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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

What's in Your Wallet?

No, it's not a new credit card offer.

Rather, in Britain, as reminded by Charles Krauthammer:

..."a British parliamentary committee proposed that every citizen be required to carry a carbon card that must be presented, under penalty of law, when buying gasoline, taking an airplane or using electricity. The card contains your yearly carbon ration to be drawn down with every purchase, every trip, every swipe."... [Emphasis added.]

[No doubt Obama will think this is a good idea.]

So British citizens face the possibility that they will be assigned their own personal "carbon budget" each year and if they exceed that budget, they will have to buy credits from someone that is not using them. So, aside from higher fuel costs due to carbon taxes, they will have this added expense.

Krauthammer continues:

..."There's no greater social power than the power to ration. And, other than rationing food, there is no greater instrument of social control than rationing energy, the currency of just about everything one does and uses in an advanced society."...

All because of an atmospheric component that measures 0.038%. There is probably a small component of human effects, most of what we see is probably natural. Just "Nature doing what Nature is going to do."

Krauthammer's greater subject is the road to Socialism (or worse) on which Environmentalism is leading us. If it takes hold in Britain, it will come here a few years later.

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A Few More Wildflower Photos








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An Open Letter to Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas

[As written in an email to the Kansas Governor...]

"Governor Sebelius;

Writing as a geologist (BS, MS degrees),...

While you may be proud of your recent vetoing of the planned Hyperion oil refinery in Union County, you have done a great disservice to the citizens of Kansas and to the citizens of the United States, including those those that are to enter the workforce in the future, i.e. our children. Yes, your actions will affect people beyond the boundaries of Kansas.

Aside from having vetoed jobs for Kansas citizens (and future tax revenues), you have helped insure higher future gasoline prices (unless that refinery is built elsewhere). Our oil refinery system is 30+ years old. That is one of the reasons for the ongoing increases in gasoline prices, that affect all Americans.

A new refinery (away from the hurricanes of the Gulf Coast) will be more efficient and cleaner than the older refineries that most people are familiar with. And with the hopeful construction of other new refineries, the dirty, older refineries can be retired (or cleaned up and mothballed).

Oil refineries are a necessary part of our petroleum-driven economy and will be so for the next few decades. Solar and wind can play a role in local energy production, but will not serve as total substitutes for the fuels we need for transportation and electrical generation. And evidence is mounting that corn-based ethanol is not the answer we thought it would be.

The carbon dioxide that you fear only composes 0.038% of the atmosphere. The vast majority of the Greenhouse Effect is due to Water Vapor and Water Droplets (humidity and clouds). While we may have a minute effect on the climate, anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions (including those from ethanol combustion) are not sufficient to cause any sort of catastrophic climate changes. Because of natural variations in temperatures, there is no way to prove that humans are responsible for any substantial changes in the last 200 years. Those changes may well have happened even if we didn't exist.

There are thousands of scientists that agree with this point.

We need a vibrant economy to produce the fuel-efficient technologies that our grown children will need. Bowing to eco-fads is not responsible planning for their future.

Thank you for your time."

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Kansas' Contributions to Our National Energy Future...

has all the value of a large pile of bullshit (sorry I don't have any photos of cowpies to post here).

Moonbat/Democrat Governor Kathleen Sebelius (mentioned as a possible VP for Obama) has recently vetoed a couple of industrial projects that have derailed about $14 billion in proposed industrial spending in Kansas. OK, HOW MANY JOBS AND FUTURE TAX REVENUES DID SHE VETO?

One of the projects was a $4 billion coal-fired electric generating plant. While there remain pollution issues even with new coal-fired plants, building new ones would allow the retirement (or mothballing) of older, less-efficient, dirtier plants.

The other vetoed project was for a $10 billion plan by Hyperion Refining to BUILD A NEW OIL REFINERY. A caller to Rush Limbaugh suggested that it was her carbon dioxide phobia that led to the vetoing of these two projects. And I guess she values TAXPAYER-FUNDED ETHANOL SUBSIDIES for Kansas corn farmers. Yeah, go ahead and burn that food.

People, this is the Democrat Party in action and Obama will bring only more of this. After not having built a new oil refinery in 30+ years (there may be one under construction in southern Arizona), here was a company willing to endure $10 billion in negative cash-flow while building a new oil refinery. And guess what, Kansas is out of reach of Gulf of Mexico hurricanes.

New refineries are, without a doubt, going to be cleaner than the existing 40, 50, 60...year-old refineries. New technology can be built into new refineries more easily than it can retro-fitted into old ones.

South Dakota may be the beneficiary of Hyperion's offer. For the sake of our future, let's hope so.

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What the Oil Speculators are Telling Us...

but we haven't been listening.

WND has an interesting article about some of the near- and mid-future strategies to stem the increase in the price of crude oil and gasoline. It covers the myriad of reasons for the recent increases, e.g., worldwide economic growth, the government restrictions on new drilling and new refineries in the United States, the fall in value of the dollar, and speculations by futures traders.

Not being an economist, I don't understand the reason that the dollar has been allowed to plummet in value. This is one of my disappointments with President Bush. I don't expect it to get any better under a President Obama or Clinton-II. I hope John McCain's VP will bring some economic expertise.

As for the futures traders, as that is a part of the free-market system, how to deal with that is a dilemma. Well, we know what Maxine Waters would do, just take over everything and complete the transition to Communism or more accurately - Fascism, wherein their is private ownership but government control.

The WND article has what should be a simple solution. A change in attitude allowing more exploration and refining capacity with lessen the uncertainty that fuels the futures price-increases. As stated in the article:

..."Investor and fund speculation in the energy markets has grown 20-fold, from $13 billion to $260 billion in the last five years, says CNBC. Speculators are betting there will be no substantial increase of oil supply from domestic oil drilling or new refineries built.[Emphasis added.]

The key to bringing oil and gas prices down quickly will be opening strategic areas for production, which will flush out widespread energy speculation from the market. Serious government action will send speculators running for cover."...

To restate, the hedge-fund (and other) speculators are operating on the assumption that the Socialist-Green mindset, NIMBY, and carbon dioxide phobia will keep us from doing anything. And don't expect the MSM to tell you the truth.

Are we going to prove them wrong? The "green lobbies" have millions of dollars to spend on elections (some of it is taxpayer money from grants and other earmarks). Pardon my language, but that shit needs to stop, too. George Soros is no doubt doing what ever it takes to bring down this nation or grease the skids towards irreversible Socialism.

The Republicans really, really need to outline a strategy that includes highlighting the ways the Democrat Party has hindered our own exploration and refining access. And this may mean naming-the-names of RINOs that have played a part in this debacle and apologizing for their poor choices.

And don't back off when the MSM squawks about their "naming names". This is serious and unless the American people let the Democrats know how pissed off they are, it won't change, i.e., they won't change on their own.

For the short-term, the fact that we are willing to take responsibility for increasing our energy supply (while planning for improvements in efficiency and conservation) will send a message to world oil markets and to the speculators. That we can do while we wait for the new supplies to reach us.

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Chasing Wildflowers

I don't recall if I have alluded to the fact that I am working on a nature photo CD, with the intentions of selling it as an educational resource.

In fact I have been working on it for the last six years and I hope to be able to get some form of the CD on sale sometime before mid-point of summer.

Currently the major categories of photos include Biology, Environmental Science, Geology, and Weather (cloud photos). Within the numerous sub-categories, the working draft now has about 1150 images, all with explanatory captions. Recently some other scientists/teachers/nature enthusiasts have come on board with this project, so when I finish receiving photos from them (to be a royalty thing), a much wider array of subjects will be covered.

The Wildflowers have been a focus this spring, as because of the late, hard freeze last year and the drought, last year was a bad year for wildflower photography. This year has definitely been better. The reference to chasing involves trying to catch particular wildflowers while they are in bloom.

And though my decades long science obsession has been with geology, wildflowers are a new passion as they represent such a broad array of designs (and sizes) and splashes of color. The Firewheels in the bottom photo are among my favorites (that photo was actually taken in Oklahoma).

I may post a few more wildflower photos in the near future.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Promises, Promises...

Yeah, But This Time, I Really Really Mean it!

From Moonbattery: Susan Sarandon is at it again. No, not saying something abysmally stupid (this time), but promising to leave the country if John McCain is elected.

We can only hope that this time, she is true to her word and that she takes Tim Robbins with her.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Democrats Against Obama

Found an interesting anti-Obama blog by way of a Moonbattery commentor.

And the materials there include this rebuttal to the Moonbattery-referenced Obama attack on Rush Limbaugh and Lou Dobbs.

As Libs are wont to do, Obama pulled a "fact" out of the air which some in the MSM would accept as gospel:

..."There's a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year. If you have people like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh ginning things up, it's not surprising that would happen."...

The rebuttal to this statement explains that the "conservative whites against all Hispanics" picture that Barack Obama wanted to "paint" just doesn't exist.

The best way to counter the broad-brush "all whites against Obama are racists" strategy is to demonstrate that it doesn't work. As much as we may disagree with John McCain, this is what we have to deal with in the short term, in order to defeat the likely nightmare that would follow an Obama win.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Repudiation, Needed (But to be Unheeded?)

A few weeks ago, guilt-ridden white "liberal" Democrat voters seemed pleased with the prospects of being able to vote for a seemingly articulate black man, who didn't seem to ascribe to the race-baiting employed by Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. The only problem was "what to do about Hillary".

Now as some of those same white Democrat voters seem to be turning away from Barack Obama, we are already hearing the term "racist" or "racism" being applied to the reasoning behind that turning away. We expect to hear it from the typical race-baiters, but it is particularly annoying to hear it from MSM members, such as Andrea Mitchell.

And right now, that strategy is being practiced on white Democrats. It will be rolled out in full regalia for Republicans after Barack's expected coronation, whether it be before Denver or after.

And win or lose, this use of the "race card" against any white or Hispanic voters that disagree with Barack Obama's politics will make it more difficult for the next black presidential candidate.

So why are they turning away? If it was racism (or actually bigotry), they wouldn't have supported him at the beginning, i.e., the true "racists" were against him for that reason, "from the word 'Go'". As the campaign has progressed, Barack Obama hasn't gotten any more black, i.e., the African content of his blood has not increased - it remains the same. So if white Democrat voters are turning away from him, there has been no change in his racial status, so it must be something else.

It is that the American voter has begun to learn a bit more about the first-term Senator from Illinois. And some of it is too much for even Democrats to handle.

Barack Obama was supposed to be a "new class of black politician", that didn't bring up old grievances and that didn't engage in identity politics. One that didn't carry the old resentments of previously-aggrieved generations. The guilt-ridden, white liberals were supposed to be able to vote for him without having the sins of their parents, grandparents and previous generations thrown in their faces.

And maybe Barack Obama is still some of that. But he has surrounded himself with a coalition consisting of a spiritual mentor that hates white people, the United States, and Israel; an angry wife - that despite having had six-figure/year salaries - hates the United States; a political mentor that is an unrepentant domestic terrorist and hates the United States; a second-string spiritual mentor that hates the United States; and who knows what else (or who else) the MSM is still hiding.

He has also let slip comments that reveal his elitist attitudes towards common folks, which of course he doesn't see as elitist.

I don't think that Barack Obama is a racist/bigot, but he has allowed himself to be immersed in the angry world of Jeremiah Wright for twenty years (+/-) and that has probably influenced his opinions regarding wealth creation and issues of freedom. And we know that Michelle will probably be as much of a co-president as was Hillary. He served alongside Bill Ayers on the board of a non-profit foundation. Did he ever ask Ayers if he privately repudiated his actions in the late 1960s? Did he walk away rather than associate himself with such a person?
If John McCain had served in a similar capacity alongside an unrepentant Klansman (that had engaged in bombing incidents in the 1960s), what would the MSM have to say about that? Do we even have to wonder? We see the "hoorah" over Rev. Hagee.

In short, the "racism/racist" card is being prepared for Conservatives and Republicans (and anyone else that opposes Barack Obama on a philosophical basis) and putting that down is just as much of a reason to vote for the highly-flawed John McCain as anything - IMHO. We have to demonstrate the futility of that strategy.

We have to remain on track, even if it means saying only - "It is not racism, it's because he is a Leftist." Would that fit on a bumper sticker?

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Democrat Senators' Response to Energy Supply Issues...

is the reaffirmation of NIMBY.

To some of them, increased drilling activity is starting to sound like a good idea (more jobs, more tax revenues, increased supply, lessened need for imports), but they just don't want it in their states. Sounds like a plan. Heh.

[I know that increased drilling and supply are not going to solve everything. But it is a start, especially since it sometimes takes a few years to bring the discoveries from new oil/gas fields to the market place, e.g., the ten years estimated it will take to bring ANWR oil to the market place. Conservation has a role, but for the short-term, we need to send a message to unfriendly foreign suppliers that we are willing to access our own resources.]

You would think that maybe some Democrat Senators might want to brag that increased drilling in their state brought in more jobs, more tax revenue, yada, yada. But I don't expect many of them would have the backbone to break with the party on this issue. And the public still hasn't gotten the full story yet that the unchanged oil company profit margins haven't contributed to the price increases. [Is it any surprise that the MSM is failing us?]

The Republicans need to highlight their more adult perspectives on addressing the energy issues. As a commentor to another conservative blog yesterday reminded us, even when the Republicans had control of the House and Senate under President Bush, they didn't have enough of a majority to override the Democrats and RINOs on challenging energy issues, such as ANWR drilling or additional Continental Shelf exploration.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

OK Libs, Make Up Your "Minds"!

If Obama loses, will it be because of "American racism" or "Republicans stealing this election, too" a notion that is now being pushed by MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell (as reported by Moonbattery)?

As the MSM are unbound by such notions as accuracy, truthfulness, and balance - they can choose either!

And if the dumb masses are primed, it may well lead to riots in Democrat-dominated cities and it may happen that AMERICAN CITIZENS DIE because of MSM bias, as happened in the wake of the "Rodney King trial". The MSM looped the worst parts of the tape, without explaining that fact and without reminding viewers of what triggered the (excessive) police reaction (and that the one (or two) passengers in Rodney's car were not beaten).

The Dems and their cohorts in the MSM have NO INTEREST in reminding viewers/listeners that Obama may lose because HE IS A LEFTIST THAT IS OUT OF TOUCH WITH THE MAINSTREAM OF AMERICA.

Liberalism is not just a mental disorder (as suggested by Michael Savage), it is deadly - directly and indirectly.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

FYI, Senator Obama...

someone replaying your wife's public words are not an attack. And if any commentary accompanies the replay of those words, it is the tone of the commentary that determines if it is an unwarranted attack.

When she chooses to insert herself into the public arena, she becomes part of the debate. It's a tough playground. It is what is supposed to get you ready for the toughest job in the world.

I do believe that Senator Clinton understands that.
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Putting to Rest the Notion of a Consensus...

on catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW- as caused by carbon dioxide emissions), the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine today is releasing the newest update to the Oregon Petition.

It contains the names of 31,072 American scientists, including 9,021 PhDs.

This is not an online petition. You have to open a pdf document, download and print it, then mail it in via the U.S. Postal Service. The form asks for your college/university degrees and in which field. This is intended to serve as one type of moonbat filter. Yes, no doubt a few hoaxers have gotten through with bogus names, but compare the numbers hoaxers to the totals.

To reiterate, the AGW skeptics are focusing on the carbon dioxide hysteria, a component that measures about 380 ppm (0.038%). 4 parts out of 10,000. Before the Industrial Revolution, it was 3 parts out of 10,000, as estimated from ice cores (which may have been contaminated during the drilling process). Most sampling processes are subject to some sort of adverse influences.

Many of the skeptics would not deny the probability of minor human influences to weather and climate, by way of human-generated carbon dioxide emissions, but when we look at past climate variations, it is impossible to separate "our influences" from normal fluctuations.

Many of the skeptics would not deny the probability of human influences to weather and climate, especially local and regional, by way of the Urban Heat Island Effect - but this is not what the politically-driven hysteria is about.

Many of the skeptics would not deny concerns about Tropical Deforestation, and how that might influence weather and climate patterns. By way of Evapotranspiration, trees have a natural cooling effect through the release of water vapor. The loss of too many trees in an area where Equatorial heating drives the global vertical atmospheric circulation system (the Hadley Cells) could affect the atmosphere, but we don't know how much. Computer models may be good for the sake of discussion, but they are lousy for making policies, regulations, and laws.

This entire "crisis" is about controlling energy and people's behaviors through the controlling of fuel supplies by taxes and rationing. The UN and other Leftist entities drool over the prospect of controlling the energy supplies of the United States as a way of slowing down our economy so the rest of the world can "catch up". That is the mindset of Libs/Leftists - tear down those at the top rather than uplift those at the bottom. Unfortunately, our government is going to help them for the forseeable future, regardless of which candidate is elected President.

Yes, there are pollution issues of concern, but moderate energy prices are needed to maintain a viable world economy to develop the technologies to lessen future energy use and pollution. We need a viable world economy (led by the United States) to develop those new alternatives.

I am all in favor of alternatives and a diverse energy supply, but no one single alternative within current sight will "save us". The market place will develop these alternatives if our economy is unfettered and healthy.

Will the MSM report on the release of this petition? Probably, but in a low key fashion.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Some Adults Need to Address the Yelping...

of the Democrats about President Bush's speech to the Knesset.

As he never mentioned Obama's name, obviously someone is trying to attract attention to Obama's campaign with this uproar. And it provides another opportunity for the MSM to attack President Bush. [BTW, has anyone checked to see if Keith Olbermann is up-to-date on his rabies shot?]

President Bush could well have been addressing the suicidal appeasers of the Israeli Left. We see how well the Oslo Accords went. We see how well giving up Gaza went.

Does anyone want to guess how bad it gets if Israel gives up the Golan Heights?

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So, Who Will Be Yanking Obama's Chain?

A biker bar in Cobb County, GA has kicked up a great fuss over a t-shirt with a Curious George depiction and the words below "Obama in '08".

This is wrong, wrong, wrong for so many reasons and Republicans are going to get tarred with the brush that these folks need. Plus it wouldn't surprise me if they didn't get sued for copyright infringement.

A better t-shirt depiction would be based upon a column from a week or two ago (sorry, forgot who wrote it). The column described the four individuals (or situations) holding the four corners of the "rug" upon which Obama stands (paraphrasing here). The four corners were held by Rev. Wright, Michelle Obama, Bill Ayers, and Tony Rezko (and their respective would-be scandals, if the MSM actually did their job). The gist of the column was the speculation as to "who might pull the rug from under Obama?".

The envisioned t-shirt design might have Obama with a collar and chains extending in four directions, with each chain being held by the same four individuals/scandals. That is a far better use of satire than this idiocy in Cobb County.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

If We Truly Had an "Open and Honest" Media...

they might mention some of the past party affiliations of some obscure Presidential candidates, such as Democrat Lyndon Larouche and Democrat - now Libertarian, Mike Gravel.

To say that Mike Gravel is as "dumb as a box of...gravel" would be insulting the rocks. [Indeed, individual river pebbles can tell a fascinating story of how they formed and how they arrived to their present location (by way of a now-abandoned river channel).]

From this FrontPageMag story, Gravel is trying to go "Left of Obama" by supporting Jimmy Carter's recent meetings with Hamas. [At least Obama had a staff member schmoozing with Hamas, so he doesn't have to meet with them until after he is elected.]

From the FrontPageMag story:

..."In Gravel’s view, Carter “should be praised” for his “brave gambit” which aims to “jump-start the peace process.” “When will we Americans learn that the only way to achieve true security is through diplomacy and negotiation?” says Gravel. “... [T]he only way to break the cycle of violence is a negotiated settlement.”

“Carter’s critics,” Gravel adds, “don’t know much about Israel’s real security situation -- nor do they really care about it. All they want to do is please AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and hawkish members of the American Jewish community who don’t have to live under the daily threat of terrorism.”...

This sounds like a latter-day Democrat Lyndon Larouche.

After describing the mindset and goals of Hamas, as promoted by TV programs, the article closes with:

..."The creators of this program are the same people who embrace the murderous dictates of the aforementioned Hamas Charter. They are also the people with whom Mike Gravel would have the U.S. and Israel negotiate. Tragically, Gravel has plenty of company among the political left, which clings tenaciously to its dearly held belief that no monster or barbarian on earth is impervious to its powers of persuasion and its good intentions."

Again, we revisit the idiocy of Jimmy Carter, who has come to believe that being nice to bad people will make them nice. Instead, they are helping those that carry on the legacy of Adolph Hitler. So will Jimmy endorse Mike Gravel, or will he endorse the more-likely-to-win Obama? [Note: He may have already endorsed Obama, I generally try to avoid the MSM TV "news". My blood pressure has been too high lately.]

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A New, Organic-type of Armor Plating Has Been Discovered...

if they can only determine how to clone this material, our military vehicles will have an added layer of protection from roadside IEDs.

This material has been found in the skull of the Affirmative Action Office head at Indiana University-Purdue University - Indianapolis, Lillian Charleston.

As reported by this American Thinker article, student (and part-time janitor) Keith John Sampson is being charged with "racial harassment" for being caught reading Todd Tucker's "Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan", a book which is also in the university library.

So for reading an anti-Klan book during his break time, Mr. Sampson is being charged with "racial harassment". Mr. Sampson, who is white, was apparently "caught" by a black co-worker reading the book. Rather than the co-worker asking what the book was about, seeing the word "Klan" was enough to send in the PC police and to brand him guilty without any sense of logic or evidence.

Mr. Sampson wasn't charged for leaving any nooses laying around. He wasn't charged for handing out Klan brochures. He was charged for reading an anti-Klan book. If all is as reported, only on a university campus could one find so much concentration of liberal idiocy.

Maybe he is being targeted because he was reading rather than listening to an ipod. Maybe he was targeted for making the non-reading janitors "look bad". Maybe he was targeted because he was seeking his own information rather than waiting for St. Obama to deliver him from the doldrums of being a "working class stiff". We can't have that self-sufficiency stuff here.

Maybe the university office of affirmative action was running behind on their quota of "closet Klan sympathizers" and people that need "sensitivity training". Maybe they needed a high-profile case before the end of the fiscal year, so they can get more funding for next year. And so that Lillian Charleston can get a raise on her $106,000/year salary.

From the article:

"...To make a long story short, the charges were only dropped months later after the institution of lower learning came under pressure from the media, the ACLU (hey, even a blind squirrel... ) and a more obscure group called the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education."...

An excerpt from the letter sent from Lillian Charleston to Mr. Sampson is as follows:

..."Upon review of this matter, we conclude that your conduct constitutes racial harassment in that you demonstrated disdain and insensitivity to your co-workers who repeatedly requested that you refrain from reading the book which has such an inflammatory and offensive topic in their presence. You contend that you weren't aware of the offensive nature of the topic and were reading the book about the KKK to better understand discrimination. However you used extremely poor judgment by insisting on openly reading the book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject in the presence of your Black co-workers. Furthermore, employing the legal "reasonable person standard," a majority of adults are aware of and understand how repugnant the KKK is to African Americans, their reactions to the Klan, and the reasonableness of the request that you not read the book in their presence."...

If he persisted in reading the book within sight of co-workers, he was threatened with "serious disciplinary action".

To probably 90% of the non-Muslim population, reading a book about putting down the Klan would be a good thing. I would think that even Cynthia McKinney could grasp that fact.

I guess nobody in the Affirmative Action Office has the time to skim through the book to see what it is actually about. "My mind is made up, don't confuse me with facts."

Ms. Charleston could have sat down with the "offended co-worker(s)" and explained to them in private the subject matter of the book. But no, the revenge agenda must be adhered to. "Damn the torpedos, go ahead."

Your tax dollars at work. There will be more of this if Michelle Obama has her way.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Post Script on the Morels

OK, this is what all of the fuss was about.

This is my front yard's 2008 production of yellow morel mushrooms. The one in the foreground was a pretty decent-sized mushroom.

Last week, I stopped at a local Whole Foods Market to have a look at their morel prices. For slightly-dried morels, the price was $39.99 per pound.

These weren't dried and I didn't bother to try to weigh them. I just didn't want them to get moldy in the fridge. I would guess that if slightly dried, there might be a 1/4 lb. of morels here, maybe about $10 worth of 'shrooms. It was just an interesting experience that I was determined not to miss, as I did in 2006, when I left them alone, so that more would grow "next time".

When I sliced up everything for the sautee', I sliced the stems, too. But they turned out to be too chewy.

The growing season seems to be over. So in the next year, I will have to do some reading to determine if I can "encourage" the growth of more morels under the old ornamental cherry trees in my front yard. I would guess the area encompassed by the morel growth is perhaps 150 square feet.

So I await next April.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

What a Geologist Sees - Part 18

Is this the world's smallest volcano? Maybe. [See the rock hammer for scale.]

This is a small example of a volcanic spatter vent. Usually spatter vents are late-stage events in the life cycle of an eruption, as the volcano is "losing its punch."

This spatter vent and the spatter mound shown below are just a couple of small, yet interesting features of the Aden Basalt Flows, which are part of the Potrillo Volcanic Field in southern Doña Ana County, New Mexico. The cinder cones of the northern parts of the Potrillo Volcanic Field are visible to the south of I-10, west of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Kilbourne's Hole, discussed in What a Geologist Sees - Part 13, is also part of the Potrillo Volcanic Field.

Most of the Aden Basalt flows are the result of fissure eruptions (lava flows erupted from open fractures in the ground surface), except in the northwestern part of the Aden Basalts, where Aden Crater (a small shield volcano) is present. Aden Crater is thought to have formed after the bulk of the fissure eruptions. Aden Crater (the subject of a future post) lies at the probable intersection of the Robledo Fault and the Aden Volcanic Rift (a buried fracture zone).

Spatter vents erupt by spitting small to moderate clots of partially solidified basalt (of the consistency of taffy).



The lower photo is of a mound of spatter material within Aden Crater itself. The stadia rod (used in mapping), leaning against the right side of the spatter mound, is about 6 feet long (for scale).

These are just a few of the many interesting volcanic features to be found in the Aden Basalts. Many typical features of basaltic vulcanism are preserved in the Potrillo Volcanic Field, along with some oddities that have not been seen elsewhere (for another post).

In another future post, I will show some different types of volcanic "ejecta" (aka volcanic bombs), which are found associated with some of the volcanoes of the Potrillo Volcanic Field. Just a suggestion, if you ever drive out into this area, carry plenty of water, have a good map, and let someone know where you are going.

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