Thursday, May 28, 2015

EPA Grants Itself Power To Regulate Ponds, Ditches, Puddles. We are being ruled by technocrats.

Posted By Michael Bastasch On 2:13 PM 05/27/2015 
The EPA has released its Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule critics say would allow the agency to regulate waterways previously not under federal jurisdiction, including puddles, ditches and isolated wetlands.
Republicans, farmers and industrial groups have called the rule an EPA “power grab” because it extends the agency’s powers to new heights. Environmentalists and the Obama administration, however, argue the WOTUS rule is necessary for protecting water quality.
No matter how you spin it, the EPA’s WOTUS rule does expand the agency’s authority, and creates new avenues for environmental groups to sue projects they want to stop from moving forward.
“The administration’s decree to unilaterally expand federal authority is a raw and tyrannical power grab that will crush jobs,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement.
“Despite their assurances, it appears that EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have failed to keep their promises to Congress and the American people,” echoed Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe. “In fact, instead of fixing the overreach in the proposed rule, remarkably, EPA has made it even broader.”
Farmers and industry groups worry the new WOTUS rule will expand EPA reach over isolated wetlands, ponds and ditches that have a “significant nexus” to navigable waters — a vague standard employed by the EPA to regulate bodies of water.
This could add another layer of permitting for industries and homeowners as well as more uncertainty caused by the expanded federal role in regulating bodies of water.
“Rather than clarifying the Clean Water Act, today’s ‘interpretive’ guideline from the EPA called the ‘Waters of the United States’ rule entrenches the confused, case-by-case ‘significant nexus’ approach employed by the EPA and USACE,” William Yeatman, a policy analyst at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute said in an emailed statement.
But the EPA says its new rule is based on more than 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific studies and “clearly defines” what sources of water the agency now has jurisdiction over. The new WOTUS rule is meant to clear up confusion in the wake of two Supreme Court decisions over federal control of waters, according to the agency.
EPA chief Gina McCarthy even authored a blog post telling farmers that “planting, harvesting, and moving livestock across streams have long been exempt from Clean Water Act regulation; the Clean Water Rule doesn’t change that.”
“The final rule doesn’t create any new permitting requirements for agriculture, maintains all previous exemptions and exclusions, and even adds exclusions for features like artificial lakes and ponds, water-filled depressions from construction, and grass swales—all to make clear our goal is to stay out of agriculture’s way,” McCarthy wrote.
“The rule, for example, is meant to clarify that federal agencies won’t regulate features like intermittent waterways or wetlands that don’t connect to a larger body of water,” she said. “The rule also wouldn’t affect artificial lakes and ponds, grass swales and depressions from construction and other activity that fill with water.”
The EPA further clarifies its only applies to tributaries wit “physical features of flowing water – a bed, bank, and ordinary high water mark.” But agency efforts to ease agriculture and industry concerns seem to have achieved little.
“What’s the point of muddying the (interpretive) waters?” Yeatman asked. “The answer is that a federal government intent on expanding its jurisdiction welcomes ambiguity, because blurry lines are more easily crossed than definitive boundaries. In this fashion, today’s rule codifies uncertainty, which is the opposite of what a clarifying rule is supposed to do.”

Watch this video and decide if this lady can be fair?

Maryland State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby. May 1, 2015
Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby Claims “hacks”, and Begins Shutting Down Social Media After Megyn Kelly Sunlight and Our Research Exposes Her Bias…

Unions Now Want An Exemption From The Minimum Wage Hike They Pushed

Unions Now Want An Exemption From The Minimum Wage Hike They Pushed


Those who think the minimum wage doesn't cost jobs might want to have a chat with unions in Los Angeles.
After pushing for a big hike in that city's minimum wage — which will climb to $15 an hour by 2020 — labor leaders now want an exemption for companies that have unionized workers.
Why? Because, according to Rusty Hicks, head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, "with a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them."
The union exemption would, Hicks said, give "the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing."
Wait just a minute.
Isn't this precisely what happens when anyone applies for a job, whether it's through collective bargaining or one-on-one?
An employer and a prospective employee negotiate the terms of employment that suit them both, including the mix of wages, benefits and perks. If either side doesn't like the offer, the deal's off.
It's called the free market. And it works just as well when it comes to pricing labor as it does cars, homes, food, stocks, vacation packages and countless other things bought and sold every day.
What's more, when the government intervenes in this pricing process — by mandating artificially higher or lower prices — it inevitably creates shortages or surpluses.
In the case of a higher minimum wage, it does both: It creates a shortage of entry-level jobs and a surplus of unemployed workers.
When restaurants and other businesses in Los Angles tried to explain this to the city council and ask for the "freedom to negotiate" wages with their own workers, labor activists shot them down.
Apparently, only union bosses can be trusted with the free market.

Networks Skip Report That Their Own CEOs Are the Most 'Overpaid'

Networks Skip Report That Their Own CEOs Are the Most 'Overpaid' 

Our Tom Blumer pointed out that AP reported that CEOs in the media industry earn more because the celebrities in the media industry earn more, and noted from a conservative perspective that there may valid business reasons for pay hikes.
But let’s turn it around and look at it from the Left for a minute and explore the angle of media hypocrisy. Did anyone at the networks pick up the story if liberals felt CEO pay was excessive, the media itself was Exhibit A? Nope, not at ABC, CBS, NBC, or CNN.
AP's Steve Rothwell and Ryan Nakashima began their May 26 story:
Six of the 10 highest-paid CEOs last year worked in the media industry, according to a study carried out by executive compensation data firm Equilar and The Associated Press.
 The best-paid chief executive of a large American company was David Zaslav, head of Discovery Communications, the pay-TV channel operator that is home to "Shark Week." His total compensation more than quadrupled to $156.1 million in 2014 after he extended his contract.
Les Moonves of CBS held on to second place in the rankings, despite a drop in pay from a year earlier. His pay package totaled $54.4 million.
The remaining four CEOs, from entertainment giants Viacom, Walt Disney, Comcast and Time Warner, have ranked among the nation's highest-paid executives for at least four years, according to the Equilar/AP pay study.
Here’s the top ten “overpaid” CEOs:
1. David Zaslav, Discovery Communications, $156.1 million, up 368 percent
2. Leslie Moonves, CBS, $54.4 million, down 17 percent
3. Philippe Dauman, Viacom [used to be merged with CBS], $44.3 million, up 19 percent
4. Robert Iger, Walt Disney [ABC], $43.7 million, up 27 percent
5. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo, $42.1 million, up 69 percent
6. Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, $42 million, up 16 percent
7. Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com $39.9 million, up 27 percent
8. Jeffrey Leiden, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, $36.6 million, up 179 percent
9. Brian Roberts, Comcast [NBC], $33 million, up 5 percent
10. Jeffrey Bewkes, Time Warner [CNN], $32.7 million, unchanged
AP explained how this dramatic “income inequality” occurred:
The media magnate Sumner Redstone controls almost 80 percent of the voting stock at CBS and Viacom. Because of his large holdings, Redstone can easily override the concerns of other investors about the level of CEO pay. Discovery's voting stock is heavily influenced by the brothers Si and Donald Newhouse and John Malone, another influential investor in the media industry.
At Comcast, which owns NBC and Universal Studios, CEO and Chairman Brian Roberts controls a third of his company's voting stock. That means he has substantial influence on the pay he is awarded. Comcast had no comment when contacted for this story.
All the media executives have tried, with varying degrees of success, to maximize the value of their company's entertainment brands online and on mobile devices.
For example, Moonves at CBS launched the series Under the Dome -- based on the Stephen King novel -- on the network and the Amazon Prime streaming service. Besides reaching online customers, the move helped offset production costs. The company, whose shows also include NCIS and The Good Wife, has attracted 100,000 customers to CBS All Access, an online subscription platform that costs $6 a month. Time Warner, under CEO Jeffrey Bewkes, launched HBO Now, which streams shows to computers, tablets and smartphones for $15 a month.
At Disney, CEO Bob Iger has bolstered revenues through canny acquisitions.
The purchase of Marvel in 2009 is reaping dividends with blockbuster superhero movies. Avengers: Age of Ultron pulled in almost $190 million in its opening weekend, making it the second-biggest U.S. movie opening. Disney's purchase of LucasFilms in 2012 means it owns the lucrative Star Wars franchise, with the next installment scheduled for release in December.
Disney spokesman David Jefferson said in an email Iger's pay award "reflected the company's outstanding financial performance," and cited its record earnings. He also said during Iger's tenure, Disney has returned more than $51 billion to stockholders through share buybacks and dividends.
But nobody at the networks is getting out their calculators and figuring out how much more an executive like Iger makes compared to the entry-level Disney amusement-park employee. And no one expects the show Undercover Boss to feature Les Moonves rubbing elbows in disguise with the low-level CBS rank and file.

Hillary emails

Emails show Clinton’s interest in arming Libyan rebels despite prohibitions

Published May 28, 2015
Recently released emails detail then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's interest in arming Libyan opposition groups using private security contractors before the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 – though at the time, the opposition was not formally recognized by the U.S. or United Nations, which prohibited arming without following strict guidelines and oversight.
The issue remains so sensitive that the emails recently released by the State Department redacted a key line on the matter. But the unredacted version of the same email, released to the congressional Benghazi Select Committee and first posted by The New York Times last Thursday, showed Clinton appearing to endorse the idea of using private contractors to her then-deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan.
"FYI. The idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered," Clinton wrote to Sullivan on April 8, 2011, attaching an intelligence report from Hillary’s adviser Sidney Blumenthal. The opposition was known as the Transitional National Council, or TNC.
Another email released by the State Department shows that five days earlier, on April 3, 2011, Bill Clinton said he would not rule out arming the Libyan opposition. The story was circulated by Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton's principal personal adviser at the State Department, to "H." While it's not clear who “H” is, based on the message traffic it is likely Hillary Clinton or possibly adviser Huma Abedin.
Later that same year, a Sept. 10, 2011 email with a subject line "Rogers" said, "Apparently wants to see you to talk Libya/weapons."
At the time, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee was Mike Rogers, who abruptly announced he would not seek re-election in the spring of 2014. Rogers did not immediately respond to questions seeking comment. Fox News also filed its own Freedom of Information Act request for the documents in October 2012.
Current and former intelligence and administration officials consistently have skirted questions about weapons shipments, first documented by Fox News in October 2012, one month after the Benghazi terrorist attack, and what role the movement played in arming extremist groups the U.S. government is now trying to defeat in Syria and Iraq.
Through shipping records, Fox News confirmed that the Libyan-flagged vessel Al Entisar, which means "The Victory," was received in the Turkish port of Iskenderun -- 35 miles from the Syrian border -- on Sept. 6, 2012, five days before the Benghazi terrorist attack. The cargo reportedly included surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, RPG's and Russian-designed shoulder-launched missiles known as MANPADS.
On the movement of weapons, in an interview broadcast May 11, former acting CIA director Mike Morell said the CIA and U.S. government “played no role. Now whether we were watching other people do it, I can't talk about it.”
Heavily redacted congressional testimony, declassified after the House intelligence committee’s Benghazi investigation concluded in 2014, shows conflicting accounts about the movement of weapons from Libya to Syria were apparently given to lawmakers.
On Nov. 15, 2012, Morell and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified "Yes" on whether the U.S. intelligence community was aware arms were moving from Libya to Syria. This line of questioning by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, who is now the intelligence committee chairman, was shut down by his predecessor Rogers, who said not everyone in the classified hearing was "cleared" to hear the testimony, which means they did not have a sufficient security clearance.
An outside analyst told Fox News that Rogers' comments suggest intelligence related to the movement of weapons was a "read on," and limited to a very small number of recipients.
Six months later, on May 22, 2013, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, now chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, asked if the CIA was "monitoring arms that others were sending into Syria." Morell said, "No, sir."

Several individuals connected to Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s term at the State Department now work at the D.C. consulting firm Beacon Global Strategies. Among them are Clinton’s principal gatekeeper Philippe Reines; Morell, who’s listed as a senior counselor; and Andrew Shapiro, who was a Clinton policy adviser at the State Department whose portfolio included ridding Libya of shoulder-launched missiles called MANPADs. Critics argue no group knows more about Benghazi or has such a vested interest in the outcome of the congressional Benghazi investigation.

'New species' of ancient human found

'New species' of ancient human found

Australopithecus deyiremeda
Researchers say the jaw bones and teeth are unlike any they have seen before
A new species of ancient human has been unearthed in the Afar region of Ethiopia, scientists report.
Researchers discovered jaw bones and teeth, which date to between 3.3m and 3.5m years old.
It means this new hominin was alive at the same time as several other early human species, suggesting our family tree is more complicated than was thought.
The new species has been called Australopithecus deyiremeda, which means "close relative" in the language spoken by the Afar people.
Dig in Ethiopia
The bones were found in the Afar region of Ethiopia
Australopithecus deyiremeda
The remains belong to four individuals and date to between 3.3m and 3.5m years old
The ancient remains are thought to belong to four individuals, who would have had both ape and human-like features..

Living with Lucy

Lead researcher Dr Yohannes Haile-Selassie, curator of physical anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in the US, told BBC News: "We had to look at the detailed anatomy and morphology of the teeth and the upper and lower jaws, and we found major differences.
"This new species has very robust jaws. In addition, we see this new species had smaller teeth. The canine is really small - smaller than all known hominins we have documented in the past."
The age of the remains means that this was potentially one of four different species of early humans that were all alive at the same time.
The most famous of these is Australopithecus afarensis - known as Lucy - who lived between 2.9-3.8m years ago, and was initially thought to be our direct ancestor.
However the discovery of another species called Kenyanthropus platyops in Kenya in 2001, and of Australopithecus bahrelghazali in Chad, and now Australopithecus deyiremedaI, suggests that there were several species co-existing.
Australopithecus afarensis
Australopithecus afarensis was thought to be a direct ancestor of modern humans
Some researchers dispute whether the various partial remains really constitute different species, particularly for A. bahrelghazali. But Dr Haile-Selassie said the early stage of human evolution was probably surprisingly complex.
"Historically, because we didn't have the fossil evidence to show there was hominin diversity during the middle Pliocene, we thought there was only one lineage, one primitive ancestor - in this case Australopithecus afarensis, Lucy - giving rise to the next.
"That hypothesis of linear evolution has to be revisited. And now with the discovery of more species, like this new one... you have another species roaming around.
"What this means is we have many species that could give rise to later hominins, including our own genus Homo."
Dr Haile-Selassie said that even more fossils need to be unearthed, to better understand the path that human evolution took. 
He added that finding additional ancient remains could also help researchers examine how the different species lived side-by-side - whether they mixed or avoided each other, and how they shared food and other resources in their landscape.

Baltimore still focused on the police and refuse to see what the police see every day; thugs, murderers and hatred. Ain't Democrat Party revolutions great?

Baltimore Residents Fearful Amid Rash Of Homicides

Yemen has become another victim of Iranian Islamic imperialismm

U.S. Intelligence: Iran Sending More Fighters to Yemen

IRGC Quds Force, Hezbollah back pro-Iran rebels
Shiite fighters, known as Houthis, collect ammunition at the residence of a military commander of the Houthi militant group, destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, April 28
Shiite fighters, known as Houthis, collect ammunition at the residence of a military commander of the Houthi militant group, destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, April 28 / AP
BY:   
Iran has dispatched additional paramilitary forces to Yemen to aid pro-Tehran rebels seeking to take control of the strategic southern Arabian state, according to recent U.S. intelligence reports.
The Iranian leadership earlier this month ordered militants from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force, along with Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, to Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states are seeking to defeat an insurgency led by Houthi rebels that currently control large parts of the country.
The influx of Iranian forces was outlined in several classified intelligence reports circulated within government over the past two weeks, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.
A State Department official said the Sunni Arabs in nearby states are opposing the Houthis and seeking to prevent Iran from establishing a foothold on the peninsula.
Estimates put the number of both Iranian and Iraqi Shi’ite forces helping the Houthis in Yemen at around 5,000 people. The number of Lebanese Hezbollah members in Yemen is not known.
On Sunday, Quds Force Deputy Commander, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghani was quoted as confirming the fact that the IRGC is training Yemenis.
“Each one who is with us comes under the banner of the Islamic Republic and this is our strength,” Ghani said, according to Iran’s Mashregh News, an outlet run by the IRGC. “The defenders of Yemen have been trained under the banner of the Islamic Republic and the enemies cannot deal with Yemeni fighters.”
It was the first official reference to Iran’s training of the Houthis in Yemen.
According to several officials, the ultimate goal of the Iranians in Yemen is to control the Red Sea chokepoint of the Bab-el-Mandeb.
“The Iranians’ ultimate target is the strait [Bab-el-Mandeb] and the House of Saud is the other target,” one official said.
The Bab-el-Mandeb is a strategic chokepoint that could be used by Iran to block oil shipments and U.S. warship movements from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. Iran already can threaten the region’s other strategic chokepoint, the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.
Control over the Bab-el-Mandeb would give Tehran additional regional power to control oil and other passage to and from the region.
A CIA spokesman declined to comment on the Iranians in Yemen. State Department spokesmen did not return emails seeking comment.
The Obama administration is seeking to conclude a nuclear agreement with Iran by the end of June, and is keeping quiet about the Iranian push to control Yemen.
Middle East specialists, however, said the influx of Iranian and Hezbollah fighters is a troubling indicator of a growing Iranian threat to the region.
“It would effectively put the Quds force on the Saudi border and potentially give Iran a naval and air presence near the Bab-el-Mandeb, and the exit from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean—a key trade route for petroleum and all trade and U.S. naval movements through the Suez Canal,” said Anthony Cordesman, with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Cordesman said if the intelligence reports are confirmed, “it is the first real sign that Iran is playing a major role in Yemen.”
The Iranians appear to be targeting both the Riyadh government and strategic Bab-el-Mandeb strait, he said.
Iranian forces in Yemen “could also lead to far more serious tensions between Sunni and Shiite throughout the region,” Cordesman said.
“A struggle where Iran takes real chances to help Yemen’s Houthi and Shi’ite population could deeply divide a country the CIA estimates is 35 percent Shiite and 65 percent Sunni, and increase Sunni and Shiite tensions throughout the entire region,” he said.
Michael Rubin, with the American Enterprise Institute, said Iran is following the Soviet practice of using proxies to advance regional interests.
“There’s no excuse for ignorance; this is right out of Iran’s playbook,” Rubin said. “It’s Tehran’s equivalent of the Brezhnev Doctrine: Once an Iranian proxy takes territory, Iran will use its full array of power to make sure it keeps it.”
Rubin said Iran may not have sparked the Yemen crisis, “but no one can accuse Tehran of letting a good sectarian crisis go to waste.”
Former CIA Middle East specialist Bruce Riedel also said the influx of Iranians would assist the Houthis.
“Small numbers of Hezbollah and IRGC advisers have been in Yemen for the last several years,” Riedel said. “The Houthis very much admire the Hezbollah organization for its successes in fighting the Israelis and have tried to use Hezbollah as a model for their own development. Together the two are a force multiplier for the Houthis.”
On Monday, Yemeni forces opposing the Houthis took control of a southern province held by Houthis and forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was ousted from power in 2012 following mass protests, the London-based Arabic newspaper Alsharq Al-Awsat reported.
The re-taking of the southern province capped a months-long offensive by Saudi-backed tribal forces loyal to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The pro-Iran Houthis took control of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa last year and conducted a coup in February.
Saudi Arabia has been conducting air strikes against Houthis in Yemen since March 26 as part of Operation Decisive Storm, a Saudi-led aerial bombing campaign. Most of the air raids have been carried out by Saudi warplanes, but United Arab Emirates bomber jets also have taken part.
Saudi-backed forces now control Yemen’s airspace and most ports, according to reports from the region.
Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman for the Paris-based Iranian opposition group Mojahedin Organization of Iran, said the Quds Force oversees Iranian policy toward Yemen.
Quds Force commanders are assisting the Houthis in conducting military operations and have set up communications with the Quds commanders.
The Quds Force also has dispatched additional Hezbollah fighters and commanders.
“As the war and conflict has intensified, the presence of Iranian forces—non-Arabs and those who do not speak Arabic—has become more difficult in Yemen,” Gobadi said. “As such, Tehran has intensified dispatching more forces from Hezbollah to Yemen. Given the current circumstances, they have more room to maneuver and function.”
Houthi military plans and operation are “completely under the supervision and control of the Quds Force,” Gobadi added.
IRGC Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the Quds Force commander, directs several special committees to back the Houthis, according to Gobadi. Some 50 tons of Iranian weapons and other aid was sent from Mehrabad airport in Tehran to Sanaa last march March in four shipments, Gobadi said, noting the shipments were disguised as humanitarian aid from the Iranian Red Crescent.
A Gulf intelligence official told the BBC in early May that the intervention against the Houthis by several Gulf states revealed some of Yemen’s estimated 300 Scud short-range missiles under Houthi control had been moved to locations near the Saudi border.
As a result, Saudi and Gulf Arab allies took action to oppose what they viewed as an Iranian threat to the peninsula.
Bill Gertz   Email Bill | Full Bio | RSS
Bill Gertz is the senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon.

Puncturing another futurist myth. Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car.

THE LANE MOTOR MUSEUM'S DYMAXION CAR REPLICA IS THE SCARIEST THING WE'VE EVER DRIVEN

The Lane Motor Museum didn’t spend eight years building an incredibly artful replica of the Dymaxion Car just to make Buckminster Fuller look bad. At least, we don’t think they did -- museum director Jeff Lane is too nice of a guy to pick on the famed futurist, especially since Fuller, who died in 1983, isn’t around to defend himself.
We wish he were still around today, though, so we could ask him personally what he was thinking when he penned the Dymaxion car. Because we have to report, with some sadness, that it’s scariest, most poorly designed vehicle we’ve ever been behind the wheel of.
Of course, blaming Bucky for the car’s shortcomings isn't entirely fair, for the Dymaxion car as we know it was far from complete. In its final form, the 20-foot-long podlike contraption would negotiate the skies using some sort of jet-like propulsion system (never mind that jets hadn’t quite been invented when the car was developed). Yes, it was supposed to fly.
Or so Bucky claimed.
Spend any amount of time chatting with Jeff Lane about the Dymaxion car and that phrase -- “Bucky claimed” -- is one you’ll hear an awful lot.
As in: Bucky claimed that the Dymaxion car could carry up to 11 passengers cross-country at 90 mph -- or was it 120 mph? -- while returning 30 mpg.
Bucky also claimed he drove a flathead Ford V8-powered Dymaxion to six-digit mileage without a rebuild or an overhaul.
But this has to be our personal favorite: Bucky claimed to have driven the streamliner onto a midget car racetrack in the Bronx -- and promptly beat the track’s lap record time by 50 percent.
And then there’s that flying-car bit, which we stumbled upon while doing some digging on Fuller and his brief foray into automotive design. Even by the low standards of the flying-car industry, that effort didn’t get very far; if its hypothetical airworthiness was on par with its roadworthiness, that’s probably a good thing for all of us.
Buckminster Fuller Dymaxion Car replica Lane Motor Museum on road front
The Dymaxion car, coming at you fast! But not too fast. PHOTO BY DAVID YANDO
Even decades after his death, Buckminster Fuller has no shortage of proponents. Lane, an even-keeled sort of guy, doesn’t seem to buy fully into the Fuller hype -- hence the frequent use of the “Bucky claimed” disclaimer.
Yet he’s not willing to write Fuller off as a crank or huckster, instead considering him a true visionary -- a thinker too busy looking decades forward to trouble himself with the day-to-day operations of a business. Or the intricacies of chassis engineering, or engine cooling, or really anything having to do with designing, building and selling a functional, safe automobile.
The Dymaxion car’s bizarre configuration should be the first clue that it’s not exactly going to be the most stable thing on three wheels. The reverse-trike configuration is a decent start, but it all quickly goes to hell: though it is front-wheel drive, the Dymaxion car’s Ford V8 is way in the back -- just ahead of the singular rear wheel, which is cradled by a suspension system cobbled together from Ford components.
That rear wheel is how you steer the car, for some reason. In theory, this front-wheel-drive-rear-wheel-steering configuration gives the Dymaxion car a very tight turning radius. In practice, it walks all over the road, even at the low speeds (20 mph to 35 mph) we held it down to; crowned or rutted road surfaces are extremely difficult to negotiate.
Keeping Bucky’s beached whale pointed straight demands slow, deliberate and constant steering adjustment. At the back of our minds there was the fear that a quick input or an overcorrection would send the car swinging back and forth across the road like an out-of-control pendulum, ultimately leading to our horrible, embarrassing death. This fear was not unfounded, as the car the Lane Museum replicated most closely (prototype number one of three built) killed its driver back in 1933.
One of the few ways the Lane's Dymaxion replica differs from the original is its steering. Fuller's plans called for a staggering 35 turns-to-lock; the Lane's car requires just six. Jeff Lane explains this more direct setups makes the necessary, frequent corrections more immediate, reducing the likelihood that a novice driver overcorrecting. Other upgrades were made in the name of safety : Hydraulic steering and hydraulic brakes replace their cable-actuated counterparts on the original cars.
Buckminster Fuller Dymaxion Car replica Lane Motor Museum on road rear
Ready for liftoff. PHOTO BY DAVID YANDO
All that said, the Dymaxion is not the practically self-steering cruiser that Bucky claimed -- or imagined -- it was. Surprise!
It apparently doesn’t get all that much easier to drive with experience, either. Lane and company drove the car down to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance this year. That single road trip was probably long enough to make Lane the most experienced living Dymaxion pilot, but even he said his shoulders were aching by the end of a day in the car. Not because you have to wrestle with the wheel, but because of the intense, shoulder-cramping focus it took just to keep the thing moving down the road.
Also, it overheats. Part of that could be remedied by modifying of the roof-mounted air intake. Currently, the snorkel is next to useless; apparently, the flathead's heat creates a positive-pressure area in the engine bay area, which makes air intake difficult. It would be easy enough to fix, but then, Lane would probably argue, you might as well reinvent the complicated suspension. Or configure the car for front-steering; that's something Fuller might have pursued had he built a second-generation prototype.
At that point, however, you’re no longer dealing with a Dymaxion car, and a running, driving Dymaxion car is precisely what Jeff Lane wanted. Remember, the Lane Motor Museum is a place where you can get an up-close look at propeller-powered French oddities; it’s a collection that recognizes the importance of intriguing automotive dead-ends. After all, nobody knew for sure that a front-wheel drive rear-steering three-wheeler wouldn’t work until Fuller tried it…
Further, more than seeing a patina-wearing relic in a museum, this new replica -- everything gleaming and the varnish fresh -- gives a sense of what The Future must have looked like to Depression-era America. Look at the Dymaxion car and you’ll desperately want to root for Team Bucky, to believe that his incredibly optimistic World of Tomorrow was, or still is, possible, Dymaxion houses and luxury zeppelins and all.
As a car, it’s well nigh on useless. As an artifact, it’s invaluable. And you should be glad that we drove it, so you don’t ever have to.
Buckminster Fuller Dymaxion Car replica Lane Motor Museum Jeff Lane driving
Lane Motor Museum director Jeff Lane at the helm. Lane understands the importance of the Dymaxion car, flaws and all. PHOTO BY GRAHAM KOZAK
Graham Kozak
GRAHAM KOZAK  - Graham Kozak drove a 1951 Packard 200 sedan in high school because he wanted something that would be easy to find in a parking lot. He thinks all the things they're doing with fuel injection and seatbelts these days are pretty nifty too. See more by this author»