 also implies that a person exists who is not too intoxicated to safely operate a motor vehicle at a blood alcohol level above 0.08.  If one is possible the other is equally possible.  If human physiology is variable it must be variable in both directions.

But my real gripe here is with Acevedo, or any other active police official for that matter, making policy suggestions above the level of police department administration.  Police officers are hired to enforce laws.  Police chiefs are hired to manage departments of police officers.  Politicians are elected to make laws.  There's a distinct and important difference there.  The People don't elect police officers at any level.  The People hire police officers to enforce the laws made by the elected politicians. 

Members of the US military are forbidden by law from participating in most politics beyond voting.  This includes publicly advocating for or against particular issues, especially in uniform.  There are many reasons that this is a good idea, not least of which is that it is desirable to have a stark separation between elected civilian government, accountable to the The People, and military chain of command, ultimately accountable to the the elected civilian government.  We don't want generals deciding who we attack, we want elected officials who must stand for re-election to make those decisions so we can fire them when they fuck it up.

Similarly we shouldn't ask police officers who should get arrested or why.  We should tell them who to arrest and then give them the support they need to do so safely and efficiently.



Austin wants YOU... to provide input on the future of Austin

Hey Austin-based readers. You may think you are powerless to affect the future of the city, and I wouldn't say you are wrong, exactly. But the public forums and surveys do make a difference, and since very few people actually participate, those that do wield a fair amount of power.

And right now, this very week, those people can be us!

Check out the Imagine Austin trend survey. Read about it. Fill it out right away, or come back to our humble blog and discuss it. If five of us come to an agreement on our top issues, we might just be able to skew the results in a direction we like!

The deadline for the survey isn't printed, but I think it's the end of next week.

image: Austin Skyline; March 2010, by John Rogers
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