- Name: on-the-rocks
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geosciblog Continuing Series
Newly-Found Geology/Science Blogs (Early-2009 to Mid-2011)
Newly-Found/Newly-Linked Blogs (Mid-2008 to Mid-2011)
Newly-Found Blogs (Late 2007)
Talk Radio-Related Websites
Science-Related (Including Global Warming Skeptics) blogs/Websites
Global Warming/Current Paradigm & Other Science Blogs/Websites
Not Ready for Facebook
Oh, By the Way, Happy New Year
Another Climate Change Rant
Hoplophobia - the New Word for the Day
Tiny Lund, a NASCAR Legend
A Few Debate Tactics for Conservatives/Libertarian...
A Facebook Challenge....
Recent PostsStill Here
Not Ready for Facebook
Oh, By the Way, Happy New Year
Another Climate Change Rant
Hoplophobia - the New Word for the Day
Tiny Lund, a NASCAR Legend
A Few Debate Tactics for Conservatives/Libertarian...
A Facebook Challenge....
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>
Friday, September 30, 2005
Can't We Just Talk - About Evolution and Intelligent Design? - Reposted
From the Jacob Sullum column: "In a trial that began on Monday, Sept. 26, a federal judge in Harrisburg has been called upon to decide whether intelligent design is a legitimate scientific theory."
[I am not trying to sound like an elitist, but what does the average judge know about theories and how they become accepted by the scientific community? In most cases, accepted theories have a fair amount of evidence to support them, e.g., the Theory of Plate Tectonics. In other cases, there are some concepts that are called theories that, in my opinion, perhaps should still be called hypotheses, because they deal in old, distant events. I refer primarily to the Big Bang Theory and the Solar Nebular Theory.]
More from the Sullum column: ..."A senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, which promotes intelligent design theory, told The New York Times, "We oppose any effort to require students to learn about intelligent design because we feel that it politicizes what should be a scientific debate." One of the parents who is challenging Dover's decision to inform students about the intelligent design controversy regretted that "there's no way to have a winner here" because "the community has already lost, period, by becoming so divided."" (Emphasis added)
Part of the problem is that this issue has been co-opted by the zealots of both sides. The "Creationist" camp has co-opted it to displace evolution and the "Evolution" camp has co-opted it to prevent Creationism from displacing evolution. Intelligent Design is not repackaged "Young-Earth Creationism". Intelligent Design does not preclude evolution as a agent of biological change, rather it is somewhat similar to the "Evolution With a Guiding Hand" concept that one of my undergrad Geology professors mentioned 30 years ago.
If the state of Pennsylvania (and others) are attempting to require the inclusion of Intelligent Design, I am against that. If they are attempting to allow the inclusion of Intelligent Design, I am all for that. Allowing the discussions of flaws in the Evolution Theory does not discount the theory. A theory is our best current understanding of the "How and Why" of a scientific issue. It is not (and cannot be) the final, absolute truth.
9/30 Afternoon Update: Here is the link to a Des Moines Register article (by way of WND) about an Iowa State assistant professor of astronomy and his support for Intelligent Design. From that particular article:
..."Molly Nolte, a graduate student in environmental science at UNI, said she didn't believe the intelligent design argument because she didn't think Gonzalez proved it.
"You can't see it. You can't count it. You can't show it to anyone," she said."
[There is quite a bit in science that we cannot prove, that we cannot see, that we cannot show to anyone, because it happens on a large scale (or perhaps a very small scale) and very slowly. To accept evolution as the only answer also requires a form of faith.]
By Way of Lucky Dawg News: I found a very good article about Charles Darwin and the theory of Evolution, by Thomas Brewton from The Conservative Voice. It includes some background information about Darwin and what might have been some of his
August 12 posting: Tony Snow has a column today about the name calling and vitriol dispensed by the zealots on both sides of this issue.
An excerpt from Tony's column:
"Intelligent Design claims the chances of random evolution are virtually nil. Hard science shows us a world of dazzling order, complexity and interdependence. To take one tiny example, a single gene seems to control vision in all animals. Could this be a matter of dumb luck? Physicist Steven Weinberg estimates life wouldn't even exist if, at the instant of creation, the energy unleashed in the Big Bang had varied by one part in 10 to the 120th power. Such odds lead ID advocates to suggest that the universe didn't get orderly by chance, but at the hand of a Designer."
"...This brings us back to the two threshold questions. Most people believe science unravels deep, eternal truths -- that it is "perfect." But the history of science teaches that today's cocksure theory is tomorrow's crackpot superstition. [To which I have alluded before, there is a never-ending Learning Curve in science.]
A century ago, physicists boasted of having solved all the major problems involved in studying the universe. The following year, their smugness collapsed when a patent clerk named Einstein published his paper on general relativity. "
I do disagree with the following statement:
"Today, evolutionary theorists find themselves at wits' end because the fossil record provides no evidence of any species ever turning into another."
Scientists do not suggest that one species "turns into another". A lizard egg, long ago did not hatch to reveal a bird. Evolutionary changes in the fossil record show very gradual changes, in most cases. There is evidence of small dinosaurs with feathers and early birds with teeth. There is evidence of reptiles with hair.
Sometimes it is difficult to tell where one species ends and the next (in the progression) begins, i.e., there are some sub-species that have features of two different related species, one older and one younger, i.e., it is a suggested transitional form. Within vertebrate fossils, there are skull and pelvic (and other) features that are characteristic of amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds. As stated before, there are fish with amphibian features, amphibians with reptile features, and reptiles with bird or mammal features.
There are plausible reasons for gaps in the fossil record. Some of the gaps are gradually being filled, some may never be completed filled because: 1) Conditions did not favor fossilization or preservation; 2) The rocks holding the transitional fossils may still lie hundreds or thousands of feet below the present ground surface; 3) The rocks holding the transitional fossils may have been completely weathered and eroded away; 4) The rocks holding the transitional fossils may have been totally altered by metamorphism or faulting; or 5) The transitional fossils may not have been found yet.
That there is a progession of fossils means something. There are some organisms, e.g., "horseshoe crabs" and inarticulate brachiopods that have changed very little in the last 500 million years or so, while others, such as Scleractinid corals have "appeared in the fossil record" in the Late Triassic Period (approx. 200 million years ago), with no apparent ancestors. The previous types of corals, the Rugose and Tabulate corals, had become extinct by the end of the Permian Period (approx. 245 million years ago). In other words, for approx. 45 million years or so, we have no fossil record of corals. As far as we know, the modern corals that build many of today's reefs descended from the early Scleractinids. Is this evidence of Intelligent Design?
There is also something called the "Cambrian Explosion", a blooming of metazoan (multicelled), hard-shelled organisms, from their "appearance" approx. 570 million years ago until approx. 530 million years. There are a few hard-shelled marine organisms from the "Pre-Cambrian" but they are fragile and rare. This includes the famous Burgess Shale fauna from British Columbia and other localities. Here is another Burgess Shale link. Steven Jay Gould's excellent book "Wonderful Life" gives a good description of the history of discovery, processing, and interpretation of what the Burgess Shale fossils are. Dr. Gould was an atheist, but my and your interpretations may be different as to "how" the fossils came to be and how they changed. That is what science is about.
What follows are several links with articles explaining more about the Cambrian Explosion.
Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5, Link 6, Link 7.
Some suggest that the rapidity of change during the Cambrian Period is the result of "evolution with a guiding hand", i.e., an Intelligent Designer.
Earth and life history are recorded in the rock record. We weren't "there" to see the processes (including evolution), we need imagination to decipher the "results". Laboratory work will only tell us so much.
Hay Chewed: I have stated my positions before, on August 7, August 6, May 12, and April 12.
We Don't Need a "Consensus Candidate" for the Supreme Court
Giving Charles Schumer or Ted Kennedy the right of first refusal, of a Supreme Court candidate, will result in more Kelo vs. New London-type court decisions. I believe that Sandra Day O'Connor voted against the Kelo decision, but on the other hand, I recall her having said something in favor of considering foreign law while making judgements. As long as the United Nations sees itself as the basis of a world government, we need to steer clear of judicial candidates that hint that they might consider foreign law in their decisions, as this would strengthen the UN.
Our children, as future adults, do not need more of the likes of Ginsberg or Kennedy (Anthony or Ted), Souter, etc., and their decisions. Democrats like to holler "What about the children?" when pushing for new government programs or regulations, without regard as to how "the children" are going to afford the taxes needed to pay for the programs, when they reach adulthood. We have to look decades down the road to try to foresee the worst-case results of activist decisions.
We, who have an understanding of the Constitution, need to invoke the "Precautionary Principle" when choosing the lifetime appointees. In this case, the Precautionary Principle might be stated: "If the candidate pleases Ted Kennedy, Charles Schumer, Barbara Boxer, et al, that is enough evidence to suggest that the candidate will be harmful to the Republic's legal health."
Thursday, September 29, 2005
A Couple of Interesting Tidbits This Morning...
The first, entitled "The Pub Owner" begins with:
"Frederick Ryan Jr. swears he was only thirsty for a pint of Guinness when, accompanied by his wife, Genny, and the couple's three daughters, he ducked into the Ronald Reagan Pub during a visit to Ballyporeen, Ireland.
By the time the president and chief operating officer of Allbritton Communications in Washington left the pub, he owned it."
While the Ryan family was visiting Ballyporeen, Ireland, a visit to the Ronald Reagan Pub found the place locked and in the process of being auction by the owners, John and Mary O'Farrell, in order to finance a larger home for their growing family.
After Frederick Ryan, Jr. (a former Reagan Administration aid) purchased of the pub, it was dissassembled and shipped to California, where it is being reassembled at the Reagan Library. There will be a ceremonial pouring of pints of Guinness Stout when the pub opens in the Reagan Library in October. I don't know if it means that average citizens will be able to toast President Reagan's with a Guinness or not, we will just have to wait and see. If so, I wonder if they might accept any of the fine American stouts? Would some American microbrewery consider brewing a "Gipper Stout"? Just wondering.
The second piece, entitled "Ponder This" should actually be called "An Army of One", and it begins with:
"This past weekend, tens of thousands of protesters against the war in Iraq - some chanting that President Bush was a liar, a criminal and a killer - marched through the streets of Washington past the White House.
Talk about raining on their parade.
Marching 50 yards ahead of the demonstrators - holding up a sign that read "Freedom is Not Free" - was Ryan Ponder, 25, a former sergeant in the 4th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army who until last year was fighting in Iraq.
"At one point, the anti-war protesters got so upset that he was marching ahead of them - and was the first person that onlookers saw - that they stopped the whole 150,000-person march so that he would get farther ahead of them," said one onlooker, a Capitol Hill staffer who asked not to be identified."
Sergeant Ponder certainly showed a great deal of courage in taunting that many rabid Moonbats. I think he deserves a medal for his efforts or at least someone buy him a beer and pat him on the back.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
No Cindy, You are the Warmonger!
According to the article: "He is a warmonger, and I'm not," Sheehan said after meeting with McCain. "I believe this war is not keeping America safer."
NO CINDY. You and your ilk are sending a message to the enemy that we are divided, thus giving them cause to continue the hostilities in Iraq, rather than seeing that their efforts are futile. And your unreasoned dissent (sedition by some opinions) may invite more attacks. In the eyes of the Islamist viewpoint, weakness invites attack (I believe Osama hisself said that). This mindset is not unique to Islamists, but it is human nature.
If not for 9/11, we would not be in Iraq. We are not there to punish Iraq specifically for 9/11, but to inflict damage on the terrorist infrastructure and support system. And to hopefully prevent future large attacks by showing unified "Terrible Resolve".
Now the outward appearances of the Terrible Resolve are being weakened by our sworn enemies and their useful idiots in our midst. Lasting peace can only be achieved through victory over the evil. No, we are not perfect, we have made mistakes, but we are not deliberately killing civilians by the thousands as Islamists have done and will do in the future.
We Have Been Down This Road Before...and Tens of Thousands Died
It didn't work then and it won't work now.
We can question the wisdom of trying to follow the French into Vietnam and we can question the wisdom of the political and military decisions during the war. But one overriding issue is the role that disunity played in making Vietnam into "Vietnam".
After the Vietnam War, North Vietnamese General Giap admitted that the Viet Cong/North Vietnamese considered giving up after they lost the Tet Offensive. But the voices of disunity (Jane Fonda, Ramsey Clark, Walter Cronkite, et al) gave them the hope that if they held out, they would prevail. Useful idiots offering Aid and Comfort. Go on the internet and do the research, but it is my understanding that if the war had ended in 1968, the U.S. death toll would have been about 10,000. But because the North Vietnamese were given aid and comfort, the war dragged on for several more years at the cost of thousands of American and Vietnamese lives.
The stakes are higher now. Those that gathered in Washington, DC last weekend were organized by people dedicated to the downfall of our homeland. If not for the War on Terror, they would still hate the US. It is just that they cannot stand the proactive self defense strategy employed by President Bush (flawed as it is) and the War in Iraq has galvanized them.
The "Peace"/Anti-war movement is costing more lives by giving the Islamist terrorist hope that we may give up. When Cindy Sheehan and others praise Islamist terrorists in Iraq, they are "pumping up" they very people that killed her son. Is she so stupid that she cannot see this?
If (or when) we suffer another large-scale attack in the United States, it will likely be because the Islamists believe that such an attack would trigger more internal discord. And it will likely be because the MSM made such a big deal of publicizing those that support the enemy during a time of war. Some of the philosophies of the Islamists and their supporters are similar to those of Nazi Germany. It is through these modern day Moonbats that Adolf Hitler's dream continues, with the desired destruction of Israel and the United States.
Just as I Suspected...
But because of a church men's group meeting and then class at the college, I missed it (I really didn't want to see it, as I have high blood pressure).
So Ben Johnson's analysis (on FrontPageMag.com) will provide some food for thought. It includes everything from multiple references to Hillary to the mis-representation and stereotyping of Conservative viewpoints, while using a longtime Jane Fonda cohort (Donald Sutherland) as the most prominent Republican.
I'm sure that the ladies on "The View" and "Oprah" will be in a semi-orgasmic state over this series.
If you are in the northeast Atlanta area, there is one good way to combat any depression over the upcoming Hillary-Hollywood orgy (are they going to rename it Hillarywood?). Our church has a monthly men's group called "2717" named after Proverbs 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another." It is usually on the last Tuesday or Thursday of the month and it provides dinner and a couple of hours of fellowship and support. If in the northeast Metro Atlanta area and interested, please let me know by way of a comment on this blog or by email.
Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves...
But I still wouldn't use the word "dynasty" until they win their second World Series.
I believe they would have won the 1991 World Series if Otis Nixon had not been on drug suspension. That series featured the American League with the home field advantage and the respective home teams won all of their games, i.e., the Twins won all of their home games (four) and the Braves won all of their home games (three). There were also four one-run games and if Otis had been in the lineup, I feel that the Braves might have won one of those one-run games at Minnesota.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Hurricanes and Global Warming
When two or more natural events happen at the "same time", we scientists call that correlation. Correlation, by itself, does not infer causation. It does not tell you whether the events are directly-related, indirectly-related, partially-related, or simply a matter of coincidence. And sometimes, the relationship between events may not be known until the subject has been studied for decades.
We have been told by multiple climate scientists that there are periods of increased hurricane activity and decreased hurricane activity. We have been in a period of increased hurricane activity since 1995, by some interpretations. And those same scientists say that we may be in this cycle for the next 10 to 20 years. The last period of increased hurricane activity was from the 1940s through the 1960s.
Some climatic issues, supported by evidence, to consider when making comparisons, during the 20th century;
- 1900 to 1940 (approximately) was a period of climatic warming.
- 1940 to 1970 (approximately) was a period of climatic cooling.
- 1970 to 2000 (approximately) was a period of climatic warming.
The bulk of the atmospheric carbon dioxide increase was after WWII (though the cooling continued until about 1970). And that increase has only been a few tens of parts per million.
If increased hurricane activity is related to global warming, why did the previous active cycle happen during a period of cooling? How many active cycles occurred during the Little Ice Age climatic event (approximately A.D. 1350 to 1850/1900)? How many active cycles occurred during the prior Dark Ages Cold Period climatic event?
The Earth's oceans store massive amounts of thermal energy, most of which is derived from solar energy. Ongoing variations of salinity and temperature, as well as the affects of rotation and horizontal winds (the Coriolis Effect and the Rossby Regime), result in oceanic circulations, such as the Thermohaline Circulation. The variations in these circulations result in shifting areas of increased and decreased oceanic temperatures (referred to as Oscillations, e.g., the Southern Pacific Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Arctic Oscillation). Some of these Oscillation cycles may take a decade or more to complete.
These varying areas of heating and cooling affect atmospheric circulations (vertical and horizontal), which in-turn affect things such as "steering currents" and Sea Surface Temperatures.
This is far too complicated for those "Stuck on Stupid", like Barbra Streisand, to understand. Simple minds prefer simple answers and when Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Al Gore said it, it must have been true.
When you have natural events taking place in those areas affected by "External Earth Processes", such as in the Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere, and the surface of the Lithosphere, often there are several components that contribute to that event.
In two different posts on September 21 here and here, I attempted to explain some of the complexities related to the growth and movement of hurricanes. I do not claim to understand all of it.
From the article: ..."But a single year's observation does not permit the divination of a long-term trend, or the attribution of that trend to a cause such as climatic warming.
"Based on recent research, the consensus view is that we don't expect global warming to make a difference to the frequency of hurricanes," explains Julian Heming, from the UK Meteorological Office.
"Activity is naturally very variable in terms of frequency, intensity and regional occurrence; in the Atlantic, there are active phases and not so active phases, and currently we're in the middle of an active phase.
"It's very dangerous to explain Rita or Katrina through global warming, because we have always had strong hurricanes in the USA - the strongest one on record dates back to 1935." "
The BBC article continues: "Records from the 20th Century suggest that hurricane formation over the Atlantic has changed phase every few decades: the 1940s and 50s were active, the 70s and 80s less so, while the currently active phase appears to have commenced in 1995."
..."The changing phases of Atlantic hurricane activity are not completely understood; but there appears to be a link to fluctuations in the thermohaline circulation, the global pattern of ocean currents which in western Europe appears as the Gulf Stream.
By causing the sea-surface temperature in the tropical Atlantic to change by even a degree Celsius, these fluctuations can bring major differences to the number of hurricanes generated in a particular year."
In summary, the causes of hurricane formation and movement are so complex, cycles of increased activity cannot be firmly attributed to minor changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Just to help keep things in persective (from 9/26), Neal Boortz had a link to this article about the 1900 Galveston hurricane. Here is another link about the same storm and a blog post from author Janice Thompson with some 1900 Galveston hurricane facts. She has written a novel about that particular storm. And here is the NOAA website story of the same storm.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
There Are Those That Shred Our National Fabric...
We know who the shredders are. They include those that rose to holler racism in the wake of a natural disaster. Names like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Charles Rangel, Howard Dean,... you know the usual suspects. Dr. Dean, where were you? Dr. Bill Frist was in New Orleans pitching in on a volunteer basis (and avoiding the spotlight). It is Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton ignoring the protocols established by dozens of former Presidents before them by openly criticizing President Bush and worse, doing so on foreign soil (and this ain't the first time). It is the ACLU and its ongoing campaign to expunge any public recognition of our Judeo-Christian heritage. It is the Cindy Sheehans, the Noam Chomsky's, the Ward Churchills, et al, who are so blind as to think that 9/11 was a singular, isolated event. It is the Frank Richs and the Paul Krugmans that waste their "vaunted positions" to write with a poisoned pen.
So in this time of President Bush dealing with a War on Terror that had some of its roots in the Carter Administration and the Clinton Administration (re: Able Danger) (and yes, the Reagan Administration had some responsibility) we don't need to be fighting among ourselves. When a President has to deal with two natural disasters within the same geographic area, we don't need the political whores turning their tricks at the expense of our nation's unity. Hurricanes are going to happen regardless of who sits in the White House. And why is it necessary for Jimmy Carter to now start saying that Al Gore won in 2000?
A recent FrontPageMag.com column by Rabbi Aryeh Spero, to which I had alluded a few days ago, is an uplifting, refreshing reminder of the goodness of the American people, those that "sprang" to the occasion in the aftermath of Katrina and will do so again after Rita.
A few words from the Rabbi's column: ..."As a Rabbi I have a message I wish to offer to my fellow members of the cloth, Reverends Jackson and Sharpton: It is time to do some soul searching. Your continued efforts to tear this country apart, even in light of the monumental goodness shown by your White brothers, is a sin.
There are no churches in the world like the American churches. And there are no better parishioners and members of churches anywhere in the world. These churches are saving the day. Their members -- infused by the special and singular teachings of our unique American Judeo-Christian understanding of the Bible -- are, at this moment, writing an historic chapter in giving, initiative, and selflessness. They are opening their homes to strangers. They are doing what government is incapable of doing."
and more from Rabbi Spero: ..."The New York Times has utterly failed America. Its columnists could have used their talents and word skills to inspire and unite a nation. Columnists such as Frank Rich and Paul Krugman, however, revealed their true colors by evading their once-in-a-lifetime chance to help and instead chose to divide, condemn, and fuel the fires and poison the waters of Louisiana. In them, I saw no Brotherhood. The newspaper always preaching “compassion” verifies Shakespeare’s “They protest too much.”"
[9/28 Update: On the American Spectator website, Ben Stein has a column also dedicated to helping reweave our national fabric, by putting down the Big Lies of the Leftists. Ben's words are not meant to cover up for foul-ups, but to counter the Yellow Journalism of the MSM & Leftist pundits in the wake of the damage to New Orleans.
From Ben's column: ..."Oh, and also by the way, the nation's churches and synagogues opened their hearts to the evacuees and the impoverished by Katrina. I did not see too many help centers run by the ACLU.
It is just plain evil to try to divide the nation -- especially in time of war -- with false cries of racism. The response to Katrina shows just the opposite of racism -- a loving, compassionate response to victims without regard to race. One expects Al Sharpton to cry racism. He would not have a job without that phony cause. But for the media, who should know better, to try to paint such a wicked, dishonest picture -- well, Goebbels would have been proud."]
Conservatives are not asking people to follow President Bush as a bunch of sheep. There is plenty for which to criticize the President, including our porous borders and unfettered spending of taxpayer money, but let's do it in a sensible, logical manner. And recognize the times when we should put the squabbling aside.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Centralized Planning vs. Battlefield Decisions
For years (decades?) those of the socialist bent have been trying to sell us on the benefits of centralized planning. It does sound good. And there are good reasons for a certain amount of planning, with built-in caveats to allow for the ever-present surprises.
But of course the trouble is that centralized planning requires a huge bureaucracy, where every level is afraid to take action out of fear of what the next level will say. The buck is passed upward in search of approval. In a bureaucracy, the process is paramount. And if you step outside the process, you better hope that your immediate superiors are brave enough and wise enough to stand up for you.
From Arnold Kling: ..."Disasters produce the unexpected. Communication channels disappear or become overloaded. Unanticipated problems and opportunities present themselves. On-the-spot improvisation is called for."
Improvisation means making battlefield decisions, where the results are the goal. Jabbar Gibson was improvising. He was figuring it out as he went along. He wasn't worried about what anyone else was going to say. He didn't get "Hung up on stupid." However, his improvisation was a small-scale improvisation. There needs to be a higher level of skill (and some local planning) to address higher levels of improvisation, i.e., "If those school bus drivers are not here by ___ PM, who else is capable of driving a school bus? And where do we find them?" The mayor is supposed to do that on the local level. FEMA cannot do this.
Natural disasters are by definition - disasters - filled with chaos, confusion, suffering, noise, trauma,... with a chorus of pundits sitting on the sidelines chanting "You are not doing it right!", myself included, though I am guided by a desire for scientific (and other) accuracy and keeping a sense of perspective. The disloyal opposition and their bedfellows seek to weaken the President, regardless of the damage done to the nation or to individuals.
If John Kerry or Al Gore were president, I would be stating the same opinions regarding the science issues as to the origins of hurricanes, the New Orleans situation, etc..
The Mississippi Delta Ain't What It Used To Be
In previous posts, I have alluded to some of the reasons that New Orleans and the delta are sinking. These include:
- Removal of ground water and runoff from New Orleans causes subsidence and compaction of the underlying sediments.
- Removal of oil, natural gas, and salt water from oil reservoirs are causing subsidence of those reservoir sediments, in other parts of the delta.
- Sediment loading (deposition of river delta sediments) causes the natural, ongoing subsidence of the Gulf of Mexico Basin itself.
- Our attempts at harnessing the river within levees and channels results in the "sediment starvation" of parts of the delta. Under normal conditions, when a river channel within a delta becomes clogged with sediments, during a subsequent storm, the swollen river breaches the natural levee system and establishes a new channel. The migration of these channels across the delta replenishes the delta system with fresh sand and silt.
- The storm surge from various hurricanes erodes the outer margins of the delta system.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Hurricane Primer...to be continued
Among the factors and conditions that "grow" and move hurricanes...
- Sea Surface Temperatures (SST's), elevated because of the latitude and enclosed nature of the Gulf of Mexico.
- The strength of the North Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation.
- The locations and relative strengths of various Low Pressure and High Pressure Systems and related steering currents.
- Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation conditions.
- El Niño - Southern Oscillation conditions in the Pacific Ocean.
- Atmospheric vertical wind shear conditions.
There are probably a few other factors that I haven't thought of or found yet in the online or textbook literature.
[Sean Hannity reports at 4:07 PM EDT that Hurricane Rita is a Cat 5. The Moonbats are probably cheering as it approaches the Texas coast. There will be more disruptions of Gulf oil production to accompany the 29 rigs damaged/destroyed (as to my understanding) by Katrina and also consider the refineries in Galveston, Beaumont, Houston, etc.. to add to the refinery system damage in Louisiana and other Gulf Coast by Katrina.]
I consistently tell my students that lawyers, politicians (and those associated) like to think that humans are in control of things, while those scientists that have worked outside the laboratory understand that we are on a "roller coaster ride" as to the natural world. It doesn't matter who is President as far as what the weather does. It is the human response that is governed by the President and those other pertinent elected officials, especially governors and mayors familiar with local and state conditions.
Hurricane History vs. Computer Models
Another type of sediment proxy are related to barrier islands. Under normal conditions, barrier island sands (as preserved in the geologic record) are "lens-shaped" with muddier, organic rich marsh sediments deposted "behind the barrier island". From this ScienCentral.com article, "Because of a barrier island's height, usually only hurricanes have the magnitude to drive the ocean over them, pushing sand from the seaside to the inshore side, where sand isn't normally seen. This creates a fan-shaped deposit called an overwash fan." After the hurricane-related erosion & deposition, the "overwash fan" deposits are covered by the marsh sediments. By comparing Carbon-14 age dates of organics in the marsh sediments and the overwash fan deposits, a storm landfall history can be constructed.
In the above-linked article, geologist Jeff Donnelly reconstructed a hurricane history for Brigantine, NJ. From the abstract of this article: ..."The ages of recent washovers are consistent with deposition during intense storms in 1938, 1944, 1950, and 1962. An additional overwash deposit recovered in five of the sediment cores was likely deposited by an intense hurricane strike in 1821 or possibly in 1788. Two prehistoric overwash fans were likely deposited by intense storms striking the New Jersey Coast in the 7th to 14th centuries and 6th to 7th centuries A.D.". The most intense hurricane to strike this portion of the Middle Atlantic states during recorded history was in 1821.
By weaving together other proxy data sources, e.g., historical records, Carbon 14 isotope dating of organics, Oxygen 18 isotope contents of sea shells (temperature-related), and other types...and conducting more investigation of possible overwash fans behind other barrier islands, we can put together a more complete database that offers evidence that periods of increased hurricane activity are periodic and not a new occurrence.
The Predictable Democratic Response...
Herman Cain explains the folly and the danger if the Republicans and RINOs give in to the Democrat demands that taxes be raised to pay for Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Cain reminds us of Hillary's mindset in this quote from a 2004 fundraiser in San Francisco; “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” Someone is going to have to incorporate that quote into some political ads if she runs for President.
From this column: ..."Of course, these slick-talking politicians are not economically illiterate – they are intentionally deceiving the public. They can not argue against the fact that tax rate cuts have benefited our entire country, so they are using the opportunity of a horrific natural disaster to push their dream of a socialized economy on America."
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
It Is Our Responsibility...
There are periodic cycles of increased hurricane activity and some scientists suggest that we have been in an "active cycle" since 1995 and it may last for a number of years. National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield suggests that it may last for the next 20 years. The last such period of similar activity lasted from the 1940s into the 1960s.
As long as President Bush is in office, MSM pundits & various Moonbats will find ways to blame him for each hurricane that produces significant damage. Or if there are "too many" in a given season. Anything to fit the "template". They will continue to insist that if the President had signed the Kyoto Treaty, the hurricanes wouldn't be as bad. Unburdened by any desire for "good science" and accuracy, they continue to throw off soundbytes and pat themselves on the backs, while perpetuating another "Big Lie", i.e., global warming is responsible for every unusual weather event.
I have been doing some reading about what "guides" hurricanes and influences their strength and the subject is very complex. Too complex for Al Gore, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, Cindy Sheehan, Barbra Streisand, you know, the ususal suspects. [Update: You can bet these same people are going to do the same in the case of Hurricane Rita. In fact, some are going to do a "blood dance" and blame the President for any heavy damage to his home state.]
Until I have the time to produce a readible post on this subject, here are some places to visit to do some reading. You need to be informed in case a relative makes a comment about "all the hurricanes and global warming" during Thanksgiving meals. You could hopefully "fill in the gaps in their thinking". You lead off by saying "Actually, I have been doing some research on this issue..." and then politely poke holes in their Democratic Talking Points.
In the mean time, Good Science Reading starts with...
Climate Science Blog
The Commons Blog
Tech Central Station
Lawrenceville Weather Blog
Monday, September 19, 2005
If Not For An Environmental Lawsuit or Two...
By way of The American Thinker, is a short summary of how a law was passed by Congress after 1965's Hurricane Betsy flooded New Orleans. The law was signed by President Johnson, but the project was halted in 1977 by environmental lawsuits over flawed environmental impact studies.
Now there are legitimate reasons for conducting Environmental Impact Studies, but demanding evermore detailed EISs in court may well have been a planned method of derailing the project by tying it up in paperwork and blowing the budget.
From the Human Events article:
..."The project would have built flood gates to block storm surges from moving into Lake Pontchartrain from the Gulf of Mexico, and also would have built additional levees in flood-prone areas. It had been drafted in the aftermath of Hurricane Betsy in 1964, and authorized as part of the Flood Control Act, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, five years before NEPA came into effect. [NEPA - National Environmental Protection Act, which created the EPA, EISs, and allowed environmental lawsuits against ACE projects.]
Johannes Westerink, a civil engineering professor at Notre Dame who specializes in hurricane storm surge prediction for the Corps, the Navy and a number of states, including Louisiana, believes the 1977 project would have stopped the mean water level in Lake Pontchartrain from rising. “If you had the gates there [from the canceled project], you would stop that water from being pushed into Lake Pontchartrain,” he said."
It wasn't the rainfall that overtopped Lake Pontchartrain, it was the hurricane wind-driven storm surge, coming from the northeast (remember the counter-clockwise circulation). Though I haven't checked the website yet, Save Our Wetlands (SOWL) has been cited by several writers as bragging about their efforts and successes at stopping or hindering the Corps of Engineers. The cited flood gates would probably have been closed only during hurricanes. The Human Events article also cites a 1996 Sierra Club lawsuit that stopped a proposed project addressing the Mississippi River levee system.This LA Times online article has some more details, as follows:
..."The project was stopped on Dec. 30, 1977, by U.S. District Judge Charles Schwartz Jr., who said the corps' environmental impact statement had failed to satisfy federal environmental laws.
Schwartz ruled that the region "would be irreparably harmed" if the barrier project was allowed to continue. He chastised the Army for its inadequate environmental impact statement, which was based in part on a single biologist who never submitted a written report."
So, perhaps if this single biologist had submitted a written report, might the project have been approved? We can't say for sure that the project would have held back a Cat 4 or 5 Katrina, but perhaps the damage would not have been as severe.
The 1965 estimated costs, adjusted for inflation would have been $500 million. The cleanup and repair costs of Katrina are estimated at $100 billion.
The environmentalists were concerned about the impacts on Lake Pontchartrain. But with the flood, all that nasty water is being pumped back into the lake (they don't have much of a choice). The gooey muck may have to be trucked to hazardous waste landfills inland.
Do they ever consider the Law of Unintended Consequences? Do you suppose some folks might have withheld judgement against President Bush until they had a little more evidence? Nah, it's so much easier to use the "template" and blame the President than it is to do some reading and learn more about the ever-spreading plume of blame. So don't hold your breath waiting for an apology to the President.
All of this would have happened, most likely, if it had been President Gore in his second term or President Kerry in his first. 'Cept I don't think that either of them would be accepting the responsibility the way President Bush has. They would probably find a way to blame Republicans in Congress.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Gleeful Media Damage
Bozell also relates recent-past disasters where President Clinton was not blamed for every glitch. There is an apparent reason for that, besides the de facto MSM/Democratic Party alliance. Bozell offers several natural occurrences where President Clinton was apparently quick to designate an area as a "disaster area" and then FEMA would begin handing out "free money".
From the column: ..."No one in the media really objects when FEMA gives out taxpayers' money out like free candy, either. Reporter James Bovard found that after the 1994 earthquake in Northridge, Calif., FEMA began mailing checks out to homeowners even before they'd claimed a dime's worth of damage. All it took to get an average grant of $3,450 was an address in the proper ZIP code. And $142 million in "fast-track assistance" went out to people whose homes required no inspection whatsoever to collect."
You have to wonder if President Bush is just taking the path of least resistance with the Gulf-related spending. That mass quantities of taxpayer money will be needed for rebuilding is accepted, as that has become the norm. And because the problem looms large enough that many are afraid to let the free-market system "do its thing". But we do have to ask about each new precedent, each new expectation.
It is well known that sometimes drug dealers will give out free samples (or perhaps offer "loss leaders") in order to generate future dependency. Is the government doing this? As the MSM continually blast out the Big Lie of sole Federal responsibility for New Orleans damage (or so it seems), the President and FEMA may feel forced to further assume the role of First Responders, which they cannot logically do.
But they will gleefully spend billions to try to give that appearance. And if Hillary or some other Dem is our next president, and FEMA is unable to serve as an adequate First Responder, you can bet the farm that Hillary/other Dem will not accept responsibility as President Bush has, rather they will blame it on budget cuts of the previous administration and the press will eat it up.
However, if the Lib/Leftists & MSM get their way with McCain-Feingold and the "Fairness Doctrine", will there be any blogosphere or talk radio to remind you of this?
JunkYardBlog has some info as the the "proper role" of FEMA and other aspects of the Federal government, especially in the last few paragraphs of JYB's post. Right Wing News also has more useful info and opinion on the role of FEMA vs. state and local government. Both of these posts relate to Michael Brown's New York Times interview and the Times' spin on his statements.
Michelle Malkin and Rick Moran of RightWing Nuthouse offer more analysis of FEMA breakdowns, further illustrating reasons why more Federal involvement provides no guarantee of success.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Katrina's Aftermath - Continued...
I bring this up as it is probably one of thousands of such stories that are being overlooked because it was not in New Orleans. The bulk of the problems in New Orleans was because of local and state screwups. And challenging nature by living below sea level.
Portions of Mississippi and Alabama were just blown away. If you feel "burned out" because of all the political sniping over New Orleans, especially if you live in the southern US, check in with some of your local churches and find out what they are doing. Those are your grassroots efforts, efforts that will be needed for months. There might be some evacuees in your city, find out what they need. The political shoes will continue to fall, revealing more local and state corruption (Hey, it is New Orleans). You can chill out a little by turning off the MSM and pitching in on a local level.
Just feeling a little sad and distracted... I wish I was close enough to give Midge a hug, if nothing else. There are other friends between here and there, in Montgomery, Mobile, etc., that hopefully can offer help.
Warming Up From the Last Ice Age
Townhall.com's C-log blog had this post that addressed a conference that suggested rather than trying to control (what might be natural) global warming, we should allow the free-market system to develop ways to deal with whatever might happen. Our ancestors had to survive periods of global warming and global cooling without advance notice. The first comment to this post summarized an interesting-sounding book, cited on C-Span and the Michael Savage show, ''Why Geography Matters..in Global Warming and Terrorism'', by Harm de Blij, a geographer.
I and many others have blogged about the science issues relating to Hurricane Katrina damage, particularly in New Orleans, and you have seen how the political whores/race baiters/MSM have repeated hijacked the discussions for their own political benefit.
Ultimately, we may locally influence and attempt to manage nature, but in the end, nature will probably overwhelm our flawed efforts. Whatever happens now and in the future has probably happened before. It may have been before written human history. It may have been before the Agricultural Revolution. It may have happened before the advent of modern humans (regardless of our origins).
Despite our efforts to study past climatic and geologic history, we will probably never know all of the causes of particular climatic events, whether Ice Ages or periods of global warming, producing global temperatures warmer than the present.
We just have a responsibility to have a better understanding of the science, so it is less easily trumped by the politics of the moment.
To Those Easily Offended by Anything Religious
Locally sponsored displays of the Ten Commandments do not represent an endorsement of Christianity, in fact, they are Jewish law, from the Hebrew Bible (known to us Gentiles as the Old Testament). It is a recognition of our cultural roots. We are a Judeo-Christian culture - get over it. The Ten Commandments and the words "one nation under God" are a part of our cultural foundation. That same Judeo-Christian culture is the one that nourished the modern concepts of freedom, responsibility, legal equality, voting for one's government representatives, etc..
When such efforts at removal of Ten Commandment postings, etc. succeed, they are actually harming the very culture that allows the existence of other religions and recognizes the natural right of the Freedom of Worship (and other Creator-granted freedoms). The reason for the references to the First Amendment "Establishment Clause" was not because our founders had a fear of religion, it was because of the history of European (and some individual American colonies) establishing or allowing a favored religion that was used as a political weapon against religious and other disfavored minorities. In other words, the idea was not to have a culture expunged of any public references to religion, it was to prevent a single sect from being endorsed and used as a political weapon by the government.
Churches & other religious sects in this country rise and fall because of cultural & human issues, i.e., the will of the people, not because of government influence. That is the way it should be.
Is Senator Feinstein an Idiot or a Bigot?
From Sprigg's column" ..."In Sen. Feinstein's prepared remarks, she concluded the story of the copper-covered shoes by saying, "These shoes represent a powerful symbol of man's inhumanity." In her spoken remarks, however, the senator summarized by saying, "These shoes represent a powerful symbol of how religion has been used in catastrophic ways historically.""
This statement raises the initial question. Is she an idiot or a bigot? Or is she an idiot that carries water for bigots?
You don't have to have a PhD in history to know that the German National Socialist philosophy was pagan-based, not Christian-based. Though their primary focus was on the persecution and killing of Jews (does that remind you of anyone these days?), they also did the same for devout Christians.
That same pagan philosophy finds its way into some modern-day White Supremacist "thought processes". A couple of years ago, while reading an internet piece on urban blight in Detroit, I followed some links and wound up at an Aryan Nations-style website, wherein some of their pronouncements were that the Gospels were nothing more than "Jewish inventions".
Our national culture is Judeo-Christian. Our government was designed to be secular, to prevent the rise of a "state religion" that might be used as a political weapon, as it was in Europe. But you cannot totally separate the Judeo-Christian culture, as that provides the moral framework for our laws and social practices. The type of moral framework that the Nazi culture totally-lacked, as did the other murderous socialist cultures of the 20th and sadly, the 21st centuries. [Data on Democide, death by government, is available on Dr. Rudy Rummel's Democratic Peace blog (they are having some alignment issues at the moment).]
The desire to display crosses, to display the Ten Commandments, to cite the current Pledge of Allegiance, to have public prayers, etc., are all related to our Judeo-Christian culture. They are not being done by the Federal Government. For the most part they are being done by individuals. Despite Senator Feinstein's slimy attempt to suggest a connection between Nazi Democide and American citizens' public expressions of faith, it isn't going to happen here. The United States is not going to become a Christian theocracy. Most Christians do not want it. But if we fail to maintain our cultural roots, those roots rot and we "go adrift" towards anarchy and tyranny.
In some respects, we are already adrift and the above-cited cultural practices are an attempt to "drop anchor" and regain some stability.
To those that are "offended" by religious displays, tolerance is a two-way street. If you want tolerance for your practices, you have to recognize and accept certain mainstream cultural realities. That is just a fact of human nature.
If you are within a group that wishes to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, in most cases, if you stand silently, no one should negatively react. If you choose to sit quietly, you should not be mistreated, though you may draw adverse attention to yourself. If you have remained quiet and respectful, while seated, if there are adverse reactions, that is not the American character, that is just human nature.
[Update: Jonah Goldberg has more of Sen. Feinstein's "reasoning" in her insistence on an "absolute" separation of church and state, except when religious posturing suits the needs of the Lib/Leftists.]
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
The Fair Tax Plan...
I found the Fair Tax Blog by way of Common Folk Using Common Sense.
Human-induced Global Warming?
But I have suggested other human influences that might contribute to global warming. A couple of these might fall under the heading of "Changes in Land Use Patterns", e.g., Large-scale Deforestation and the growth of Urban Heat Islands.
By way of WND this morning is this article from the UK News Telegraph explains the concerns that urban housing projects might be affecting the climate around large cities. The reasons for some of these densely-packed projects are provided in this May 30th post concerning the efforts by the UK government to "depopulate" rural and semi-rural areas, under various guises. There are efforts in this country also, termed "rewilding", i.e., returning rural and mountain areas to a wild state.
So which concern wins? The desire of the environmentalists to rewild rural areas or the climatologists' concerns of the growth of Urban Heat Islands?
But today on WND, his column is right on target as far as explaining the local setting for the cultural breakdown in New Orleans.
It was disturbing that the looting began the first day after the hurricane. Not the looting for food and other essentials, but the looting for jewelry, electronics, and other non-essentials. And the pronouncements that the looters "were getting even". The existence of businesses and the wealth of individuals do not cause poverty. Again, a lot of it comes back to the expectation that government is the answer to all problems. And while we fret and complain about FEMA, others want still more federal government. Even with farm subsidies, other people's money is like a drug and it should only be used for a short period of time.
Some of the thoughts from Pat's column:
"In his 1935 State of the Union Address, FDR spoke to a nation mired in the Depression, but still marinated in conservative values:
"[C]continued dependence" upon welfare, said FDR, "induces a spiritual disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole our relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit."
Behind FDR's statement was the conviction that, while the government must step in in an emergency, in normal times, men provide the food, clothing and shelter for their families."
Further into the same column:
..."Even if government dithered for days - what else is new - this does not explain the failure of the people themselves.
Between 1865 and 1940, the South - having lost a fourth of its best and bravest in battle, devastated by war, mired in poverty - was famous for the hardy self-reliance of her people, black and white."
..."Americans were once famous for taking the initiative, for having young leaders rise up to take command in a crisis. See any of that at the Superdome? Sri Lankans and Indonesians, far poorer than we, did not behave like this in a tsunami that took 400 times as many lives as Katrina has thus far."
You should all know the name of Jabbor (or Jabbar) Gibson by now. He was the 18-year old that took the initiative, made a "battlefield decision" and stole a school bus. He didn't do it for his own benefit, he did it to "save his people". If we are being told the entire story, Jabbor should not be prosecuted by New Orleans, scolded, yes, but not prosecuted. Here is a transcript the Channel 5 Houston TV followed by a Free Republic thread.
Buchanan's column ends with:
..."FDR was right. A "spiritual disintegration" has overtaken us. Government-as-first provider, the big idea of the Great Society, has proven to be "a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit."
Either we get off this narcotic, or it kills us."
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
A spokeswoman for Penn said he picked it up from the boat he was in. Maybe, maybe not. Let's see, if other relief workers were carrying weapons, there would be an outcry. In that situation, unless you are a local citizen protecting your family/property/business or unless you are law enforcement, you are taking a very big risk.
I don't recall Sean Penn standing up for the Second Amendment, yet according to the WND article, he does have a history with guns:
"During his 1985 wedding ceremony to Madonna, he allegedly fired a gun at paparazzi who were trying to photograph the event from a helicopter.
In 2003, Penn came under fire when it became public he had obtained a permit for concealed weapons due to threats from a disgruntled worker, and that two of the guns were stolen along with his car."
Of course he has the right to defend himself, but is that what this was about? If he had to use that shotgun to defend himself while doing rescue work, there would be a lot of "sticky" legal questions afterward, since he is not a New Orleans resident. It would be the same for any other non-law enforcement personnel.
Anyway, it is currently an area of about 100 sq. miles that has undergone some uplift from an apparent magma chamber about 4,500 feet below the surface. It is located near the Three Sisters volcanoes, part of the Cascade Mountains, which extend from Northern California into Southern British Columbia. There are 13 potentially active volcanoes in this chain.
A Big Hat Tip to Pam at Blogmeister USA. Geologists love this kind of stuff.
In the "lower 48" a few other areas susceptible to volcanic eruptions include:
- The Yellowstone National Park area.
- The Mammoth Lakes, California area.
- The Rio Grande Rift, from El Paso northward into southern Colorado. The flows near Carrizozo, New Mexico are estimated to be 800 to 2,000 years old. I believe there are some other 2,000 year old flows associated with Mt. Taylor in New Mexico. There is thought to be a magma body about 10 miles below Socorro, NM.
- The Flagstaff, AZ area (Sunset Crater is only 900 years old).
Monday, September 12, 2005
What Does a Quiet 9/11/05 Mean?
Are we keeping them at bay, disrupting their plans?
Or, are they just waiting until the right moment, while we are squabbling over the response to a natural event, e.g., a hurricane?
If or when something big happens, you will see less of the unity that followed 9/11, at least from the "usual suspects", i.e., the political whores. They will be out with their long knives blaming the President and/or Israel before we even know who was responsible. Michael Moore will do a "blood dance" and start planning his next movie. Ted Kennedy will step on whoever gets in the way of the nearest camera (Yes, he will probably even step on Chuck Schumer). You can bet that some of them will not even bother to blame Islamists, rather they will again say "we brought it on ourselves."
The More Mayor Nagin Talks...
I didn't watch any of the Sunday TV talk shows, but World Net Daily has some excerpts from Mayor Nagin's appearance with Tim Russert. Taking a quote from the closing paragraph of the WND article, to establish the mindset, Mayor Nagin said: "My biggest mistake is having a fundamental assumption that in the state of Louisiana, with an $18 billion budget, in the country of the United States that can move whole fleets of aircraft carriers across the globe in 24 hours, that my fundamental assumption was get as many people to safety as possible, and that the cavalry would be coming within two to three days, and they didn't come."
["...that can move whole fleets of aircraft carriers across the globe in 24 hours,..." Do I need to analyze this phrase, except to ask what is the Mayor smoking these days? Does he think that the U.S. Navy has found a wormhole by which they can move entire fleets to the opposite side of the globe in 24 hours?]
An earlier comment: "The planning was always in getting people to higher ground, getting them to safety. That's what we meant by evacuation. Get them out of their homes, which – most people are under sea level. Get them to a higher ground and then depending upon our state and federal officials to move them out of harm's way after the storm has hit. "
[Mr. Mayor, there ain't much "higher ground" in New Orleans. ..."and then depending upon our state and federal officials to move them out of harm's way after the storm has hit." Here again, he is admitting that he expects someone else to do the job of evacuating the citizens. How long would it take to assemble a fleet of buses elsewhere and send them to New Orleans versus using local school and municipal buses? And what is the point of evacuating people after the hurricane? The envisioned worst-case scenario was that the levee would break during the storm, not after as it did.
As for the neighboring parishes blocking escape routes, that is up to the Governor to deal with. She could have overruled those decisions. And she could have told Mayor Nagin where to send his fleet of school buses leaving New Orleans.]
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Another Critique of Media Coverage of Katrina
"There is a fetid stink in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and it’s not coming just from the fouled waters flooding New Orleans. It also wafts from the putrid reporting of the disaster by the mainstream media.
From the moment Katrina made landfall the media focused on anything that could redound to the detriment of President Bush or inflame race and class tensions. Reporters and commentators ignored the dismal performance of New Orleans’ Democratic mayor and Louisiana’s Democratic governor, blaming every problem that arose on the Bush administration. Racial demagogues accused Bush and his administration of reacting slowly because most of the victims were black. Environmental activists said Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Treaty caused Katrina’s severity. Democratic operatives said the administration’s decision to cut funding for a long-term study of flood control caused the levees to breach.
All of this is stuff and nonsense. The tragedy is that the media know it too, but they still printed it.
The media know that the first response to natural disasters is always from the local and state governments. They’ve covered enough hurricanes to understand that...."
It seems that this is not getting traction with the mainstream culture, but enough people believe it that it generates tiresome Moonbat letters to the editors at various newspapers.
Also on Marathon Pundit, by way of Brainster, is this linked article from American Thinker dispelling some more of the "numbers myths" associated with Katrina.
Where Do These Moonbat Thoughts Come From?
One letter ends: ..."There must be a plan for tragedies of this magnitude, and only the federal government has the power and money to formulate it."
[Right, more and better bureaucracy. Why is it so hard to understand our Founders' desire for Separation of Powers? The U.S. Constitution was written to control the Federal government. Our Founders knew the danger of an out-of-control, corrupt leader, as was the case with King George III.
Why is it so hard to understand that local conditions are best addressed by local entities and officials?]
Another one equates making tax cuts permanent with the disaster in New Orleans. When our economy takes a hit, you need to give it some more fuel to keep it running well. That fuel is the money earned by the citizens. Let them keep more of it and they will spend it. Allowing American citizens to keep more of the money they have earned has nothing to do with a city that was largely below sea level and with the screw-ups of local government. Those are addressed in plenty of previous posts.
I apologize if I occasionally break into profanity. The older I get, the less patience I have with idiots (and yes, occasionally I am an idiot too).
What Are Your 9/11 Memories?
Here are a few of my 9/11 memories, not that I'm important, but from time to time we all should revisit our 9/11 memories. Radical Islamic terrorists had declared war on the West years before 9/11, but the 1993 WTC attack was not enough for us to realize the scope of the conflict. If the 1993 attack had been successful, the death toll could have been 30,000 rather than 3,000.
There is blame to go around throughout previous administrations, including the Carter Administration for turning its back on the Shah of Iran. The overthrow of the Shah's government allowed the strengthening of the Islamist/Stalinist mindset in Iran. The Reagan Administration failed to take action following the attack on the U.S. Marine compound in Beirut.
You have heard the laundry list of "little attacks" against the United States and U.S. interests overseas. We kept ignoring them.
I was teaching a class when the attacks began, probably conducting a Power Point presentation on a large computer projection screen. After class, I went to the computer lab to work on my college website. I usually checked Neal Boortz's website for news and he provided an update that a plane had hit one of the WTC towers, weird, but possibly an accident. A few minutes later another update was added for the second plane impact and the words (paraphrased) "We are under attack." I couldn't get into the MSN or CNN websites, so I left the lab and headed to a commons area where a couple of TVs were surrounded by students and faculty, with no one speaking, just watching. After a while, I decided to go to a nearby Mexican restaurant, as they had several TVs and salsa has a calming effect (endorphines!).
While in line at the restaurant, I overheard a conversation where a woman referred to a cellphone call from a nephew (or it may have been relating about a phone call to a friend from the friend's nephew, I wasn't quite sure).
The nephew was calling from an office in one of the WTC towers, above one of the crashed planes. Above the flames. Was he one of the ones that later jumped or fell? Or did he die along with the hundreds of others when that tower fell?
What a haunting memory that must be for that lady. Does she remember her nephew as a "little Eichmann", to use Ward Churchill's words?
Another memory was the fluttering of thousands of sheets of office paper after the tower collapses. The memos, reports, the plans, the thoughts, and work of thousands of fellow citizens, many of whom had probably never heard of al Qaida, reduced to distracting litter.
I recall a shot from New Jersey, after the towers fell, with the Statue of Liberty in the foreground. I recall thinking "At least Lady Liberty still stands." I recall thinking "what's next?".
On that day, if someone had told you that there wouldn't be any more attacks for at least the next 4 years, would you have believed them? Ultimately, we won't know for years why there haven't been anymore. Are we keeping them offguard with our efforts? Or are they just waiting and planning more? It will take years to know.
We need to pray that the squabbling over Hurricane Katrina will not make us more likely to be attacked again. Forgive the lame analogies but 9/11 was not a "one act play" and al Qaida is not a "one trick pony", nor are they "lone wolves".
We are in Iraq to try to prevent future 9/11-style attacks. We need to show unity, especially if something else happens on our soil.
[There will be links to more articulate writers throughout the day.]
Here is David Horowitz (from Friday).
Saturday, September 10, 2005
A Typical Saturday at the AJC - Moonbat #2
"Congratulations, monied America: You wanted your gated communities to keep out the poor, to protect yourselves from crime, to separate yourselves from undersiables. You too the high roads and built your gated communities on them so you would stay dry and clean while the storm-waters of filth and despair flooded their neighborhoods.
You did it. You kept out the poor, you concentrated the crime in the poor neighborhoods, effectively ensuring those neighborhoods would remain poor and broken. You separated yourselves from the undesirables.
And then you left them, to die in attics and on rooftops and in the streets and in the disgusting halls of commerce and sports. The richest nation in the world is the most destitute when it comes to true moral goodness. God could not bless this America at all."
You sanctimonious twit! Who appointed you as God's personal spokesman?
Instead of hating American citizens that have played by the rules and succeeded, why don't you ask them for their continuing support? Instead of hating them, you could thank them for the money that many of them have already given. Americans of all incomes levels are pitching in to help. There are numerous reasons for the squalor of parts of New Orleans and many of them relate to decades of the liberal control of the city and the state. The decades of "nanny state" programs throwing billions of dollars at poor people have done little to lift them up. They need to learn the tough love of self-sufficiency, of self-reliance.
[I apologize for my now-deleted foul language (My bad). Instead, if I were speaking to the writer, I would refer her to Romans 14: 10-12 - "You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgement seat. It is written 'As surely as I live' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God."]
People that live in gated communities have earned those homes. If they can afford the prices, then they have the priviledge of living there, if they please. Do you want a socialist government where everyone lives in equal poverty in cracker-box apartments? What is wrong with their trying to protect themselves from crime?
These people earned their wealth in the free market system. If you want to live in a socialist paradise, go to Cuba or Sweden or North Korea.
Hey, get a clue! I am middle class and I can't just drive in there either! And I am not hollering about it. I am more interested in how they did it, so that I might earn a small portion of that sort of wealth. Their wealth does not cause poverty. Money flows towards creativity, hard work, and good choices. Their wealth creates jobs and tax revenues. Their donations helps fund museums and the arts. Their donations fund medical-related charities and the Red Cross. Their wealth helps start new businesses.
[Update: Neal Boortz ranted about this same letter on Monday, Sept. 12. Great minds think alike. Heh.]
Bottom Line...Legally acquired wealth does not cause the poverty of others!
Where is Hurricane Ophelia Going?
Ocean currents, including the Gulf Stream, are driven by persistent wind currents. The atmospheric vertical and horizontal wind currents, influenced by the Earth's rotation, combine to produce the Coriolis Effect, whereby Northern Hemisphere oceanic currents rotate in a clockwise manner. This is probably why Hurricane Ophelia took a "right turn" and started north along the Florida Coast.
Meanwhile, the Southeastern US is under a High Pressure System, with a clockwise circulation that may be preventing the northward movement of the hurricane. Changes in the relative strength of these systems may turn the hurricane landward towards the South Carolina and/or North Carolina coastline.
This "Wordforge" article "fisks/reviews" a Knight Ridder (KR) article published last year on hurricanes and it seems to be filling in some blanks with science info. It is not a complete fisking as some of the Wordforge comments clarify the KR article comments. [Where the Wordforge comments somewhat agree with the KR comments, the KR comments only will be presented.]
How do hurricanes "know" where to go? One cause is "steering currents", which are mentioned in the KR article, but apparently not in context according to the review. From the Wordforge review: ..."There are no major, long-term changes in steering patterns. They are in constant fluctuation. Hurricanes are largely steered by areas of high pressure [ridges] and low pressure troughs. "Atmospheric steering currents" as presented in this article have little to do with it."
If you have ever noticed a weather map with "isobars" showing contour lines of barometric pressure, areas of high pressure are often shown as "ridges", while areas of low pressure are often shown as "troughs". A few days ago, I gave a brief post on the characteristics of high and low pressure systems.
From the KR article: ..."Research he later conducted with NOAA scientist Chris Landsea, private expert William Gray and others found distinct patterns of low-activity hurricane periods and high-activity periods, each of which endured for decades. These patterns, unrelated to the current concern over global warming, are caused by regular cycles of oceanic and atmospheric phenomena, such as unusually warm water in hurricane breeding grounds."
The Wordforge review follows: ..."Increases in water temperature will breed stronger storms, but part of that is also dependent upon El Nino and La Nina, which are not related to "global warming". Right now, there is colder-than-normal water off the northern South America coast and warmer-than-normal water in the north Atlantic. That set-up also sets up very favorable atmospheric conditions for hurricane development."
From the KR article: ...One period of ``hyperactivity'' ended in 1970 and was followed by a 24-year lull. The new period of heightened activity began in 1995 and could last for another 10 to 30 years, according to their report, which was peer-reviewed and published in 2001 in the prestigious journal Science. "
From the KR article: ..."Worse, atmospheric steering currents have changed to our disadvantage. During the beginning of this active period, a persistent and beneficial bend in the jetstream carried hurricanes away from Florida. Now, that phenomenon had disappeared, replaced by a persistent ridge of high pressure over the Atlantic that is pushing them toward Florida. "
From the Wordforge review: ..."There is no "bend" in the jetsream as it also is a feature that is in constant change. The position of the jetstream does determine the position of highs and lows that steer hurricanes, but to assume that there is some sort of a permanent jetstream feature that has suddenly broken down that is allowing more storms to hit Florida is just plain wrong. There may be a sharp bend of the jetstream for one storm that would bring a storm up the East Coast but a few weeks later, the jetstream may flatten out to a more zonal flow that would drive a storm into the Gulf. It's on a case-by-case basis."
The Wordforge review contains this link to Atlantic Hurricane pathways since 1851. Here are a few random years. 1851, I don't know if the data are scarce or what is a quiet year? 1886, when Texas was hit by four hurricanes. 1887, for the sake of comparison. 1900, when the Galveston Hurricane killed 6,000 to 12,000 people. 1944, for the sake of comparison. 1965, when Hurricane Betsy hit New Orleans. 1969, when Hurricane Camille ravaged the MS Gulf Coast and then later parts of VA/WV.
Steve Lyons at the Weather Channel explains some of the info about "steering currents" in response to a USA Today query.
More info will be prevented later to keep this from becoming too long.
A Typical Saturday at the AJC - Moonbat #1
There are two Moonbat letters of note:
The first one is entitled: "Easily Accessible Guns Led to Chaos" - in its illogical entirity:
"There is no better argument for gun control than the disaster in New Orleans. Gunfire and the threat of it delayed relief. State and federal governments had to protect relief workers and law-abiding victims.
I agree with one of the gun lobby's arguments: It's past time that existing gun laws be fully enforced. Beyond this, the gun supporters and I part company. They argue that gun control wouldn't prevent career criminals from getting guns but would prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves.
But career criminals don't draw attention to themselves. They don't shoot at ambulances, firetrucks, and helicopters. The foolish, irresponsible and contemptible do. If they had less access to guns they would not be as dangerous and there would be less need for the law-abiding to arm themselves.
Hurricane victims could have been helped sooner, their suffering lessened and their lives saved if the human scum in their midst hadn't been armed."
[The chaos in New Orleans had nothing to do with the God-given right of law-abiding citizens to defend their homes and lives. Because of the flooding in New Orleans, career criminals were "free" to shoot at anything they damned well pleased. What is the about "easy access to guns"? They steal guns or they buy stolen guns from other criminals. All of the gun control laws that you or Hillary Clinton can envision cannot stop these criminals. If the police had started shooting back earlier, this would likely have stopped sooner. This is the end result of the anarchy that was praised by Harry Connick, Jr., Celine Dion, the usual gang of idiots. It is the end result of the liberal-enabled cultural rot that has festered in New Orleans for years.]
Bottom Line...The criminal mentality of those that stayed behind (or were left behind - Re: the flooded school buses) was behind those shooting at police, contractors, helicopters, etc.. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR GOD-GIVEN RIGHT OF SELF DEFENSE!
Friday, September 09, 2005
OK, through clenched teeth, everyone say "OMG, has it really been 27 years?" 'Fraid so.
I commented on that blog that when the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death arrives soon (if there hasn't been some sort of major terrorist attack), someone is probably going to do a remake of that insipid socialist anthem "Imagine" protesting the War in Iraq, the Bush failure to support Kyoto, etc.. I predict Elton John, perhaps Paul McCartney, Yoko, et al, (the usual suspects).
If it happens, remember you saw it here first! Heh.
And State-Level Bureaucratic Blunders
Now who is being insensitive here? The Bush Administration or the Louisiana officials that blocked the Red Cross and the Salvation Army?
This goes along with the FEMA screwups, among which include the volunteer firefighters stranded in Atlanta doing paperwork, rather than being deployed to New Orleans, for which they volunteered.
We are seeing many of the downsides of too-much reliance on government.
(Sorry, after a busy day yesterday at the college, I have pool cover duty to do today.)
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Now It Appears That ebay Is Becoming A Nesting Place for Moonbats
I was not aware that ebay had a comments forum, but apparently the Moonbats are.
If there are Conservative blogs/websites where the President/FEMA are exempted from criticism, they are few and far between. Most sensible people realize that there is blame to spread about. By refocusing criticism "downward" to the state and city level, we are trying to analyze this honestly. It is not driven by hatred. If you want to see hatred, go look at Democratic Underground threads. It is not just hatred of the President, it is hatred of those that voted for and those that support the President. In some cases it is hatred of our very culture and ideals, perhaps it is because as humans we cannot "do perfect".
Instead of being thankful for what we have, they are angry because we don't have the Utopia that Socialism promises. They somehow believe that Socialism could deliver everything to the flood zone 24 hours after the rain stops.
The Gathering Evidence of Local Failures
The Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal has this article explaining more of the "Hows and Whys". From this article comes this comparison of the actions of Governor Blanco versus the actions of other governors during emergencies:
...In addition, unlike the governors of New York, Oklahoma and California in past disasters, Gov. Blanco failed to take charge of the situation and ensure that the state emergency operation facility was in constant contact with Mayor Nagin and FEMA. It is likely that thousands of people died because of the failure of Gov. Blanco to implement the state plan, which mentions the possible need to evacuate up to one million people. The plan clearly gives the governor the authority for declaring an emergency, sending in state resources to the disaster area and requesting necessary federal assistance.
And reminders from following paragraphs:
- ...It must be made clear that the governor and locally elected officials are in charge of the "first response."
- ...The federal government's role is to offer aid upon request.
- ...More importantly, the hurricane season is still upon us, and local and state officials must stay focused on the jobs for which they were elected--and not on the deadly game of passing the emergency buck.
Posted 9/3: The more I read of JunkYardBlog's recent posts, the more infuriating it is that local officials have the gall to holler at President Bush and FEMA. Again, they are not blameless, but local officials are supposed to know the local conditions best.
I had forgotten about the near-miss of Hurricane Ivan last year. That 2004 evacuation followed by the near-miss may have contributed to the choices of some of the now-trapped to stay and ride it out this time. It should have given local officials more time to work up evacuation plans.
Instapundit has some more info about the "run-up" to the storm hitting New Orleans.
As long as the Lib/Leftists are going to lie about President Bush's "fault", we need to keep ragging the local and state officials for their evidenced screw-ups and missed warnings.
Lew Rockwell, Jr., of the Libertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute, has some thoughts and suggestions about the repeated failings of all levels of government. I don't completely agree with him on some of these issues. He seems to suggest that across-the-board, government agencies, including the Corps of Engineers, do not have an incentive, "no real stake in the outcome...", thus "nothing works" as it should. I know that big government is a constant threat to liberty, but engineers are quasi-scientists (my term) and they like to see things work properly. But they get overwhelmed by the shear size of the project and the red tape necessary to get anything done.
And here is a link to National Geographic, which ran an article last October about this worst-case scenario. Their scenario unfolds pretty much as it did when Katrina arrived. The estimated death toll from the flooding and disease was 50,000. We will have to wait and see if it is that bad.