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, March 31, 2007

If Any Valued Readers Live in Democrat-Represented Congressional Districts...

I feel your pain. You may want to "save your ammo" for other "battles", but you really need to let your Democrat Representative (or Senator) know that we are getting tired of the "firings of the U.S. Attorneys" tempest-in-a-teapot.

To use a less-polite phrase, we are getting tired of the daily servings of that stuff you find in cow pastures.

We suffer from MSM reports using words like "unprecedented" or statements repeated-from-Democrat-operatives questioning the legality of the firings.

The news-and-truth voids left by the Dems and the MSM have been filled for the last three weeks or so by information furnished by the internet and blogosphere. It should have trickled down to the public by now.

IT IS LEGAL, as Jay Sekulow reminds us.

BILL CLINTON FIRED 92 + 30 MORE LATER AND IT WAS SEEN AS "BUSINESS AS USUAL".

PRESIDENT BUSH SHOWED HIS WILLINGNESS TO OVERLOOK PARTY POLITICS AND WAITED 4 YEARS TO EVEN START JUDGING THE ATTORNEYS ON THEIR RECORDS, THEN IT HAS TAKEN ANOTHER 2 YEARS TO INITIATE THE FIRINGS.

PRESIDENT BUSH SHOWED NON-PARTISANSHIP AND WHAT GOOD DID IT DO? HE DIDN'T FIRE 85 (OR SO) OF THEM. HE KEPT THESE DEMOCRAT APPOINTEES IN OFFICE TO DO THEIR JOBS.

It is not an issue worth wasting the public's time and money on. It is a diversion from the tax increases and spending that await the American public. It is a diversion from Democrat plans to defeat President Bush, regardless of the cost to the nation.

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Multiple Treegasms

I don't know how Spring is going in other parts of the country, but locally, our Spring has been warmer than usual and that has "sped up" the pollen season.

Because we had a few days that were 20 degrees warmer than average, trees that would normally flower in mid- to late-April were flowering in late-March.

The pine pollen is the largest and most visible, it is my understanding that the smaller pollen grains produced by other trees, plants, and grasses are what cause the allergic reactions. Supposedly, the large pine pollen grains are too big to cause the sneezing, coughing, sinus infections and other "joys of Spring".

But while we mere humans suffer, the trees are experiencing a veritable arboreal orgy.

If you listen closely to the wind, after releasing their clouds of pollen, you can hear pine trees calling out to each other - "Was it good for you too?", wherein the others, in their own afterglow, simply reply by waving their limbs in the breeze, too exhausted to speak.

And so it goes.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Still Enjoying Their New Orgy of Power...

as previously predicted, the Democrats are going to raise taxes on your children. Those of us that have been parents for a while know that they grow up too fast (or at least in some respects).

Robert Novak reminds us that along with the massive spending increases, there are going to be massive tax increases to "pay for it". From Novak's column:

"...It had been assumed that the new Democratic majority would end President Bush's relief in capital gains, dividend and estate taxation. The simultaneous rollback of Bush-sponsored income tax cuts was a surprise. This reflects Democrats' belief that they can survive a long-term commitment to bigger government."

The plans to not renew the future-expiring tax cuts of a few years ago is the same as a tax increase.

If "we" cannot get the House and Senate back in the near future, our kids, already in the workforce and those on-their-way are going to be taxed at higher rates, especially if we are able to leave anything to our kids when we shuffle off this mortal coil.

And the damage it will do to the economy will not appear over night, allowing the cowardly bastards to hide the "cause-and-effect", while blaming it on President Bush.

At least Hillary was "honest" enough to admit that they are going to "take things away from us", not that the MSM will bother to remind us of that fact.

Ed Morrissey, at FrontPageMag reminds us:

"...By 2011, the added tax burden on every taxpayer would be over $1100 dollars. Twenty-six million small businesses would have to pay almost $4,000 in extra taxes. More than five million Americans whose incomes are too low to pay taxes now would have to start paying in 2011, making the Democratic plan more regressive than what it seeks to replace."

Do you now see the cost of disunity last November? As bad as Republicans can be, what legacy are we leaving our kids if "they" (Dems and friends) win, not only the War on Terror, but the "tax war"?

Are our kids someday going to be standing at the foot of our graves screaming at us - "Why didn't you do something about taxes?"?

Taxes are going to be raised to pay for the promises made by Dems and some Republicans, to the point that our kids are going to be even more over-taxed and frazzled than we are and they won't even know why, if the Dems get their way with the "Fairness Doctrine" and other plans to stifle public debate.

Europe has already proven that Socialism doesn't work. We don't have to try even more of it here to know the same thing.

[You may pass this off as paranoia - But I think the ultimate reason that the Dems want to deem the Second Amendment null-and-void is because they are afraid of future tax riots by our adult children. They are afraid of the spectre of millions of armed citizens on the streets of Washington, DC marching and rioting for tax relief.]

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Pam Meister has a Good Post at American Thinker...

about recent legislation passed by the House to offer legal protection to "John Does" that report suspicious activity vis-à-vis activities on airline flights or elsewhere in the public arena.

Added to the Rail and Public Transportation Act of 2007 (HR 1401) - and approved by a 304-121 vote - was language that is supposed to prevent lawsuits from being filed by those detained because of the actions of American citizens. This follows the lawsuits by the "six imams" thrown off a US Airways flight last year because of their deliberately suspicious behavior.

It is noteworthy, yet not surprising, that all of the "No" votes on this House Bill were Democrats.

Contrary to predictable Lib rants, the actions of the American citizens on board the US Airways flight were not based on "Racism" or "Islamophobia", but rather they were influenced by the behavior of the six imams and past behaviors of their brethren.

From Pam's post:

"...The threat of being sued has a chilling effect on people who might normally help their fellow man in a dangerous or threatening situation. The language in HR 1401 can be likened to Good Samaritan laws that exist throughout the United States and in many other countries. Good Samaritan laws give protection to someone who gives aid to another in imminent or serious danger or peril from being sued for negligence, as long as such aid is not given recklessly. (Fine points in Good Samaritan law vary by jurisdiction.)"... [Emphasis added.]

When carried to illogical extremes, PC kills.

We have to develop a thick-enough skin to tell those that holler to "sit down and shut up". The actions of the "John Doe" citizens on that US Airways flight are actions of vigilance, not racism nor Islamophobia. So damn the American attorneys who are working to harass their fellow citizens.

That these American citizens had the courage to act upon their suspicions while the plane was still on the ground may have prevented a high-jacking somewhere else "down the line". Their actions have not cost any lives, they may have saved lives instead.

We are at war with a mindset that has no rules. We can't win by tying our own hands behind our backs.

[Note, there is a minor boo boo in the American Thinker post, here is an explanation.]
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What Was Previously Referred to as the Oprah Vote...

has been expanded by some pundits to include the audience of ABC's "The View". Do we call it the "Oprah View Vote"?

Lorie Byrd reminds us of the potential damage to the arena of public debate done by loud halfwits like Rosie O'Donnell, partially because Barbara Walters' presence and influence lends a sort of creedence to the expressed opinions. And as long as the ratings hold up, Baba Wawa may be unwilling to intervene in any meaningful fashion.

From Lorie's column:

"...In the past week alone, Rosie O'Donnell has shared the following with the audience of "The View" (quotes via Newsbusters):

• On the U.S. Attorney firings: "Okay, Republican officials who supposedly called these judges that were fired and said, are you going to prosecute this Democratic, and they said, I can't talk about that because I'm actually a judge, and it's illegal. And they said "click," and they got fired."…That's mob tactics. That's Tony Soprano. We're going to lean on people. That's what the president's doing. That's scary.”
• On the British sailors held hostage by Iran: "But interesting with the British sailors, there were 15 British sailors and Marines who apparently went into Iranian waters and they were seized by the Iranians. And I have one thing to say: Gulf of Tonkin, Google it. Okay."… "In a no bid contract for 5 years Halliburton -- wait a second -- 16 billion dollars. You want to know why we would go into Iran? For the money. That's why we would do it."
• "Nearly everyone in this administration is under indictment or suspicion. Nearly every person. From Karl Rove to Rumsfeld to Gonzalez. What do you have to do to be impeached in this country?"...


Just a few gems of "wisdom" from someone who pronounced President Bush as "vile and hateful", simply because he supports traditional marriage.

Rosie, remember the "Three Towards Me" rule when you point fingers.

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Drunk on Ethanol

While I do my own ongoing barley-based ethanol research one glass at a time (all things in moderation), the Bush Administration and Congress seem hellbent on getting politically drunk on corn-based ethanol, a move that largely benefits corn farmers and Archer Daniels Midland, thanks to our tax dollars.

By way of Rebecca Hagelin's Townhall.com article this morning, here is a Heritage Foundation position paper on the issue.

From Hagelin's piece:

"...The jump in ethanol use certainly didn’t come about because of a groundswell of popular demand; it came about, like so many bad ideas, because of a government mandate. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 required that 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel (mostly ethanol) be added to the gasoline supply last year. It goes up to 4.7 billion this year and to 7.5 billion in 2012. But ethanol lowers fuel economy -- according to the Department of Energy, a gallon of ethanol contains only two-thirds the energy content of a gallon of gasoline.

And you’re actually paying more for less performance. It’s difficult, Lieberman notes, to transport ethanol from its Midwestern home base to far-off markets, and that adds to the price you pay at the pump. Ethanol can’t be sent in an energy-efficient way through pipelines like gasoline can, because it would be contaminated by moisture along the way. Ethanol must be shipped instead by trucks, barges and railroads."...


Corn-based ethanol is one of those things that looks good at first glance, but once you scratch the surface, it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. But once politicians stake themselves to a political stand, they don't like to back down.

Ethanol has less BTU value than gasoline and diesel, so when considering planting, harvesting, processing the corn involves the use of gasoline and diesel and with current technologies, there seems to be a net loss of BTUs by the time the corn-based ethanol reaches the marketplace.

From the Heritage Foundation piece:

"...This mandate comes on top of other pro-ethanol provisions, most notably a 51 cent per gallon tax credit. Other incentives include payments to corn farmers and subsidies for small ethanol producers. These add up to $5.1 billion to $6.8 billion per year—roughly $1.00 per gallon of ethanol.[3] Thanks in part to these incentives, current ethanol use is above the mandated levels, but without any government interference, the ethanol market would be considerably smaller. The domestic etha­nol industry also benefits from tariffs limiting etha­nol imports, mostly of sugar-derived ethanol from Brazil, which is produced more efficiently than eth­anol from corn. [Emphasis added.]

While a boon to Midwestern corn farmers and big ethanol producers like Archer Daniels Midland, ethanol has been bad news for the driving public. Ethanol usually costs more than gasoline, so adding it to gasoline increases fuel prices at the pump.[4]

Ordinary vehicles can use gasoline blends con­taining up to 10 percent ethanol, and specially modified vehicles can use fuel that is up to 85 per­cent ethanol. However, ethanol lowers fuel econ­omy because a gallon of ethanol has only two-thirds of the energy content of a gallon of gasoline.[5] Diffi­culties in transporting it to markets far from the Midwest and other logistical problems add further to the price of ethanol in several regions."

At the risk of seeming ideologically impure, I am willing to accept the idea of short-term (3 -5 year) taxpayer subsidies for food production or for energy research. But this current push to use taxpayer money to convert corn to ethanol fits neither category.

Usually it is Democrats whom we accuse of bringing their friends to feed at the taxpayer trough, but in this case, it is both the Democrats and Republicans. We have to get off this train. It is diverting important resources for developing other energy sources.

And from the Heritage Foundation piece:

"...Ethanol use at current levels has also led to sky­rocketing corn prices as the available supply is split between food and fuel uses. This has led to higher prices for corn products and things such as corn-fed meat.[6] The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that the ethanol mandate will continue to apply upward pressure on food prices in the coming years.[7] Even the price of tortillas, the dietary staple of many low-income Mexicans, has been affected.[8]"

Bottom line - Corn is better suited to be food for humans and livestock. Sugar cane is better suited to make ethanol, but it doesn't grow well here.

Taxpayer-funded research - maybe. Taxpayer subsidies for ADM and others - No!

[Previously I had stated that my understanding was that corn used for ethanol production has little or no value even as cattle feed, after-the-fact. According to this Wikipedia piece, I may have been wrong.]

Here are the references cited in the Heritage Foundation position paper:

[1] The White House, "Twenty in Ten: Strengthening America’s Energy Security," January 24, 2007, at www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2007/initiatives/energy.html (March 26, 2007).

[2] Brent D. Yacobucci, "Fuel Ethanol: Background and Public Policy Issues," Congressional Research Service Report for Con­gress, updated October 19, 2006, pp. 5–6, at http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/76323.pdf (March 26, 2007).

[3] Doug Koplow, "Biofuels—At What Cost?" International Institute for Sustainable Development, October 2006, pp. 56–61, at www.globalsubsidies.org/IMG/pdf/biofuels_subsidies_us.pdf (March 26, 2007).

[4] Yacobucci, "Fuel Ethanol: Background and Public Policy Issues," pp. 10–12.

[5] U.S. Department of Energy, Annual Energy Outlook 2007, p. 59.

[6] Keith Collins, Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, statement before the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, U.S. Senate, January 10, 2007, pp. 10–11, at www.usda.gov/oce/newsroom/congressional_testimony/ Collins_011007.pdf (March 26, 2007), andIan Swanson, "Ethanol Divides Corn, Livestock Interests," The Hill, February 8, 2007, at http://thehill.com/business--lobby/ethanol-divides-corn-livestock-interests-2007-02-08.html (March 26, 2007).

[7] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Projections to 2016, February 2007, pp. 20–26, at www.ers.usda.gov/publications/oce071/oce20071.pdf (March 26, 2007).

[8] Manuel Roig-Franzia, "A Culinary and Cultural Staple in Crisis: Mexico Grapples with Soaring Prices for Corn—and Tortillas," The Washington Post, January 27, 2007, p. A1, at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/26/AR2007012601896_pf.html (March 26, 2007).

[9] When non-petroleum energy inputs, especially the coal and natural gas used at ethanol production facilities, are also taken into account, the overall net energy balance for ethanol is only slightly positive. In other words, it takes nearly as much energy to make ethanol as it provides. See Global Insight, "Winners and Losers of Ethanol Mandates: Agricultural Producers, US Consumers, US Security," June 2005, pp. 20–34, and Dennis Avery, "Biofuels, Food, or Wildlife?—The Massive Land Costs of U.S. Ethanol," Competitive Enterprise Institute Issue Analysis, September 21, 2006, p. 6, at www.cei.org/pdf/5532.pdf (March 26, 2007). By some accounts, ethanol is a net energy loser. See David Pimentel, "Ethanol Fuels: Energy Balance, Eco­nomics, and Environmental Impacts Are Negative," Natural Resources Research, Vol. 12, No. 2 (June 2003), pp. 127–134.

[10] Global Insight, "Winners and Losers of Ethanol Mandates," pp. 28–34, and U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, "Renewable Fuels Legislation Impact Analysis," July 2005, pp. 4–5, at http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/FTPROOT/service/s606_s650_analysis.pdf (March 26, 2007).

[11] Global Insight, "Winners and Losers of Ethanol Mandates," p. 29.

[12] International Energy Agency, "Biofuels for Transport: An International Perspective," April 2004, pp. 51–66, at www.iea.org/textbase/nppdf/free/2004/biofuels2004.pdf (March 26, 2007), and Alexander E. Farrell, Richard J. Plevin, Brian T. Turner, Andrew D. Jones, Michael O’Hare, and Daniel M. Kammen, "Ethanol Can Contribute to Energy and Environmental Goals," Science, Vol. 311, No. 5760 (January 27, 2006), pp. 506–509.

[13] National Research Council, Ozone-Forming Potential of Reformulated Gasoline, 1999, pp. 4–10.

[14] Jason Hill, Erik Nelson, David Tilman, Stephen Polasky, and Douglas Tiffany, "Environmental, Economic, and Energetic Costs and Benefits of Biodiesel and Ethanol Biofuels," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 103, No. 30 (July 25, 2006), pp. 11206–11210, at www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0604600103v1 (March 26, 2007).

[15] Avery, "Biofuels, Food, or Wildlife?" pp. 10–11.

[16] The White House, "Twenty in Ten."

[17] Farrell et al., "Ethanol Can Contribute to Energy and Environmental Goals," and Hill et al., "Environmental, Economic, and Energetic Costs and Benefits of Biodiesel and Ethanol Biofuels."

[18] The White House, "Fact Sheet: Strengthening America’s Energy Security and Improving the Environment," January 24, 2007, at www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/01/20070124-5.html (March 26, 2007).

[19] See Biofuels Security Act of 2007, S. 23, 110th Cong., 1st Sess., § 101.

[20] Hill et al., "Environmental, Economic, and Energetic Costs and Benefits of Biodiesel and Ethanol Biofuels," p. 11208. The entire U.S. corn crop could supplant only 12 percent of gasoline demand, which is slightly more than half of the 35 billion gallon target.

[21] Ben Lieberman, "Let the Ethanol Imports Flow," Business Week, June 5, 2006, p. 136, at www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_23/b3987128.htm (March 26, 2007).

[22] Avery, "Biofuels, Food, or Wildlife?" pp. 14–17; Dave Juday, "Synfuels II: The Ethanol Numbers Don’t Add Up," The Weekly Standard, November 13, 2006;Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren, "The Ethanol Boondoggle," The Milken Institute Review, 1st Quarter 2007, p. 27; andU.S. Department of Energy, Annual Energy Outlook 2007, p. 58.

[23] Thomas H. Lee, Ben C. Ball, Jr., and Richard D. Tabors, Energy Aftermath (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1990), pp. 167: "In summary, the experience of the 1970s and 1980s taught us that if a technology is commercially viable, then gov­ernment support is not needed; and if a technology is not commercially viable, no amount of government support will make it so." See alsoJerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren, "Soft Energy Versus Hard Facts: Powering the 21st Century," in Ron Bailey, ed., Earth Report 2000 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999), pp. 146–147.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Don Surber Agrees With Fidel Castro

Well, once in a while you have to give the Devil his due.

On the subject of ethanol, according to Don Surber:

"...Castro ripped President Bush for caving into Big Agriculture’s demand for grain-based ethanol because it will convert food to gasoline. The Cuban leader prefers converting sugar cane to ethanol."...

I have been telling my classes for several years that it seems that corn-based ethanol has some major problems, in that there seems to be a net loss of BTUs when you consider the energy needed to raise the corn, harvest the corn, process the corn,... And to my understanding, when you are finished with the corn, there ain't much food value left. The recent push towards corn-based ethanol has already caused world corn prices to rise, hurting the poor first and foremost.

[At least when breweries are finished with their grains, there is still some food value left, suitable as cattle feed.]

I don't know all of the chemical issues involved, but it seems that sugar cane converts to ethanol more easily than corn. The problem is that one the continental United States, the climate is not favorable for large-scale production of sugar cane, without using gobs of fertilizer, which ain't good for the environment.

Brazil, Cuba, and other locales are more suitable (maybe Hawaii) for ethanol from sugar cane.

Rather than U.S. taxpayers subsidizing Archer Daniels Midland, maybe we should be looking southward towards Brazil to purchase sugar-cane produced ethanol. And maybe once Castro croaks off, then perhaps Cuba, too.

A little more from Surber:

"...Brazil has sugar-derived ethanol up the chug, but the United States slaps a 50-cents-per-gallon tax on the stuff, while subsidizing grain-based ethanol.

The effect is not only does this keep gasoline prices high in the United States, but it diverts grain from the food supply, driving up meat prices. Will stagflation return from its 30-year hiatus?"...

At the risk of being ideologically impure, I am willing to accept some taxpayer funding for Research on ethanol, but not corn-based production. Let ADM fund it their ownselves.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why Modern Liberals Ain't - Death Threats Against Political Adversaries

When I was a Classical Liberal, I don't recall wishing anyone's death, except for perhaps some tyrannical dictators - Idi Amin, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, et al.

The fringes of the political Left, those encouraged by the "mainstream" Left, have been and are continuing to post death threats on high-profile Conservative blogs or even blogs that are not overtly political. Comments from Bill Maher and Alec Baldwin, nor postings on Huffpost, do nothing to help the situation. Here is a previous posting about this same issue.

Simply engaging in spirited debate is not enough of a thrill. They have to fantasize about killing someone. They can't "fight the good fight" in a civilized manner, then walk away to try another time. They have to hide behind their computers and their aliases. They are nothing more than cowards.

By way of Lifelike Pundits and NewsBusters and Instapundit [I couldn't find the particular post], here is a link to one particular blogger whose life has been impacted by threats. Looking at this particular blog - Creating Passionate Users - it doesn't seem particularly political. I don't know what Kathy Sierra did that triggered the Moonbat swarm. [For some reason, trying to access NewsBusters is triggering problems with this particular computer.]

From the opening of Kathy's post:

"As I type this, I am supposed to be in San Diego, delivering a workshop at the ETech conference. But I'm not. I'm at home, with the doors locked, terrified. For the last four weeks, I've been getting death threat comments on this blog. But that's not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs... blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers. People you've probably heard of. People like respected Cluetrain Manifesto co-author Chris Locke (aka Rageboy)."...

They can't prevail in the arena of ideas, so they resort to bullying.

At the very least, many of these Leftist blogs, print and on-air pundits (and their followers) are a bit short on decorum. So use a "southernism" - "Would you kiss your mama with that mouth?".

[Though I am having trouble accessing NewsBusters, I recall briefly seeing a link to a Leftie celebrating Tony Snow's recurrence of cancer. Did any Conservative bloggers revel in Elizabeth Edwards' similar situation? I don't think so.]

From the Lifelike Pundits post, here is a link to a Protein Wisdom post from last year, wherein a Leftist college teacher fantsized about the death of blogger Jeff Goldstein's two-year old child. At that time, Michelle Malking wrote this about the situation last year and this about the situation now.

No, I don't think we should make blanket statements about Lefty bloggers and their readers, but what do they do to police themselves?

Just curious.

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Like Three Foxes and a Chicken Discussing Dinner Plans...

the Arab League wants to make a "deal" with Israel, as reported in this UK Times online article.

From the article:

"...Under this Saudi-drafted proposal, every Arab country would formally recognise Israel in return for a withdrawal from all the land captured in the war of 1967."...

Furthermore:

"...If Israel refuses, that means it doesn't want peace and it places everything back into the hands of fate. They will be putting their future not in the hands of the peacemakers but in the hands of the lords of war," he [Prince Saud] said.

Prince Saud dismissed any further diplomatic overtures towards Israel. "It has never been proven that reaching out to Israel achieves anything," he said. [Sorry I missed it, who reached out? I mean other than Anwar Sadat and you see what happened to him. How many Arab nations praised him as a visionary, courageous leader? And how are the Oslo Accords working out?]

"Other Arab countries have recognised Israel and what has that achieved? [Recognized them for chumps, or what?]

"The largest Arab country, Egypt, recognised Israel and what was the result? Not one iota of change happened in the attitude of Israel towards peace."...

Now did these same Arab nations ever offer to resettle the "Palestinians", a number of whom were refugees because they were expelled from Jordan and Egypt or chose to leave Israel to return after Israel's annihilation? Did they ever tell the Syria, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, et al, to "stand down" and leave Israel alone? Did they ever tell their comrades to "give peace a chance"?

I am sure that Cindy Sheehan would be pleased with this proposal. Let's hope the Israeli Left ain't damnfool enough to believe this.

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Senate Democrats to Al Qaida, Iran, et al...

Mark you calendars! Sit down "and take a load" off, we will be out of there in a little while and you can "have at it."

You can have at it with the Iraqis that cooperated with us.

You can have at it with the Kurds.

You can feel free to flex your muscles in your backyard.

You can bully your neighbors.

Enjoy!

Just one more thing...if you can restrain yourselves for a while after the U.S. withdrawal, we Democrats can say "It worked!". Once a Democrat is in the White House, we won't bother you anymore.

Can any thinking person find a rational reason for telling the enemy when you will start withdrawing and when you will be effectively "out-of-theatre"?

Do you see why we sometimes have trouble building coalitions? Do you see why some folks are unwilling to go "out-on-a-limb" with us? They have learned that after a few years, we "get tired", then climb over them to get off the limb and then proceed to cut off the limb while they are still "out there".

A weak America does not benefit civilization. No brag, just fact.

Michael Medved has these more articulate thoughts on his Townhall.com blog. And Pam at Blogmeister USA has this post.
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Monday, March 26, 2007

A Lesbian Asks That a Court Ban Gay Adoptions

This is taking place in the Atlanta area.

After the failure of a lesbian relationship in which a baby was born by artificial insemination, then adopted by the other partner, one of the principles (the birth mother) has rethought her orientation and is now involved is asking a court to rule the adoption null-and-void, as there is no specific allowance in Georgia adoption laws permitting adoptions by homosexual couples.

As this is a complex issue, go to the linked article for more info.

I am not in favor of an across-the-board banning of adoptions by homosexual couples.

But I don't think they should become routine.

On a case-by-case basis, I think perhaps that placement of "special needs" children with committed homosexual couples (or in rare cases, single individuals) would be preferable to life in foster care. Or if the child is a relative of one of the homosexual partners and no one else is available (or else it is approved by a majority of other family members), again, that is preferable to life in foster care.

The reason why I favor traditional married couples for non-special needs children (those that will presumably someday marry) is that children need to see the positive interactions between men and women. It is a biological thing and it is a cultural-sustainability thing.

It is not hate. It is not a phobia about child abuse. I am not inferring that homosexual couples are more likely to abuse their adopted or birthed children.

It is a recognition of what is and what should be, not just in terms of religious faith, but in terms of the two-gendered biological creatures that we are. And how we pass along traditions (successful behaviors) that have developed over thousands of years.
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A Distinction That Rosie O'Donnell Will Never Reach Un-Assisted

Ace of Spades HQ has a post and links about the music video that illustrates what we, in the Western World, face if we don't prevail in the War on Terror.

It is about a music video featuring the daughter of the suicide-bombing Palestinian mom, wanting to follow in her mom's footsteps. The actress portraying the young, female bomber-to-be is four years old.

In most of the Developed World (and in those areas that want to be Developed), parents videotape their young daughters playing house, playing dress-up, at ballet recitals or soccer games, practicing in different ways for the future.

How does Israel (or the United States) negotiate with such a mindset? A mindset that says - "We will kill our children so we can kill you.".

As reported by Ace, as the video closes, instead of the little girl reaching into her mom's dresser drawer for a dress to play dress-up in, she "picks up the sticks of explosives her mother had left there." What a family tradition!

If such founts-of-wisdom as Rosie O'Donnell, Joy Behar, et al, comment at all about this video, it will probably be to blame it on President Bush.

We have to demonstrate to the Middle Eastern onlookers that this mindset cannot be allowed to prevail. We have to somehow help demonstrate a future in which little girls smile at the thought of the new books that they bring home from school or looking forward to someday getting that first bicycle.

Israel has certainly made its share of mistakes, but the situation in which the "Palestinians" find themselves is because of the decades of following the dysfunctional, crooked leadership of Yassir Arafat, because of the failure of surrounding Muslim nations to help them and because of the failure of the UN to help them.

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Now We Know Why

Last Friday, Rush made a few comments about a British genealogy website having determined that Senator Barack Obama had some "Irish blood in him".

Now we know why he gets a little misty-eyed when he hears "Danny Boy".
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The Projection of Calm Authority and Confidence...

in some ways like President Reagan, seem to be some of the possible strengths of former Senator Fred Thompson.

If somehow leaders such as Giuliani or Romney somehow fall to the wayside, perhaps Fred Thompson might fill the bill. But don't expect the MSM to remind the American people that Fred Thompson served in the Senate with honor.

Common Folk Using Common Sense has more...

Would you expect the projection of Calm Authority from Hillary? John Edwards? Barack Obama? John McCain?

Just a little food-for-thought.

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I Don’t Expect Anything Noteworthy from Kitty Kelley…

so I was not disappointed in her blatherings posted in this Sunday’s AJC. I am just disappointed in space being devoted to this waste of good trees. [If the book is printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, then my bad.]

I don’t know whether or not if this is another of those articles that the AJC “cuts-and-pastes” from the New York Times, but it is the same story, another Bush-bashing book from a Hollywood head-full-of-fluff.

Her newspaper piece is entitled “Bush’s relatives opt out of the war effort”.

Not seeing such matters as context and irony, she starts with commenting on Jenna Bush’s up-coming book based upon her experiences as a UNICEF intern. Jenna has agreed to donate any book-earnings to UNICEF and as with other public figures that write books, there may tours of TV talk shows this fall. Many of these public figures write books to put more money in their own pockets (which is the free-market way of doing things). If you know that your earnings are being donated, it seems to me that publicly pushing your book will result in more money for that charity. [I myself could find a better charity than UNICEF, though I won’t waste space by yammering about that.]

An example of Catty Kelley’s [oops! My bad!] “wisdom”:

“…But while the 25-year-old makes the rounds of TV talk shows this fall in a White House limousine, dozens of her contemporaries will be arriving home from Iraq in wooden boxes.”…

In a time of war, there are issues of security vis-à-vis Presidential offspring. If President Bill Clinton had seriously pursued the War on Terror after the first WTC attack, would Kitty Kelley have said a word about Chelsea Clinton’s modes of transportation? If Chelsea Clinton had done a coffee-table photo book on the worker’s paradise of Cuba, would Kitty Kelley have said a word about Chelsea not being in the military?

More “wisdom”:

“…Franklin Delano Roosevelt showed how the power of a good example also could be powerfully good politics. While he led the country to sacrifice in World War II, his (four) sons joined the service and his wife traveled to military bases to counsel and comfort the families of soldiers.”…

And her point is what?

Perhaps by an issue of biology, President Bush has two daughters. If he had four sons, Kitty Kelley might have a small point. But perhaps George W. and Laura listened to the environmentalists ask that we have smaller families.

Kitty stumbles into irony without seeming to recognize it. In reference to President Roosevelt’s sons’ service:

“…Other public figures did the same. Movie stars (James Stewart and Clark Gable) and sports heroes (Joe Dimaggio and Hank Greenberg) went off to war.”…

Nowadays, it seems we have trouble counting on two hands the number of Hollywood stars that will support the troops.

Gary Sinise, James Woods, and Ron Silver, are among the few with the courage to offer support. Mel Gibson seemed sensible at first, but lately he has been “flaking out”. Pat Tillman walked away from NFL football and was killed serving in Afghanistan and the Left savaged him, rather than respected him. We have to give a nod to Al Franken, who despite his Leftist attitudes, does find time to go entertain the troops as does Robin Williams. But homefront support is important, too.

Since WWII, the nature of war and the nature of our culture have changed. WWII was clearly seen as a “we got to” war after Pearl Harbor, with a groundswell of public support. Within days of 9/11, public people (in Hollywood and Washington, DC) started to undermine our response and prevention efforts regarding Islamist terror.

Our fathers that fought in WWII (as mine did) may not have seen Vietnam as a “we got to” issue worthy of pushing sons en masse to join the military. I received no noteworthy pressure to do so. If the draft had lasted one year longer and I had been called, I would have gone. No question.

With the Vietnam War winding down (though we didn't envision the politically-manipulated bad ending), there was a generally feeling that we "weren't needed". Though supportive of our homeland, my extended family would not be characterized as a "military family".

My Dad and three of my four uncles (and one aunt) served in the mililtary in WWII (the other uncle I am not sure about). My Father-in-Law served in the Navy in the early- to mid-1950s.

From the late 1960s, of myself and nine first cousins, one first cousin was a Draft Dodger that went to Canada and one female first cousin later joined the Air Force in the mid-1970s. Of those that didn't join, it wasn't that there was no support, we just didn't think that there was an overwhelming need. That was probably the case with many families.

As for Kitty Kelley’s claims that the Presidential family has been short on service, regarding visits to wounded vets, etc., how much do we really know? Some of this stuff may be going on behind the scenes and is not placed front-and-center due to security concerns. Sometimes people do things without deliberately calling attention to themselves.

Kitty Kelley suggests:

“…The first lady (sic), so often lauded for her love of literacy, has not been seen in the reading rooms of veteran’s hospitals.”

If Laura Bush were to publicize ever hospital/rehab center visit, she presents herself as an inviting target for attack, if not by terrorists, then by homegrown wackos. It may be that terrorists are wise enough to know that assassinating the First Lady would probably bring the American people together like little else, other than another large attack.

And with Leftist fluff-heads like Kitty Kelley, if Mrs. Bush did make publicized visits to veteran’s hospitals, they would holler about her “grandstanding” and exploiting the veteran’s injuries to suit her own purposes.

As for the broad references Kitty gives to members of the extended Bush family (nieces, nephews) not joining the military, that same statement could me made about other political families.

The elite-driven culture, in which Kitty Kelley thrives, has been downplaying the importance of the mililtary for years.

So why is she complaining about it now? Oh, that's right, it helps her sell books.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Oh, BTW...

in this week's episode of Lost, I noticed that in Ben's refrigerator, there were some more cans of Dharma Initiative Beer, when Ben offers Locke some leftover chicken.

[I just included this 'cause my friend Neal teased me about the last time I wrote about Dharma Initiative Beer cans.]
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We May be in for Another Active Hurricane Season

I (as well as others) have repeatedly stated that evidence suggests that hurricane activity occurs in cycles. While the political hurricanes seem to go on and on.

Because of natural variability, sometimes cycles are hard to discern until you have been in them for a few years.

Climatologists and hurricane watchers submit that we have been in an active cycle since the mid-1990s or so and that we may be in this active cycle for the next 10 to 20 years.

Within upward or downward trends in nature, there can be shorter-term trends contrary to the direction of the longer-term trend. Again, we cannot see this until after-the-fact.

The Liberal MSM breathlessly predicted a "hurricane Armageddon" after the highly-active 2004 and 2005 seasons, probably hoping they could blame it on Karl Rove, Halliburton, VP Dick Cheney, or President Bush hisself (or maybe all of them at once).

Instead, 2006 was quiet. It may have partially or totally due to the weak El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event that just ended in early 2007. From the NOAA website:

"...Therefore, the primary atmospheric indicators have begun to reflect the dissipation of the 2006/2007 warm event, as the surface and subsurface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific cooled significantly during February."...

Or there may have been other reasons. [That is the nature of nature. There may be more than one reason for an event beginning or ending.]

With this current El Niño event having ended, it is possible that we could return to an active season. And because of the current MSM/Democrat political atmosphere, where everything is a crisis, if we have another active season, it will be pronounced a crisis.

And Al Gore will be among the first to blame it on Global Warming, not noting that the last active cycle coincided with a period of atmospheric cooling from approximately the 1940s through the late 1960s (or so).

And he and others will demand that the evil Republican "deniers" named above (and skeptics to-be-named-later) will have to be sacrificed and we will all have to pay Carbon Taxes, if we cannot afford carbon offsets, in order to please Mother Gaia.

[An important question is - Will those sacrificed to Gaia be executed in a carbon-neutral way? After all, burning us at-the-stake will add to Global Warming, as would electrocution and the firing squad.]

Because of the complexities of nature, coincidence (or correlation) does not (and should not) infer causation. Sometimes it takes years to sort through cause-and-effect.

But Liberals just can't wait. They have to discredit the Republican Party and Conservatives in general to compensate for their weak 2008 field of candidates, before the public wakes up.

Or if they can secure the simultaneous resignations or impeachments of VP Cheney and President Bush, they can install Nancy Pelosi (Al Gore and Hillary might contest that though) and they can just save the taxpayers money by calling off the 2008 elections, to save the Union from the climate-change deniers and the Fascist Christian theocrats.

And future hurricanes.

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Re: the Buchanan Column...

referenced below, Lorie Byrd has a further explanation why the President should not give into the Dems on the FABRICATED ISSUE of the U.S. Attorney firings.

For the good of the nation, the President has got to understand that unlike Texas, where there dwell a few, honest conservative Democrats...he cannot "reach across the aisle" if the cross-aisle occupant is a snake! You cannot handle a snake until you have verified that it is harmless or defanged.

Appeasement or other signs of weakness will only encourage them to do more.

[Herein I predict that if we have an active hurricane season and if Max Mayfield is still director of NOAA’s Tropical Prediction Center-National Hurricane Center and if we get hammered again (see following post) and if Mr. Mayfield says "it may be part of a natural cycle" instead of "it is the fault of man-made global warming" - I can almost guarantee you that there will be Democrat calls for his sworn testimony on Capitol Hill and calls for his resignation for his apostasy.

And these calls will be led by "climate expert" Al Gore, who apparently couldn't handle the rigors of divinity school. However, unbeknownst to us conservative peons, Al Gore, after losing the 2000 election, went out and received a B.S., an M.S., and a PhD, all of them in Meteorology and a PhD in Paleoclimatology. Way to go Al!]

The Leftists are after Karl Rove, VP Cheney, and anyone else they can get to try to "politically emasculate" President Bush, after all, winning future elections is more important than winning the War on Terror. If we withdraw from the field of battle, they can just blame it on Republicans.

IT IS POLITICAL HARASSMENT AND NOTHING MORE.

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What's Up, Locke? - Updated

If you don't follow ABC's Lost, here are some follow-ups and blatherings on this week's episode, where we did find out a little more about the mysterious John Locke and a few other things that keep this show weird enough to continue watching.

[I like to think that it is more cerebral than a "soap opera". Heh. For what it is worth, here is the Wikipedia reference on Lost.]

So how did he wind up in a wheel chair for four years and how does Ben know about it? [During a confrontation with his ne'er-do-well father (who swindled him out of a kidney), his father pushed him out of an eighth-floor window. We still don't know how Ben knows.]

Why did John push Mikhail into the "force field" fence, killing him last week? [Not addressed.]

So what is John going to do with that package of C-4? [He blew up the submarine, which was supposed to be the way that Jack and Juliet were supposed to leave the island per a deal worked out between Jack and Ben. This may have been a manipulation by Ben to prevent anyone from leaving the island, so that someone else (in this case John Locke) would have been blamed, rather than Ben. It will be interesting in the next few weeks to see how Locke is treated by his fellow crash-survivors, if they are released by "the Others".]

What happened to John's long-ago love interest, played by Katy Segal? [Not addressed.]

What happened with John and the young cop when they were in a face off after John inadvertently let him in on the pot-farming operations of his friends in California? Did John shoot him? Or,...? [Not addressed.]

Other issues that are arising:

The events that lead up to the flashback of Locke being pushed out of the window by his father were that his con-man father was wooing a wealthy woman (a widow?) worth an estimated $200 million. The woman's son sought out Locke to ask him about his father and Locke was not honest about his father's complete lack of character. John Locke then sought out his father to make his call off the wedding, telling his father that the woman's son (last name Talbot), told him. Soon after, the young Mr. Talbot was found murdered. During the next confrontation between Locke and his father, his father claimed the wedding was off, then when Locke attempted to call the woman, his father pushed him out of the window.

How does Ben know so much about Locke? Will Locke be forced into an alliance with Ben, after being ostracized by Jack, Sayid, Kate, and Juliet for blowing up the submarine?

Is it true that the island is completely cut-off from the outside world now and somehow invisible? Will there arise some sort of uneasy truce between the survivors and "the Others"?

In the closing scene, how was it that Locke's evil father was presented to him, bound and gagged in an isolated inner room? How did Ben get him there? Is he actually somehow associated with "the Others" and this is just more of Ben's manipulation? Again, how does Ben know all of this?

Vague references have been made to Ben not actually being the "leader" of the colony of "the Others". The relationship between the Dharma Initiative and "the Others" is still murky.

OK, others blather on about 24. As stated before, I don't watch much current series TV and as I have not had to "chase Lost around the TV schedule", I continue to watch it.

But I can quit at any time, honest. Heh.

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Sometimes I Can Appreciate Backbone,...

even when I disagree with a particular individual on some important issues.

From time-to-time, I invoke the name of Pat Buchanan when I wish that President Bush 43 (or even 41) had a little more backbone. Even as a Classical Liberal in the early 1980s, I respected Ronald Reagan's backbone, even though I didn't yet understand his policies.

The MSM "hoohah" over the firings of EIGHT U.S. Attorneys is A CONTRIVED, FABRICATED ISSUE, IT IS NOT A CRISIS. THIS VENDETTA WAS INITIATED FOR THE STRICT PURPOSE OF POLITICAL HARASSMENT. NOTHING MORE.

Pat Buchanan has a column about how this is one of the times that President Bush needs to get angry and get busy calling the Dems on this issue. And President Bush needs to use his bully pulpit to use those "hollered words" above. Go ahead Mr. President, use my words, I won't mind.

With the background music of Alice Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" he can and should point the finger at the Dems without worrying about the "Three Towards Me" issue.

What has the President's Administration contrived for political purposes? [And don't bother with saying the Iraq War, that was done to try to prevent future 9/11-style attacks. Iraq was known to be a Islamist terror-sponsor. And a swift stabilization of Iraq, which was hindered by Leftist-driven internal divisions in this country, might have made Iran think twice about their present pathway. A weakened United States benefits no one in the long run.]

From the Buchanan column:

"...This is not about the incompetence of the Justice Department of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales or about any White House role in the firing of the eight -- whom President Bush had every right to fire.

This is about preserving and protecting the integrity of the institution of the presidency. It is about the right of America's head of state and head of government to receive the candid counsel of his most trusted advisers."...


It has been said and resaid that Bill Clinton fired 92 U.S. Attorneys at the beginning of his administration and now it is being reported that he fired another 30 (presumably his own) during his eight years in office.

No one had a major cow about that, except to perhaps point out that among the interrupted investigations were those ongoing in the Little Rock, AK area and the Chicago, IL area. Most Conservatives just accepted this as part of the political landscape.

After the news came out about the additional 30 (here-presumed) Clinton-appointed U.S. Attorneys being fired, over the course of the eight years, I listened to the twisted "logic" of some Libs on the Mike Gallagher radio show trying to draw distinctions between "the 122" and "the 8". Why it was justifiable to holler over "the 8" and not the others.

It was painful to behold that much stupidity.

This is not why our ancestors survived millenia of tribal warfare, disease, natural climate changes (droughts, ice ages), volcanic eruptions, famine,...

So that some folks can be this stupid.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Review of Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout...

is on tap over at Beer Can Blog, in case you are interested.

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An Update on the Roanoke Times Exposure of Law-Abiding Citizens to Harm...

by way of publishing lists of CCW permit holders. After reading about this at Common Folk Using Common Sense, I posted about this subject on March 14.

If you didn't read the original post, J.R. Dunn, at American Thinker has a more in-depth article on the inability of the Liberal press to respect the rights of lawful citizens.

From Dunn's article:

"...As reported by Michelle Malkin and others, the Times on March 11 ran an editorial titled "Shedding Light on Concealed Handguns" announcing that it was publishing a list of everyone in Virginia's New River Valley possessing a concealed carry permit.

This type of story has become a ritual event with second and third-tier news outlets across the country."...


"...All of these outfits act as if they're carrying out some sort of a public service, though none is clear as to precisely what that might be."

More:

"...A close examination of the Roanoke Times piece might give us some idea. It is written (by Christian Trejbal, who by the look of him has never brushed up against a gun owner in his life) in a continuous "gotcha" tone featuring numerous asides about "gun toters", and "packing heat". Trejbal misstates the legal basis of the paper's action, in a manner that suggests he doesn't understand it: "There are good reasons" he says, "the records are open to public scrutiny.""

More:

"...But Trejbal's most telling line was this one:

"A state that eagerly puts sex offender data online complete with an interactive map could easily do the same with gun permits, but it does not."
[Trejbal's words.]

That's as carefully turned a sentence as you are ever likely to read. One that was clearly rewritten and pondered over, possibly with editorial consultation. Note that it does not say that gun owners are the same thing as sex offenders, or that they are comparable to sex offenders, or are in any way similar to sex offenders. But the message comes across all the same."...

As I stated Wednesday of last week, these Libs see law-abiding citizens, that have filled out forms, submitted fingerprints, and undergone background checks in the same light as convicted sex offenders. In the Liberal "mind", there is no difference.

J. R. Dunn attempted to find evidence of where a newspaper had published a list of local sex offenders, but was unable to do so. But as related, Dunn found examples of media outlets making excuses of why they shouldn't publish lists of sex offenders.

"...But I found no end of articles arguing against any such thing. Articles with titles such as, "List of sex offenders: Handle with care", "No more sex offender registries Despite the rhetoric, they don't protect us", and "Why we don't tell you every time a sex offender moves to town". Articles taking the stance that it's unfair to publicize the names of molesters for any number of reasons: "They've got to live somewhere, right? Should we write stories that ultimately target and persecute people who have paid for their crimes?" (To be fair, the quoted story, published in a local Massachusetts paper called the Lancaster Times & Clinton Courier, was ambivalent. Most of them were anything but.)"

We know why they do this, as Dunn continues:

"...We know the point of these stories: these people are dangerous. They carry around guns. They should be stopped. Do you know any of them? Do you live nearby? Then watch your step! No telling what they'll do... Maybe you should contact your congressman, tell him to do something...

And how does this differ from the way the media treats sexual criminals? The question answers itself."


To quote Hank Hill - "Yep."

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A Few Movie Thoughts

I don't get out to movie theaters very often, partially because of costs and being busy with other stuff.

A couple of movies that I want to see on the big screen are "Amazing Grace" and "300", in that order.

Appreciation of "300" seems to be partially influenced by political stands, according to some.

Victor Davis Hanson seems to have proven himself to be a good resource in matters historical, and here is his take on the accuracy of "300".
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What's Up, Locke?

For those that follow ABC's Lost, tonight's the night we find out more about the mysterious John Locke.

So how did he wind up in a wheel chair for four years and how does Ben know about it?

Why did John push Mikhail into the "force field" fence, killing him last week?

So what is John going to do with that package of C-4?

What happened to John's long-ago love interest, played by Katy Segal?

What happened with John and the young cop when they were in a face off after John inadvertently let him in on the pot-farming operations of his friends in California? Did John shoot him? Or,...?

Other folks go nuts over "24", I have Lost.

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Ain't Misbehavin'

I finally got to meet one of my blogging buddies. Pam Meister was in the North Atlanta area for a training seminar, so we got together for Bar-B-Que and conversation at J.R.'s Restaurant.

Two Dogs, don't worry, we agreed that we would both like to sit down to have Bar-B-Que with you sometime, if able.

I enjoyed the experience and hope to meet a few more blogging buddies somewhere along the way. I went to grad school with the proprietor of Open Choke, so I guess that sort of counts.

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The Zoo Must Kill the Bear...

or so sez a German animal "rights" activist.

According to this story, a female polar bear abandoned her two male cubs in the Berlin Zoo in December, whereupon one of them died. [Now feminazis probably applauded this decision.]

The other male cub has been hand-fed by zoo personnel since then and Knut now weighs 19 pounds. [Update: I know real men ain't supposed to say "Oh, isn't he cute." (about the baby polar bear), but I can't help it.]

Animal "rights" purist Frank Albrecht remarked:

""Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws,"..."The zoo must kill the bear."

After the expected public uproar, Mr. Albrecht is attempting to "cover-his-ass":

"...Albrecht told The Associated Press his beliefs were more nuanced than reported by Bild (newspaper), though he applauded the debate the article had started.

He explained that though he thought it was wrong of the zoo to have saved the cub's life, now that the bear can live on his own, it would be equally wrong to kill him."...

Yeah, there is that favorite Liberal word - "nuanced", their way of saying that us hayseeds ain't smart enuf to understand whut they is talkin' about.

Of course it would better if Knut's mama had raised him and his brother, but regardless, zoo-raised bears would probably not do well in the colds of their natural habitat. No, zoos are not the perfect answer, and past efforts at procuring animals, especially baby animals, for sale to zoos has included some reprehensible behavior on the part of humans.

But we can still use improved zoos for their educational value.

Apparently, Mr. Albrecht is the animal "rights" representative of the Peter Singer school of humanity. Yeah, it is all or nothing in their world as long as they are making those decisions about other people (or animals). If it ain't a perfect situation, rather than making the best of it, they would rather destroy it.

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The Ultimate Tragedy of Over-Reliance on Government...

can be as close as your city or county-owned swimming pool.

In the last few days, three small children have drowned in Georgia swimming pools and a sister of one of the victims almost drowned, too.

In one case [I may be unclear on a few of the details], two of the toddlers were in a rural area, North of Atlanta, where they wandered out of grandma's house (or trailer?) while Mom went to the store, whereupon they fell into the pool and were not found for more than one hour. Here are more details.

In the other case, I do have more details, as one of my students is an employee at an indoor county-owned pool facility, associated with a park. A private group had rented the indoor pool facility for a kids' party. My student told me that there were three lifeguards vs. about 30 children in the four-foot deep pool.

And (according to my student) there was only one adult from the party group in the pool with the kids. A young girl (four, I think) was noticed in trouble and she was rescued and resuscitated. But no one noticed until afterwards that her little brother was still on the bottom of the pool. And they couldn't revive him. Here is a link to this story.

Now, I have been accused of being over-protective and overly-cautious about these things, but I have noticed over the years, having raised two kids (thus far to 12 and 20), that in such situations, far too many parents, just wanting some adult conversation, tend to mentally drop-their-kids-off and get busy yakking.

And it ain't just moms, it can be dads too. It is a county government-owned facility, so county employee lifeguards will take care of the situation. If you don't have kids, perhaps you don't know that absolute cacophony of 30 or so swimming, laughing, yelling, splashing kids. Even the best of lifeguards can use a little help.

Because of inner-ear problems, I do not swim well, but I always made it a point to be that "extra set of eyes", whether strolling back and forth around the pool, or at least sitting on the side, dangling my feet into the water. Trying to spot potential problems before they start. Sometimes, I might enlist a parent whom I had seen looking over their shoulder, at least they had given some thought to "checking up on things". In that particular scenario, I hope that I would have seen those two toddlers wandering towards the water and had time to holler at the lifeguards, if the kids had been on the other side of the pool.

At Boy Scout summer camp (at least at Woodruff Scout Reserve), there have been a few drownings and because of that, they specifically require extra sets of eyes, strolling the beach along the lake to help the lifeguards. And every few minutes, a horn is sounded to stop all action and do a "head count". No one is supposed to enter the water without checking in with someone.

No, sometimes someone just has to sacrifice a chance to converse with other parents, to vigilantly stand guard. That is ultimately our job.

We just can't allow ourselves to be too comfortable, as this other heart-breaking story relates.
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1 Finger vs. 3 Fingers or "Three Towards Me"

I think I have posted on this before, but without this particular title. It refers to the self-righteous finger-pointers and word-flingers.

If you haven't figgered it out by now, when most people point their index finger at someone or something, fingers 3, 4, and 5 are pointing back at themselves - the "Three Towards Me".

Now of course some Conservatives can be guilty of this, but we expect them to do better, giving thought before words are expressed.

But it seems that the majority of the "three towards me" crowd are Lib/Leftists, at least IMHO.

At American Thinker, William Zeranski has this post which was inspired by a woman yelling the word "Fascists" towards local police officers, during a protest march.

From this post:

"...She was an American woman yelling at American police, calling them fascists, and she didn't understand--and probably still doesn't--that she had no idea of what she was talking about.

Consider this: If those policemen were really fascists, the woman would have said nothing, fearing for her life. And if she did have the courage to call them fascists, and they actually were fascists, they would've agreed with her by laughing, smiling, and possibly beating her, just a little, for fun."...

Will the irony ever dawn upon her? I won't be holding my breath.

I wish that she and all of her Moonbat friends could win an all-expenses paid trip to Cuba, North Korea, or Zimbabwe, whereupon they lose their passport and is forced to dwell there for a few months, while the government paper work snails its way through the system. Just for fun, she could hurl the same epithet at Cuban, North Korean, or Zimbabwean police, then the real education would begin.

Or, our government - rather than replacing the lost passports - could just "work a deal" with Cuba or North Korea, by which they would exchange these ingrates for selected political prisoners from those countries. Or we could just ask Zimbabwe to send whatever white farmers are left, along with their trained black employees and let Mugabe's friends and families run the food production industry in what used to be "Africa's breadbasket". Here is just one of many articles about Zimbabwe. Spend some time learning about that Socialist paradise.

Consider how many of the "buzzwords" or "buzzphrases" of the Left aptly fit the flinger more so than the flingee.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Protectors, Not Protestors

Yesterday, Michael Medved questioned the need and the effectiveness of "both sides" having "protestors" in Washington, DC for the "peace" march.

I don't see the "Eagles" as being protestors, but rather in this case - protectors.

This is not to say that all of the anti-war protestors would engage in acts of vandalism, but all it takes is a few diehard anarchists with spray cans and then the mob mentality takes over. We saw that at the march a few weeks ago when the Capitol Hill police allowed vandals to spray paint the Capitol steps. We have seen anarchist-led protests turn into riots in Seattle, San Francisco, and elsewhere. They have a history.

As for the Eagles, they are not there to "bust heads", though some of them might want to when confronted by the criminal stupidity and treasonous behavior of some of the Moonbats.

The National Park police, DC police, etc., can get "gunched up" by Political Correctness and the worry over lawsuits from Leftist lawyers. Such things are less of a concern to average citizens engaged in the protection of national memorial sites.

The citizens of "flyover country" understand the traditions of this nation and understand that we have a pretty good home, despite its human flaws.

We saw how Washington, DC was taken over by protestors during the late-1960s and 1970s. It is a different world now and we know that at least some of the Vietnam-era peace protests were likely orchestrated by the Kremlin. And those that use Vietnam-era protests as a template are continuing the "fine tradition" of being "useful idiots", this time for a different enemy.

Pam Meister has this American Thinker article, to which Rush Limbaugh linked, on the Gathering of Eagles. Brainster has this contribution on the subject, too.

The Vietnam War protests caught "Middle America" by surprise at a time when we were absorbing other aspects of cultural changes. Some of these changes were needed and some of them were not. And sometimes it takes years to tell the difference between the needed and the harmful.

We weren't used to widespread protests during wartime. We weren't used to college campuses being taken over and vandalized by protestors. And we didn't know about the long-term damage caused by these internal division of our population, when those internal weaknesses were used by an enemy to guide their actions.

While the protestors can continue their peaceful activities, we do need a resolute counter-presence to remind them that unlike the Vietnam-era, this time they won't be unanswered.

Michelle Malkin has linked to an Indepundit post on the march. The Indepundit post is very informative on all of the Anarchist/Socialist players that probably wished they lived in Cuba or Venezuela.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

The Gathering of Eagles - The Really Important Stuff

Pam at Blogmeister USA attended the Washington, DC "Gathering of Eagles" as a way of helping protect the Vietnam Memorial from Moonbat vandalism.

There are links, within her post, to some other posts about the same subject.

As a reminder, FrontPageMag had this article about the protest march, comparing it to the anti-Vietnam War march of 40 years ago.

From the FrontPageMag article:

"...Heather Harts'ohorn, 50, of Alexandria said she was puzzled by the counterprotesters' support for the war.

"I don't know why veterans are so willing to send others into combat," she said. "Who knows better than Vietnam veterans about how a war can ruin someone's life? Do they want them to stay in Iraq until they all come home in Ziploc bags?""...

She is clearly too clueless to know how the "Peace Movement" contributed to the deaths of tens-of-thousands of Americans and hundreds-of-thousands of Vietnamese.

Walter Cronkite, et al, told us that we lost the Tet Offensive. In reality, by my understanding, PAVN General Vo Nguyen Giap suggested in How We Won the War, (and perhaps also in his memoirs), that they considered surrendering after they lost the Tet Offensive in 1968. If not for the "Peace Movement", perhaps that "black granite" wall in Washington, DC might be much smaller.

Those that forget the past...

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The Experience of Freezing Fog on a Mountain Top

Our Boy Scouting adventure began with a nighttime hike from the parking lot up to a ridge near Springer Mountain, the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail.


While driving up the single-lane, dirt and gravel Forest Service roads to the Springer Mt. parking area, we encountered at least two dozen Army Rangers on a nighttime hike, going in the opposite direction. Each dressed in camouflage and carrying a backpack, we silently saluted them. Some of the stragglers will no doubt have other roles to play in the Army, lest they become "sniper bait" in Iraq or Afghanistan.


After arriving at the parking lot, we left at about 10 PM and hiked approximately 1 mile, up the mountain, by flashlight, climbing approximately 330 feet in elevation. There were about 20 Scouts and 14 or so Adult Leaders and parents.

When we arrived at the ridge top, at approximately 3720 feet above Sea Level, we were greeted with a constant cold wind, gusting to perhaps 20 to 30 mph under a clear sky. [If this link works, we camped in the small white area, just north of the peak of Springer Mt.]

Because of the cold (it dropped to 24 degrees) and the wind - I slept perhaps one hour during the night. The next morning, everything was coated with a thin layer of ice (and maybe a few isolated snow flakes), courtesy of the low-hanging stratus clouds that were skimming the mountain tops. This is what is known as Freezing Fog.

As much fun as it was putting up the tents in the cold, blowing wind (by flashlight), taking down the tents - beginning before sunrise - was even more "fun", with numb fingers and numb brains. We couldn't make any warm breakfast until we could get a little further down the hill to a sheltered area, where we could fire up our portable stoves. Getting 20 or so pre-teen and teenaged boys out of their sleeping bags was a challenge.

We had not expected conditions quite that harsh for mid-March and a tent-resident ranger confirmed that it was a "little out of the norm". Largely because of the intense cold, three of the boys (including my son) decided that they were not up for the remaining 8.4 miles of the hike. One of the boys left earlier with his dad. Another had fallen on ice and hit his head on a rock (he is OK, just a "flesh wound"), so after breakfast and visiting the actual peak of Springer Mt., the three boys, myself, and the mom of the "wounded Scout" hiked back down to the parking lot, so we could meet the others at the other end of the hike. The same boy that had fallen fell again on some more ice, adding skinned knees to his version of his "Red Badge of Courage". He was quite a trooper, remaining composed despite falling twice and leaving his blood at two places along the Appalachian Trail. Character-building we call it.

The original plan had been to camp out Saturday night along the trail and then finish Sunday morning, but because of the cold, the hikers decided to cover all 8.4 miles in a single day, which they finished at about 5:45 PM EDT. It wouldn't have been that much worse than the 11 miles we did last April at Chickamauga Battlefield Park, but because of the cold, we couldn't convince the other three to give it a try. And the 6-mile round trip and campout around Blood Mt. last November was pretty tough, so the degree-of-difficulty wasn't so much an issue, again it was the cold. Each has to progress at their own rate.

With only 1 hour of sleep, perhaps it is best that we didn't try the long hike. We will have to do some short practice hikes between now and our next backpacking trip, probably in November.
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Meanwhile, the Hysterias Continue...

This FrontPageMag-linked article revisits recent and current hysterias.

That is not to say that we shouldn't be concerned about future challenges, but blindly allowing government to "just do something", when all of the information is "not in yet" (if it will ever be) will lead us further down the road towards Socialism-based tyranny.

Yes, we may well influence climate, especially locally and maybe even regionally, but we don't control it. But because of natural variability, supported by an ever-growing paleoclimate database, it is difficult to assess what our current or future influences may be.

For any newer visitors, go back and read how the global warming hysteria began.

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What's the Average, Kenneth?

Other scientists, more articulate than me, have stated that at any point-in-time and at almost any place in the world, it is either getting warmer or colder.

It just depends on the defined timeline average. One single year does not define a trend.

A five-year average only defines weather events during a five-year time period. Even a ten-year average is of limited use in defining longer-term trends, except to perhaps define anomalies during longer time spans.

Climatologists usually rely on a 30-year average (as a minimum) to define local, regional, or continental climatic conditions.

At the American Thinker blog, James Lewis has this noteworthy article/post, on a subject upon which I had considered writing in my own humble way, but for which I had not yet "assembled" my thoughts.

From the article/post:

"...Danish physicist Bjarne Andresen has raised the interesting point that there may be no global warming, because there is no such thing as global temperature! That is because the earth atmosphere is not a homogeneous system. It's not a glass lab jar in your high school physics lab.

Says Andresen,


"It is impossible to talk about a single temperature for something as complicated as the climate of Earth. A temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system. Furthermore, the climate is not governed by a single temperature. Rather, differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, thunder, etc. which make up the climate."
(Italics added - by James Lewis.)

Andresen is a professor at The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen. His article appeared in The Journal of Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics, with coauthors Essex and McKitrick. The journal deals with energy systems that are too complex to come to equilibrium, unlike a cup of hot tea, which behaves in a highly predictable way. A lot of important physical systems, like the climate, appear to be non-equilibrium systems. They are not well understood, which is why they are a hot frontier topic in physics."...
[Emphasis added.]

The behavior of the micro-ecosystem that is a cup of hot tea is predictable because it is a closed system, with a finite set of defined parameters, e.g., original temperature of the tea; room temperature; room humidity; composition and wall-thickness of the cup; the surface area of the tea/air interface, etc..

All of these (and others not conceived by my simple mind) play a role in the rate of cooling of the tea.

The Earth's climate is an open system, with a seemingly infinite number of variable parameters (or controlling inputs). Some of these inputs are cyclical, some of them are random. Some of these inputs exaggerate each other (fully or partially), some inputs ameliorate each other (fully or partially).

And of course, some inputs are more influential than others. Add to that things that influence our temperature measurements and other sources-of-error in calculations.

Climate records tell us what has happened in the past. And reconstructed paleoclimate history tells us of a dynamic Earth that undergoes alternating periods of cold and warm, of different time spans. We don't yet (if we ever will) know all of the reasons for these changes.

Even within given centuries-long cold periods, e.g., the Dark Ages Cold Period or the Little Ice Age, there are brief "warm spells".

The opposite is true for periods of warming, e.g., the Roman Warm Period, the Medieval Warm Period, and the Modern Warm Period, during which there brief "cold spells", the most recent of which was from approximately the 1940s until the 1970s.

Computer models, used by the laboratory scientists, have been commandeered by the climate hysterics, for political reasons.

Models are important for trying to visualize "what might happen" and for giving us material for discussion, but computer modelling is still an immature science and it is a poor basis for making laws that will influence the energy prices paid by us and our children (and beyond).

Because the Earth is so dynamic, when you hear a talking head say something about "average temperatures rising...", just bear in mind that it is a composite formed from a limited number of measurements. And it is probably being presented for political reasons.

And is it a 30-year average? Or a 100-year average? Or a 500-year average? Or 10,000 year average? Or a 100,000 year average?... Each will be different.

[Disclaimer: There is a slim chance that I have written about this before, I don't have time to go back and search my archives. But even if I have, this point needs to be repeated.]

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Getting Ready for Another Backpacking Trip

My son's Boy Scout troop is getting ready for a weekend hike along the "lead-up trail" that extends between Amicalola Falls State Park and the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mt..

We are going to park at the base of Springer Mt. and climb approximately one mile to the camping area. Then tomorrow we will cover part of the Southern Terminus Approach Trail from Springer Mt. back towards Amicalola Falls, camping somewhere along the way. The total distance is 8.4 miles.

Hopefully the rain will be ending this morning, but it will be windy and about 20 degrees colder (in the daytime) than it has been the last few days. The only upside to that is that with cooler temperatures, less water will be needed. That is one of the biggest hassles of this type of overnight backpacking, is trying to guess how much water you need to carry, as water is heavy. Some of the Scout Masters have small, portable water filtration units (they cost about $70 - $80, so I haven't gotten one yet), I don't want to "sponge" off of them too much.

As for shuttling the cars from Springer Mt. to Amicalola Falls, I was asked to help with that, rather than doing the long hike (if the cars were to be moved on Saturday). However, a new plan arose whereby the cars would be shuttled while the Scouts are finishing up at the park, after the main part of the hike on Sunday. So I don't quite know what my role will be.

If I do the hike, I hope that a few of the early wildflowers are in bloom, for photographic purposes, though it may be a bit early for most of them. And I hope that the rocks and clay are not too slippery.

Need your prayers as usual.
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The Broken Clock Syndrome is Applicable...

in a small way (where the broken clock is right twice a day) to Rosie O'Donnell's 9-minute rant on "The View", as highlighted by Rush Limbaugh and the following-linked WND article.

Dipping into her mile-wide, inch-deep reservoir of knowledge and wisdom, Rosie was ranting about the treatment for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

To illustrate the depth of her ignorance, she thought the 4-year old photo of KSM at the time of his arrest was taken of him after his incarceration at Gitmo. I remember that photo from four years ago, I guess it is too much to expect her to at least have asked a colleague - "Is this a current photo of him?".

She apparently never considers the irony of the fact that if strict Shari'a was the law-of-the-land, she would not have a job, she would not be allowed to speak in public, as a vocal lesbian, she and her partner would not have children, by birth nor adoption. I think we all know how homosexuals are treated in strict Muslim cultures.

The natural skeptic in me sees the small, small point that she unknowingly swerved into. When Rosie stated:

"for whatever he did or didn't do, he is not the be all, end all of terrorism in America. And our government has not found the answer in this one man."...

I agree with her. Not because I think the present Administration is evil, as most Leftists do, but rather because it is human nature to want to "get closure".

Of course it is possible that KSM finally realized that he ain't getting out of Gitmo anytime soon, or maybe the interrogation methods finally got to him. Maybe he did "break".

But the skeptic in me considers other possibilities, too.

Did he make all of these confessions to take the heat off of his comrades-in-arms?

Did he make these confessions to create a diversion?

Did he make these confessions to pump up his own image?

Or did the government release this info at this time to "throw a scare" into his former colleagues?

It seems to me, with all of the leaks in our government, if the confessions had occurred "a while back", they would have been leaked.

Now I haven't a clue what Rosie might have been correct about 12 hours earlier or 12 hours later.

But rather than the "Broken Clock" analogy, perhaps it is the "even a blind hog occasionally finds an acorn" analogy, as maybe her stumbling into the truth is more random than regular.

But I won't even go any further with the "blind hog" analogy. Nope.

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