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>

Monday, April 30, 2007

Tanker Truck Fire Causes Bridge Collapse in Oakland

But, but, but...Rosie said it was impossible!

San Francisco Bay area traffic is going to be snarled - perhaps for months - after a gasoline tanker truck accident & fire, beneath a bridge, caused a portion of that bridge to buckle and collapse.

From the MSNBC report, the 200 foot high flames:

"...melted the upper deck of a highway on the Oakland/Emeryville side leading to the double-decker Bay Bridge that connects the heavily populated East Bay to San Francisco. As the steel structure weakened, a concrete slab fell onto the ramp below."...

How could this happen? A few weeks ago, Nobel Prize-winning Metallurgist & Structural Engineer Rosie O'Donnell, PhD declared that mere fire was unable to trigger the buckling and failure seen on 9/11 in WTC 7 - and by extrapolation - the bridge in Emeryville, CA.

It must be an inside job.

How could Ahnold benefit from this bridge collapse? Does he own stock in the construction companies that have a no-bid contract with the State of California? Did he do it to distract the media and the country from the disaster in Iraq? Is he trying to help his buddies Cheney and Bush.

Yeah, that's it.

Halliburton must have a no-bid contract to replace all fire-damaged bridges in large California cities.

So Dennis Kucinich can save time and go ahead and impeach all three - Cheney, Bush, and Ahnold.
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Beware the Eco-Fads and Eco-Phobias

I have blogged before about the current Compact Fluorescent Light fad and the potential mercury dangers therein.

Here is a good article on some of the hazards of mercury, by way of Eco*Logic Powerhouse.

The article is based upon the "adventures" of a Maine woman after she dropped and broke a CFL bulb in her daughter's room.

To "properly" clean up the mercury spill, she is looking at spending $2000, and that is after immediately calling Home Depot, who referred her to a state agency - which classified her daughter's room as a hazardous waste site. And she can't just rip up the carpeting and put it in the nearest dumpster.

From the article:

"...It's quite odd that environmentalists have embraced the CFL, which cannot now and will not in the foreseeable future be made without mercury. Given that there are about five billion light bulb sockets in North American households, we're looking at the possibility of creating billions of hazardous waste sites such as the Bridges' bedroom."...

Numerous Libs have stated that they fear Global Warming far more than terrorism, even nuclear terrorism. I think this push for CFLs illustrates the fact that they fear carbon dioxide more than they do mercury. I wonder what percentage of these CFLs are going to be properly disposed of? [Pardon my grammar.]

The article states that each CFL contains 5 milligrams of mercury, so as those thrown-away CFL bulbs are being crushed in the garbage-truck compactor, then carried to the municipal landfill, how long will it take for the countless droplets of mercury to coalesce into a mass that may find its way past the clay liner of the landfill, and into the ground water system?

From the article:

"...As the activist group Environmental Defense urges us to buy CFLs, it defines mercury on a separate part of its Web site as a "highly toxic heavy metal that can cause brain damage and learning disabilities in fetuses and children" and as "one of the most poisonous forms of pollution.""...

And for the Third World nations that Greens claim to represent:

"...But where are mercury-containing CFLs made? Not in the United States, under strict environmental regulation. CFLs are made in India and China, where environmental standards are virtually non-existent."...

All of this just to save a little carbon dioxide generated by fossil fuel burning power plants. If Greens have their way and ban incandescent bulbs:

"...We'll eventually be disposing billions and billions of CFL mercury bombs. Much of the mercury from discarded and/or broken CFLs is bound to make its way into the environment and give rise to Superfund liability,"...

Even in the face of this evidence, if they proceed with this Eco-fad, and regular bulbs are banned, will there be an underground supply of "incans" for black-market sale? Will smugglers take to bringing truckloads of incandescent bulbs across the border?

Well, go give the article a read, as some of your friends at some point will buy into this, if they haven't already.

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Sparse Blogging May be the Rule...

Today and tomorrow, as these are the last two days of lecture and there is a lab final tomorrow.

My first lecture final isn't until Friday, so there will be some time here and there to blog.

So please check back from time to time, there is stuff in progress.
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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ya'll Go'n Mess Around...

and mess around until NASCAR bans ya'll from:

1) Bringing your own canned beer in coolers into the racetrack (bottles are already banned) or

2) Bringing your own coolers, with food, period.

The last two Nextel Cup races have been won by Jeff Gordon, first tying, then passing the late Dale Earnhart, Sr. in career wins. Now Jeff has 77 wins, since his first full season began in 1993.

Both times, after the race, caveman-like behavior was shown by rednecks in Phoenix, AZ and Talladega, AL - by throwing full beer cans onto the race track during Jeff's victory lap.

Last week, Jeff honored Dale's memory by carrying a flag with Dale's #3 around the race track during his victory lap, but that wasn't enough for some "fans". Dale, Jr. appreciated the effort and wished Jeff well.

At Talladega, it happened to have been Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s birthday, he would have been 56 yesterday and in a perfect world, Dale Jr. would have won the race. And he was in a position to do so, until a late caution flag ruined his "charge to the front".

Prior to this week's race, Dale, Jr. asked that if fans were going to throw anything, let it be rolls of toilet paper. And NASCAR and Talladega management told them not to do it, but the cans flew.

As the winning car is greatly slowed after the race is over, it is not that much of a hazard to the individual winner, but above the safety fence is a debris fence and the beer can throwers have to throw the full cans high to get them over the fence.

During the race, there is always a buffer zone between the fence and the grandstands and it is patrolled by police and security guards. As soon as the race is over and the cars are exiting the track, except the winner, it is a normal practice for fans to swarm the fence for a closer look. Kids are among those to the fence first. Those full beer cans that do not clear the debris fence are likely to fall upon the gathering fans below. So how much damage can a full beer can do to a child's head when it has fallen 30 or so feet?

The commentators remarked that they saw people being led away in handcuffs from the grandstand for throwing debris onto the racetrack. I hope there is some way to ban them permanently from Talladega and other raceways, or perhaps sue them to the point where they are unable to afford tickets anymore.

When bottles were permitted at Talladega, there were at least two incidents of race car drivers having to deal with a thrown bottle.

The first was in the early 1970s when a thrown bottle hit the passenger side of Cale Yarborough's windshield, when he was speeding along the back straightaway at 200 mph (as my memory serves me). As there are no grandstands in this area, there was no debris fence and the thrower had probably sneaked into the area. Cale said it sounded like an explosion and the force of the impact collapsed his windshield and bent the support rods in the center of the windshield area. During his pit stop, his crew busted out the rest of the windshield and sent him back onto the track, so as not so lose too much time. While his crew scoured the infield for a fan's car of the same make (to purchase the windshield), Cale was making laps of 158 mph, without a windshield, having to hold his hand over his mouth to breathe. To my knowledge, they never caught the guilty party.

The second incident was in the mid-1980s, when Phil Parsons blew a tire on broken glass from a thrown beer bottle. Again, lap speeds were around 200 mph. He saw the bottle come out of the front straightaway grandstands, he stated it seemed to be in "slow motion" and he saw it shatter on the track, but he was unable to avoid the glass. Fortunately he wasn't hurt, but his car was heavily damaged. Again, the guilty party may have gotten away.

When Dale Earnhardt, Sr. won one of his championships during the 1990s, clinching the title in a race at Rockingham, NC, he was showered with beer cans and other debris after the race was over. It was reprehensible then and now.

There is just no reason for this behavior and it may get to the point where NASCAR fans have to buy cups of overpriced beer at the concession stand (after standing in line for 20 minutes) due to the actions of a few idiots. [Of the races I have attended over the years, I have only had a single beer at one or two of them. Beer + heat + noise is a good recipe for a migraine, so I have never been among the cretins.]
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Why Modern Liberals Ain't - the Censorship of Science

To quickly review the current MSM/Political paradigm regarding climate variation, it is that -disregarding past climate variations - human-generated carbon dioxide is causing the climate to warm. And this warming will continue into the foreseeable future, to unprecedented temperatures, through the enhancement of the Greenhouse Effect.

And to suit their political purposes, most of this carbon dioxide is generated by Americans, overwhelming any natural sources, such as ocean releases and volcanoes.

This paradigm began as a political animal, "given legs" by PM Margaret Thatcher. Before that, it was an obscure hypothesis. And it continues to thrive as a political animal, as pronounced by Jacques Chirac - "a blueprint for Global Governance".

Though a little more complex, components of the "skeptics' paradigm" (in no particular order) suggest that:

►Climate Variations are a normal part of this dynamic Earth.►
►Carbon dioxide is a minor Greenhouse Gas.►
►Most of the carbon dioxide is due to natural processes or as a response to other natural processes.►
►Human-released carbon dioxide may slightly influence temperatures.►
►Because the Past Variations (before the Industrial Revolution) are of different magnitude and duration, it is difficult-to-impossible to accurately assess the magnitude of any human influences.►
►Other human activities, mostly related to changes in Land-Use Patterns, may exert more of an influence on atmospheric temperatures.►

These views are held by hundreds of scientists - geologists, geophysicists, climatologists, meteorologists, and others. We don't deny that the climate undergoes variations, but we don't think we humans are primarily responsible.

Every semester, when I tell my students about the differences between Scientific Hypothesis, Scientific Theory, and Scientific Law, I remind them that the only way to have a perfect scientific investigation is to have unlimited money and unlimited time - neither of which exist.

To those of us that work outside the laboratory, in the messy, wild world of nature, we understand that there will almost always be a measure out doubt as to our interpretations, our conclusions.

But for those of us that understand the uncertainties, we don't fear open and honest discussions.

For the "other side", those that are motivated by politics and money, there is an increasing inclination towards "shutting down" the dissenting voices. At Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog, there are two recent posts devoted to another form of shutting down dissent, it is the apparent allowing of dissent at the "Paradigm blogs", but subjecting those dissenting posts to creative editing. Here is the March 15, 2007 post addressing this issue, while here is the April 25, 2007 post on this issue.

From the first of these two post:

"The RealClimate blog, run by guys who make their money promoting the human-caused climate change theory (and by creating hockey sticks), has a reputation for censoring comments to its posts. It's not uncommon for folks to share with others comments that got censored at RealClimate -- comments that seem quite reasonable, but have one thing in common: They don't argue in favor of human-caused global warming.

I had not supposed, however, that the RealClimate bosses were line-editing even the comments they let through. Apparently, they do.

On Wednesday, a commenter to a RealClimate post about "The Great Global Warming Swindle" documentary tried to quote a nine-year-old National Center paper about the climate's natural variability. (See comment #293.)"

RealClimate offered this note to "justify" their line-editing of comment #293:

"[lengthy excerpt eliminated. readers can go to this link if they like. But lets not pretend this is honest information; this is an industry-funded disinformation site]"

A couple of misrepresentations are presented (or inferred) here (to be polite). Just because a particular (or any) site is funded by a particular industry, it doesn't mean the scientists are whores. There will always be a few that sell out, but most of them are driven by a desire to conduct "good science".

Many of the "Paradigm blogs/websites" (and individual scientists) are funded by Leftist foundations, e.g., the Heinz Foundation, the Pew Foundation, et al, and/or they are funded by taxpayer funds dispensed by the government (and not just the United States government). And some are funded by the United Nations. Are they all exempt from this accusation? Are they all pure?

Who is it that uses the term "climate deniers" in the same vein as "Holocaust deniers"? If those that believe the Current Paradigm is the only explanation are so secure, why do they fear the dissenting voices? Why do they play the role of censors, instead of letting the comments live or die on their own merits?

We get tired of having to "refight the same battle", but we have to in order to keep the discussion open and honest, as it has been co-opted by politics for so long.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

They Said They Were Going to do This

After the Libs bravely brought down one of their own, in Don Imus, they promised to go after Conservative radio talkers - Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, et al.

Ultimately they hope for the Fairness Doctrine to do their dirty work, but in the meantime, they probably intend to demonize each and every Conservative personality they can, so when the debate over the Fairness Doctrine rolls around, it might be easier if the public "thinks" they are getting rid of a bunch of ne'er-do-wells.

Blogmeister USA and Kitty Litter have linked to this Radio Equalizer post, written about a Vanity Fair hit piece on Rush Limbaugh. In the finest spirit of Liberal open-mindedness, the VF hit piece was put together by James Wolcott and goes as far as to publish Rush's Palm Beach, FL address. Wolcott illustrates his boundless wisdom with the usual Josef Goebbels comparison, a reference to "Postmodern Conservatives", and his use of Al Franken as an information source. I guess Al Franken is the best they have.

So at a time when "Liberal" icon Alec Baldwin is screaming obscenities and threats at his 11 year-old daughter, Wolcott pens this contribution to American journalism, in order to save the Republic.
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Democrat-Controlled Senate Approves Surrender Timetable

Yeah, we know.

Trouble is, so does Al Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade,...

Even if they know they can't get past the veto this year or next year, they can just treat it as practice for 2009, if they get the White House back. They will continue to tell their big lies, hoping that a few more Americans will become weary and want to take the easy path.

And every future enemy and ally will know that we can only be counted on for the short-run.

And if they get their wish of most Americans being gone from Iraq by April 1, 2008, if Iraq implodes and becomes a bloodbath, as did Vietnam, will the Dems accept the responsibility?

If this show of weakness invites another 9/11 magnitude attack, will the Dems accept the responsibility?

If a future President has to build another coalition and finds few - if any allies - will the Dems accept the responsibility?

We don't need a program to know the Democrat monologue, they already have their answer ready, "It was Bush's fault".

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What's the Diff? - Part I

As we are constantly treated to the MSM misrepresentation of what Conservatives are, we need suggestions as to how we can "explain" ourselves to those that trundle through life, not paying close attention to the politics of the day, beyond what they hear on TV. At least some of them are Conservatives in practice, but they have been fed such a pack of lies on what Conservative means, they resist labeling themselves as such.

By way of Townhall.com, John Hawkins has a good column on the differences and why real reconciliation is a pipe dream.

As my recent posts have devolved into too much yammering, I will break this up and first present the Ten-listed definitions of Conservative stands on particular issues and then in another post, do the same for the Modern Libs. And I will summarize and present them in the 1 - 10 order, opposite of the John Hawkins column. Yeah, you have probably heard/read them all before, but remember the admonition in selling, that it is about "Repetition, repetition, repetition.".

"1) Conservatives believe in pursuing policies because they're pragmatic and because they work."...

"2) Conservatives, most of them anyway, believe in God and think that the Constitution has been twisted by liberal judges to illegitimately try to purge Christianity from the public square."...

"3) Conservatives are patriotic, believe that America is a great nation, and are primarily interested in looking out for the good of the country."...

"4) Conservatives believe that government, by its very nature, tends to be inefficient, incompetent, wasteful, and power hungry."...

"5) Conservatives, but not necessarily Republicans (which is unfortunate), believe it's vitally important to the future of the country to reduce the size of government, keep taxes low, balance the budget, and get this country out of debt."...

"6) Conservatives believe in confronting and defeating enemies of the United States before they can harm American citizens."

"7) Conservatives believe that abortion ends the life of an innocent child and since we believe that infanticide is wrong, we oppose abortion."...

"8) Conservatives are capitalists and believe that entrepreneurs who amass great wealth through their own efforts are good for the country and shouldn't be punished for being successful."...

"9) Conservatives believe that we should live in a color blind society where every individual is judged on the content of his character and the merits of his actions."...

"10) Conservatives believe that individual Americans have a right to defend themselves and their families with guns and that right cannot be taken away by any method short of a Constitutional Amendment, which conservatives would oppose."...

If we don't take the opportunities to define ourselves, our political adversaries/enemies will do it and they won't bother with such niceties as truth and honesty.
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Wait! Come Back!

Don't Go! I Need You!

Those are my emotions as I try to mentally grasp the trailing edge of a fleeting thought, as it drifts away from my mind. Another "senior moment"? Early dementia?

Because of normal morning chaos, trying to get the family to work/school - all in different directions - and because of not having enough sleep, sometimes individual thoughts - of "what we have to/ought to do/want to do" - escape.

When these thoughts start to become "unhooked" (because of a momentary distraction) we may be aware that it is happening, but as our attentions are stolen by a too-loud TV or a voice from another room, trying to catch a drifting thought is like trying to catch a blown bubble. And once beyond our mental grasp, these thoughts give little evidence as to their relative importance.

Yeah, I know that is what PDAs/Blackberries (and such) are for, but there are other pricey toys that I want/need first.

Of course some of those thoughts will come back as soon as someone else asks - "Did you remember to...?" or something else will trigger an association.

In the meantime, "D'oh" will have to suffice.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Huge Reyes is the Only One "That Knows"

How soon will he tell the other survivors and what will their reactions be?

Stay tuned, there is more to come...

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Something That Needs Constant Study...

should be one way of characterizing our individual citizen-relationship with the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. And especially the Second Amendment, because it arguably protects all of the others.

Ideally, I think that we should each read through each one of these Founding Documents, once a month. [No, I don't either, but I should.]

At WND, Sally Froman reminds us of the three primary reasons for the inclusion of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights. [No, Rudy, it is not about hunting.]

From her column, the reasons (abbreviated here) are (presented in the opposite order in which they were addressed in the column):

"1.) ...the single most important reason for the Second Amendment was as an insurance policy against our own government. I don't mean to sound alarmist, but that's the historical truth.

2.) The second most important reason for the Second Amendment is National Security. The Founding Fathers did not trust standing armies, meaning armies that are kept equipped during peacetime.

3.) The third most important reason the framers of the Constitution wrote the Second Amendment is for safety against criminal elements."..."But the reality is there are usually only two people present when a crime is committed: the criminal and the victim."...

So get to studying, as this is vital to our future freedom.

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Saying What Needs to be Said on the Specifics of Partial-Birth Abortion...

is the best way to describe Jane Chastain's column at WND this morning. The ban upheld by the Supreme Court addresses a very specific procedure, one not done to save the life of the mother, one not done to address the issue of severe deformities.

There are other procedures to address these issues.

Yes, it makes us very uncomfortable to think that people actually do this, but it happens.

From Chastain's column:

"...Yes, the media have helped perpetuate the myth that it sometimes is necessary to turn an unwanted child in order to deliver her in the breach position and, with only her head lodged in the birth cannel (sic) – with little hands grasping and feet kicking – puncture her skull, suck out her brains and crush her skull."...

That's the brutal truth, from which we cannot turn away. Regardless of our viewpoints on early-term abortions, there is no conceivable reason to support this practice.

Though I am not a doctor, it is my understanding that breach births are more hazardous than conventional births. In my opinion, there are only a couple of reasons why the baby is maneuvered into the breach position, it is so:

1) The "doctor" doesn't have to look at the baby's face before or while its skull is being punctured and its brains sucked out, after which the skull collapses; and/or

2) If the baby's head is exposed in a conventional birth, it is more likely to be legally protected.

[Update: J. B. Williams at eco*logic Powerhouse echoed this thought:

"...Partial-birth abortion is just what its name indicates, and it is the most hideous medical procedure known to modern man. A full or near full-term baby is dragged by its feet from its mother's womb, leaving only the head inside so as to claim that the child is not yet born and therefore, is not yet a child."... [Emphasis added].

Williams went on to add:

"...Every Republican presidential hopeful, even those with more liberal social views, praised the court's decision to protect babies from this brutal form of homicide. The Democrat presidential hopefuls had a different reaction though.

"I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman's right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women." - Barack Obama

"The ban upheld by the Court is an ill-considered and sweeping prohibition that does not even take account for serious threats to the health of individual women. This hard right turn is a stark reminder of why Democrats cannot afford to lose the 2008 election." - John Edwards

"It is precisely this erosion of our Constitutional rights that I warned against when I opposed the nominations of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito." - Senator Clinton."

J. B. Williams continues:

"...If the right to life, endowed by our Creator, unalienable by men, can be removed by the stroke of a pen, then tell me, what other individual Rights are safe from that pen?

Five of the current Supreme Court judges fully understand and respect this very simple truth. The other four clearly do not. Republican presidential candidates clearly understand and respect this simple reality, but clearly, secular socialist Democrats do not."...]

If the baby's head is all that remains in the birth canal, during a breach birth, the "worst" of the dangers are likely over, as the legs, torso, and arms are already exposed. Regardless of how often this practice occurs, the attendant must physically hold the baby to prevent its head from "popping out" and the birth being completed.

How can anybody defend this practice? I would presume that this is done when the baby is "too big" to be cut up by another procedure.

Even if rare, this is one of the worst aspects of selfish hedonism that humans can practice.

Yes, the adoption system is not perfect and the foster care system needs much work, but those alternatives are so much better than this.
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Why Modern Liberals Ain't - A Preview of Coming Attractions...

is in progress in the Democrat-controlled Congress.

Hopefully, President Bush will veto this onerous legislation, if it makes it past the Senate. But it will be back, especially if a Democrat is elected President in 2008.

It is the latest and biggest incarnation of "Hate Crimes" Legislation. It's being ignored by the MSM (or as far as I can tell) and is being fast-tracked to lessen the internet/blogosphere impact.

It will introduce Canadian/Scandanavian-style PC laws, whereby persons of "protected classes" get to decide if they are offended by your words, especially if you are quoting Old Testament or New Testament Scriptures. These obscene laws are already on the books in a number of states, but the Dems seem intent on fulfilling Ted Kennedy's wet dream by making it national law.

From this WND article by Bob Unruh:

"...A fast-tracked congressional plan to add special protections for homosexuals to federal law would turn "thoughts, feelings, and beliefs" into criminal offenses and put Christians in the bull's-eye, according to opponents.

"H.R. 1592 is a discriminatory measure that criminalizes thoughts, feelings, and beliefs [and] has the potential of interfering with religious liberty and freedom of speech," according to a white paper submitted by Glen Lavy, of the
Alliance Defense Fund."...

More from the article:

"..."This is a terrible thing, to criminalize thought or emotion or even speech," Lavy told WND, referring to H.R. 1592, now pending at the committee level in the U.S. House. Democrats there have been turning back amendments that would strip it of its worst provisions, according to an observer."...

...and:

"...WND columnist Janet Folger this week warned in a commentary called "Pastors: Act now or prepare for jail," that in New Hampshire, a crime that typically carries a sentence of 3 1/2 years was "enhanced" to 30 years because a robber shouted an anti-homosexual name at his victim.

"Think about it for a minute. If saying a mean anti-homosexual word adds an additional 23-26 ½ years to a sentence, and people live to around 80, that penalty is one-fourth of your life for the words you say. And while this was in addition to a robbery penalty, how much of a jump would it really be to penalize the speech 'infraction' alone? And just what constitutes an 'anti-gay epithet'? Would an 'anti-gay epithet' be to say, 'Homosexuality is a sin,' or 'Homosexuals should repent'? What if you informed someone that 'Homosexuality is harmful to your health'?"...

A previous article was posted April 18, also at WND. And this February 15 article describes the results of this legislation in other countries.

In the interest of keeping this post from getting longer, I won't blather too long.

Basically, this legislation further criminalizes thoughts and it mangles the concept of "Equal Protection before the Law", by creating a hierarchy of victims. And the victims, in some cases, get to decide if they were "harmed" while being offended.

And your threshold of being offended is dependent upon your level of intolerance, but certain classes will not be accused of being intolerant towards the mainstream. In other words, a hypersensitive Lib will never admit to being intolerant.

If you express an opinion based up Biblical Scriptures or Koranic Scriptures concerning the Biologically Incorrect behaviors of certain individuals, you can be fined and/or imprisoned or your penalties for another offense can be enhanced. Especially if that is what the victim wants.

Bear in mind that the Dems probably don't expect this legislation to make it past President Bush's desk, however, the veto of this bill can be used to attack Conservatives and especially Conservative Christians. And it can serve as a practice run in case a Democrat is elected President in 2008. Then there will be no stopping this bill, short of a citizen revolt.

Once passed and signed by a Democrat President, it will very difficult to ever overturn this law and we can't depend on the Supreme Court to rule it unconstitutional.

I don't think I am being hyperbolic to say that this is one of the gravest threats to Free Speech -and the God-given Freedom of Worship (as we are instructed) - that exists. Once instituted, any disagreement with a core Liberal viewpoint (or a government policy) can be called "hate".

And when discussing this issue, we have to continually remind people that:

"Disagreement is not hate.",

"Disapproval is not hate.",

"Tolerance is a two-way street."

These are not slogans and to call them "Talking Points" is to lose sight of the importance of what is at stake. This is the truth.

We already have laws to punish assaults, let's use those to punish any physical attacks on individuals and stay away from this Balkanizing legislation.

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It Must be a Blue Moon,...

as here is a Lib column that makes some sense.

Maralyn Lois Polak informs us of an upcoming, apparently secret postal rate increase that is likely to threaten the survival of small circulation magazines and journals.

From her column:

"The U.S. Post Office [sic] is in the process of implementing a radical reformulation of its rates for magazines [so] smaller periodicals will be hit with a much larger increase than the largest magazines."

...and:

"...What the Post Office now proposes goes directly against 215 years of postal policy. Under the plan, smaller periodicals will be hit with a much larger increase than big magazines– as much as 30 percent. Some of the largest circulation magazines will face hikes of less than 10 percent.

New rates, going into effect July 15, were developed with no public involvement or congressional oversight, and increased costs could damage hundreds, even thousands, of smaller publications, possibly putting many out of business. This includes nearly every political journal in the nation."...

...and:

"...What the Post Office plans to do now, in the dark of night, is implement a rate structure giving the best prices to the biggest publishers, letting them lock in their market position and lessen the threat of any new competition. The new rates could make it almost impossible to launch a new magazine, unless spawned by a huge conglomerate.

Not surprisingly, the new scheme was drafted by Time Warner, largest magazine publisher in the nation. All evidence available suggests the bureaucrats responsible never considered the implications of their Draconian reforms for small and independent publishers, or for citizens who depend upon a free press."...


Though I have made it clear that I am pro-Capitalism, at the same time, I am not blind to reality.

I have told my students before that sometimes big businesses can be involved in supporting and writing new government regulations if they know it will hammer their smaller competitors. The same thing is in play with the FDA vs. small producers of vitamins, etc., as referenced yesterday.

With these small-circulation magazines/journals, they should live or die by their own merits in the free market system, not because of any change in government regulations.

Because of their small publication numbers, these magazines do not have the advantage of the "economies of scale" and any significant price hikes will result in a few more subscribers bailing out.

Ms. Polak's column describes the history of this "price break". Either the status quo should continue, with the small circulation periodicals getting their small postage break, or it should be an across-the-board increase, if that is what is needed to address handling costs incurred by the Postal Service.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Your Government - Hard at Work, "Taking Care of Us" - Part II

This WND article suggests some more problems with Ethanol fuel - more smog. To sum up the chemistry:

"...Ethanol tends to produce less benzene and butadiene than gasoline but more acetaldehyde and formaldehyde."...

Go do some reading about Photochemical smog (in Wikipedia), i.e., atmospheric chemical reactions triggered by sunlight.

From the Wikipedia entry:

"...Photochemical smog is the chemical reaction of sunlight, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC's) in the atmosphere, which leaves airborne particles (called particulate matter) and ground-level ozone. Nitrogen oxides are released in the exhaust of fossil fuel-burning engines in cars, trucks, coal power plants, and industrial manufacturing factories. VOC's are vapors released from anthroprogenic (man-made) sources such as gasoline, paints, solvents, pesticides, and biogenic sources, such as pine and citrus tree emissions."...

I have read of certain types of trees releasing natural nitrogen oxides, as well as simple hydrocarbons, both of which are precursors to photochemical smog.

We are still learning about these reactions, but they are what produce smog, even in areas of few cars. This is why the Blue Ridge Mountains have their name, for the natural smog produced by trees, for which President Reagan was hammered, for suggesting such a thing.

Yet because there is the expectation of government subsidies and higher corn prices, more corn is being planted in this country that in recent years past, all because President Bush was trying to "reach out" to Democrats.

Poor people will suffer the higher food prices, which will lead to calls for more Foreign Aid to affected nations (which the U.S. Congress and Senate will gladly donate your tax dollars), while well-connected farmers and Archer Daniels Midland will benefit from the taxpayer subsidies. And we will get more fossil fuels used to produce the corn-based ethanol and we get the added bonus of more air pollution.

What a deal!

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Your Government - Hard at Work, "Taking Care of Us"

From this WND article, it seems that:

"The Food and Drug Administration says vitamins, supplements, herbs and other natural substances, including water when it is used to "treat" dehydration, should be classified as drugs, and opponents have only until April 30 to express their concern about the proposals under Docket No. 2006D-0480.

The government agency under the direction of Andrew C. von Eschenbach, who became commissioner in 2006, also has put its "Complementary and Alternative Medicine Products and Their Regulation by the Food and Drug Administration" on a fast track for implementation."... [The pdf format report is only 17 pages long, I suggest reading it.]

Sometimes it seems that WND may be a little over-the-top, or am I just mis-reading the early sentinel warnings? To be safe, I suggest going to read this article.

From the Gentle Christian Mothers blog, through the WND article, if the FDA has its way:

"Based on the explanations in the FDA's own document, the following things are likely to occur:

All vitamins, nutritional supplements and functional foods will be stripped of their structure & function claims, reducing them to empty labels where virtually nothing at all is allowed to be stated.

Vegetable juice will be regulated as a drug. Raw juice retreats will be raided or shut down.

Growing and selling common garden herbs will get you arrested as a drug dealer.

Massage oils and handheld massagers will be regulated as "medical devices."

Yoga props, pilates machines and weight machines will be regulated as "medical devices" and require FDA approval before being sold or used.

Raw sprouts and other anti-cancer foods will be regulated as drugs.Bottled water that "treats" dehydration will be regulated as a drug.

Massage therapists who use hot rocks as part of their therapy will have the ROCKS regulated as medical devices! (It's true. The FDA will actually look at a pile of rocks and declare, "Those are medical devices!")

Functional foods, supplements, vitamins and homeopathic remedies will disappear from store shelves, pending FDA "review." (The only things remaining will be processed junk foods and pharmaceuticals, which is exactly what Big Business wants.)

Therapeutic tea products, such as green tea, will be outlawed and confiscated.

Vitamin store owners will be arrested and prosecuted for "practicing medicine without a license."

Citizens owning personal inventories of "unapproved drugs" (vitamins and herbs) may have their homes raided at gunpoint and their inventories confiscated by armed law enforcement agents.

The importation of herbs and functional foods from all countries may be banned."

It is natural for government to desire more power and if you couple this proposed control of any sort of self-treatment with our incremental march towards Socialized medicine, it doesn't take a paranoid mind to be concerned.

I am not anti-"Big Medicine", but we all know the words of Lord Acton regarding the corrupting nature of power.

There do develop "relationships" between lobbyists and Capitol Hill, regardless of the party involved (both can be guilty). It seems that "Big Medicine" just doesn't like to compete with those pesky vitamin companies, health food producers, and holistic healers.

"Big Medicine" has brought us a great deal of benefits, for which I am thankful, but the ways of our ancestors were not completely wrong. The natural methods practiced by primitive cultures are not all wrong. But for "Big Medicine" as for other big corporate entities, it is about the money and control and they are not above working out power-sharing deals with the government.

Last summer, I took a weekend, outdoor Boy Scout training course for adult leaders, during which time I became dehydrated, though I had consumed what I thought was enough water. It was the electrolytes, etc. that I was missing.

Those teaching the course recognized the cause of my temporary stupidity that accompanies dehydration (as if that is any different from the everyday variety). I never passed out, I was just groggy, not to the level of an emergency, but of concern to others.

I was given at least a quart of water with a weak mix of powdered Gatorade to replenish the electrolytes and sugars. [Full strength Gatorade has too much sugar, the metabolism of which uses too much needed water. The weak mix slowly feeds the needed nutrients back into the system.]

So if this is true, rather than using their learned-skills onsite, the other Scout Leaders would have had to call a doctor for a prescription for bottled water and Gatorade, per new FDA (the un-elected FDA) guidelines. They might have had to send for an ambulance, which would have been probably followed by a police car. And endless paperwork and expenses for the ambulance, all for naught, except to illustrate how they gain more power by engendering more need.

If this protocol becomes "law", you might need to "lay in" of powdered Gatorade and similar products, save up a few cases of bottled water, that you can refill as needed and stash away your favorite vitamins. It might become illegal to discuss holistic treatments in print or online.

This may be a case where we have to make "Common Cause" with sensible Libs. And it appear that we only have until Monday to make our case, or at least create enough commotion that the FDA will crawl back under their rocks and look for other ways to control us peons.

If the FDA gets its way, illegal drug dealers may make more money hawking "raw juice" or green tea. "Hey man, I got some good guava juice and a new shipment of green tea".

People will be buying compressed cubes of green tea instead of hashish. North Georgia families that have produced Moonshine in the past will go into the business of producing raw carrot juice. There will be waiting periods and background checks for electric juicers.

There will need to be a new term coined to replace "Narc" for the Feds that infiltrate those evil persons that offer holistic medical treatments, products, and devices.

And if it is this bad under President Bush, it will be worse under a Democrat, as I am sure that some of these FDA wonks are Clinton-era holdovers.

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I Want My American Thinker

So what is up? I went to the American Thinker URL this morning and got a generic website, offering generic links.

What's up? Were they hacked? Did they lose some sort of sponsorship? Enquiring minds want to know!

Will offer info as it is received.
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Oh Great Spirit of the Bigfoot, Please Forgive Me

Last night, I decided to enjoy a glass of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine-style Ale while doing some reading (after my wife turned in for the evening). So I raided my small stash in the pantry to chill a bottle.

Stretching out on the couch to read and take a sip once in a while, I got so relaxed that the next thing I knew, my "internal clock" (which works sometimes) woke me at 5:00 AM - I did have one alarm set for 6 AM, just in case. On the adjacent table, next to the couch was the half-full glass of now-warm Bigfoot.

I'm sorry! (I meant to get up and do laundry after reading, before going to bed. Oops.)

[For those unaware, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot is only offered during the early part of each year. It is a strong (9.6% alc), hoppy ale, so if stored in a dark pantry, at constant temperatures, its hop character will soften with age and will be enjoyable at this time next year. As it is a limited-supply offering, we don't like to waste it, 'cause once the stores are sold out, there ain't no mo until next year.]

I had enough to relax, but not enough to get "lightly stomped", as one gets with a single bottle. That is enough, so as to remain a responsible consumer.

Oh Great Spirit of the Bigfoot, I will honor thee by finishing my glass next time.

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NASCAR, B.C.E.

[Part of a Sporadic Series]

No, I am not being Politically Correct, I am referring to NASCAR before 1972, when the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company became the series sponsor for the premier stock car racing circuit, at that time known as the Grand National Circuit. With the R. J. Reynolds sponsorship, it became the Winston Cup Grand National Circuit, then later the Grand National name was dropped and transfered to what is now known as the Busch Series.

It was quite a different world then, before R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. became the corporate sponsor, NASCAR raced on a wide range of race tracks. Most of the raceways in 1967 were short tracks (those less than one mile long).

The only superspeedways in 1967 were Daytona, Darlington, SC; Rockingham, NC; Atlanta; and Charlotte, NC. Among the short tracks were asphalt and dirt tracks and the only road coarse was at Riverside, CA. At one of the small dirt tracks, there were as few as 19 starters versus 43 for each of today's races. During the summer time, there might be 3 short track races in a single week in a given area. The season in the mid- to late-1960s often consisted of 50 - 53 races.

Superspeedways at Brooklyn, MI; Talladega, AL; Bryan, TX (now closed); and Trenton, NJ (no longer in use) were added in the late 1960s.

When R. J. Reynolds took over the series, minimum standards of prize purses were established as well as other requirements. Many of the small "bull rings" (short tracks), including all of the dirt tracks, were cut from the schedule. Later on, a "Winners Circle" program was instituted to guarantee a consistent number of "Top Tier" drivers at each race to boost attendance, in exchange they were guaranteed a certain appearance fee. A second program was instituted for the non-winning teams, to assure their appearance at all races, thereby filling most of the available starting spots, along with the part-time and local drivers that would attempt to qualify for each race.

And prize monies were boosted all the way around. In the late 1960s, at a few of the smaller short tracks, there was no prize money guaranteed for the last few positions in a race. Usually NASCAR would offer some "under-the-table" cash to help the independent drivers get home or to the next race, but that might only be a couple hundred dollars or so, and sometimes it was at the discretion of particular raceway officials.

In 1972, the short tracks included Nashville, TN; Bristol, TN; North Wilkesboro, NC; Richmond, VA; and Martinsville, VA. Over time, North Wilkesboro and Nashville were dropped from the series, because of other tracks being added elsewhere and because of financial and management problems at the Nashville Fairgrounds Raceway.

Nowadays, it is 16 Superspeedways ranging in length from 1 mile (Dover, DE) to 2.66 miles (Talladega), two road courses at Sonoma, CA and Watkins Glen, NY, and three short tracks - Martinsville, VA; Bristol, TN; and Richmond, VA. The schedule consists of 36 races.

Because of growth into more Western and Northern markets, some of the old Southern raceways have already lost one or both of their Nextel Cup dates. Rockingham, NC is now silent, Darlington, SC is down to one race, and others, even Atlanta, have been on the chopping block as far as giving up one of their dates. With an off season of part of November, all of December, and all of January, the 36 races are considered to be about as much as can be handled, as they don't race on Easter or Mother's Day Sundays.

The only reason Darlington (the oldest Superspeedway) kept its one race was that they accepted the Saturday night before Mother's Day and enlarged and modernized their raceway. There are other Superspeedways that want a Nextel Cup race or a second one, so there is a constant struggle between expansion and remembering the Southern tracks that built the circuit. So NASCAR is gambling that their new fans in these new markets will continue to come to the races to offset those fans lost when the older tracks lost their race dates. Las Vegas, Kansas, Chicagoland are among this newer wave of raceways.

[More will follow in this series, as time and inspiration permit.]
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Boundless Arrogance...

is one polite way to speak of the Fred Phelps clan. Actually it is one of the few ways that one can speak politely of them. And I will try to remain calm.

Once again, Mike Gallagher offered at least an hour of his talk show (maybe more, I was very busy today) for them to voice their unique form of venom, directed at the Blacksburg shooting victims. In exchange, per a signed legal document, they agreed not to picket any of the funerals.

You may remember a few months ago, Mike gave them an hour so they wouldn't picket the funerals of the Amish girls killed in Pennsylvania.

Their viewpoint is that God is angry with the United States for "embracing" homosexuality and other hedonistic and self-centered behaviors. And they believe that God randomly smites soldiers killed by IEDs, and victims of mass-shootings in this country.

And they chose to take their message to average American citizens at the worst time in their lives, after the sudden death of a soldier, after the death of an Amish schoolgirl, after the deaths of college students in Virginia.

I recall a few months ago, they showed up at the funeral of a young boy, killed by a parade float in New Hampshire (I think) and picketed because they had a beef with the governor of New Hampshire. In these protests, they attack the victim (of course that is the easiest one to attack) with signs suggesting that the victim is burning in Hell at that point. They "Thank God" for IEDs.

Many of us struggle with our faith, wondering if we are "doing it right".

The Fred Phelps clan seems to claim absolute certainty that they are the chosen ones and that no one else is bound for heaven. They don't even seem interested in trying to lead other folks to heaven. They just attack the survivors after-the-fact. I considered this to be obscene even when the only funerals they were protesting were those of AIDS victims, as if they surviving family members had anything to do with the lifestyle choices that led to that particular individual contracting the HIV virus.

Of course, there is a small chance that they might be right, but it seems odd that God would commission them to drive people away, through their harshness, rather than try to lead them towards forgiveness and salvation.

God knows that all humans are sinners, and resisting sin is often a difficult proposition. The story of the sacrifice of Jesus is about God's love for us. It just seems to me that if God was smiting individuals because our nation isn't what it should be, it would be the more efficient (in getting the message out) if he were to smite the most sinful among us.

It seems (to my simple mind) that if God had mysteriously smote Cho Seung-Hui after he dropped of his "media package" at the Post Office in Blacksburg, it might make some folks sit up and take notice, rather than letting him slaughter 30 more people.

Considering the number of times the Bible has been translated, with each translator having a bias, how can Fred Phelps and his clan be so dead-certain that they are right? Ultimately, we won't know until "after the test is over".

Their sorts of interpretations are fair game for private conversations and for "fire-and-brimstone" sermons, but not for haranguing people at the funerals of their loved ones.

Anyway, here are thanks to Mike Gallagher for taking these "folks" off the street.

Others posting on this subject include Pam Meister. (More will be added as they are found).
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Monday, April 23, 2007

Boy, I Done Told You to Leave that Crocodile Alone!!!

This WND story tells of a 9-year old boy in China that just had to go bug a crocodile by whacking it with a stick and shooting at it with a small catapult.

Yes, it is insensitive. Nature is insensitive, don't blame the crocodile for this one.

Sounds like someone didn't impress upon the lad and his friends the concept of cause-and-effect. Or the basics of the Food Chain.
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More Than You Want to Know of Sheryl Crow and Laurie David's Travels...

in their biodiesel bus. Sometimes when Libs try to think "too hard", they strain themselves.

By way of the WorldNetDaily link above, here are some excerpts from their travel blog:

Crow (4/19, Springfield, Tenn.): "I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming. Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating. One of my favorites is in the area of forest conservation which we heavily rely on for oxygen. I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required." [Emphasis added. But we don't need any more details, Thank you.]

...and:

Crow (4/19): "I also like the idea of not using paper napkins, which happen to be made from virgin wood and represent the height of wastefulness. I have designed a clothing line that has what's called a "dining sleeve." The sleeve is detachable and can be replaced with another "dining sleeve," after usage. The design will offer the "diner" the convenience of wiping his mouth on his sleeve rather than throwing out yet another barely used paper product. I think this idea could also translate quite well to those suffering with an annoying head cold."

This is another illustration of Libs not thinking something through. Yes, you do save paper, but...

How much more water will be needed to wash the "dining sleeve"?

How much more detergent and bleach will be needed to wash the "dining sleeve"?

How much more natural gas/electricity will be needed to heat the water to wash the "dining sleeve"?

How much more demand will be put upon our sewage system in order to wash the "dining sleeve"?

And let's see...when leaving the restaurant, will the diner want a "sleevie bag" along with the "doggie bag"? This means more material into the solid waste stream.

And how many sleeves will one need if consuming a rack of properly barbequed ribs? And for those of us not double-jointed, we will only be able to use one side of the sleeve, unless they can be somehow rotated.

This same argument could be used when Libs suggest banning disposable diapers. It sounds good until you "noodle it out". Which we must do, 'cause they can't. [Bless their l'il Liberal hearts, sometimes they do try.]

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On the Extensions of Tours-of-Duty...

Gerd Schroeder has these thoughts from American Thinker. This is difficult to consider when that is what we have gotten used to since WWII. It is difficult when you know someone currently serving in Iraq and others that have served and might be called back.

Schroeder, an Iraq War vet, spends time explaining how the existing policies came to be, then he explains how lengthening the tours-of-duty will be more likely to produce success and shorten the war (not the way the Democrats want it shortened). Here are some of his thoughts:

"...Here is my argument for longer tours:

First, you must understand the Arab Culture when it comes to matters of relationships and trust. Before trust comes a relationship. Without a personal relationship with an Arab you can never build trust. Trust is key to persuasion; persuasion can only be used if the Arab feels you are committed to the situation; and trust is gained only through effort and time. However, once the trust is built there is nothing that the Arab will not do for you. [This is where the Democrat strategy will most hurt, especially if we ever have to go back there after another large terrorist attack. Those that come to trust us need to know that we won't leave them perched on a limb, by themselves, which is what Harry Reid, et al, seem to want.]

It may seem to be stereotyping, but it is the reality in the Arab World. We assumed, as most Americans do, that we could simply hand off the ball to the next guy and he would move it forward. But in reality the new guys coming in had to start again the long and painful process of developing a relationship of trust with the Iraqis/Afghanis from whom they needed support."...


For our Dads and Grandads that did the fighting in WWII, unless severely wounded, they stayed there until the job was finished. Then they got on crowded troopships and played cards (probably while consuming beer), swapped stories, and cried over lost buddies on the trip home.

That is how they decompressed, through that final common experience.

Schroeder concludes:

"...How much faster would progress in Iraq and Afghanistan go if tours were 24 months, 36 months, or longer? No doubt, the burden would be placed on fewer people, families would suffer more, plans would be put on hold, and many dreams would be postponed or even lost. However, the overall expenditure of effort, time, and money would be less because you are not losing momentum every time units change over. Experience would be maximized, translating to fewer casualties and mistakes; and ultimately, that would translate into the mission being accomplished sooner, and more efficiently.

If the WWII generation could do it, then so can this generation. But would they?

Knowing the American Soldier the way I do, my answer is yes. Would I do it? Yes. Make no mistake there would be a lot of crying and hand wringing. Not least of which would come form the Soldiers. But the will is in us, it just needs a great leader to ask us to do it; and like the generations before us, we will answer the call."

When this practice was established, presumably for the Korean War, I wonder what they were thinking? Does the enemy do this? As stated above, it does place a greater burden on a smaller number of people, but to revisit Schroeder's words:

"Experience would be maximized, translating to fewer casualties and mistakes; and ultimately, that would translate into the mission being accomplished sooner, and more efficiently."

So we don't have to go back there again and again. We were told on September 20, 2001 that this war was going to be different and that it was going to take a while. It is vastly different from WWII, but it is just as important, as self-preservation is not a concern of the enemy. Those so inclined are going to have to be exterminated, while the "fence-riders" will notice our resolve and perhaps decide that this will not succeed.

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More Calls to Shut Down the Global Warming Debate...

by a member of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), according to this article, during a meeting in Melbourne, Australia.

A spokesman for the group complained of there being "too much balance" in the reporting on Global Warming. [Yeah, right.]

From the article:

"...Leading climate change experts have warned the World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne, Australia, that a balanced view does not always reflect the consensus of the research community.

Kevin Hennessy, a lead scientist with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said yesterday that media attention on "the view of a handful of climate change sceptics" amplifies their opinions and "implies that there is little agreement about the basic facts of global warming"....

In my view (and that of hundreds of meteorologists, climatologists, geographers, geologists, geophysicists, and others) - the basic facts of global warming are that:

From time to time, the Earth gets warmer, then it gets colder, then it gets warmer, then it gets colder, then...

That is a fact. It has been that way for millions of years.

HOW AND WHY IT HAPPENS IS A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION.

AND IF HUMANS ARE INFLUENCING THE MODERN WARM PERIOD, "HOW MUCH" IS ALSO A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION.

Most of the skeptics (including those that signed the Leipzig Declaration and the Oregon Petition) rely upon the ever-growing database of proxy data used to reconstruct Paleoclimatic events, i.e., we look at the past. And from that past, we can see that the only constant is change.

We are driven largely by scientific agendas, which include the concept that there is a "Never-ending Learning Curve", i.e., though we continually strive, we will never completely know all of Nature's secrets. The science will never be settled.

Most of the dire future projects are made upon computer models and are used as "proof" by those with political agendas, foremost the UN IPCC.

That those IPCC scientists - driven by politics (and present and future taxpayer or foundation funding) - are afraid of debate tells you something important -

That deep-down, they are not confident of their interpretations. Thus they cannot allow challenges that might create doubt. They cannot allow challenges to the "Party Line".

When I look back on my Master's Thesis from 1989 (on some volcanic features in Southern New Mexico), I am horrified by the typos (My 90-page thesis was probably one of the last ones ever typed on an electric typewriter), but I still believe that my interpretations are valid. So if a professional vulcanologist wishes to offer alternative explanations for these features, that would not concern me. And if someone with access to more modern data presents a better explanation, then that is just "part of the game".

So, if someone is confident about their stated position, why do they want to shut down debate?

They want the "Fairness Doctrine" for talk radio, but they don't want the same concept for scientific dissent, dissent which is supported by peer-review and climatic history. In the case of the "Fairness Doctrine", that is the government forcing it upon the talk radio industry, contrary to what the "marketplace" wants.

The "Scientific Community" needs to return to what it is supposed to be, where dissenting opinions are allowed to rise and fall on their own merit and not be shut out by political forces that influence the debate.

It's just not like Libs to shut down debate, is it? What must I be thinking?

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Friday, April 20, 2007

A Two-Day Blogging Break will Ensue...

as I will be on a Boy Scout campout Friday evening through Sunday morning.

Later...If the Good Lord is willing.
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It's Someone Else's Fault

That is the point I have been trying to make. This is the common thread through most, if not all of the mass shootings of the past few years. The gun is operated by a hand, which is operated by a human mind.

Because it is someone else's fault, the killer says innocent people must die. The killer will never acknowledge the "Three Towards Me" as he points his index finger (literally or figuratively) towards society or any individual aspects of it.

Jerry Bowyer explains this pretty well in his Townhall.com column. Cho Seung-Hui hated his homeland, or rather the homeland chosen by his parents. And Leftist Hollywood and Academia is implicity saying "that's OK".

Michael Medved is concerned that some theater group is going to perform Cho's "McBeef" at some time in the future, probably not as a way of illustrating the rotted mind of Cho, but rather as a salute to "art that pushes-the-envelope". I seem to recall an art gallery showing some of the paintings of John Wayne Gacy, after his execution.

So aside from those future killers that may have been inspired by the NBC-led showing of Cho's "multi-media" presentation, any theater group that presents "McBeef" will have a part in what happens "down the road". It seems that Cho was partially inspired by Columbine.

Bill Bennett (this morning) put it well when he suggested that showing 10-second snippets of Cho's video might have been news-worthy, but showing the entire thing was not.

And if Rosie O'Donnell can see the wrongness of NBC and the Copycat Media showing the entire video and other materials, then it ought to be pretty clear to the rest of America.

Broadcasting Cho's "you made me do this" declarations will give this mindset a measure of credence and may affect innocent lives in the future. Hopefully we will catch most of the amateur copycats, but we may not be able to catch all of those with enough sanity to plan carefully.

One of my students this morning suggested that Cho bought all of his 30-odd pistol magazines at perhaps three different gun shops. Would it have hurt the cause of the Second Amendment if a clerk in at least one of these shops might have passed along this information to someone in local or Federal Law Enforcement? These kind of purchases go beyond the realm of Self-Protection.

Is there a Second Amendment argument against including State information in background checks, along with the Federal information? That might have at least hindered Cho. Of course he could have gone underground to buy his guns and magazines, but the longer it took, the more likely it might have been that he would have stumbled along the way.

Would it help if local gun shops proactively met on occasion to share videos and look for "red flags" on their own? Not to feed records of all routine purchases to the Feds, but to look for those "with murder in their eyes", unusual nervousness, to at least throw some roadblocks in the way of someone "up to no good"? This would have to be done confidentially, as a lawyer would love to jump on this.

We can't panic over every eccentric person and we don't want everyone spying on everyone else, but in a civil society, there are implicit rules and unspoken "pacts" between persons. [Someone wrote about this a few months ago, but I can't recall the source.] There are some people that do have that look of "murder in their eyes", I have seen it, at least twice in my life. It is that burning, unrequited hatred directed outward towards the world. So how do we invoke the "Ounce of Prevention" towards them?

[I recall a Herman cartoon panel years ago, where the Herman character is standing before a judge, as the judge says - "I know you were found not guilty, but I am going to give you two years, just to be on the safe side.". I know that won't work in real life, but we can wish, can't we?]

A couple that I knew casually in El Paso were warned of this pertaining to a gardener they had hired. A mutual acquaintance had spoken those words with a warning that they needed to be careful. That couple was later tied up and hacked to death with a machete used by this gardener. And no, that double murder did lead to any calls for "waiting periods" or background checks for machetes.

He was sentenced to death for the husband's murder, I don't know if he was ever tried in the wife's murder and I don't know what happened beyond the conviction and sentence.

Because so much of the media doesn't want to "judge" such marginal behaviors as unacceptable, some will take that as a de facto approval and we will revisit this again and again.

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So, While I Dole Out a Small Amount of Respect to One Lib...

I hereby pronounce Senator Harry Reid to be a "Traitorous, Sanctimonious Bastard" for publicly declaring that the Iraq War is "Lost", according to this article.

I know that he and others have said as much before, but this time he seemed more direct.

Yeah, that's it, just give the enemy another boost. Give them a little more reason to hang on and in the meantime, a few more Americans and a lot more Iraqis will die. Anything for a political victory.
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Land Sakes! Will Wonders Never Cease?

I actually agree with Rosie O'Donnell. [Ya'll better check to make sure the Mississippi River is flowing in the right direction, just in case things is going upside down.]

My wife was listening to Entertainment Tonight and they had a short snippet of Rosie calmly saying (paraphrasing here) that NBC's showing Blacksburg killer's video was giving him the publicity that he wanted.

A brief moment of clarity. And a brief moment of respect. So, don't blow it today (Friday) Rosie.
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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Spirit of "300" Shown in Our Own Hemisphere,...

and most of us don't even know about it.

It was 46 years ago, this week. To most of us - mid-50s-and-younger Baby Boomers, the Bay of Pigs "incident" is mentally "long ago and far away", because the MSM has never made it a point to tell those of us who were kids at the time. Because the history teachers and textbooks have never made it a point to tell us, we don't know. Because the Cuban refugees and their descendents are "too Republican", because they hate Fidel Castro, we are not told their story, as we should have been.

And because we don't fully understand it, many of us haven't bothered to look it up on the internet.

Because we don't fully understand it, if we do find information, we don't know enough to filter out the Leftist propaganda delivered by those that lionize Fidel Castro.

This link, from FrontPageMag tells us of the bravery of those Cubans and their few American advisors that took part in the effort to rid Cuba of Fidel Castro in his early years.

From the Humberto Fontova article, which begins with:

""They fought like Tigers," writes the CIA officer who helped train the Cubans who splashed ashore at the Bay of Pigs 46 years ago this week. "But their fight was doomed before the first man hit the beach."

That CIA man, Grayston Lynch, knows something about fighting – and about long odds. He carried scars from Omaha Beach, the Battle of the Bulge and Korea's Heartbreak Ridge. But in those battles, Lynch and his band of brothers could count on the support of their own chief executive.

At the Bay of Pigs, Grayston Lynch (an American) and his band of brothers (Cubans) learned – first in speechless shock and finally in burning rage – that their most powerful enemies were not Castro's Soviet-armed soldiers massing in Santa Clara, Cuba, but the Ivy League's best and brightest conferring in Washington."...

With a little more help, if the Bay of Pigs had been successful, it might have triggered a popular uprising against Castro. How much grief might have been avoided in the Caribbean and South America if Fidel Castro's dictatorship had ended in overthrow in 1961? Would we be treated to Che's sorry image on t-shirts if he, Fidel, and others had been imprisoned or executed for treason? What might have happened if Communism had not gotten a firm foothold in the Western Hemisphere? Yes, the UN would have squawked about "our" invasion of a "sovereign nation", but a Reaganesque leader would have hopefully smacked it down.

It is one of those "crossroads events" in history where we "went wobbly", rather JFK went wobbly. It was certainly not our "finest hour", though it was a smaller scale, it ranks with our abandonment of South Vietnam. And if we abandon Iraq and Afghanistan, that will add to our own "Hall of Shame".

Mr. Fontova's articulation and knowledge of history is much better than what I can offer. Go give this a read.

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We Want to Hate Him Some More

We want to drag him back from Hell and torture him, to make him suffer some more, then send him back to Satan for eternity. We want to hold him down and kick him in the face, to make him suffer some of the pain he has inflicted.

And we want to hate him some more. But it will do no good. We can never punish Cho Seung-Hui sufficiently. In fact, because the MSM and the internet have splashed his video and written "manifesto" around, "we" have done his bidding even after he was dead. He got what he wanted. He got his "15 minutes of fame". The MSM is giving him his posthumous "respect".

And others will want the same thing.

I remind you of some of the comments made during my first post about this on Monday, before we knew the entire scope of the massacre:

"...The gun is the tool, but it must be operated by a human that made a series of personal choices."...

"...The common thread through these mass killings is not the gun, but the mindset of the shooter. The people that set out to kill innocents...blame others for their failures."

"...If they (the shooters) characteristically blame others, e.g., society, the successful, etc., then "they" (those deemed responsible for the shooter's failures) must pay."...

Liberals will wring their hands over the prospect of training and arming selected teachers (and perhaps selected grad students). Their shallow, vapid thought processes lead them to believe that every armed, trained citizen is a "time bomb"- that every armed, trained citizen will use the carried gun to "finish an argument". They either don't know (or won't admit) that crimes by approved, background-checked citizens with Carry Permits ARE ALMOST UNKNOWN.

Citizens with Carry Permits know they are held to a higher standard.

The police cannot be everywhere. Unfortunately, our moral decay over the last four decades (+/-) has defined deviancy down and Jerry Springer, et al, have given the de facto TV endorsement to behaviors and attitudes that used to be marginalized. And because fringe attitudes and behaviors are "normed" by TV, that leads other dysfunctional people to fantasize "topping" the Blacksburg Massacre.

I guarantee you that it is happening right now. Somewhere, sick people are thinking of ways of "punishing them", anyone they perceive to have more power, more success than they do. Some of these people will be satisfied with the vicarious pleasure of their fantasies, but somewhere, someone will try again. To try to top Blacksburg.

The Scriptures tell us that we should forgive, but especially because of Cho Seung-Hui's "Ha, ha - You couldn't stop me video", many of us will fall short.

We shouldn't hate his family, his sister is working with the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office, overseeing the spending of billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Iraq, according to this Townhall.com article. His parents are supposedly hospitalized, ill with grief. All we can do regarding them is to ask - "How could they not know he was this mentally sick?". It is human nature to wish to deny the sickness of a child, to hope they "get over it".

As Libs decry "our schools are becoming armed camps", we have to understand that this is the way our fallen world is. Because the police cannot be everywhere, responsible adults are going to have to step forward to introduce that "element-of-doubt" in the minds of those intent on inflicting harm on the innocent.

A gunman knowing that every third or fourth adult may be armed and trained is how that element-of-doubt in introduced. And if he knows that those armed, trained adults will probably run towards the gunfire, that element-of-doubt may be reinforced, reinforced to the point where murderous success is not guaranteed.

We need to make them know that they will not and can not roam and kill unanswered, as the current "Gun Free Zones" now allow them. It is not what we want, but that is the way it is.

Hatred will not prevent future Blacksburgs, nor will Political Correctness. Some "Liberal" ideas are not entirely wrong. The sensible ones need to be woven into a policy of addressing dysfunctional gateway behaviors in a firm manner.

The armed, trained teachers and other adults are just part of the multi-pronged approach that we have to consider. Blaming inanimate tools will not work.

Because "broken families" have been mainstreamed by the MSM, there is less personal and societal resistance to getting a divorce and Dads are less involved in the lives of their "remote" sons than before. There are fewer Dads to tell their teenaged sons - "No, you are not going to wear a "Mohawk" or spikes in your hair."

I know it is difficult to guide a strong-willed, stubborn boy. My 12 year-old son, while intelligent, requires a great deal of "maintenance". I can't just "drop him off at Boy Scouts" and go off somewhere else. I have to remain involved, helping other boys in other Scout Patrols to demonstrate some of what men are supposed to do, to serve and teach. There are several boys that have to line up on the mornings of campouts to receive "their medications". We are trying to avoid that road, it will be a next-to-last resort.

The MSM and the Hollywood culture regularly attack the Boy Scouts and attack "the church", two of the aspects of the social network that are available to help guide young men towards responsibility. We have to rebuild what Modern Liberalism has sought to tear down. Traditions represent successful behavior, that have withstood the test of time.

We know what works and Modern Liberalism doesn't.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

As the World Turns,...

other subjects besides the Blacksburg Massacre are still pertinent.

John Hawkins at Right Wing News reminds us of why the United States should never sign on to the International Criminal Court. Something that a newly-elected Democrat President would no doubt do.

You may remember an incident in Iraq in 2005, where Leftist Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was held hostage, then released by Iraqi terrorists. While trying to - understandibly - get the hell out of the country, the driver of the car in which Giuliana Sgrena was riding, reportedly did not obey orders by U.S. Army National Guardsmen to slow down or stop, as the car was approaching a checkpoint.

We know what can happen at checkpoints, regarding car bombs. Feeling they had no choice, one or more Guardsmen opened fire on the car, wounding Sgrena and killing an Italian intelligence agent. The U.S. and Italian governments declared this to be an accident of war, but for an Italian judge, it is not good enough.

From the original Reuter's report, as referenced in the Right Wing News post:

...The U.S. and Italian governments said the shooting was an accident, but an Italian judge charged (U.S. National Guardsman Mario) Lozano with murder and two counts of attempted murder of those in the car.

This illustrates one of the dangers of the International Criminal Court. A foreign judge can swing his/her gavel and demand that U.S. authorities hand over American citizens and service personnel, when the U.S. and Italian governments each said the matter was solved.

The potential for political abuse of this system is infinite.

Just another of the joys that await us if we get another Democrat President along with Democrat Senate.
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America is Not a Sick Nation...

contrary to Lib and European Reports.

There are certainly sick individuals and sick sub-cultures, but the nation itself is not sick. And if the MSM made a bigger deal about this, they would have less to talk about. So they do what sells more papers, regardless of what it does to their homeland.

Townhall.com furnished this transcript from Bill Bennett's radio show, to better articulate this thought.

Yeah, we have problems. Many of them have been building for years. We are a work-in-progress, that will not be understood by those of small minds, here and elsewhere.
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Aligned to the Right...

Yeah, it summarizes many of my views, but for any new visitors, a brief explanation for the text format of this blog.

To be honest, the right-margin alignment of the text is by accident, not by design.

My decision to leave it - as is - is by design.

It happened one day, many months ago, while I was working on my blog template and I screwed something up. As I don't know what I did wrong, I don't know how to fix it. And I fear doing something worse if I venture again into the land of template codes.

But I have gotten used to it and consider it to be just a part of my off-center (to the right) viewpoint.
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Revisiting Two Previous Posts, Revived by Recent Events

On March 14 and March 22, I blogged about the Roanoke Times publishing a list of CCW permit holders in one particular portion of the greater Roanoke area (after reading about it at Common Folk Using Common Sense).

From the March 22 post:

"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."

Now what other city lies within the New River Valley? Blacksburg, perhaps. Just 37 miles from Roanoke. Less as-the-crow-flies.

When the Roanoke Times gleefully exposed law-abiding citizens, that had submitted themselves to police background checks and finger-printing, did they consider others than carry without a permit, folks such as Cho Seung-Hui?

[I don't know why that name jumps out at me, there is just something about it.]

To shamelessly steal something from Dr. Phil - "Hey Roanoke Times - That report you did on CCW holders - How's that working out?". Did it stop any crimes? Did it take any guns "off the street"?

Just curious.

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Leaving the Detailed Personality Analysis of the Blacksburg Killer...

to the more articulate and well-informed, I likely misstated something in a previous post.

From my understanding, Permanent Resident Aliens are allowed to purchase firearms. Restricting this right to citizens will not entirely prevent something like this, as we have proven that we can "grow our own" nutcases quite well.

[I didn't intend for this to become a rambling, stream-of-delirium post, but that is what has evolved.]

Clearly, Cho Seung-Hui did not assimilate into the mainstream American culture. That is not restricted to those born in other nations. The Columbine killers and so many other killers (including the Unibomber) are found to be loners that - for whatever reason - cannot or will not assimilate into the mainstream American culture. And it doesn't help that there is an endless supply of Libs telling them that they don't need to.

Civic organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and our veritable buffet of churches, can offer help and guidance to young people, but the Lib culture demeans and demonizes those that work and dwell within those social networks.

I have sat and listened to discussions of what to do about difficult boys in the Boy Scouts. There is the temptation to "throw them out" to make things easier for the others, but then the statement - "This may be their last hope, their last option" reminds us of the role that Boy Scouts (and later the military can play) in the "building of a man". But rather than taking the easy route (as often offered by Libs), we have to redouble our efforts on these boys and spend more time with them, helping them see some their own abilities.

Self confidence, in the touchy-feely world of PC means nothing when offered as a vacuous statement about "Self Esteem", i.e., there needs to be some real building and recognition of achievements before praise and adulation are doled out, or else authentic self confidence will not grow.

There are boys that school (especially government schools) cannot reach as far as socialization goes. If there is no "father figure" (literally or figuratively), the male-bonding of Scouting can fill part of that void. Sometimes the adventure and the "real-life" experiences involved in camping and long backpacking adventures can reach them. Sometimes it is just as simple as isolating them from the electronic media and electronic games until they learn that they don't need a Gameboy (or whatever they call them) to survive.

There are countless lonely, depressed people that cope with their situations by blogging. Had Cho Seung-Hui tried blogging to vent some of his hatreds? Was this purely a mental illness thing, or had the Liberal culture poisoned him with a self-perceived victim status?

Was his being a loner a recent thing or was he always like this? This WND article tells of some of the recent awareness of his aberrant personality and the (perhaps PC) obstacles that were placed in the way of "doing something".

A major dilemma facing us is how do we separate the harmless, sometimes entertaining, sometimes creative eccentrics from the slow-burning killers-to-be?

These problems build for years and they won't be solved easily. We do need to focus more on kids that are singled out and find out "why". And it may take some "tough love" in telling them that they need to change a habit or behavior because it isolates them. I don't necessarily mean always telling them "straight out", but perhaps find an alternative to guide them away from that isolating behavior or attitude.

Sometimes it can be as simple as relating to them what it was that you might have been teased about when you were young. If you can teach them to deflect and/or ignore the words and actions of bullies, you might prevent a future Columbine or Blacksburg.

When I was young, I was teased for being short and having curly hair. About the sixth grade, my Dad taught me that if I was being punched or pushed, then it was appropriate to hit back. All it took was punching a couple of bullies (those the same size as myself) and it pretty much stopped. I was no longer an easy target.

And there will always be a few that are so strange that you cannot help them, but perhaps someone else might. In my early college years, my circle of friends made an effort, more than once, to reach out to an isolated person, only to find out there was a reason they were isolated. They were just too weird. And often we tried putting up with them for weeks, before we would have to shun them too.

Not because we were elitists of any fashion (we tended more towards being hippies), but because those isolated persons just didn't (or wouldn't) understand that every social relationship has rules, it has to be a two-way street, or else it just doesn't work.

Perhaps they are just "wired up wrong", maybe their dysfunctional parents didn't know how to teach them to keep some of their quirks to themselves until people got to know them better.

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