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>

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

When They Get There, I Hope Hitler Saved Them a Place "By the Fire"

This post, on Little Green Footballs, by way of Anna's Clue Tank, has a photo of Muslim women in Pakistan holding a sign saying "God Bless Hitler" (are they some of his-intended 72 virgins?). Or maybe he didn't know about those.

Ladies, if all ya'll want to bet your afterlife on God Blessing Hitler, I hope that Hitler will return the favor by saving you "a place by the fire", when you reach your final reward. And I don't think God will be greeting you at the entrance gates, it will be someone else.

When a culture is so steeped in hate, it is going to be self-toxicated and doomed to a stone-age existence of moral and literal poverty.

Hitler warned us of his plans, so have they.

When I Heard About This, I Wondered Who Would Be First to Holler

What it is, is that the founder of Domino's Pizza, Tom Monaghan, wants to build a Catholic religion-centered town in Florida, by the name of Ave Maria.

By way of THM's Bacon Bits and Anna's Clue Tank, I didn't have to wonder long, as the Florida ACLU filled that "need", according to this report by Tucker Carlson. I should have known.

The Florida ACLU is throwing a fit because businesses in this planned town might adhere to Catholic principals. Well, if this town is being built from scratch, folks are going to be moving there by choice, aren't they? I thought the ACLU was all in favor of choice. Or maybe it is just one particular issue on which they favor choice.

Before you move into a new subdivision or town, it is just a fact of modern-day Due Diligence that you research existing covenents and zoning before you buy. If you just have to have the Playboy cable channel, then don't move to Ave Maria.

Right now, this is a private, commercial issue and if the inhabitants of Ave Maria elect their own city government, that is an issue of informed consent. It is not like an existing town has been taken over by a large developer, using eminent domain to acquire land parcels. That would be a more proper issue needing an ACLU response.

If They are Buying, I'm Selling!

By way of Basil's Blog Monday Picnic is this post on THM's Bacon Bits about research that suggests that adult fat cells can be converted into stem cells, that may be more effective than embryonic stem cells.

Let's hope this "pans out" as a way to help people, without the moral/ethical baggage of embryonic stem cells. And maybe I can sell a few million fat cells, if they need any.

That way, maybe next time I lose some weight, I won't turn around and find it again. I manage to lose other things, but of course those I don't find.

Basil's Blog is always a way to find a wide range of reading material, so why dontcha drop by from time to time?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Late One Night Near Terlingua, Texas

By way of Ace of Spades blog, I found my way over to Demure Thoughts blog, where host Jennifer posted on the new James Bond actor, Daniel Craig, and his inability to drive a straight-shift in the Bond Aston Martin.

I commented that my redneck sensibilities were offended and I remarked that when I lived in Texas, in order to be considered an honorary Texan, you had to be able to shift gears, while holding a longneck bottle in your shifting hand (and not spilling any). Now when things got more serious and you had to lean over and shift into 4WD or low range, you had permission to shift the beer to your steering hand.

All kidding aside, I am glad that my daddy taught me the finer points of driving a 4x4, which have paid off in that I have never been stuck in mud. Part of that training was in a late-1940s Jeep, with no power steering, of course.

I have been stuck in loose rocks, loose sand (with a 4x2 pickup), stuck when the ruts were too deep and the truck bottomed out, once with my 4x4 Jeep pickup (there were some memories with that truck) and once with a state-owned 4x2. The last instance was the only time I had to be pulled out by another vehicle, a tractor, 'cause a front wheel had dropped into a hole at a wellsite.

The first time I had to get my Jeep unstuck, I wasn't driving it, a friend was. It was February, 1977, a few weeks after I moved to El Paso for geology grad school at UTEP, and a classmate had said "Hey, let's take off down to Terlingua for the weekend." It was to be a warm weekend, so we left out after our last Friday classes and it takes several hours to get from El Paso to the Terlingua area. After Marfa and Alpine (and a few beers), it gets pretty remote and I was getting tired, so I let Will drive my almost-new Jeep pickup (it only had 5,000 miles on it at that point).

I should have known trouble lay ahead when he said "I know a short-cut" and a few miles later, it was "damn, that gate wasn't there last time". This happened two or three times when we finally ended up, back at the main road, which led to Terlingua.

Once we found the town, we had to find a place to camp out, so we went on past the town, to a road that led to some old cinnabar (mercury) mines (where we planned to do some collecting the next day). Another locked gate and this time there wasn't a place to turn around, so Will was backing down this one-lane dirt road at about 1:30 AM, parallel to a deep arroyo (a dry wash), when I felt the left rear wheel drop into a deep rut that he had driven around on the way up. As I got out to survey the situation, I said something to the effect of "damn Will, what did you do to my new truck?". The left front tire and right rear tire were crammed under their respective wheel wells, essentially the truck was balanced on those two tires. The right front was barely touching the ground, as was the left rear tire, which was in the rut.

We were miles out in the middle of absolutely nowhere, so there was no hope of even finding a place to call a tow truck, plus it ain't a good idea to knock on the door of an isolated ranch house in the middle of the night, unless it was a life-or-death situation, 'cause you might get shot.

Anyway, by that time, adrenaline had awakened me sufficiently to take over the driving duties. I made Will sit on the right front corner of the hood, so as to get some weight (and traction) on the right front tire, as I rocked the truck back and forth - reverse to first to reverse to first,... each time gaining a little momentum, all the while smelling my new clutch burning. After what seemed like 5 minutes, we somehow got out. I was pretty proud of myself, but I was also concerned about what I had done to my poor clutch. I was so busy concentrating on getting out of that deep rut, I don't know how Will managed to cling to the hood. Hey, he was the one that backed the truck into that rut.

[Years later, I had to do the reverse to first to reverse...rocking when I got that 4x2 state truck stuck in loose sand, with an automatic transmission. I hated to do that, but it would have been a long, hot walk (in June) to find someone to pull me out. I am glad that Chevy makes good transmissions.]

After we got out, it seemed like we had to back about a quarter mile (or more) further down that road until we found another road, where we pulled up onto a flat area and called it a night. I slept in the camper of my truck, while Will slept out on the ground (after all, this ain't Brokeback Mountain).

Will, ever the concientious cowboy-type, handed me his loaded .357 magnum and said "If I scream, use this". Rrrright. If he screams, I am supposed to squeeze off a couple of shots into the pitch-black night. There are mountain lions in that area, but fortunately, nothing happened during the remainder of the night. [To paraphrase Jerry Clower, "Just shoot in here amongst us, one of us got to have some relief", in reference to a tree-top encounter with a lynx, while 'coon hunting in the Mississippi Delta.]

When the sun rose the following morning, it was worth the trouble of the night before. The view of the surrounding mountains and hills was breathtaking. We didn't find much in the way of good mineral collecting, but we knocked about the Terlingua area for a number of hours and checked out the town itself, which is largely a ghost town. We did find a small bar in Study Butte, where we encountered an old geezer that swore he was a government agent. Will just leaned over and told me not to argue with him, that either he was telling the truth or he was crazy and we were still relatively in the middle of nowhere and we hadn't told anyone in El Paso where we were going.

It was possible that the old geezer had been contracted by the government to keep an eye on things that might have been "coming or going" in the border area. Again, you don't argue with crazy folks that might be carrying guns.

In all honesty, the Alpine, Texas area is a very pretty area, if you are into arid-climate scenery, where you can see for miles and miles. There is a small college there, Sul Ross State University, where Will eventually transferred to get his Master's Degree in Geology. He later had a small drilling firm, until the "big crash" of oil prices in the 1980s. I have long since lost touch with him. I tried a few years ago to make contact, writing all of his "namesakes" in Texas (that I found on the internet), but to no avail.

Will was the first person I got to know when I moved to El Paso and he was quite a character, the stereotypical redneck cowboy, except he had the utmost respect for rattlesnakes. He would go out at night and catch them for the UTEP Biology Dept. and then release them after their venom had been "milked". He would never kill a rattlesnake, in contrast to a roommate (Tom) I later had from Boston, who wanted to go out and kill rattlesnakes just on general principles. I had never deliberately killed a snake until last summer (2005), when I had to kill a small copperhead that was around a swimming pool, where there were also kids, so I was more comfortable with Will than with Tom. Them damn Yankees.

Anyway, it seemed to be the guys from Northeastern cities that wanted to go out in the desert and shoot snakes and coyotes. Maybe the Texas guys had gotten that out of their system when they were in high school. And maybe the cultures of the Northern cities (NYC, Boston,...) made guns seem like forbidden fruit, so when the Yankees migrated to the southwest, they were fascinated by this taboo. Will was always more responsible with guns, 'cause he had grown up with them, in contrast to the "Northeasterners", including my roommate.

Sorry for rewriting "War and Peace", but the inspiration for this post triggered a lurch down memory lane.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Some Canadian Scientists Sign On to the Idea of Open-Mindedness

By way of, here is a link to a National Post article about some Canadian scientists that have come to the conclusion that Darwinian evolution doesn't answer all of the questions.

Again, this is not an attempt to discard the Theory of Evolution, but rather to honestly attempt to address some of its shortcomings.

At the risk of being nauseatingly repetitive, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. As present-day science cannot answer all of the questions, I don't have a problem with including some philosophical discussions. We are not going back to the days when the mere mention of the word "evolution" could get a teacher fired.

From the article:

..."Tony Jelsma, a Burlington, Ont., native with a biochemistry PhD from McMaster University, said he teaches evolution to his students at Dordt College, a Christian university in Sioux Center, Ind., but points out what he believes are its flaws.

For starters, it cannot explain how the whole process of life on Earth began, he said.
"If you look at the research into the origin of life, there isn't a single, plausible hypothesis or even proposed mechanism [within evolution] that would have worked," he said.

"That is the biggest shortcoming in the whole evolutionary scenario.""

To bring up short-comings in a particular theory does not necessarily discount the theory. It is just how science progresses, except when politics interferes.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Science and Politics...

is a subject oft-written about by Michael Fumento, this time the recent story about the recent discrediting of a Korean paper on embryonic stem cell research in the journal Science. Last year, The Black Republican blog had a good post on evidence that adult and umbilical stem cells were showing more promise than were embryonic stem cells, but the Leftist media wants to promote continued research into the embryonic stem cells, despite the moral "slippery-slope" issues.

There is an accepted method (called the "Scientific Method") by which scientific findings become "consensus science", i.e., they become accepted by the relevant science discipline. The early stages of the process should include the development of "Multiple Working Hypotheses".

When confronting a science mystery, our first hypothesis if often based on our pre-existing biases. With people that believe that Global Warming is a crisis, e.g., Al Gore, every unusual weather event is "proof" of Global Warming.

But it is human nature to not admit personal biases, nor allow for other ideas that compete with "your idea". Responsible scientists should brainstorm with other scientists (and even intelligent, observent people outside the sciences) in order to develop other plausible hypotheses to be investigated.

The final stages of the process, include peer-review of draft reports, which may (and perhaps should) include scientists from other, though-related, disciplines. While I worked for the state of Georgia on a ground-water radioactive-pollution issue, our draft report was submitted to geologists, hydrologists, geophysicists, biologists, chemists, and foresters at the USGS, Ga. Tech, Univ. of Georgia, Georgia State University, U.S. Department of Energy, Georgia DNR, the Southern Company, Clemson University, University of South Carolina, Skidaway Institute, and others. Usually it was only one or two scientists at each entity and the system seemed to work.

Of course current peer-review system is not perfect, no system is. Entrenched paradigms, biases, personality clashes, and politics can make it difficult for new paradigms to become accepted. And I got the feeling that later difficulties with my job came from someone's not being politically-satisfied with the results of the study, i.e., we didn't find any "red flags" that might have been politically-useful to someone, who might have been expecting them. But ever proving that is unlikely.

Add to this the fame and fortune that comes with instant media attention. The media like "breakthroughs", some of which may be early hypotheses that haven't yet made their way through the winnowing process of data collection, measurements, experimentation, and verification. It can take years, or in some cases decades, for a hypothesis to make the transition to accepted theory. Because the process can seem plodding, the media may lose interest (and personal glorification and potential funding may be lost), so sometimes there is a temptation to "fudge" some of the data to get it "finished". Sometimes, in two cited cases in the Fumento article, chronological data get "cut off" in order to show politically-favored results.

I wrote about this last fall over the cycles of hurricane activity and Michael Fumento mentions this, as follows:

..."Fast forward to September 2005, right after Hurricane Katrina. Activists – including those in white lab coats – saw a grand opportunity to tie the exceptionally violent hurricane season to global warming. A study in Science declared, “A large increase was seen in the number and proportion of hurricanes reaching categories 4 and 5.”

But again, the researchers simply cut off their data at 1970, although public statistics go back to 1850."

Why? Because the 1970s began a "quiet cycle" of hurricane activity, which exaggerates the effects of the active cycle which we apparently entered a few years ago. Or as Fumento put it:

"...Because slicing off inconvenient data is a time-honored tool of advocacy science."

To have included even the last active cycle of hurricane activity, from the 1940s through 1970s, would remind people that we have been through this before. That it ain't George Bush's fault.

The same thing happens with reporting of temperatures, of which relatively accurate records have only been kept since about 1880 or so. There is ample evidence for the Little Ice Age climatic event that began around 1350 AD and ended around 1850 to 1880 (based on different intepretations). Before those measurements, we have to rely on proxy data in reconstructing the climate history. But the point is, in the short-term, we are rebounding from the Little Ice Age and in the long-term, we are rebounding from the last of the Pleistocene Epoch (approx. 2 million to 10,000 years ago) glacial periods, of which there were several.

Scientists understand the "never-ending Learning Curve", thus studies are rarely ever "finished". But lawyers and politicians like things "wrapped-up", nice and neat. But nature refuses to comply. We will always have much to learn.

That is the value of the internet and the blogosphere, we can avail ourselves to mulitple sources of information before we draw conclusions, but then you already knew that. That is why politicians (and the UN) would like to put controls on the internet and blogosphere, but you already knew that too.

So if you are skeptical about science & nature-related issues reported in the MSM, Michael Fumento seems to be a good place to start satisfying your healthy, skeptical nature.

Still Trying to Make Up My Mind on the Port Deal

The strange bedfellows are still trying to decide with whom they want to associate and perhaps there are more shoes to drop. Was it Chuck Schumer that was wanting Halliburton to take over the ports?

That Jimmy Carter agrees with President Bush on this makes me nervous. When was the last time Jimmah was right about something? I guess it's the old "blind hog" thing.

When a complex and important move such as this is in the works, there should be a PR campaign ready, not just for the sake of PR, but to inform the public. Right now it is difficult to tell who is grandstanding and who is sincere. Maybe some of the conservatives are carping because they felt blindsided.

Even if it ultimately is a beneficial (or at least benign) move, it needs to be taken more slowly.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Brief History of Stephen Hawking's View of Intelligent Design

I am sure that many people have a vague knowledge of who Stephen Hawking is, a brilliant scientist that has been suffering from ALS for decades, but he still manages to write and to teach, in a manner of speaking. I remember seeing his book "A Brief History of Time" on store shelves years ago, but I never got around to reading it. My bad.

When I decided to write this post, I didn't even know if he was still alive. My bad again. I found this recent interview (from last September) in the UK Guardian. It is a good read. There is a new, shorter, more concise version of his book, now entitled "A Briefer History of Time", perhaps a little simpler than the original.

Dr. Eugene Ashby mentioned Hawking's views on God and creation in "Understanding the Creation/Evolution Controversy", referenced several times in recent posts.

The following statement by Stephen Hawking is the heading for Chapter 1 of Dr. Ashby's book:

"It is difficult to discuss the beginning of the universe without mentioning the concept of God. My work on the origin of the universe is on the borderline between science and religion. But I try to stay this side of the border. It is quite possible that God acts in ways that cannot be described by Scientific laws."

The above passage was from a 1989 interview with Hugh Downs on 20/20, cited in Peter Bocchino's "Macro-Evolution: A Critic of First Principles".

Dr. Ashby suggests that Stephen Hawking, like Albert Einstein, does not view God on a "personal basis", as a matter of deep faith, but rather as, to use the modern term, the "Intelligent Designer" of the universe, Earth, and life.

My goal here is to help convey the knowledge that there are well-respected scientists that see no conflicts between faith in God and science, unlike biologist Richard Dawkins, who speaks with contempt towards people of faith, especially scientists. I found this UK Guardian article from last month, that shows the disdain held by Dawkins, for religious faith.

Hay Chewed: links to previous posts/rants on Intelligent Design will be posted later.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Things That Should Have Been Said

While on the subject of the "Tommy Chong voice", I am assuming that if any readers went to college in the 1970s, they are familiar with "Cheech and Chong" and their brand of humor, including Tommy Chong's "Hey man,..." statements and the tone in which they were delivered. Seeing him on rerun's of "That 70's Show" brings back memories. If you went to college in the 1970s and you haven't heard Cheech and Chong (even if you didn't live like that), you are hereby branded "Culturally Illiterate".

As we look back on life, there are times when we wish we had had a good comeback or remark when we were confronted with profound stupidity.

One incident in mind was an incident with a "red-haired Aggie kid". No, not the Texas A & M Aggies, but the New Mexico State Aggies. Now the campus at Las Cruces is a pretty campus in a neat medium-sized city, so I am not trashing New Mexico State nor the city, but rather this one college student in this one incident.

It was early 1986 when my wife and I and another couple had gone to Las Cruces to a Stevie Wonder concert. Now I know that Stevie is a flaming Lib, but it was still a good concert.

As we were going through the turnstile, I reached over my wife's shoulder to hand our two tickets to the red-haired Aggie kid, who tore off the stubs, as he was supposed to. He then quickly turned and threw the stubs into a box behind him.

When he turned back around, we had not had time to get through the turnstile yet and he looked at me and said "You can't come in here.". I asked him "Why?". He said "Because your tickets have already been torn" (in all seriousness, apparently). I don't give the "evil eye" very often, but I did that time, while just saying "Rrrright.". And we just went on through.

Looking back, I wish that I had, in a Tommy Chong voice, said outloud to him "Hey man, are you stoned or something?". The attention drawn to him, no doubt, would have been entertaining.

Ah, opportunities lost.

Once Upon a Time, the NSA Might Have Listened...

to my phone calls.

It wasn't because of my life of intrigue (Heh).

It was because in the summer of 1981 or 1982, I let an artist stay in my apartment in El Paso while I journeyed back to Georgia to visit family and friends. I was gone for several weeks and during this time, this artist, a member of the "Postal Art Network" was in touch with others sharing some of his same interests. In fact, when I got back, he said to me "Hey man, I hope you don't mind that I called a couple of people in Czechoslovakia while you were gone." [Say it to yourself in your best "Tommy Chong voice" to get an idea of the mindset.]

Even then, as a Liberal (in the classical sense), I had read the book "Puzzle Palace", about the NSA (I have forgotten the author's name) and I knew that the NSA likely listened for "key words" on international phone calls. To this day, I have never made an international phone call nor received one, so I didn't lose any sleep over that.

He paid for the phone calls, but I did kind of wonder what these phone calls to Eastern Block countries (remember this was 1981 or 1982) might have done as far as triggering a file. When I asked him "What about the NSA?", he kind of had a blank look that suggested that he had no clue, thus it was not worth fussing at him about.

If they did listen for a while, I am sure that the NSA quickly found out that "he ain't worth listenin' to, all he does is talk about beer and rocks". Even now my kids don't even listen, but that is another story.

By the way, when I lived in that apartment building (which was reputed to be haunted), just up the hill lived a "Liberal gun nut". He reputedly had a stash of several dozen guns because he was worried about a "rightwing takeover" of the country after the Reagan election. I just wonder, after the Reagan Administration was over and the sky didn't fall (but the Berlin Wall did), did he have a change of political heart, like I did? I suppose I could look up his phone number (presuming it is listed) and call him in my best Tommy Chong voice and say, over long-distance phone, "Hey man, do you still have those 45 guns you had stashed away years ago?", though I doubt he would see the humor in the moment.

Ready and Waiting for Hillary?

If Hillary Clinton is ever elected President (gasp!), she will probably have waiting for her a nifty little database of political enemies, left over and squirreled away from her previous White House stint.

Remember the 900 FBI files? Presuming that they were returned, how many were copied? It would be pretty naive to assume that they didn't copy at least the "juiciest" ones or the files of the "big fish" of political enemies.

On FrontPageMag this morning, there is an article about one of the Clinton-era domestic spying programs, known as VAAPCON, otherwise known as the Violence Against Abortion Providers Task Force. What kind of database was left behind from this effort?

The FrontPageMag article reminds us:

"In 1993, the first Islamist terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City killed six, caused a billion dollars in damage, and had the potential to topple one of the World Trade Center, killing up to 20,000 people. [If this bombing had succeeded in toppling one tower into the other and both collapsed, the death toll would have probably been upwards of 30,000.]

In 1993, the Federal Bureau of Investigation thwarted an al-Qaeda
"A Day of Terror" plan to attack New York City's Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, George Washington Bridge, the Manhattan Federal Building, and the headquarters of the United Nations."

So after these two pre-9/11 Islamist "warning shots", the Clinton Administration decided it was time to go on the offensive against conservative Christians and other pro-lifers.

Now most sensible people see that bombing abortion clinics and killing abortion doctors is a criminal act, not to mention that it is not going to end the practice of abortion. And "in-your-face" politics is not an effective way to get your message out to the mainstream culture. The wackos that did the abortion clinic bombings and killings were just that, fringe wackos.

But since individual wackos are hard to track down and monitor, the Clinton Administration decided to cast a sweeping net, by spying on a number of different Conservative groups and individuals, even those that weren't specifically "pro-life".

From the article:

..."According to the U.S. Justice Department, VAAPCON “was charged with determining whether there was a nationwide conspiracy to commit acts of violence against reproductive health care providers.” The more than 900 targets of all this surveillance included the Christian Coalition, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Women’s Coalition for Life, Feminists for Life, Americans United for Life, the 600,000-member Concerned Women for America, the National Rifle Association, the American Life League, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, and even then-Roman Catholic Cardinal of New York John O’Connor."

..."“What in the world are Janet Reno, Hillary, Bill, and their VAAPCON task force doing using law-enforcement personnel to infiltrate, collect, and assemble database information of this type?” asked then-Judicial Watch general counsel Larry Klayman, who had obtained VAAPCON documents through Freedom of Information Act requests. “We were told by one source that some in the FBI objected to the monitoring of these groups on legal and ethical grounds but were overruled by upper levels at Justice.”"

The article continues:

..."The Clintons, however, were willing to stretch every legal power against those they regarded as politically incorrect. Anti-abortion protestors, for example, have been prosecuted under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) statutes enacted to go after organized crime. Clinton’s power-grabbing RICO precedent could be used by other presidents to punish almost every kind of protest, from the Boston Tea Party to animal rights and environmental activism."

..."The ACLU has voiced no objection to this, nor has it demanded that VAAPCON tapes and dossiers be destroyed as unconstitutional invasions of religious privacy.

VAAPCON provided both intimidation and political surveillance of groups and individuals on the Clinton enemies list. When questioned, one FBI agent
told Insight Magazine that this use of VAAPCON’s database gathering “is wrong and it ought to be exposed for what it is, a political witch-hunt.”"

So what ultimately happened to the files on these groups and individuals? Did those that called these groups for information or visited their websites then become targets for surveillance?

Neal Boortz and others that have met Bill and Hillary Clinton have commented on Bill's engaging personality and his ability to maintain a faux aura of warmth and concern. Some of those same people have commented on the coldness in Hillary's eyes and what might lie behind those cold eyes. When a driven person gets that close to the prize, all pretext of fair play goes out the window. Witness the recent behavior of Al Gore and John Kerry. Bill Clinton got his prize, but Hillary hasn't gotten hers yet.

The persona of President Bush doesn't suggest that he would be the kind to assemble an "enemies list" of political opponents, a la Richard Nixon and the Clintons. President Nixon perhaps had his own personal demons that produced that sort of paranoia, but the Clintons come by it "more honestly", based on the persona of modern Lib/Leftists, based on their Communist mentors and their mentors' love for secret police, dossiers, etc., on political opponents. And the paranoia borne of Lib/Leftists' projections of their attitudes and practices onto others, the "If we are doing it, they must be doing it too" mentality.

I think most of us know that the NSA listening program is not a "domestic spying program" a la VAAPCON or the 900 FBI files in the White House.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Clarification of Terms for Intelligent Design Discussions

As the discussions/rants about Intelligent Design are scattered over a number of months of posts, from time-to-time it is necessary to refresh some of the components of the debate. A few months ago, Dodo David, over at Lifelike Pundits, discussed some of the aspects of this issue and may have had the same link as above. I should have acknowledged it at the time, but I may have been in one of my "blogger's block/blues and blahs" phases. Sorry.

This time it is mainly about the players. The title link is to and therein are more detailed descriptions and definitions.

"creationists" (Small "c") Also known as Theistic Evolutionists and Old Earth Creationists (of which I am one). Believe in God's creation of the universe, Earth, and life while allowing for the possibility of an old universe (17 billion years), an old Earth (4.6 billion years), and evolution in some fashion, perhaps under a "guiding hand". Dr. Eugene Ashby, previously discussed, falls into this category. In his book "Understanding the Creation/Evolution Controversy", Dr. Ashby suggests that Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking both believed in a "super intellect" having had a "hand" in the creation of the universe (Re: The Big Bang Theory), thus they would probably fall into this category. This category is often ignored/scorned/mis-identified by the Leftist MSM and the Evolution & Creation zealots in the debate.

"Creationists" (Big "C") Also identify themselves as Creation Scientists, Young Earth Creationists, and include Flood Geologists. Believe in the literal interpretation of the Genesis account and an Earth age of 6,000 to 10,000 years old. Generally believe that all species were created at once, they do not like to discuss evolution, and extinctions were largely related to "Noah's flood". Their zealotry attracts the attention of the Leftist MSM, who then tar all Christians with the same brush, while ignoring the Jewish roots of the Genesis account.

"Evolutionists" Also known as Naturalists. Not necessarily atheists nor agnostics. Some believe in God, but also believe that life began and progressed by Darwinian evolution. Some believers cling to this because of perceived difficulties in reconciling the different aspects of faith and science. Some scientists may hold to this philosophy out of fear of ostracism if they dare proclaim any type of religious faith.

I suggest spending some time reading the title-linked website, so you may "figger out" where you stand, while understanding where the other players stand.

Banning Intelligent Design Discussions...[Updated]

in the tolerant, Liberal state of Wisconsin. [Originally posted on 2/10.]

Two Democrat state lawmakers have submitted a bill to ban discussions of Intelligent Design from public schools. Of course the bill would have to work its way through the legislative process and be signed by the governor, but other "Liberal" states might think they need to intervene in class discussions of science issues.

To again state my position, I am against requiring discussions of Intelligent Design. Rather, I am in favor of leaving the door open for discussions, if the teacher so wishes.

As originally conceptualized, by scientists including Dr. Eugene Ashby (30 years of teaching Chemistry at Georgia Tech), it is not an attack on science education. And it does not address the timeline, so it doesn't fit the media definition of "Creationism" (defined as "scientific creationism" by Dr. Ashby in this previous post). As a scientist who is also a Christian, Dr. Ashby does not see problems with his beliefs and the concept of a 17 billion year-old universe and a 4+ billion year-old Earth. He sees the scientific evidence of "deep time" presented by radiometric age dates and other methods of "absolute age-dating", but he also sees the questions that science alone cannot answer, such as "How did life begin from inorganic components?" (paraphrasing).

Science and faith do not have to be antagonistic. In my view, as science cannot assertively answer every question, it OK to raise some questions. The fossil record, as evidence of macroevolution, is tangible, but how one species changes to another, morphologically different, species is a kosher subject for discussion.

[Update: Just a reminder: the Genesis account is in the "Jewish part of the Bible", referred to by Gentiles as The Old Testament. Mainstream Jews and Christians do not want to ban discussions of Darwinian evolution in schools. In my view, rather they want to remind students that there are questions that Darwinian evolution cannot answer, but that doesn't discount the entire theory. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.]

Hay Chewed: Previous discussions (and links within) were on January 12, January 3, January 2, December 31, December 29, December 27, December 25, December 22, December 17, and December 15 - which has links to still-older discussions/rants.

It's Been a Year...

or so, since I began this endeavor. It began as an attempted reply to a blog related to, in other words, I sort of blundered into it. And I guess it shows.

I may have had one or two earlier posts, before February 21, 2005 and I may have dumped them while doing some "blog cleaning".

Since the two Feb. 21 posts are all that remain of how it began, this will be my blogiversary.

Before this blog, I used to have an "occasional rant series" of emails that I would send to friends and relatives when something annoyed me. This outlet has given them some relief, instead of opening their email and saying "there he goes again", if they are interested, they know where to go.

The first post was on the suicide of Hunter S. Thompson.

The second post was on the Political Origins of the Global Warming hysteria.

Thanks to all those that dropped by and gave encouragement and suggestions. I am still on the "learning curve", but I just can't blame it on being a rookie anymore.

I just hope a few folks have learned a few things in this year. I know I have. I am just glad that I don't have to come up with something everyday to earn a paycheck, but then again, a paycheck might provide some added incentive.

Thanks again to those that drop by.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Gold! I Found Gold!

Naw, I ain't talking about the Olympics.

I found a little bit of gold in a small creek, on the west side of my hometown. It ain't enough to worry about, but I just had to tell someone!

To be honest about it, a local man told my dad 25+ years ago that he had found gold in this particular creek, but my dad was skeptical and he didn't get a chance to check it out before he passed away in late 1980. After I moved back here in early 1991, from time to time I thought about the creek, which is behind an office park. Finally, last summer I decided to check it out.

I "ran" a (gold) pan of sand from the creek and found a couple of tiny, tiny grains of gold. I went back last week and ran another pan and found three tiny, tiny grains. In fact, you need a hand lens to identify it as gold, but gold it is.

There are other interesting minerals in the "black sand" that concentrates in the bottom of the gold pan. These minerals, more dense than quartz, are referred to by geologists as "heavy minerals" and are usually composed of metallic oxides and other unusual minerals and it this case it includes small garnet crystals and fragments of larger garnets and other colorful stuff.

Yeah, I am having a mid-life crisis and this gives me an excuse to play in a creek. Heh.

The Origin of Life...

According to the Fernbank Science Museum (in Atlanta) is stated on a graphic timeline as:

3.5 billion years ago: "Chemicals dissolved in the ancient seas arrange themselves into forms that are capable of reproducing themselves. The first living cells are formed."

Yeah. Right.

That is the gist of the Intelligent Design debate.

How did inorganic chemicals become the first living cells without some "help"?

Do you see how the Theory of Evolution, as supported by Naturalists, requires faith, too? Suggesting that the first living cells, presumably photosynthetic cyanobacteria, just began turning inorganic chemicals into living, growing tissues, by themselves, by accident.

Yeah. Right.

This is not to run down the Fernbank Museum. It certainly worthy of a visit, there is a lot of neat stuff to see, including the lifesize reproductions of skeletons of two huge Argentinian dinosaurs. They also have a neat IMAX theatre.

The fossil record is a tangible record of a progression of species, but it doesn't really answer how it all began, perhaps 3.5 billion years ago.

Intelligent Design simply suggests that there was a "guiding hand".

Updates on the Comeback of Dixie Beer

[I may later move this post to Beer Can Blog]

Part of the character of New Orleans is Dixie Beer. That is why my friend John and I were in the Old Absinthe House that summer night in 1980 (Re: "The Roach Story"), 'cause they had Dixie Beer on draft.

I have posted previously on Louisiana beer updates, after the hurricane, and on New Orleans Brewing history.

In this linked Times-Picaune story, it sounds like the owners of Dixie, Joe and Kendra Bruno, have hopes for re-establishing the brewery and its distinctive brews, including Dixie White Moose, a chocolate-flavored beer. A description of this beer is included in the Times-Picayune article.

The short-term plans call for contracting with another brewery to produce Dixie products until the New Orleans brewery is rebuilt. Several possible contract-brewers were mentioned in the update post.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Daytona 500 & afterthoughts

[Updated to late Monday morning, without checking the website.]

Lap 48 - After McMurray passes for the lead, Jeff Gordon slid up track after passing Stewart, Tony Stewart didn't give a little, both scrubbed the wall. Caution flag.

Commentary suggestesd that Jeff was willing to assume 50% blame for the incident, it wouldn't have hurt Tony to back off just a bit. Tony seems to have forgotten the benefits of his "kinder and gentler" persona of last season.

Lap 80 - #66 Jeff Green loses it, up across track in front of J. J. Yeley, Petty, Carl Edwards, Nemecheck (RF damage) - trashed. Jeff Gordon ran through debris in infield grass.

Lap 85 - Green flag - Kenseth, Harvick. Edwards apologies for damage to Petty for not slowing down earlier in crash.

Lap 107 - Tony, what the hell were you doing? Stewart cuts across track, runs Kenseth into infield, Kenseth goes back up across track, thatfully doesn't get crushed by oncoming traffic. Incident leads to back-of-pack penalty for #20, drive-through penalty for #17 after retaliation. #17 refusal to obey black flag = unscored lap. No explanation nor apology for contact with Kenseth, at the time.

In later caution for Robby Gordon, Stewart pits too close to wall, runs over jack, penalized again. Karmic justice?

Tony, that is the way to lose months of good PR and goodwill. An immediate "Sorry about that" over the radio might have helped (see later note).

At the beginning of the day, Tony Stewart was one of my favorites, I figured he had paid his dues (behind the Petty cars and Ryan Newman, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin), but now...who was so damn worried about agressive driving last weekend? Matt could have been hammered.

Lap 197 - Jeff Burton slides up, clips Jamie McMurray, trashing Bobby Labonte and several other cars.

Green, white, checker is interrupted by last lap spin by Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson wins, Ryan Newman second.

If the race had remained green (w/o Lap 197 wreck), I think Ryan Newman would have passed Jimmie.

After the race, Tony Stewart claimed that before the Lap 107 hit on Matt Kenseth, Matt had gotten into him (I wasn't clear on the exact incident). But how about a sense of proportion? Was it intentional on Matt's part? Did Matt shove Tony into the infield and did Tony slide up across the track as a sitting duck for oncoming traffic?

Of the drivers that I wanted to do well, Ryan Newman in 2nd place (or was it 3rd?) and Ken Schrader in 9th were the only bright spots. Bill Elliott finished 19th, Reed Sorenson finished 23rd, both Petty cars got trashed, the camera lenses were fogged by the moisture (I don't think I have cataracts, yet), Jeff Burton and Sterling Marlin finished way back.

Early in his career, Ernie Irvan apologized for a couple of high-profile multi-car crashes that he helped start. It gained him a lot of fan support and respect. Carl Edwards immediately apologized for something that happened in the middle of a crash and may not have been avoidable anyway. But who is showing some class here? If Matt Kenseth had gotten into Tony's door or rear bumper, a straight-on hard bump or two to Matt's rear bumper, by Tony, would have gotten the message across, rather than Tony running him into the infield.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

History vs. Hysteria?

As this is a sweeps month for TV, it is not unusual to hear trumped-up stories on the news, especially when it comes to Global Warming.

This evening on ABC World News Tonight, there was a another report blaming changes in Arctic ice and snow cover on Global Warming - triggered by Greenhouse Gases, with no mention of the role of Water Vapor and Clouds in the Greenhouse Effect. Again there was the mention of the "Tipping Point" beyond which there is no return, partially caused by thawing permafrost and viewers were treated to computer animations of an out-of-control Greenhouse Effect, again presuming no natural Negative Feedback Loops.

As a quick review, when a natural process triggers a secondary process that slows down that natural process, that is a Negative Feedback Loop. An example would be increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere triggers increased plant growth, which then removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

While on the ABC News website looking for a link to this report, I found another report on an ancient oak log, with a preserved root crown and partial bark, found in a Southern Indiana gravel pit. Early age estimates range from 6,000 years to as much as 30,000 years. Radiocarbon dating will offer some info on just what this means.

The report stated that the 300 year-old oak was found under 40 feet of sand and gravel. My first question would be "Are these river sediments or glacial sediments?". The nature of the sediments and the radiometric age are two important components of this bit of geologic and climatologic history. This link from shows a possible gravel pit just West of the East Fork of the White River, west of Brownstown, IN. If this is the proper location, these are probably river sediments. And it might mean a younger age for the oak log (absent pending results of the age-dating). Surprising amounts of sediments can be moved by river floods.

To the west of the river flood plain are two more possible sand pits on higher ground, which might be glacial sediments.

The tone of the article suggests that this oak was "bulldozed" by advancing glaciers, if so, think about what that means. To the best of my knowledge, oak trees do not grow in higher latitudes, i.e., areas that are susceptible to continental glaciers. This would mean that the oak tree (and other possible ones still buried in the sand pit) would have had been growing in a warm climate, that lasted several centuries, before the glacial event. That means before the Global Cooling of the glacial event (of which there were several during the Pleistocene Epoch), there was a period of Global Warming long enough and warm enough for hardwood trees to grow for at least 300 years. What?! Global Warming before George W. Bush? How is that possible?

The information carried in those sediments and the oak trees represent climate history, what has happened before, rather than the hysteria of human-manipulated computer models that, based on limited human inputs, project into the future changes that might happen.

Hay Chewed: Global Warming-related rants from before June 14, 2005 are here, while those since then will be presented in a future post.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Venturing Outside of Their Area of Expertise...

is the most polite way to address the recent declaration by a group of 85 evangelical Christians, including Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life". The subject of the declaration was the "crisis" of global warming.

I blogged about this specific issue on March 15, 2005, again, the bogeyman is human-generated carbon dioxide and they are playing right into the hands of the political Left. Because they have been taken in by this "false prophet", many of them are willing to sell us out to the UN and its global government plans, which in the long run are demonstrably anti-Christian and anti-Jewish.

If human activities are causing any sort of global warming, it more likely that the culprit would be changes in land-use patterns, e.g., the Urban Heat Island Effect and deforestation.

Simply put, if you are familiar with any clergy members that are buying into this nonsense, politely remind them that water vapor (humidity) and water droplets (clouds) are responsible for 90 to 95% of the Greenhouse Effect. A few voices in reply to this perpetuation of the "Global Warming Big Lie" include Brannon Howse, a columnist at Christian Worldview Network; Joseph Farah, and Rev. Jerry Falwell.

There just ain't enough carbon dioxide to effect any significant changes. Atmospheric carbon dioxide measures about 390 ppm (parts per million), or 0.039%. Or to go back and re-use my analogy, if atmospheric components were converted into 10,000 pennies ($100), carbon dioxide would account for 4 pennies.

Another issue never addressed by the MSM ('cause there is no political angle) is that natural sources of carbon dioxide (bacterial/animal respiration, ocean releases, volcanoes,...) far outweigh human emissions.

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. This has been a political issue from the word "Go".

So when you hear the crisis-tenor stories of melting glaciers and rising sea levels, "Let not your heart be troubled". Whatever happens has probably happened before,... before the Industrial Revolution and before humans.

The last Global Cooling climatic event, the Little Ice Age, ended between 1850 and 1900 AD (based on different interpretations). So saying that temperatures are the hottest they have been in the last 150 years (or even the last 500 years) means almost nothing, as we were either just ending the Little Ice Ages or in the middle of it, respectively. And a recent article (and post) suggests that in the next few decades we will be entering another cooling period.

As for the melting of glaciers, it is not unusual for glaciers to fluctuate. It is not always because of temperature. Sometimes it can be a change in precipitation patterns, due to natural and sometimes human influences, e.g., excessive deforestation. Unless something has changed recently, the Greenland glaciers are not all melting. In some areas, the glaciers are growing, while in others they are retreating. If it is the coastal glaciers melting, it is probably due to oceanic warming, which is most likely due to solar activity and/or undersea vulcanism.

Kyoto and other forms of attempts to limit combustion are power grabs by nations jealous of our freedom and prosperity. Ultimately, the best way to control the American economy and anthropogenic (human-caused) carbon dioxide emissions is to control fuel use through taxes and restrictions on use (rationing). So if you enjoy the thought of $3/gallon for gasoline prices and more, just jump on the Kyoto bandwagon. Except this time, it will not be caused by the free-market system, which has ways of stabilizing itself, rather it will be by government manipulation through taxes and if administered by the UN, there will be little in the way of checks and balances.

In the view of the "Kyoto crowd", all carbon dioxide is human generated, so when their attempts to control emissions do not cut the atmospheric carbon dioxide (because of uncontrollable natural sources), instead of saying "Oops, we were wrong.", they will insist on more controls.

Bottom line: Carbon dioxide is a byproduct, not a pollutant.

Hay Chewed: Previous rants are linked through this post (and see the December 2 post linked at the end of the December 21 post).

Pushing Aside the Blues and the Blahs...

while waiting for warmer weather. For it being the shortest month, it sure is taking a long time for payday to get here at the end of the month and the pool cover biz is a little slow in the winter.

At Daytona, it is good that they managed to get the two Gatorade qualifying races out of the way without any major mayhem.

And in the second race, I am glad to see that Bobby Labonte finished fourth and Kyle Petty finished sixth. Maybe we will get a chance to see #43 in the winners circle this season a couple of times. It would be great if that could motivate Kyle to victory lane also.

Bill Elliott had a good qualifying run in a Chevy (a recent newspaper article pondered what George Elliott might have said, if he was still with us, about the situation), but will be starting 33rd due to his showing in the qualifying race. And Reed Sorenson will be starting 22nd in the #41 Target Dodge.

Let's hope they keep the bump drafting restricted to the back straightaway.

Just a Few Thoughts About the Cheney Accident

I know I am a few days late, but I will offer a few thoughts about proper gun use when in the field. I am not a hunter, but my dad passed along a few tips, based on common sense and his Army training.

Vice President Cheney is being the gentleman in accepting all of the blame, from my understanding, but it seems to me that Mr. Whittington should have let Mr. Cheney know that he was approaching. In other words, Mr. Whittington should have called out "Hey Dick, I am heading over your way." And he should have waited until he received a reply.

The way Neal Boortz puts it, a little bit of fear is a good thing when dealing with guns and motorcycles, and I might add, chainsaws.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Let's See, It Has to be President Bush's Fault

The accidental shooting by Vice President Dick Cheney, of a hunting partner, that is.

President Bush arranged it to draw attention away from the wire-tap controversy. Or to draw attention away from Iraq. Or it is Halliburton's fault.

Oh geez, I can just hear Leno and Letterman. That ranks right up there with Bob Barr accidently shooting someone while examining a pistol at a party, a few years ago.

I am sure that PETA will make something of it. And Neal Boortz, being generally anti-hunting will have something to say about it too.

Fortunately the hunter's injuries were not too serious.


Sorry, just an El Paso flashback. We finally got our family schedules in-sync and saw "Glory Road" and enjoyed it. During the 1980s, announcer Paul Strelzin used to accentuate the "M" in Miner Ball when UTEP took possession during a basketball game.

Not to quibble with details, but I don't think the motel vandalism took place and I am not sure about the restroom beating scene. And while in lived in El Paso from 1977 to early 1991, I don't ever remember seeing mariachi bands playing on the campus as a matter of routine, unless it was some sort of special festival.

The beer bottle labels were obscured, I would have expected to see some Falstaff bottles, as Falstaff had a brewery in El Paso from about 1956 through 1967. And in the Juarez bar scenes, I would have expected to see Liston Azul beer, as it was brewed in Juarez at the time.

Anyway, go see it while it is still on the big screen. It is a bit of American sports history, more important than anyone knew at the time.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Winter Olympics and the Bo-Dyn Sled Story

For those that may not know, the U.S. Winter Olympic team has had a NASCAR connection since 1992. I am a warm-weather, mountains and desert sort of person, otherwise I probably wouldn't care.

It is through the Bo-Dyn sled, developed due to the concepts and financial efforts of NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine. Aside from being a former Daytona 500 winner (and 17 other Cup races), Geoff is also noted for bringing power steering to NASCAR in the middle 1980s.

While watching the bobsled events of the 1992 Winter Olympics, Geoff sadly noted the poor performance of the U.S. Bobsled team and the fact that an American-made sled had not won a medal since 1956. At the time of the 1992 Winter Olympics, the Americans were using foreign-made sleds and doing poorly at that.

In the true American spirit, Geoff decided to do something about the problem. He contacted those associated with the American bobsled team as well as engineers and went to Lake Placid, NY in order to get hands-on experience with bobsleds. Geoff said that the first time he drove a 2-man bobsled, he couldn't tell who was screaming the loudest, him or the professional sledder sitting behind him. I am sure that Geoff was thinking "Where is the damn steering wheel?".

Geoff also made a "seed money" donation of $250,000, a figure that later grew to $375,000 to help the project along.

Here is the first link in the Bo-Dyn archives. The second article has more details about the early development of the sleds.

As the Torino Olympics begin, here is a link to another website with more info. One month ago, the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project held a couple of fund-raising races consisting of 10 NASCAR drivers using practice sleds on a 0.67 mile bobsled course.

Results for Bo-Dyn Challenge Race #1
Boris Said, 52.20 and 52.18 seconds, 1 minute 44.38 seconds
Todd Bodine, 52.45 - 52.69, 1:45.14
Stanton Barrett, 52.67 - 53.29, 1:45.96
Kevin Lepage, 52.84 - 53.21, 1:46.05
Tim Fedewa, 53.36 - 53.06, 1:46.42
Brad Noffsinger, 52.94 - 53.61, 1:46.55
Steve Park, 53.12 - 53.71, 1:46.83
Geoff Bodine, 52.67 - 54.17, 1:46.84
Joel Kauffman, 52.87 - 54.06, 1:46.93
Dick Trickle, 1:08.89 - 1:12.24, 2:21.13

I couldn't find the results of the second race (it seemed that some of the links were mixed up), but here is a story about the event, intended to be a fund-raising event for the bobsled project.

From the Geoff Bodine fan club homepage, here is some info about the Torino bobsled events:

Feb 18: men's 2-man heat 1
Feb 19: men's 2-man heat 2 (final)
Feb 20: women's heat 1
Feb 21: women's heat 2 (final)
Feb 24: men's 4-man heat 1
Feb 25: men's 4-man heat 2 (final)

"The Olympic games will air on NBC television. If you are interested in what is being shown in your viewing area and at what time, log on to the NBC Olympic web site and enter your zip code in the box labeled Plan Your Olympic TV Viewing Experience."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Meanwhile, Nature Marches On

Here is a link to an article by a Russian astronomer who predicts a mini-Ice Age in the middle part of this century.

From the article:

"Khabibullo Abdusamatov of the Pulkovo Astronomic Observatory in St. Petersburg said Monday that temperatures will begin falling six or seven years from now, when global warming caused by increased solar activity in the 20th century reaches its peak, RIA Novosti reported.

The coldest period will occur 15 to 20 years after a major solar output decline between 2035 and 2045, Abdusamatov said.

Dramatic changes in the earth's surface temperatures are an ordinary phenomenon, not an anomaly, he said, and result from variations in the sun's energy output and ultraviolet radiation." [Emphasis added.]

Of course it will be Bush's fault for not signing Kyoto.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Is This a Tipping Point?

Often we don't see "Tipping Points" until we are past them, for better or worse.

Is the "Cartoon War" the tipping point in the cultural war between the West and the Muslim zealots? Is this where Europe finally sees the Stone Age mentality of Islamist reactions to things that offend them? Will they finally see what we have been fighting actively since 9/11? That which we ignored before 9/11? Will they finally see that the Islamists have no interest in "co-existence"? Is there a "divine" reason this is happening now, before the Islamists have the numbers to take over Europe?

In the name of free speech, Christians have to put up with a great deal of what passes for "art" and "political expression". Were there any fatwas for "The Last Temptation of Christ"? Did any NBC stations burn over the recently-canceled "The Book of Daniel"? What about the image of the Virgin Mary in elephant dung? What about Penn and Teller's mocking of the crucifixion? Or,...

When the Palestinians occupied and defiled the Church of the Nativity, did mosques and embassies burn across Europe and North America? When Palestinians destroyed the tomb of Joseph, did Christians and Jews burn any mosques?

As someone (forgot which blog) stated, most of these rioters have probably not even seen the cartoons, rather, just like Newswreck's "flushed Qu'ran story", they heard something that sent them into a blind rage.

Michelle Malkin probably has the most in-depth reportage on this issue. She even reports that Muslims are now adding some fake cartoons to the mix, in order to further inflame the situation.

Fake but accurate, where did they learn that?

The El Paso Chimney Story

Basil's Blog Friday Headline News, about a burglar getting caught in an oven vent brought to mind this story.

When I lived in El Paso, there were two or three good Barbeque Brisket places. One of them was Bill Parks' in central El Paso and another one (that shall remain nameless) was on the westside.

When the nameless brisket restaurant was "bought out" to build a new strip center, they decided to build a new restaurant nearby. Since they had such a good business at the old location, they decided to dissasemble the brick chimney and move it for good luck. However, when they were taking the chimney apart, they discovered within the chimney a carbonized cadaver.

They concluded that it was the body of an illegal that had hung around the restaurant for a while and when he disappeared, they assumed he had just moved on.

Instead, he apparently decided to slip down the chimney one night to break into the restaurant and got stuck, not realizing that the opening of the chimney at the grill was only a few inches square.

When the grill was fired up the next morning, because of the small opening, no one heard him.

The newspaper article made no estimate of how long the body had been there, nor did they say if the brisket restaurant went ahead and used those bricks. My guess is that they didn't.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I Cracked the Top 10!

10th place in The Right Place Photo Caption Contest, entitled "And the Camel You Rode in On".

Go over and check out the other captions.

Updated: Happy First Blogiversary to...

Two Dogs over at Mean Ol' Meany has celebrated his first anniversary of blogging. [Update: WunderKraut's first was on February 4. I also noticed that Red State Rant also celebrated its first blogiversary on January 31.]

Mine is later this month.

Anyway, pop over there (if you haven't already been there) and have a look.

And I will try to get caught up on my beer blogging, as Two Dogs seems to enjoy that.

I should be blogging about beer during the Super Bowl, but I had a bad migraine (and the associated nausea) yesterday and I am still getting over that. While at the store, yesterday, I couldn't even bring myself to buy a six pack of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine, 'cause I knew I wasn't going to be able to drink it yesterday or probably today. And I can't eat hot wings either, so I am grumpy!

Gosh Darn!

That Super Bowl haf-time show shore wuz excitin' wuzn't it!

Did anybody even think about putting together some of Detroit's finest? They can't be any older than the Stones.

Is Mitch Ryder (sp.?) still alive?

What about some of the old Motown label talents?

Ted Nugent is still around and rocking.

Isn't Bob Seegar (sp.?) from the Detroit area?

Even some Motown greats old tapes shown on the large screen, with dancers might have been more exciting than what I just saw.

Wasn't Rare Earth part of the Motown label?

If a Motown tribute had already been planned, maybe it could have modified to include a tribute to Wilson Pickett, who wasn't Motown, per se, but he was part of the music of Motown's peak time period.

For Gold and Glory

Actually, the full name for this all-black, 1930's-era open-wheel racing series was the "For Gold and Glory Sweepstakes". This information is from a PBS website, based on a 2003 film on the racing series.

It began with the formation of the "Colored Speedway Association" and their first race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in 1924. During its 12-year lifespan, the sweepstakes ran races in 11 different, mostly Mid-Western states, though they went as far East as Langhorne, Pennsylvania and as far South as Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Records for most of the races were not well preserved, with the Indianapolis races being the exception. And there is not an explanation of how the other races in other states related to the championship.

The standout of the racing series was Charlie Wiggins. He is noted as the mentor and trainer of 1934 Indy 500 winner "Wild Bill" Cummings, though because of racial tensions in Indiana, Cummings was not able to proclaim this in public. In the preview to SpeedTV's "Black Wheels" film, it stated that Charlie Wiggins had to pose as a janitor while helping "Wild Bill" win at Indy.

Wiggins' critical injury early in the 1936 Indiana State Fairground race, along with the financial pressures of the Great Depression resulted in the folding of this series after 12 years. After the folding of the series, the remaining drivers went to other organizations or ran in "outlaw" events.

In the crash that ended Charlie Wiggins career, he lost his right leg and an eye, but he recovered to return to being a top-rate mechanic and trainer of other, future race car drivers.

After WWII, Joie Ray was the first black driver to earn a AAA (forerunner of USAC and IRL) racing license, in 1946. Willy T. Ribbs was the first black driver to qualify for the Indy 500 in 1991.

Here is the timeline for the racing series and before and after events.

My View of Black History Month...

is somewhat different from some other Conservative/Libertarian bloggers.

This is one issue where I agree with Neal Boortz's stand. I haven't heard him speak his opinion on Black History month lately, but a couple of years ago, he stated (my paraphrasing) that because of past coverups of the achievements of individual American blacks or the ignoring of said achievements, he didn't have a problem with a month dedicated to teaching all Americans about these individuals and their achievements.

I guess I will add my caveats:
If slavery is discussed, it should be honestly, i.e., slavery existed long before the discovery of the Western Hemisphere; numerous ethnic groups were responsible for slavery in different parts of the world; the role of English churches in the Abolitionist movement needs to be acknowledged; Cherokees and free blacks were among slaveowners in this country,...

Where I find snippets of black history (see the previous post on the Deacons and the Klan), I will post them, in the name of filling gaps in history.

In short, Black History should be about filling gaps with information. Once that information becomes "common knowledge", then it can be woven into the fabric of American history, i.e., the achievements of Black Americans are highlighted, rather than focusing on the victimhood, as do so many Leftists.

It is not about rewriting history in order to be Politically Correct, it is about filling gaps caused by the bias or ignorance of past writers and being as honest as we can with recognizing the good and the bad of history.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Giving Credit Where is it Due

A few weeks back, I ranted about a Mike Luckovich cartoon in the AJC.

To be fair, once in a blue moon (or so), he gets it right in my opinion.

Today's AJC cartoon, shows a pack of media types asking a wheelchair-bound miliatry amputee (with other wounded vets behind him) "Which ward is the ABC News anchor in??.."

Of course, we should be concerned about the well-being of anyone injured in the War on Terror, whether they be military, press, or innocents that get caught up in the horrors, as innocents do in all wars. But the media typically goes "haywire" when one of "their own" is injured or killed, without thinking about how often this sort of attack happens with no media coverage on the aftermath.

Cindy's Supporters...

have been making death threats towards the Capitol Hill police officer that arrested her the night of the State of the Union address, according to Michelle Malkin.

Just a little more insight into their dark world.

The Deacons and the Klan

We all pretty much know about the sordid history of the Ku Klux Klan, but there is a side of them that you may not know about.

This story was told to me by the owner of a small Rome, Ga. foundry, close to 40 years ago and I have briefly heard it referenced on rare occasions. What I am getting at is the Klan's role of "unofficial" enforcers in the rural white communities. If a poor white man was known to be misbehaving, e.g., drinking and/or gambling away his meager paycheck (or welfare check) and/or beating his wife or kids, the local Klan would show up at his door and take him to the woods to demonstrate the error of his ways (they would beat the snot out of him). And they would remind him that they would be back if he didn't clean up his act.

In past years, there has been a local black Atlanta radio talk show host (on the air intermittently), that goes by the name of "Ralph from Ben Hill" (named for a westside Atlanta neighborhood). His real name is C. Miles Smith, Jr.. Years ago, when he was on WGST 640AM, he once told a story of "the Deacons", a group of black men that performed the same function in the black community that the Klan performed in the white community. In other words, they would discipline their own local ne'er-do-wells (sp.?).

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Twin Sons of Different Mothers

No, I am not talking about the 1978 album by Dan Fogelberg and Tim Weisberg, but rather the strangely-similar insane rantings of Harry Belafonte and Julian Bond.

At one time I had (and enjoyed) the first seven of Dan's albums listed on his website, but somehow I couldn't get into "Windows and Walls" (1984) and I didn't buy anymore after that (I was also becoming more of a talk radio junkie, so I bought less music). By the time they had almost quit making LPs, my wife and I had a collection of more than 500 albums.

At one time, Harry Belafonte and Julian Bond both served a purpose in the civil rights movement, but they have both become angry old black men who do not want blacks and whites to get along. Things will never be perfect, but neither seems to be able to see and appreciate the changes that have happened in the last 40 years. And neither has aged gracefully.

We have all heard Harry's recent rantings calling the President the world's greatest terrorist and Julian Bond has compared the Bush Administration and the Republican Party to the Nazi Party of Germany before and has done so again. In a perfect world, everyone would just ignore Julian's rantings (along with Harry's), but that kind of stupidity is always annoying.

Since May, 2004, Dan Fogelberg has been dealing with advanced prostate cancer, so he needs your prayers. On the News page of his website, he sincerely urges men to get tested regularly for prostate cancer, so they can avoid what he has experienced for almost two years. We need to pray for Dan.

We also need to pray for Harry and Julian, though it is much more difficult. In most measurable ways, they won (in a broad sense) their struggles of the 1950s and 1960s (and 1970s), but they are so eaten up with hate, it has poisoned them.

Groundhog Day is not High on My List of Favorites

But MSN has a fascinating article about the subject of hibernation. This scientist enjoyed it.

When Luddites Rule

Neal Boortz has been talking this morning about Florida Senators Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson wanting to permanently ban offshore oil/gas drilling within 260 miles of the west coast of the Florida Peninsula. Twenty miles isn't enough, thirty miles isn't enough.

They claim they want to protect Florida's tourism industry.

OK you fools, if crude prices surpass $100, what is that going to do to Florida's tourism industry? How many people are going to have to sell their vacation homes? What will that do to Florida's boating industry? The fishing & shrimping industry? What about all of the vegetables and fruits that Florida ships northward?

The rigs and drilling plans that are on the drawing board now represent future planning. In other words, there is a lag time to consider. Obviously not as long as the 10 years for ANWR, but we do have to engage in some future planning, well before prices reach $100 per barrel.

Once such a law is passed, it would almost impossible, short of having armed mobs of citizens in the streets of Washington, DC, to get the law rescinded.

This mindset is similar to that of Ted Kennedy, et al, who are in favor of wind energy, until someone proposed building windmills within sight of Martha's Vineyard.

Everybody seems to frame the offshore drilling debate as if the Santa Barbara oil rig spill (1969) happened last year. If memory serves me correctly, that was the last large, U.S. rig-related spill and one reason for its severity is that it was six miles off the coast. Ixtoc I (Pemex, Mexico) represents the largest accidental spill, it lasted from June, 1979 to March, 1980.

The technology has improved greatly since then. No one is asking, in the case of the Florida Gulf Coast, for drilling six miles from the coastline. I am sure that oil companies would be fine with 20 or 30 miles as a minimum (as the continental shelf in that area is rather wide).

[If I find links, I will add them.]

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dignity, Thy Name Ain't Hillary

I hear that TV viewers of the State of the Union address were treated to more of Hillary Clinton's eye-rolling in response to some of President Bush's statements.

Perhaps not as blatant as some of Ted Kennedy's transgressions, Hillary still finds ways to show her lack of class. She is not, nor has she ever been, a Valley Girl, so where does the eye-rolling come from? Is this what the United States citizens want in a possible future president? Do we want someone, similar to Al Gore, that is capable of launching into a screeching tirade? How would eye-rolling go over at a world-summit meeting when discussing difficult issues? Why not at least pretend to be giving the speaker your attention?

Just keep it up, show your real self.

Did He Really Say That?

I was teaching during some of the State of the Union speech, but did President Bush really say "America is addicted to oil"? I am sorry, but that sounds so much like a Lib/Leftist talking point.

There are other, more responsible ways to say the same thing, without playing to the simple-mindedness of Lib/Leftists.

The fact is that the world's economy is driven by petroleum, that is just the way it is. And it will be that way for a while. We will transition to other, perhaps more diverse, energy sources as technology and markets allow, as long as regulations and Luddites do not rule the day.

Rather, more should have been said about weaning ourselves from Middle East oil, so nations like Iran and Saudi Arabia will have less leverage on us. But then that can apply to nations in the Western Hemisphere, most notably Venezuela. Strategies include making long term plans for drilling in ANWR and exploring new areas onshore and offshore. We have learned to make smaller "footprints" with our drilling operations. Other strategies can include cramming Al Gore's mouth full of Canadian tar sands and then working more closely with the new Canadian government to visualize the benefits of continental cooperation, which is not the strong suit of Liberals.

As for hydrogen as a fuel, it is not a "magic bullet". It takes energy to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen in water, so if a fossil-fuel source is used, there is a net loss of BTUs. Of course we still need to be doing research, but at the present time, hydrogen produced by renewable energy sources, e.g., hydropower, solar, wind,... appears to be the only way to achieve a net gain of BTUs, to actually save some energy. Other alternatives, e.g., solar and wind, will probably never be more than local energy sources, but that is not to say they shouldn't be pursued.

But we don't need to adopt the language of the Leftists.

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