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>

Friday, August 31, 2007

A One Night (Book) Stand



No it ain't misbehavin' and it ain't a piece of furniture. It is a worthy book that you can finish in one 24-hour day period (or maybe just a bit longer). Sometimes it is because it is short and sometimes it is because it is written in an entertaining style that keeps you reading, every spare moment that you have.

Such is the case with "Buffalo Soldiers" by Tom Willlard. The story focuses on fictional characters interacting with real historical characters. The black soldiers involved were from the U.S. Army 10th Cavalry Regiment, which along with the 9th Cavalry (and some infantry regiments) were known as the "Buffalo Soldiers". Most of the "Buffalo Soldiers" (at least during the early post-Civil War era) were former slaves.

A portion of the novel was of particular interest as it involved some of my "old stomping grounds" in West Texas. Several chapters of the book were devoted to the 10th Cavalry's pursuit of renegade Apache Chief Victorio (also see here) in West Texas during July and August, 1880. During this time, the 10th Cavalry was based at Fort Davis, TX. The strategy of Colonel Grierson (commander of the 10th Cavalry) was to block Victorio from local sources of water (springs), to prevent his attempts to "break out" of West Texas into the New Mexico territory.

The photo above shows the view from a valley in the eastern Eagle Mountains and includes Eagle Flat in the middleground and the Carrizo Mountains in the background (and maybe the Beech Mountains and/or the Sierra Diablo in the far background). Alamo Springs may be visible from this location, also.

Troops were sent to the northern Eagle Mountains to block Victorio's use of Eagle Springs, shown on this topo map. Near another spring, Alamo Springs, between the Eagle Mountains and Van Horn Mts., cavalry troops from the 10th Regiment engaged some of Victorio's raiders and finding themselves outnumbered, they barely made the safety of the Eagle Mts, whereupon the Apache pursuers decided not to follow them into the mountains.

The main body of Victorio's raiding party went north of present-day Van Horn, TX in an attempt to reach Rattlesnake Springs, forty miles north of Van Horn wells. Ten companies of the 10th Cavalry reached Rattlesnake Springs first, covering approximately 65 miles in 21 hours. The ensuing battle routed Victorio's party, sending them back to Mexico.

Reading this book provides some U.S. military history and if you are ever traveling in West Texas, a side trip south of I-10 into the Davis Mountains would be well worth the time. Aside from the Fort Davis National Historical Site, there is the UT McDonald Observatory, at an elevation of 5050 feet, Fort Davis' climate is moderated in contrast to the lower altitudes of the Chihuahuan Desert (in fact, there is a Chihuahuan Desert Museum in the area). The increased vegetation and rainfall also provide for more plant and animal variations than the surrounding desert flats.

I regret not spending more time in the Davis Mountains while I lived in El Paso and I regret not visiting Eagle Springs (which served as a stop for the Butterfield Stage Coach), while I was helping another grad student with his geologic mapping of the Eagle Mountains. I hope someday to be able to spend a little more time in the area.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Do They Really Believe What They Are Saying?

Or are they just creating a diversion to cover their future plans?

At FrontPageMag this morning, there is a long, detailed article about the Lib/MSM almost-constant accusation of "fascist" or "fascism" being leveled at all things Republican or Conservative. The writer, Noemie Emery does a good job of examining the subjects of much of the recent Demorcrat finger pointing. [I recommend you read this article.]

As for Democrat claims of "stolen elections", at least some of these claims are based on the results of "exit polls" and when legal votes counted do not "match" the exit-poll results, then the votes must have been tampered with.

Emery recounts a recent Naomi Wolf screed:

..."In 4,600 overwrought words, she explained to the readers of the Guardian that there are ten steps to "Fascist America" and Bush is taking them all."...

That is not to say that there are no points of concern over the "reach of government", we do need to maintain our series of "checks and balances", which includes the Second Amendment. We need some oversight, while remembering that we are at war.

But despite the wailings of Naomi Wolf, Christiane Amanpour, and their fellow travelers, the United States is never going to become a Christian theocracy. We are just too diverse and too secular.

So, pushing aside the wailing Lefties, just what might we get if they got all of "their wishes"? To name a few:

The Fairness Doctrine. No more citizen/market-driven talk radio. With the exception of the internet and perhaps satellite radio, the Dinosaur Media would regain a great part of their influence on what constitutes news.

More extensive Hate Crimes laws, wherein preachers and individuals could face fines and/or jail time for "offending" members of a protected class. Where the non-existent "Freedom from being offended" totally trumps the First Amendment Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion.

A disarmed populace. The armed American citizenry is a potential last line of defense against tyranny, whether it comes from Washington, DC or Brussels, EU or the UN. And how well would Liberals deal with the explosion of the crime rate when criminals know that they no longer have to worry about armed citizens?

Not only would Al Gore's church of the Eco-Apocolypse be able to shut down those skeptical of catastrophic climate change, caused by humans, this party-line power would extend to other branches of science to shut down those skeptical (or against) embryonic stem cell research, those open to discussions of Intelligent Design,...it goes on and on. Think of a science discipline where one side is largely government-funded and largely beholden to the party line. Then think of those that disagree, for scientific reasons. It is much easier for the government (and willing MSM accomplices) to destroy a scientific reputation than it is for a particular industry to do so, by itself. It is probably easier to find funding for a contrarian view against industry than it is against government.

Public supporters of Traditional Marriage and other Cultural Traditions could find themselves accused of Hate Crimes for not acquiescing to the demands of every single "protected" class of person.

For an example of Conservative reactions vs. "Liberal" reactions, consider the recent statements of Senator John Warner, upon his return from Iraq. Conservatives probably have headaches from rolling their eyes, but I don't forsee any sort of political vendetta against him.

Then consider the "Liberal" reaction to Representative Brian Baird, an Iraq War opponent, who after visiting Iraq wants to give the surge a little more time - see this Moonbattery post for more info. Who is out for "political blood"? Who is more vicious in their attacks?

Here is the opening portion of the short Moonbattery post:

"The heresy of erstwhile peacenik Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) will not go unpunished. As you might recall, his willingness to admit that the surge is working and that a timetable for surrender would be counterproductive created a firestorm at a town meeting in his district. Now MoveOn.org is gunning for him by running a campaign ad against him on his home turf."

Are Conservatives doing anything like this to Senator Warner? Will he be shouted down at townhall meetings? I doubt it.

The moral of this blathering is that when a "Liberal" points a finger, look at the three fingers pointed back at him/her, to see "what the problem is".

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On the Second Anniversary of Katrina's Visit

To this point, I have avoided watching MSM coverage of the 2nd Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, because I can predict their Liberal Talking Points and I don't need the additional aggravation. For it to be a "good" Liberal news report, one or more of these components needs to be included:

Sufficient money for rebuilding is not available because of the Iraq War.

Even though we have had a relatively quiet hurricane season, thusfar this year, they have to make a statement about Global Warming.

The bulk of the blame (for everything) lies with the Bush Administration.

Historically and culturally, New Orleans is unique and it is important economically, but the fact is a city that large should not be where it is.

It just isn't possible to build the 300 miles (or so) of levees up to Category 5 standards. Because of Katrina's last-minute shift to the east, New Orleans received a weak Category 3 treatment and we saw how much grief that caused.

One of the guests on a Salem radio network a couple of days ago (perhaps talking to Laura Ingraham) reminded listeners that the areas of New Orleans that flooded were "reclaimed" wetlands. The guest also repeated the opinion that, after the hurricane, the New Orleans city government (and the state government) should have taken the initiative to tell people in some of the worst-flooded neighborhoods - sorry, you cannot rebuild here because we can't guarantee your future safety. In other words, the city should have made the tough choice to "set aside" the lowest elevation areas to "return them" to their natural state, or at least clear them of debris and let nature reclaim the area. [This is my paraphrasing.]

That the entire delta is sinking is a natural process, which human activities have "sped up". Our containment of the Mississippi River prevents natural replenishment of soils by yearly flooding, so along with normal coastal erosion - subsidence, groundwater removal and sediment compaction, and sediment starvation are taking place constantly and the coastal wetlands - which may serve to buffer the area from storm surges - are disappearing. As salt water "reclaims" these coastal wetlands, it kills off the vegetation that is acclimated to brackish water, leading to the loss of another natural method of storm-surge buffering.

It is not something that can be "fixed" overnight, it is something that once agreed upon by "the players" may take decades to transpire. And there is no way to please everyone. We have been challenging nature for too long and nature will win. Adaptation is the only viable answer.

[Lawrence Kudlow has this column on the taxpayer money ($127 billion, so far) that has been spent in the New Orleans area.]

[I plan to add more later.]

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The Book of the Week - Week 2

In order to try to keep to the personal goal of reading one book per week, I am beginning this second book, even though I haven't quite finished the first one. As the two books are of vastly different genra, there should be no problem with the "overlap".

In contrast with the non-fiction, cultural nature of Book 1, this book - "Buffalo Soldiers", by Tom Willard is a 1996 historical novel, part of the Black Saber series, based on the history of participation in the U.S. military by Black Americans. The publisher is Forge Books, by Tom Doherty Associates, New York, NY, ISBN 0-812-55105-2. Another book in this series is "Wings of Honor", about the Tuskegee Airmen.

A benefit of historical novels (when one keeps things in perspective) is that they can cover historial events (or time periods) without having to get bogged down in the details of individual participants (and the opinions of historians and descendants of that participant).

When I complete Book 1, I will give a little bit more of a summary.

[And as I progress with this book, I will add a few more details on the history of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, the men that became known as the Buffalo Soldiers.]

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Individual Hyprocrisy Does Not Equal...

hypocrisy of the GOP nor Conservatives in general. Despite this little bit of logic, the MSM is having a field day trying to smear the GOP and Conservatives over the Senator Larry Craig scandal.

NewsBusters has two posts on the orgasmic pronouncements of GOP doom by NBC's Today Show and ABC's Good Morning America.

Hey folks, it is Larry Craig's individual hypocrisy that is the issue here. He made his personal, selfish choices, if all is what it seems. If he is guilty of this charge, he wasn't thinking of his kids and grandkids and what kind of legacy is that. If anyone held him up as a paragon of traditional morality, it was because Craig was holding something back.

After being arrested in a sex sting in a Minneapolis airport restroom, he pled guilty to disorderly conduct. As suggested by someone yesterday (perhaps it was Hugh Hewitt), an innocent person probably would not make that plea as so many would make the "connection" between the charge and the "plea deal", as there being fire where there is smoke. His having made this quick guilty plea heavily damages any future claims of innocence.

But for the GOP and Conservatives, it means little, except if true, it means that "we" have been taken in by another shyster. But then if the GOP and Conservatives went on a mission to purge closeted homosexuals from the party, imagine the hollering and the ensuing media circus.

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Redneck vs. White Trash Behaviors

A couple of "blasts from the past" are hereby employed to illustrate redneck behavior, wherein we abuse machines versus white trash (or black trash) behaviors at dog fights or cock fights.

This was my first stock car race, 40 years ago at the Atlanta Lakewood Fairgrounds raceway, a one-mile dirt track, a portion of which was still visible the last time I visited the music amphitheater. It was a NASCAR Sportsman race, a division which is now the Busch Series. [I took these slides with a Kodak Instamatic camera, not bad for a 13-year old.] I don't remember all of the names, but a few would be recognizable to Georgia racing aficionados - "Shotgun" Leon Sells, Bruce Brantley, Sonny Croft, Jim Hunter,...it is possible that Ralph Earnhardt might have been there.

At that time, the Sportsman Division consisted of cars that had stock bodies, but were too old for Grand National (now Nextel Cup) competition. I was fortunate to have attended this race in 1967, as they were still using the 1955 - 1957 Chevies and Fords, while the youngest cars in the field were 1964 Chevy Chevelles and Ford Galaxies. When I went back to this same race in 1969, all of the 1950s cars were gone. [I am not sure if it was because of the rules or just that everyone had switched to 1960 - 1966 models, by then.]

The upper photo, of car #37, shows what happens when a stock car gets "used up" because of an encounter with a guard rail. It rolled over at least once during the accident. This was the 1964 Chevelle of NASCAR legend Curtis Turner, who I believe won this particular race in 1966. Curtis was killed in a 1970 plane crash in PA.

The bottom photo shows the left-rear corner of the winning 1964 Chevelle, driven by Don Schisler (I have forgotten the number). Things got kind of wild in the last lap or two of the race. Second-place driver "Tiger" Tom Pistone (a legend himself) decided that the best way to pass Schisler was to push him down the length of the front straightaway. I am not sure if an earlier encounter, between the two, triggered this strategy or not.

When they reached the first turn, they both spun, and backed into the guardrail. The rear axle of Pistone's #59 1964 Ford Galaxie was broken, so he couldn't continue, but Schisler was able to complete the last lap (or maybe it was two), with smoke boiling off the left-rear tire because of the obvious fender-rub. It's a good thing those dirt-track tires were thick, a modern superspeedway tire would have been cut through by the metal.

These were the days when the crowd was invited to wander among the pits after the race was over. It was there that my Dad later told me he saw a bit of "white trash" behavior. He saw a woman open a Coke bottle with her teeth (he suggested that she was probably drunk). I would concur.

As my Dad was not a "sports nut", I was left to "choose" my favorite sport. My Dad had been to some motorcycle races at this track in the 1930s (or maybe it was the 1940s). The motorcycle racers would wear a steel plate on the bottom of their left boot, so when they let the bike "drift" in the left-hand turns, they would put their foot down to the track, triggering sparks on the hard Georgia red clay. Yeah, that's gonzo.

And so it was.

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Now is the Time for All Good Men...

and women to make plans for leaving California. I think it is "high time" to turn loose of this illusion that Arnold Schwarzenegger "can be taught" across-the-board Conservative values. Yes, he shows some aspects of fiscal conservatism, but he wants to be liked so much that he is selling out "middle America" on environmental and cultural issues.

From this Christian Newswire article, by way of this Moonbattery post, we find out that both Attorney General Jerry Brown and Governor Ahnold have filed legal briefs suggesting that if homosexuals cannot legally marry, then the state of California can withdraw its sanctioning of traditional one-male/one-female marriage.

From the Christian Newswire article:

"In legal briefs submitted to the California Supreme Court, which is considering whether to license "same-sex marriages" next year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown both stated that a future Legislature could abolish marriage and yank marriage rights from a married husband and wife."...

Sometimes we may regard California "behavior" with amusement, but this is cultural and moral rot.

There are two genders for a reason. We are supposed to compliment each other's strengths and cover for each other's weaknesses.

That there are two genders is not an accident of evolution.

How could random, unguided mutations come up with the "idea" that each gender would furnish half of the genetic material for each offspring, in order to constantly "stir the gene pool"?

Life on Earth can never be perfect, but the life-long bond between one man and one woman is supposed to be the "best model" for the rearing of future generations. We know the damage that un-tamed men can cause. Bonding with a responsible woman is supposed to make us clean up our act.

Even those life-long marriages that do not produce children (by choice or infertility) still have a societal benefit, in that children see "what is supposed to be" all around them.

This is not a call to mistreat anyone that doesn't fit this "best model", but the "best model" has been the biocultural basis for humanity for thousands of years - for a reason. And marriage is supposed to be special. If other "human living arrangements" are given equal legal footing to traditional marriage, then traditional marriage is no longer special.

And that loss of "specialness" will not immediately harm any single individual marriage (as Neal Boortz charges), but over the course of decades, it will harm the institution of marriage and it will harm the cohesion of our culture. It has taken 20 - 30 years to see the national and international damage done by Jimmy Carter's presidency. We cannot wait 20 - 30 years to assess the cultural effects of hedonistic fads.

Much of what seemed fun (and funny) when we were in our 20s reveals itself to be harmful as the decades pass. Over the decades, we see people "crash and burn" because they won't turn loose of their "college partying" or at least learn the value of moderation. Those behaviors that traditional morality deems marginal or harmful are classified that way for a reason. Trying to change the "mainstream" culture to "normalize" marginal/harmful behaviors will harm our adult children just as much as the future tax bills that will follow today's Congressional spending habits.

That certain self-claimed heterosexuals are doing their own damage to traditional marriage is not a reason to "throw it out" as high-profile Libs want to do. We stop lionizing them, we stop spending so much time on Entertainment Tonight, et al, which Hollywood personalities are having their third/fourth marriage and which unmarried actress is having another baby.

If circumstances force us to vote for Rudy Giuliani versus any of the current front-running Democrats, it is a measure of hypocrisy for us to vote for the thrice-married Giuliani versus the once-married Clinton/Obama/Edwards, but current world events must be taken into account in our choice. While we fight these important cultural skirmishes at home, there is the global threat of Islamism and the opportunism of Russia and China with which to concern ourselves. I don't think the Democrats are up to this challenge, plus government spending can only get worse and public discourse will be further restricted through the Fairness Doctrine and Hate Crimes laws. Our sovereignty will be further weakened to satisfy the UN. We know what Socialism does.

Our Republican Presidential choice may be analogous to a really ugly, stinky dog that does a good job of guarding your home and your children.

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It's Never Enough, They Will Never be Satisfied

The "Liberal" appetite for your tax dollars just goes on and on. From NewBusters comes this post on how Eleanor Clift was fretting about how tax cuts are starving our infrastructure.

No, it is "earmark" spending and diversions from "routine" (read: boring) yearly maintenance to "sexy" (read: vote getting) new bridges, etc..

With the "Republican Revolution" of 1994, we had a "head of steam", but because of Democrat/MSM lies and Newt's failure to keep his pants on, we lost our government-shrinking momentum and our children will pay dearly for it. It is not unusual for dynamic people to have had an "interesting" past but we know how the MSM double standard is applied. The problem with Newt was not what he had done before, but what he was doing, behind the back of his second wife, before his divorce was final. You can't keep secrets like that in Washington.

That momentum lost is so important because of something that most of us don't think about as much as we should - what tax rates await our children during their peak earning years? Neal Boortz talked about this 10+ years ago. He reminded his listeners that on the final page of the voluminous federal budget, there was an appendix dedicated to the lifetime estimate of tax burdens for children born in that particular year. For one of the years in the mid-1990s, the lifetime estimate of taxes was 84% - if nothing changed as far as "future spending obligations" went.

My son was born in the mid-1990s. What will his tax rates be when he is 35 years old? Will he - and all of "the children" that the Democrats are so damned concerned about - be faced with tax rates of 84%? I predict that they will be standing at the foot our our graves, screaming at us "why didn't you do something?" I also believe that this is one of the ultimate reasons that the government wants to disarm American citizens, to prevent future tax riots by our grown children.

It is bad enough under the current crop of Congressional and Senate Republicans. It will be an order of magnitude worse if we (Americans) persist in following the proven failure of Socialism.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

What a Geologist Sees - Part 5


Sometimes we can learn about large geomorphic (land-shape) features by observing small analogs. In this case, by observing small-scale erosion and deposition at a construction site, we can see how alluvial fans are formed (and then later eroded).

When rain water moves in a uniform flow across an inclined surface, we call that sheetwash. Sometimes small surface irregularities concentrate the flow into small rivulets which may erode small rills and when rivulets combine, they may produce gulleys, as has happened at this construction site.

Differences in soil compaction on this slope may have facilitated the gulley erosion seen in these three gulley examples. Though these gulleys are short, they still illustrate how sediments are carried in flood conditions. While the storm water is in the channel (in this case the gulley), it is confined by the walls of the channel (or in a larger example, the walls of a canyon), which keeps the water velocity higher. When the flood waters leave the confinement of the gulley (or canyon), the loss of lateral confinement results in the rapid slowing of the water and the deposition of most sediments carried by the waters. Over time, when unrestricted by the presence of vegetation, this builds a fan-shaped deposit at the mouth of the gulley (or canyon).

Of the three gulleys in this photo, the one of the left has the best preserved alluvial fan. The middle gulley probably had a similar-sized alluvial fan at one time, but it was "dissected" (eroded) by subsequent waters from the largest gulley (on the right).

Generally, alluvial fan growth in the Appalachians is hindered by the presence of trees and other vegetation during the ongoing erosion of the mountains. If alluvial fans are present, their visibility is further hindered by said trees and vegetation. Also, ongoing, routine rain events tend to erode the alluvial fans, which are generally formed by short-term, high-intensity storm events.

The more arid Western United States is a much better place to view alluvial fans, large and small. Subsequent photos (in later posts) will show more examples of alluvial fans. The largest alluvial fans are generally at the mouths of mountain canyons, where the canyons empty into broad valleys, particularly in the Basin and Range Province. In some western cities, e.g., El Paso and Albuquerque, large alluvial fans may be favored sites for building fancy homes - with a good view of the broad valley below - without regard as to how the alluvial fans formed. It is not generally an issue until the occurrence of a 100-year flood, a 500-year flood, or especially a 1000-year flood.

Thus if you can afford a "million dollar view" of a valley and behind you lies the mouth of a mountain canyon, just give it a little thought before you sign the papers.

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Was I an Un-Knowing Victim of Discrimination?

This UK Telegraph article, by way of WND, suggests that I may have been, as well as millions of other American men.

Apparently there has been a quiet, but growing discrimination against men with mustaches (and by extrapolation - even more so against men with beards). Is this an un-reported aspect of the feminization of America? Does it represent an subconcious fear of testoterone, as represented by a proud growth of facial hair? Is this why John Bolton was forced out as UN ambassador?

But never fear, the American Mustache Institute is riding to the rescue. The AMI suggests that the mustache became passe with the ending of the TV show Magnum PI, in 1988. But now they are supporting efforts at making mustaches a part of the current male visage, and not just something characteristic of 1970's relects, e.g., the "Village People, Seventies porn stars and rednecks" - OK, I will plead guilty to the last one.

From the UK Telegraph article:

"Last year the US Supreme Court ruled that it was permissible for a trial lawyer to throw someone off a jury using the pretext that they have a moustache."

I didn't realize it had gotten that bad! Off with their heads!

To make matters worse:

"A recent poll found more than half of American women would refuse to kiss a man with a moustache." [Tsk, tsk, Ladies - where is your sense of adventure? Many of you would not be here if your grandmothers and great-grandmothers had the same attitude. (So how much fun would foreplay be if we took that same attitude?) - Bad host! Sorry, I couldn't resist, the Devil made me do it.]

To fight this abomination, the UK Telegraph mustache slideshow caption reports:

"Next month a US team, backed by the AMI, will represent their nation at the World Beard and Moustache Championships being held in Brighton - an event traditionally dominated by German moustache growers."

Recently, the AMI:

..."held a get-together earlier this month called Stache Bash, where 500 moustache supporters watched baseball player Keith Hernandez crowned winner of a competition to find the best American sporting moustache."

Of course I am biased. Since my undergrad days, I have worn a mustache and most of the time a beard. I have wondered if perhaps some of my job interview disappointments have been because of that. But dammit, that is just who I am. I hate shaving and I much prefer my appearance with a beard and mustache. Besides, shaving contributes to global warming. [
Well, everything else does!]

Not meaning to "sound gay", but this is one reason why I like the movie "Tombstone".

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

More Details on the "Book Deal"...

are presented this morning by Debra J. Saunders, on Townhall.com.

As I mentioned previously, Karl Rove - in a radio interview with Rush Limbaugh - stated that he and President Bush had a friendly competition to see who read the most books each year. If I have my "timeline" correct, this took place before the issue of "who reads the most" became part of the national discourse.

Was former-Rep Patsy Schroeder's blatherings a Liberal response to the "evil twins'" book list? Or was it coincidence?

From Saunders' column (Cited passages are not in exact order):

"In her rush to brand the right as a bunch of illiterates, Schroeder had the poor sense to go after an avid reader, Karl Rove, who has been winning a heated competition with Bush as to which of the two can read the most books. Rove recently told Rush Limbaugh that he beat Bush last year. The Score: Rove, 110 books; Bush, 94." [Emphasis added.]

As president of the Association of American Publishers, you would think that Patsy Schroeder's job would be to "get people to read more books so publishers can sell more books". But then logic was never her strong point.

From the Saunders column:

..."The poll found that among people polled who read at least one book in the last year, liberals read nine books and conservatives read eight.

When I called Michael Gross, associate vice president of Ipsos public affairs, to find out more about the Ipsos poll, he told me the one-book difference "is within the margin of error, it's not a statistically significant difference."


The poll also found that moderates who said they read at least one book a year, on average, read five books a year."...


More from Saunders:

..."If Schroeder really wanted to show how big-picture her thinking is, she might have pointed out the Rove-Bush book competition as an example of what conservatives can do. That is, she might have tried to promote book sales."...

No, Patsy Schroeder missed a good "teachable moment", to encourage adults to read more, and instead tried to serve the Leftist agenda with a soundbite.

Saunders reminds us:

"Yes, Bush is so dumb he graduated from Yale, earned an MBA from Harvard, was an F-102 fighter pilot -- and was elected Texas governor and U.S. president twice. All his critics should be so stupid."

And he read 94 books last year. [I would be curious to see the reading list to see the variety.]

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Adaptations for the Future

Regardless of whether the current period of global warming is largely due to Solar Global Warming (SGW) or Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) or some combination of the two (most likely), there is something we can learn by considering the past.

Our ancestors (and the ancestors of all living creatures) had to adapt to survive the multiple past periods of SGW and the intervening periods of Global Cooling (and of course the ice ages). And they had to do so with no understanding of what was happening or why it was happening.

This National Review Planet Gore post has some suggestions for future adaptations. [I will add more to this post later.]
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A Good Example of the Tortured "Thinking" of a Moonbat...

is herein reported on NewsBusters, regarding a Huffington Post piece by Lawrence O'Donnell, former executive producer of The West Wing. O'Donnell's piece is entitled "What's Wrong with Killing Dogs?" [OK PETA - go get him!]

In his twisted world, Lawrence O'Donnell tries to equate dog fighting and catching fish, in his defense of Michael Vick.

I am not a big fan of catch-and-release, unless the fish is too small to keep and eat. Though I am not a biologist (ichthyologist?), it seems to me that catch-and-release for its own sake is probably not as harmless as they make it out to be.

As for catching fish versus dog fighting, I think most normal people can see the difference in the two activities.

Catching fish is generally a way to gather food to eat. In the United States, spectators at dog fights probably do not stick around afterwards for the bar-b-queing of the losers.

We generally don't revel in the suffering of the fish when we catch it to eat. The suffering on a hook is probably not much different from suffering in the teeth of a grizzly bear or in the talons of a bald eagle. Predation is the nature of the food web.

I don't have to tell you how that contrasts with dog fighting (or cock fighting for that matter).

It wouldn't surprise me if Moonbats such as O'Donnell look down on "us rednecks" that enjoy stock car racing- wherein machines are abused, not animals. It is in statements such as O'Donnell makes in his post where he breaks free of the pack of Hollywood Liberals into the true land of Moonbattery, as I would think that even most Modern Liberals find dog fighting to be disgusting, as would most Conservatives.

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The Seattle P-I is Illustrating Why They Call it the "Dinosaur Media"

If you are not familiar with the ongoing "Seattle Ferry issue" and the Liberal newspaper The Seattle Post Intelligencer, it has become a regular "media circus" that fully illustrates that Libs are generally not willing to deal with the harsh realities of the Islamist War Against "the West".

It began with passengers & employees on the ferry noticing that two men of "Middle Eastern appearance" seemed to be taking an unusual interest in some constructional aspects of the ferry, i.e., apparently taking photographs, not of the outdoor scenery, but of doorways and other interior features of the ferry, as well as docking facilities. And apparently - from this NewsBusters post, derived from this Captain's Quarters post and this ABC News post - this is not an isolated event.

Ferries are an example of a "soft target" and there have been some concerns that Al Qaida, et al, may be in the planning stages of an attack (or it may be that they are doing this as a diversion from another target). From the ABC News post:

"There have been a number of suspicious incidents this summer aboard Washington state ferries, which prompted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Coast Guard to increase security along the ferry lines and to issue a warning to law enforcement.

"On several occasions since May 2007, members of the public and employees of the Washington State Ferry (WSF) have reported a number of suspicious activities aboard state ferries," said the note, sent out Wednesday to state and local law enforcement by the chief intelligence officer at DHS.

The warning was issued as the hunt continues for two potential suspects that were observed on multiple Washington state ferries. The individuals "exhibited unusual behavior and undue interest in the layout and workings of the ferries and ferry terminals," said the note."...

Now this issue that arises with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is that despite being asked by the FBI to run photos of these two men, taken by ferry employees, the P-I ran the story, but refused to run the photos. From the above-linked Captain's Quarters post:

..."This gives more context to the flap that arose in Seattle, when the Post-Intelligencer refused to run a photo of two men who "exhibited unusual behavior and undue interest". The FBI wanted help in identifying the two men captured in the photo taken by a ferry employee unnerved by the pair's questions. The P-I claimed that a right to privacy -- for a picture taken on a public ferry -- overrode any security considerations.

It turns out that ferry employees have reported a number of incidents. In fact, all of the incidents reported appear to involve the same two men, which really has the FBI curious about their identities and their intentions. That's why the FBI felt strongly enought to ask Seattle media to run the picture."... [Emphasis added.]

This Moonbattery post shows the two "persons of interest" that the FBI would like to "talk to", this Captain's Quarters post (also different from above) also shows one of the two photos shown on Moonbattery.

In the wake of the P-I's refusal to run the photos (the rival Seattle Times ran them), in a timely-manner, Managing Editor David McCumber has proven to be quite the gymnast in his contortionist excuses. In this prior NewsBusters post, he claims "they determine what is news". NewsBusters provides this previous editorial from McCumber, after the December 26, 2004 Banda Aceh tsunami, justifying graphic photos of tsunami victims and survivors. In this editorial, McCumber states:

"In order to fully inform, must we occasionally disturb? I believe so."

To illustrate just what the Seattle Post-Intelligencer considers newsworthy photographs from the recent Seattle Hempfest 2007, just scroll down on the Moonbattery post (same as above), if you haven't already (NSFW). Is this quasi-endorsement of Hempfest, by way of news photos, really a good idea?

Of course CAIR is squawling about this and ABC TV News is jumping in to support the side of Political Correctness, with concerns about "racial profiling" (not behavior profiling as it was).

So has Harry Reid jumped in yet to call for legislation to further restrict "racial profiling" of "Middle Eastern men"? Where are Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell? Have they made any public statements? Will they defend the P-I and Political Correctness? Where will the Democrat Presidential contenders stand on this issue?

As stated above, by itself, two men of Middle Eastern appearance riding a ferry in Washington State is not an issue. But when the same two men repeatedly engage in unusual behavior, that is not an isolated issue. As also stated above, it could be a diversion. It could be that the public attention may have "scared them off", perhaps saving hundreds of lives. We may never know. Or we might find out in the future, to our interest or to our horror.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

OK, If the Twin Towers and WTC 7 Were "Inside Jobs"...

then why did "they" leave the Deutsche Bank building standing?

From this New York Post article and this Moonbattery post, comes the story of almost six years of dithering over how to bring down the bank building, damaged on 9/11. And because the building was not brought down in a timely manner, two fire fighters have died inside the building, because there wasn't a source of water, to put out a fire, due to broken standpipe. Perhaps with a ready supply of water, the fire might have been put down sooner, which might have saved the two lives.

From the Moonbattery post:

..."The firefighters ran out of oxygen after being trapped in "maze-like conditions" created by plastic sheeting used in an overzealous attempt to keep dust from contaminating the air. Fifty others were injured, eight seriously. Air quality tests taken after the fire detected no contamination."...

Daniel Henninger (linked within the Moonbattery post) sums up the environmental phobias and regulations that prevented taking down the bank building, including this passage:

..."Instead of a demolition plan that struck a balance between controlling the toxicity and getting the job done, the process created what is virtually a hermetically sealed environment—to demolish 40 floors of junk. They've made the building so "safe" you can't get it down. So after six years a fire erupted and two firemen caught in the "Matrix"-world of 130 Liberty St. died."

More from the Henninger article:

..."It's about New York surely, but the inability to get this building down stands as a broader rebuke to a country that has become so comfortable with indulging its countless legal, personal, political and administrative obsessions that it cannot protect its own people by doing the obvious.

You surely recall what the 9/11 Commission said about the problems that led to that day, and before that the Bremer commission's report on terrorism predicting that the U.S. was at risk for precisely the same reasons--an American system engulfed in proceduralism and legalism."...
[And John Edwards will bring us more.] [Emphasis added.]

More from Henninger:

..."Our public officials and the attendant factions and community groups are so far gone into their never-never lands of crossing "t's" and dotting "i's" that they barely know how to bring an issue to resolution. In their world, it's never over. Process is life."...

So the city was afraid that properly demolishing the building might bring lawsuits and now they will probably get sued by the families of the dead firefighters, because they didn't take down the building, sooner. It is impossible to remove all risk. Leaving a damaged building standing, with no plans to fix it, was just a recipe for disasters.

The above-linked New York Post article has more on the city screw-ups.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Book of the Week - Week 1

Using the moment-of-motivation from the Karl Rove vs. President Bush reading "contest", mentioned in this previous post, I will attempt to read at least one book per week. [I got to keep busy, as I didn't get started until Wednesday.]

This week's selection is a "re-read", i.e., a book that I read before, several years ago. One that is relevant and worthy of revisiting. The title is: "Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know", by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., publisher Houghton Mifflin Co., 1987, ISBN 0-395-43095-x.

Briefly, Cultural Literacy is the communal, "common knowledge" held by members within a culture and it is what is necessary to facilitate common communications between individuals in that culture. There are different "levels" of cultural literacy, e.g., there are cultural connections between citizens of English-speaking nations regarding their common language, despite national variations. Within a particular nation, especially a large one such as ours, there are going to be national aspects of Cultural Literacy as well as regional variations of "what people need to know" to be active participants in conversations and other forms of communications.

Some elements of the national Cultural Literacy are timeless and should not be forgotten, while other elements will fade away, to be replaced by new elements. When this book was published in 1987, of course 9/11 was not part of our Cultural Literacy. The space shuttle Challenger disaster (perhaps as well as Columbia) should be part of it, too (the book could have already been "put to bed" when the Challenger blew up, as Challenger is not included in the Appendix of Cultural terms and phrases).

Perhaps when a new term enters our Cultural Lexicon, an older one should be included to keep things in perspective. When we speak of Katrina, we should remember the Galveston hurricane of 1900.

[When I finish this book, I will give more of a summary of the contents.]

For the moment, we need to remember that cultural commonality, not cultural diversity, is what binds us and what opens the door for individual success. The sub-cultural diversity, within the framework of the larger common culture, is what makes us interesting.

As my understanding of the book is refreshed, I will delve further into why the educational "theories" of the Jean Jacques Rousseau/John Dewey school-of-thought, while not entirely wrong, has damaged the cultural connections with past American generations and thus has damaged the current (and future) American culture.

One of the aspects of the John Dewey methods is the emphasis on "self esteem", simply for its own value, with no foundation of achievement, as is described in this morning's FrontPageMagazine article by Onkar Ghate. [I highly recommend that you read this article.] From this article:

..."Too many educators believe that self-esteem can be achieved simply by encouraging a child to "feel good" about himself. They continually exhort students to praise themselves causelessly, by such means as chanting in class: "I am me and I am enough."

The actual reality of the child's life--the choices he makes, the thinking he engages in, the effort he exerts, the actions he takes--is disregarded. As one guidebook on self-esteem explains: "Children have the right to feel good about themselves exactly as they are. . . . A child's value is unconditional. Nothing the child does, says or chooses can change it."... [Emphasis added.]

Continuing:

..."Real self-esteem consists not in unearned self-praise, but in an earned conviction about yourself. It is the unshakeable knowledge that you--by your choices, effort and actions--have made yourself into the kind of person able to deal with reality. It is the conviction--based on the evidence of your own volitional functioning--that you are fundamentally able to succeed in life and, therefore, are deserving of success."... [Emphasis added.]

The "self esteem" being pushed by the educational establishment is an empty shell, which often collapses once the student is out of the protection of the school system and into the real world. If the student is infused with a "database" of cultural literacy, perhaps by contact with culturally literate adults, they have a better chance of "fitting in".

This is one reason why poverty perpetuates itself and why the current government system will not help lift children out of poverty, by itself. As "American culture" is being disregarded, for a number of reasons, not only are the kids missing out on important dates, descriptions of historical persons, and events - at school - but then they return home to one or both parents, which may be culturally illiterate (sometimes without knowing it). And they are missing this information at the ages when they are most able to memorize data. It is this cultural, mental database that will furnish the information needed to make conclusions later in life.

So, turn off the darn TV. Get busy reading, give this a try! Read a book, piss off a Liberal.

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Why Modern Liberals Ain't - More Leftist Love for America

This photo was from the same zombietime website - some Democrat wisdom right after the November, 2004 elections. Deep down, that's what they think of us.

This is the ongoing culture war that Rush Limbaugh, et al, has been warning us about. Yeah, I can tell, this fellow reads lots of books.

Now who is going to be begging for the tax money from Middle America, for rebuilding after the next big San Francisco earthquake?

Just curious.

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Why Modern Liberals Ain't - "Book Readers" in Northern California

By way of Sister Toldjah, and some blogosphere wandering - here are a couple of photos from the zombietime Hall of Shame.

At left (of course) "a mother helps her young daughter play "Pin the Molotov on the Cop Car" at the Anarchist Bookfair, March 18, 2006." Do you think this woman will guide her daughter towards Girl Scouts?

So who does she expect to heroically pull her and her daughter from their burning, wrecked car - an anarchist? To whom will she look for help after the next large earthquake? Will she ever explain to her daughter the freedoms that they will expect to have under a worldwide caliphate?


"Sign at the March 20, 2004 "Global Day of Action" anti-war rally." Can't you fell the love for their fellow Americans? Cindy Sheehan and Jane Fonda are at home with these folks. George Soros will be glad to bankroll them.

See http://www.zombietime.com/ for more images of Nancy Pelosi's home turf. [But not until your blood-pressure medicine has kicked in.]


These wandering shreds of human debris are bent on tearing down the political system that protects their right to protest. Too bad we can't teleport them to Tiananmen Square in 1989 or the year after the next Olympics are over. Yeah, freedom's on the other side of the Berlin Wall.

Rage on Michael Savage. Rage on! Remember - the MSM thinks that these "people" are deeper thinkers than Conservatives. They are the ones that read more books than Conservatives.

I am sure that Islamists have a love/hate relationship with the mindsets presented on the above-linked webpages. They love the anti-Israeli/anti American feelings, but they hate the moral depravity that goes along with it. They fear that it might reach their own kids.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Is the "Who's Reading Books" Thing Just a Coincidence?

Or did Karl Rove "engineer" this latest media flurry-of-interest in books?

[As I was working out of town (on and off) last week, I listened to "snippets" of talk radio on different stations in different cities in GA and TN, if I get some details "wrong" - that is just a detail, it doesn't affect the central issue - that we don't read enough books. And I am included in this reality.]

I believe Rush Limbaugh hosted Karl Rove as a rare guest on his program and one of the things they discussed was a "friendly contest" between Karl Rove and President Bush in which they read a minimum of one book per week and while doing so, they tried to "one up" each other towards the year-end total. When Karl would end the year having read more books than President Bush, the President would tease Rove that he (President Bush) would have read more books, but he was the leader of the free world and had other concerns.

Libs have tried to make an issue before of President Bush "not reading newspapers", maybe it was because he was too busy reading books, instead!

Rove and Limbaugh didn't delve into too much detail about the particular genra of books they read. Once a person gets themselves into a particular "reading binge", after they satisfied themselves with a particular genra (I would imagine it would have been a varied list), they would probably be led by curiosity into another genra. Setting aside 20 - 30 minutes-a-day can become a habit, once you get into the rhythm, you find a way to make the time.

Now this week, former hyper-Lib U.S. Congress member Patricia Schroeder (D - Colo.), spokesperson for a publisher's group, made a Lib-vs.-Conservative issue of "who reads" and "who doesn't" based upon a telephone-based opinion poll.

And instead of challenging all Americans to turn off the damn TV and read more books, she had to take a cheap shot at Conservatives by saying "that it was hard to write books with 'don't raise my taxes' on each page" (my paraphrasing). So she still remains a hard-core Lib, pushing the Leftist agenda and insulting Conservatives - before encouraging people to read.

Of course the MSM has had to jump all over this "Libs read more than Neocons" without going into the details of the internals of this poll nor considering the fact that polls are "manufactured news" - subject to the manipulation of the questions asked.

So maybe we can use this as a moment-of-motivation, to begin anew the reading of books. In reference to one of Laura Ingraham's subjects this morning, maybe a good place to start would be "Lord of the Flies", (by William Golding), vis-à-vis the CBS "reality show" Kid Nation.

Laura's take on the show is that the Lib-mindset at CBS is trying to show that "kids can make it without their parents" (my paraphrasing). Here is a TV Week article on the background of the show. The article begins with:

"CBS encamped 40 kids in an abandoned New Mexico ghost town for more than a month. The kids performed on camera for more than 14 hours at a stretch, seven days a week, making their own meals.

They were filming during the school year, yet no studio teachers were present. They were working on a major television production, yet no parents were on the set."
...

The article continues:

..."One key point: Finding the right location. According to the CBS preview, "Nation" charges 40 kids with "fixing their forefathers’ mistakes" by rebuilding the "completely dead ... former mining town" of Bonanza City, New Mexico, into a functioning community.

"Nation" shot at the Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch, a privately owned town setting that has been featured in films such as "Silverado" and "All the Pretty Horses." The ranch was built on the ruins of Bonanza City by various production companies. Although a few original structures remain, the bulk of the town was constructed during the past few decades.


Using a set built for filming not only made it easier for the "Nation" crew, but also was a safer environment for the kids (who ranged from 8 to 15 years old)."...
[This is OK as far as I am concerned.]

In some ways, this ain't a bad thing. The kids supposedly did their own cooking, set their own curfews, etc.. These are the sorts of lessons that kids learn in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Self-sufficiency is also learned in farm settings. While surfing the blogosphere, I was halfway listening to Laura's show and she seemed to be reading some comments from the participating kids. Many of the comments suggested that while being immersed in this setting for some 40 days, the kids (8 to 15) the kids were also immersed in the expected Liberal attitudes of the crew and any-present counselers.

So, at this point, I will reserve more comments until I have watched a portion of the show or at least heard some more discussions on the subject.

So back to the issue of books.

Maybe a good place to start would be re-reading "the Classics" (some of which we hated in high school or early college - I found William Conrad's writing style in "Lord Jim" hard to read. And sometimes William Faulkner's style can be plodding, too). Maybe with a little more wisdom, we can see why these books are considered "timeless". [Yeah, some of us will need "large print" versions - Heh. Is there a large-print version of "Atlas Shrugged"? I am one of those middle-aged folks that hasn't gotten around to getting glasses, yet.]

In the Lib's campaign to weaken Western Culture (or maybe it is partial laziness and/or political correctness), many of these classics have been dropped from reading lists and if they are forgotten for a generation or two, they may be lost from our cultural literacy.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Is This a Double-Edged Eco-Sword?

The National Wildlife Federation has program by which you can receive accolades for turning your "backyard" into more of a wildlife-friendly place, as a Certified Wildlife Habitat.

This sounds good and I have informally done some of this myself, trying to reclaim the wooded area behind my home from the groundcovering English Ivy and putting in a wildflower/fern garden. I work on this as time, money, & weather permit.

Now the NWF's motives may be 100% pure and good. But some of their cohorts are anti-private property rights.

By certifying your property as a "habitat" and if there are records of threatened or endangered plants on your property or of endangered birds (or other animals) feeding or nesting there, an environmental NGO (or a bureaucrat) might decide to restrict your usage of your own land.

It may be a variation on the good idea/bad result that "Conservation Easements" turned out to be. [I will go back and find a previous post on this issue.]

In a way, this is similar to a concern expressed regarding privacy rights and National Rifle Assoc. membership roles (for instance), if such info was demanded by a Hillary Clinton Administration. Or if purchasing records (when you use grocery store discount cards or debit cards) were demanded by the government, to determine what foods you were eating and how it might affect your health, vis-à-vis the National Healthcare System.

Nanny states can have prying eyes, too.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Another Article from the Skeptical Side of the Global Warming Debate

Because I am tired, I am only offering this linked article for your consideration. I may blather about it tomorrow.

I don't favor articles such as this because it is from a "Conservative source", but because it is plausible in regards to my interpretations of the things that affect global weather and climate.

Alexander Cockburn - a Leftist Moonbat in so many ways - is also an AGW skeptic.

If this was simply a bunch of scientists thrashing their way through a science issue, trying to come to an understanding, that would be fine.

But a particular worldview has attempted to use political pressure and other forms of coercion to shut down debate and ultimately use their influence to achieve more government command and control over individuals.

I prefer to use education and incentives to fight pollution first and then governmental intevention as a last resort.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

What a Geologist Sees - Part 4



Have you ever noticed rounded river pebbles, on a hill-top or on some sort of plateau? Not just a few scattered pebbles, related to landscaping, but widespread occurrences and hillside exposures of seemingly intermixed soil and pebbles? On top of a hill?

How far did your sense of curiosity take you? Have you considered that "rivers move" over time? I am sure that many non-scientists have learned a little about how rivers meander and migrate, vis-à-vis the Mississippi and other rivers with broad valleys. But how often do we stop and think about the hilly terrain around us and how it changes over time?

This particular Topozone map shows the area in which both of these exposures were found. Notice the present location of the Chattahoochee River, approximately 1/2 mile north and west of this portion of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in NW Gwinnett County, GA.

The upper photo area (Site 1) is now covered by a housing development. The site was approximately 200 yards due North of the intersection of Peachtree Industrial Blvd. and Abbotts Bridge Road, which crosses the Chattachoochee River. The present day Chattahoochee River channel is approximately 40 - 50 feet below the elevation shown at the highway intersection. From the lower left quadrant of the map, where Peachtree Industrial Blvd. enters the map, I have traced gravels for about 2/3 of its extent on this map, on both sides of the highway, to about the midway point between "Industrial" and "Blvd" notations on the map.

Exposures can be on eroded hillsides, in roadside ditches, creek valleys, and in construction sites. Because of present-day development of the area, it is difficult to trace the gravels for a greater distance to the southwest along P'tree Industrial Blvd, off of this particular linked map.

The lower photo area (Site 2) can be found in a small creek valley adjacent to Peachtree Industrial Blvd, probably 1/4 mile from Site 1. If you look at the linked map (if it works), in the lower left quadrant of the map, you will notice a series of long, parallel buildings (a storage area). Site 2 is across the small creek and up a side-valley. There are other exposures of river gravels overlying saprolite along this creek, directly across from the storage area site.

[While on the subject, saprolite can be described as "rotten rock", i.e., rock that has been so totally chemically-weathered, it has lost all of its structural integrity and can be crumbled by hand, though you can still see structures and textures in the outcrop.]

In both cases, the upper surface of the saprolite was once the eroded bottom of the river, which was then covered by the river sands and gravels. The contact is easily seen in the Site 1 photo, while at Site 2, the contact is shown by the dashed line. At one point, this essentially was "the lowest point in the valley". The present-day course of the river was, at that time, upland areas that had not yet been eroded by the lateral migrations of the river, as it also cut into the Piedmont soils and saprolite.

[In the Site 1 photo - "Poorly-sorted" refers to the wide variety of grain sizes, ranging from clay size to coarse-gravel sized particles. This is normal for mature rivers in this particular setting. The "Wentworth Scale" is one way of classifying grain sizes. If you have been to the ocean (or have seen sand dunes), where the sand particles are essentially all the same size, that is classified as "well-sorted".]

At the margin of the lower left quadrant of the map, where PIB "leaves the map" is one of our favorite local Mexican restaurants. If I am sitting in the restaurant and point out to those at the table that river gravels underlie the restaurant and all that is within sight, they might find that interesting, for the moment, but they will never see the fascination with trying to understand the nuances of "where the river used to be" versus where it is now. And other than the momentary "Wow, I didn't know that.", more thought will not be given to the subject.

That is why geologists are notorious for "talking shop" when we get together at parties and such. Cause almost no one else finds this stuff fascinating. Maybe that is why we become more eccentric as we get older (or maybe as our brains petrify). Maybe this is why we talk to ourselves (aside from teachers "practicing" their lectures).

There can be instances where tracing old river channels (and related sediments and sedimentary rocks) - in the subsurface - can be useful. Sometimes there can be mineralized zones associated with old river channels (which once-covered) served as conduits for the mineralized fluids. Sometimes the porosity and permeability of the sediments/sedimentary rocks may make them suitable for aquifers or oil reservoirs. If such river sediments lay beneath a proposed landfill, the sediments might serve as a conduit for leachate (landfill leakage) to reach an aquifer, thus rendering the site unsuitable for landfill use.

[Oops, I did it again. Yammered on for too long.]

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Zimbabwe's Continued Collapse

Wizbang and Rick Moran at American Thinker are among the most recent to comment on this ongoing Stalinist tragedy. Here is the UK Telegraph article cited by both of the above authors.

For those not familiar with this issue, for about the first 20 years after the Rhodesia/Zimbabwe transition, the system seemed to work. The mostly white "farming class" stayed and "made a go of it" and were more or less left alone by the Robert Mugabe government. Zimbabwe became (or remained) known as "the bread basket of Africa".

Then in 2000/2001, facing some political challenges, Robert Mugabe began a program to ostensibly "return" farmland to black Zimbabweans, as a way of offering restitution and reparations for the "acquisitions" of tribal lands by early white European settlers decades earlier.

There may have been some efforts at an orderly transition and it is possible that the white farmers were slow in responding to the Mugabe government's desire to get more black Zimbabweans involved in farming.

When pressed by political opponents, Mugabe stepped up the process of forcing white farmers off of their land. In some cases, a few of the farmers were able to sell their land, but with some others, they were given notice and if they were too slow to respond, some of them and their families (and some black employees) were slaughtered. And the best of the farms were given to Mugabe cronies, who had no experience in farming.

To add to the problems, a drought occurred. A stable farming system would have been able to "weather" this natural event, but the Stalinist Mugabe had to follow through on his promises to "return the land to the people" (my paraphrasing).

[I am largely flying by memory here, I told some of my classes when this started that this was going to lead to famine. I may have forgotten a few of the details over the last 5 - 6 years.]

In neighboring South Africa, there may have been some plans to execute the same sort of program against remaining white farmers there, following the "success" of the Zimbabwe experiment.

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A Little NASCAR History


As today's NASCAR Nextel Cup race, from Michigan is on ESPN and we don't have cable, memories and radio will have to do, if the race is not rained out.

This photo is from a 1978 NASCAR Winston West race at Phoenix, AZ. From about 1977 - 1983 (or maybe 1984), the Winston West Series held its season finale at Phoenix, the Sunday after the last Winston Cup race, which was either at Riverside, CA or Ontarior, CA.

Some of the Winston Cup drivers would "stop off" at Phoenix and mix it up with the West Coast drivers. In the photo above, West Coast cars (driver's names forgotten) include the orange Buick Apollo (or is it Olds Omega?) in the close foreground, the blue Nova (white hood), yellow Nova, and the orange Dodge (in the background).

On the inside, the white Ford Granada (dark blue hood) was owned by Bobby Allison and driven by David Pearson - 3-time Grand National (later Winston Cup) Champion. Behind him is Richard Petty - 7-time Grand National/Winston Cup Champion, in the blue and red Monte Carlo. Richard went on to win this race, his first General Motors victory after switching from Dodge. Behind Richard is Neil Bonnett, driving the Harry Hyde Monte Carlo. Behind Neil is Bobby Allison, later the 1983 Winston Cup Champion, driving an AMC Matador.

Of these four Winston Cup veterans, there are 11 Championships spanning the years 1964 - 1983 and driving careers that spanned the years 1958 (for Richard Petty) until early 1994 (when Neil Bonnett was killed in the first practice session at Daytona).

[If the photo does not enlarge well, it is a scanned 35 mm slide. Sorry.]

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

So When Did They Start Calling Them "Muskens"?

[The picture of the man with the tiny muskens, Bishop Tiny Muskens. Hillary loves men like this. I guess those shrunken muskens will fit into the "lockbox" more easily than some others.]

We know the plethora of synonyms for "them". Some of them include: stones, balls, cojones, huevos, "the twins", the family jewels,...

Now I guess we have a new term for them..."muskens". [Is that a Dutch word?]

And in the case of a certain Catholic Bishop in Breda, Netherlands, we will use his entire name "Tiny Muskens" to describe those unwilling to defend their faith from those that would crush it, if it was within their power (and it might be within a decade or two, if Europe doesn't reverse course).

In case you haven't heard, Bishop Tiny Muskens (the man with the tiny muskens) thinks that Christians should refer to God as "Allah", just so them nice Muslim folks will like us. Here is just one report on what having tiny muskens will do to a man (this may be the original source for this story).

From the Radio Netherlands Worldwide website:

"Speaking on the Dutch TV programme Network on Monday evening, Bishop Muskens (pictured) says it could take another 100 years but eventually the name Allah will be used by Dutch churches. And that will promote rapprochement between the two religions."

Yeah - Appeasement works. In another 100 years, there won't be any Dutch churches with this mentality. Mosques will have been built on their foundations. And if you say anything about Jesus being more than just a wise prophet, they will gladly lop off your head, all in the name of "Allah".

It is more than just the name of God, it is about a concept of faith and all that goes with it. Adapting the Muslim word is a sign of weakness, which we know will not garner any respect among Islamists. It will just make the appeasers easier to conquer.

So which male model will we choose? John Wayne or Tiny Muskens?
[Update: At Townhall.com, Doug Giles has some thoughts on this same subject. Also, to be fair about it, Bishop Muskens has made statements that have angered Muslims before, so maybe he is just a garden-variety idiot.]

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Friday, August 17, 2007

In a Court-of-Law...

willfully omitting "part" of the truth can be considered an element of perjury, if not perjury, in-and-of itself.

The arena of public debate is not a court-of-law, so what the Leftist National Council of Churches is doing, through its spokesman Rev. Robert Edgar, is committing the moral-equivalent of perjury, when Edgar pronounces those concerned about illegal immigration as being "racists".

From this FrontPageMagazine article:

..."In that piece [an August 12th commentary], Rev. Edgar complains that “devilishly clever” conservative “fearmongers” and “demagogues” are using “nearly every scare tactic they can think of to reduce us [Americans] to a highly suspicious lot all too willing to not love the alien[s] as ourselves and to evict them from their homes, get them fired, separate them from their families, in an all out rampage of oppression and prejudice.” “Immigrants have become the contemporary scapegoat,” he says. “It’s time we call it for what it is — racism.” Edgar characterizes illegals generally as “people who have come here in search of the same thing my northern European ancestors were seeking … a better life for their families, more opportunities for their children and to learn English.” “They [illegals] already pay millions in taxes and contribute to their communities,” he emphasizes."...

The perjurious point here is that Rev. Edgar (and his fellow travelers) leave out the concept of "illegal" as the central point of most Conservative concerns. Most Conservatives welcome legal immigrants (or at least those that understand the concept of assimilation).

Just because too many people ignored this problem for too long, that doesn't excuse future inaction.

A major distinction between legal and illegal immigrants is that because the legal immigrants have "jumped through the hoops", they have a sense of having earned something worthwhile. Something that, in their minds, might be lost if they misbehave.

The illegals of today don't have this concern. It is the story of the "taboo domino effect", i.e., when one breaks one taboo and "the sky doesn't fall" immediately, there is a human temptation to break more taboos. And the more taboos broken, the easier it gets.

Earlier "generations" of illegals would sneak across the border to do seasonal or other short-time work, then go home. These people would generally seek to keep a low profile, so as not to lose their source of revenue.

It just seems that the modern-day "La Raza" attitude eschews all logical reasons for assimilation and the adherents of this philosophy are bent upon a future "reconquesta" of the American Southwest. So how many Americans in "fly-over country" are going to have to see Mexican flags hoisted over upside down American flags and "It's Our Continent" placards before they lose their "last good nerve"?

Aside from the issues that arise from an influx of people that have no roots in a particular area (or nation) - nor do they want to establish roots for the future - One the concerns voiced in the FrontPageMagazine article is:

"The website Gangs Or Us estimates that the violent gang MS-13, which originated in Central America, currently has more than 15,000 members and associates in at least 115 separate cliques in 33 U.S. states. "

So, if MS-13 continues to grow, to offer a chilling scenario:

How long might it be before a small Boy Scout Troop, hiking in a remote area, is slaughtered by MS-13, because the Scouts blundered into the middle of an MS-13 drug and/or weapons operation? Or it might be a private hiking organization that makes that fatal mistake. Or it might just be a newly-wed couple, going for their first hike. It is not beyond the realm of possibility. "Locally-grown" pot farmers can be unfriendly enough to accidental interlopers, try to imagine MS-13 (perhaps even containing a few Islamist "friends").

In a previous generation, it might not have been an issue for one or two responsible adults to carry a pistol while hiking with Scouts in a remote area. Nowadays, it would generate an huge uproar to even suggest that this might be a good idea. So try to imagine a Scout troop pinned down by MS-13 fire in a remote area, where cell phones don't work. So try to imagine the MS-13 members wanting to "finish the job" rather than allowing the group to escape under the cover of darkness. What could the unarmed adult leaders do to stop this, other than throw rocks?

And who will the National Council of Churches blame? Well, it would probably be the "hysteria" generated by the Immigration Debate, not the criminality of the illegals. Or maybe they would find a way to blame the "gun culture" of the United States.

This is not racist hyperbole. There were "wild" incidents out along the border when I lived in El Paso from 1977 - 1991.

In the late 1980s, I once watched a well-dressed Mexican man, leaning on the roof of his Chihuahua-tagged Ford Galaxie, in a west El Paso strip-center parking lot. He was using binoculars to scan the ridge-line of the Franklin Mts., looking for the camouflaged radar installations (that were small and painted the same color as the rocks). [I was half-owner of a business in that strip center at the time.] He probably spent 15 - 20 minutes scanning the mountains. He wasn't looking for hiking trails in the mountains. [Doing the same thing, another time, I found some of the radar stations that were camouflaged.]

In that same time period, an owner of an aerial photography company told me that the Border Patrol couldn't tether radar balloons too close to the border, because smugglers in Mexico had surface-to-air missiles that could bring down the radar balloons within a certain distance from the border.

On an earlier field trip to Ciudad Chihuahua and the Sierra Peña Blanca uranium-mining area (about 1978), we spent Saturday night in a small motel on the northern outskirts of town. When we got up at 6:30 AM to go to breakfast. As we were standing outside the room, admiring the sunrise, a well-dressed man emerged from the room next to ours and deposited two armloads of AR-15 (or M-16) rifles into the trunk of his Ford Galaxie. So we commented to ourselves on the sunrise and headed off to breakfast. Hear no evil, See no evil,...

If that was 1978 or 1988, what is the situation now?

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So Why is NASA the "Keeper" of Surface Temperature Data?

If you often read the "Conservative" side of the blogosphere/internet, you are probably already aware of the recent controversies involving NASA's correcting & revising ground temperature data, not because they found errors in the calculations, but because some science-minded bloggers took a "hard look" at the figures.

American Thinker and NewBusters.Org are two good places to find articles relating to this breach of scientific protocol and ethics.

As I stated a few days ago, a past Geology professor told us that it was OK for our interpretations to be "wrong", as long as our measurements & other data were right.

From James Lewis' American Thinker post this morning:

Here is the official ethics statement on scientific errors and the need for public correction from the American Physical Society, the national society of research physics:

"It should be recognized that honest error is an integral part of the scientific enterprise. It is not unethical to be wrong, provided that errors are promptly acknowledged and corrected when they are detected."
[Emphasis added by James Lewis.]

(Ethics & Values - 02.2 APS GUIDELINES FOR PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT)

Everyone has a personal bias or two. "Multiple Working Hypotheses" and "Peer-Review" are important ways of trying to lessen the adverse effects of personal bias. Interpretations are supposed to be based upon our learned opinions and the best-available information at the time of our particular scientific investigation. If our interpretations are honestly-made under these guidelines & conditions, if they are discounted by later interpretations, based on data that had not yet been collected (or released/published by someone else) - That is just part of "the game". As long as you don't establish a "history" of continually being discounted by later work, your reputation shouldn't suffer.

Back to the NASA story. Reviewing U.S. ground-station temperature measurements, Stephen McIntyre of ClimateAudit.org and a co-worker asked NASA to release the algorithms used in their calculations of the data recorded in the NASA GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) database. James Hansen of NASA (recipient of a $250,000 grant from the Heinz Foundation) refused, so McIntyre and his co-worker "back-engineered" (or back-calculated) to find the algorithm and in the process, discovered a "latent Y2K bug" that adversely affected the calculations. When presented with this information, NASA quietly revised the temperature records (for the years affected) on the GISS website WITHOUT TELLING ANYONE!

If you discover after-the-fact that you screwed up some measurements or calculations, YOU HAVE TO TELL YOUR PEERS. Yes, it is embarrassing, but crow is a dish best eaten fresh.

[James Lewis includes a scientific "retraction" in his American Thinker article, scroll down to read the details.]

The "old" temperature records presented on the GISS website had been used to pronounce that: "nine of the ten warmest years recorded in the U.S. lower 48 since 1880 have occurred since 1995, with the very hottest being 1998." [Which fits with Al Gore's agenda quite nicely.]

The revised records suggest that this "ain't the case". From Michael Fumento's American Spectator article:

..."Figures from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) now show the hottest year since 1880 was 1934. Nineteen-ninety-eight dropped to second, while the third hottest year was way back in 1921. Indeed, four of the 10 hottest years were in the 1930s, while only three were in the past decade. The real 15 hottest years are spread over seven decades. Eight occurred before the chief "greenhouse gas," [as claimed by the AGW "crowd:] atmospheric carbon dioxide, began its sharp rise; seven occurred afterwards."...

From Fumento's American Spectator article:

..."McIntyre was already the bane of the hotheads for debunking the infamous "hockey stick" graph promulgated by University of Virginia geoscientist Michael Mann and colleagues beginning in the late 1990s. Mann's calculations, using [selected] new imputs, showed temperatures to be flat over the last thousand years like a hockey stick shaft before suddenly angling up like the blade in the last half of the 20th century.

This statistically wiped out both the Medieval Warming Period (c. 900-1300), which unleashed the Vikings, and Little Ice Age (c. 1250-1850), even though historical information for both is overwhelming. Yet the highly-politicized Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) eagerly adopted the hockey stick graph in its 2001 Assessment Report. But then McIntyre and fellow Canadian economist Ross McKitrick showed Mann's methodology produces hockey-stick shapes even when applied to random data -- bringing back those scary Scandinavians and ice-skating on the Thames.

McIntyre's latest debunking was the discovery of an error in GISS records for the years 2000 through 2006. In simplest terms, they hadn't been adjusted to compensate for the location or time of day where the data was gathered.

But nobody correlated those newer figures with the older ones until McIntyre did, even though later Hansen admitted it was "easy to fix." McIntyre published the data on his own website (which is currently down because it's overloaded with traffic) and got the agency to admit it was wrong and post new figures. It even sent him a thank you note."

And now, if the MSM reports on this at all, they are attempting to downplay the significance of these changes, for example by pointing out that the U.S. records are only for 2% of the Earth's surface, yet our data-collection network and calculations are the most detailed in the world. Of course we can always do better. That is what honest science is about, constantly wanting the best information.

Fumento continues:

"Yet the GISS did absolutely nothing to alert scientists or the public to the new figures. This though it [NASA] has published five global warming press releases so far this year, each one alarming. It took the blogosphere and radio talk show hosts to publicize the new figures even as the mainstream media essentially ignored it. (The Washington Post finally ran an article a week after the controversy began, siding with the GISS and describing McIntyre as nothing more than a "blogger." All the presidential candidates have blog sites, but somehow the Post refrains from tagging them as bloggers.)"... [Emphasis added.]

[Marc Sheppard also covers this issue on American Thinker this morning.]

I don't suffer through MSM news broadcasts very often. Has Charles Gibson led a report with the words - "In a surprising development today, NASA has admitted that some of its temperature data from the late 1990s was seriously flawed."?

Just curious.

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No, We are not Deniers!

We fully recognize and accept the probability that most of what we see is SGW, not that puny AGW.

It is Solar Global Warming, not Anthropogenic Global Warming.

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Let's Hear it for Crude Oil & Methane!

The original bio-fuels!

And if not for SGW (Solar Global Warming), we would probably not have as much of it as we do.

[I am sure the Greenies will not see the humor, nor the veracity in this statement.]

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

It Is Almost Enough to Make Me Become a Tree-Hugging "Greenie"

I am not a tree-hugging Environmentalist.

But I am "environmentally aware". As far as the Temperate Deciduous Forests - in which I grew up and now live in (in the broad sense) - I understand how long (how many decades) it takes to "grow" a mature, hardwood forest containing oaks, hickories, beechs, etc.. Aside from being a scientist, having once been a Classical Liberal (in contrast to today's Leftist charlatans), I think I am wise enough to usually see valid points on each side of the argument.

And it seems that this current "Damn-the-torpedoes" headlong rush towards "bio-fuels", without considering side effects, is going to do much more harm than good, not only to nature, but to humanity (which is part of nature).

I (and others more articulate) have informed you - repeatedly - of some of the potential damage caused by a sudden over-reliance on corn-generated ethanol- increased land usage for corn production, the favoritism of corn over other crops (because of subsidies), increases in corn and other food prices,...the list is growing.

I have written in favor of Brazilian sugar cane-generated ethanol, assuming that it is being produced in already-existing "sugar cane plantations". If the Brazilians are cutting down "rain forests" to produce more sugar cane, that is not good. If they are using already-established sugar cane growing areas, that is fine. [I hope you can see the distinction.]

Now I am reading more about the demand for palm oil for biodiesel. This increasing demand for palm oil is causing the loss of rain forest (aka jungle) in Uganda and Borneo and elsewhere. Some of this demand is by government mandate (including EU mandates for more biodiesel) and some of it is because of subsidies to produce more corn for ethanol, in addition to the palm oil.

The bottom line is that it is a dangerous fad. Research on these fuels is fine, but full production - at the expense of other considerations (food resources, tropical and temperate habitats, and animals) - needs some sober consideration before more damage is done.

It is my understanding that the original intent of the "bio-diesel" concept was to utilize "used" cooking oils as a fuel adjunct, rather than disposing of them in the usual way. Mother Earth News (I think) had an article on this back in the 1990s when I used to be a regular reader. Turning a "waste product" into a resource (albeit a minor one) is just "good sense", when it is scientifically and economically feasible.

Existing palm oil (and other cooking oil) sources were designed to meet the cooking oil market demand first. I would imagine that many of the palm oil-producing plantations were probably started years ago. Perhaps that clearing jungle for palm oil-plantations is regrettable, but the "damage is already done".

The problem I have now is the additional jungle areas of Borneo (and elsewhere) that are being cleared for palm oil production for biofuels. [Simply put - That just ain't right.]

We need to get over "our" damn phobias about carbon and "the oil companies". I believe Indonesia (most of Borneo is controlled by Indonesia) produces enough crude oil to still be a major exporter. They don't have to cut down more jungle in order to satisfy a modern fad. This Moonbattery post explains more about the damage being done to orang-utan populations [from the cited UK Telegraph article]:

..."As jungles are rapidly replaced by palm oil plantations, the great apes starve and are hunted, mutilated, burnt and snared by workers protecting their crops. At a rehabilitation centre run by the charity Borneo Orang-utan Survival, there are more than 600, mostly orphaned babies. Lone Nielsen, the centre's director, estimates that for each of the 227 animals they rescued last year, five more were killed in central Borneo alone. […]

With the world desperate for "green" fuels, demand for palm oil, which is used in bio-diesel, is guaranteed to increase. According to European legislation two per cent of all diesel must be vegetable oil, rising to 5.7 per cent in 2010 and 10 per cent by 2020."...

This UK Telegraph article further explains the situation.

Because of the growth of the petroleum industry, we don't need to harvest whales anymore for "whale oil". For the same reason, we don't need to be cutting down more jungle to satisfy the bio-diesel fad.

Human nature being what it is...this could be said to be a power grab by governments and corporations that stand to profit from palm-oil subsidies and sales to the EU and other willing buyers. [Is the Ryadi (sp.?) family - friends of Bill and Hill - involved in this somehow, at least in the Indonesian "theatre"?]

Just curious.

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