GeologicalScienceBlog - subjects include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Random Thoughts, & Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian/pragmatist viewpoint. As a Dad & Grandad, I am concerned about the overgrowth of government at the expense of freedom. Background - two degrees in Geology (BS '77, MS '90), started studying Geology beginning Senior Year of high school (1971 - 1972) <68>

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Corn-based Ethanol is a Losing Proposition

Unless you are Archer Daniels Midland and you're receiving taxpayer subsidies.

Alan Reynolds has a column on the pork-laden Energy Bill passed by the Senate. There is probably much to be written about, but for the moment, I will briefly address the issue of ethanol.

Ethanol, a form of alcohol, has been touted as a partial substitute for petroleum. But with present technology, it appears that producing ethanol from corn results in a net loss of BTUs. As suggested in the column, it takes about seven gallons of oil to produce eight gallons of ethanol. And ethanol is not as efficient a fuel as gasoline.

In Reynold's column: ..."Ethanol cannot be produced from corn without wasting huge amounts of petroleum. Petroleum is needed to fuel farm machinery, to produce fertilizer and insecticide, and to transport the corn and ethanol by diesel truck or train."

Small amounts of ethanol can be produced from farm waste. But probably not enough to make an impact. And Brazil has a program for producing ethanol from sugar cane. [Personally, I don't know if sugar cane is a more productive source of ethanol than corn, or not.]

It is well past my bedtime, but in closing, corn is better used as a food source, either for people or for livestock destined to become food.

If ADM wants to conduct its own research, that's fine, but they don't need millions of taxpayer's dollars to subsidize research and production of what appears to be an inefficient endeavor. I agree with the Lib/Leftists on this one, it is corporate welfare. Some of the subsidy dollars may trickle down to the farmers (usually the well-connected ones), but that is not a good reason to pursue this folly.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Some Reading Assignments

Here are some FrontPageMag columns, on President Bush's speech at Fort Bragg, NC and another on the same speech, by Ben Johnson. Robert Spencer writes about the repeatedly, un-reported Qu'ranic concepts used by the jihadists to justify their war on Western Civilization and its values.

Just a reminder, during the Battle of the Bulge, during the Christmas season of 1944/45, General Patton wrote in his diary that "we can still lose this war". He could not have known that the end of the war (European and Pacific theatres) was less than 9 months away.

9/11 forced us to recognize that we are at war, though an increasing number of people are slipping back into a comfort zone. If the 1993 WTC attack had been successful, the death toll could have been 10 times higher. We cannot appease someone that wants to kill us. If they agree to a ceasefire, it is only to rearm and plan for the next attack. You cannot reason with someone willing to kill themselves in order to kill you. With the Soviets, there was some sort of self-preservation mentality that we could appeal to. With the Chinese, that remains to be seen. We know that this strategy will not work with Islamists.

From Robert Spencer's column: ..."Marwan makes it clear: “The jihadis are more religious people. You ask them anything — anything — and they can instantly quote a relevant section from the Qur’an.” He is chillingly forthright: “The only person who matters is Allah — and the only question he will ask me is ‘How many infidels did you kill?’” He invokes Qur’an 8:60: “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the enemy of Allah and your enemy.” The jihad ideology Marwan reflects is rooted in the Qur’an and Islamic tradition. The longer we postpone confronting that fact, the worse the problem will grow."

Jesus' teachings offer nothing comparable. He instructs us to go forth and deliver the good news of redemption and forgiveness of sins. He does not tell us to kill non-believers. He does warn that those delivering the message will be persecuted. Yes, there are some Christian Moonbats, of which I have written. But there are not enough of them and they don't have the ability to kill thousands of Muslim civilians during acts of terror. Our military does not kill civilians on purpose. Terrorists purposefully target civilians. Moonbats, such as Lynne Stewart and Ward Churchill, et al, are useful idiots to the Islamist cause, but in the end, they are only infidels and subject to the same fate as any non-Muslim. That is not bigotry, that is just a recognition of reality.

We couldn't have prevailed in WWII if President Roosevelt had had to deal with so much agenda-driven public dissent at home. We can discuss things in a less heated, less divisive manner, for many of our efforts (right and wrong) will have to be judged by the passage of time.

We already know what happens when we cut and run. The Viet Cong were almost ready to give up after they lost the Tet Offensive in 1968. But because they saw that we were divided, they held on until we gave up, at the cost of additional years of war, and thousands of additional American and Vietnamese lives. Cutting and running from Iraq will do the same thing. What if we had quit after the Battle of the Bulge and offered to negotiate with Adolf Hitler? It would have left him in power (though weakened), but it would also have emboldened Josef Stalin.

Didn't mean to rant, but the coffee kicked in...
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More on the Supreme Court Eminent Domain Decision (Updated)

Rush Limbaugh has stated that the ownership of private property is the cornerstone of freedom. Now, with the blessings of 5 Supreme Court Justices, your property is only yours as long as not desired by a developer.

The defintion of "activist judges" should be crystal-clear by now. They took a "necessary evil" provision of the Constitution/Bill of Rights and turned it into a weapon of legalized plunder. This ain't what America is about. This is what you get with the "Constitution is a living, breathing document" mentality.

Here are some more pertinent articulations: From RightWing Nuthouse, Atlas Shrugs, WorldNetDaily, Tom Ambrose, Oddybobo, Mean Ol' Meany, Common Folk Using Common Sense, Doug Powers, Dr. Thomas Sowell, Dr. Walter Williams, John Stossel, Ben Shapiro,... and more links will be posted as found.

Checks and balances. No one should get everything they want, neither the environmentalists nor the developers. The rich, powerful developers are a common bogeyman of the Lib/Leftists, yet it is "their" justices on the Supreme Court that made this ruling possible. I hope that this is causing some indigestion among some of them. Though I haven't looked, how does "Mother Jones" rationalize this? How do other "liberal" outlets rationalize this?

As we gain more momentum (inertia) down the slippery slope, we need to ask "What''s Next?". We damn sure better remember this when it comes time for President Bush to pick one or two new Supreme Court justices. Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and the rest of the usual gang of idiots, will want more justices that will produce these kind of rulings. The RINO Senators need a blizzard of polite reminders of the importance of a solid, constitutional foundation. Maybe, if they know they have numbers behind them, they will grow a spine.

Hay Chewed: See New London, CT vs. The Fifth Amendment.
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Woody Allen is Bored With 9/11

By way of Pam at Blogmeister USA, comes gems of wisdom from the mouth of Woody Allen.

The source article for Woody's musings is on page 6 of the New York Post online. Geez, with Page 6, we get a has-been pedophile, while at the UK Sun, on Page 3 we get, well, you know.

Anyway, from the NYP article: ""As a filmmaker, I'm not interested in 9/11 . . . it's too small, history overwhelms it. The history of the world is like: He kills me, I kill him, only with different cosmetics and different castings. So in 2001, some fanatics killed some Americans, and now some Americans are killing some Iraqis. And in my childhood, some Nazis killed Jews. And now, some Jewish people and some Palestinians are killing each other. Political questions, if you go back thousands of years, are ephemeral, not important. History is the same thing over and over again." Unlike Allen's movies? "

Oh these Lib/Leftists! In Washington, DC, they trivialize the Holocaust by likening it to Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and in Hollywood, it's "some Nazis killed Jews" (I know, it's all so gauche!). Forgive my broadbrushing, it is for the sake of brevity. And now this Hollywood-tolerated slimeball pedophile reduces 9/11 to "some fanatics killed some Americans". I know other Lib/Leftists have in essence said the same thing. I guess it's OK because he is one of the beautiful people in Hollywood.

It would seem that, in order to be a film-maker, you would have to have a good imagination. But I guess Woody just can't be troubled with imagining what it was like to be in the towers above the fires. I guess Woody can't be troubled with imagining what it was like to choose between burning to death and jumping. I guess Woody can't be troubled with imagining what it was like to feel those huge buildings shudder as they started to collapse, on that bright, sunny September morning.

Just to remind you, when Woody and Mia Farrow started shacking up, Sun Yi Previn was 5 or 6 years old. He was a de facto stepfather to her. But because Woody and Mia never made it legal by getting married, that made the whole thing more legally murky. And why didn't Andre Previn kick Woody's sorry ass when this became public. Shame! Shame!

Hollywood can produce all sorts of bluster against President Bush and others of the Conservative stripe, but they can't publicly ostracize a pedophile.

Lord, forgive me for spending money on Woody Allen movies 20+ years ago, I was young and stoned.
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Monday, June 27, 2005

Oh, That Ward Churchill, He's At It Again!

From a WorldNetDaily article:

Ward Churchill seems to think that "fragging" of line officers is a more effective way of opposing the war than encouraging concientious objectors.

From the article: ..."In a Portland meeting on resistance to military recruiting, Churchill, famous for comparing Sept. 11, 2001, victims in the World Trade Center to "little Eichmanns," twice suggested anti-war activists should support those who kill their officers.

"For those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who's already been inducted [and] in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal," he said. "But let me ask you this: Would you render the same support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?"

Later, in a question-and-answer period, Churchill was asked whether the trauma "fragging" inflicts on that officer's family back home should be considered, he responded: "How do you feel about Adolf Eichmann's family?""

It's a shame that we can't find a teaching job at Havana University for Ward Churchill. We could even take up a collection to fund a couple of years salary, on the condition that he not return here for at least five years. Fidel and company can pick up the latter three years.

This is not reasoned dissent. Reasoned dissent is a variation of our series of checks and balances. Something that might make us think and ultimately become better. Advocating the murder of line officers doesn't fit that description.

It just ain't normal to hate your home and your fellow citizens, this much. And the next time he says "Adolf Eichmann", someone should bounce a coffee cup off his fool head. Or maybe someday, he and Fred Phelps will wind up sharing a jail cell. They deserve each other.

A little more of Churchill's rare combination of evil and idiocy is in this earlier WND article.
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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Vaya con Dios, Mi Amigo

This is to say farewell to Ted, a friend to many. At age 51, it was too early, but he was called home after an extended bout with cancer. He was successful in business, marriage, fatherhood, friendship, and much more, yet he was always ready to make himself the butt of jokes. As a home-builder, a quote attributed to him was "I would have finished this mantel long ago, if I hadn't found my level".

He was always ready to talk about his past mistakes and how he found his way back, through his faith in Jesus.

His final words were "We have to laugh!". Even at the end, he was looking for a way to make those with him laugh. To make a joyful noise.

His adoption of an all natural, uncooked foods diet and other alternative practices probably extended his life for close to two years. His faith carried him through the last difficult months. His faith was contagious enough that during the 2+ hours at his funeral home visitation, with family and friends, I saw no tears. Only a celebration of a man who worked hard and enjoyed his leisure time with family and friends.

Ted was given a rare gift. He was given two and a half years to deliver the message of forgiveness, to deliver the message of renewal, to deliver the good news. He had already turned his youthful wildness around, but he was given time to give encouragement to others. To make amends.

He came from good stock. When his dad was captured by the Germans in WWII, he prayed (as many others probably did), "Lord, if you get me out of this, I will be good. I will go to church every Sunday." Unlike many others, his dad kept his promises, made during POW prayers.

After Mother Teresa achieves sainthood, we will put in a word for Ted.

We'll miss ya', Ted.
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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Howard Dean - Still Perpetuating the Big Lie in Ohio

Giving more credence to the adage about "taking an ounce of truth and turning it into a pound of lies", Howard Dean refuses to stop lying, this time about Ohio in the 2004 presidential election.

There are going to be glitches in every presidential election. And in some cases, there is going to be random clustering of glitches. But rather than taking events in Ohio for what they appear to be, Howard Dean has to keep going to the well. After all, it is easier than admitting that they lost because they are losing touch with mainstream America.

In Friday's WSJ, Best of the Web, John Fund is temporarily substituting for James Taranto. In Fund's piece "Myth Ohio", he goes into some detail about Dean's continuing delusions. From this column: ..."Mr. Dean also indicated that the report backed up his belief that Republicans actively worked to suppress black voter turnout. "It's been widely reported over the past several years that Republicans do target African-Americans for voter suppression," he told reporters. "It's very clear here while there was no massive vote fraud, and I concur with the conclusion -- it's also clear that there was massive voter suppression."

But Mr. Dean's statement landed him in hot water when a scholar involved in writing the DNC report, Cornell University Professor Walter Mebane Jr., explained to the media that while the report had found numerous irregularities, it could not determine whether there was any partisan intent behind them. He also noted that county election boards in Ohio, which determine the distribution of voting machines, are bipartisan. Mr. Dean then had to return to the microphones to revise his remarks: "While we certainly couldn't draw a proven conclusion that this was willful, it certainly has the appearance of impropriety."

But William Anthony, a Democrat who is chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Party in Ohio's capital of Columbus, rejects any suggestion of voter suppression. "Most of the precincts that stayed open late because of long lines were in the suburbs," he told the Columbus Dispatch last November. Mr. Anthony, who is also chair of the Franklin County elections board, acknowledged that the high turnout and a ballot that involved more than 100 choices for some voters did create lines, but added that he was offended by allegations from "a band of conspiracy theorists" that voter suppression had occurred. "I am a black man. Why would I sit there and disenfranchise voters in my own community?""

Dean and others continue to make these allegations, with no documented evidence of "massive voter suppression". And unfortunately, some people are taking this as gospel truth. Come on, we are talking about 2004, not 1954.
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Friday, June 24, 2005

"The Debate's Over: Globe Is Warming."

OK, I don't often read USA Today and I missed this one from June 13. Alan Caruba's column at FrontPageMag.com filled us in today about it.

In the world of science, the debate is almost never over. That is why lawyers, politicians, and MSM types cannot deal well with it, because we are almost always finding new data or re-interpreting old data. Properly measured data should stand on its own merits, but interpretations change. That is an important part of the Learning Curve. This is one thing that makes science so fascinating. There is so much yet to learn. And maybe there is much that we should never learn, lest we become too arrogant.

Before we were ever here, the climate changed. Past geologic time periods, including the Mississippian Period, the Cretaceous Period, and the Eocene Epoch of the Tertiary Period had climates as warm or warmer than we have now. And all were periods of great biodiversity. The Holocene Maximum,

There may have been past times when the atmospheric carbon dioxide may have been high enough to have been a significant part of the Greenhouse Effect, but the current content of approximately 390 ppm is the equivalent of 4 pennies out of 10,000 ($100), an analogy used many times before on this blog. Water Vapor/Water Droplets account for approximately 90 to 95% of the Greenhouse Effect.

Virtually every Earth measurement changes over time. The Earth's orbit, axial inclination, rotation speed, magnetic field, axial wobble, and other aspects change over time. There is evidence that the Banda Aceh earthquake may have affected the Earth's gravitational field, perhaps even the shape of the Earth (very slightly). Some of these changes are cyclical, some are random. Some changes exaggerate other changes. Some changes cancel out other changes. Often there are more factors (inputs) that affect changes than we first realize.

The Theory of Plate Tectonics has been the accepted paradigm for about the last 30 years or so. It doesn't explain everything, but it explains a great deal. If the continents don't even stay in one place, how can you expect the climate to never change?

Yes, we can affect local and regional climates. It is possible that we may affect global climate in some ways, but because of the background variability (as shown in the geologic and climatologic records), we cannot properly assess our effects. We cannot know what the climate would be if we had never been here. We can study the past, the paleoclimate, to see what has already happened, before the Industrial Revolution, before organized human civilization, before humans.

From Caruba's column: "Here's what you must keep in mind; the IPCC claims are based on what virtually every scientist knows to be seriously flawed computer models for its projections. In short, we are being asked to believe what computer engineers are telling us, not what credible climatologists and meteorologists are telling us.

There isn't a computer model for the world's weather that can reliably predict the future by more than a week at best. This is why tracking the routes of hurricanes proves so difficult. This is why blizzards often turn out to be better or worse than initial projections."

Ultimately, this is about trying to "level the playing field" between the United States economy and other economies around the world, by tearing down the United States. Either they don't think about it or they don't care, but when our economy sags, it triggers a world-wide domino effect, and it affects the poor the most. If you enjoy present day gasoline prices and natural gas prices, then you will really enjoy Kyoto.

If the climate really is warming, it ain't carbon dioxide, it is probably the Sun's fault. Ya' don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out, do you?

Hay Chewed: A comprehensive list of past climate posts is presented as Hay Chewed II, with additional posts on June 15 and June 22.
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Thursday, June 23, 2005

New London, CT vs. the Fifth Amendment

Others will write in a more detailed, articulate manner on this issue. I just hope that my words might trigger a different thought, perhaps an understanding of the issue, not considered before.

It has happened elsewhere than New London, Connecticut. It could be Alabaster, Alabama. If you live in a new subdivision, it will probably not affect you. If you live in an apartment, it may not mean much right now. But if you own an older home, a farm, a wooded lot awaiting your future plans, or a small business, it could affect you. If you attend a small church or patronize a favorite olde tavern or restaurant, it could affect you.

Today, by a 5 to 4 decision, the Surpreme Court decided that the interests of the city of New London Connecticut and local land developers outweighed the property rights of common citizens. Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

Most people that have an understanding of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights understand the purposes of eminent domain. It allows (with just compensation) the seizure of private property for public works projects (roads, sewer lines, power lines, pipelines, military bases, dams & lakes, etc.). Most people see it as a necessary evil for the purposes of infrastructure growth. It has also been used in a fashion to create and "purify" National Parks, Wilderness Areas, and other such places.

In the last few years, more and more cities and counties have been using eminent domain seizures to enhance their property and sales tax revenues, but replacing older homes and businesses, with newer, higher ticket developments. It is only now that this practice is getting the blessing of 5 of the Supreme Court Justices.

From the ABC article: "Writing for the court's majority in Thursday's ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens said local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community."...

[No, this is not about what local officials know or what they decide. This is about the original intent and the integrity of the foundation of our legal system. This illustrates the "Constitution as a living document" philosophy. The question is: "Where will it end?" Congress is probably going to have to intervene.]

I am not anti-development, but our system will not last without its series of "checks and balances", which above all else, includes the Bill of Rights. Both political parties are subject to enjoyment of "rubbing elbows" with the well-connected. In our system, if you want to develop a piece of property, you have to buy out all existing owners. If someone doesn't want to sell, you either raise the offer until they sell, or you work around it (or otherwise deal with it). Sometimes a person's connection with a home, business, or a piece of land is more than monetary. It might be a long-time family business, a long-held family land parcel. There might be something else special about the place that money cannot replace. Each owner has their own viewpoint.

A favored tactic is to declare a rural area, or an area of older homes, to be "blighted", to offer justification for replacing it. In the particular area referenced in Kelo vs. City of New London, ..." The properties to be seized and destroyed include Victorian homes and small businesses that have been in families for generations." from Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal (Friday, June 24). It is an issue of interpretation and they have the deep pockets.

For developers to prevail upon local governments to bully people into selling (or confiscating) their land is simply not what the United States is about. In some cases, future developes may not even make an offer, they may just move to have the local government condemn the property and then make the rock-bottom offer.

Other pertinent thoughts include both sides of the political aisle agreeing on Disagreement Without Being Disagreeable, where Brian Bates (liberal) and Everett Vandagriff (conservative) serve as a source for intelligent and courteous political debate. On this issue, Brian and Everett seem to agree.

[Saturday Update: WorldNetDaily has several columns (Kyle Williams, Rudy Takala, Stephen Bainbridge, and this article.

Townhall.com has George Will, and its C-Log Soapboxes.]

Checks and Balances!!!!!
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Git(tin')mo Tired of This...

Approximately 3,000 civilians were murdered on 9/11, on the second attempt to destroy the World Trade Center towers and in the attacks on Washington, DC.

We are attempting to track down and continue to bring to justice those responsible in Afghanistan.

We invaded Iraq in order to try to prevent future attacks.

We are dealing with terrorists with no rules, that wear no uniforms, that belong to no organized military, thus they are not covered by the Geneva Accords.

We don't want them on American soil proper, so we keep them at Guantanamo Bay. It is not intended to be paradise, but we give them better treatment than they would probably receive if in custody in their home countries. We have to retrieve information from them in order to try to prevent more large scale attacks. To date, no one has died because of interrogation techniques at Gitmo. How many died under Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot? How can anyone even mention those names in the same sentence with President Bush and the U.S. military? Michelle Malkin weighs in with the latest.

They are not American citizens and they should not be treated as such.

We will not know for years why we haven't had another major attack in more than 3 and 1/2 years.

It will take years for our efforts at establishing stable conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan. What would the world look like if we didn't try? If we had not tried at all, how would we explain to the children of future victims why we didn't?

We ain't 100% right, but we ain't wrong.

Hay Chewed: Previous posts include June 18, June 15, June 12, and June 1.
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They Are Still At It...

One of the cachet issues of this blog is that there is not enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to affect any significant change in atmospheric temperatures. Remember the 4 pennies out of 10,000 pennies analogy.

McCain/Lieberman and now Jeff Bingaman are attempting to add amendments to the Energy Bill in order to institute some sort of controls on energy use, a la Kyoto.

Writer Marlo Lewis, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has this article, while Townhall.com has this column by Rich Lowry. Dr. Roy Spencer writing at Tech Central Station has this tongue-in-check column addressing the issue. Rich and Marlo seem to have a grasp of the economic damage that might result from attempts to restrict fossil fuel use. And they have a grasp of the absolute minimal effect that such efforts might have on reducing carbon dioxide-attributed global warming. But neither seem to mention the dominating role of Water Vapor/Water Droplets, estimated to account for 90 to 95% of the Greenhouse Effect. And that huge component cannot be controlled in any meaningful way.

The world economy runs on fossil fuels. That is just the way it is. Our economy depends on fossil fuels for 85% of its energy needs. Carbon dioxide is an unavoidable byproduct of combustion. The only way to scale back carbon dioxide is to restrict fuel use by rationing and/or excessive taxes, designed to drive down consumption. And if our fuel use becomes orchestrated by an outside entity, such as the UN, our economic fuel will be held hostage by people who are jealous of our standard of living and our relative freedom. Rather than find ways to lift themselves and others up, they take the easy way out, by trying to tear us down.

Please spend some time thinking about this issue and contact your Senators about resisting the temptation to jump on the GW bandwagon, as is driven by McCain/Lieberman and now Jeff Bingaman.

Hay Chewed: The last previous post on this subject was June 15, while Hay Chewed II has a long list of previous climate-related posts.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Few Posts from Camel Spider

Found a new blog of interest.

From Camel Spider, over at Hurl's Blog, comes some thoughts from Iraq. I guess he goes by Hurl.

Here is a twelve pack of posts for your sampling pleasure:

A reply to a Lib/Leftist

Mr. Durbin, A Few Questions

Things I Don't Know

Stupid Lefty Slogans

Was It Worth It?

Iraqi Oil - Just the Facts

CNN- Morale Buster

Hide and Seek

Thanks Bush...

Bodies (A Story of an Ambush Avoided)

Five Little Angels (The Story of a Firefight)

Main Stream Media Spin
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Land Conservation Tax Credits

Yesterday, a person representing the Georgia Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) dropped a couple of fliers here while I was away. One of the fliers was advocating legislation to allow Land Conservation Tax Credits as a way of preserving open spaces.

If passed as desired, these tax credits will provide landowners a ..."50% income tax credit when they conserve their land by donating it or entering into an agreement to permanently protect it from harmful development." [Emphasis added.]

I agree that there needs to be some sort of guidelines and limits to development. Time after time in this county, I have seen decades-old hardwood forests bulldozed in order to build tightly-packed subdivisions of six-figure crackerboxes.

And the 50% income tax credit sounds inviting. Is that permanent? Or is it just for the tax year in which the seller donates the land or enters into the permanent preservation agreement?

Some (don't know how many) states already have Conservation Easements (and another link) (the names may vary also), by which property tax breaks are available in exchange for preservation of wetlands, forests, floodplains and other pieces of undeveloped property. Sometimes the land is held by the present owner, with another party paying the taxes, in exchange for non-development agreements. Sometimes the parcel of interest is actually purchased by a NGO (Land Trust or other entity). Sometimes these easements are sold/exchanged with other trusts. There are trusts dedicated to policing these agreements, so if the trust holding the agreement becomes too flexible to the landowner, the agreement can be taken to court for enforcement by a friendly judge.

The problem is that they are permanent. Even if the land parcel affected continues to be held by the present owner, the Easement (or other-named agreement) becomes a "cloud", an encumbrance on the land title, making it very difficult to ever sell (which is the idea). Because the land becomes difficult to sell to developers, the Land Trusts can buy it at depressed prices and hold it or perhaps donate/sell it to the State or Federal Government, thereby removing it from the tax rolls. This is part of a larger plan, to re-wild as much of North America as possible.

Situations change. Sometimes large family parcels are divided to meet the wants and needs of heirs. Or to pay off inheritance taxes. Sometimes land must be sold to meet health and financial issues later in life. These easements and other agreements prevent this. A friend mentioned a Conservation Easement being part of the land title of a home recently purchased. The land "backs up" to a large forested creek floodplain near the creek's juncture with the Chattahoochee River, so that "bottom land" has apparently never been cleared for farming and it is unlikely that it would ever be practical for farming and/or development. And in such a subdivision setting, people would probably not move there with future farming or development aspirations.

Sometimes, the agreements put maintenance/repair costs on the land owner. Sometimes the agreement might allow for the preservation of an existing culvert or bridge across a floodplain/creek, but if the structure is damaged or destroyed by a flood, repair/replacement might be forbidden. If "bottomland" was previously (but not currently) farmed, it might be forbidden to resume farming at a later date. Each agreement is different. And each Land Trust has its own standards and agendas.

If you are going to purchase rural or semi-rural land, it is vital that you employ a real estate attorney to make sure that you are not buying a title encumbered by such an easement/agreement. That is what Due Diligence is about, making sure the title is Free and Clear of "clouds".

I don't recall the specifics, but I read of a farm (encumbered by a non-development clause) that was sold (unknown to the Land Trust). The new owner was unaware of the clause (or unaware of what it meant). He built a new home on the property (he assumed he could). When the Land Trust found out, they went to court and secured an order to have the new home torn down. When the home was torn down, the owner was out about $60,000 or so. No flexibility, no respect for the money spent in good faith by the new owner, no accommodation. They don't care. [If I find the link, I will add it.]

A good free-market method of land preservation is the elimination of inheritance taxes. But of course the "planners" don't want that because it leaves decisions in the hands of the private citizens. Short-term agreements that expire upon sale of the land might work, but again, zealots do not like to give ground.

Hay Chewed: Conservation Easements (same link as above) and Conservation Easements (the title-linked article of the March 19 post).
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Another Species of Moonbats, in Full Flight

They are almost worse than Ward Churchill, almost worse than Al Franken. In some respects they are arguably worse than these and other Leftist Moonbats. But they are a different species of Moonbat than written of, last Saturday.

If you ascribe to the "Great Circle Theory of Politics", if you go far enough to the Right and far enough to the Left, you will meet in the land of the Moonbats. It is a place inhabited by people who, in many respects, are too stupid to be Americans.

I hesistate to even give these examples of human refuse any publicity or recognition by talking about them. I will try not to cuss during this difficult-to-control rant.

They are the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. If you don't know them by name, you probably know the name of their pastor, Fred Phelps. Or by his actions, including his website www.godhatesfags.com. [If you have a normal sense of decency or high blood pressure, don't go there.] He is the one that leads protests at the funerals of AIDS victims. I have been aware of that level of sleaze for several years. It is one thing to disagree with practices of gay sex and related issues, but we are taught to minister to and pray for those we may feel are lost. You don't harangue their families during their funerals. That is beyond contemptible. And to do this in God's name is beyond civilized words.

But amazingly (or sadly), it gets worse. Following links last night, I found my way to the above-linked website and one of several "sister" websites, www.godhatesamerica.com. If the MSM had told us, I might not have believed them, but these cretins (that give Neandertals, and pond scum, a bad name), are also protesting at the funerals of American servicemen and women, particularly those killed by IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) in Iraq. They plan these protests in advance to celebrate the deaths.

They celebrated the deaths of approximately 3,000 Americans on 9/11. They said it was a sign that God hates America. They celebrated the deaths of 37 American servicement in an Iraq helicopter crash. They celebrated the death of Matthew Shepard. And the Pope. It just goes on and on. So much hate that it turns my stomach. They even hate Billy Graham! They probably hated Mother Teresa, too.

I seem to recall that Revs. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell made some intemperate comments after 9/11. There are Old Testament examples of God using Israel's enemies to "send a wakeup call", and it could be argued that we received a "wakeup call" and that God might be disappointed with America, but it is not the hate spewed by these people. And if memory serves me correctly, both Revs. Robertson and Falwell backtracked from their statements.

The behaviors of Fred Phelps and his flock of Moonbats only gives justification to the Leftist Moonbats, who wish to paint all Christians with the same brush applied to the clearly hateful actions of those associated with the Westboro Baptist Church. It creates the "justification" for Hate Crimes legislation, whereby it may become illegal to publicly disagree and/or disapprove of homosexual behavior, even when quoting Old Testament scripture (as has been the case in Canada).

This is not what the Great Commission is about. We are told to deliver the Good News and pray for our adversaries. We are not told to distribute hate to all that fall short.

I am no Bible expert. I fall short of what I should be. But I think I am closer to being right than Fred Phelps. It would be so easy to fall to his level and hate him. But doing the easy thing does not make us stronger or better. While disavowing his hate, we still need to pray that either he somehow has an epiphany of some sort or that others will work to lessen his impact.
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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Juneteenth and Related Issues

Juneteenth is the oldest, continual celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. Today is the 140th anniversary of the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaching Galveston, Texas, with the landing of Federal troops, led by Union General Gordon Granger. From Wikipedia and Juneteenth.com, The June 19th, 1865 landing was followed by General Granger's reading of General Order Number 3, to the people of Texas, which began with:

"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer." From Juneteenth.com History of Juneteenth

For the time-line comparison, the Appomattox Courthouse Surrender was April 9, 1865. The History of Juneteenth link above has several plausible explanations for the delay of two and a half years from President Lincoln's issuance of the Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The link carries the caveat that all or none of the explanations may be true.

Interestingly enough, the Wikipedia article reminds us that in the four non-seceding slave states (Missouri, Maryland, Kentucky, and Delaware) and the territories (Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma), where slavery existed (but was not widespread), the slaves there were not legally freed "until the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on December 6, 1865." [Italics are direct quotes from Wikipedia.]

When we examine 19th century (and earlier) historical events, we need to disconnect our passions, so as to allow ourselves to learn and consider said events in the context of the culture and attitudes of the time. It should not be a time to "gin up" resentment, nor point fingers, between different groups, especially since none of the participants are still alive. We need to have honest discussions, based on the best available information. It is noteworthy that the words "racist" and/or "racism" are absent from the History of Juneteenth article.

It need not be stated, but slavery was not an invention of the United States, but an artifact of our European heritage (and older cultures). That some of our Founders were slave owners simply means they were men of their time and culture. President Lincoln was also a man of his time. Regardless of quotes attributed to President Lincoln and his flaws, he guided our country through some of its most difficult times. Is it proper to measure these men by today's standards?

Some of the Founders knew that slavery was antithetic to the ideals of freedom, but compromises had to be made, in order to get the Declaration of Independence signed, and later, the Constitution ratified. Despite their human flaws, our Founders left us a system by which we could amend the Constitution to allow for cultural evolution. It is dangerous to our culture to try to expunge them from our culture and history just because they do not fit a PC template.

For the short-term, Black History Month is a cultural necessity, not only for Black Americans, but for White Americans also, as events and achievements of Black Americans have been suppressed/ignored by the establishment. A long-term goal should be to weave the names, dates, and events of Black History into the fabric of American culture and history. If Black History is relegated to one month each year, or otherwise stands alone, the historical context may be lost. For instance, as students learn about the Tuskegee Airmen (aka Red Tails), they need to learn the Red Tails' achievements in the larger picture. Most noteworthy is:

"As bomber escorts, the Tuskegee Airmen never lost a bomber to enemy fighters; a record no other fighter group achieved." (From the above link).

And in the name of historical accuracy, sometimes we have to face uncomfortable issues, some of which defy easy answers. The discussions need to be conducted in a dispassionate atmosphere "with malice towards none."

Hat Tip to Two Dogs at Mean Ol' Meany for his suggestion of posting on the subject of Juneteenth. His contribution is here (and it is a good one).
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Saturday, June 18, 2005

A Worthy Post at Blogmeister USA

Pam over at Blogmeister USA and Lifelike Pundits has a link to a new blog called Bloggers for Censure. This is not before-the-fact censorship, it is about holding influential people accountable for their words and actions, words and actions that may cause death to Americans and others. Many have engaged in hyperbolic talk before Sen. Dick Durbin, but maybe he is the one to bring us to the "tipping point".

There is no logical connection between our policies at Gitmo (and or Abu Ghraib) and the horrors of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Pol Pot. There is no useful information in this assertion.
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Anti-Christian Moonbats in Full Flight

The local Atlanta paper usually saves the worst Moonbat editorial letters for Sunday (or so it seems), but today's edition has an excellent example. It is short, so I will include it (without the name) here below, illustrating the admonition that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing".

Entitled: "Organized religions only tear down"

"The myths and stories called religions have spawned intolerance, hyprocrisy, genocide, wars, brainwashing, science-trumping, precipitation of the Dark Ages (early Christians burned the great library and university at Alexandria), overpopulation and the construction of glorious edifices at the expense of the populations.
Tell me again about the great contributions of organized religions."

As for the Alexandria Library and Museum, in truth, the real story is probably lost to history. Wikipedia [following Wikipedia quotes are in italics] has listed 6 ancient writers that made references to the destruction and ..."Of all the sources, Plutarch is the only one to refer explicitly to the destruction of the Library".

From Wikipedia: "The majority of ancient historians, even those strongly politically opposed to Caesar, give no account of the alleged massive disaster. Cecile Orru argued in "Antike Bibliotheken" (2002, edited by Wolfgang Höpfner) that Caesar cannot have destroyed the Library because it was located in the royal quarter of the city, where Caesar's troops were fortified after the fire (which would not have been possible if the fire had spread to that location)."

Following paragraph: "Furthermore, the Library was a very large stone building and the scrolls were stored away in armaria (and some of them put in capsules), so it is hard to see how a fire in the harbor could have affected a significant part of its contents. Lastly, modern archaeological finds have confirmed an extensive ancient water supply network which covered the major parts of the city, including, of course, the royal quarter."

In the Wikipedia article, there are several possible suggestions as to the destruction of the library. One is during the "Crisis of the Third Century" collapse of the Roman Empire and associated civil war in Egypt. Another possible suggestion, attributed to early Christian anti-Muslim propaganda, was that Caliph Omar ordered the destruction of the library's contents during a 7th century invasion. The "reasoning", attributed to Caliph Omar, was that if the library contents did not contain the teaching of the Qu'ran, "they were useless and should be destroyed; if the books did contain the teachings of the Qur'an, they were superfluous and should be destroyed." This is plausible as it relates to the same "rationale" used by zealous Muslims desiring the destruction of the Sphinx and the Pyramids in Egypt. If they are not in the Qu'ran, they are either superfluous or evil.

Regardless of when and how it happened, there seems no clear cut responsibility of early Christians in the destruction of this great center of learning.

The connection between the "burning of the Alexandria Library" and the "Dark Ages" (as if there was some great Christian conspiracy) is even more tenuous.

From Wikipedia (on the Dark Ages): "The Dark Ages (or Dark Age) is a metaphor with multiple meanings and connotations. It is most commonly known in relation to the European Middle Ages, but it is also used to denote other periods from which events are relatively obscure because of our lack of knowledge of them, usually through lack of written record. "Dark Age" is often used generally to emphasize the violence or difficulty of a particular period, while it is employed more formally to denote an era that is archaeologically obscure."

If there are shreads of truth in the remainder of this rant, it illustrates the saying of "taking an ounce of truth and turning it into a pound of lies". These "attributes" are not related to New Testament teachings, i.e., they are not attributes of Christianity, but failures of human nature, even among self-proclaimed Christians. To suggest this is ignorance-based bigotry.

It is fine and good for newspapers to print reasoned debates in their editorial letters, but can't they see through this, for what it is? There is no useful information in this letter. Only ignorant, hyperbolic stereotypes.

This guy probably believes that we invaded Afghanistan so Haliburton could build an oil pipeline across the country to bring oil to our SUVs.
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Giving Your Enemies Ammunition - I

There are plenty of examples, perhaps I fill focus on others another time, but here is an example of a really stupid idea:

From WorldNetDaily comes this article about an Army Reserve recruit creating an online contest to make a paper mache pig out of the pages of the Quran. There is a link in the article to PABAAH (Patriotic Americans Boycotting Anti-American Hollywood), but at first glance I do not see the contest on that particular blog/website.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, stupid, stupid, stupid,...

When we are trying to appeal to moderate, sensible individuals and groups of Muslims, this is going to be used against us by the zealots and their Lib/Leftist support groups. Al-Jazeera will be carrying this for weeks. Look how much trouble Newswreck caused with their Quran-flushing faux story.

As I have ranted before, tolerance is a two-way street. And we have to show that we are better than our adversaries, sometimes in seemingly trivial ways. We somehow have to isolate ourselves from the idiot Moonbats that claim some of the opinions that we (logically) hold to.

In my simple mind, regardless of your feelings about another religion, if it is a legitimate religion (I know that this leaves room for interpretations), you ought to show their holy books some respect, especially if you know that some of their adherents are trying to do the right thing. If you can't, then leave them alone (or at least don't do anything in public in view of cameras). Even if they are too hateful to appreciate our efforts at being respectful, we are still doing the right thing. And if we have attempted to hold the higher moral ground, then that gives us greater moral footing if we must unleash righteous indignation (or terrible resolve), if their desecrating our flag/holy books turns to blowing up churches and other "direct action".

Christians, Jews, and others have to put up with their holy books being desecrated all the time, but where are the riots? Muslim riots at the drop of a hat are not right, but that is what we have to put up with right now. I don't pretend to have any simple answers, but LET'S NOT MAKE IT WORSE!

The Liberal Avenger blog, a couple of weeks ago, or so, had a link to a photo where some idiot had put a Quran in a toilet and had urinated on it. LA (and the attracted Moonbats) used this as fodder to attack all Christians. I attempted to inject some logic into the thread, but to little avail. They will take almost any point and twist it to their own use, even when you attempt to share real indignation at this sort of behavior.

By now, we all know the good and the bad of the internet. Your actions, as recorded on digital images, can be around the world in an instant. Your attempts at satire can be taken the wrong way by other cultures and may result in someone's death. Muslims rioting and killing people over the Newswreck story was clearly wrong, but was it a surprise? Even if this link is a lousy joke, someone will either misunderstand it or use it to their own agenda. It is pre-packaged propaganda. And it may cause us to lose the support of those we are trying to win over. More than 1,700 Americans have died trying to help establish a more stable Iraq, one that will no longer be a safe haven for terrorists. This only helps our enemies, here and abroad.

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, STUPID, STUPID, STUPID,...
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Friday, June 17, 2005

Pointless Posturing

I have been looking for a way to articulate on the recent Senate Resolution apologizing for the failure to pass anti-lynching laws in the past.

It goes without saying that lynching (or any other form of murder) is an abomination.

Mona Charen does a good job in articulating the "pointless posturing" of decades-after-the-fact apologies. Her primary point is that unless the apology is made by a responsible party, what does it accomplish, other than satisfying a political agenda or perhaps making someone feel good?

She speculates that George Allen may have pushed this to highlight the fact that the majority of the obstruction of civil rights legislation was conducted by Democrats, southern Democrats, but still of the party of Screamin' Dean. Perhaps along with this resolution, there should have been published a "Hall of Shame", documenting the names of the Democrat Senators responsible for the filibusters of note.

If Senator Allen did do this, he may not have considered an unintended consequence. The Republicans that didn't vote for this measure have already been savaged by Lib/Leftist blogs. People of little sense will make of this what they are told, by these blogs and the MSM. I have no doubt that the "no" votes were because these Republican Senators saw this for what it was.

As noted before, elsewhere, the MSM manipulates the news as much by selective omission as by anything else.

People such as "you can call me Al" Sharpton, Julian Bond, et al, do not want Black and White Americans to get along, as that lessens our need for these that time has passed by. By throwing things such as this resolution and reparations into the public debate, they keep their names in the press.

Or maybe Sen. Allen did it to prove that even when you give the Civil Rights establishment what it wants, it is not satisfied.

While Senate Democrats are at it, they could apologize for President Andrew Jackson's Executive Order that lead to the Trail of Tears. If not a true Democrat Party member, he belonged to a precursor of the Democrats.

And so it goes.
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Thursday, June 16, 2005


Do you think we are really paranoid about the growing "nanny state", for nothing?

One of my part-time jobs is installing and servicing retractable swimming pool covers. At a pool today, in SE Tennessee, I found this beach ball (about 2 feet in diameter) with warning labels in 15 or 16 languages!

You better be keerful with that beach ball Billy Bob, Jr., you might put someone's eye out! Posted by Hello
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Invasive Species Legislation

You may have vaguely heard about Invasive Species, also known as Exotic Species.

They are animals and plants "from somewur else". Here in the south, our battles with Kudzu are legendary. It has been known to cover houses, roads, and even entwine slow-moving cows. We have other exotics, including Asian tiger mosquitoes, privet hedge, honeysuckle, Asian rice eels, Japanese beetles, English ivy and from elsewhere in this hemisphere, armadillos and coyotes. Asian plants and animals do well in this area because the climate is somewhat similar to parts of southeastern Asia.

Other noteworthy exotics include Tumbleweed (from Russia), nutria (from South America), and Asian Zebra mussels.

Some of the problems associated with exotics include:
1) They prey on native species.
2) They feed more aggressively than native species.
3) They reproduce more aggressively than native species.
4) They displace native species.
5) They may import diseases for which our species have no resistance (remember the Dutch elm disease and the chestnut blight that essentially wiped out the magnificent American Chestnut trees).
6) Exotic plants may be toxic to foraging animals.

Sometimes newcomers disturb the local ecosystems and sometimes they can be accommodated. Thirty plus years ago, we were worried that the newly invading Japanese beetles were going to eat everything. They ate the flowers of apple trees, okra plant flowers and leaves, bean plant flowers, rose blossoms, they ate the silks off corn plants, thereby preventing the proper development of the corn ears, they ate the leaves on muscadine vines and sassafras trees. We wondered where will it end?

It took a little while, but a friend of my mom's noticed blue jays eating Japanese beetles. Sometimes, the local predators learn that these newcomers are good to eat, thereby nature kicks in to handle the problem. Sometimes accommodation occurs in other ways. And after decades, removing the exotic may cause more ecosystem disruption than leaving it. What would happen if we could eradicate all kudzu in just a few weeks? It was brought here to fight erosion and it has. It probably serves as a food source for some animals (it is edible for humans, as far as I know).

Of course, some folks think government is the answer. There is concern on a pending Transportation bill in Congress right now, which would begin the process of perhaps creating a new bureaucracy to fight Invasive Species. The House version has no provisions for such things, but the Senate version does.

According to the American Policy Institute (Yes, I know they seem a little over the top sometimes), (paraphrasing) the Senate version contains a provision (called Section 166) that calls for the documentation and regulation of "non-native" and invasive species. It's the regulation part of most concern. Just one more type of Federal control. [If they want my Japanese maple tree, they will have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers!] They are recommending that citizens contact their Senators and Representative to voice opposition to these plans.

As the Endangered Species Act has gone beyond its stated goals as far as controlling how people use their own property, so they fear the Invasive Species controls. There are "deep ecologists" (and other control freaks) that will use any method they can to control other people's behavior.

To some enviro-purists, it doesn't matter how long an exotic has been present, it doesn't matter that the ecosystem may have entirely accommodated it and it may serve as an important component of the food web, they want it removed. I don't have the details, but during the Great Depression, make-work projects (WPA, CCC, etc.) included the transport of fish to naturally barren lakes (many in mountainous areas of the West), to stock them for future fishing use. Now after 70 or so years of these fish being present, government bureaucrats, at the behest of enviro-purists are removing these fish from said ponds and lakes by catching and/or poisoning them. To these zealots, the fish weren't there naturally, so they don't belong there now. Never mind that local bears, bald eagles, and other animals may enjoy eating the fish, as do humans, they have to go!

I will blog more on this as time permits. I will try to find some linked articles, too.
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Baba Wawa Gets Offended

I heard Laura Ingraham talking about this and Michelle Malkin fills in the gaps with her Townhall.com column from yesterday.

It seems that Baba had to face the ordeal of sitting next to a woman nursing her baby while on an airline flight recently. Oh!, the horrors of having to deal with mere commoners invading first class with their gauche behavior!

OK, maybe it's one thing to feel a little awkward when it is happening, but to go on nationwide TV and complain about it on "The View", seems petty. I thought women were supposed to share some sort of kindred bond about this sort of thing, even if they didn't breastfeed themselves. But according to Michelle, the women of "The View" are above this sort of thing.

Would Baba rather have sat next to a screaming, hungry baby? Perhaps the mother could have handled things a little differently, but again, Baba, sometimes we have to just roll our eyes and get on with life. I mean, is the lady supposed to go into the restroom to nurse her baby?

One of Laura's callers suggested also that breastfeeding might have helped the baby "equalize" its ears. That is one reason why babies and toddlers cry and scream on flights is because their ears hurt! Even a dumb guy like me can figger that out! A nipple is a natural pacifier (and I will say nothing more along those lines). What do babies usually do after breastfeeding? They fall asleep, don't they? What more can you ask for?
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Good Post on The Nation of Aztlan

By way of Basil's Blog, comes this post from Pamibe, on the planned nation of Aztlan (now currently much of the southwestern United States).

This is a pipedream (nighmare for the current residents) of Mexican separatists. This is all about revenge for "our" past sins against Mexico. Even if it comes to fruition, it is not going to appreciably affect Mexico's situation. Mexico is rich in resources. The source of Mexico's problems are complex and yes, we may have made mistakes in the past, but we (and they) need to get past that.

This is not different from other separatists, e.g., Aryan Nations-types wanting parts of Montana, Idaho, etc. for a white homeland or Black separatists wanting parts of the southeast for a black homeland. It is just repackaged bigotry and racism.

More will be added about Aztlan later
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More on Global Warming Science vs. Politics

From the June 15 Eco-Logic Powerhouse comes some more information on the science relating to climate variability vs. the politics of globalism, by Fred Gielow.

It goes without saying that sensible people do not like air pollution and they generally prefer expectations of what is considered "normal weather", i.e., what they are used to within their lifespan. The weather & climate frame of reference for most people is their own lifetime. With families more fragmented than in previous generations, children don't get to hear their grandparents or great-grandparents talk about past droughts, floods, tornadoes, blizzards. Adults don't have their memories renewed about past events either, as they should. My kids live 1100 miles from their surviving great-grandmothers (both of which experienced the Dust Bowl in NW Oklahoma) and their surviving grandparents are about 2000 miles away from here. So when we are together, sometimes it is hard to find the time to get my kids to listen about "the old days".

When the public hears the almost constant drumbeat blaming everything from snowstorms to droughts to floods to tsunami on Global Warming (they didn't get far with the tsunami thing), people start to believe it and some will call for the government to "do something". The trouble is, we still do not know that much about what controls Earth's climate on a micro or macro scale.

On a previous post (Hay Chewed - The Intro), I outlined some of the things that affect my way of thinking, including some of the weather events I have seen/experienced. My being a geologist gives me an expanded sense of time and my semester-long class in Weather and Climate give even more a different perspective than the average citizen. As are many scientists, I have an interest in seeing "good science" being presented to the public, as accurate as present knowledge permits. The most reliable information we have on the climate is what is happening in the recent, recorded past and what is left behind as "proxy data" (some of the sources of which are discussed in the post Reconstructing the Paleoclimate (May 24)).

As stated ad nauseum, here, the current paradigm (rising carbon dioxide = rising atmospheric temperatures) was brought to the world's attention by Margaret Thatcher. The current level of hysteria (or at least high anxiety) began with the Congressional testamony of Dr. James Hansen of NASA in 1989.

From Gielow: ..."The global warming computer simulations are invalid: "The modern global warming debate was ignited in 1989 when NASA climatologist Dr. James Hansen testified before a joint U.S. House and Senate committee that there was "a strong cause and effect relationship between the current climate" - then a blistering drought - "and human alteration of the atmosphere." His computer models predicted an average global temperature rise of 0.45°C between 1988 and 1997, and 8°C by 2050 due to greenhouse gas build-up. Despite enormous uncertainties in his simulations, it wasn't long before the politically correct view of the future included a global warming catastrophe. Yet today, Hansen admits that his computer simulations were wrong, and that current climate change models are unreliable." These statements and more are from the following source.

In other words, the apocalyptic predictions of the climate future are based on computer models. Computer models have their place in science. They can be very useful in visualizing movements of matter (or energy) through a particular medium in 3 dimensions. The time frame can be sped up or slowed down. But they are only as good as the input data. Computer models of aquifer characteristics are dependent on data from each individual well and aquiger tests between nearby wells. This sort of data has to be generalized across the entire aquifer and a certain amount of uniformity must be assumed (when that is usually not the case). But the people that use the models know this (and the news media rarely pay attention to aquifer models).

Part of the problem with the atmospheric GCMs (General Circulation Models) is that the Water Vapor/Water droplets component (90 to 95% of the Greenhouse Effect) is difficult to quantify and "plug into the model", one probable reason is its variability. Another reported omission is carbon soot & other particulates.

The last thing I am is a computer expert, but I wonder how can one input data into a model from several variable sources. Affecting the atmosphere are different cycles of solar activity & random solar events; variations in Earth orbit and rotation; variabilities in heat absorption and transfer between land, sea, and air; random events such as volcanic explosions. There is more beyond my simple understanding. It is good for visualizing different scenarios, but it is lousy for law-making purposes, but that is exactly what the IPCC wants to do. Computer models will improve, but hopefully, by then the public will have seen the futility of Kyoto-style micromanagement, desired by those pushing this paradigm.

For much more, see the links on Hay Chewed II, posted just below here.
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If Not Gitmo - Where?

Jonah Goldberg adds some more sensible thoughts to this discussion.

Guantanamo Bay is geographically isolated enough that the detainees are not likely to successfully escape. Admittedly, they are in sort of a twilight zone, since they are not uniformed soldiers in an organized army, they are not subject to the rules of the Geneva Convention (something that Jimmy Carter, et al, do not understand or do not care about). Also as there has not been a Congressional Declaration of War, that may also contribute to some issues.

They should not be transported to American soil proper, as there are already legions of Leftist attorneys falling all over themselves to represent the detainees. These Leftist attorneys are ready to assign de facto citizen rights to the detainees. Am I going too far if I say some of the attorneys might want some (many?) of the detainees released on bond?

As I have stated before, we are at a disadvantage in this war. We are the targets of an enemy with no rules. This is the sober reality we have to live with. Do the Islamists worry about such niceties when they kidnap Americans and others in Iraq? They don't do it to gain information about future attacks. They simply do it to terrorize, to try to make us lose our resolve. We have to interrogate these detainees. The methods may seem harsh to civilians, especially those who have started to forget the images of 9/11. Of all the people we have detained in Afghanistan, a small percentage actually reach Gitmo and some have already been released because they either appeared to be innocent or perhaps small fish.

If we did close Gitmo and move the detainees, Jonah summarizes the problems that will re-occur: ..."Any new Gitmo would quickly gain the same reputation as the old one because a) al-Qaida is under strict orders to allege all manner of abuses for propaganda purposes, especially now that such tactics have proved so useful, and b) because the "international community" and other lovers of runny cheese desperately want such allegations to be true, regardless of the evidence. That the head of Amnesty International could call Gitmo, where we spend more money on the care and feeding of detainees than we do on our own troops, the "Gulag of our time" is all the evidence we need for that. Caving into such bullying would send the unmistakable message that American can be rolled."

Diana West's column in Townhall.com yesterday is one of several that detailed the lengths to which we go to insure that the Quran is handled properly, in order to not offend Muslim detainee sensitivities. No doubt a few of the detainees, deep in their hearts might be greatful and appreciative, but most of these are really bad people, not street criminals. Being nice to them will only have limited results. In fact, in the minds of the zealous Islamists, patience, tolerance, and kindness are signs of weakness, not strength.

If Leftists and RINOs complain about the mistakes at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, without comparing them to Abu Ghraib during Saddam Hussein's rule, they are telling you less than half of the story.

Hay Chewed on this issue includes: June 12 and June 1
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Hay Chewed - II

Climate Issues

Margaret Thatcher & Tony Blair's Child
Significant & Fundamental Uncertainties
On Correlation & Half-Truths (includes other issues)
Reconstructing the Paleoclimate
Playing With Greenhouse Numbers
Our Personal Experiences With The Greenhouse Effect
A New Species of RINO
Today's Climate Lesson
Textbook Revisionism on Global Warming
The Current Global Warming Paradigm vs. Dissenters
The "Environmentalists" Ain't 100% Wrong
A Brief Primer on the Greenhouse Effect
Another Pundit Infected by the Global Warming Big Lie
It's Earth Day and the Sky is Probably Not Falling
4 Out of 10,000
Atmospheric Negative Feedback Loops
Blame the Sun for Global Warming
Thomas Friedman on the Energy "Crisis" and Global Warming
A Scientific Look at the Climate Future
John McCain's Continuing Obsession with Carbon Dioxide
Global Warming Article of Mixed Value
Misguided Social Gospel - Tilting at the Global Warming Windmill
Global Warming: How It All Began
The Asian Brown Cloud
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Hay Chewed - I

Why Modern Liberals Ain't - the rant series:

I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
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Hay Chewed - The Intro

[Re: Elton John's early LP - Empty Sky. It's an occasional rehash of previous, pertinent posts and links, to save visitors the trouble of having to look back through my archives. It may also save me some time doing the same thing (now when did I write about that?). Some of this is necessary because many of these issues are too complex for the MSM to cover well (in 15 and 30 second soundbites) and sometimes it is because it doesn't fit with the MSM agenda/template.]

Other bloggers have their lists, this is mine. I don't claim to be an expert at anything, just a learned student that has been around long enough to have seen/experienced (in no particular order):


Forgive my lurching down memory lane. This is part of what makes me tick. I guess I qualify as an old fart, in some respects. I'm not doing this for personal gain, as a scientist/teacher, I hope to pass along some useful information and/or to be entertaining.
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Monday, June 13, 2005

Margaret Thatcher & Tony Blair's Child

(ewwwww!).

What I'm talking about is Tony's undying allegiance to Margaret Thatcher's "rising carbon dioxide = rising atmospheric temperatures" paradigm. It was born as a political animal and it remains such. It is about "leveling the playing field" economically, between the U.S. and Europe, by tearing down the U.S. economy, not elevating Europe's. This has been blogged about numerous times here, including May 19, "Playing With Greenhouse Numbers".

Robert Novak's column today on Townhall.com is concerned about the increasing pressure being put on President Bush by Blair, Democrats, RINOs, et al, for the purpose of getting him to cave on the Kyoto and Kyoto-like restrictions on fuel, including coal, which produces a large portion of our electricity.

There are issues with coal burning, but carbon dioxide is not one of them. There are issues with other types of fossil fuels, but carbon dioxide is not one of them. Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of combustion and respiration, but it is not a pollutant. It is a vital nutrient to the plants, which make up the base of every important food web on Earth (and under the seas).

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but it is a tiny component. The atmospheric carbon dioxide content is approximately 390 ppm (parts per million). That is the equivalent of 4 pennies out of 10,000 ($100). Methane is also a greenhouse gas, but its content is even smaller.

The Sun ultimately controls Earth's temperatures. Other atmospheric issues include unburned hydrocarbons (and other VOCs) and soot/other particulates. They may actually be influencing the climate, while we keep tilting at the carbon dioxide windmill, for political reasons.
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Sunday, June 12, 2005

More on The "Gulag"/Gitmo Comparisons

The above-linked blog reference was emailed to me by Dr. Rudy Rummel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, currently living in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Dr. Rummel is well-versed in the studies of real examples of imprisonment, torture, and death by various totalitarian regimes, worldwide. I highly recommend your reading this linked article.

Years ago, I read portions of Gulag Archipelago, by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, whom should be almost a household word to knowledgeable persons that attended college in the 1970s.

Our misdeeds and mistakes at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib cannot hold a candle to the Soviet gulags and for Amnesty International to do so trivializes the suffering and death of the millions of political prisoners in the Soviet Union, China, Iraq, Cuba, Cambodia, Nazi Germany, and elsewhere.

While we have made our share of mistakes, the hyperbolic Moonbat references to the United States as the focus of world evil are something like comparing Typhoid Mary to Mother Theresa (sp.?).

I previously tried to link to his blog, but for some reason, I couldn't do so. So give a look in the link column to get more info for future verbal sparring matches. Look for the Democratic Peace/Rudy Rummel link.
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On The Separation of Church and State

Neddybee's Blatherings of June 2nd, include this cogent reminder of what the "Separations Clause" is all about.

From Neddy: ..."The first amendment is supposed to guarantee our freedom of religion, yet nowhere in the bill are the words: "separation", "church", or "state"." [The word "wall" ain't there either.]

The words of contention come from an 1802 letter by President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury (Connecticut) Baptist Association.

(Paraphrasing from Neddy): Jefferson wrote - "I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."

"Jefferson was attempting to remove all fears that the government would make dictates to the somewhat outcast Baptist church, therefore he established common ground with them by using the words of Roger Williams, one of their most prominent preachers. Even more amazing it is that those Baptists understood the "wall" was to protect the church from the state, not vice versa, as is happening today. The first amendment that Jefferson quoted, in the U.S. Constitution, is supposed to protect the churches from the state, but it doesn't seem to be working very well for Christian churches."

Jefferson's words were meant to allay the fears of the Danbury Baptists. Though the letter was from a sitting President, the letter had no force of law, it was simply an opinion.

The separations clause was included in the Bill of Rights because in some European countries, the state religion was used as a weapon, by kings, etc., against their political opponents. Likewise state church leaders could use their relationship with the king to accomplish the same thing. This was a failure of human nature, not Christ's teachings.

Again to remind visitors, most American Christians are not fundamentalists (as defined by the MSM) and they do not want a Christian theocracy. They just want to make a few steps back from the short-sighted, hedonism of today's popular culture.
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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Why Modern Liberals Ain't - VII

By way of basil's blog, I have been checking up on the Liberal Avenger blog, and engaging in debate on one of their anti-Christian threads. After trying to engage in thoughtful discourse, LA visited here and picked out the links to La Shawn Barber and Michelle Malkin and asked (paraphrasing) "How could he take me seriously when I linked to these two bloggers?".

On today's post, there is a large picture of Michelle Malkin with the caption "Jesus hates beaners." No reference, no linked article, no explanation.

Let's see, I have dozens of linked websites/blogs and he picks two hosted by conservative minority women. He pictures one of them with the caption "Jesus hates beaners." I have read enough of Michelle to know that she wouldn't say something as bigoted as this. So am I to conclude that these are his thoughts?

Is Liberal Avenger showing us his true feelings about strong-willed, independently-minded, minority women? Is this a Freudian slip? Can you imagine the 100 decibel hollering if a conservative blog or website posted a picture with this caption?

[Ya'll go over there and take a look before it is taken down.]
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Zimbabwe's Slow, Tortured Descent into Hell

You got to admit it, Robert Mugabe is a guy that gets things done.

Mark in Mexico has blogged about this several times and I have been telling my Environmental Science students about it since mid-2001.

Emperor Mugabe and Mugabe Cleans Things Up are among Mark's posts on the subject.

The Southern Cross blog (it seems to have ended in August, 2004) included several posts about Zimbabwe in its December 2003 archives. Claudia Rosett wrote about it in July, 2002 in the Wall Street Journal online.

My linked articles on my college website, dating back to 2001 and 2002, have all rotted, so I will have to go on memory for the moment.

From the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, then for about the next 20 years, Zimbabwe was a fairly stable, self-sufficient nation. Some referred to Zimbabwe as the "Bread Basket of Africa", for its ability to feed itself and surrounding nations. This robust agricultural system was built by the descendants of British settlers. During the pressure to move from white rule (Ian Smith, et al), to black rule, many of the whites left the country. The farmers, tied to the land as they were, decided to "make a go of it" during the transition to the government of Robert Mugabe.

As stated, it seemed to work for about 20 years. There were stated desires to have more black Zimbabwe farmers to replace the white farmers. The thousands of black employees of the white farmers were a logical pool from which to develop this new generation of black farmers.

During a forum debate on FrontPageMag.com a couple of years ago (before I got tired of the Moonbats, some of whom seemed to have multiple personalities), one of the posters suggested that they thought the Zimbabwe government started this process in a reasonable fashion, but after a few years, thought the white farmers were being too slow about reforms. That sounded plausible. Here is one article from FrontPageMag.

The serious degradation of the situation may have begun because of political pressure on Mugabe to "do something". Perhaps it was the onset of early senility. Anyway, it was in mid-2001 or so that he seemed to kick into his current full-Stalinist mode.

From Ms. Rosett's WSJ article (linked above): ..."As some countries in Africa have begun to liberalize, Zimbabweans have been looking more urgently for change, turning to such opposition figures as Morgan Tsvangirai, a popular trade union leader. Mr. Mugabe has responded with increasingly destructive tactics for keeping power--imposing price controls, nationalizing enterprises and turning loose gangs known as "war veterans" to brutalize opponents."...

..."Over the past two years, Mr. Mugabe's bid to boost his waning support has included a "land reform" in which his government ordered white commercial farmers to quit farming and surrender their land to be parceled out to blacks. This was done in the name of redressing racial injustice left over from colonial times. In an independence day speech on April 18, Mr. Mugabe announced triumphantly that the land "has finally come to its rightful owners."

But these huge farms, run with large economies of scale, were the most productive source of the country's food. Their confiscation, carried out in many cases by violent mobs, has brought farming to a near halt. With famine imminent, Mr. Mugabe's regime has ordered almost 3,000 white farmers still on their land to halt all production and leave their property within the next three weeks."


How the ancestors of these farmers acquired their land might be grist for debate. Was it unoccupied, unused land? In a land that probably had no system of land surveys and land titles, how was ownership proven? Yes, some human mistakes may have been made 60 to 100 years ago in the acquisition of the land, but "two wrongs do not make a right". There are ways that the reform system could have been "nudged along". The successful farm system took decades to develop. In many cases, the choicest farms were given to Mugabe associates, people with no farming nor business skills.

There was an ongoing drought, but the infrastructure of irrigation ponds and other systems could probably have handled the problem with a minimum of disruption.

The confiscation of farms and disruption of the farming system also caused a banking crisis, as farm mortgages and loans went unpaid.

Now as described by Mark in Mexico, there is further evidence of the final collapse of any sort of social order. Throwing American taxpayer money is not going to fix the problem.

In a more perfect world, we could have intervened and mashed Mugabe's head, but that would have meant killing some bad guys, which happened to be black. We have been hesitant to intervene in Africa, because we are afraid of the political implications of "doing the job right", witness the "Black Hawk Down" incident. We were also distracted after 9/11/2001.

For any progress to be made in Africa, we and they are going to have to get past the racism/colonialism issues of the past and deal with the current cultural fragmentation/tribalism/corruption issues. Some African leaders have admitted this. Americans and others would probably be more willing to donate to private organizations if we had more assurances that the money would actually reach the people in need, rather than the pockets of the tyrants.

[Update - Here is a comment thread on Zimbabwe (and other things) from The Belmont Club.

Hat Tip to the Black Republican.]
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