GeologicalScienceBlog - subjects include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Random Thoughts, & Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian/pragmatist viewpoint. As a Dad & Grandad, I am concerned about the overgrowth of government at the expense of freedom. Background - two degrees in Geology (BS '77, MS '90), started studying Geology beginning Senior Year of high school (1971 - 1972) <68>

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why Modern Liberals Ain't - So Why Do "They" Always Root For the Others?

Maybe not all of them but the worst of them are guilty of this.

From American Thinker comes this consideration as to why "Liberals" so despise their homeland, why they so easily "break bread" with tyrants that would not tolerate them as outspoken citizens. Writer Christopher Chantrill opens with these thoughts:

"A faction within America always denigrates our country, seeing our enemies through rose colored lenses and finding only oppression at home. The Long War we face with Radical Islam is matched by the long war against this bloc."...

[When I was a Classical Liberal, I hated tyranny, regardless of whether it was Right-Wing or Left-Wing. I never saw the United States as evil, perhaps misguided, but never evil. While I didn't understand President Reagan's policies, I appreciated his backbone. And when presented with enough new information, I had the courage and the open-mindedness to evolve. I still hold to a few Classical Liberal viewpoints, some of the things defined by Tammy Bruce and exemplified by Nat Hentoff.]

We saw some of this mindset in the recent Democrat lovefest with YouTube, wherein this question was asked:

"Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"

If memory serves me correctly, Senator Obama answered affirmatively. As I don't waste my time with watching such endeavors, I don't recall the reactions of others.

Chantrill continues:

"The left always seems to be swooning over the latest gang of designer thugs. Right now university book stores are featuring dozens of earnest attempts to understand Islam. Back in the 1980s the lefty Sandalistas were flocking to Sandinista Nicaragua. In the 1970s the left was busy understanding the rage of well-born terrorists in the Weathermen, the Italian Red Brigades, and the Baader-Meinhof gang. A decade before that it was Castro and the execrable Che Guevara. All of those thugs would have got nowhere without the fawning of the luvvies on the left."

Chantrill continues:

"You might think that these dictator lovers are evil, and you might be right. But conservative philosopher Roger Scruton talks instead, in A Political Philosophy, of a kind of sickness: "oikophobia." It's a fancy Greek neologism for "educated derision at... national loyalty," always siding with "'them' against 'us,' and the felt need to denigrate the customs, cultures, and institutions that are demonstrably 'ours.'" In short, as Scruton writes, it is "the repudiation of inheritance and home."" [Emphasis added.]

"Oikophobia" or "Oikophobic" are the terms to apply to the Noam Chomskys, the Ward Churchills, the Jimmy Carters,...but these words just have a strange ring to them.

I prefer "Domiphobia", the hatred of ones home. People can more easily connect it to the word "Domicile". [I don't recall if I once heard this word somewhere or if my damaged mind contrived it.]

Chantrill further contrasts the "normalcy" of Conservatism, as we see it:

"Modern conservatism was founded by Edmund Burke upon the opposite idea. It regards "our liberties as an entailed inheritance derived to us from our forefathers, and to be transmitted to our posterity" without repudiation." [Emphasis added.]

Our use of logic allows us to separate the "goods" from the "bads", when recognizing and honoring traditions. When defending honorable traditions, e.g., traditional marriage, the Boy Scouts, fidelity - (paraphrasing Dr. Thomas Sowell) remind your listener that traditions represent successful behaviors that have withstood the test of time. As libs usually believe in Evolution, use that tactic, suggesting that traditions have withstood the rigors of cultural evolution.

Our "war of cultures" in the words of Chantrill: "is the war between the heirs of Burke and the heirs of Rousseau and Robespierre, between ordered liberty and the "oikophobic" alliance between rational experts, progressive activists, designer revolutionaries and out-and-out thugs."

Some of the "Progressives" suffering from this condition are probably true believers, while others are of this mindset for political expediency and after long periods of time, they feel that they cannot repudiate their past opinions and stands.

So in closing, I recommend reading the article, though I disagree with the central terminology. I think "Domiphobia" would be more effective.

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Waiting to Dance the Moonbat Dance...

but nature hasn't played the right tune. In their strange world, Moonbats tend to dance over what most people see as bad news.

A few years back, Wayne LaPierre, of the National Rifle Association, caught hell because he made a statement suggesting that certain "anti-self defense" politicians, e.g. Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, et al, would do a "blood dance" in the wake of publicized mass shootings, e.g., the Virginia Tech shootings. As happens when someone blurts out an uncomfortable truth, the MSM hollered about it, but to his credit, I don't think LaPierre backed down.

This Moonbattery post from yesterday suggests that they may be frustrated because this hurricane season has been quiet, thusfar (of course it could "fire up" at any time). They wish for more Katrinas to make their point, that Anthropogenic Global Warming will cause more hurricanes and more severe hurricanes within that enhanced number. [Remember, Rush has talked about how "everything" is related to politics in their world. It just can't be Nature "doing its thing, it has to be our fault. Again, I don't deny human influence, but I doubt human control of weather and climate events. Change is normal.]

So a quiet hurricane season robs the MSM of chances to advance their agenda and it robs them of chances to blame something else on President Bush. I contend that what happened on the Gulf Coast with Katrina (and her sister Rita) would have transpired 90 to 95% the same if it had been President Gore in his second term or President Kerry in his first. Nature doesn't care about a piece of signed paper (Kyoto) nor who is in the White House.

Most of the human screwups would have been the same, human nature is what it is. The MSM would probably have found ways of blaming the Republican majority in Congress (dating from the mid-1990s) for "cut-backs" in levee-building efforts.

The "enhanced damage" from the 2004/2005 hurricanes is not because they are getting worse, it is because we are building too damn much in places we ought not to build. I (and others more articulate) wrote many posts in the wake of Katrina to remind people that a city the size of New Orleans just should not be where it is. The area is always going to be sinking, and our efforts at flood control/wetlands drainage have made it worse. There are plausible geologic and hydrologic reasons for this continual subsidence and with a reported 300 miles of levees in the New Orleans area, we can only hold back nature for so long. Making every levee a "Category 5" levee is just a waste of taxpayer money, that would take decades to accomplish, i.e., there are other places where that much money might save more lives. That is just the harsh truth. "Rebuilding the delta", by allowing portions of the river (downstream from New Orleans) to periodically flood would help, but that could take 50 years to see any significant results.

Without a "last-minute" lurch to the East, Katrina would have been much worse for New Orleans. That lurch put the stronger eastern side of the hurricane along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A slight westward lurch of a few miles could have been even worse, if that could be imagined.

Hurricane Ivan in 2004 could have done the same things that Katrina did. Remember this if nothing else about New Orleans - most of the city is 7 - 12 feet below Sea Level. With water's density, wind-driven storm surges carry an unbelievable amount of power. What storm-surges in canals do not knock down, if they "overtop" the levee (as in the Industrial Canal), they wash away the foundation, triggering the catastrophic failure.

It will happen again. It may be this year, next year, 50 years from now, 100...but it will happen again, no matter who is in office.

One other consideration, it is normal for meandering river systems to change channels, seeking the "shortest route" to the ocean. For decades, the Corps of Engineers has been fighting the Mississippi River's "desire" to break into the nearby Atchafalaya River channel, North of Baton Rouge. Denied the water of the Mississippi River, who knows what that would do to New Orleans' economy and other things related to the river.

Nature will do what it wants.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

And Then There Was One - Part II

Earlier in the month, I related about my last class at this particular junior college coming to an end. Tonight was my last lecture, the Final follows on Wednesday.

Another campus has offered a couple of classes, but this campus is about 45 miles away, a commute which would be over mostly two-lane roads. While they anxiously await an answer, I doubt that I will say yes. So there has been an offer to extend my stay in my comfort zone (though it would be different in another campus). The Tuesday/Thursday mid-day classes wouldn't coincide with the morning rush hour, though the return home might coincide with the evening one. But those days might interfere with other opportunities.

Decisions, decisions. Some of my previous "bold moves" haven't worked out so well, but maybe it's time for another one.

Will let ya'll know.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Some Reading Resources on Corn-Based Ethanol

From the Competitive Enterprise Institute, here is a link to some articles and columns about the issue of corn-based ethanol that seems to have intoxicated almost everybody.

From one of the linked articles, here are some unintended consequences of pursuing this issue "full steam":

Spikes in food and feed costs
Spikes in land costs
Reduced competitiveness of U.S. farm exports
Reduced global food security
Loss of wildlife habitat
Increased emissions of the carcinogen acetaldehyde


Other consequences include increased beer costs and possible damage to the Chesapeake Bay crab and fishing industry. For the Chesapeake Bay watershed, increased corn production will result in more fertilizer runoff into the bay and possible algal blooms. From my understanding, when the algae die off after the bloom, the spike in bacteria (that eat the algae) depletes the oxygen from the aquatic ecosystem. An excessively thick layer of algae may also interfere with normal vertical circulation of oxygenated water.

As for the linked article above, it contains this pdf link to a paper on more of the unintended consequences. Among them are decreased exports as more and more land is converted from other crops to corn. Also because of increased feed costs, there will be less pork and poultry exports. Initially, this will mean less food for the world and a worse "balance of trade" as food exports are very important to our economy. Another danger (which may not have been addressed in the pdf paper) is that if there is an "agricultural vacuum", China might fill it. China might well be willing to divert food from their own people in order to "steal" a market or secure future contracts for food from countries that we now feed. Other nations might step in to fill that food void, but China represents the biggest threat to the U.S. in terms of that unavoidable future confrontation.

We are already seeing the adverse consequences of pursuing this eco-fad, yet we persist. It is being driven by millions of dollars of taxpayer money. It is not market-driven, which might make it more durable and sustainable. And we know how government inertia is, once we pick up more steam on this downhill run towards ethanol, it is harder to stop and turn around, once we recognize the wrong directions.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Hey Folks...a 30-year Temperature Average is Just That...

an Average. It doesn't mean that every year is going to be average, it is just a benchmark for the sake of measurement. And a 100-year average would be somewhat different from a 30-year average.

In recording temperature, rainfall, and other atmospheric components, a 30-year average is used as that is considered a long-enough period of time to establish an average value and to include several unusual events.

According to Wizbang, some folks are in a tizzy because Reno, NV has had a warmer than average summer.

From the Wizbang post:

"The average temperature in Reno from June through August last year was 75.6 degrees, almost 7 degrees above the 30-year average, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group reported."

OK, that is what has happened this year. Next year may be cooler than average. When my wife and I were married in 1984 in El Paso, there were only three days above 100 degrees that summer. That was a cooler-than-average summer, but by itself it didn't mean anything.

Seven years earlier, my first summer in El Paso was marked by daytime temperatures of about 105 degrees by early June. I remember because I was outside almost every day for a Geology Field Camp (an extended summertime mapping course).

Now if Reno is 7 degrees above the 30-year average for the next five years, then call us back as that is noteworthy, but one summer does not define anything.

Oklahoma City had something like 20 consecutive days of rain this summer, that ain't average, it is just what happened this year because the area was caught under a Low-Pressure System that pulled an unusual amount of moisture in from the Gulf of Mexico. This summer will be added into the figures from the droughts of 2005 and 2006 and it will become part of the 30-year average, but by itself, it will not define anything.

Nature is wild, ya'll. We can do little to control it, except perhaps influence conditions on a local scale - Deforestation, Urban Heat Islands, and other things like that can have effects that may take decades to identify.

Control and influence are two different things.

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Rotten to ACORE?

[I meant to comment on this a few days ago, but I got busy.]

Moonbattery has this post on a communication between Michael T. Eckart, President of CORE (American Council on Renewable Energy) and Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at CEI (Competitive Enterprise Institute). Well, it is actually more about Michael Eckart's "professionalism" in addressing another adult, that happens to disagree with him. From the post, these are some of Eckart's words:

"It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America. Go ahead, guy. Take me on." [Emphasis added.]

Simple polite disagreement is not enough. When they lose, they don't fall back and regroup, they just get meaner. That is one of the definitions of a Moonbat. That is why we fight them in our civilized way, by highlighting their own words and let the learned public decide.

To make things a little worse, at least some of Eckart's paycheck is courtesy of taxpayers:

..."Over 400 organizational members pay into ACORE, including the federal
Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy, as well as the EPA. This is
your tax dollar at work."...

Continuing the threats:

..."In a separate threat, Eckhart demanded that CEI reverse its position and start spouting global warming propaganda "or I will take every action I can think of to shut you down" — including siccing the IRS on it."...

That is their idea of reasoned debate - "Give me a reason not to mash you."

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Should We Just Call It "Follywood"...

because of the propensity of its stars to follow fads?

This Townhall.com column by Lorie Byrd has some info on recent efforts by Follywood stars to show how "green" they are versus the great unwashed. And as one would expect, some of this is targeted towards our children.

Imagine Matt Damon costumed as a gas pump, Ben Affleck dressed as a corn cob, both of which (along with others) jumping on the corn-based ethanol bandwagon.

Wanting to bring down "big oil".

Lorie Byrd reminds us of the reasons repeated cited for corn-based ethanol not being the "savior" it is touted to be.

It is not that conservatives are against corn-based ethanol per se, we just think it is a bad idea to convert so much food to fuel, when it seems with present technology, it won't pay off.

As John Stossel put it (among other reasons) if ethanol is so great, why do the taxpayers have to subsidize it? Why doesn't Archer Daniels Midland subsidize it themselves?

We just don't like to see good taxpayer money going after bad ideas.
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This is Such a Sad, Sad Story




This is what happens when young starfish take steroids.

Some might call this species Barriensis bondsii, but I wouldn't.


Nope.
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Earth to National Council of Churches...

Christians and Jews are family. We know about the doctrinal differences and we don't blindly accept everything that Israel does, yet for years, Conservative and Evangelical Christians have been labeled as "the intolerant ones", when we know most of the intolerance is coming from the Left.

This FrontPageMagazine article relates the latest Leftist NCC attacks on Christians that are supportive of Israel and its survival.

From the article:

..."Preferring not to address its own demographic implosion, the NCC periodically lashes out at more demographically robust Christian movements, especially conservative evangelicals. In its latest fusillade, the NCC denounced the “Christian Zionism” of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which recently convened its second convention in Washington for pro-Israel evangelicals. Newt Gringrich was among the speakers."

The article continues:

..."The NCC official asserted that “most Christians” do not share C[U]FI’s stated goals. C[U]FI’s objective, as its website describes, is to increase support for Israel among evangelicals by emphasizing the “the Jewish contribution to Christianity and Israel’s biblical mandate to the land through Bible teachings.”...

The article continues:

..."The NCC, like the rest of the Religious Left, prefers to dismiss all pro-Israel evangelicals as “Left-Behind” fanatics whose support for the Jews is merely a crass and self-serving preparation for the end-times. CFI’s “efforts are the latest in a century old apocalyptic movement that began in earnest in the 19th century,” the NCC asserted. “Sometimes called Christian Zionism because of its uncritical support for the State of Israel, it is based on a literal reading of Biblical apocalyptic texts.”...

It wasn't always this way:

...The NCC's founders and early leaders were themselves ardent supporters of Israel. It was not until after the radicalization of the 1960's, and the advent of Liberation Theology, that leftist Protestant prelates suddenly realized that Palestinian insurrectionists were actually God's revolutionary vanguard against Zionist imperialism."...

So the NCC chooses to cast its support with those that wish to exterminate the very root of Christianity. If Islamists, through their use of "Palestinians" as "cannon fodder" succeed in finishing Hitler's work, does the NCC expect that the victorious Muslims will welcome Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land?

Orthodox and Conservative Jews may not be happy with Christian attempts at conversions in Israel, but last time I checked, there was no death penalty for a Jew that converts to Christianity in Israel. Jews are not big on "fatwas" either. Except for the most rabid zealots, most Israelis just want to be left alone. And many of the secular Jews (supposedly 80% of the population) are probably willing to live among "Arab" Christians and Muslims, if they are willing to follow simple precepts of civilized behavior. The Christian "Arabs" (Lebanese, Syrians, Egyptians) generally appear to be willing to do this and some Israeli Muslims recognize that despite a few issues, an Israel at peace would benefit them personally.

Israel attempts to protect Christian shrines. How much respect did the Palestinians show to the Church of the Nativity when they invaded a few years ago? They fired upon Israeli Defense Forces from the church, while the IDF refused to return fire.

Some of the Evangelical support may be self-serving, but I would submit to you that most of it is out of a sense of "brotherhood" between Christians and Jews. But the NCC would rather serve its Leftist masters than try to preserve the lands that were home to Jews and Christians long before Islam existed.

Those Israeli Muslims that left in 1948 (along with others that compose "the Palestinians") had their chances at a homeland, but their leaders were too greedy and dysfunctional to make it work. Surrounding Muslim nations could have re-settled many of the refugees (as Israel has taken in Jews expelled (or escaping) from other nations), but because of tribal political issues, they didn't want to "fix" the situation, they wanted to use it against Israel.

Israel has made its share of mistakes, so has every other nation on Earth. The NCC has focused on the "Palestinians" as the underdog and has chosen to blame Israel for Palestinian woes (for that is the easy thing to do) instead of meeting the issue head on.

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Somebody Needs to be Bitch-Slapped Over This!

According to this ABC story (by way of Boortz.com), in about two dozen cases across the country people claiming to be men are suing bars over their "Ladies Night" promotions, whimpering that "It Ain't Fair!" - Poor babies! [I just wonder how many of these "men" are Democrats?]

The outcome of these cases does not affect me personally, as I have been married for 23+ years and these are events where I do not belong, unless I am there to acquire some aluminum bottles for my collection - Honest! I am only here for the beer!

But this is a matter of principle.

Some of these wailing plaintiffs are lawyers, as is one case cited in the article:

..."Roy Den Hollander is a New York lawyer who says Ladies' Night drinks and admission specials are unconstitutional, and he says he's suffered personally. Hollander is also a graduate of Columbia Business School and seems like a guy who should be able to get into a decent bar and afford the drinks. So what irks him?

"I'm tired of having my rights violated and being treated as a second-class citizen," said Hollander, who is seeking class-action status for his suit in federal court."...


OK, let's take a couple of shots at "what makes this "guy" tick":

1) He is homosexual, or;

2) He is heterosexual and has had zero luck in picking up women on Ladies Night.

So he has to be a spoil-sport.

When I was single and in my 20s, I fit description #2. Though I tried a few times, I never "picked up" any strangers from bars. I didn't have the looks, the charisma, nor confidence to succeed at this endeavor. In some of the El Paso bars that I visited, I never had the confidence to walk up to a table full of women to ask one of them to dance, as I knew I would get "shot down". And I never saw any reason to sue anybody over my disappointments.

I did have some encounters with a couple of women who were "a friend of a friend", but that is a different story that is not pertinent to this story. [Actually, when I met my wife at a single's club meeting, she turned out to be "a friend of a friend". We had actually been to a couple of the same parties, but our paths had not yet crossed.] And I have never had a "one-night stand". And it is just as well that I didn't succeed in those attempts. Most people do not meet the "love of their life" at a bar. My ego survived those disappointments.

But because I have always been heterosexual, I do like to respectfully and politely "observe" the opposite gender. And the "extra cost" of the drink is the price you pay.

Do you remember the Miller Lite "Man Laws" TV commercials from last year, starring Burt Reynolds (and others)? Maybe these whiners need to be hauled in front of the "Man Law" tribunal and given the "what for". I haven't had time to read the "Manlawpedia" of at least 27,747 Man Laws, but it seems that one of them should be - "Thou shalt not interfere with Ladies Night promotions - just enjoy them."

This ain't about equal protection under the law, it is just a recognition of (and exploitation of) the complex interactions between the genders.

It doesn't affect me, but it is a matter of principle and Man Law.

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"We've Seen This Movie Before"

This is a paraphrasing of Sen. John McCain's words on Bill Bennett's radio program this morning, referring to the specter of a post-US retreat from Iraq.

J. R. Dunn has a detailed analysis, at American Thinker, of past episodes of democide (death by governments), most of which occurred during Democrat administrations. One of his sources of information is research by Dr. Rudy Rummel, who coined the term "democide".

Here is the list presented by Dunn:

Ukrainian Famine - 1.5 - 7 million (1932 -1933) FDR -- Democrat
Rape of Nanking - 1 million (1937) FDR -- Democrat
Great Purge - Up to 10 million (1937 - 1939) FDR -- Democrat
The Holocaust - 6 million Jews (+ 5 million others) (1942 - 1945) FDR -- Democrat
Operation Keelhaul - 600,000 to 2 million (1945 - 1946) Truman -- Democrat
Postwar Purge - 1 million + (1946 - 1948) Truman -- Democrat
Great Leap Forward - Up to 45 million (1959 - 1962) Eisenhower -- Republican
Great Cultural Revolution - 1 - 10 million (1967 - 1969) LBJ -- Democrat
Biafran Crisis - 1 million + (1966 - 1969) LBJ -- Democrat
Cambodian Year Zero - 2 million + (1975 - 1978) Carter - Democrat
Boat People - 200,000 - 1 million (1977 -) Carter - Democrat
Ethiopian Famine - 1 million + (1984 - 1985) Reagan - Republican
Rwandan Massacre - 800,000 (1994) Clinton - Democrat

This is relevant because John Kerry is denying that there was a bloodbath after our ignominious retreat from Vietnam and Barack Obama doesn't care if one takes place in Iraq. Here is Dr. Rummel's analysis of what John Kerry saw as trivial or non-existent.

As for this list of horrors, the United States alone probably could not have prevented most of these, it would have taken a concerted effort by several nations, an endeavor which becomes less likely each time we quit a difficult task, e.g., Iraq.

But because "we have seen this movie before" and because we are on the probable "set" of a future episode of democide, don't we have some sort of moral duty to try to prevent it? Retreating early may save some American lives in the "here-and-now", but the Islamists will follow us home, we can count on it, especially when they are emboldened by their default victory. And if our sphere of influence shrinks, other semi-free, quasi-republics will crumble and fall before the relentless onslaught. It will take decades, but we know the realities of inertia and slippery slopes.

At Townhall.com, Victor Davis Hanson relates some of the players and events that have transpired over the last 30 years that have led to where we are. Cliff May speculates on possible scenarios in the wake of our victory or defeat. One of Cliff May's points that the Islamist/Leftist strategies that could lead to our de facto surrender in Iraq will be employed next in Afghanistan and if successful there,...will it become a "franchise opportunity" for any Leftist group that wants any hint of U.S. support of freedom out of a particular nation? [This is my speculation.]

A weak United States is not good for the world, but most of the world leaders are too egotistical or short-sighted to ever admit this.

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A Reminder of the Liberal Desire...

to totally disarm American citizens is presented in this Common Folk Using Common Sense post from a couple of days ago. [I believe I might have read this elsewhere, but it is important to read it again and again. Hillary and Obama probably are.]

This chilling piece was written by "Dan Simpson, a retired diplomat, and a member of the editorial boards of The Toledo Blade and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette".

Simpson writes of this tyrant's wet-dream:

"The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm." [Emphasis original.]

Yeah, damn the 2nd Amendment, the 4th Amendment, just damn all of them while you are at it.

Damn the concept of "Checks and Balances", this lover of tyranny wants the government to kick down your doors for any purpose, as they will no longer have to fear the armed citizen defending his home.

Yeah, I guess if it worked for the Soviet Union, China, Nazi Germany, Cuba,...it'll work here.

Aside from the nifty powers gained by the government with a total citizen disarmament, it will lessen the chances of there being future tax riots by our grown children.

And who needs elections once the people are disarmed?

[Note: When I click on the Common Folk Using Common Sense permalink, I get a strange message, suggesting that his blog doesn't like my computer. If the permalink at the beginning of this post doesn't work, go to the blogroll at right and find your way to the blog and the post.]

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Someone Finally Noticed!

Over at News With Views, David J. Stoddard, Jr. has a column entitled:

"The Awakening of Joe Six-Pack". [I will talk to him later about that misspelling.]

It's nice to be finally noticed. Heh.

The column ends with:

..."Joe Six-pack has awakened. There are millions of Joe Six-packs. We will take back America. It may take 2 or 3 more election cycles, but we are taking back our democratic republic. We'll make it once again, a government by the people, for the people."

And no, I won't worry about collecting any royalties. The honor alone is sufficient. And no, I don't think I will be running for office. I'll just remain your humble blogger.

The link was by way of WND.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Will You Take a Pledge?

This is a question that should be asked of all high-profile politicians and media people. The complete pledge should be -

"If there should be another 9/11 scale (or larger) terrorist attack on the United States, I pledge to not verbally (or in writing) attack President Bush, Vice President Cheney, or the American people, until such time that responsible investigations have provided reliable information on the source of the attack(s)."

How deep is their loyalty if there is another attack? Will they feign unity for a few days (or weeks) or will they begin to attack immediately?

Will the ones responsible for presenting roadblocks to President Bush's prosecution of the war admit partial culpability?

What if such a question made it past the CNN censors for the next YouTube audition? Senator Clinton, will you sign it? Senator Obama?

If the Capitol Building still stands...Representative Murtha, will you wait to parse blame?

Will Keith Olbermann be able to restrain himself? Will Michael Moore begin work on his newest movie? Will Cindy Sheehan do a little blood dance? Will Chris Matthews wet himself in excitement?

Just curious.

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If You Are Not Naturally Passionate About History...

but you want to understand more about events of the now and of the recent past, you have probably come to the realization that Hollywood and the MSM hold few answers.

At American Thinker, J. R. Dunn is an often-riveting writer of things related to military history and his piece from yesterday and the follow-up letter from a reader offer much information about Vietnam and Iraq. How we lost victory in Vietnam and how we can still win victory in Iraq is discussed. (The post-Vietnam bloodbath that John Kerry denies is discussed also.) A victory in Iraq will not be immediately seen, it is more of something that will come into focus as the years pass.

Before 9/11/01, some of us knew enough about the Middle East to know that Iraq was a state sponsor of Islamic terror, as was (is) Iran, Syria, elements in Saudi Arabia,...

The goal of the Iraq invasion was to damage and dismantle one of the sponsors and to create a staging area if further action was needed to deal with Iran and Syria. Because Saddam Hussein had used WMDs before, it was logical to assume he had them and might use them again. Or that he might "farm them out" to terrorist groups. The bulk of the WMDs are probably in Syria, as Senator Jay Rockefeller (among others) told Syria (shortly after 9/11) that we were going to invade Iraq.

Whether someone is interested in Earth history or human history, a valid concept is that "there is nothing new". As we have had missteps and screwups in Iraq and Afghanistan, we did in previous wars. Dunn reminds us:

..."It requires some time to discover the proper strategy in any war. A cursory glance at 1943 would have given the impression of disaster. Kasserine, in which the German Wehrmacht nearly split Allied forces in Tunisia and sent American GIs running. Tarawa, where over 1,600 U.S. Marines died on a sunny afternoon thanks to U.S. Navy overconfidence. Salerno, where the Allied landing force was very nearly pushed back into the sea. But all these incidents, as bitter as they may have been, were necessary to develop the proper techniques that led to the triumphs of 1944 and 1945." [Emphasis added.]

In the opening portions of the WWII Battle of Midway (from my understanding), our opening waves of torpedo planes were totally unsuccessful in delivering their attacks on the Japanese carriers and were cut to pieces by anti-aircraft fire and Japanese Zero fighters. However, the doomed American torpedo-plane pilots (only one survived) managed to distract the anti-aircraft crews and fighter planes long enough for the American dive-bombers to successfully execute their high-angle attacks, resulting in the eventual sinking of three of the four Japanese carriers in that particular battle group (the other one was sunk later).

The planes from the momentarily surviving Japanese carrier sank the USS carrier Yorktown, but the planes from the only other two American carriers, the Enterprise and the Hornet managed to sink the fourth Japanese carrier.

[The source of this info was a rapid re-reading of part of Richard Hough's "The Longest Battle: The War at Sea, 1939 - 1945". Included in the narrative was the analysis of Japanese missteps and decisions that might have turned the tide of battle (and the war) as those were our only three carriers (again, my understanding of it) in the Pacific in June, 1942. Another important decision was made by American Rear-Admiral Raymond Spruance in not pursuing the remnants of the Japanese battle group, as that might have led the American ships into a larger Japanese battle group that included a fleet carrier and nine battleships (along with dozens of smaller warships).

In today's world, there would have been Senate and House investigations as to why Rear-Admiral Spruance didn't pursue the Japanese ships when he had the opportunity.

Amnesty International would have protested the sinking of the fourth Japanese carrier, because when their planes returned from attacking the American fleet, there was nowhere for them to land, as their carrier been sunk by the Americans, a clear violation of their human rights as they were forced to ditch at sea (and the Japanese were not big on going on search-and-rescue missions for their downed pilots).

The Daily Kos posters and commentors would be wishing for President Roosevelt's wheelchair to break an axle, causing him to fall to the floor, suffering a broken neck. Or hoping that a disgruntled White House employee would spill him down a flight of stairs.

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would have been demanding punishment for the commanders that ordered the launching of the ill-fated torpedo-plane missions. Walter Cronkite, Dick Durbin, John Murtha, Chris Matthews, (or any other of the usual suspects) would decry the fact that "We lost 33% of our Pacific aircraft carriers in one day! The war in the Pacific is lost!"]

One doesn't need a PhD in Military History to know that each war is different. Thus planning only goes so far. The first Gulf War was over so quickly that we didn't have time to learn (nor did circumstances force us to learn) what was needed to prevail in a protracted conflict involving the intricacies of Arab culture.

It seems that with the surge and the changes in strategy, wherein we are immersing ourselves in the local Arab sub-cultures, it seems to be paying off. The mainstream Iraqis are getting "war weary" too, vis-à-vis the way Al Qaida has been treating them.

We have been there long enough and with our recent change in strategy - where we don't withdraw after each small victory - the local Arab sheiks are learning to trust the American character, as we know it exists. It seems that we have been there long enough for them to see that not only are we capable of being "the strong horse", but that we are of better character than others that have previously exerted influence over them.

J. R. Dunn puts it this way:

..."Earlier Coalition efforts were not in error as much as they were incomplete. American troops would clean out an area, turn it over to an Iraqi unit, and depart. The Jihadis would then push out the unseasoned Iraqis and return to business. This occurred in Fallujah, Tall Afar, and endless times in Ramadi.

Now U.S. troops are remaining on site, which reassures the locals and encourages cooperation. The Jihadis broke (and more than likely never knew) the cardinal rule of insurgency warfare, that of being a good guest."... [Emphasis added.]

Continuing:

..."Arabic culture is one in which open dealings, personal loyalty, and honor are at a premium. Violate any of them, and there is no way back. The Jihadis violated them all. The towns and cities of Iraq are no longer sanctuaries."...

We are becoming known as the good guest.

Our soldiers are not the image that exists in the diseased minds of John Murtha, Dick Durbin, Michael Moore, A. Whitney Brown, Ted Rall, Cindy Sheehan..., we know what the American character is. Fortunately, maybe some of these tribal enclaves and villages are remote enough not to be inundated with the lies of those noted above. [Yes, we know that there are individual failures of character, but those are given front-page coverage by the MSM and their al-Jazeera allies, instead of waiting for the military justice system to do its investigations first.]

To the traitorous ones mentioned above, the only worthy victory is the victory over President Bush. They think they can fix the damage done to the country, later. Or else blame it on the Republicans, the Christians, and the Jews.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Geologist "Wish List"...

or at least part of it. [Yeah, this kind of stuff is only interesting to fellow geologists. I am trolling for more geology readers.] Maybe someday I can mark off at least a few of these things.

On the "Bald Eagle" post, I alluded to a few of thing things I still would like to see or do, relating to Geology (and other sciences) now that I have seen a Bald Eagle outside of a zoo.

As for collecting things, I would like the opportunity at some point to collect:

A decent zircon crystal, a decent topaz crystal, a complete trilobite, and a complete ammonite. A crinoid calyx with at least a portion of the column would be nice, too.

As for the minerals, I seek not gem-quality, but rather specimen quality, to be able to show kids what a topaz crystal (or at least a piece of topaz looks like, likewise with the zircon. I have collected a diamond in Arkansas; aquamarine in New Hampshire; green and pink tourmaline in Maine; golden beryl in Georgia; rhodonite, rhodochrosite, and huebnerite in Colorado; rutile in Georgia, yada, yada.

As for things I would like to see (and photograph) (taking my family, if they want into some of the back-country areas, in a 4 X 4):

Monument Valley, AZ/UT. My parents went through there in the summer of 1980 and my Dad passed away in November of 1980. I scanned some of his slides last year and for some of the Monument Valley photos, as I don't know the exact location and orientation of the photograph view, I do not know which mesas and buttes I am looking at. Some of them I have been able to ID from the internet, but some are given different names by different photographers. I would like to be able to identify them myself. I would also like to take in the magnificent scenery seen in so many John Ford movies.

Grants, New Mexico basalt flows. As you drive on I-40 between Albuquerque and the Arizona line, in the Grants, NM area, there are basalt flows that seem to have "rolled up" to the edge of the freeway, when in fact, the flows were already there. As these flows are geologically young, in an arid climate, their features are well-preserved. I would just like to stop and get some close-up photos of these flows.

The Jemez Mountains, NM. In the Los Alamos, New Mexico area, there is a young, caldera-type volcano, which I visited on a field trip in 1985, but I misplaced my field notebook, so a few of my slides have left me wondering "what is that?". I would like to collect from some of the volcanic ash deposits along the roadway and get some more examples of pumice.

The Davis Mountains, Texas. I visited the Davis Mountains several times as a UTEP grad student, but again, some of my slides are not labeled and I cannot identify the particular volcanic unit names nor the exact locations. You have to learn that your memory will not last forever. To a geology student, a neat photograph only has so much value if the subject is not well-defined.

Vinton Canyon, Franklin Mts., Texas. I visited this locality several times as a grad student and it is a good locality for collecting Pennsylvanian-aged fossils and on the gradual slopes further to the west of the canyon's mouth, there are places to collect Permian-aged fossils. I would like to photograph the localities and re-identify which limestone and shale formations they are (this stuff contributes to the scientific value of fossils). And maybe collect a few more fossils.

The Eagle Mountains, Texas. I spent 10 weeks in the Eagle Mountains (a large caldera-type volcano) during the summer of 1978 and revisited the area in 1979 or 1980 for a weekend. I shot hundreds of good slides while there, but for a few of them, I can't remember exactly where in the mountains I was (of course I want to be there with topo maps. My field area was in a specific part of the mountains, which I remember well, it was when I ventured into other areas that my memory fails me. I would also like a few more close-up shots of some of the volcanic textures. There is also an area where volcanic ash and other eruptive debris was washed into a small lake and solidified as siltstone layers. I would like to go back and walk the margins of those deposits and collect some more samples. It is not often that you see sedimentary rocks deposited inside of a volcano. Ideally, I would like to write a short article about this unusual occurrence.

Yellowstone National Park. When I was there in 1974, I had an Instamatic camera and an undergrad's understanding of what I was seeing.

The Snake River Plateau, Idaho. Same 1974 trip, same deal.

Yosemite National Park. Same 1974 trip, same deal.

Central Wisconsin. While traveling the area in 1982, I forgot to reel in my completed roll of 35 mm film back before opening the back of the camera (Do'h!), whereby I lost all of my slides of glacial features. My brewery slides were on other rolls, but I lost all of the geology stuff.

Aden/Afton Basalts, southern New Mexico. I did my Master's Thesis in these young volcanics and I became sick of the "sameness" of the flows, while I was mapping some unusual craters. I shot hundreds of slides and dozens of print photos. There are some other features that I saw, but did not photograph in other parts of the area, i.e., other volcanic features that one might have to otherwise see in Hawaii. As they were not directly related to my field work, I said I would "get them later".

I guess the best thing I can do is pass along to current geology students (and others interested in nature photography/study) is - make good notes and label your photos/specimens. Despite your passion, you won't remember all of these details 10 or 20 years from now.

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What a Geologist Sees - Part 2




This scanned-slide was taken during my UTEP Geology Summer Field Camp field trip 30 years ago. I don't remember exactly where it was, but it is probably in the vicinity of Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, UT.

This is to further illustrate the definition of an "Angular Unconformity" and while we are "at it", the concept of "Superposition", and "Slope-forming" vs. "Cliff-forming" sedimentary rock units.

To address Superposition first, that is the concept that when observing a sequence of layered rocks (usually sedimentary), if the sequence has not be severly deformed, then the oldest layers are at the bottom and the youngest are at the top. Perfectly logical when you think about it, but it was a big deal when conceived by Nicolas Steno in the 1600s. Another of Steno's principles was "Original Horizontality", i.e., when originally deposited virtually all sedimentary rocks are horizontal.

So when we look at the above photo, we can see that the reddish-colored layers are slightly inclined to the right and are overlain by the horizontal grayish-colored layers. [It may be a little more complex than this, but as I don't remember the exact location, I will keep it simple.]

In reconstructing past events, the reddish-colored shales (which form slopes in dry climates) were deposited, then the area underwent some minor geologic deformation, which resulted in the gently tilting shown here. Then after some weathering and erosion of the reddish layers, the gray layers were deposited above the eroded surface (the Angular Unconformity). Above the gray shales are the cliff-forming layers, probably siltstones and sandstones in this case. In dry climates, limestones can form cliffs, too, but these are likely siltstones and sandstones. The differences in colors relate to the amounts of iron in the sediments and the oxygen conditions in the environment at the time of deposition, as related to atmospheric exposure in a river delta or floodplain setting. Generally, the more oxygen there is, the redder the sediments are. [Again, I am leaving out some details for the sake of brevity.]

So using these concepts, without knowing exactly which rock units (and ages) are present here, at least we can define some of the events that led to the particular landform that we see in this photo.

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What Could Await Us If "They" Win

By way of American Thinker comes this link to an article "built" around a photo from the UK. [Oddly, the article does not link back to a homepage.] The article is from "maxflack" and shows the photo of black hijab-clad women holding a sign saying "British Police Go to Hell!", while the women are standing next to a female Bobbie (a Bobbette?). Most folks would see the irony there, but we have to wonder if the Muslim women do.

The setting for the protest was outside of a trial for some of the "cartoon rioters", wherein all four were convicted for "inciting racial hatred" - which sounds something like a "hate crime", while three of the four were convicted for "inciting violence", which is a much more tangible charge, based upon actions rather than thoughts. [This is simply my opinion. And please forgive my tortured prose, I will try to rewrite this later. That is why I am not a professional blogger.]

While noting the irony of Muslim females protesting the very people that would first come to their aid, maxflack goes on to remind us of some of the issues and players in the UK regarding relations between Muslim men and women and relations with the UK government and culture.

Without quoting the exact authors, chapters, or verses, there have been Muslim leaders that have called for a world-wide Caliphate and governance by Shari'a. They can only do this if the West totally collapses. It will take decades for this to transpire, they are more patient that we are, in this arena. We want a Hollywood timeline, while they patiently wait for us to implode.

In the meantime, we worry about Paris Hilton and who dies in the last Harry Potter book. [In the UK, supposedly they are readying phone counselors to deal with the sorrow as it becomes widely known which Harry Potter character(s) die(s). And when aficionados of "24" or "Lost" fret over the death of one of "their" favorite fictional characters, we are somewhat the same if we lose perspective.

While we are watching our cultural demise unfold...If they mistreat their own women this badly (denial of education, honor killings, genital mutilations,...), do we want to think of what they will do to our daughters, nieces, granddaughters, etc. in the intervening years of Western cultural decay, before the fall?

The article includes a Qur'an verse that sums up the attitude towards women:

Tabari IX:113 “Treat women well for they are like domestic animals and they possess nothing in themselves. Allah has made the enjoyment of their bodies lawful in his Qur’an.”

[Note to Muslim apologists: Don't even bother me with "you are taking this out of context." I ain't buying that. And don't bother me with "Well, Christians and Jews used to do this or that." We are talking about the here-and-now, not the past.]

Contrast the above thoughts to the writings of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 :3 - 4 (NIV New Testament):

"3 - The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife and likewise the wife to her husband.

4 - The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife."

I believe similar words encouraging mutual respect were written in the Second Book of Romans.

Do we see a little cultural divide here between the Judeo/Christian world and the Muslim world?

The words written by the Apostle Paul are not "designed" to keep us from "having fun", but to promote cultural and personal health. Paul himself seemed to struggle with his mission and believed that he needed to remain celibate to concentrate on this mission. He knew that celibacy was not everyone's "cup of tea". His writings conceded to this reality and his thoughts were (paraphrasing) - "If you are gonna do it, then get married and stay true to each other. And respect each other and each other's needs."

Michael Savage has said that Muslims need more sex and less religion, while Americans need less sex and more religion. I guess all things in moderation.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

What a Geologist Sees...Part 1

No, I don't need glasses nor a therapist,
just 'cause I see stuff like this when I look at Grand Canyon photographs. Us geologists are afflicted in this manner. So just politely say "that's nice" to humor us.

The photo is from the south rim of the Grand Canyon (maybe from Hopi Point or somewhere near there).

Normal people are not expected to remember all of these terms, so I will explain a few of them so next time you visit the Grand Canyon (or the first time), even if you can't remember the specifics, you can revel in what geologists call "deep time". [Seriously, if you spend a little time reading articles on the internet before visiting these National Parks, you will enjoy them more.]

Above the Inner Gorge, virtually all of the rocks are sedimentary rocks, the earliest of which were deposited on a continental shelf and when the bulk of the continent was flooded by a shallow inland (epeiric) sea, the rest of them were deposited, though there is a 100 million-year-long gap in the layers (more on that later).

In the geologic science of Stratigraphy (the study of layered rocks), when there is an interruption of the geologic record, represented by an erosion surface, we call these "Unconformities", of which there are four types; 1) Nonconformities; 2) Angular Unconformities; 3) Disconformities; and 4) Paraconformities. Types 1, 2, & 3 are visible in this Grand Canyon photo.

On the left side of the photo, an arrow points to a "Nonconformity", where the Cambrian-age Tapeats Sandstone overlies the Proterozoic Brahma Schist (metamorphic rocks). To the right of the "Normal fault", the Brahma Schist is overlain by the Proterozoic Bass Limestone (also a Nonconformity here), the reddish-colored Hakatai Shale, and the cliff-forming Shinumo Sandstone, all of which are very old sedimentary rocks.

The Brahma Schist, the Vishnu Schist and the Zoroaster Granite represent the first of two mountain ranges that were formed, then eroded away before the Tapeats Sandstone was deposited approximately 540 million years ago. After these mountains were weathered and eroded, the rising seas covered the area and deposited a thick sequence of sedimentary and volcanic rocks, called the "Grand Canyon Supergroup".

These rock layers were then "block faulted" (tilted, but not folded), yielding the second mountain range, which was then eroded prior to the Cambrian Period sea-level rise. When horizontal sedimentary rocks overlie older, tilted sedimentary rocks, the erosion surface between them is called an "Angular Unconformity". Where that particular arrow is pointed, the Hakatai Shale (and the cliffs of the Shinumo Sandstone) represented an island surrounded by the Tapeats Sandstone. When sea level continued to rise and the shoreline moved toward the present-day southeast, the Bright Angel Shale was deposited over the exposed Shinumo Sandstone. If you enlarge the image, you may be able to see the layers of the Hakatai Shale tilting to the right (in relation to the horizontal Bright Angel Shale above).

As sea level continued to rise (for millions of years) eventually flooding most of the continent, the Muav Limestone was deposited on top of the Bright Angel Shale. These three oldest sedimentary rocks units compose the "Tonto Group" and represent a continual rise of sea level that can be traced to 100 miles SE of El Paso, TX.

After the Muav Limestone was deposited, there was an interruption in the sequence, sea level dropped (and/or the land rose). The next time the sea covered the area and left layers behind was 100 million years later, with the Redwall Limestone, deposited during the Mississippian Period. The eroded surface between the Muav Limestone and the Redwall Limestone is a "Disconformity" and rocks representing the entire Ordovician, Silurian, and Devonian Periods are missing. [There are some Devonian rocks elsewhere in the Grand Canyon.]

The coverage of the area by the sea that deposited the Redwall Limestone happened very rapidly. Limestones are generally deposited in shallow, tropical waters at a distance from any large landmasses. Normally, when sea level rises gradually, the sequence is sandstone overlain by shale overlain by limestone - telling you of the gradually deepening waters.

I hope this little geology lesson hasn't put you to sleep. The Grand Canyon is a fascinating place as it is unusual to see so much geologic time represented in such a small area. The oldest metamorphic rocks in the Inner Gorge are about 1.7 billion years old. The oldest horizontal layer is about 540 million years old and the youngest horizontal layer (in this photo) is the Permian Kaibab Limestone, deposited about 240 million years ago, so the horizontal layers in the Grand Canyon represent about 300 million years (estimated) of geologic time, with 100 million years missing (remember the Disconformity).

The canyon itself is thought to be only about 5 to 10 million years old. Why the entire Colorado Plateau underwent this rapid uplift, but remained essentially horizontal and largely un-deformed and largely un-faulted is something of a mystery to geologists and the source of many lively discussions.

[Yeah, I left out some details, otherwise this post would be ten paragraphs longer.]

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Yeah, Patriotism, Unity, and Assimilation are on Their List...

but somewhere towards the bottom.

[Photo 1 - at left (of course) - these fine folks are opening the day by raising the flag.]

[Photo 2 shows that something is wrong.]


[Photo 3 shows how wrong it is.]

These photos (sent by email from Open Choke) are from Montebello High School, which is not in a suburb of Mexico City nor Juarez, but in California. These sorts of actions have taken place at U.S. Post Offices in California also.

These "events" are taking place on American soil.

Now we can engage in "parlor conversations" about the rights and wrongs of U.S./Mexico "border relations" in the 19th century, but that is not going to change anything. We paid for the damn land. What other "expanding" nation does that? Besides, even if they had all of their mythical "Aztlan" territory, it would make no difference at all in Mexico's economic conditions.

Now if these were Southerners hoisting the Confederate battle flag above an upside-down American flag, Liberals all the way from Hillary Clinton to Katie Couric to Al Sharpton would be knocking each other down and pushing Rush Limbaugh aside to defend Old Glory. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would be calling for an investigations of NASCAR and Sons of the Confederacy as a "hate groups" with no shred of rights in this American "democracy".

President Bush himself would no doubt speak out against the treatment of the American flag and how it is unfortunate that some folks "are choosing to live in the past".


I don't think it is a stretch to say that these folks see themselves as Mexicans first, that is fine, if they live in Mexico. But the MSM and Washington ignoring this facilitates the process of Balkanization which can only further weaken our nation - "A house divided against itself...".

Assimilation and unity are just common sense strategies for the preservation of this nation. But the other side of the political "aisle" just ain't interested in promoting that message.

[As these photos arrived by way of a series of emails, the original citations seem to be missing, otherwise I would give credit. Note to Libs: I am making no assumptions about the citizenship of those in the photos.]

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Why Modern Liberals Ain't...Always Watching Out for...

the little girl, in this case. Yeah, right.

By way of Moonbattery, this FoxNews Report (derived from a Washington Post article) tells us of the lengths a Maryland judge went to protect the "rights" of an accused, multiple-incident child rapist. His alleged victim was a 7-year old relative.

Though the accused was functional in English, the brave judge Katherine Savage dismissed the charges against the accused because in three years, the court system could not find an interpreter for the obscure Liberian language of Vai (your government at work).

[I guess they did try asking fellow diners during lunch (over the last 3 years) at nearby restaurants - "Do any of ya'll speak Vai?"]

From the FoxNews article:

..."Mahamu Kanneh, a Liberian native who received asylum in this country and attended high school and community college here, according to The Washington Post, was denied a speedy trial after three years awaiting a court-appointed interpreter who could speak the tribal language of Vai."...

From the FoxNews article:

"The Washington Post wrote in its article that in just one night reporters were independently able to identify three Vai translators available to assist in the case."... [Emphasis added.]

In an admission of the value of diversity and the triviality of assimilation, the article reported:

..."It noted that the need for interpreters has risen starkly in Montgomery County, Md., with the court system spending $1 million in interpreters in 2006, or 10 times the amount it spent in 2000."...

It is a damn shame that those nice folks that work for the Montgomery County court system don't have no "yellow pages" nor access to the internet to help them in their searches for interpreters.

Even though the accused attended high school and a community college in the area and seemed to functionally speak and understand English, they tried their best to accommodate his needs. And when they couldn't do that, they jest let that poor feller go free.

Now it seems that they could have found some "bubba" to speak to this feller real loud and slow, to inform him of his trangressions. Something like - "YOU...DAMN...PERVERT,...YOU...ARE...IN...DEEP..." well, you get the idea.

If this girl was a few years older and pregnant because of the actions of the accused, might this same judge grant her the "right" to get an abortion without parental consent?

Just curious.

I hope this judge has to face the voters sometime soon.

Now is the ACLU going to run to the defense of the accused and/or the judge?

Just curious.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mosque Used as Terror-Training Facility...

as alleged by Italian authorities, according to this WND-linked article. So what is news about this?

So why aren't "moderate Muslims" more aggressive in cleaning up their "own house" instead of bitching about every little slight. [Maybe they are, this may be one of the strategies we are not supposed to learn about until after-the-fact, unless the New York Times spills it.]

BTW - one of the Salem radio hosts (or maybe it was Roger Hedgecock - subbing for Rush) made the point that the New York Times apologized to J. K. Rowling for maybe revealing too much in their review of the last Harry Potter book, but they won't apologize for releasing war-time secrets to the enemy.

As for the Muslim total disrespect for other houses-of-worship (and historical sites), they don't even respect their own mosques.

And we are being PC for what reason?

Just curious.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fascism is Alive and Well in New York State...

according to this WND article.

Libs love to toss around the word "Fascist" to describe anyone with whom they disagree, while ignoring real examples within the United States. For those that have gotten jaded by the MSM/Lefty blogosphere overuse of the word, it is to describe a system (akin to Socialism) where businesses are privately-owned, but where there is almost total government control on hiring, firing, wages, prices, distribution,...yada, yada.

According to the article, the Spring Valley, NY mayor is under fire from the N.Y. Department of Labor for hiring illegals to do some public works clean-ups. He is not under fire because he hired illegals... But because he only paid them $10 per hour, not the New York State "prevailing wage" of $40 per hour! And one of the illegals (goaded on by the state action) complained about the hard work for $10 per hour!

So he was told, by their actions - in the future, when he hires illegals, he must pay them $40 per hour!

Yeah, that will help stem the tide, won't it. Yeah, that will help them decide to go back home, while employing more legal Americans. Yeah, tell me there aren't Americans that will do this work for $10 per hour (or $40 per hour).

The prevailing wage law is designed to help unions and is an example of fascist tinkering with the free-market, and this makes everything more expensive. With the NY state law, I don't know if this applies to private employers as well, but they probably want it to.

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My Ordinary World




A Drunkard's Dream If I Ever Did See One.
(Just kidding.) [Having been to the Atlanta Hard Rock Café twice this week, I have music on my mind.]
So what kind of "sports car" do you think a beer can collector would want? ("Honey, look what I got a great deal on! We can't swing the insurance on a Ferrari, so I got this instead.")

I first saw this car 25 years ago at the Knoxville, TN World's Fair. It is built on a VW Beetle chassis & engine combo. Today it was on display at our regional beer can/breweriana show in Macon, GA, which drew dozens of collectors from all of the states surrounding GA.

When originally built, the car was painted to resemble a Stroh's Light can and it was generally in the area of the Stroh Haus at the World's Fair.

This rare example of automotive ingenuity and beauty is owned by one of the members of our local beer can collectors club. He is actually a beer bottle collector and he owns a restaurant (a franchise in a regional chain) in East Cobb County (North of Atlanta) and his bottle collection is part of the décor (I sold him a bunch of old Texas long-neck bottles years ago - brands such as Grand Prize, Shiner, Mitchell's, Pearl, Southern Select, Lone Star). In the top photo, your humble blogger is in the passenger's seat, while the restaurant owner is talking to the driver, and at left is the organizer of this show "Beer Can Bill", who has become quite an accomplished home-brewer (ethanol researcher) lately.

There were perhaps a dozen of these cars built, but this was the only one with the extended nose to accommodate a beer keg (what a deal!). The hood ornament is the tap for the keg. I am sure that this would be a hit at pre-game tailgate parties.


Pictured in the third photo are some of the aluminum bottles that I have picked up in the last few days. These infernal things are the newest rage in breweriana collecting (I say "infernal" because they won't fit any of my existing shelves). The vast majority of these bottles (more than 120 varieties) are from Anheuser Busch and (as far as I know) all are being filled at the Cartersville, GA brewery.

[Yeah, I know they ain't beer cans, but they are metallic beer containers.]

From Left to Right are the 2007 Daytona 500, 2006 Sturgis, SD biker rally, 2006 Hard Rock Café Ambassadors of Rock, and 2007 Hard Rock Café Ambassadors of Rock (all are Budweiser bottles). The Hard Rock Café bottles also have a dark blue Bud Light companion bottle. I bought the 2007 Hard Rock Café bottles at the Atlanta restaurant, where both times (Thursday and tonight) I saw the video of Duran Duran's "Ordinary World", which for some reason, I have taken a liking to. [No, I only had one bottle each time, I had to buy a few for other customers in order to get two for myself and as trade stock for some fellow-collectors.] The song is from their 1993 The Wedding Album CD.

The main purpose (for a number of us) is to get together will long-time friends and socialize. I sold a few things, came home with a little more money than I went with, and had a good time. The main things are the camaraderie and the exchange of all manner of brewery collectibles.

Yeah, I know that buying and trading these aluminum bottles supports a mega-brewery, at the expense of local microbreweries, but as I have more-or-less gotten in on the "ground floor" of this new "sub-hobby", it is still kind of fun. There are one or two rare bottles that have shot past $100 on eBay, but as for the ones pictured here, I either traded for or bought them for $3 (cheaper than the $5 I had to pay at Hard Rock Café - ouch).
[My family was invited to the beach at Destin, FL for the week, while I had to work (not complaining), so this is how I played on Saturday.]

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Light Blogging Due to the Outdoor Job

I have been doing the pool-cover job all 5 days this week, plus my 2 evening classes. Will try to get caught up over the weekend.
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Can You Imagine...

the tax on a particular consumer items rising from 5 cents to $10, if Senate Democrats get their way?

Because they want to help pay for the gradual move towards more Socialized medical programs for kids, the U.S. Senate is "helping" themselves to more of your money, especially if you are a cigar smoker.

According to this article, and this post by Moonbattery, Federal taxes on cigars will rise from 5 cents to $10, if they get their way.

Yeah, Senate Democrats really know how to help those small businesses (small cigar manufacturers, distributors, and cigar shop owners). We just know that this 20,000% tax increase is just the thing to help the American economy, especially that of Tampa, FL.

Not even Fidel Castro is that dumb.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Who Would Have Thought...

that I would see a pair of Bald Eagles in Vidalia, GA - home of the famous sweet onions? So do eagles like onions with their fish?

I had gone with my friend Doug to install a pool cover in Vidalia and when we got out of the van, I saw the distinctive white head of the Bald Eagle in the top of a nearby pine tree. [Doth sexes have the white head or is it only the males?] Soon after, another large bird landed in the adjacent pine tree (I presume it was its mate), then they both flew off.

I saw the presumed male circling overhead later, neither time was I able to get a photograph.

That had been one of my "goals" in life, to see a Bald Eagle outside of a zoo.

So after the numerous National Parks, Monuments, etc., e.g., Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, etc., I finally see a Bald Eagle in south Georgia.

The lady at this particular house said she had seen one at Lake Lanier (NE of Atlanta) and my beer-can collecting friend Paul L. thought he saw one around Madison, GA east of Atlanta.

Because of a snafu in the pool-cover measuring process (not our fault) and the fact that the pool wasn't a perfect rectangle as it was supposed to be, the pool cover did not fit, so we will have to go back there when another cover comes in, in perhaps two weeks. I will have some fresh batteries for my camera by then. And because the cover was too narrow, so were some of the other components, so there was little that we could do today, at that site. We did some repair work at a couple of other pools in Augusta on the way back home.

I hadn't expected to be back home tonight. So it goes.

Other geology-related goals - to find a decent-sized zircon crystal, a complete ammonite, and a complete trilobite.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Without the Invaders Firing a Shot...

it looks as if Mother England (and Scotland) are on their way to becoming dominated by Islam. Always on Watch provides this post with an interpretive map regarding population numbers, densities, and possible Islamist terror cells.

At this Moonbattery post, we are treated to the "thoughts" and actions of the traitorous weasel Keith (Muhammad) Best, the head of the Immigration Advisory Service.

From the Moonbattery post, we are reminded that though the UK withstood the Luftwaffe blitz during the Battle of Britain, it seems powerless to withstand this current invasion:

"A great empire is destroyed from within, not without. For example, a British passport is handed out to someone who is not British every five minutes. This frantic pace amounts to colonization, and given the relatively low birthrate of native Brits, will soon result in the eradication of the British nation. This tragedy has been facilitated by the bureaucratic abomination known as the Immigration Advisory Service, into which British taxpayers have been compelled to shovel £millions upon £millions.

The head of the IAS is former Tory MP Keith Best, who thinks the displacement of Britons is a good thing. He has actually proclaimed that immigrants are "better citizens than people born with a British passport.""

[In the context of legal immigrants in the United States, that want to assimilate ASAP, perhaps some of them are better citizens than those that blindly re-elect Ted Kennedy, et al, (and in-between elections are entertained by free bread and circuses).]

From the original Daily Mail article:

"He (Best) said: "These people have actively sought British citizenship because they want to make a contribution to the UK."

Riiiiigggggghhhhhtttttt. I am sure a few of them do, but the Muslim zealots among them are bent of conquering Britain by immigration and fecundity.

As with the United States, if entry (and citizenship) in the UK are too easy, it is no longer a hard-won priviledge worth striving for. We know from experience that once Muslims reach about 15% of a population (with no public resistance), they start to think of the country as "theirs".

Elsewhere, recently we were treated to stories of UK schools ceasing to teach basic skills in order to focus on current events (primarily the Global Warming hysteria, for which Maggie Thatcher is partially responsible).

So, are they past the "tipping point"? What will it take to wake them up? Will it be when Muslim thugs start murdering soccer stars? Will it be when a Muslim spokesman calls for the closing of all pubs? Will it be when a Muslim fanatic desecrates the grave of St. Diana? Or when a Muslim gang kidnaps and rapes Posh Spice?

Sir Winston is weeping.
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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Iran Arrests 14 Squirrels for Spying

No word on whether or not Rocky or Secret Squirrel were among the 14 detained.

Now if they had been arrested for plotting to short-out an electrical substation or electrical transformers, that I could believe. I have seen the results of their suicide missions before.

Bullwinkle is on pins-and-needles as he awaits word on the identities of the 14. It is suspected that Boris Badinoff, conspiring with the New York Times and Patrick Leahy, leaked the info to the Iranians.

h/t to American Thinker.
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A Little Snooker Move on the Racetrack...

seems to have made the difference today at the NASCAR Busch race at Chicagoland. I didn't have time to watch the entire race, but I caught the latter parts.

I gathered that Kyle Busch had the fastest car on the track and led the most laps.

During a late caution flag, Kyle Busch led a procession of contenders down towards pit lane. The fact that close behind him were Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, and others probably led him to believe that a pit stop was a good course of action.

At the last instant, Burton and Harvick veered sharply to the right and re-entered the racing surface (a legal move), leaving Busch committed to pit lane. Burton and Harvick chose "track position" instead of being slightly faster on new tires.

Harvick won, Jeff Burton finished 3rd and Kyle Busch finished 5th.

I remember the Petty team doing that at least twice at Daytona.

The first time was in a late 1970s edition of the Permatex 300, the Sportsman division race the day before the Daytona 500. The Sportsman division is now the Busch Series. North Carolina Dodge-driver Joe Millikan was receiving help from the Petty team and Joe was in contention, but not the lead, when it came time for the last scheduled green-flag pit stops. The Petty pit crew lined up four new tires on top of the pit wall, a move that was observed by the other pit crews. Then they waited until the other contenders had made their pit stops, which included the extra time needed to receive four tires in addition to the gasoline.

When Joe Millikan came down pit road, the Petty pit crew pushed the four tires back over the wall, keeping Joe only long enough to give him the gas that he needed to gain "track position" and go on to beat his more experienced competitors. Joe Millikan was, for a while, a de facto protégé of Richard Petty until Kyle Petty announced his interest in driving. That particular Permatex 300 was the only big race that Joe Millikan won, if memory serves me correctly.

The Petty team used the same strategy to win the 1981 Daytona 500, Richard's last of seven Daytona 500 victories. Late in the race, Bobby Allison had the fastest car on the track. The Petty team used the same strategy, prepping for either a 2 or 4-tire pit stop, allowing the others to pit first, then did a "gas only stop", there again preserving the "track position" and winning the race, much to the consternation of Bobby Allison and his crew.

The 1981 season was the first year of the "down-sized" cars and the GM contingent consisted of the Buick Regal, Pontiac Grand Prix, Olds Cutlass, and a few Chevy Monte Carlos, all of which had steeply-inclined rear window (which is aerodynamically unfavorable). Bobby Allison's crew found a loophole that allowed the 1981 Pontiac LeMans, with a more gently-sloped rear window and his was the only LeMans in the field and he was clearly faster than the rest of the GM cars and the boxy Ford T-birds. Richard's last-minute strategy "popped" Bobby's balloon (Bobby did win the Daytona 500 the following year).

Position, position, position (well, most of the time).

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A Simple Little Radio Parable,...

from many years ago, illustrated the importance of profit in sustaining a needed resource.

It may have been presented as a PSA, it might have been a commercial paid for by some sort of business consortium.

It was narrated by Burgess Meredith and the setting was a village dependent upon a particular water well, which was privately-owned. The villagers chafed at the idea of paying for this "free" resource and demanded "No more profit". Their wishes were granted (presumably by government action preventing the well's owner from earning a profit). You know we can't have those "windfall profits" can we? The mayor instituted price controls on the well.

Eventually, the well ran dry and the villagers cried out in anguish to the well-owner, who in essence replied that because he earned no profit for the use of the well, he couldn't afford to dig a new well or deepen that one before the supply was exhausted. In other words, the well owner couldn't plan ahead and have a new well ready when the old one ran dry.

In the free-market system, the profitable well-owner hopefully would have monitored the water level in the well, while keeping a rudimentary record of rainfall. If a perpetually-declining water level had been noted, the profit-minded well owner would be presented with two choices sustain the supply (and serve the customers):

1) Deepen the existing well (assuming the aquifer extended below the current well depth) or

2) Use his learned skills to locate a new site and dig another well.

Either choice demands some advance planning for the well-owner (and by-extension the customers). He could advise customers to conserve and store some water while the well was being deepened (a process that would no doubt muddy the water for a few days) or simply advise the customers to conserve as he was going to have to dig a new well. But if the customers had not complied, he wouldn't have been allowed to increase prices to fund the new well, as that would be "price gouging".

If the situation was dire enough, the profitable well-owner could hire two or more strong young men to dig in shifts, thereby producing several new jobs. But then he would have been "exploiting" and underpaying these young men, while at the same time, he was refusing to pay for their medical insurance.

If the government had allowed the well-owner only enough money to pay for the first well and then no profits, how could the owner hire the men to dig the new well? He would have had no incentive to tell the villagers to conserve the water until a new supply was available. He would probably have simply slipped away into the night when the well approached empty, fearing that he would be blamed for the well's exhaustion.

If the well required only some cleaning of mud to return to service, again, without profit, where is his incentive to hire someone to be lowered into the well to scoop out the mud and silt?

Yeah, I have yammered on too long about this, but it is to remind ourselves that we need to let talented people do their thing in the free-market system and instead of seeking to restrain them because of our ignorance and envy, we need to learn more of how they achieve their goals and accomplishments.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Anybody With a Grain of Sense Knows...

that in wartime, planning only goes so far. It is impossible to know what the enemy is going to do, especially if that enemy has no rules. That's where the term "battlefield decisions" comes from. And that is why American service men and women die when there is too much micromanagement. In fact, more "in-theatre" civilians probably die because of our civilian PC micromanagement, because we can't "finish the job" of fighting the bad guys in quick fashion.

In our U.S. history, each succeeding war has been different from the previous war, not just in weaponry, but in enemy tactics and how we responded. Politics played a major role in President Lincoln's management of the Union during the War Between the States. It happens. And when it is over, we usually find out that the "other side" had the same issues or worse.

Despite our missteps in Iraq, we have been there long enough for some Iraqis, especially some tribal leaders, to start seeing the character of individual American officers and enlisted personnel and relationships are developing. They are starting to see that Al Qaida does not have their best interests in mind. And they are starting to see the U.S. as the "strong horse".

This ain't Hollywood, it ain't a movie nor a mini-series. It takes years to start to see the fruits of success (and failure) and there is always going to be some of each in any protracted war.

We can't win by quitting. Even the NYT recognizes this in their story a few days ago about the probably bloodbath that would follow a premature exit.

Others have written of this, today Charles Krauthammer's column addresses this issue. From the opening of Krauthammer's column:

"The key to turning (Anbar) around was the shift in allegiance by tribal sheiks. But the sheiks turned only after a prolonged offensive by American and Iraqi forces, starting in November, that put al-Qaeda groups on the run." -- The New York Times, July 8

The strong horse leads the way.

From Krauthammer's column:

..."Now, in what the Times' John Burns calls an "astonishing success," the tribal sheiks have joined our side and committed large numbers of fighters that, in concert with American and Iraqi forces, have largely driven out al-Qaeda and turned its former stronghold of Ramadi into one of most secure cities in Iraq."...

We can talk about "Why didn't we figure this out earlier?" afterwards. It doesn't mean it is over, there will be Al Qaida counterattacks. Two steps forward, one back. Three steps forward, one back. Save the "Monday morning quarterbacking" until "Monday morning", not while the damn "game" is still in progress.

More:

..."It began with a U.S.-led offensive that killed or wounded more than 200 enemy fighters and captured 600. Most important was the follow-up. Not a retreat back to American bases, but the setting up of small posts within the population that, together with the Iraqi national and tribal forces, have brought relative stability to Anbar."...

This is what it takes. When we have "cleaned" an area in the past, then went back to the safety of our bases, it left a local power vaccum and reprisals were made against those that helped us. With this newer strategy, the local people know that we are close by, ready to kick ass (if we are not being held back by idiotic rules-of-engagement).

More from the column:

..."The same has started happening in many of the Sunni areas around Baghdad, including Diyala province -- just a year ago considered as lost as Anbar -- where, for example, the Sunni insurgent 1920 Revolution Brigades have turned against al-Qaeda and joined the fight on the side of U.S. and Iraqi government forces.

We don't yet know if this strategy will work in mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhoods. Nor can we be certain that this cooperation between essentially Sunni tribal forces and an essentially Shiite central government can endure."...


We have to fight now because we wobbled in the past. If we wobble more now, it will get worse for our children.

Count on it.

[Update: This American Thinker post has some more thoughts on this subject.]

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