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>

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Angry "Liberal"...

Is the subject of Michelle Malkin's Townhall.com column today.

For the last few years we have been treated to the MSM image of the "angry white male" (didn't that come up after the 1994 Congressional elections?). I am sure more than a few of us Conservatives wanted to stand up and holler back "We ain't angry, we are just concerned and we are taking action.".

I am sure that many of you have briefly visited Democratic Underground or other Lib/Leftist websites/blogs, just to get a look at the "compassion" of the Modern Liberal. Michelle Malkin does a good job of highlighting some of the lowlights of this mindset. Why are Janeane Garofalo, Al Franken, and Bill Maher so angry? It is because they have taken themselves too seriously when the public is going the other way?

Rush Limbaugh has said that for satire to be funny, there has to be an element of truth in it.

Richard Pryor, in his prime and before the drugs got too bad, seemed to know "where the edge was", that place were there was some nervous laughter, then he would back away a little, so as not to lose his white audience. So he could surgically poke fun at those things so deserving. He was successful because his black audience knew he was right and enough of his white audience knew he was, too.

Bill Maher once seemed to be able to do that. So did Al Franken, so did Janeane, at times. But they have gone so far past the edge, they can't find their way back.
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Using Wisely That Power of Choice

God gives us free will, free choices. If not for that free will, our faith, our prayers, our good works, our good choices - would only be the deeds of a puppet.

Today Ben Shapiro, on Townhall.com, visits the issue of the "prochoice philosophy" and the "rationales" offered by those that offer abortions and those that have abortions. Some of his info comes from an LA Times article, though he doesn't specifically reference that article. But through the blog After Abortion, I did find the LA Times article.

After reading the article, there is sadness. How far can denial carry these people? How often do the "providers" really ask "Are you sure you want to do this?" "Have you considered how you may feel in twenty years?" Is the money that important to not ask these questions when a woman is on the threshold of a permanent life-changing decision? What is wrong with a 24 hour waiting period, even if it is not required by law?

From the LA Times article:

..."Amanda, a 20-year-old administrative assistant, says it's not the obstacles that surprise her - it's how normal and unashamed she feels as she prepares to end her first pregnancy.

"It's an everyday occurrence," she says as she waits for her 2:30 p.m. abortion. "It's not like this is a rare thing."

Amanda hasn't told her ex-boyfriend that she's 15 weeks pregnant with his child. She hasn't told her parents, either, though she lives with them.

"I figured it was my responsibility," she says.

She regrets having to pay $750 for the abortion, but Amanda says she does not doubt her decision. "It's not like it's illegal. It's not like I'm doing anything wrong," she says. [Here are the fruits of the Sexual Revolution, freedom without responsibility, conscience deferred until a later date.]

"I've been praying a lot and that's been a real source of strength for me. I really believe God has a plan for us all. I have a choice, and that's part of my plan."" (Emphasis added).

You know, it is almost impossible to explain to kids in their late teens/early 20s how different their outlooks are going to be 20 or 30 years into the future.

To avoid pregnancy is the "ounce of prevention" to avoid the possibly difficult choices. To avoid abortion is also "the ounce of prevention" to avoid what might be a lifetime of regret.

I am not here to moralize from a lofty perch. I am not in favor of banning all abortions. It is difficult to articulate, but I think that abortions should remain an option, but they should be the option of last resort, not a nonchalant first choice. I am not here to condemn a woman for choosing an abortion during a time when she felt abandoned and desperate. But if she later tells you to "think it over", listen to her.

Having a better social network or social support system (through a church family) might be a way for lonely people to avoid the "need" of indiscriminate, casual sex. I mean, if the person doesn't love you or doesn't even know you well enough to like you, why bother? Is there really any emotional benefit to a one-night stand? Isn't it better to wait until there is at least some sort of long-term emotional connection?

Having two adopted kids and knowing a number of other couples that either adopted or spent years struggling (through fertility treatments and/or miscarriages) before having one or two kids (or finally adopting), it is just regretful that some would throw away the lives that would be treasured by others.
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Placing Blame Where it is Due

Usually when ABC's Good Morning America is on, it is because the TV remained on after the local affiliate's morning show ended at 7 AM EST, it is not part of my morning routine.

This morning they had a short piece on Parental Consent Laws and on the "anti" side they trotted out a man who blamed his 17 year-old daughter's death on Indiana's Parental Consent Law. He blamed the law for causing her to go to for an illegal abortion, which caused an infection. The untreated infection led to her death. They didn't make any mention of the girl's mother.

I know it is difficult to lose a child, especially when one is on the cusp of adulthood, but this man is pointing the finger in the wrong direction. I'm sure that at some point he had to ask himself "Why didn't she come to me?" If he created an atmosphere where his daughter was afraid of him, that is his responsibility. He has to deal with it. Prayer and counseling are the best answers. Blaming others will not solve anything. He should be counseling other parents on keeping the lines of communication open, that way he might help save others.

Our daughter is now 19 and during her earlier years, we tried to convey to her that getting pregnant before marriage (during the early/mid teenage years) was obviously not a good thing, but it was not "the end of the world". We firmly reminded her that we "were here" for her and that approaching us first, while it would be uncomfortable, was the best choice. Because she is adopted, we reminded her of the choice that her birth mother made at age 15.

In most families, when the teenaged daughter comes home pregnant, there is likely to be a certain amount of yelling and crying for a few days, then things will settle down while the family decides what to do. If the parent(s) & daughter decide on an abortion, then so be it. That is their responsibility, their decision. Aside from it needing to be the family's decision, even with legal abortions in hospitals, there can be complications. It is major surgery and the family needs to know! So if there are complications, they can be dealt with. Let's see, some (many?) states have parental consent laws for tattoos and piercings and Lib/Leftists don't seem to have a problem with that. Do we see some inconsistency here?

Married fathers are usually not the ones that abuse their daughters, it is usually the unmarried/divorced Mom's boyfriend or the girl's stepfather that commit the abuse. And Mom should already know if this is likely, then she should take steps to "head off" any confrontations, including reminding the daughter that getting pregnant before marriage is really not a good idea.

There are safety rules built in to the Parental Notification Laws if the girl is in an abusive situation. There are always exceptions. But in the vast majority of cases, these decisions should be made within the family, not by strangers sticking their noses into the situation in order to further a political agenda.

This is another reason to be part of a "church family" from the time that a family's children are young, so the kids are part of a social support system. So the family knows the calming influence of prayer and fellowship. So the teenagers will know someone else with whom to talk.

Most ministers are not Elmer Gantry. This is America and except perhaps in isolated Muslim enclaves, "honor killings" are not part of our culture. Individual congregations are made up of humans, with human flaws. If there is too much hostility in a given congregation towards a pregnant teenager, find another. Being shunned, while painful, is not the end of the world. It is humans shunning you, not God. If you sincerely ask forgiveness, it will be given. It ain't nothing that God hasn't seen before. Forgiveness doesn't mean the road will immediately get easier, but perhaps you may see more of the "bigger picture".

Most abortions occur because a baby would be an inconvenience. Is that a good reason to snuff out a life? An unexpected grandchild may be inconvenient and difficult, but it should be the family's decision. As a parent, do you want what might be your first grandchild to be taken from you by the action's of a stranger, when you might well have been able to accommodate that child?
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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Senator Lieberman's WSJ Article...

Pretty well articulates the successes in Iraq and why we shouldn't "cut and run".

There will be a time to leave, but it can't be an artificial date on a calendar, that would just encourage the terrorists to "wait us out".

On September 20, 2001, President Bush told us that this would take a while.

Pam at Blogmeister USA has a more detailed post related to this subject. [Sorry, I have to get ready for another class.]
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While We Continue to Sleep

Many more eloquent than myself have reminded us of the intent of the Wahhabi-sect of Islam towards Westerners. It is to convert, subdue, or kill all. Beyond that, they have no rules. We know this.

Aside from the Political Correctness that is trying to ban piggy banks in England or aspects of our Judeo-Christian culture here (because it might offend Muslims), this article by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross reminds us of the assaults on free speech, being carried out in the name of jihad.

Many of us remember the fatwa against Salman Rushdie and his apparent success (thus far) at avoiding the desired fatwa goal. The article reminds us of the high price paid by those that worked with Rushdie, in one fashion or another:

...While the public has not forgotten the Rushdie fatwa, our collective memory of the incident's seriousness has faded. In fact, a number of physical attacks connected with the fatwa occurred in the West. The Wikipedia entry on Salman Rushdie explains:

At the University of California at Berkeley, bookstores carrying [The Satanic Verses] were firebombed. . . . Muslim communities throughout the world held public rallies in which copies of the book were burned. In 1991, Rushdie's Japanese translator, Hitoshi Igarashi, was stabbed and killed in Tokyo, and his Italian translator was beaten and stabbed in Milan. In 1993, Rushdie's Norwegian publisher William Nygaard was shot and severely injured in an attack outside his house in Oslo. Thirty-seven guests died when their hotel in Sivas, Turkey was burnt down by locals protesting against Aziz Nesin, Rushdie's Turkish translator."

From the article, after referencing the murder of Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh:

..."MOVING BEYOND THE NETHERLANDS, many others living in the West have been threatened for speech that allegedly offends Islam. In 2001, author Khalid Durán produced a book called Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam for Jews for the American Jewish Committee. Shortly before the book's publication, the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued two press releases insulting Durán and demanding that his book be withheld until a group of CAIR-approved academics could review it "for stereotypical or inaccurate content.""

The article continues:

..."Both the Rushdie affair and the threats against Durán show how technology has indeed made the world smaller: They are examples of Middle Eastern Muslims attempting to stifle the speech of those who live in the West. The internet has hastened such efforts. In late January, I uncovered a password-protected Arabic-language website, Barsomyat.com, that was frequented by Middle Eastern Muslims, predominantly Egyptians. The purpose of Barsomyat.com was to systematically track Christians who were active in religious debates against Muslims on the internet chat service PalTalk. Barsomyat featured pictures of these Christians (some of which were obviously obtained by hacking into the Christians' computers) along with death threats and attempts to track down the subjects' physical addresses. Even Barsomyat.com's banner showed the website's intentions toward Christians, as it pictured a sheep--obviously intended to represent Christianity--getting its throat slit." (Emphasis added.)

I seem to recall a case (last year?) in New Jersey where members of an Egyptian Christian family, actively critical of Islamists in internet chat rooms, were murdered under circumstances that didn't suggest a random attack.

The article continues:

..."UNFORTUNATELY, WE IN THE WEST haven't always been vigilant about standing behind speech rights. Too often, when Islamists threaten free expression, some Westerners clamor to make excuses for them. In 1997, for example, Salman Rushdie and novelist John le Carré had a high-profile feud in the letters section of the Guardian. In the course of the feud, le Carré said that Rushdie bore the responsibility for the bounty on his head because "there is no law in life or nature that says that great religions may be insulted with impunity.""

Well no, Mr. le Carré, there is a natural law, it is called "free speech", which allows people to criticize and it allows members of the insulted faith to verbally and otherwise non-violently reply with boycotts, etc.. It does not allow the members of the insulted faith to reply by violent assaults and murder. After all, look at all of the vicious criticism heaped upon Christianity and Judaism. I am not talking about justified criticism, but a priori insults and verbal and/or written attacks. When was the last time that the Pope issued a fatwa? Jerry Falwell? Billy Graham?

Forgive me if I have forgotten details, but isn't John le Carré's latest novel about the "adventures" of big pharmaceutical companies in Africa? Has Merck issued a fatwa? Bayer? That is not to say that there might not be grains of truth in his writings, but have there been any attempts on his life by stockholders in the drug companies?
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The Primary Reason Why the Kyoto Treaty is a Bad Idea

On the issue of climate, Leftists treat the Kyoto Treaty as Gospel, to the point where it has become the "go to" reason for any unusual weather events, even winter blizzards.

It is based on the flimsy concept that increasing carbon dioxide causes increase in atmospheric temperatures and I have posted ad nauseum about there not being enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to affect change.

As long as the Leftist MSM, pundits, and pols keep revisiting Kyoto, we need to remain vigilant. The primary reason is that Kyoto was intended, by some including Jacques Chirac, to be a tool of global governance. The quote of relevance within this above-linked article is a little more than five years old, but as long as they keep going back to this issue, we need to keep after it.
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Sunday, November 27, 2005

An Excellent Column by David Kupelian...

Published on Nov. 21 on WND, lays out the strategies needed to defeat militant Islam (and it ain't appeasement).

In fact, David describes the minds of appeasers in this way:

..."There's a funny thing about appeasement. It's hard to give in to evil without first agreeing with that evil, at least a little. We have to allow our minds to be bent, our previous values and perceptions altered, even slightly; we somehow have to see the terrorists as not quite totally evil." (Emphasis added). [This seems to describe modern Lib/Leftists, at least those that seem to have cast their lot with the anti-Semitic philosophy as part of the "mindset" of appeasement.]

David goes on to remind us of the origin of the "Stockholm Syndrome", whereby captives start to identify with their captors.

More from the column:

..."Somehow, the West has lost its courage and has been intimidated by radical Islam into trying to appease it. It's easy for this to happen – even in a battle-hardened nation like Israel."

More:

..."Look at this simple and familiar syndrome on a personal level: If you cower before a bully in an attempt to placate him, all you accomplish is to make him more confident, more demanding, more contemptuous of you – in other words, your weakness literally transforms him into an even bigger and more dangerous bully. "

More excerpts:

..."Appeasement always encourages violence. If more violence is not immediately forthcoming in response to appeasement, it's only a strategic delay."

More:

..."The simple fact is, just as with Communists and Nazis, Islamo-fascists regard goodwill gestures and concessions as nothing more than contemptible weakness and an irresistible invitation to take advantage. Hitler, shortly after the appeasing Chamberlain arrived home proudly displaying his worthless peace treaty, turned around and attacked Britain. In the same way, Islamic militants consider it just good strategy to lie and break treaties."

It is a long column, but it is worth the read. The reason is the only way the West can prevail against the Islamist mindset is to demonstrate that Islamism cannot defeat nor demoralize the West (though the appeasement chorus gets louder each day).
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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Again, the Zealots Muddy the ID vs. Evolution Debate

By way of WND, comes this Wichita Eagle article in which a Kansas University prof seems unable to discuss the ID concept without engaging in religious bigotry.

The Religious Studies Department of Univ. of Kansas is planning to offer a new course which includes discussions of Intelligent Design, entitled: "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationisms and Other Religious Mythologies".

The department chairman Dr. Paul Mirecki, teacher of the proposed course, sent an email with this gem of wisdom:

"The fundies want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category mythology." (Emphasis added).

It is so nice to see a Religious Studies Department headed up by such an open-minded, tolerant person such as Dr. Mirecki. The email in question was a private one that got leaked out, but we all know that we should be careful of what we put in an email, lest it become public.

Dr. Tim Miller, another professor in the department offered support for Dr. Mirecki's opinions:

"They want their religion taught as fact," Miller said. "That's simply something you can't do in a state university."

No, most people do not want ID taught as fact, but by the same token, they don't want evolution taught as fact either. There is room in Science classes, e.g., Biology, Geology,... to mention that there are different ideas, different interpretations to explain the diversity and complexity of life.

There is room for discussion.

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Micro-Evolution vs. Macro-Evolution

I found this post, from Ogre's View, back in September, book-marked it, but then forgot to address this as part of the ID vs. Evolution debate.

To review, there are two "types" of evolution, Micro-evolution and Macro-evolution. We can readily observe Micro-evolutionary changes, such as the development of resistances to anti-biotics in bacteria; herbicides in "superweeds"; pesticides in roaches, etc.. These changes occur within a species.

The arguments are over Macro-evolution, which represents the change from one species to another. The genetic changes are significant enough to show as morphological changes (changes in size and/or shape). To use Ogre's words: ..."Macro evolution has never been observed in any way, shape, or form. However, when speaking of science in schools and teaching evolution, this is the type of evolution that is addressed. Darwin's theory of evolution is this type, and it is still taught in schools -- despite zero observation or true scientific evidence."

I agree with the "zero observation" of Macro-evolution, but there is true scientific evidence within the Fossil Record and within closely-related, though different living organisms. The evidence is there, we are just "arguing" about how the changes came about. Is it by random mutation or is it by the "Guiding Hand" or is it by a combination? Neither science nor religion can "prove" how it happened. Either philosophy requires a measure of faith.

As every fossil is not preserved, every transition from one species to another in the lineage is not preserved. That doesn't mean that the "missing links" did not exist.

Another issue is how we define "a species" from another related organism. There are some scientists that want to label a particular fish in a particular river with a new species name, when a similar fish in a different river (same region) has a different species name due to different coloration patterns. On the other hand, Chihuahuas and Great Danes are included in the same species Canis lupus familiaris (I think).

[Note: Drat, it seems that when I have the inspiration, I don't have the time and when I have the time, I can't find the exact words I want. Be back later. As it may rain tomorrow, it's yard work today.]
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Friday, November 25, 2005

Later Posts...

There are no classes to teach today, nor pool covers that need to be installed or replaced. But there are chores indoors and out before the "daily grind" returns next Monday.

I plan to post on:

The Abiotic Petroleum Concept, The Folly of The Lib/Leftist View of Tax Cuts, The Importance of Staying On Task in Iraq, and some other issues and subjects...

[Saturday AM (early), was too tired to finish these last night, will try today to finish them later this morning. ]
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Thursday, November 24, 2005

On Being Thankful and Thoughtful

We all know that it ain't about getting ready for tomorrow's sales. Nor about football (go ahead and call me a heretic!).

It is a time for thankfulness for what we have as individuals, families, and as a nation. Prayer helps us accept that which we cannot control nor understand. Sometimes we have to have the patience to let things "play themselves out" and not make rash decisions. Prayer can help us have a sense of relative serenity when others are in a frenzy.

Reflection upon our blessing might help steady us to "jump back in" to make a difference where we can.

Above all, we can say prayers and "Thank you" to our warriors in harm's way in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. They chose that profession and we constantly forget about their sacrifices. So pass the "Thank Yous" to our service personnel around the world.

Tony Snow's column says it well.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Newt Gingrich's Political Future

As I see it.

I remember well the Congressional campaign of 1994 and the Contract With America. The newly-elected Republicans helped complete every aspect of the Contract within the stated 100 days. The Contract stated that certain issues would be brought to a floor vote within the first 100 days and it was done. There was no guarantee of passage, nor was there guarantee of success within the Senate. It was based upon townhall meetings with American citizens and it was based on common sense.

But it lost steam. The MSM big lies (as now) gradually slowed the momentum. Another drag was the then-unknown issue of Newt Gingrich's impending divorce and his failure to wait until it's finalization before he began dating again. I firmly believe that he was somehow compromised. How do you keep something like that a media secret in Washington?

Republicans can not and should not claim to be saints, but if we don't attempt to hold the moral high ground (honestly) who will? Will it be the party that attacks the Boy Scouts? Will it be the party that wants to extend the vote to felons and non-citizens? Will it be the party of Larry Flynt, Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy, et al?

If Newt attempts to run for higher office, the MSM/Lib/Leftist pundits, etc., with drag out the skeletons and dirty laundry, without even a hint of the aroma of hypocrisy, a la, Bill Clinton. Despite Newt's value as a historian, it will be overshadowed by the hoorah. Newt is important in filling the gap in articulating history, party agendas, and the reasons we believe what we do (to others), but he should not run.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Oprah Steps in It...How Long Will It Stick to Her Shoe?

I don't normally watch Oprah, as I am usually working during that time period. I celebrate the fact that we have a country where talented people can be ultra successful and she seems to be rather generous in her giving, which is fine and dandy.

But in the show to be broadcast in Atlanta today (previewed yesterday), as part of an anniversary series, she revisits the subject of a previous show, I think from 1987, where she interviews a bearded, bigoted southerner, stereotypical of "white trash". Apparently she wanted to see if he had matured any (I guess he hasn't). The preview shows her responding to a comment with "Let me educate you - southern boy" (slightly paraphrased).

Bigotry (also called racism) is about broad-brushing people and seeing them only as members of groups, and spitting out the words "southern boy" like that is an affront to all of us educated-southern men that consider racial bigotry to be evil, stupid, and useless. There are so many generic slurs available to describe stupid people, e.g., twit, twerp, fool, idiot,... without making it a regional-issue slur. I have met people from Boston that used the "N-word" as easily as southern bigots. Dr. King commented on the hatred that he saw from whites in Chicago.

It remains to be seen if Oprah has enough class to apologize to the southern males that don't have tobacco spittle drooling down their chins. To the southern males that don't make the "N-word" part of their daily vocabulary. To the southern males that are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan against a mindset that would not even allow Oprah to speak in public, much less earn tens (or hundreds) of millions of dollars. Aren't there things more important than giving some yahoo (sorry Yahoo!) air time? There are always going to be bigoted idiots, but isn't it better to let them fade into obscurity, instead of highlighting them for their sorry brethren to see?

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When There are Too Many Deer...

They have to be culled. End of story. Because of their size and nervous nature it is difficult to trap and/or tranquilize and move them. This is the viewpoint of a scientist. It ain't pretty, that is just the way it is.

Because of the ever increasing urbanization of many areas, there are fewer places to hunt and there are fewer natural predators, so there are fewer controls on deer populations. By way of Townhall.com, here is a story about a recent case in Lloyd Harbor, NY, where the local mayor asked the state for permission to allow hunters to cull a certain number of deer. Ever the fount of common sense, the Animal Liberation Front responded by vandalizing his home and vehicles and then published personal info on the internet, as if to invite harassment and harm to his family. Like so many Leftists, they respond in a non-thinking, zealous fashion, while offering no usable answers.

This isn't Bambi we are talking about. When there are too many deer, there is too little food. When the deer are stressed, they eat foods they wouldn't normally eat, which deprives other animals of food. It may also upset the "balance" of certain plant or trees species due to over-consumption. And you may not see the results of these "gaps" in the age distributions of plants until years or decades later.

When the deer are starving, is this humane? When they continually get hit by cars, is this humane? About three weeks ago, late at night, I ran over a dead deer that had been hit moments earlier. Though the vehicle(s) involved were parked along the other side the road, no one was waving people to slow down (I was only going about 45 or so). About four nights later, I saw another deer on another nearby road, dying after being hit.

The basic truth is that many of the animal-rights zealots hate humans. They won't admit it, but look at their actions. They offer a de facto endorsement of murder in order to "protect" animals. This is partially because they are becoming more marginalized due to their outrageous behaviors. They won't look in a mirror and say "maybe we need to rethink our strategies". Instead, like Muslim terrorists, they go a step further or two steps further. They can't understand that they can't succeed without mainstream support.

You don't hear much about the damage done by the ALF or the Earth Liberation Front or PETA because the MSM doesn't spend much time reporting in-depth as to the reasons why under-construction homes and apartments in San Diego, Colorado, and elsewhere, go up in flames. Or why farm animals (including mink) or zoo animals, are released to face starvation in the wild. Is this humane? Or they don't report about the important scientific and medical research lost when university and business laboratories go up in flames. Research that might have helped animals and/or humans. They don't care.

It is OK to ask people not to wear fur and to offer alternatives, but when they don't respond as you would like, it is not OK to throw paint on them or to firebomb stores. If you don't like McDonald's, then you don't have to eat there, you can even tell people why it is not a good idea, but that is where it stops.

This mindset would probably work with domestic Islamist terrorists if they think it would help bring down the capitalist system. And they are not even smart enough to understand that the Islamists hate them as much as any flag-waving Conservative. They are not smart enough to know they are "Useful Idiots".
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Whole Foods Market Must Close on Thanksgiving, or Else!

Some of us are old enough to remember the "blue laws" in southern states that prevented many businesses from opening on Sundays. When I moved to Texas in 1977, the blue laws were still in force, however, those were not religion-related, rather the stated purpose was to protect Texas businesses from competition from national stores that wished to open on Sunday.

This lead to a confusing situation of what items you could by on Sunday and which you couldn't. You couldn't buy an alarm clock on Sunday. If you bought some cookie dough, you couldn't buy a cookie sheet. Yada, yada. In El Paso, we had the option of driving over into New Mexico if we absolutely had to have something on Sunday.

In most places, those blue laws (excepting certain or all Sunday alcohol sales) are gone. Except now, by way of Nealz Nuze, we find that there is a different type of blue law in Massachusetts. If you are not familiar with Whole Foods Market, they are a chain of organic/specialty foods grocery stores, based in Texas (I think). Massachusetts has blue laws that say certain businesses must close on certain holidays. Last year, Whole Foods chose to stay open on Thanksgiving in Massachusetts and this year, Massachusetts authorities are promising criminal charges against the store(s).

So, is New England "liberalism" (these days) just another type of authoritarianism? If you don't want to go to Whole Foods market on Thanksgiving, just don't go. But Massachusetts chose to give into the Whole Foods competitors that don't like the situation, so if carried through, people that need to pick up something for the evening meal or who just don't like crowds, will have their choice taken from them.
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Monday, November 21, 2005

Infill Housing - Affects on Existing Housing Values and the Free Market System

I had noticed this recently while helping work on a retractable pool cover system in Atlanta. Amid older, late 1940s-early 1950s brick homes, there were a number of rebuilds of different types. Some were all-new and large, perhaps covering 2 older home sites. Some of these, I think, are called "McMansions". Others were customized versions of the original brick homes.

Though I had noticed, I had forgotten the official term. There was a news report about Dekalb County taking a vote (perhaps tonight?) on new regulations restricting infilling, including the height of new homes. Of course this is being worded as wanting to maintain the existing character of the existing neighborhood. Here is one website in favor of the new regulations. Here is another website with draft regulations. Some of these desires include a five-foot limit height limit above existing homes.

There are some real issues, such as the effects on existing property values, should new home be "too exotic", run-off from construction sites, especially where there has been significant fill material added. Other issues include "houses that don't fit the character of neighborhoods; loss of mature trees and open space; traffic schools, and drainage problems."

Infill is more of an issue in some cities where an "Urban Growth Boundary" has been established, beyond which there will be no more development. I believe Portland, Oregon is one example where this is taking place.

Now of course, when an "Urban Growth Boundary" is established, that makes the remaining land within the city limits more scarce and more rare and infilling is about the only choice there is, when certain percentages of the land has been locked away as "greenspace". That means higher land prices, much higher. The idea of heavily taxing the "exaggerated profits" of the scarcer land has been floated, but I don't know if they have been adopted.

Now all of this "fits into" the zoning and other socialistic planning of those that want to tell people where they can live and what type of home in which they may dwell. They want infilling (less room means less room for extra cars and SUVs) so more people can be "encouraged" to use public transportation. Infilling can also be sold as a remedy to traffic james during work commute. Yes, Atlanta has the longest commutes in the country, so that selling point may be used.

All of these restrictions fly directly "in the face" of the free market system and the freedom to build the type of home you want. When you are building "your vision" of a home, bear in mind that if it is too exotic, not only might you neighbors dislike you, but you might have trouble selling that home later. On the lower edge of Signal Mountain, Tennessee (just North of Chattanooga), there is a small home that looks like a flying saucer (there is not a good place to park and get a photo), just take my word for it. My pool cover boss has remarked that it seems they are having trouble selling it. Gee, what were they thinking?

On other issue with the infilling is the increase in property values of existing homes and the increasing property taxes on the existing residents, some of whom may be elderly. And there will be pressures by developers on these residents to sell for more infills.

The right answer is not the easy one. But I think I would come down on the side of the free market system, but then I don't live in such a neighborhood, yet. I just hope I don't ever have to live in a "crackerbox" neighborhood, where if you spit, you hit your neighbor's home. And if your neighbor's home catches fire, the fire can more easily spread to the closely-packed homes (that happened in our county last year, where one under-construction home caught fire and burned five or six occupied homes).
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Opening Up ANWR

When the common people get across to Congress that ANWR drilling is probably a good idea, the oil companies participating are going to need some sort of "ironclad" guarantee that "the rug won't be pulled from under their feet" (by Democrats) after they have endured billions of dollars of negative cash flow (going to construction jobs) to bring that oil to the marketplace.

FrontPageMag today has a Q & A with Interior Secretary Gale Norton about ANWR. After reading that, go and read www.anwr.org for more info.

A downside to dropping gasoline prices, people are going to forget about planning ten years and more "down the road", so we need to keep informed. "Down the road" is where our adult children will meet us. Will they ask "Why didn't you do something?" about energy issues, as well as taxes, as well as spending, as well as terrorism? Will our adult children stand at our graves and scream the same questions later on?

I will add links to previous ANWR-related posts later.
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A Few Words from President Lincoln

By way of FrontPageMag.com...

“Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged.”

That sounds good to me. When do we start?
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Highlighting the Leftist Infiltration of College Campuses...

...is what Dr. Mike S. Adams does on a regular basis. This time it is Warren Community College in Washington, NJ and it concerns a student email to faculty members informing the facult of the campus appearance of decorated Iraq War veteran Lt. Colonel Scott Rutter. It concerns a frothing, frenzied response by a linguistics teacher, by the name of Dr. John Daly, than seems unconcerned by such things as having an open mind or observing grammar or spelling conventions. His rant reads like the usual Leftist laundry list of U.S. horrors that he probably learned from Noam Chomsky.

On his own website, he explains his philosophy about writing and linguistic rules, but here I will give you Mike Adams' shorter translation:

“English is a really hard language with a lot of confusing rules. So when you take my class, you don’t have to follow rules at all. I do not try to bring you up to a higher standard. Instead, I am committed to lowering myself to your standards – even to semi-literacy, if necessary. That way, we can all avoid judgments and keep everyone’s self-esteem intact. And, best of all, when I am not teaching English I have plenty of time to talk about my political views. ”

Some of the gems from Dr. Daly's email include:

..."The U.S. government can fly to dominate the people of Iraq in 12 hours, yet it took them five days to assist the people devastated by huricane [sic] Katrina." [Didn't it take a little longer than 12 hours to subdue Iraq? And it actually takes tanks and ground troops to dominate someone. Besides, the damage wrought by hurricane Katrina covered some 90,000 square miles, whereas military action tends to be more concentrated. It is totally apples and oranges.]

More:

..."If you want to count the number of deaths based on political systems, you can begin with the more than a million children who have died in Iraq from U.S.-imposed sanctions and war." [Uh..., no, those were UN-imposed sanctions. And the money for food and medical care was there from crude oil sales. But Saddam was too busy building palaces and buying off European officials.]

A little more:

..."I will continue to expose your right-wing, anti-people politics until groups like your [sic] won't dare show their face [sic] on a college campus." [So much for "liberal" openmindedness and tolerance.]

As for Dr. Daly's philosophies concerning linguistics, it seems to me that persons dedicated to teaching aspects of communication would want their students to be as persuasive as possible. So they can be as effective as possible. But then what do I know? I'm just a rock-headed geologist that forgets to use "spell-check" once in a while (or I am too lazy).
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Throwing the Baby Out With the Bath Water...

is what we may be doing if we stay away from the polls during early November, 2006 and November, 2008. Because we were dissatisfied with the Republican Party and politicians. Because some people will sacrifice something because it isn't good enough, rather than trying to fix it.

This is the subject and fear of Henry Lamb, expressed in a Saturday column on WorldNetDaily.com.

From Henry's column:

..."Conservatives who are disappointed by the failure of the Bush administration to achieve conservative objectives have not been reluctant to join the anti-Bush mantra. This conservative rebellion, coupled with the determination of the Democrats, points to an increasing probability that the nation may be approaching a significant left turn in the years ahead. A similar sentiment gathered behind Ross Perot in 1992. The result: the ship of state took a sharp turn to port.

Conservatives would do well to take a step back and ask whether soothing their anti-Bush fervor is worth risking another excursion into the Democrats' liberal utopia.

If the Democrats regain control, expect the United Nations to be embraced as the best solution to all the problems in the "global village." Expect the Kyoto Protocol to be reinstated immediately. Expect the U.S. to restore Bill Clinton's signature to the International Criminal Court. Expect the reintroduction of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on the Law of the Seas, the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the laundry list of other U.N. treaties and agreements that the Bush administration has put on hold." (Emphasis added).

That is not to say that there are not the problems highlighted by these treaties, but we can deal with these individually, in free-market ways or through our elected representatives, without giving up more sovereignty to the desired world government that some invision as the UN.
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A Question for Those That Want an Immediate Pull-out from Iraq

Or perhaps a few questions...

If we could rewind time until before the U.S. invasion of Iraq,...

After 9/11, do you think that simply going into Afghanistan to punish al Qaeda would have been enough to bring us four years (plus at least two months) without another major attack? Do you really think the total infrastructure of Islamist terror was in Afghanistan? All of their training camps? All of their financiers? Do you think al Qaeda is the only organization to fear?

After Afghanistan, would you have rubbed your hands together and said "Well, that's taken care of."? And then gone back to "business as usual"?

If you get your way, and the next time our day is interrupted by a series of news bulletins, where there is no return to "regular programming", what will you say? Will you say "darn, I wish George Bush would have been more persistent in pursuing those terrorists into other countries."? Or will you join with Ted Kennedy and company and blame the President for "creating more terrorists" because of the Iraq invasion? Will you join Michael Moore and company in saying "we had it coming!"? Will you celebrate because you think that will mean more Democrats will be elected in 2006 and 2008 and "they will finally fix this mess by understanding the needs of the Muslims and talking to them."?

Will you finally understand?
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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Just a Few NASCAR Nextel Cup Predictions - Updated

[Originally posted on 11/11] As I don't bet on sporting events, I don't normally worry myself with making predictions, but I thought I might do this for fun.

With two races left, at Phoenix and Homestead, I think the following things will happen:

Tony Stewart will not win either of the last two races, but he will finish well enough to hold on and win the championship. [Update: I was right about this, the most important prediction.]

The last two races will be won from this pool of contenders: Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, and Carl Edwards, greatly tightening of the championship points among the top four drivers. [Update: I was right about Biffle winning one of the last two, completely missed Kyle Busch at Phoenix.]

Well, after this Sunday and next Sunday, we will know, won't we! [Update: I think two out of three ain't bad.]
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There Was a Big Hoppy Monster in My Glass Last Night

But I bravely took care of it. If you like hops, there are more details over at Beer Can Blog. So drop over and have a sip.
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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hush, Hush...Keep It Down Now...Voices Carry

No, I am not revisiting the 1980s song by "'Til Tuesday", instead I am referring to the ongoing remarks by Leftist Democrats and RINOS regarding the state of our campaign in Iraq. And who is "picking up" on those remarks.

The "latest" to spout off was Representative Richard Murtha with his pronouncements that "U.S. and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq", a few days ago. I don't know the specifics (perhaps I missed them), but Neal Boortz said that Murtha has been saying this for months. Perhaps the MSM decided it was time to debut a new face in the ongoing call to retreat.

In the Vietnam War, before CNN, before cell phones, before the internet,...North Vietnam and the Viet Cong "figgered out" that we were divided enough that we might quit. And this was in 1968, after they lost the Tet Offensive, when they were considering quitting. If the war had ended in 1968, the U.S. losses would have been about 10,000, rather than the approximately 58,000 names that occupy the "black granite" wall in Washington, DC.

The stakes are much higher now. The Viet Cong probably never entertained the fantasy of acquiring weapons that could kill tens or hundreds of thousands of Americans (or anyone else of their choosing).

When the Germans smashed through 80 miles of the American lines on December 16, 1944, to begin the Battle of the Bulge, we couldn't have known that VE-Day was less than 6 months away, on May 8, 1945. After we lost 19,000 soldiers in those 38 days, we couldn't have known how close Germany was to collapse. What if the Home Front had been treated to almost-constant MSM harping about the early success of the German surprise attack? What if an earlier-day Ted Koppel had read the average 500 names per day during the battle? What if U.S. Republican Party members, DINOs, and film makers had been praising Hitler for the early success of his battle plans? What if the anti-war crowd had been calling on the citizens of the "Benelux" nations (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) to rise up against the U.S. occupiers?

Iraq is a theatre of the War on Terror. WMDs supplied by Saddam, et al, represent the "sum of all fears", but they are not the only threat. We were told that this war might take decades, as it has already been going on for decades.

If we don't stand tall, who can? Who else has the resources?

Other links from the Murtha post (originally from Lorie Byrd's post on Michelle Malkin's blog):

Glenn Reynolds has links to opinion on withdrawal.
David Dreier says this sends the worst possible message.

Articles on Townhall.com today:

Ross Mackenzie, Mark M. Alexander (Update: add Michael Barone's Monday column).

Hay Chewed (previous related rants): November 17, November 11, and another November 11, November 10, November 4, October 15, October 13, October 4, October 2, September 28, and another September 28, September 12, August 26, August 23, August 19, August 16, August 13, July 25, July 22, July 18, and another July 18, July 15, July 9, July 8, June 29, June 7, June 1, May 20, why so many? 'Cause this is so important!
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Friday, November 18, 2005

Like Other Originally Liberal Organizations,...

The ADL (Anti Defamation League) has become another Leftist Moonbat colony. Or at least that seems to be where ADL's Abraham Foxman is leading them with his latest campaign, according to Don Feder on FrontPageMag.com.

It seems that Abe is in abject terror of the "Christianizing" of America (or what we know as the Conservative attempts to return the United States to some semblance of cultural normalcy).

From Feder's column:

..."As reported in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Foxman declared: “Today we face a better financed, more sophisticated, coordinated, unified, energized and organized coalition of groups in opposition to our policy positions on church-state separation than ever before. Their goal is to implement their Christian worldview. To Christianize America. To save us!”

Foxman went on to explain that the ominous agenda of the Christianizers includes working to confirm conservative judicial nominees, restricting abortion and stopping gay marriage."

Feder continues:

..."Is keeping “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance Christianizing America? Is maintaining the traditional definition of marriage (you know, the one found in that Jewish book, Genesis) Christianizing America? Is public display of The Ten Commandments Christianizing America? In Hebrew school, they forgot to tell me that Moses was a Christianizer.

For the most part, conservative Christians are defending the status quo. Except in Massachusetts, where radical change was mandated by the judiciary, marriage as the union of a man and a woman is the norm. Foxman is arguing that self-defense, by the likes of the Alliance Defense Fund and Arlington Group, constitutes a proselytizing campaign."


Feder continues:

..."What’s called Judeo-Christian morality comes from the Jewish Bible, as transmitted to the West by Christianity. It’s the Torah that says “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.” The Torah tells us God commanded man to leave his father and his mother and “cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.”"

Feder continues:

..."There's no nation on earth where Jews have been more welcomed -- no nation that has made a greater contribution to the survival of the Jewish people -- than America.

It’s no coincidence that America is also the only nation since ancient Israel specifically founded on a Biblical worldview. Does Foxman imagine that Jews will be safer in a secular America (one cut off from its spiritual roots)? Are the Jews of Europe safer on a continent that can’t even acknowledge its Christian heritage?"

What Don Feder knows and Abe Foxman can't seem to see is that Conservative Christians are among the greatest supporters of Jews in the United States and Israel. The Leftists with whom Foxman has cast his lot are the new home of anti-Semitism. Whether it be American college campuses or Europe, the modern political left has totally lost all sense of historical perspective.

The interests of American Jews would best be served if Abraham Foxman would quit crying "wolf" at every perceived slight and save it for when it really counts.
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Thursday, November 17, 2005

It Just Goes to Show...

You can tell a Harvard man, but you can't tell him much.

A Harvard Institute of Politics survey of college students finds that the students questioned trusted the UN more than the US government, 52 to 44%. It sounds like the vaunted Harvard/Leftist culture is "alive and well". One can only wonder how the questions were worded.

If the question were perhaps worded as...

Who do you trust more, the un-elected, un-accountable UN or the citizen-elected US government? Do the Harvard folks ever think about that?

I wonder what the results might be?
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In a Twisted World Where Bad News is Good...

There dwell most of the Democrats. What kind of shoes perform best in "blood dances"?

From Lorie Byrd, on Michelle Malkin's blog, comes this CNN-link to remarks by Democrat Representative John Murtha, of Pennsylvania.

"Warning that other global threats "cannot be ignored," Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, a leading adviser on defense issues, called on Thursday for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

"U.S. and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq," the senior lawmaker said. "It's time for a change in direction."" (Emphasis added.) [Hey John, that's the spirit! Just tell the world what you Lib/Leftists think of our military. I have never been in the military, but I have known a few Marines, all of which were of good character and I dare say that you would probably be considered a disgrace by all of them. Do the words "Power Vacuum" mean anything?] [Update: The Power Vacuum issue is addressed here by NoEndButVictory.com (h/t to Lifelike Pundits).]

"He said he believes all the forces could be redeployed over a six-month period.

Murtha, a former Marine Corps colonel and veteran of the Vietnam war, is the first senior lawmaker to call for an immediate withdrawal. Other critics of the war have asked President Bush to set up a timetable for withdrawal." ["senior" is the operative word here.]

From Lorie's post:

"This war has become the Democrats' best hope for 2006 and they are going to do whatever it takes to get the maximum advantage from it. The more American lives that are lost between now and then, the better they think it will be for them. That is the sad truth. Hopefully, not even the mainstream media will not be able to disguise that strategy."

Lorie's title: "DISGRACEFUL AND JUST PLAIN DUMB" pretty well sums it up.

Links from Lorie's post include:

Glenn Reynolds has links to opinion on withdrawal.
David Dreier says this sends the worst possible message.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Eureka! I Found It!

An intelligent Letter to the Editor about Intelligent Design! Actually there were two in Tuesday's AJC, plus the obligatory bigoted Moonbat letter. Sometimes it takes just the right articulation, the right words, to clarify what you had already been thinking.

The first letter is entitled: "Evolution has random factor", which is true. Evolution, as a series of mutations is random. The writer states that the AJC set the tone when they condemned Intelligent Design as "religion masquerading as science". The writer suggests that the newspaper should also condemn evolution as "science masquerading as religion".

In private conversations (perhaps not in class), I have stated that to consider evolution as "the only way" requires a type of faith. The second letter's title makes this point "Both sides employ faith to make case". Others have called evolution a religion before, but that seemed a bit simplistic.

One of the stated characteristics of a theory is testability, i.e., that the theory should be tested by making predictions that can be tested in the laboratory or by other methods. The writer of the first letter goes on to remind us that "Since neither is testable, neither is scientific; therefore, both amount to statements of faith".

As previously stated:

The fossil record is tangible and it is not random, there is a progression of species. Accepting ID as a possible explanation does not make it go away. Nor does it make the transitional forms go away. Macroevolution happened, we are just speculating as to "how did it happen?".

Accepting ID as a possible explanation does not mean that the Earth is necessarily 10,000 years old or that it was created in six 24-hour days.

Accepting ID doesn't infer that the "Designer" caused every change (though some will take that path).

Science is about open debate and speculation of that which cannot be replicated in the laboratory.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

If He Had Just Remained Quiet...

And swung a hammer at Habitat for Humanity projects, we might have given Jimmy Carter a pass on his "short-comings" as President.

But instead, and perhaps not realizing the glass house in which he dwells, Jimmy Carter has once again reminded us that his is a clueless, bitter old man, poisoned by hatred of those that disagree with him. And of course it is everyone else's fault. Especially the "fundamentalist Christians", whom he likens to Islamist terrorists and attitudes in his new book (a waste of more trees, dontcha' know!).

Today, on FrontPageMag.com, Ben Johnson gives us some of the "Al Gorey" details of Jimmah's book. Al Gore and Jimmah do seem "birds of a feather", both bitter, both unwilling to engage in self-reflection and self-criticism, both blaming President Bush for most of the world's ills, yada, yada. And of course he has to make the rounds of the fawning media to talk about his book.

From the Ben Johnson column:

..."In his tome, Carter blames all the world’s ills on the rise of “fundamentalism.” Appearing on CNBC’s “Tim Russert Show” on Saturday, November 5, Carter reminisced that he saw such fundamentalism “when the Ayatollah Khomeini rejected any kind of reasonable interpretation of the Koran and took American hostages” – and now it’s spreading among Christian conservatives. Carter defines fundamentalists as “authoritarian males who consider themselves to be superior to others” and “have an overwhelming commitment to subjugate women.” They believe “they are right and that anyone who contradicts them is ignorant and possibly evil…"

Johnson continues:

..."When challenged whether he actually meant Christians were little Ayatollahs, Carter affirmed, “all of those things are compatible [with Christian fundamentalism], yes.” He explained to Russert that the sway of fundamentalism in the South derives “from more ancient times, 30, 40, 50 years ago,” – ancient? – “from racism, when whites dominated blacks.” " [Gee, Jimmah, I am no biblical expert, but I thought that Christian fundamentalism was a literal interpretation of the Gospels that stemmed from the belief that we have strayed too far from the original message of the New Testament. Using this "logic" Jimmah, how do you explain black fundamentalists?]

[I had a longer post, but it got lost to an in-opportune phone call after I hit "publish post". In the meantime, check out the original Ben Johnson piece, linked above. I may come back tonight after class and add to this rant.]
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Monday, November 14, 2005

Louisiana Beer Updates...

Are over at Beer Can Blog. Why not drop over for a brief diversion?
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Sunday, November 13, 2005

How Quickly We Can Leave...Updated and Reposted

Just a reminder of quickly things can change. In the blink of an eye.

A member of our Sunday School class told us this morning that another lady in the church has suffered a cerebral aneurysm last night. This class member had spent time with the lady Saturday morning, during which the lady was talking about their under-construction retirement home. At this point it doesn't sound good.

[Updated 11/13: The aforementioned Sunday School member told us this morning that it seems that the lady that suffered the aneurysm will have no permanent damage. Apparently the doctors don't have an explanation, other than "miracle". The lady's name is Joanne and she still needs prayers.]

Years ago, I had a similar experience while in grad school. It was perhaps a Thursday morning and I was walking through one of the Geology Department buildings when I encountered one of the department's star grad students. Despite being almost constantly busy, he was outgoing and friendly, even to those of us who were more average students (or maybe we partied just a bit too much). He was going in one direction, I was going in another, when he called out a friendly "how ya' doing Joe?" Everything OK? Or something like that. My reply was an equally-routine "Doin' OK." "See you later."

But there was no later. He was killed in a rock climbing accident in a local mountain park that afternoon. Story was he had climbed that cliff before, but a rope slipped, he fell a few yards and was caught by the ropes, but somehow his neck got broken.

Just a reminder of quickly things can change. In the blink of an eye.
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Praise for the AJC!

Around the Atlanta area, bashing the local paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is an ongoing endeavor, because of the decidedly leftist slant and the Moonbat droppings they sometimes publish as letters to the editor.

But to be honest, on occasion, they have to be praised, as I did with the Dendrochronology post, for their Saturday paper. I neglected to mention another praise, for their front page coverage of the local Veteran's Day parade, which featured a large photo, and the article heading that was entitled "'Thank you' for serving". Neat!

So I won't post (right now) about the Moonbat letters to the editor, but rather enjoy the short afterglow of their praise to the veterans. And no, I am not a vet, I was barely too young for Vietnam, but I came to understand their importance with the passage of time. So I will serve as a cheerleader, an ugly one, but a still cheerleader, trying to keep things in perspective.
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Global Warming Has Resulted in the Rise of Sea Level...

And the loss of countless important archeological sites off the Southern and Eastern coasts of North America (and who knows where else?).

To find the "rest of the story", you need to go to this article, at The Anthropogene, where John Sweat has been kind enough to post another one of my articles.
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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sometimes Ya' Got to Wonder...

Why some politicians call themselves Republicans. Sometimes "RINO" is too kind. I should have ranted about this a couple of days ago.

What it is, is the "Main Street Republicans" in the House of Representatives that turned their backs on the American public's future. You can't have omelets without breaking some eggs. You can't have gasoline, motor oil, plastics, modern pharmaceuticals,... without drilling some oil wells. Ace of Spades HQ has some info about the brave "moderates" that chose to stand with those that throw roadblocks in the President's path and then blame him for the results. They complain about the lack of a coherent energy policy, after preventing passage of legislation to allow development.

Michelle Malkin has this post & comments and this post and info about the relationship between George Soros and the Main Street Republicans.

From the post: ..."Twenty-five Republicans, led by Rep. Charles Bass of New Hampshire, signed a letter asking GOP leaders to strike the Alaskan drilling provision from the broader $54 billion budget cut bill."

And: ..."Also axed was another conservative priority, a plan allowing states to lift a moratorium on oil drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts."

In the case of remote, difficult places to drill, it takes some advance planning, estimated to be 10 years in the case of ANWR. By then, my "kids" will be 21 and 29. It is hard to say what the oil supply situation will be by then. Will oil shale (in the US) and tar sand production (in Canada) be as routine as regular oil wells by then? Think of it as an insurance policy. Besides, the Democrats seem to be so ____ interested in "taking care of the children", so how about doing some advance planning so that they will not have to endure as many hardships, as far as energy costs?

A portion of ANWR was set aside for this very purpose and I explained some of the particulars in this post. As for continental shelf drilling, technological improvements have greatly reduced the chances for drilling-related spills.

We have to maintain a vibrant economy in order to develop the energy-saving devices and technologies of tomorrow. This is what we are good at, if left alone by excessive government regulations.

Yes, conservation efforts are of importance, but that is not enough to deal with future needs.
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The Evolution vs. Intelligent Design Debate Continues

It doesn't have to be this way. It doesn't have to be all of one or the other. People that consider aspects of both philosophies (Evolution and Intelligent Design) do not have to be either apostates nor fundamentalists, as charged by many of the zealots (on either side).

Dodo David, at Lifelike Pundits, has a good post on this issue.

If the "middle ground" can be held by sensible people, we might make some progress. Because deciphering some aspects of field geology, I understand the value of "brainstorming", which might be considered as a way to present the concept of Intelligent Design, as it may relate to the existing fossil record. As far as I can see, Naturalistic Evolution, by itself, cannot explain how that "spark" of life started photosynthesis of the first cyanobacteria cell, algae cell, or whatever it was.

My most recent rant/post on the subject was on September 30, with links to others embedded in the post.

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The Science of Dendrochronology...

Is one of the ways that we reconstruct the climate past. By studying tree rings. Tree rings are one type of "proxy data" available to paleoclimatologists.

Amid the usual editorial page Moonbat droppings, once in a while, it is nice to find some science-related stories in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that are not infected with political agendas. Today gave a pleasant surprise with a page C-1 story on the study of longleaf pines in south Georgia and a page C-2 story by the same author, reporting on practical uses for dendrochronology.

According to the article, Leonardo da Vinci was the first to recognize that tree rings revealed the age of the tree. Tree rings can also reveal information about temperature, rainfall, drought, and fire. The specific area referenced is called Lake Louise, a nature preserve in extreme South Georgia, an area that has not been logged since the 1930s.

Tree ring data can be collected by slabs from fallen logs, old stumps, and core samples taken from living trees. The cores are about the same diameter of drinking straws and apparently cause little harm to the trees.

In areas other than nature preserves, sometimes individual trees were too remote to be of interest to loggers, sometimes they were too large for existing local sawmills, sometimes because of natural sources of stress, the trees were too "gnarly" for timber purposes and were left alone.

Once tree ring databases are established, logs found in bogs/swamps, archeological sites, and large pieces of carbonized wood in old campfire sites can be cross-referenced with the database to establish the age.

Another aspect of ring analysis is for oxygen isotopes. Normal rainfall contains "normal" oxygen 16 isotopes and the heavier, rarer oxygen 18 isotopes. Hurricane-related rainfall is depleted in the heavier oxygen 18. The isotope-depleted rainfall remains in the area in the surface waters and groundwater, where it is taken up into the trees, to become part of the trees' individual climate records.

The longleaf pines (living and on the ground) in the cited area have a ring-record that has been "read" back more than 200 years. This record includes the first mainland evidence of the Great Hurricane of 1780, that ravaged Cuba before hitting the U.S. mainland.

The second story involves the use of dendrochronology to verify the ages of logs in old cabins. The purported log cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 was revealed to be built of logs that were cut in the 1840s and 1850s. In Tennessee, tree ring data from the log cabin purported to have been built by pioneer William Cobb in the late 1700s (and home to the states first territorial governor, William Blount), revealed that 25 of the logs were cut between 1827 and 1830. None of this is to disparage the accomplishments of these historical characters, but it is to further the cause of "good science", which includes "good archeology".

The final scientific "word" is that these proxies do not "prove" or "disprove" things, but they offer additional evidence of past events.
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Friday, November 11, 2005

What Did They Say and When Did They Say It?

The Dems, about Iraqi WMDs, that is. Weapons of Mass Destruction represent the "sum of all fears". And after 9/11, that is the "what's next" that President Bush was determined to try to stop (well, not regarding U.S. border issues). It could be said that President Bush is trying to disrupt the terrorist networks, before they get "over here".

By now, many of us have gotten tired of the Democrat Lib/Leftist mantra about President Bush lying about WMDs in Iraq. Some us knew about Iraq's use of WMDs against Kurdish people and Iranian soldiers well before 9/11, even before the 1991 Gulf War. It seems that plenty of Democrat movers and shakers believed that Saddam Hussein had WMDs, too. Or if they didn't believe it, why did they say it? Was it because they knew that Bill Clinton wouldn't actually do anything concrete about it?

We have heard many of these quotes played by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz, and others, but here some of them are, "in print" (reprinted from a Federalist Patriot email message).

During the Clinton Administration:

President Bill Clinton: "If Saddam rejects peace, and we have to use force, our purpose is clear: We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."

Madeleine Albright, Clinton Secretary of State: "We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and the security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction."

Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Advisor and Classified Document Thief: "[Saddam will] use those weapons of mass destruction again as he has ten times since 1983."

Senator Harry Reid: "The problem is not nuclear testing; it is nuclear weapons. ...The number of Third World countries with nuclear capabilities seems to grow daily. Saddam Hussein's near success with developing a nuclear weapon should be an eye-opener for us all."

Senator Dick Durbin: "One of the most compelling threats we in this country face today is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Threat assessments regularly warn us of the possibility that...Iraq...may acquire or develop nuclear weapons."

Senator John Kerry: "If you don't believe...Saddam Hussein is a threat with nuclear weapons, then you shouldn't vote for me."

Senator John Edwards: "Serving on the Intelligence Committee and seeing day after day, week after week, briefings on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and his plans on using those weapons, he cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons, it's just that simple. The whole world changes if Saddam ever has nuclear weapons."

Representative Nancy Pelosi: "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons-inspection process."

Sens. Levin, Lieberman, Lautenberg, Dodd, Kerrey, Feinstein, Mikulski, Daschle, Breaux, Johnson, Inouye, Landrieu, Ford and Kerry in a letter to Bill Clinton: "We urge you, after consulting with Congress and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions, including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."

After President Bush was elected and prior to the Iraq invasion:

Senator Ted Kennedy: "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

Senator John Kerry: "I will be voting to give the president of the U.S. the authority to use force if necessary to disarm Saddam because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security. ... Without question we need to disarm Saddam Hussein."

Senator Hillary Clinton: "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock. His missile-delivery capability, his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists including al-Qa'ida members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."

Senator Carl Levin: "We begin with a common belief that Saddam Hussein...is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."

Former VP Al Gore: "We know that he has stored nuclear supplies, secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."

Senator Bob Graham: "We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has and has had for a number of years a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."

If President Bush was lying, then why weren't all of these Democrats lying? Or if they were mistaken, then why isn't President Bush mistaken? What is the primary difference between the Democrats saying it and President Bush saying it? Well, President Bush is the only one to actually take action, not just talk about it. If 9/11 had not happened, President Bush would probably have continued the policy of containment of Saddam Hussein.

The WMDs were probably either buried, very well, in Iraq and/or shipped to Syria. If Saddam didn't have them, he had fourteen or so years to tell and show the world. If he had done so, it might have made it more difficult for the U.S. and others to invade.

Regardless, the Iraq was known to be a haven for terrorists before 9/11 and we needed to send a message to future terrorists that, if you attack us, we will come after you. So many opportunities to show resolve had been lost in the years prior to 9/11, that al Qaeda could justifiably believed that we would do nothing of substance.

Even now, because of our infighting and the lies of the Lib/Leftists, al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations probably believe that we still don't have the resolve that "the Greatest Generation" showed during WWII.
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"Good" Morning America...

I don't normally listen to/watch "Good Morning America", it just happened to be on after the local ABC affiliate morning show ended.

I got to enjoy Diane Sawyer's interview with Queen Rania of Jordan. I mean, I got to enjoy Queen Rania's articulate answers to Diane's insipid questions. Diane kept trying to steer Queen Rania towards saying that the War in Iraq was the direct cause of the bombings (or something to that effect). Queen Rania showed the poise necessary to stay on message. Here is Queen Rania's personal website. Here is the Jordanian Embassy website.

If the Wahhabis "ran things", do you think there would be an articulate queen of Jordan with her own website? Do you even think that Wahhabis even care about embassies? As explained yesterday by Dr. Walid Phares, linked in my post on the Jordanian bombing, Jordan is there to serve as a stable neighbor to Iraq. A democratic Iraq will not be the same as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, but stability can breed stability.

Also on Good Morning America, we learned a little more about the two Americans that died in the Jordan bombing. They were a Jordanian American movie producer (of the "Halloween" movies, I believe) and his adult daughter, who had gone to Jordan to learn more of her Dad's culture. We are also learning more about the wedding party that was blown apart by the brave freedom fighters so adored by Michael Moore, et al.

Yeah, freedom fighters. Heh.
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Everyday Is Veteran's Day

And everyday is Memorial Day.

If you haven't already, please stop and say a prayer for our Armed Forces members and families, past, present, and future.

We also need to pray for President Bush, that he has the backbone to carry this mission in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond, to its fruition. Not just for us, but for the rest of the civilized world, whether they have already been targeted already or if they are to be targeted, by Islamists, in the future.

Every sacrifice is important, but we have to look beyond the numbers.

We lost more than 2,000 on the first day of WWII (Dec. 7, 1941). We lost 19,000 in the 38-day Battle of the Bulge, did anyone ask "Is it worth it?". We were focused on the final goal.

Because we now are fighting a more shadowy enemy, it is hard to stay focused. But we must. The Islamist terror network has potential access to weapons that Nazi Germany never had.

The best way to have lasting peace is through strength and victory. If we had given up after the Battle of the Bulge and agreed to a peace treaty, Europe would not have had 60 years of relative peace (the Balkans notwithstanding). If we had not stood tall against Josef Stalin, Europe again would have been a battleground.

This current enemy will not go away. Their particular philosophy loves death. They love to sacrifice their own lives in order to kill others. We sacrifice in order to save others.

Because of the recent sacrifices, approximately 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan now have a measure of freedom, the freedom to make their own decisions. It won't be easy and it won't be exactly as we would like, but it is likely to bring stability, if we show the courage to see it through. We didn't stay in German and Japan for years simply for the joy of occupation, but rather to establish stability and a lasting peace, humanly-flawed as it is. Iraq and Afghanistan will require similar fortitude.

The currents members of the "anti-war" movement are either the philosophical bastard stepchildren of the Kremlin (and ultimately Josef Stalin) or they are "useful idiots". We know that part of the anti-Vietnam protest movement was orchestrated by the Kremlin. Thousands of names on that black "granite" wall in Washington, DC, are there because of the protestors. Because they gave aid and comfort. Because Walter Cronkite, et al, told us that we lost the 1968 Tet Offensive, when in reality, the Viet Cong/North Vietnamese were considering giving up because they knew they lost the Tet Offensive.

The current crop of anti-war protestors are costing lives, because it makes al Qaeda, et al, believe that they can make us give up. If we cut and run, those lives will have been wasted and more will die in Iraq and elsewhere. If the West cowers in fear, there will be more hotel and nightclub bombings, there will be more attacks on Christian, Jewish, and other non-Wahhabi schools,...whatever and wherever they chose. They have no rules. If it happens in Jordan, it can happen here.
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Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Jordanian Bombings...

Including that of a wedding party, shows the nature of the enemy that the civilized world faces.

I haven't had time to listen to Boortz, et al, this morning, so I don't know if the MSM/Democrats are trying to connect the attacks to President Bush's policies in Iraq. It would be easier than blaming al Qaeda.

At FrontPageMag.com, Dr. Walid Phares give a clear explanation of why al Qaeda and Abu Massab al-Zarqawi are at war with Jordan.

It is because Jordan is too moderate, it is because Jordan is a monarchy and a fairly stable one at that. It is because Jordan is ruled by the Hashemites. As explained by Dr. Phares:

..."In the Arab world, the ancestors of the Hashemite King Abdallah were the legitimate rulers of Mecca and Medina until the Saudi clan of Wahhabis "invaded" Western Arabia in the 1920s. The remnant of the Hashemites established TransJordan with the help of the British as Wahhabism took hold of the peninsula and its religious shrines. Since then, the Saudi Kingdom exported fundamentalism, while the Hashemite Kingdom established a monarchy. The result: two fundamentally opposing views of Islam and the world."

These same elements of Wahhabism are also attacking the Shi'a viewpoint of Islam. In essence, the Islamist Wahhabi adherents are attacking any and all that do not share their views.

Jordan's survival, as an "island of relative calm" depends on our "staying the course". If we retreat, a al the wishes of Ted Kennedy, et al, there will be a "ripple effect" as there was through Southeast Asia, after we retreated from Vietnam. In southeast Asia, perhaps there wasn't the feared take-over of every nation by Communism, but the fact remains that hundreds of thousands perished in Cambodia and Vietnam in the wake of our Leftist-engineered retreat.

The Wahhabis and the more secular Baathists in Syria may not totally agree on philosophies, but they share common cause in the destabilization of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and the destruction of Israel. The ruling mullahs in Iran are probably still under the influence of the Stalinist viewpoints (similar to the Baath viewpoints) as far as wanting to at least drive the U.S. out of the area and destroy Israel. It is hard to imagine the "rationale" for the Shi'a Iran supporting the Sunnis, after the way Sunnis (especially those of the Wahhabi bent) have treated Shi'a in Iraq and elsewhere.

Dr. Phares concludes with:

..."Jordan is an ally of the United States and is training Iraqi security forces. Once Iraq securely establishes a pluralistic, democratic nation capable of defending itself, Jordan's jihadist threat will be contained. Thus, al-Qaeda's strategists plotted to strike two birds with one stone: by destabilizing Jordan, they would deprive Iraq of its most serious regional ally. By destroying the Hashemites, the terrorists would serve the interests of the Wahhabis."

There is a great deal more at stake here than the simple minds of Harry Reid, John Kerry, Howard Dean, etc. can comprehend.

Or perhaps they think if they can bring down this President, they can fix it afterwards. That's right, they will let the grass fire turn into a forest fire, so they can get credit for putting out the forest fire later.
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San Francisco Voters Tell Criminals to Turn in Their Guns!

Oh wait, they want law-abiding citizens to turn in their guns! That's different.

It's bad enough when it is city councils, county commissions, state legislatures, or Congress that vote to disarm law-abiding citizens, but when the citizens themselves do it, that is the absolute height (or depth) of stupidity.

It is not the criminals of San Francisco that have been given until April 1, 2006 to turn in their guns!

The mere fact that citizens can own a gun for self-defense purposes is a powerful deterrent to criminals. The fact that they might get blown away deters some home-invading criminals. It is impossible for the police to be everywhere to stop crime. If a carload of criminals pulls into a neighborhood in San Francisco on April 2nd, they will know that if the police haven't already been called, there is nothing to stop them. And if a home-owner does shoot them with an illegal gun, the home-owner will get in more trouble than they will. It already is happening in England and elsewhere!

If that deterrent is gone, what will stop them from kicking in your front or back door?

Our Founders knew what it was to have an out-of-control King (George III) who wouldn't obey his own laws. [Note to any visiting trolls/Moonbats, don't even think of trying to make anything of the English king's name and our current President. You will not impress anyone with your "wit". Though things are not what they should be, you can't make that comparison from your viewpoint.]

Classical Liberals should be among the first to embrace the God-given right of self-defense, especially against an out-of-control, tyrannical government. If modern Lib/Leftists (such as those in S.F.) are so darn concerned about the coming Christian Theocracy, why are they so intent on taking away the peoples' last line of defense against tyranny? A few of them get it, but most of them don't.

When I lived in El Paso, I knew a "liberal gun nut" (he supposedly owned 45 guns at that time) and he was convinced that a Right Wing/Theocratic tyranny, borne of the Reagan Administration, was going to take over the country. OK, it's been 25 years, has it happened?

To any sensible person, the rise of Conservative values in this country, in the last 25 years, has been driven by the mainstream of American citizens and not the zealots. We are much more likely to lose our Liberties to Leftist/Socialist "Big Government" philosophies than we are to Judeo-Christian philosophies favored by the mainstream "fly-over country" culture.

Most Christians do not want a Theocracy. A lot of that talk is simply MSM "crying wolf" over any attempts to roll-back modern hedonism, in favor of a little more cultural responsibility.

Zealots aside, to most mainstream Americans, gun ownership is a sober responsibility, it is not a "love affair" as presented by Hollywood and the MSM. And when Hollywood portrays a citizen gun-owner, it is usually in an unfavorable light.

If you choose not to own a gun, that is fine. But the mere fact that some of your neighbors might own guns protects you and your family, to an extent. That element of doubt might make a criminal decide not to target your home and/or neighborhood.

I predict that sometime before April 1, Hillary Clinton will make a favorable comment, in a speech, about the San Francisco vote. She (and/or others of that ilk) will make a comment such as "well, the people decided", so "who am I to disagree with the voters?"
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Memo to Senate: Leave It Alone!

The oil industry, that is.

Of course some regulation and oversight are needed (human nature being what it is), but these Senate hearings are simply grandstanding (you would think it was election year).

And these hearings smack of facism. Not the word that Lib/Leftists like to throw around, but the philosophy by which businesses are privately-owned, but the government tells them what they can sell, where they can sell it, how much they can charge, how much they have to pay their employees, etc.. Facism is just Lite Socialism.

The dollar amount of the oil profits is not relevent, but rather the percent. But smaller percentage numbers do not grab attention, thus they not useful for political gain.

Here is a link to a Fox News story about increasing inventories and decreasing prices. It is all about supply and demand (and that includes supply-and-demand concerns for the near future). It is also about "replacement costs", i.e., when this batch of oil/gasoline is used up, how much will it cost to replace it due to rising market costs?

Oil & gasoline prices are not set by oil companies, nor are they set by cabals of old, wrinkled Jewish men and Halliburton executives, controlled by Dick Cheney. They are influenced by OPEC, but not controlled entirely.

"Constrictions" (bottlenecks, etc.) in the oil supply and ever-growing demands cause increases in prices. The best action government can take is to try to loosen some of the constrictions to supply. Oil drilling is not as messy an endeavor as it was twenty years ago. Whenever there is an accident, we invariably learn something about preventing the next accident. And we have to remember that even when the government allows more drilling, there is going to be a "lag time" before that oil/natural gas reaches the marketplace.

And yes, we can make a small difference by changes in our habits. Sustained freedom requires responsibility. How much of our vehicle-buying habits are affected by our egos? If you don't have a large family, or live in areas of adverse weather conditions, or have work needs,... do you really need that large SUV? Or is it for your ego's sake? Do you really need that Hummer2 that has never had a coat of mud? Do you really need that over-loaded Escalade or that Navigator, when perhaps a slightly-lighter SUV might suffice?

When I was previously employed as a geologist, I needed the 4 x 4 capabilities of the two Jeep Cherokees that I owned (one after the other, not at the same time). Currently, my Ford Escort serves my purposes and if I can get my old Ford pickup running, it will cover some of the past uses of an SUV (hauling stuff from time-to-time). Those are my choices, partially affected by personal economics. If financially able, I might purchase another SUV for utilitarian purposes, but it would not be something overloaded and bloated, but rather something practical.

Again, I don't wish to sound like a Lib/Leftist, but the collective conservation efforts of millions of people can affect the "supply" side of the equation, by using a little less. That fits with the philosophy of "Wise Use".
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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

So, T. O. Has Talked Hisself Out of a Job!

THIRDWAVEDAVE has some more detailed thoughts about this.

I don't normally give "a hang" about football, but this is hard to ignore.

It brings to mind a story of a similar situation that happened in NASCAR a few years ago. I don't recall the exact year, but Jeremy Mayfield used to drive the Penske Racing #12, it was a Ford Taurus back then. Ryan Newman now drives the #12 Alltell Dodge.

I don't recall the exact circumstances, but I seem to recall Jeremy making some unflattering comments about the Penske team and his perceptions about favoritism towards elder teammate Rusty Wallace (#2 Miller Lite Dodge). I also don't recall any public "to do" about it, but it seemed that Jeremy sort of faded from the scene. Since then, he has been driving the #19 Ray Evernham Dodge, and doing a respectible job. My impression was that he was "eased out" the door of Penske Racing, probably with the admonition of "Jeremy, if you don't like it here, you are welcome to go somewhere else."

That is not to say that Ryan Newman has a "lovey-dovey" attitude towards teammate Rusty, but as Rusty is retiring, he doesn't worry about it. Ryan does a pretty good job of backing up his words with deeds (numerous pole positions, running near the front of the pack, and winning eignt races in a season a few years back).

Many fans do have a fond memory of Jeremy vs. Dale Earnhardt at Pocono in 2000, a few months before Dale,...well, you know. Very late in the race (last lap, perhaps?), Jeremy used his front bumper to nudge Mr. Earnhardt aside (but not spinning him out, just "loosening him up") - That is why they call them "bumpers", ain't it?.

After the race, Dale of course had to let loose with some well-chosen words about Jeremy's driving style. Some us remember Mr. Earnhardt doing the same thing to Alan Kulwicki at the same racetrack in the late 1980s. Jeremy spent the next few days avoiding Dale, fearing what might happen, but after the "cooling down", Dale no doubt gave a wry smile thinking "the kid done good".

When Dale finally caught up with Jeremy, he got Jeremy in a brief headlock, gave him a "noogie" (sp.?) and told him it was all OK, that it was just racing. To hear Jeremy tell that story, it will probably be one of the highlights of his entire career, the day he gave Earnhardt "a bit of his own medicine" and lived to tell about it.
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