Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Engine that is Minnesota.

I was taught four cycle theory as a sonarman. The information that can be attained from the radiant sound from a running engine is rather impressive to the uninitiated.

Number of engines, two cycle or four, number of cylinders, engine firing rate, cylinder firing rate, crank-shaft, cam shaft, gears, turbine, blowers, oil pumps, auxiliaries, gear ratios....

But to tease out the clues you have to first understand how they work. A sonarman understands engines.

The four cycle and two cycle theory is how we describe the actions relevant to the cylinder, piston, valves and crankshaft of an internal combustion engine.

I compare the standard operating procedure of the Minnesota Legislature to that of a four cycle engine.

It is a circular series of events and can be described as phases.

We have already completed the "Exhaust Phase", where the piston rises in the cylinder while the exhaust valve is open, expelling the exhaust fumes and uncombusted fuel air mixture from the last cycle.

Inside the cylinder at Saint Paul the piston began to rise in January as the old bad air was expelled from the last sessions rancor and the elections harshness.

The "Intake Phase" has the piston descending with the exhaust valve shut and the intake valve open, allowing a fuel air mixture to enter the space above the descending piston.

The Saint Paul Capitol is entering this phase and we shall soon see the fuel air mixture about to enter the space above the deficit.

The exhaust valve is shut and the deficit continues to descend. As nature abhors a vacuum the Minnesota Constitution requires a balanced budget.

The DFL valve appears to be wide open and increased fuel flow will be the natural result.

Here come the proposed tax hikes.

From here we can look forward to the legislature going into the "Compression Phase". Like the engine the piston rises with all valves shut. Temperature and pressure will increase.

After that is the "Power Phase" where the fuel air mixture is consumed in a controlled explosion that supplies the energy to drive through the non power phases as well as do the work the engine is designed to do.

The engine that is the Minnesota Legislature is running on a fuel mixture that is too rich. It is tied to an ever increasing load that already is beyond the original design. The RPMs (revolutions per minute) are too great and its been years since there has been a cool down cycle.

I believe we may exceed the capacity for the radiator to dispel all this excess heat, we may see a blown hose or two.

We should give the engine an opportunity to cool down.
We may, the whole thing may shut down for a while just prior to the "Power Phase".

Restarting is always a laborious and greasy operation.

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