Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Natural World

This little critter was taking a snooze on the lawn yesterday. It couldn't have been more than a day or two old, and it probably was waiting for Mama to come and retrieve it. Well, as I approached it let out a yelp that was pretty loud for such a small package, got to its feet and tottered off toward the woods in back of the crib.

I've always been an admirer of the natural world, and I once spent a happy hour of Douglas paid time lying on my back on a baggage cart watching four or five hawks ride the thermals above Long Beach airport.

The object lesson of course, is that we share this planet with a lot of other beings of the natural world, some of whom do not have the same orientation as we humans do. That doesn't make us better, and the fact that we think we're better or different is, in my opinion, a mistake.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

It's Over

The last commercial aircraft that may ever be produced in the cradle of aviation for the entire world is now in the hands of its new owner, AirTran. For the rest of us, Long Beach will go to that place where the order books are always full and the paychecks feed the family. Long Beach, Burbank, San Diego, Santa Monica, El Segundo, Imperial Highway.....the list goes on forever. It is a dreary catalogue of opportunities lost, mismanagement, destructive internecine warfare and race-to-the-bottom gutter capitalism

I have spoken on this subject far too often.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Immigration Equity in a Nutshell: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Emigration to Mexico

There's an AP story out today that appeared in the Des Moines Register that makes some interesting comparisons between the emigration policy of the U.S. (or the lack thereof) and that of Mexico, which is well developed. In view of the hue and cry over extralegal immigration to the states, it should be of interest to fair minded and right thinking folks everywhere. It's most interesting because the politicos in Mexico are fond of beating up on Uncle Sugar for being a xenophobe or worse, a racist. Let's do the math.

In particular:

In the US, only two political positions, the President and the Vice President, are reserved for native born Americans. In Mexico, the foreign born cannot hold a seat in congress, state legislatures, sit on the supreme court, or become a governor like Arnold Schwarzenegger. A non native cannot join the military or the merchant marine in Mexico. Numerous state and city ordinances ban non native Mexicans from holding jobs like police and firefighters, and these are descended from model ordinances ever so thoughtfully passed around by the party apparatchiks in the Big City who of course, would never discriminate against anyone, would they?

Foreign born citizens make up 0.5 per cent of Mexico's population, compared to about 13 per cent in the much maligned and vilified Gringo Republic to the North. Mexico naturalizes about 3,000 people a year, which is about one day's production of illegals in Yuma. The U.S., by comparison, naturalizes about half a million legals every year.

And yet.....and yet....Uncle Sugar is the bad guy here?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Qatar Airways A350 Order in Play

It is reported today that Qatar Airways, which placed a substantial letter of intent/order/commitment for the A350 is now rethinking the wisdom of such a move, in view of the tizzy surrounding the A350 program at Festung Airbus. It seems because Airbus is giving unmistakable signs of dropping the present iteration of the A350 design and going to a clean sheet of paper, le grand slippage in the schedule (now predicted to be two more years) is going to cause some problems.

What kind of problems, you ask? Simple. The airlines have new airplanes worked into their route models long before the first aluminum is cut, and they start selling tickets shortly thereafter. So if someone says "Oops! Sorry about that, old thing. It'll be a couple more years until we can even think of working on your order!" you've got to get worried real big, real soon, even if you are on the government teat like Qatar and Emirates and the rest of the crew that's singlehandedly supporting the A350 and A380 programs at the Toulouse Fuhrerbunker.

That's the kind of problem that causes a buyer to lose faith that the seller can come through-and it's just the loss of confidence that Airbus does not need right now, for the sake of the worker bees if nobody else. I've been through an aerospace downsizing and it's not a pretty sight.

As a side note of interest, one of my pals has earned a week in the doghouse over at for calling Toulouse the Airbus Fuhrerbunker, and he's also informed me that they've decided that the term "Whalejet" to describe the A380 is also not welcome.

Well. Let's all bend over and be politically sensitive to a bunch of sniveling whiners, shall we?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Getting a Case of the Shorts: Carbon Fibre and You

The Telegraph has an interesting story this morning about the world market for carbon fibre-you know, that black, sexy looking stuff that's showing up in all sorts of applications?

Well, that sucking sound you hear is every available bolt of the stuff being glommed on by the aerospace industry, to the detriment of smaller but visible recreational uses such as tennis rackets, graphite fishing rods, kayaks and the like. In the sports business, carbon fibre has become the application of choice in high strength, low weight, damage tolerant applications. Those are just the qualities the aerospace manufacturers are looking for in these days of $70 crude oil.

Predictablyl, one of Boeing's legion of flakcatchers was trotted out and said "We're not responsible. Boeing doesn't stockpile carbon fibre." This scenario is almost laughable, as they seem to have an endless supply of Charlie McCarthy clones ready to prattle for any occasion.


Pardon my ignorance, but to the man in the street, if the amount of the available material is limited, and the supply's drying up, somebody's stockpiling the stuff or tying up the production, or I'm James Brown.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Maritime Law Applied to Flight 587 Case.

In re Air Crash Disaster atBelle Harbor, New York on November 12, 2001, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28279 (D. N.Y. 2006)

In a ruling that changes the applicability of punitive damages and has the potential for giving plaintiffs a larger recovery, the court ruled in pretrial motion proceedings that there was admiralty jurisdiction over the unresolved cases involving passengers, because the loss of the stabilizer occurred over Jamaica Bay. It is said that such jurisdiction could substantially increase the amount of potential recovery for the plaintiffs who have not settled up to this point.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

AOL: Down the Tube?

It was widely reported Tuesday that AOL-you know, those people who seem to have a never ending supply of free CDs, spam, and access to your credit card....where was I? Oh yes. Now I remember.

AOL, it seems, has announced that they're doing such a great job in the customer service department that they don't need all those pesky employees-1,300 of them in fact. The Jacksonville, Florida call center is to be shut down and layoffs are to take place at Ogden and Tucson.

And all this time I thought the problem with AOL was the shitty service, the spam, the crummy browser, the popups, and the way it took an act of Congress to get them out of your credit card or bank account once you signed up for that 'free' service. So what about the numbers?

AOL's membership base in 2002 was 26.7 million and it is now 18.6 million. That's about a thirty per cent decline. AOL also says that the phone calls requesting service have declined by fifty per cent in the same period.

Could it be that the calls for help are declining in the same way that the cries for help declined from the Titanic survivors in the water as they expired from neglect and hypothermia? An apt analogy, I think. And unlike Titanic, no great loss.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

We'll Get it Right This Time, We Promise: The A350 Reborn?

It was reported by Bloomberg today that, perhaps bowing to the inevitable, Airbus is going to announce very soon that they are about to scrap the 'redesigned' A350 and spend $10 billion USD in developing what could be a cutting edge competitor to the B787-which is what some highly placed people in ILFC, Emirates and elsewhere have been saying all along that Airbus should do.

When the first through fourth iterations of the A350 design came out, it was pretty much a refried warmed over A330-200 with a new wing. In fact, it wasn't even going to have its own type certificate. Airbus was pretty cavalier about the whole thing, assuming, one might suppose, that their customers would buy anything that said Airbus on it despite a lukewarm reception where the rubber meets the road. Meanwhile, things weren't going so well in the order department.

According to Bloomberg, this will make Airbus' fifth attempt to come up with a viable competitor to the Plastic Fantastic 787 from Boeing. If the story turns out to be accurate, it will mean that another two years will be tacked onto the development calendar, and deliveries may not occur until 2012 or beyond.

The parameters of the possible new design may prove very interesting and for one, I'll just bet my last Confederate dollar that it will include a composite fuselage. My guess? The spin will be "Well, we studied it until we got it right as only we in Europe know how to do it". One thing that the "current" A350 design just couldn't get around is a 10 metric ton giveaway in the weight department.

It wasn't so long ago that Airbus was saying that they'd just pay people money to shut up and go away, rather than spend the money redesigning an indifferent product. Hopefully we've heard the last of that nonsense.

Stay tuned. This could be the big Farnborough splash everyone's been looking for.

It Ain't Me, Babe

There are a few Dougloids floating around the web so I just thought I'd clarify things a bit.

There is a seller named dougloid on ebay. It ain't me. My feedback's a lot better.

There is a person calling himself dougloid who posts on a number of low carb topics. I am definitely not a low carb kind of guy. Anyone who sees my profile these days would know better than to make such an aspersion on my...ahem....profile.

There's also a dougloid in Britain. Unless Iowa annexed that place or they know something I do not, that ain't me either.

Last, there's a site called, which has some interesting photos of the Long Beach site, and it saddens me to see it. I stay away from it for that reason, and the proprietor has not communicated with me.

If you go back to my very first post on this blog, I talked about the term. It was something of an honorific, and that's how it is used here at The Dougloid Papers.

Will the Last Person Leaving Newton Turn Off the Lights?

It was reported a few minutes ago that the other shoe has indeed dropped and Whirlpool, which recently acquired the Maytag company, will close Maytag's facilities in Newton, Iowa, and lay off 4,500 worker bees. When the plant closes, presumably right after the mandatory 60 days, that will be the end of 113 years of Maytag manufacturing in Newton.

Maytag, which had fallen on hard times with a series of incompetent bumbler CEOs from Numbnuts staffing, put itself on the block last year. There were a couple offers, from a vulture capitalist operation and some interest from Haier, a Chinese company, but the offer for Maytag stock from Whirlpool knocked the competition out of the box.

One suspects that Ralph Hake, the latest Maytag CEO, was brought in, after all, to liquidate the place. The last straw had to be the Neptune line, which was a major flop in the very competitive market place for home laundry machinery.

On the other hand, Whirlpool is in the fight of its life if the goal is to continue making home appliances in the U.S. It's tough to compete with workers in the developing world, and the only way that Whirlpool has survived thus far is because of its relentless and unsympathetic pursuit of manufacturing efficiency. That fact alone made the demise of manufacturing in Newton a certainty.

Now. Don't get me wrong. I've never liked Newton and I always thought that the folks who held down the factory jobs at Maytag were smug, overpaid people who had no interest in looking at the reality of the world we live in. There was also very little sympathy for the worker bees who lost their jobs in Illinois when Maytag closed its refrigerator plant there last year.

The takehome has to be, what goes around sure as hell comes around.

Having said all that, to a small prairie state like Iowa and a small county seat town like Newton, this represents a hard blow that is going to take a long time to recover from, if ever.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hung Out to Dry: Northwest and Duluth

Everyone except three guys up on the polar icecap has heard about the deconstruction/implosion of Northwest Airlines in the months leading up to the inevitable bankruptcy which had the makings of a Cecil B. DeMille epic-cast of thousands and all that.

Well. Northwest hosed the mechanics's union and busted them with scabs. They stiffed their creditors and the taxpayers were left holding the bag for the pension liability courtesy of the bankruptcy courts.

But there's more. Seems that as part of a bailout of Northwest back in the early nineties, the state of Minnesota and the city of Duluth sprung for a state of the art heavy maintenance base. The payoff for Northwest was a fully funded maintenance base for their Airbus aircraft. The carrot for Duluth was a passel of good paying aerospace jobs for the future.

At this point Northwest recently informed the city that it would not be bringing any maintenance work to the facility, because they had all these lovely scabs, don't you know, who will work anywhere for starvation wages, can't you see. Northwest is delinquent on its property tax payments and its lease payments, and it's more likely than not that the lease will be rejected in the pending bankruptcy case.

I've never been to Duluth. But I know that good paying jobs are few and far between in the north country, and it's scandalous how the good folks of Minnesota and Duluth got screwed by the gang of thugs that's running the show at Northwest.

A plague on them. All of them.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Dead Man Talking

As everyone by now is aware, Zacarias Moussaoui, the al Qaida wannabe and narcissist deluxe, was handed a life without sentence in federal court the other day. It's reported that as he was escorted out he shouted "America, you lost! David Novak, you lost! I won!". I am quite sure that the G had one of their Citations gassed up and ready to transport his Nibs to his new estate at Florence ADX in Colorado.

A curious statement from a curious man. I'm not sure he would have made that statement had he been as astute as he claims to be.

What's waiting in Florence for him is a cell the size of a bathroom with concrete furniture and a thin pallet for his repose. There is a shower and a black and white teevee that broadcasts only educational programs. He will get an hour of yard time every so often, in a bare concrete courtyard. He will not talk to other inmates or staff. Aside from occasional visits from family, friends and legal aid, he faces a pretty bleak forty years or so, unless he cares to gnaw through the veins in his wrists and gets it over with. In short, it makes Devil's Island look like a holiday resort. It is a bad place to be.

In a short time everyone will have forgotten about him, as they have with nearly all the other residents at Florence. He will never leave, except in the unlikely event that the G decides to let the French warehouse him. Speaking of the French, the embassy had a representative in court throughout the entire trial and they said it was exemplary-high praise from the French indeed.

So what is it that he won, in his mind? Notoriety? That won't last. Martyrdom? The 67 virgins are going to have to wait a lot longer. Nope. He's going to be bored every minute of his waking life for the next 40 years-and THEN he'll get his slow, painful and miserable death from some debilitating disease. In short, the rot will set in, and it won't be pretty or glamorous. He will not die young or leave a beautiful corpse.

In short, he's had his fifteen minutes of fame. He's finished.

Winner, indeed.

And yet more favorite people

These two smiling gentlemen are my son-in-law Todd and my grandson Jackie.

Jackie was christened last December. I rolled into town after 1,200 miles in the cab of my '87 Mitsubishi pickup truck all the way from Iowa and found this wonderful house full of really nice folks who fed me and treated me like a prodigal son. I was musing on the way back that but for a confluence of circumstance, this entire world would not have existed.

Well. When the Hebrews raise a glass, the toast is always "L'chaim!" To life. All of which makes me think that they were on to something.

Another really favorite person

This is Vickie. She is loved more than seems possible, she's the apple of her grandma and grandpa's eye, and she is all the argument anyone needs for the proposition that he (or she, for that matter) who saves one life saves an entire world.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

More of my favorite people

On the subject of family photos, the one on the left is my great grandmother Hannah Luedemann holding my father. This photo was taken around 1920. The other one is my three favorite people in all the world.

Jessie and Robert John Luedemann

Here's a couple of pictures sent by my sister not too long ago. It shows two of my favorite people.

Captain Robert John Luedemann

This is a photo postcard of Captain Robert John Luedemann seated in the right hand side of the photo and what we think are two of his brothers. This picture was taken around 1918.

Toasty Motor Photo

This is a fan blade test on a GE engine. Apparently the photo was used as a screen saver at the Pratt and Whitney works by a number of the folks who hang their hats there.

From the Frauds and Scalawags Department: Have We Seen the Last of Kaayva?

It is reported in today's Scotsman that Kaayva Viswanathan-you know, she who unaccountably absorbed the words of fellow scribbler Meg Cabot as if by osmosis and scored a $500,000 book deal in the process? Well, she's got more trouble.

As I previously noted, my advice to her was to batten down the hatches and secure for heavy weather, because this was going to get worse.

Well, sure enough, it got worse. Much worse. The book deal's gone, the second novel's gone, no revisions will be made to the first, the copies will likely get shredded and buried in a toxic waste dump, and more than likely the next item up for grabs will be the $500,000 advance.

A reader spotted certain...ahem...."similarities"... to works by Sophie Kinsella, another writer in the "chick lit" genre, and the Scotsman reports that a book by Salman Rushdie was involved as well. Mr. Rushdie opined that he was not a subscriber to the theory of plagiarism by osmosis and digestion. In a word, he was not amused.

A Bergen County New Jersey paper is looking carefully at her writings from an internship she served there last year, as well.

Why people insist on this foolishness is difficult to determine, in view of how easy it is to get caught these days with tools like Google search and A lady I know with a doctorate in linguistics says a string of five words is pretty much unique in all the world. It's not hard to figure out.

We here at the Dougloid Papers are informed that being a writer wasn't in Kaayva's future anyway. She has plans to be an investment banker it is said.

All we have to say on that score is God help the investment banking community-just what they need is another liar, thief, and cheat.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Memo to Airbus: You're Losing Us

It was reported by Flight International that Emirates-you know, those folks with the deep pockets-have admonished Airbus that the A340 needs to get a lot better if the deferred order for up to 18 aircraft is to survive. Apparently Emirates wants a transfusion of A350 technology that will make the A340 more cutting edge.

Now. Here's where it gets ominous.

Tim Clark, el Presidente of Emirates, warns Airbus, "The airline community has made it clear to Airbus that the Boeing 787 is the better aircraft and that therefore it should not be down to us to tell them the risks of continuing with an airliner that is not the best."

I don't know about you, but if that's the customer I was hanging a large part of my hat on, I'd have to start thinking I was heading down a dead end road.