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>

Saturday, December 31, 2005

What is the "Cambrian Explosion"...Part I

...and how does it relate to Intelligent Design? That will come in one or more following posts.

The currently accepted Geologic Time Scale has been in development since the 1700s. In this time scale, there is a hierarchy of time intervals. In descending order (of length) they are - Eons, Eras, Periods, and Epochs. Most of this time scale was developed in Europe and delineations between the time units (of differing lengths) are based on major changes in sedimentary rock types and/or the fossils therein.

We currently dwell in the Phanerozoic Eon (the last 543 million years), the Cenozoic Era (last 66 million years), the Quaternary Period (last 2 million years), and the Holocene (or Recent) Epoch (the last 12,000 years). Different authors and/or organizations will have slightly different time estimates between the different time intervals. The time estimates are based upon radiometric age dates and are considered to be the best available time estimates. The shortest time units, Epochs, are generally used only during the Cenozoic Period, as differentiation becomes more difficult the further back in time you go.

When considering layered sedimentary rocks, you need to remember the Principle of Superposition, i.e., in a sequence of layered rocks, the oldest are at the bottom and the youngest are at the top. So, when a reference to the "base" of a time period is made, that refers to the first layers deposited during that time interval.

The Phanerozoic Eon began with the Paleozoic Era and the Cambrian Period, an estimated 543 million years ago. "Cambrian" is a derivative of the Roman word for the British Isles, where the rocks of this time period were first described in the 1700s. The oldest un-metamorphosed sedimentary rocks in the Appalachians are of Cambrian age, as are the oldest horizontal layers in the Grand Canyon.

Originally, the base of the Cambrian Period was the first appearance of trilobites, it is now the first widespread appearance of "shelly faunas", i.e., multi-celled marine organisms with shells. For the sake of simplicity, everything older than the Cambrian Period is often referred to as "Precambrian". The Precambrian represents approximately 88% of estimated Earth history, from an estimated 4.6 billion years to 543 million years. There are examples of shelly faunas in the late Precambrian, but they are relatively rare and delicate.

Based on current Plate Tectonics reconstructions, at the beginning of the Cambrian Period, approximately 543 million years ago, what is now North America was a large island, rotated approximately 90 degrees to the right of its current orientation, and it straddled the equator. Off the southern coast (now the east coast) lay a narrow ocean, called the Iapetus Ocean and beyond that was the remnants of the Precambrian supercontinent Rodinia, which was being rifted apart to form smaller continents that would again collide approximately 300 million years later to form the supercontinent Pangaea.

Beginning in the late Precambrian and throughout the Cambrian Period and into the following Ordovician Period, the Earth's climate was gradually warming and sea level was almost constantly rising, flooding the continental interior of what is now North America. The shoreline that was in the western Arizona area, in the early Cambrian Period migrated eastward and by the end of the Cambrian Period, it was in the El Paso, Texas area. Similar incursions, aka as "Transgressions" also took place along the eastern seaboard. As the continental interior gradually flooded, these shallow inland seas created countless new tropical and sub-tropical marine habitats for sea organisms and the atmosphere and oceans were gradually increasing in their oxygen content, largely aided by photosynthesis by marine cyanobacteria, algae, and perhaps other primitive sea plants, converting the naturally-occurring atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The stage was being set for the blooming of early life, known as the "Cambrian Explosion". It was a time when ancestors of at least 19 (or more) of our current Animal Kingdom phyla appeared in the fossil record, during the early to middle part of the Cambrian Period, approximately 530 to 525 million years ago. Most of these organisms appeared in the Cambrian fossil record with no apparent ancestors in the Precambrian.

The early diversity is illustrated by the middle Cambrian-age Burgess Shale fauna of western Canada and the early Cambrian-age Chengjiang fauna of China. Some of the organisms in these faunas belong to short-lived phyla or are of uncertain relation to any other known organisms in the fossil record. In both cases, rapid burial of the organisms in clay, in anoxic (oxygen-poor) conditions, led to the preservation of soft-bodied life forms and soft tissues in trilobites, etc., as thin carbon films in the fine-grained dark gray shales. Under more normal conditions, these soft bodies and soft parts would have been eaten by scavengers, had they not been buried in the mud, probably by underwater landslides at the edge of the continental shelf.

In other words, from the well-researched, always-growing fossil record, it appears that suddenly (in geologic terms) the shallow seas were filled with numerous life forms, some of which have changed little since then (horseshoe crabs), others of which (including the earliest trilobites) were extinct by the end of the Cambrian Period, approximately 490 million years ago. It doesn't look at all like the treelike form presented by the Darwinian model, where everything evolved from a common ancestor.

Charles Darwin was aware of the Cambrian Explosion, as presented in the fossil record, though the actual term didn't exist until recently, and he wasn't sure how to reconcile it with his findings and theories.

Links will be added later, as will an explanation of how this relates to Intelligent Design.
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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Intelligent Design Is Not Creationism

From time to time, Rush Limbaugh comments on what he calls the "arrogance of scientists". Yes, some scientists can be arrogant towards others outside their realm of expertise. They can also be arrogant if they are unwilling to say "I don't know", if they attack colleagues that demonstrate religious faith, or if they snear at passionate amateurs.

But rather than arrogance, scientists get "gunched up" often because we spend years studying our particular discipline, as well as other sciences, while earning our degrees. And it annoys us when media types/lawyers/politicians, etc. mangle science, especially for the purpose of political agendas (and both sides do it).

I took my first geology course as a high school senior, during the 1971-72 school year. While earning my B.S. (yes, I know what BS means!) in Geology at Georgia Southern, I had to take (suffer through) three Chemistry courses, three Physics courses, one Biology course, one Trigonometry course, and two Calculus courses. While earning my M.S. (that means More of the Same) in Geology at UT El Paso, I had unofficial minors in Geophysics and Geography (which included a senior-level class on Weather and Climate).

Because in my studies (and work) I chose to study a wide range of geology (and other science) subjects, I have a broad understanding of science and nature. I don't consider myself to be an expert at anything, but rather a learned student on a "Never-ending Learning Curve".

I blather on about Intelligent Design because so many MSM types, pundits, lawyers, judges, politicians, etc., keep mangling the subject and misrepresenting it.

Intelligent Design is not Creationism. It may share some commonality with Creationism, but that is by convergence, not origin. In other words, Intelligent Design is based on scientific observation, not religious authority.

This article, by Stephen C. Meyer, from the Discovery Institute explains it well.

From the article:

..."As the story goes, intelligent design is just creationism repackaged by religious fundamentalists in order to circumvent a 1987 Supreme Court prohibition against teaching creationism in the public schools.

Over the last year, many major U.S. newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets have run stories repeating this same trope.

But is it accurate?"

No, it isn't. The article continues:

..."As one of the architects of the theory of intelligent design, and the director a research center that supports the work of scientists developing the theory, I know that it isn't.

The modern theory of intelligent design was not developed in response to a legal setback for creationists in 1987. Instead, it was first formulated in the late 1970s and early 1980s by a group of scientists-Charles Thaxton, Walter Bradley, Roger Olson, and Dean Kenyon-who were trying to account for an enduring mystery of modern biology: the origin of the digital information encoded along the spine of the DNA molecule."

The article continues:

..."But what exactly is the theory of intelligent design?

Contrary to media reports, intelligent design is not a religious-based idea, but instead an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins-one that challenges strictly materialistic views of evolution. According to Darwinian biologists such as Oxford's Richard Dawkins, livings [sic] systems "give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose."..."

The article continues:

..."the theory of intelligent design holds that there are tell-tale features of living systems and the universe that are best explained by an intelligent cause. The theory does not challenge the idea of evolution defined as change over time, or even common ancestry, but it does dispute Darwin's idea that the cause of biological change is wholly blind and undirected." (Emphasis added)

Either life arose as the result of purely undirected material processes or a guiding intelligence played a role. Design theorists favor the latter option and argue that living organisms look designed because they really were designed."

Continuing:

"But why do we say this? What tell-tale signs of intelligence do we see in living organisms?Over the last 25 years, scientists have discovered an exquisite world of nanotechnology within living cells. Inside these tiny labyrinthine enclosures, scientists have found functioning turbines, miniature pumps, sliding clamps, complex circuits, rotary engines, and machines for copying, reading and editing digital information-hardly the simple "globules of plasm" envisioned by Darwin's contemporaries.

Moreover, most of these circuits and machines depend on the coordinated function of many separate parts. For example, scientists have discovered that bacterial cells are propelled by miniature rotary engines called flagellar motors that rotate at speeds up to 100,000 rpm. These engines look for all-the world as if they were designed by the Mazda corporation, with many distinct mechanical parts (made of proteins) including rotors, stators, O-rings, bushings, U-joints, and drive shafts."

Continuing:

..."Natural selection preserves or "selects" functional advantages. If a random mutation helps an organism survive, it can be preserved and passed on to the next generation. Yet, the flagellar motor has no function until after all of its 30 parts have been assembled. The 29 and 28-part versions of this motor do not work. Thus, natural selection can "select" or preserve the motor once it has arisen as a functioning whole, but it can do nothing to help build the motor in the first place." (Emphasis added)

Intelligent Design does not preclude natural selection. It does not get into the timeline. It does not say that every change is manipulated by the designer.

I recommend that you go ahead and read the above-linked and cited article. That explains the issue well. I generally agree with Rush, Neal, and Cal Thomas, but this time they are caught up in the MSM mindset and have not done their homework.



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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Now it is Cal Thomas...

Who is sounding a message similar to Rush Limbaugh. In today's Townhall.com column, he states:

..."First, it exposes the sham attempt to take through the back door what proponents have no chance of getting through the front door."

I haven't read the pertinent background materials on the specific Dover, PA case, but according to the WND article on Rush's comments, the writer states that Judge Jones focused on the motives of the school board. I don't know exactly what the school board said, but again, I believe that the originators of the Intelligent Design concept DID NOT FOCUS on the "timeline", which is one aspect of Creationism.

In other words, Intelligent Design does not mandate a YOUNG EARTH. It does not mandate Creation in six 24-hour days, 6,000 to 10,000 years ago.

Intelligent Design suggests that the "irreducible complexity" of life is the result of a "Designer". Who the designer is, of course, is a matter of interpretation.

To reiterate my point, I favor ALLOWING the discussion of Intelligent Design, BUT I DO NOT FAVOR REQUIRING the discussion of Intelligent Design.

Again, Creationists in Dover, PA may have co-opted the discussion, but INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT CREATIONISM.
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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Sorry Rush, But I Think You Are Wrong About Intelligent Design

I have been a Rush Limbaugh listener since about the first week that he went national, August of 1988 (I think). One of his charter stations was KTSM 1380 AM, El Paso. But to demonstrate that Conservatives are not "pack animals", when I feel he is wrong about something, I will say so.

From a Saturday WND.com article, Rush Limbaugh is reputed to have made assertions - on his Friday, December 23rd radio show - that Intelligent Design was just Creationism in disguise. I believe that Neal Boortz has made similar assertions on his radio program, also.

This discussion arose during a caller conversation about judicial activism in the recent Dover, Pennsylvania court case.

From the article are these Limbaugh quotes:

..."Let's make no mistake. The people pushing intelligent design believe in the biblical version of creation. Intelligent design is a way, I think, to sneak it into the curriculum and make it less offensive to the liberals because it ostensibly does not involve religious overtones, that there is just some intelligent being far greater than anything any of us can even imagine that's responsible for all this, and of course I don't have any doubt of that. But I think that they're sort of pussyfooting around when they call it intelligent design." (Emphasis added).

Sorry Rush, it just t'ain't so. Those that developed the concept of Intelligent Design were of science backgrounds in chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, and related fields. And it is a firmly-held belief, not an attempt to "sneak anything into anywhere".

To the best of my understanding, the concept of Intelligent Design does not address the timeline for the development of life, i.e., it doesn't preclude the possibility of an old Earth, approximately 4.6 billion years old. The strict Creationist line is that the Earth and life were created in six 24-hour days, about 10,000 years ago.

To the best of my knowledge, the concept of Intelligent Design does not preclude Macro-evolution as the mechanism for the progression of species, rather it raises the question of "Did it happen by random mutations?" Or "Did it happen with a 'guiding hand'?"

Yes, some Creationists have co-opted the Intelligent Design concept and tried to adapt it to their own viewpoints (Not that anything is wrong with their having their own viewpoints), but this co-opting is done by people outside the realm of science. And this co-opting by Creationists is used as a reason to exclude Intelligent Design discussions from the classroom.

From the article (not Limbaugh quotes):

..."Jonathan Witt, Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, the nation's leading intelligent design think tank, says Limbaugh's suggestion that design theorists appear disingenious when drawing a sharp distinction between creationism and intelligent design is mistaken.

"Since newspapers routinely mangle our position on this matter, it's little wonder," he said today.

"Traditional creationism begins with the Bible and moves from there to science," says Witt. "Intelligent design begins and ends with science."" (Emphasis added).

Intelligent Design proponents do not seek to displace evolution discussions, but rather to open the discussions to aspects of Macro-evolution that cannot be replicated in the laboratory or otherwise be tested.
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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Putting Off the Mall for a Little While Longer...

On second thought, I will extend more specific Christmas wishes to my blogging buddies (hint, hint, ya'll go by and visit their blogs, they have been at this longer than I have):

Pam and husband-dude John, at Blogmeister USA and The Anthropogene, respectively. And thanks to John for posting a couple of my articles.

Chris at Lucky Dawg News.

Two Dogs at Mean Ol' Meany.

Shamalama at Common Folk Using Common Sense.

Thanks to Basil's Blog for Trackbacks and Aaron, et al, at Lifelike Pundits for visits and comments.

And thanks to Kitty Litter for suggestions.

Thanks to Partisan Pundit and Marathon Pundit for their visits and comments, too.

And thanks to a couple of more well-known bloggers for their emails and comments, Dr. David Yeagley and Dr. Rudy Rummel.

I will even offer prayers for a few Moonbats with whom I had brief dust-ups, sometimes here, sometimes through other blogs - Liberal Avenger and Imam and Soundboyz (Two Dogs - make sure they get this message). Liberal Avenger even banned me from that blog for a short while. Most of the time, I don't even bother with visiting, but once in a while certain things would set me off.

If I have forgotten anyone, please forgive.
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Pray for Me...

I have to venture out to a mall to swap some shoes that were given to me last week. I need some nicer shoes for Christmas Eve services, rather than running shoes. I don't run anyway. I will walk all day, but I hate running.

I haven't been in a mall this Christmas Season. Yes, I have been in big box stores, WalMart, Target, Home Depot, etc., but I have let my wife and kids do the mall thing (they seem to enjoy it).

My wife and kids are in NW Oklahoma with family, while I babysit the animals - two dogs, two cats (one an outdoor cat), a bird, and two turtles. The kennel costs would break what's left of the bank. The indoor dog knocked over the Christmas tree this morning and now she is going nuts watching the outdoor cat play with a chipmunk in the front yard. [Note to cat: If you are going to kill the poor critter, just go ahead and eat it, don't play with your food!].

I plan to have lunch with my sister and her family, at her in-laws tomorrow, not sure about tonight. There have been other offers, though I may just revel in the quiet.

So out I will go to the mall, though I am dressed for planned yardwork (later), I don't feel like costume changes. If I survive the mall, I may blog later.

Merry Christmas (and whatever else) to my blogging buddies. I won't name any names, for fear of leaving someone out. But thanks for your visiting here and offering suggestions and sometimes informative and humorous comments. May 2006 be better than 2005.

Goals for next year: Help the GOP and President Bush retain the recently-refound courage of convictions, pass the Fair-Tax bill, approve ANWR drilling, bury Kyoto, help encourage GOP loyalists to "stay-the-course", achieve peace in Iraq through victory,...

Above all, pray for our troops in harm's way, so we don't have to be.
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What Will They Reveal Next?

What defense strategy will the MSM reveal next? Are different media entities trying to "one up" each other in revealing different Bush Administration defense strategies? Who do they think benefits from this? Is the agenda more important than American lives?

They blew the Abu Ghraib misbehavior out of proportion, in view of what constitutes torture in Middle Eastern countries, that was just the night shift getting too rowdy. Same deal with Gitmo.

The New York Times revealed the NSA "listening program", designed to snare al Qaeda operatives.

Now U.S. News & World Report is highlighted the radiation protection program, being conducted in areas of public access around mosques and other sites of interest in some major U.S. cities. And of course this give CAIR something else to squawl about.

[Note to CAIR: If you want the U.S. government to "ease off" on Muslims, then engage in cleaning your own house. Go to war against those Muslims that use mosques as storehouses for weapons and as places to plan attacks on innocent people. And quit saying things like (paraphrasing) "there was no connection between the U.S. Muslim community and 9/11". Nobody but a liberal is stupid enough to believe that. It may well be that 90 - 95% of U.S. Muslims are good people, but that remaining 5 - 10% can cause the rest of us a great deal of grief. It is up to you to show us that Wahhabism is not the prevailing mindset of Islam.

Muslims were not here for the founding of this nation. Christians and Jews were, get over it. This is a Judeo-Christian culture, that recognizes the God-granted right of worship, including Islam. Where Islam rules, how are other religions treated?

There are rules in every relationship. You need to be a little louder in your support of the U.S., 'cause if one or more "non-missile" nukes go off in this country, things are going to get real ugly for Muslims here, in view of human nature. We don't appreciate people using our freedoms against us.]
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Every Once in a While...

Someone comes up with a term that "nails it". This time, it was Tim Chapman's column in yesterday's Townhall.com (my lost-post subject).

"Block & Blame". Having not seen this term before, I suppose Tim is the originator. It aptly describes the current (actually not-so current) Lib/Leftist strategies of creating roadblocks to real progess and then coming along later and complaining about the lack of progress. In Tim's case he was describing recent Senate "actions" on the Patriot Act renewals, ANWR drilling, and the Deficit Reduction Act, wherein the Democrats (emboldened by the de facto support of RINOs) conducted filibusters or faux-filibusters to block passage of key legislation.

They complain about the President efforts in the War on Terror, but the loudest complainers will be among the first to blame the President after the next terror attack, after they finish their own private "blood dances".

They blame the President for high energy prices and no energy policy while they block ANWR drilling and other strategies aimed at ameliorating the tight supply issue. The market place will take care of some of it, especially the efficiency thing, but it is up to the government to maintain conditions conducive to creativity and the free-market methods of solving problems.

They complain about the size of deficits, but when efforts are made to cut the rates of increase, they squawl about "slashing of programs that benefit the poor", even while expenditures keep rising.

Block & Blame has been used on the issue of Medicare and Social Security reform, as well. Democrats don't want to fix the problems. They want the system to stay "broken", so they can beat the Republicans over the head with it in upcoming elections. They can count on the MSM and fellow travelers to "run interference" and keep the public distracted with "free bread and circuses". The internet, blogosphere, and talk radio are important sources of news for us that avail ourselves to multiple sources of information, but too many people still get their news from the MSM, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, MTV, Hollywood,...

Block & Blame could also be described as what has happened with the New York Times revealing the NSA "listening program" recently. Terrorism authority Richard Miniter was on the Sean Hannity show this week with guest host Kirby Wilbur. Richard said that some time back, we nabbed an upper-level al Qaeda operative overseas. In the memory chip of his cell phone were about 300 American phone numbers the he had called or had received calls from. Those 300 American phone numbers were the type of target of the NSA program. I doubt that he and his stateside friends were discussing different hummus recipes. This is what the NSA is about, not listening to you and aunt Martha discussing different pumpkin pie recipes.

Twenty-plus years ago, I knew about the NSA "listening" to international phone calls to and from the U.S.. They were listening for key words/key phrases, upon which they would start recording. Of course there have to be guidelines and the NSA ain't supposed to be listening to domestic phone calls. And they don't seem to be. But because the New York Times needed to pump up sales of an upcoming book and help their friends in the Senate, they hat to tell everyone (terrorists included) about the NSA strategy, thereby blocking its effectiveness.

I am sure that some of the terrorists knew about the NSA, but some of them may not have. Why help the enemy? Why help those that know no rules? Is the beat-Bush agenda that important? Our victory in the War on Terror is not assured, especially when so useful idiots are furnishing Aid and Comfort.

When the time comes, they will point the finger, without seeing the three fingers pointed back at themselves.
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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sir Isaac Newton Believed in Intelligent Design

"This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being." - Sir Isaac Newton

This quote was taken from an internet article by Dr. Charles Thaxton, the originator of the term "Intelligent Design". This linked article, from 1998, may have been the first mention of this concept. Yesterday, the local FOX TV affiliate interviewed Dr. Thaxton, who lives in the Atlanta area.

Dr. Thaxton is a chemist with a "Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Iowa State University. He completed two post-doctoral programs, one in history of science at Harvard University and the second in the molecular biology laboratories of Brandeis University".

He is described in Discovery Institute material as being a Christian, though on the TV interview, he seemed concerned that the Intelligent Design concept had apparently be co-opted by Creationists, i.e., people that take the Genesis account literally and consider the Earth to have been created by God in six 24-hour days, approximately 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. He also admitted that the "other side" of the argument (the Naturalists) had co-opted the discussion for their own purposes.

Dr. Thaxton agreed with the recent Pennsylvania court decision (I do also), that overturned a state law that mandated the teaching of Intelligent Design. I am in favor of allowing Intelligent Design discussions, but not requiring them. Unfortunately, the MSM is treating this ruling as a major setback for the concept.

He also admitted that the "Science community" has accorded Evolution a protected status, i.e., it is not up for discussion. He suggested that for science to remain healthy, an open marketplace of ideas, where everything can be discussed, needs to exist.

Intelligent Design does not cancel the fossil record, the progression of species, nor the evolution concept. It does not require an Earth age of 6,000 to 10,000 years, nor creation in six 24 hour days. It just suggests that the complexity of life is not by accident, but rather by design.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Some Insight into the Liberal "Mind"

Today, Seattle talk show host Kirby Wilbur was sitting in for Sean Hannity. When the subject of ANWR came around, the listeners were treated to a "liberal" caller by the name of Bob.

Bob's solution was for the government to mandate 40 mpg for all vehicles by 2007, including already operating vehicles. Bob said that the older, less efficient vehicles would have to be retired to the junk yard, I guess suggesting that we could all afford to run out and buy new vehicles 'cause Bob said we should.

Liberals often fret over the plight of the poor, but good old Bob just couldn't bring himself to consider how the poor (or even every one else) could afford to drop everything and go run out and buy a new vehicle. Now perhaps in his mind, the government could subsidize a new car for everyone that couldn't afford one. That is the old European mindset.

Well Bob, if we were taxed a little less, perhaps more Americans could buy new cars. If businesses were a little less "hamstrung" by needless regulations and Federal micromanagement, more people might be employed, less businesses would be shut down or moved overseas.

With a minimum of regulations, the free market system will work things out, we just need to have patience and faith.
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Glory Road

I don't normally get excited about sports-related movies, partially because NASCAR racing does not lend itself well to movies. At first, Days of Thunder seemed good, because it was better than its predecessors, but after the newness wore off, among other things, the continual cussing got old. And they don't routinely ram each other on superspeedways as suggested by the movie.

I do eagerly await the January 13 release of Glory Road, by Disney. It is the true story (I don't know what sort of artistic license they may have taken) of Texas Western College (now UT El Paso, one of my alma maters) winning the 1966 NCAA basketball title over powerhouse University of Kentucky. To my knowledge, they are the only Division I Texas school to win the Men's NCAA basketball title, to this day.

It was noteworthy because Coach Don Haskins was the first coach to start an all-black starting five in the Final Four and the NCAA Finals. And the University of Kentucky was all-white and was coached by Adolph Rupp. Now of course, Kentucky had a name in the sports media circles, while the prevailing attitude towards Texas Western was "who?". Some people thought it was an all-black college. The team was not all-black, the tallest player was white. But Coach Haskins simply put his best team on the floor against Kentucky. And to this day, Coach Haskins (now retired) believes it was not an upset. He had the better team that day.

But from my point-of-view (as an El Paso resident from 1977 to 1991), Coach Haskins had to wait about 25 years before he could really enjoy his championship. I know that El Paso seems to be a "Rodney Dangerfield" city, not getting any respect, in a number of ways.

Again, from my point-of-view, after the Texas Western victory over Kentucky, it seemed that the sports media spent more time interviewing and fawning over the icon Adolph Rupp, rather than the new hero Don Haskins.

And Adolph Rupp lied about the Texas Western team, I believe that some of these lies may have been repeated in Sports Illustrated at the time, and some of those lies were repeated in James Michener's "Sports in America" book. Remember, Rupp was an icon, leading an all-white team and he didn't take well to being beaten by an all-black starting five from "where is El Paso?" Among the lies were that some of the team members were rejects that no one else wanted (they weren't) and that some of them had criminal records (they didn't). Was it racism or was it just being a sore loser or was it a little of both? Now to Sports Illustrated's credit, they did a good 25th (or perhaps 30th) anniversary article about the game, entitled "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down".

Coach Haskins didn't intend to make sports history. He was just intent on building a winning team. It was a little easier because Texas Western was the first college in the Texas university system to desegregate in 1955, so by the mid-1960s, recruiting black basketball players for the Texas Western team was no big deal (unlike Kentucky).

Until the last few years of Coach Haskins tenure at UTEP, the basketball team was a perennial winner and was quite often in the NCAA tournaments as the WAC champions (Western Athletic Conference).

I hope the movie "does him proud".

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Atlanta Has Less of the Greenhouse Effect Today

We are under a High Pressure System, again, which means less clouds and less humidity = less of the Greenhouse Effect. So it gets colder at night because there is less of that "insulating blanket" that clouds and humidity offer. Carbon dioxide is only a very small part of the effect.

It also means the headaches and migraines return (I am suffering from the former, not the latter at this moment) and I can't find the durned Goody's Powders.

It seemed that last week, ABC News was obsessed with a report on 2004 temperatures as reported by NASA. I haven't read the original reports and I haven't visited the various weather/climate blogs that I have listed, so I don't know the source of their info. Bear in mind that NASA has engaged in some sensationalism before, especially when it comes time to request increased funding from Congress. I am not saying that this is the case, right now, but just bear that in mind.

Quite often, those that trumpet Global Warming are doing it based on Ground-based weather stations. There can be a number of things that affect ground stations and their temperature readings. Especially around cities, it is the Urban Heat Island Effect. The major weather recording station here is at the Atlanta Airport. If you consider jet exhausts, the runway pavement, the large parking lots, being next to Interstate 85 - Is that really the best place to gather temperature readings?

I don't believe that I have posted specifically on the Urban Heat Island Effect, but most of you have probably heard about it. But to review, during daylight hours, we receive our daily dose of solar energy from the Sun. In cities, with their increased density of masonry (brick, concrete) buildings (and their increased surface areas), highways, heat-generating businesses, people, traffic, auto and other combustion exhaust - all contribute to the generation and storage of heat. Also, in most cities, as trees are cut, there is the loss of transpiration from their leaves, i.e., the evaporation of moisture from the tree leaves, which serves to cool the air. The Urban Heat Island Effect likely affects nighttime temperatures more so than daytime temperatures, as the increased pollution contributes to a local enhanced Greenhouse Effect to entrap the heat radiating from the pavement and building surfaces. And if the region is under humid, cloudy conditions, that further enhances the Urban Heat Island Effect.

RealClimate.org and EPA and EPA/NASA and Heartland Institute have some more links to Urban Heat Island articles. From the Heartland Institute link:

..."A new study presented to the American Geophysical Union (AGU) documents that the concentration of concrete, large buildings, and other human activities artificially raises urban temperatures in such cities as Atlanta and Houston by an average of 10 degrees on hot summer days. The study supports a wide body of evidence suggesting ground-based temperature readings do not provide reliable evidence of significant global warming." (Emphasis added)

As another reminder, the Little Ice Age Climatic Event (Wikipedia link) ended approximately in 1850 to 1900 (by various accounts). Many scientist consider any warming to be simply a "rebound effect". Here is an American Geophysical Union article on the Little Ice Age.

From the Wikipedia entry:

..."There is no agreed beginning year to the Little Ice Age, although there are a frequently referenced series of events preceding the known climatic minima."...

..."For this reason, scholars tend to use any of several dates ranging over 400 years for the beginning of the Little Ice Age:
In contrast to its vague beginning, there is an almost undisputed consensus that the end of the Little Ice Age was in the mid-19th century."

The Little Ice Age and previous (recent) Global Cooling events seem to being gradually, but end rapidly. Somewhat reliable temperature readings began in the late 1800s, so a general trend of warming during that time is not unusual. Within that general warming trend, there are acknowledged "subtrends". From the 1880s to the 1940s, there was a warming trend. From the 1940s to the 1970s, there was a cooling trend. From the 1970s to the present, there has been another warming trend.

Back to the ground stations. It seems that the urban stations show more warming than do the rural stations. There are other sources of error in long-term temperature readings, which can be covered another time.

Hay Chewed (previous posts/rants): This December 2 post has links to many previous posts.
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Sunday, December 18, 2005

I Broke the Law!

No, I'm not talking about that time! The statutes of limitation have expired on that one anyway.

What I did was sell a single MARTA token to a fellow passenger years ago. And I didn't even know it was illegal (the statutes have not expired on this one). In my case, the guy's dollar bills were too wrinkled for the machine to accept, so I reached in my pocket, grabbed an extra token and the change and accepted his wrinkled dollar bill and we were both on our way to work (or home, whichever it was). I thought I was being a Good Samaritan. How wrong I was! There are other Good Samaritans within the MARTA stations sometimes. One time in a station, my token got jammed in a turnstile and wouldn't let me through. Seeing my situation, a black man strode out of the crowd with a transfer ticket and suggested I try another turnstile (and he wouldn't accept payment along with my profuse "thank you"s).

Currently, there is a poor schmuck on trial here in Atlanta on charges of selling a single MARTA token. The idea of the law was to prevent the sale of tokens stolen en masse from machines. But this poor guy's story was that another passenger was having trouble with the machine, so he sold the person a token for face value (75 cents, I think, it has been a while since I have ridden MARTA, as I don't work downtown anymore).

It just seems to me that if someone was selling stolen tokens, they wouldn't sell them one at a time, rather they would offer "quantity discounts". It seems to me that if they were selling a single stolen token at a time, that would be very inefficient. It would also require that the person stand at the machine for long periods of time, which would attract adverse attention. Was the guy in question standing at the machine for long periods of time? Did he have bags of tokens at home? I suppose there could be other "shoes to drop", but at this time, it looks like this poor dude is being put through the ringer for essentially nothing.

And because he is white, there is no one there to holler "racism" at this excessive treatment. It wouldn't be racism if the "perp" was black, either, but some would take that path.

You would think the judge could just "put the fear of God" in his heart, then tell him to "get outta here!", in the spirit of Christmas, but it appears that the judge is hellbent on trying this poor guy, who has the facial expression (on camera) of a whipped dog (I feel that way sometimes), who can't believe what he is being put through for trying to be nice to someone.

We need to pray for this guy (if we are being told the entire story) and we need to pray for this judge, to "soften his heart". There are violent criminals that get better treatment than this guy.

I may add an article link later.
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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Just a Reminder for 2008

"Many of you are well enough off that...the tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." -- Hillary Clinton

Does this sum up her feelings on eminent domain?
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I Found It!...But I Couldn't Find It!

Eureka! I found it!

A day or two ago, the local Atlanta FOX affiliate broadcast an interview with a retired Ga. Tech Chemistry professor (30+ years experience), Dr. Eugene Ashby. Dr. Ashby has written a book, directed towards young college students, that is a scientific analysis of the Creation/Evolution controversy. Judging from the broadcast interview and this article in the Ga. Tech campus newspaper, Technique, it sounds like what I have been trying to convey in my rants/posts on the subject of Intelligent Design. His book is written from the perspective of scientist that happens to be a Christian.

The title of the book is "Understanding the Creation/Evolution Controversy: A Scientific Evaluation Consistent with Both Modern Science and the Bible".

The TV interview ended with a reminder of the title and that the book was on sale in local bookstores.

As I am the president of our adult Sunday School class, I thought this might be a good subject for tomorrow's class, so I set about trying to find a copy of this eagerly awaited book.

I called Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, Borders, Chapter 11, plus a handfull of Christian book stores, I even called the Engineer's Book Store, near the Ga. Tech campus.

Nobody had it in stock! Several stores told me it was on back-order, while others didn't show it in their computer database, at all. As I am looking for this book for Sunday School, I can't cuss about it, though I want to, just out of frustration.

What good is doing the TV interview publicizing a new book, if no one can find the book, especially locally? I am glad that this resource will be available, at some point, but I was hoping to have a copy to pass around in class, tomorrow. Someone really fell down on the job.

Anyway, please read the college paper link (forgive the student typos/editing errors), for an idea of what Dr. Ashby was trying to convey. I think the subject came up because of the Cobb County textbook stickers, reminding us that evolution is a theory (which is true), being back in the news again.
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The Mystery That is Petroleum

I covered this somewhat a few months ago on May 20, with "Changes in the Petroleum Paradigm? ". Questions again are being raised about the abiotic vs. biotic origins of crude oil and natural gas.

Jerome Corsi covers it in more detail. What it is, is the actual mystery as to how crude oil and natural gas form. We geologists understand it (we think), but it doesn't seem to hold up in the chemistry lab, i.e., the current petrogenesis theory cannot be tested. According to Mr. Corsi, putting the supposed precursors, e.g., phytoplankton and zooplankton, under heat and pressure in a laboratory can produce neither crude oil nor kerogen (the organic precursor of oil).

One of the main reasons for the long-standing belief that petroleum is of organic sources is because crude oil and natural gas are usually found in sedimentary rocks (usually sands, sandstones, and limestones). We have plenty of examples of organically-rich shales, which serve as the attributed petroleum "source rocks". These usually-dark shales are thought to form in restricted anoxic (oxygen-poor) ocean basins, e.g., the Black Sea, the deep Gulf of Mexico.

The lack of oxygen in the deep water inhibits the bacteria that would normally consume the "marine snow" that consists of the organics that live within the shallow waters and begin to sink upon death. Over time, the organic rich shales are covered over by younger sediments. The pressure of the overlying sediments and the geothermal gradient-derived heat "cook" the petroleum precursors, called kerogens. Over one million or more years, the organics become the petroleum compounds that we know and love.

Corsi and others push the abiotic idea for several reasons, including the presence of methane (which forms the bulk of natural gas) detected in the primitive atmospheres and ice caps of other planets, e.g., Mars. Astronomer Andrew Gold produced a book "The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels" explores the abiotic petroleum concept, a concept that the Cold-War era Soviet geologists accepted. There is ample evidence of liquid/frozen methane on other planets/celestial bodies, where it is highly unlikely that there were any living organisms.

Because of the small size of the methane molecule (CH4), I could perhaps see it forming by abiotic processes, but I have trouble envisioning the abiotic formation of the larger petroleum molecules.

And I hope that Jerome Corsi is just joking when he repeatedly attributes organically-derived crude oil as being from dinosaurs. There were not enough dinosaurs to form the quantities of oil present, some oil is older than dinosaurs, and dinosaurs were usually in the oxic (oxidizing zone), thus when they died, they usually were eaten by other critters after they died.
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Friday, December 16, 2005

Ephemera...

Things that are short-lived. Such as a glass of good beer, a beautiful sunset, life, and some blogs.

A couple of months ago, it was Chrenkoff signing off, though you can still go there for archival purposes, especially to remind yourself of the good news from Iraq, you know, the stuff you don't hear from the MSM.

Don't Get Stuck on Stupid was around for a short period of time.

Now it is Naaman the Ex-Leper signing off. Again, you might consider visiting there while the blog is still posted, to read some of the posts.

All things must pass. It is a shame to lose these blogs while DailyKos, Democratic Underground, and Liberal Avenger persist.
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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Jane, You Ignorant Slut!

With apologies to Saturday Night Live.

Jane Fonda is at it again. From this NewsMax article, she is again stricken with verbal diarrhea. She has taken to calling American soldiers "killing machines". From the article:

""Hanoi Jane" Fonda is claiming that ever since Vietnam, U.S. troops have been trained to commit atrocities against innocent civilians as a matter of military policy.

"Starting with the Vietnam War we began training soldiers differently," the anti-American actress says in an email to the Washington Post."

[How many times do I have to say "Oh please!", while I roll my eyes? In most cases since Vietnam, we have made efforts to avoid civilian casualties, often at the cost of more U.S. lives. Where does she get this stuff? From the DailyKos? From Michael Moore?

If our soldiers are trained differently, it is because warfare has changed since WWII, not that she would know that, of course.]

The article continues:

..."This began," Fonda maintained, "because the military discovered that in World War II and Korea, [U.S.] soldiers weren't killing enough." [Hey Jane, we killed enough enemy soldiers in WWII, that is why we won. Politics screwed up Korea.]

"So they changed training procedures" to teach troops how to commit atrocities.
Still, the anti-war gadfly cautions, it's important not to blame the soldiers themselves for carrying out war crimes.
[Jane, go ahead and move to England and keep Gwyneth Paltrow company.]

Recalling the "Winter Soldier" hearings that she and John Kerry staged in 1971, Fonda lamented: "When you put young people into an atrocity-producing situation where enemy and civilian are commingled, where the 'other side' is dehumanized, we cannot be surprised.""


[OK, Jane. Who does the commingling? Could it be the un-uniformed guerrillas that commingle with the peasants? Could it be Arab terrorists that hide among civilians and store their weapons in mosques? And weren't a number of the "Winter Soldiers" fakes?]

The article concludes with:

"We have not learned the lessons of Vietnam," she declared.

[No, Jane. We have learned. We don't carpet bomb anymore like we did. We tried not to destroy the infrastructure of Baghdad. We don't kill civilians on purpose.

Jane, you (rather you and your idiotic, traitorous comrades) are the ones that didn't learn the lessons of Vietnam. Especially the one about retreating and leaving a power vacuum in which thousands of people were killed by the very philosophy that you professed to embracing, Communism.]

The bottom line is that people of Jane Fonda's ilk are ready to believe the worst about their homeland, their soldiers, their people, their president. It is always the fault of the U.S..

THIRDWAVEDAVE has a post on this subject, too.

[If anyone else used this same title, forgive me, as I have been between the second job and finals this week, I haven't had much time to blog or surf.]
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The Cobb County Evolution Stickers...

Are back in the news today. A higher court is looking at the case. They were removed after a lower court proclaimed them to be a violation of the First Amendment.

From this Atlanta Journal Constitution article:

The disclaimers read: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

Will anyone with an open mind tell me what is wrong with that statement?

Macro-evolution is the changing from one species to another. That it has happened is what the fossil record is all about. There is a progression of species and there are transtional forms. Between fish and amphibians there are transitional forms. Between amphibians and reptiles there are transitional forms. Between reptiles and mammals and between reptiles and birds there are transitional forms. The difference in opinions is on "how it happened".

There is a great deal in nature which we cannot conclusively prove, but there exists a preponderance of evidence. This includes Evolution and Plate Tectonics. Neither can be proven, but then neither can be disproven, either.

When handled by sensible people, it is not intended to be a "slap at evolution". Theories represent the best current understanding and represent acceptance by the scientific community. But that shouldn't render them immune from discussions.

The Politburo Diktat has a short post about it, wherein I yammered more about the subject.

Hay Chewed (previous related posts/rants): November 26 - 1, November 26 - 2, November 16, November 12, and September 30 (with more links within).
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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Pam - It's OK to Question Their Patriotism...

Pam at Blogmeister USA is one of the numerous bloggers that addressed the issue of the child's poison-pen card, sent to a wounded soldier at Walter Reed Army Hospital. It earlier had come to the attention of Michelle Malkin, who in turn gave it the widespread attention it deserved, in order to attempt to undo some of the damage.

After the recent statements of John Kerry and Howard Dean and John Murtha and yada, yada, and now a child... Pam rightly asked - "Can We Question There Patriotism Now? Please?"

To which the answer is "We should have already been doing so and not backing down when challenged." There is so much that the MSM has not told us about Democrat treachery or else we have forgotten, because the MSM has no interest in reminding us. By way of a VanguardPAC email, with a link to an American Spectator article, comes some reminders of treasonous acts after 9/11 and before the Iraq invasion. Acts that, if not perpetrated, might have "headed off" the war, or at least taken more of the wind out of the supporters of Saddam Hussein.

Near the end of the article, by guest commentator Joan Swirsky, comes this quote from Andrew E. Busch, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California: “This species of Democrats are once again proving, as they did in Vietnam in 1974-75, in Central America in the 1980s, and in Iraq during 2004, that they would rather lose a war than lose an election.”

..."they would rather lose a war than lose an election." That nails it. That so well describes the actions of so many prominent Democrats that it is easier to name the ones not involved than the ones involved. Let's see, there is Senator Joe Liberman, former Senator Zell Miller,...ah...uh..., well, who else? I am sure that there are some Democrats that are silently suffering, rather than risk losing funding by speaking out against the "big dogs". They can't all be bad.

Ms. Swirsky's article includes one of the more egregious examples of Democrat treachery, a January, 2002 visit by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-VW), described by Senator Rockefeller himself: "I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq — that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11."

With this in mind, does it surprise anyone that we have only found a small portion of the suspected WMDs that we expected, in Iraq? If Saddam Hussein had heeded Senator Rockefeller's words, there would have been more than one year to move said WMDs to Syria, and elsewhere. And how many Iraqis might have been murdered in that time to cover-up the WMD program(s) and where the weapons were shipped?

And do you remember the pre-invasion (early 2003 - I think) visit to Iraq by U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Michael Thompson, and former Rep. David Bonior? I believe that was the one where Rep. McDermott said (or at least hinted) that President Bush was a liar and that he (McDermott) would believe Saddam Hussein before he would President Bush.

Instead, if McDermott gave a damn about our nation, rather than his party, he might have leaned over and whispered in Saddam's ear "This guy Bush is serious, you better grab a couple of $ billion and head for exile in Syria.", the war might not have happened. Now Iraq still would have needed to be verified WMD-free by the U.S. or UN, but things might have been different.

"They would rather lose a war than lose an election." Remember those words. They would probably rather lose a war because:

1) It would make President Bush and the Republican Congress look bad.
2) They (the Democrats) would and could fix it after the war was over.
3) If the Democrats couldn't fix it, they could just blame the war on: Bush/Cheney/Rove/Israel/Haliburton/Oil companies/SUVs/Jews/Christians/ Reagan/Gingrich/Delay/American Imperialism/Global Warming...

Now I suppose that Sen. Rockefeller could claim that he was just trying to avert war, but it ain't his job to go to those countries on his own. Remember, this was just 4 months after 9/11. I will "leave the door cracked" on the possibility that President Bush sent him there for that purpose, but I just don't think so.
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Random Musings on Computer Lock, Writer's Block, and High Pressure Systems

Like most 3 year-old family computers, ours has too much "stuff" on it and I am responsible for most of it, except the computer games, for which my kids are responsible.

As in real life, I am a cyber-packrat, keeping too many links to too many articles that are probably no longer there. Keeping too many pictures,...

The result is that sometimes the cursor/mouse "freezes up" and I have to shut the computer down, losing whatever I was working on. Sometimes "Recover post" works, sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes when you lose a post after working on it, whether it be 10 minutes or an hour, it can trigger "writer's block", after you silently scream "That was my best post, ever!". Well, you know what I mean.

I will rebuild the posts that I lost later, probably tonight, if issue #3 doesn't keep me down too much.

Which is High Pressure Weather Systems. Any of you that suffer sinus problems and/or migraines know the discomfort and pain that accompany the arrival of weather changes and high pressure systems. Plus High Pressure Systems bring more wind and less clouds = less Greenhouse Effect = colder temps.

So I will post more when I feel better.
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Friday, December 09, 2005

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm"

But not in the humorous way that Arsenio Hall used to do. But rather in a worried way. When we worry "What aren't they telling us?".

On WorldNetDaily, there is a Jack Cashill article an incident involving American Airlines Flight 612, leaving LAX for Chicago, during the Thanksgiving weekend. It seems that there was the radar image of something that left the ground and closely "followed" AA612 for about 50 seconds, at an altitude of 7,500 feet, while the airliner was climbing away from the airport. There was a visual sighting, of what appeared to the pilot as a rocket.

Was it a Stinger-type missile that malfunctioned? This is why the War on Terror is a necessity, to try to head-off these sorts of attacks before they happen. We can't protect every airliner as it lands or takes off. We can't protect every shopping mall. Every pipeline. That is why we have to take it to them and try to keep them looking over their shoulders.

If AA612 had gone down due to a missile, there would be some (Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, Howard Dean,...) that would immediately blame President Bush for antagonizing the terrorists by being in Iraq, while the Moonbats would say that the CIA did it to distract us from the failures in Iraq.

Everything is not a conspiracy, but that doesn't mean that nothing is. We will probably not get any satisfactory answers from the government, as they have a vested interest in keeping the flying public calm during the Christmas season.

You just have to wonder how many "OMG moments" there have been, when "we" dodged a "bullet", since 9/11. Some of it we will learn in the coming years, as the histories are written. But some of it will likely remained hidden.

We were advised of the hidden nature of some of the coming "battles" during President Bush's 9/20/2001 speech. We were advised that this might be an "asymmetrical war", where we lose more civilians than military. The battlefield losses (not including accidents) of Iraq and Afghanistan are still lower than the civilian losses of 9/11. Does the MSM remind us of this?

Such is the world in which we live. There are significant flaws in the Bush prosecution of the War on Terror, e.g., U.S. border issues and being hamstrung by PC proponents, but under an Al Gore or John Kerry administration, it would most likely be worse.
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What is the Price of Oil?

That is one of the "trailers" for the new movie "Syriana". I haven't read any conservative analysis (and I would need more than one source), so I have no idea whether this movie is driven by Lib/Leftist agendas, or not. Or does it raise legitimate questions?

A fact which is stated often by Rush Limbaugh is that "oil is the fuel of the industrialized world". At various times, it used to be coal and wood and whale oil. With improvements in technology, there will be more diversity in energy sources in the future, which is good. But for the meantime, oil is a world resource. Some of the more diverse energy sources may be utilized most efficiently on a local scale, but anything helps.

I mention this because of the misunderstanding that some folks have as to our strategies in various parts of the world. They are not entirely altruistic nor are they entirely self-serving.

I don't believe that the United States has a tangible desire to be an empire. I do believe that the United States is largely dedicated to trying to preserve a semblance of stability around the world, so that Capitalism can "do it's thing". I believe that when we dedicate ourselves to helping get the Iraqi oil production & pipeline system "up to snuff", it is not so we can get all of the oil, rather it is so the oil can reach the stable world market, where it can enter the world of supply and demand. This stable flow of oil benefits the United States, but it also benefits others, too ("A rising tide lifts all boats" - attributed to President Kennedy).

In summary, I believe that the United States has a goal of trying to maintain a level of world stability, so the free-market place can do its work. This strategy is self-serving on its face (because of the profit margin), but also altruistic because, when given time, the benefits of the free-market system can spread far and wide. It has worked before, it can work again.

Of course, there is going to be some corruption (hey, we are talking about humans here), so there are needs for oversight. Not just by bureaucrats, but by honestly informed citizens. That is what "Checks and balances" are about. Our founders had the right idea, in more ways than one. For long-term success, Capitalism needs a framework of morality, to counteract the downsides of human behavior. And it is this Judeo-Christian framework of morality, along with Capitalism, that has brought so much prosperity to the developed countries. And moral failures are not because of this Judeo-Christian culture, but because individuals (and certain groups) have drifted away from these cultural tenets.

No, I haven't been drinking this morning, nor doing anything else I shouldn't. I am just trying to maintain faith in what I believe to be a good nation, a good people. I think some (not all) Lib/Leftists simply hate their home, perhaps because they are frustrated with their own failures or perhaps it is because of our human failures of not living up to what we could be or what we should be.

Some people get caught up in the siren song of Socialism and its promises of equality and harmony. It sounds good, but what system has the best track record? I suspect that some Lib/Leftists despise America because we (the people) often chose not to follow the "more mature, sophisticated Europeans". We are defying their secret desires to control people. Yes, total control is theoretically more efficient, but what of the proven track record?

We are not going to ever reach Utopia on Earth by way of human works, so we instead need to focus on the good and the better with a realization of how "better" and "good" come to be.

If the American-driven Capitalist system was as pervasively corrupt as suggested by Lib/Leftists, it simply wouldn't work as efficiently as it usually does. In a world of pervasive corruption, business would not proceed as smoothly as it usually does, because no one could trust anyone else and business progress would greatly slow. It just wouldn't work.

When the Left chips away at our moral foundations, e.g., attacks on the Boy Scouts, attempts to remove all references to God in the public place, attacks on traditional marriage, attacks on the faithful,... it is chipping away at the underpinning of our humanly-flawed, but mostly successful economic system, the envy of millions around the world.
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Note to San Francisco Police Officers...

Re: "the video"...

Don't ever assume anything is going to remain private in the internet age.

While the shoes continue to drop, I will leave the commentary to those more articulate.
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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Last Day of Classes...

Got too much to do...will probably blog late tonight, if I don't fall asleep at the computer.
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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

While in Solemn Remembrance of Pearl Harbor...

If we could transport modern day MSMers, Lib/Leftist pundits, and Demoron politicians (Democrat + moron = Demoron) back to the first few months after Pearl Harbor, what might they have been saying? Perhaps it might have been something like this...

Howard Dean would have said it would take 5 years to rebuild our navy before we could confront Japan, so we better pull back our forces from Hawaii to the mainland.

John Kerry would have said that Japan was not responsible for the Bataan Death March. If we had not been occupying the Philippines, there would have been no need for the Death March.

Nancy Pelosi would have worried about the civilians killed during the Jimmy Doolittle air raid on Tokyo.

Ted Kennedy would have said that President Roosevelt knew about the threat, but he ignored it so his defense contractor buddies would make money off the war.

Michael Moore would have made a movie that would have told us why our aircraft carriers were not at Pearl Harbor. They were busy launching the airplanes, painted like Japanese fighters and bombers, that attacked Pearl Harbor.

Al Gore would have gone into his "black preacher" persona and hollered that Germany did not attack us at Pearl Harbor, rather, President Roosevelt attacked Germany to distract from the failures in the Pacific war theatre.

Jimmy Carter would have explained that Mr. Hitler was simply trying to unify Europe under a single flag and that we should have signed a peace treaty instead of invading Normandy.

Jesse Jackson would have said that we attacked German forces in Africa because we wanted the natural resources of Africa and that we just wanted the Germans out of there so we could have all of the gold, diamonds,...

Ward Churchill would have said that we should not help the British, because the British were responsible for most of the 17th and 18th century immigrants that stole the land from the Indians.

Louis Farrakan would have blamed the Jews for provoking Germany into attacking France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Britain,...

One of my uncles got polio while in Northern Africa during WWII. Dennis Kucinich would have blamed that on an American germ-warfare experiment gone awry.

Another uncle was seriously injured while in Army training. When he jumped into a trench with a BAR on his back, the 15.5 lb. rifle cracked him in the back of the skull sufficiently to where he received a medical discharge. Of course that was President Roosevelt's fault for making our soldiers carry such heavy weapons.

While we were fighting the Battle of Midway, Senate hearings on the Pearl Harbor attack would have demanded the presence of Admiral Nimitz and Rear Admirals Spruance and Fletcher, to explain the lack of preparation at Pearl Harbor.

Barbara Boxer would have been demanding a Senate investigation as to why the Doolittle bombers ran out of fuel and had to crash-land after bombing Tokyo.

Editorial cartoonists would regularly have made fun of President Roosevelt being in a wheelchair, by telling him to "stand tall against the enemy".

Pat Buchanan would have been hollering that we shouldn't be helping the Soviets because they were Communists.

Well, by now you get the picture. The Axis powers could not have been defeated without the United States, despite the brave efforts of the British, Australians, free French, Canadians, Soviets,... The United States could not have sustained the effort with the amount on infighting that is going on now on the homefront in the War on Terror.

The War on Terror is just as serious as WWII, though it is vastly different. Failure was not an option in WWII nor it is now.
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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" Speech...

Is the subject of a long post over at Bob Parks Black & Right blog.

The seed of the post was a radio interview with Shelby Steele in which Shelby suggested that Dr. King's parents were staunch Republicans.

Interspersed with his commentary and analysis are segments of Dr. King's speech and historical excerpts from a Larry Elder column. The bits from Larry Elder's column remind us of the history of the "southern wing" of the Democrat Party and its sordid involvement in the foundation of the Ku Klux Klan, the Jim Crow era, and other related events.

That is not to say that all Democrats were like that, but if the American public only knew, perhaps the Democrats might be more careful of the stones that they throw, owing to the fact that they live in a glass house. But then again, maybe not. Self-analysis doesn't seem to be their strong point right now.

Go give both of these pieces a read.
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Where Does It Stop?

In just the last few days...

John Murtha, Nancy Pelosi, among others, are calling for us to cut and run.

John Kerry likens our military personnel to terrorists.

Now, by way of Lifelike Pundits, during an interview with a San Antonio radio station, Howard Dean continued this treasonous streak. Confederate Yankee calls him Captain Meltdown. From the radio station's website:

..."Saying the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong," Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean predicted today that the Democratic Party will come together on a proposal to withdraw National Guard and Reserve troops immediately, and all US forces within two years.

Dean made his comments in an interview on WOAI Radio in San Antonio.


"I've seen this before in my life. This is the same situation we had in Vietnam. Everybody then kept saying, 'just another year, just stay the course, we'll have a victory.' Well, we didn't have a victory, and this policy cost the lives of an additional 25,000 troops because we were too stubborn to recognize what was happening.""

No, you traitorous, sanctimonious ass, we had a victory within sight in Vietnam. The Viet Cong/North Vietnamese were considering giving up after they lost the Tet Offensive in 1968. But people of your ilk, including Walter Cronkite, made them believe if they held on long enough, we would give up. Before we finally gave up and Democrats choked off funding aid to the South Vietnamese government, thousands more Americans and Vietnamese died. And thousands more died after the South Vietnamese government fell.

The same thing will happen in Iraq if we cut and run. The people that "have gone out on a limb" in Iraq will be left hanging and then murdered by the resurrected Baathist Party (or whoever else sweeps into the vacuum).

"United We Stand... Divided We Fall." Governor Dean - WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

Governor Dean, you (and your damned fellow travelers) are telling the Islamist terrorists in Iraq to keep on killing our soldiers, we will get tired and give up before too long.

We are in Iraq to try to prevent future 9/11-style attacks. Instead, you are sending a message to the Islamists that we don't have the strength to hold out for the long run. They can wear us down.

HOW FAR DOWN THE RIVER ARE YOU WILLING TO SELL US?
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Monday, December 05, 2005

Revisiting Grey Eagle's blog

If you visit Grey Eagle's blog, scroll part way down the right side of the page and you will find the info about the 49 female American military personnel that have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, as part of the War on Terror. Pictures of the most recent ones are posted on the main page.

This link shows photos and bios of all 49. One can only wonder how much smaller that list might be if we had all been more united. If John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, Ted Turner, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton,...et al, had not given "Aid and Comfort". If they had not given the impression that we might give up, if things got "hot enough".

Let's see, the feminists wanted more women in combat and now they pick up protest signs and march with those that encourage the enemy to kill more of our soldiers, resulting in the deaths of more American women (as well as Iraqi women in the terrorist homicide bombings). Does Ward Churchill want to see the fragging of female military officers?

All of these women chose this profession. All of them chose to stand in harm's way. I am sure that some were fearful upon receiving their orders to "ship out". That is normal. They could have run for the border, they could have gotten pregnant to avoid this hazardous duty. But they didn't.

If we stay the course, until we can honestly say that we tried all we could, their lives will not have been wasted. It may take another year or more to assess the progress.

If we cut and run now, as Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, John Murtha, et al, want, the mission will not have been completed. And their lives (and all of the others), including the Iraqis helping us (that will be murdered in the power vacuum), will have been wasted.
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A Good Iraq Post from Naaman the Ex-Leper

From one of the blogs referenced in the previous post, Naaman the Ex-Leper has this post about the Iraq war, in which succusses, doubts, mistakes, and reservations are discussed, which is fine. Naaman closes with:

..."Or, to quote a testimony that I highlighted in a previous post: "We’re in a crappy situation, and it’s time for all of America to stand together, put on the big boy pants, and get through the next few years.""

There is far more wisdom here than you will ever find in the mind of Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, John Kerry,...

Naaman also has a link to Greyhawk's post on the Iraq War (1990 - 2003) at Mudville Gazette.

The Iraq War is about taking out one of the sponsors of Islamist terror and trying to establish an island of stability in its place. WMDs are of course the worst-case scenario, but they are not the only concern. If left un-opposed, Islamists would likely bring explosive belts into our shopping malls, food courts, movie theaters, concerts, sporting events,...just as they do in Israel. We are the ones at a disdavantage. We have rules, they don't.
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Re: The Parental Notification Debate

I have things to do, so I hadn't planned on blogging anymore today, at least until later, but I decided to visit the After Abortion blog, then followed a link to Naaman the Ex-Leper, then followed a link to RealChoice blog, where I encountered this story, used by the "prochoice crowd" (including the ACLU) as fodder for their campaign against Parental Notification Laws.

The linked story, in a nutshell, was that a 13 year-old Idaho girl (Spring Adams) was raped by her father and became pregnant. She attempted to arrange for an abortion in Portland, OR and while waiting for assistance and transportation, the "Einsteins" at the social services agency returned her to her father, who shot her to death before she could leave to receive the abortion. Now instead of addressing the issue of returning her to the criminal, the ACLU claimed "The local social services agency would have refused to pay for her medical care because abortions are not covered by medical assistance -- even in rape or incest cases."

From the RealChoice post:

..."According to this site, the Idaho Health Department set the ball in motion for Spring's abortion, contacting an the Portland abortionist. Spring was returned to her abuser for two weeks while her self-appointed helpers worked to arrange the abortion. And then they have the unmitigated gall to blame parental involvement laws for her death!"

As far as I know, all Parental Notice Legislation has "safety valves" for cases such as this.

Salient Question #1 should be: Why wasn't the father of Spring Adams "under the jail"?

Salient Question #2 should be: Why was she sent back into the clutches of the very man that raped her?

If Parent Notification Legislation comes up for debate in your state, make sure that there are "safety valves" and that you know how to tell other people of them, as this story and others are the primary tool that opponents will use. Most sexual abuse of underage girls is not by their married, biological (or adopted) fathers. This case was an exception. Most abuse is by the mother's boyfriend or the girl's stepfather.

[Update: Spring Adams was not killed by Parental Notification Laws. She was killed by her evil, rapist father. In my opinion, most responsible pro-lifers probably want the "safety valves" in the Parental Notification Laws, even if we don't like the probable end result (abortion). The people "handling" Spring Adams shouldn't have sent her back to her father, and that ain't just 20/20 hindsight.]

Hay Chewed: I previously posted on this twice on November 30, here and here.
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Sick, Sick, Sick...and Sad

On Townhall.com this morning, Dr. Mike S. Adams informs us of a recent booth set-up at the University of Texas - San Antonio, patterned after one at the University of Texas - Austin. It was set up by Atheist Agenda and was titled Smut for Smut, where people could exchange religious materials, presumably Bibles, for pornography.

Gee, did the campus hassle them for being intolerant of the beliefs of others as they often do for Christians and Jews that dare worship in public? Did the campus feminists shut them down for passing out pornography? Probably not. How often do feminists speak out against Ted Kennedy and his treatment of women? Or how often do feminists speak out against Bill Clinton and his treatment of women? (Actually, that is grist for another post, if not by me, then by someone else.)

My 19 year-old daughter gets highly indignant when I inform her that 20 or 30 years from now, she will look back and be surprised at how clueless she was at age 19. I don't do this to be insulting, but rather to get across to her the lessons that only time can teach. And how those lessons might go a little more easily if parents and others of responsible influence had been listened to.

The same goes for the smug faces in the photograph on the "boingboing" website, posted above. 20 years from now, will these kids be proud of this moment? Will they be proud if their parents find out? Will their own kids be proud of what they did in college? If there is a Judgement Day, will they be able to defend these actions, along with everything else? Will they be able to defend any negative consequences that occurred in the lives of those that took advantage of their offer?

I know that humans do a pretty good job of mangling the messages within the Bible. But I feel certain that more people have salvaged their lives by studying the Bible, especially with help, than have salvaged their lives studying pornography.

And what of any Bibles that they collect? What will they do with them? Will they donate them to homeless shelters? Will they donate them to a Ronald McDonald House, where people might gain solace during difficult times, by reading a donated Bible? Will they burn them? Will they toss them in the nearest dumpster?

Will they defile the memory of all the people around the world that have been murdered simply for owning a Bible?

Do they realize they are defiling the Indonesian Christian schoolgirls that had their heads cut off by Muslims recently?

Do they realize that Islamists would probably hate them even more than they would hate devote Christians handing out religious literature?

If a back-sliding Muslim or someone else turns in a Qu'ran in exchange for pornography, would the college administration fall all over themselves apologizing to offended Muslims and forcing Christian students (but not the offending atheists) to take sensitivity training courses?

Pray for these lost souls and if you ever encounter a table such as this, ask them if they have had any takers of their offers and then volunteer to take the Bibles off their hands for "recycling" (which is what you will be doing when you give them to someone else). And cheerfully tell them, as you walk away, that you will pray for them. That will really get their goat.
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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Some of My Science Photos are Posted...

over at my newest blog georgia-science.com. This is sort of a quasi-commercial effort. My long-term goals are to develop a CD (for sale) with different types of science-related digital images, e.g., plants, trees, geological images, etc..

There is much to do as far as continuing to build the database and there are still formatting issues to deal with.

Other items for sale may include used science books, fossil, mineral, and rock specimens,...

Right now there are a few preliminary photos. The three latest photos will have explanations added soon.
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Enjoy a Beer, Help Rebuild New Orleans

Abita Brewing Co., of Abita Springs, LA suffered the loss of 6,000 barrels of beer during Hurrican Katrina due to the loss of electricity for several days.

Over at Beer Can Blog, there is some info about how you can enjoy a tasty brew (if you live in the Southeast) and help in the rebuild efforts, for those that were not as fortunate as Abita Brewing Co. was.

What a country!
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A Good Resource for Border Info...

is the Minuteman National blog.

Go check it out! The more you know about the Minutemen, the better you will be able to counter the barks of Moonbats.
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Now Here's a Hoot!

Naw, I ain't talking about owls.

While reading Freedom Folks blog, I ran across this post, which references a Yahoo News story in which China urges the United States to join the Kyoto Treaty.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

CHINA IS EXEMPT FROM KYOTO! SO IS INDIA AND MEXICO AND BRAZIL.

China reputedly doesn't want to join Kyoto for fear of hurting their economy. Well isn't that special!

Are there going to be any MSMers or Leftist pundits that are going to complain about China not being part of the Kyoto circus? I guess not wanting to hurt their economy is a valid reason for China, but it isn't when it is President Bush's rationale.
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Unable to Sustain a Logical Debate...

Leftist trolls have been attacking the Milblog of Grey Eagle and apparently this isn't the first time that she has been attacked by these vile cowards that sit in the comfort of their homes and hack and otherwise vandalize this blog (and probably other blogs).

By way of Marathon Pundit, Freedom Folks, and the Right Place, there are more details about the efforts of these cowards. In the meantime, it has been requested that folks visit Grey Eagle and leave some words of encouragement. And do some reading while you are there on the thoughts and sacrifices of our female members of the military.
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It's High Time for "Them" to Assimilate!

They are here but they don't respect certain aspects of the Main Stream Culture, in fact, some of them are downright intolerant and bigoted. They repeatedly attempt to remove long-recognized cultural symbols and practices, through lawsuits and throwing "hissy fits". They will not recognize that tolerance is a "two-way street".

This time, I am not talking about foreign immigrants, I am talking about militant atheists. This time, it is about the Utah Highway Patrol placing 14 crosses around the state to honor the highway patrolmen that have been killed in the line of duty since 1931. Just over half of the crosses are on public property, most of them near where the troopers were killed. These crosses started going up in 1998.

In its ever tolerant manner, the American Atheists organization is filing a lawsuit, in a U.S. District Court, to have the crosses removed. They also want to at least remove the UHP symbol from the crosses.

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

...""The presence of the UHP logo on a poignant religious symbol is an unconstitutional violation of the United States Constitution. It is government endorsement of religion," said (Michael) Rivers, Utah director for American Atheists. "

I have never pretended to be a constitutional scholar, but to begin with, this ain't the Federal Government doing this. It is a state agency and it ain't in violation of the United States Constitution.

Crosses are a common way of honoring our heroes. Just get over it! This is a Judeo-Christian culture. It should be up to the individual families of the fallen troopers. If the cross is OK with them, then don't worry about it. This is not an endorsement of anything, it is the recognition of the basis of our culture. It is not going to bring about a theocracy!

Since the crosses have been going up since 1998, I wonder why they are doing this now? Is it to gain some publicity? Is it to draw some heat off the ACLU? Did the ACLU as them to test the waters?

This is just another skirmish in the broader culture war, of which Rush Limbaugh has been speaking for years.

h/t WorldNetDaily.com
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Friday, December 02, 2005

Reposted: The Climate Change Issue - Revisited, Again

[Originally posted on Nov. 2] Aaron over at Lifelike Pundits has a post entitled "Climate Change Can Be Good!". It includes an excerpt from a NYT article, by Andrew C. Revkin, that decries expected total loss of Arctic tundra, due to the "increasing levels of greenhouse gases" in the atmosphere and the resulting global warming. [Note, these exact words may not have been used in this article, but this is the gist of most of these genera of articles.] Aaron points out some of the benefits to temperatures being somewhat warmer than they were during the last Ice Age.

A quick review. The Greenhouse Effect is the "thickening" of the atmosphere due mainly to the presence of:
Water vapor (as a Greenhouse Gas) and Water droplets/ice crystals (as clouds) compose 90 to 95% of the Greenhouse Effect. Carbon dioxide is a minor player. It is only important as a political tool. It has been increasing since the Industrial Revolution began from approximately 280 ppm to approximately 390 ppm. And there are plausible explanations for this increase, besides human combustion of fossil fuels. This increase represents a change from 0.028% of the troposphere to 0.039% of the troposphere.

Water Vapor/droplets, as the major player in the Greenhouse Effect is subject to fluctuations, seasonally, daily, hourly, in some cases, as the humidity changes and as the cloud cover changes. It changes with the passage of weather fronts.

To use an analogy from my college classes, Atlanta has more of the Greenhouse Effect than El Paso. As follows:

Atlanta - 900 feet in elevation, humid conditions normal, approx. 44 inches of rain per year.
El Paso - 3,700 feet in elevation, dry conditions normal, approx. 8 inches of rain per year.

Atlanta's air is "thicker" resulting in smaller diurnal temperature variations.
El Paso's air is "thinner" resulting in larger diurnal temperature variations.

The more-humid air and heavier cloud cover over Atlanta trap of of the infrared heat emanating upward at night. El Paso's higher elevation and fewer clouds allow more of the stored heat to escape back into space at night, resulting in the greater day to night temperature variation.

There are numerous cycles of natural activity that can affect the Earth's weather, such as Sunspots, solar flares, other variations in solar activity, variations in the Earth's axial inclination and orbit, as well as random events. Some of these cycle cancel each other out, others enhance the effects. In short, change is normal. Whatever happens now has probably happened before.

There have been climatic events that brought atmospheric temperatures as high or higher than they are now, the Holocene Maximum (5,500 to 2,000 BC), the Roman Warm Period, the Medieval Warm Period. Interspaced with these warming events were global cooling events, such as the Dark Ages Cold Period and the Little Ice Age (both within the last 2,000 years).

That is not to say that humans don't affect the climate. Human practices that could cause global warming would include the growth of "Urban Heat Islands" (large cities and metro areas), and deforestation, especially in tropical areas. But because of the background of natural variability, it is difficult to assess the human effects.

Hay Chewed: Previous related posts (with included links) are from November 4, October 27 and October 20.
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Thursday, December 01, 2005

An Excellent Analogy...

Is presented over at Common Folk Using Common Sense, using a football game scenario to compare the situation with those attempting to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq.

I just cannot see how anyone could think that the entire War on Terror could be prosecuted within the confines of Afghanistan. That was the view of one of Neal Boortz's callers today. Don't worry, Neal was fairly polite when he disposed of this caller.

Anyway, head on over and read this post!
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Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Dick Morris has an interesting column making the rounds. It concerns the after-effects of President Clinton's intervention in Bosnia in 1995. It seems that, by design or accident, the nation-building efforts by President Clinton may have paid off.

From the Dick Morris column:

..."Bosnia's three key ethnic/political groups (Muslims, Serbs and Croats) have all agreed to unify their nation and end the tripartite government bequeathed them by the Dayton peace accords negotiated in 1995 after a heavy round of American bombing."

Dick Morris brings this up, not to lionize Clinton, but to point out how it can take 10 years to see some concrete results.

He continues:

..."President Bill Clinton was right to invest in "nation-building" after the U.S. military action in Bosnia, and 2000 presidential candidate George W. Bush was wrong to criticize him for it. And now President Bush is right to push nation-building in Iraq, while ex-President Clinton is wrong to criticize the military action as a "huge mistake.""

I don't recall Republicans being quite as vicious about the "Bosnia adventures" as Democrats are today about Iraq (the stakes are a little higher now in the wake of 9/11). Yes, there was a significant amount of eye-rolling and second-guessing as to President Clinton's motives. There were questions about "Is this really a threat to us?" and "Why doesn't Europe take care of this?". Sometimes you just have to wait for things to play themselves out.

I don't have the time that professional bloggers have to go back and indulge in deep analysis of all of the whos, hows, and whys of Bosnia and related issues. If I find any, I will try to link to them. And I reserve the right to "fine tune" my opinions with the input of more information.

[Uh oh. I just had a thought - If this leads to a truly lasting peace in the Balkans, will this be President Clinton's Nobel Peace Prize? Will the Nobel Committee pee all over it, like they did Jimmy Carter's, by using it as a way to bash President Bush? Personally, I think that perhaps Jimmy Carter should have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize for the Camp David Accords (yes, they were flawed, but at least it has afforded Israel some stability), but Jimmah should have gotten it in the late 1970s or early 1980s. If he had gotten it in a timely fashion, maybe he wouldn't be the angry old crank that he is now.]

[Note: Grump alert! I don't feel like engaging in a back-and-forth about details about Camp David either. If you want to submit something for my reading, do so in a polite manner. The weather changes are making my ears hurt, I still have a class from 9:30 to 10:45 PM tonight, and I am in a grumpy mood. I may be too tired to enjoy a glass of ale after class.

My car's engine is sick and it may be terminal, it depends on why it is running on three cylinders after that "clunk sound". Ford Escort engines of the 1994 1.9L SPI vintage (according to internet articles) are susceptible to dropping valve seats into the cylinder, especially the No. 3 cylinder. I didn't hear any loud clattering, so I don't think it is a valve. Or a local mechanic's wife told me that a connecting rod or piston retaining pin (right term?) might have broken, leaving the piston lodged high enough not to contact the remainder of the rod (re: the lack of internal noise.)

It's not all bad. There is a dinner meeting (before class) of our monthly men's group "2717"- referencing Proverbs 27:17 - "As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another." The prayer and fellowship are great, if any readers in the northeast Atlanta area are interested, drop a comment and I can let you know about future meetings.]
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