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>

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why Modern Liberals Ain't - Hating Republicans...

more than loving common Americans.

At least a few Democrats/Libs are already on record HOPING that Hurricane Gustav hits New Orleans in order to make Republicans look bad. [This makes them almost sound like Fred Phelps, who reputedly is a Democrat.]

One of those Democrats is former Democratic Party National Chairman Don Fowler, who in this RedState post-linked YouTube video is heard yukking it up about Gustav hitting New Orleans being "proof that God is on our side". He was speaking with Dem Congressman John Spratt of South Carolina. Michael Moore has said much the same thing.

[Update: Here is Part IV - Hurricane Crazies from Giovanni's World, along with Part III, Part II, and Part I, all on the subject of Hurricane Crazies.]

So will Obama step forward and "man up" and denounce these remarks and the Sarah-Palin-faked-pregnancy & Lack-of-prenatal-care-causes-Downs-Syndrome statements? Will Oprah denounce them?

Inquiring minds want to know!

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Sometimes Smooth Doesn't Work

[Using an anecdote as an antidote.]

Many years ago, I read a short article somewhere on an interesting discovery by Rolls Royce. [It may well have been in the 1970s.]

At that particular time, Rolls Royce was using General Motors automatic transmissions in their cars, probably the TurboHydromatic (sp.?) transmission.

In their meticulous manner, Rolls Royce engineers were examining one of the transmissions in detail and found a particular part with a rough appearance (as I don't pretend to understand automatic transmissions, I don't know which part).

They decided to let a machinist smooth the rough appearance of the part and after than seemingly minor "improvement", the transmission no longer worked! The article offered no explanation, the point was to illustrate the unexpected discovery. So despite their desire of approaching perfection, Rolls Royce engineers had to live with this particular part and its rough appearance, something that would never been seen by the general public or even the owners themselves.

Yeah, Barack Obama is a smooth talker, when following a Teleprompter. Though the MSM will continue to cover for him, we will see more and more gaffes as he is called upon to make off-the-cuff remarks. Count on it.

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Republican Gaffes vs. Democrat Gaffes

Most of us that spend time observing the MSM know there is a very clear double standard, witness the often revived attacks on Dan Quayle on the "potato/potatoe" issue. [The spelling "potatoe" is an older, 19th century variation, while uncommon, it is still technically correct. As is the combination of color/colour or theater/theatre.]

Now we have a geography gaffe from Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, one of the ones considered for Barack's VP.

According to Real Clear Politics (and other sources), last Sunday, while being interviewed by Chris Wallace, Kaine said of Joe Biden:

WALLACE: Governor Kaine, we'll get to your near-miss in a moment, but first let's talk Virginia -- 13 electoral votes, hasn't gone for a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. But the polls right now say Virginia is dead even. What, if anything, can Joe Biden do for you in Virginia?

KAINE: Well, first, Joe comes from a state, Delaware, that borders Virginia. The eastern shore part of Virginia and Delaware are not only bordering but very, very similar. And I think there's a lot in common, and Joe understands that. [Emphasis added.]

Before you run to look at your road atlas, Delaware is on the Delmarva Peninsula - which means Delaware-MARYLAND-Virginia. [I knew that before looking, though I did verify it.] Maryland is between Delaware and Virginia.

I am sure that Marylanders are having a laugh over this. Even the older cans and bottles of National Bohemian beer reminded us that the eastern shore of Maryland is "the Land of Pleasant Living". [Now that National Bohemian is no longer brewed in Baltimore, I am not sure if it carries the same slogan.] What would "Mr. Boh" say?

This was a week ago, has the MSM said anything of substance about this? [Oh, I mentioned MSM and "of substance" in the same sentence, My Bad!] As I don't watch that much television, especially those parts with Talking Heads, I could have missed it.

[Just curious, if someone asks the average Talking Head (or Obama or Pelosi or Reid) if Oklahoma borders both New Mexico and Colorado, what would they answer?]

Without going back to the atlas (Honest!) - Virginia borders on Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

Now I will go look. Yeah, I was right, though if someone wants to "get picky", they could claim that I didn't mention Washington, DC, which the Dems would love to make a state, just to get a couple more Senators and a few Representatives.

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About the Sara Palin Choice

Yeah, it is a little risky, but sometimes a little risk is what you need to break a mold. One side benefit is that it further illustrates the absolute sleaze of portions of the Democrat Party and the Leftist bias of the news media.

As for the kudos from the professionals, I will link to those later...

As I didn't have time to comment immediately on the selection, there has been time for several "other shoes" to drop on the "Left side of the aisle". Sometimes decent people are dumbfounded as to how low some "Libs" will go in their personal attacks.

DailyKos and Democratic Underground have been trading rumors about Sara Palin's Down Syndrome baby, saying that it is not hers, but actually her daughter's child.

But one of the worst comments so far is by Alan Colmes, who up to this point, many Conservatives had tried to be cordial towards. According to Warner Todd Houston at NewsBusters, Colmes penned a post on his blog blaming improper pre-natal care for the Down Syndrome (of course the post is now missing). One doesn't even have to have a B.S. in Biology to know that Down Syndrome is the result of genetic issues (47 chromosomes vs. 46 normal) and is much more common to older mothers. Sarah Palin and her husband made the difficult choice to not abort their younger son, Trig, now four months old.

[I wish Sean Hannity would get his "Irish up" and at least bitch-slap Alan Colmes, as a full punch-in-the-face would probably get Sean suspended for a few days. It would be worth the cost of cable to see Alan Colmes apologize on national cable TV for his ignorant, hateful comment.]

Elsewhere on the Colmes blog, which is now the blogosphere-equivalent of bird-cage liner, at this point, he highlights attacks from other Alaskan Republicans, whom Palin has tangled with while attempting to "clean house" of corrupt influences of Republicans such as Ted Stevens, Don Young, and Frank Murkowski.

There is nothing the Obama camp can say, with any seriousness, regarding her lack of experience or any "scandals", if the MSM would do its job and "come clean" on issues related to Tony Rezko and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge/Bill Ayers issue. They live in a glass house. Yet they will say it, expecting the MSM to continue to cover for them.

We are trusting that Sarah Palin has the character, common sense, and integrity to quickly learn what she needs to know and do as VP. At least it is our second-in-line that has to do that, rather than the Dem's presidential candidate. And I think Sarah Palin knows that natural gas is a fossil fuel.

More to come...

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Call to Arms!...

for Republicans in Ohio.

According to NewsBusters:

Ohio Democrat Party Chairman (or putz in charge) Chris Redfern, said in a radio interview that "Americans are selfish", something Jimmy Carter has said before, too. This kind of crap makes my blood boil.

From writer Warner Todd Houston:

..."Finally, Redfern's claim that American's are too selfish to give charity is an outright lie. At least it is an outright lie where it concerns conservative Americans. For instance, ABC's John Stossel found that conservatives give far more to charity than liberals. Of course, based on Stossel's work, perhaps it is expected that leftist Redfern never met an American that cares much to indulge in charity? After all, if he only hangs around other leftists when would he ever meet a generous American? Maybe he at least has an excuse to think so ill about his fellow Americans? Seriously though, it is only his illogical, uninformed personal experience as opposed to an opinion based on any fact that would make him think so."...

From my own comments/rant:

..."To people such as Redfern and Carter, the only "giving" that counts is the taxpayer money they throw at a problem. The billions of dollars freely given each year by Americans to private charities in cash and labor mean nothing to Libs. We operate off of a Judeo-Christian ethic, while they operate off of a Socialistic/Old European ethic, that has lost sight of its own Judeo-Christian ethics. "...

..."Those billions of dollars unrecognized by Redfern, Carter, et al, include the volunteer labor of our teenagers and young-adult children. In the last few years, members of our suburban Atlanta church have paid out of their own pockets to do volunteer work in Honduras; Costa Rica; Jamaica; Buffalo, NY; homeless shelters in downtown Atlanta; a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, Appalachia, and post-Katrina New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast; Habitat for Humanity; and prison ministries. "...

..."It is not enough that they take our taxes, ignore our giving, and spit on us for "not doing enough", but then they have the arrogance to throw about out-of-context Bible verses (or snippets thereof). When Libs (including Barack Obama) use phrases such as "caring for the least among us" while championing abortion is at the very least blatant hyprocrisy!

By now we all know that abortion is more important to Barack Obama than comforting and giving medical attention - to those babies that survive late-term abortions - during their short lives. "...

We need to "blow out" Ohio in the November election, to the point where there is no room for doubt. Chris Redfern told us what Libs think of Middle America. Let's tell him what we think.

McCain is not all we hoped for, but Barack and his gang are so much worse, there is no other choice.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What a Geologist Sees - More on the "68 million acres"

of leases that Dems claim the oil companies have yet to act upon.

In a previous post, I outlined my educated opinions on why there hadn't been activity on those 68 million acres, and I am certain there are more good reasons. Every lease, every parcel, every reservoir, every oil patch,...has a different story.

"Big Oil" is not the enemy, it is simply a political scapegoat.

From this UK Financial Times article, by way of NewsBusters comes another reason for "inaction" upon certain leases.

Basically, the government changed the rules after the offshore-California leases were sold to oil companies. Though I am not a lawyer, that seems to me to be a breach-of-contract and something that only government can think it can get away with.

The Financial Times article opens with:

"A US federal appeals court ruled yesterday that 11 oil and gas companies should receive more than $1bn awarded to them in 2006 after the government effectively changed the terms of leases to drill off the California coast.

The US Court of Appeals was upholding a 2006 ruling that the government had breached the leases when changes in federal law materially interfered with the companies' efforts to develop the oil and gas reserves off California."...

The $1 billion is going to be taxpayer money, but maybe the "knocking down" of this particular barrier will encourage the successful development of these leases, which in the case of some offshore California properties (not sure if they meant these) could mean that NEW oil could be flowing within just a few months.

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When Libs Say They Want "Free Choice"...

regarding abortion, we know what they mean. And the results are not good.

There is another type of "Free Choice" that Libs are pushing and the results from that are likely to be not good, either.

In this case it is the "Employee Free Choice Act", which according to Bernie Marcus (who has well-demonstrated his business acumen), will eliminate most, if not all, take away an employees right to a "secret ballot" in union elections. [I thought Libs were big on "privacy", but I guess it is only when it suits their needs.] We know the history of unions and what the lack of a secret ballot means regarding dissenting voices. I don't need to draw you a picture.

What it also may do, in the words of Marcus is:

..."give unions the option to have federal arbitrators set the wages, benefits, hours and all other terms and conditions of employment."...

By some definitions, this is fascism - federal control with private ownership - or at best Socialism Lite.

As it stands, the Senate with its artificially imposed 60-vote threshold has been the major roadblock to passage of this bill previously, though it likely would have been vetoed by President Bush. If the Dems pick up enough Senate seats, with Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, it will sail through with the economic and business efficiency of a runaway torpedo.

[A minor caveat here, I am not anti-union, I believe they are a part of our series of checks-and-balances and some unions have a history of good behavior. But we also know the history of the bad players and their thuggish tactics towards independent thinkers and business owners. The bottom line is that the union does not sign the paycheck and while local unions may be concerned about the health of their prospective industry, the national union hierarchy is more interested in power and its trappings.]

According to Bernie Marcus, even George McGovern recognizes that this is a bad bill.

Another aspect of an Obama victory - with Senate gains for the Dems - is that if talk radio is silenced by the "Fairness Doctrine" and (as predicted), that doctrine is extended to the internet, how will dissenters get the message out to the American people - about this bad piece of legislation as well as others?

The Dems constantly cry about the Bush Administration "exporting jobs", something that has been going on for a while, without recognizing (or admitting) that government micromanagement is one of the things that drives businesses overseas (or south across the Mexican border). Increased micromanagement (including Carbon Taxes of any form) is only going to make it worse.

The vast majority of Democrat Senators and Representatives (and a goodly number of Republicans) have probably never had to meet a payroll nor concern themselves with running a profitable business. That also goes for John McCain, but at least he knows the benefits of his wife's business acumen. The growth of that particular Anheuser Busch distributor is not just a function of the national advertising for Bud and Bud Light.

So for a few more days, we have to suffer through the lies of the DNC speakers that decry the "failed policies" of the last eight years, while never acknowledging Congress' role in making business-unfriendly regulations and policies.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So, Speaker Pelosi...

just what is natural gas and where does it come from?

Apparently "Madame Speaker" thinks natural gas is something that magically comes from pipelines. Several sources have reported that repeatedly in an interview with Tom Brokaw, she suggested that natural gas is something other than a "fossil fuel". Moonbattery is one place where enough quotes are preserved that she made this assertion 3 or 4 times.

So what exactly is natural gas? This website gives what might be considered an "average" composition. Essentially, it is 75-95% methane, and varying amounts of ethane, propane, butane, and a host of minor and trace gases, with some sulfurous mercaptan mixed in to make it detectable to humans and dogs.

From my Petroleum Geochemistry class at UTEP, years ago, there are two attributed origins for natural gas. The first is from the thermal "cracking" of larger hydrocarbon molecules and is thought to generally be from marine origins, where the source material is preserved zooplankton and phytoplankton. Usually, unless the temperatures are high enough to have "cracked" or "burned away" all of the larger fractions (larger molecules), cracking results in "Wet gas", which includes various mixtures of gases heavier than ethane, e.g., propane, butane, etc.. When the higher temperatures result in the presence of only methane, we call this "dry gas". Sometimes the lighter natural gases occur as a "cap" at the top of the porous and permeable oil reservoir.

The second attributed source is from the burial and partial decay of terrestrial plants, such as when portions of the Mississippi Delta become submerged due to subsidence or sea level rise and the organics preserved in swamps and marshes becomes covered by sediments. Over time, the pressure and heat generates methane, while the remaining buried plant remains begin the "thermal maturation" towards future coal. Usually, relatively "dry gas" results from this process. Recently, we have discovered "coal gas" and "shale gas" (which I may explain in more detail later).

Regardless of how it forms, you have to drill wells for it. Someone once said Environmentalists love natural gas because it is the cleanest burning of the fossil fuels, but they won't let you drill for it. Though it is done, it is difficult and somewhat dangerous to compress the natural gas and ship it across the oceans. And in remote areas, some nations "flare off" the excess gas during oil production. On the North Slope of Alaska, our oil companies inject it back into reservoirs in hopes of someday having a separate pipeline to carry the natural gas to the "lower 48".

[This is just a quick summary, so as not to carry on for more paragraphs.]

Suffice to say, when Democrats - led by Speaker Pelosi - deny American oil companies the opportunity to drill for oil, she is also denying them the opportunity to develop more natural gas resources. Another issue is that for years, we have been asking industries to switch from coal or fuel oil to natural gas to reduce air pollution. So they have complied. This now means that homeowners must compete with these industries for the natural gas that we need to heat our homes during the winter. And less drilling activity means less supply which means higher prices.

Just another example of how libs make use of the time-delay between Cause and Effect, to hide the deleterious effects of their allegiance to Eco-Luddites.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Trying to Unravel Barack Obama's Chicago History...

seems to be every bit as confusing as trying to understand the Balkans, or at least it seems so to my rock-filled brain.

So I will leave it to professionals, such as Stanley Kurtz, Tom Maguire, Dan Riehl (and here also), Thomas Lifson, Steve Diamond (and here also),...and hopefully others, as the MSM is not going to do its job.

It is all about Barack Obama's "executive experience" with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a branch of the Annenberg Challenge program that was set up in 1993 by a gift of $500 million from Walter Annenberg (TV Guide, Seventeen magazine). After selling his magazine empire to Rupert Murdoch, Annenberg dedicated the remainder of his life to philanthropy. The Annenberg Challenge, from my understanding, had the lofty goal of improving education.

It just seems that the money forwarded to the Chicago project was funneled by Barack Obama and William Ayers to favored Leftist organizations and projects and resulted in no tangible improvements in Chicago education results.

So grab a pen and notebook, as one needs to take notes to begin to understand this tangled web, which may be "business as usual" for Chicago politics, but it escapes the logic of us folks out in "flyover country".

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Minerals That I Would Like to Collect

[Yeah, this would only appeal to the occasional geologist visitor.]

Having been involved with Geology for more than 35 years, there are a few minerals that I would like the experience of having "dug" myself or at least to have found them on a mine dump. Some of these I do own specimens of, having bought them or traded for them. But I would like the "wow" experience of having found at least a recognizable specimen, by my own hand.

In no specific order, they are:

1) Topaz - it has been reported from Graves Mt., GA and I have a mystery crystal from that locality that I would like for someone to verify, yes or no.
2) Garnets - with good crystal faces, at least 3/8 inch in diameter.
3) Biotite mica - some thin "books", at least 2 inches by 2 inches square.
4) Millerite - a fibrous nickel sulfide, found in small geodes near Halls Gap, KY.
5) Zircon - a decent crystal, at least 3/8 inch on any particular side.
6) Brookite - a titanium dioxide mineral from Magnet Cove, AR.
7) Wulfenite - have a number of purchased crystal specimens, would like to find one.
8) Apatite - a decent, recognizable crystal. I think I have some small apatite crystals in marble from Tate, GA and in some pegmatite material from Maine, but they are all in matrix.
9) Lazulite - some decent crystals from Graves Mt., GA. I have some weathered and broken specimens, but no decent ones.
10) Spodumene - a lithium silicate, I have been to one locality in NC, but didn't find any.
11) Selenite (gypsum) - from Jet, OK, for instance. I have found gypsum in several localities, but not any decent crystals.
12) Barite - crystals from Cartersville, GA. I have barite crystals collected from Graves Mt., and the Bishop Cap Hills in southern New Mexico.
13) Vivianite - a nickel phosphate. Some small masses of vivianite have been found inside of fossil oyster shells on the Georgia Coastal Plain. The vivianite was deposited inside the shells by groundwater action.
14) Talc - just some decent, light colored masses of the mineral, not the metamorphic rock (which I already have).
15) Epidote - just a decent sized, 1/2 inch length or longer crystal. I have smaller crystals, but not big enough for non-collectors to appreciate.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why Modern Liberals Ain't...So Much for Freedom of Religion

Damn their Christian beliefs, they must be compelled to do our biddings, so sayeth the state of California, in another exhibition of fascism, by the judiciary, not the legislature, though that will probably follow.

From Moonbattery, by way of a BBC report:

"California's highest court has ruled that doctors in the US state cannot discriminate against gay patients on the basis of religious belief.

The decision was made after two Christian doctors refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian undergoing fertility treatment.

The doctors said that would have gone against their beliefs and instead told the patient how to inseminate herself."

These Christians are not trying to stop this particular lesbian in her quest, they just choose not to participate. I thought Libs were "pro-choice". I am sure that in the populous state of California, there are other fertility clinics that would perform this "service". Just as in other states, e.g., New Mexico, there are other photography services that would photograph a lesbian "commitment" ceremony, but as with other selfish hedonists, they just can't take "No" for an answer. Even a polite, "we are sorry, but we can't" is not allowed.

These are but glimpses of life in a "Liberal" utopia, where the support for your right to practice your sensible, mainstream religious beliefs is "a mile wide and an inch deep".

If Muslim doctors voiced the same objections, what would the court sayeth? Probably the same thing if a Mexican-American doctor refused, saying that "we already have enough Anglos, we don't need more...". The silence would be deafening.

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Deconstructing Biology and Culture

"Deconstruction" is just elitist Newspeak for "tearing down".

In the case of gender biology and developed gender roles (from thousands of years of human cultural evolution), it is about tearing down the very foundation of what we biologically are as humans. Whether by God or evolution or a combination of the two, there are two genders for a reason. It is not an accident of nature.

Gender is not a "human construct" and it is not fluid. To use John Prine's words from "Dear Abby" - "You are what you are and you ain't what you ain't."

When Oprah, ABC Good Morning American, Tyra Banks (by way of NewsBusters), et al, pretend that gender is something that can be changed, they are doing unbelievable damage to our culture.

Presenting a dysfunctional pregnant woman who willingly had her breasts cut off and herself injected with male hormones does not change her gender. Parading a skinny, effeminate man as a female model does not change his gender, nor does the work of a plastic surgeon.

As often suggested by Rush Limbaugh, TV gives an undeserved legitimacy to formerly marginalized behaviors and practices. Humans thinking that "we" can design the "perfect" or fix the imperfect is the ultimate in hubris. Normal men and women sometimes tire of the biological and cultural demands our genders make upon us, but that is what social networks and fellowship are about, sharing experiences and finding solace among friends.

This is not why our countless, nameless ancestors survived millenia of hardships, ice ages, famine, tribal warfare, disease, deprivation, that we can parade dysfunctional, weak individuals around as something other than what they were born.

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Oh, That Pesky Neutrality Clause...

in the 2003 Illinois "Born Alive Infant Protection" act.

If you are waiting until after Labor Day to study the Presidential issues in detail (and/or waiting for more shoes to drop), the background of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act is that, as witnessed by Nurse Jill Stanek, sometimes Second- and Third-Trimester babies survive abortion attempts. As stated by Ms. Stanek on Laura Ingraham's radio program yesterday, many of these abortions were of babies with Down Syndrome, spina bifida, or other significant (and sometimes mortal) medical conditions. And sometimes they were healthy babies that were simply not wanted.

The standard practice in the hospital in which Ms. Stanek worked was to put the surviving baby out-of-sight, sometimes in a dirty linen closet, until they died. Sometimes it took minutes, sometimes it took hours. No medical attention to ease any suffering. No comforting for this slipping-away tiny life. No mercy. No mercy. That is what "Liberals" show to those they disfavor. To those they devalue.

I can't pretend to judge parents facing the birth of a baby with Down Syndrome or other significant medical maladies and their tough choices. But once these choices are made in the hospital, the abject refusal to at least offer comfort to survivors suggests an intense dose of reality denial.

Barack Obama repeatedly voted against an Illinois State Senate bill that required at least some level of medical care for such survivors. He did so because he was worried about challenges to Roe vs. Wade. After the U.S. Senate included wording in the Federal BAIP act, that "protected Roe vs. Wade", that law passed the U.S. Senate in 2002 by a vote of 98 - 0.

That wording, the "neutrality clause", was included in the 2003 Illinois Senate bill. Barack Obama got what he wanted, but yet he still voted against it.

Is he that evil? Or so stupid as to not know or understand that what he wanted was "granted" in the Illinois bill? [Personally, I am willing to give him the benefit-of-the-doubt and say he was that stupid.]

From the Rich Lowry column at NationalReview online:

..."In 2007, Obama told the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that the Freedom of Choice Act would be the first piece of legislation that he would sign as president. The act would not only codify Roe v. Wade, but wipe out all current federal, state and local restrictions on abortion that pass muster under Roe, including the Hyde Amendment prohibiting federal funding of abortion."... [I thought the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act would be the first legislation he would sign. My bad.]

Remember that Barack Obama also said that if his daughters strayed, he didn't want them "punished with a baby." - if you have heard the audio clip, he is rather emphatic about this point. His tone of voice suggested "How could you even ask that question?".

Babies are a result and a consequence of pre-marital sex (and other kinds, too), but to see them as "a punishment" suggests at best immaturity and at worst a jaundiced view of a new life.

Increasingly it seems that Barack Obama is simply a puppet of an aging George Soros in his rush to socialize America before he is welcomed into the Gates of Hell. Geraldine Ferraro was so right.

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Just Say No to Pelosi's Deal

As summarized by this CNSNews article, aside from having to deal with the "Gang of 10" Senators, we are being presented with Nancy Pelosi's version of the Trojan Horse (maybe that is not the best analogy, but that is how we should regard her efforts).

The carrot being extended is the "considered" limited increases in drilling allowances, that particular wording suggests they could change their minds, perhaps using the rationale that prices have come down enough that we don't need to open up more areas for drilling.

From the CNSNews article:

..."Pelosi said she has a “comprehensive plan” for energy, which includes releasing oil from the 700 million barrel federal Strategic Petroleum Reserve(SPR), creating a federal Renewable Electricity Standard that would require oil companies to pay billions of dollars to invest in clean energy resources – and allowing limited offshore drilling."...

To accompany the carrot is the stick, which will wind up beating the consumers.

[1) Releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is not a responsible thing to do. We do not have a crisis. Removing oil from the reserve and pretending it is "new oil" is akin to withdrawing money from a savings account and pretending it is additional income.
2) Forcing oil companies to pay for alternatives fits the definition of fascism, a word Libs love to fling about. If the oil companies want to do so, that is fine, but forcing them to do so is simply a different way of levying taxes that we consumers get to pay, later.]

More from the CNSNews article:

..."“A responsible domestic drilling program means an end to royalty holidays that deprive taxpayers of the royalties they deserve, an end to subsidies for profit-rich oil companies, and a requirement that Big Oil drill the oil leases they already own,” she added."...

[3) More doublespeak for increasing taxes on oil companies and more fascism (private ownership with government control). The royalties will come to the taxpayers through lower gasoline and natural gas costs, more jobs, and more tax revenues from existing taxes.
4) With billions of dollars at stake, oil companies will drill where the return seems most favorable. Forcing them to drill
marginal leases is a waste of consumers' money. Let them do what they do best.]

As with Democrat/RINO immigration bills, when you hear the word "comprehensive", you know a devil dwells within the details. It is a Big Government approach to a problem that they created. More efficient would be attacking specific aspects of the problem - one bill at a time, starting with allowing the drilling moratorium to expire (or better still ending it early) - then addressing the other concerns individually. A massive "comprehensive bill" - that few politicians will read before voting "Yes" - will contain nifty little niches for earmarks, pet projects, and additional regulations that only bureaucrats can love.

A bad bill may be worse than no bill at all, though that may not be immediately evident.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

A Quick Kitten Update

The kitty is doing fine. It is 15 days-old now and it looking over the edge of its "bed" in the laundry room. Ma cat has been trying to move it to the bathroom closet and the soft stacks of towels. We will have to compromise somehow, so when it is old enough, the little one doesn't crawl behind the washer or dryer.

[Will try to add an updated photo, soon.]



What a Geologist Sees - The Series - Phase 2

Phase 1 is indexed here.

Part 11 - Appalachian/Cumberland Plateau, limestone, Silurian fossils
Part 12 - Georgia Coastal Plain, water well construction
Part 13 - Southern New Mexico Quaternary Volcanics, Kilbourne's Hole, base-surge deposits
Part 14 - Southern New Mexico Quaternary Volcanics, Kilbourne's Hole, volcanic bombs, xenoliths
Part 15 - Xenoliths & other rock inclusions
Part 16 - Industrial uses of mica
Part 17 - Florida Coastline, external sedimentary structures, ripple marks, raindrop impressions
Part 18 - Southern New Mexico Quaternary Volcanics, Aden Basalt features
Part 19 - Glacier National Park, structural geology, thrust faults
Part 20 - Colorado Plateau, Monument Valley, sedimentary layers

[For those visiting geologists "put off" by the politics, as I have two "kids" - almost 14 and almost 22 - and a grandkid on the way, the future is important to me. I have seen both sides of the political spectrum during my personal evolution and - for the most part - the Conservative side makes more sense, though I am not ideologically pure about anything. I am skeptical about catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming because I think human-produced carbon dioxide is insufficient to trigger anything beyond minor effects (We live in a wild world where change is the only norm). I do believe that there are other human activities that may contribute more to local and/or regional climate changes, e.g., deforestation and the growth of Urban Heat Islands. So, we may have to agree to disagree on some issues, let's try to do so in a polite manner. Disagreement is not hate.]

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What a Geologist Sees - Part 20

[Back to our regularly-scheduled program. As referenced here, Stratigraphy is the study of layered rocks.]

Monument Valley, which straddles the AZ/UT border, is one of those places on my Top-10 Want-to-Visit List (which will be the subject of a later post).

In the course of my classes, whether they be Environmental Science or Geology, I remind my students that in the future, if they do a little "homework" before traveling, they will enjoy the trip more. Especially if they have kids to entertain.

To a non-scientist, it might seem that thinking about the geology might distract from the enjoyment of the natural and stark beauty, but to me it doesn't. To me, visualizing about "what it used to look like" at various points in geologic history adds to the wonder. To address the subject of the first photo (actually all three slides were taken by my Dad in 1980), the mesas, buttes, and most of the spires of Monument Valley are remnants of a formerly-continuous sheet of Permian and Triassic sedimentary rocks. The millions of years of weathering and erosion have brought forth the wonderous landforms we see, not only in Monument Valley, but elsewhere in the Colorado Plateau.

The four formations shown in the second photo are but a small portion of the "Colorado Plateau Stratigraphic Section", i.e., all of the layered rocks that occur within the defined area of the Colorado Plateau. [This USGS webpage lists all of the geologic units that occur within the Colorado Plateau, some of which only occur at the margins and extend into adjacent regions. This USGS webpage lists all of the National Parks and such that are present within the Colorado Plateau (and the Colorado River Basin). Monument Valley itself is not administered by the National Park Service.] A simple geographic definition of the Colorado Plateau, which covers 50,000 square miles, is presented here by Encarta. The Moenkopi and Organ Rock Formations are present to the north at Canyonlands National Park, while the de Chelly Sandstone is present to the south at Canyon de Chelly National Park. The Permian de Chelly Sandstone is derived from eolian sand-dune deposits. At Canyonlands, the White Rim Sandstone lies between the Moenkopi and the Organ Rock, thus making it the "Stratigraphic Equivalent" of the de Chelly, though the environment of deposition was different, suggested to be nearshore sand dunes for the White Rim.

In arid climates, topographic slopes are often defined by their underlying rock types in ways that are different from humid climates. The contrast between arid-climate "slope formers" and "cliff formers" is illustrated by the mesa (I think it is Sentinel Mesa) in the second photo. In arid climates, shales are "slope formers", while sandstones and limestones are "cliff formers". Alternating shales and sandstones/limestones produces a "stair-step effect", with the slope angle related to the percentage of shale vs. the other two rock types.

[I can give a more detailed description of why limestones behave differently in the contrasting climates, but that would take up more space.]

The third photo is of Agathla Peak, which is different from the other landforms in Monument Valley. It is an eroded "volcano neck", i.e., the central spire represents solidified magma within and/or below the original volcano. It is more resistant to erosion than the slope material that made up the flanks of the volcano. The volcano neck can also be referred to as a "feeder pipe". Shiprock is another good example of this type of landform. Agathla Peak is some 1,500 feet higher than the surrounding plateau.

[Additional info may be added later.]

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

If Barack Obama Loses...

(I have written about this before), there will be charges of "racism" by the MSM/Leftist pundits/Hollywood and professional race-baiters. We are just going to have to withstand this coming blizzard of lies. The worst part will be any violence that might take place, violence that didn't have to happen.

It will be another example of the Left "taking an ounce of truth and turning it into a pound of lies". There are always going to be enclaves of idiot white racists (actually bigots is the more proper term), but Barack (and more so his entourage) is going to help swell their ranks. It has already happened. Patrice Lewis had this Saturday WND column in which she articulated it well.

From Lewis' column:

..."But a fair (and possibly decisive) portion of his loss could well be a result of racism. It won't be because of an inherent prejudice in the hearts of the American people, but instead will be due to the self-inflicted bigotry brought about by the comments and accusations of the candidate, his staff and his extreme supporters. [The backlash effect.]

The vast majority of American people aren't racist, but they are getting sick and tired of being called such.

Most white people no longer give a hoot about someone's skin color unless they are given a reason to think otherwise. If everything someone says or does is twisted and turned into accusations of racism, don't you think folks are going to start getting annoyed?"... [Emphasis original.]

From my vantage point, most of the white folks I know have made good-faith, concerted efforts to be better than their parents and their grandparents in their racial attitudes, avoiding slurs and making attempts at bypassing stereotypes and prejudices. We make good-faith efforts at seeing people as individuals first, regardless of their racial characteristics. Many whites are afraid of discussions of crime issues, lest they be accused of racism.

When Leftists (of any color) fling about the words "racism/racist" to explain every misfortune that befalls black Americans and especially when the words are directly thrown at "us", we start to wonder why we have spent decades of our personal lives trying to judge people by their actions and the content of their character (and teaching our children to do the same).

The professional race baiters pretend that nothing has gotten better in the last 50 years. As I have stated before, innocent people do not like to be falsely accused and when it happens, they wonder "why bother" if it is not appreciated, if we are not at least given the "benefit of the doubt", that we are not racists. A backlash is a normal human reaction.

Hollywood's use of black actors to portray the President of the United States (or even God) have caused nothing more than minor ripples in the mainstream culture. Many white Republicans have given passing consideration to Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice as possible presidential material, though neither has held elected office, both have been infected by their tenures in the State Department, and both are less conservative than we thought, upon closer inspection. As we are overlooking some aspects of that third characteristic in John McCain, if either Powell or Rice had held elected office, either might be as good a choice or a better choice than Barack Obama.

When the MSM aids-and-abets these accusations, they rarely look at "the other side of the coin", i.e., they rarely report blatant examples of black racism/bigotry towards whites. The issue is not only ignored, it is covered up. One is just as evil as the other. Neither benefits our nation.

From my viewpoint, Leftists promote the race-baiting and double standards regarding racial attitudes because it enforces and validates their shallow, jaundiced view of this nation and its people. Some of this jaundiced view is a projection of personal prejudiced, frustrations and failure onto the nation at-large.

So to cover up their lack of substantive arguments, before the election (and especially after the election, if Obama loses), we are going to have to endure and politely refute the "racism/racist" charges. We can weaken their "arguments" by forcing the accuser to offer evidence, another way would be politely reminding the accuser that disagreement is not hate.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

You Have GOT to Watch This YouTube Video!

At a rally in Washington, DC (I think), some Obama supporters said they wanted you to pay $8 - 10 OR MORE per gallon of gas.

Some of this is driven by carbon dioxide hysteria - Carboniphobia.

These are the people that will be putting pressure on Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama.

What does this mindset for your children that are growing up "too fast" and have entered or will be entering the job market in the next few years?

Watch the entire video to see how these open-minded "liberals" show their tolerance for dissenting views.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

What a Geologist Sees - Just a Few Thoughts on Those Oil Leases...

that oil companies already have, which Democrats have been "pointing to".

[Update: Open Choke, a much more astute observer of the oil industry, has these thoughts on current events.]

With no specific knowledge of government oil leases (various State or Federal), their rules or possible expiration dates - my viewpoint is as a geologist that understands that while flawed and humanly self-serving (as are elements of most industries) - American oil (and coal) companies ARE NOT THE FOCUS OF EVIL, AS PORTRAYED BY HOLLYWOOD AND THE MSM. Each time we pull up to a gas station (or turn on a light switch), we should say a silent "Thank you" to those companies and the thousands of Americans employed directly and indirectly in the energy industries. And to the billions of dollars of taxes they pay (but are not given credit for by the lying MSM pundits).

I think the adults in the room understand that.

If oil companies have not already drilled upon those leases, there is probably a good reason.

1) At some point in the recent past, they may have spent money on leases that "might produce oil in the future", rather than pay taxes on that money.

2) They may have purchased leases before more-modern exploration methods told them that there may not be oil under the leases, as they may have thought at the time.

3) They may have purchased leases because "better areas" were not available due to Presidential and Congressional prohibitions.

4) Some of these leases might hold small reservoirs that are more easily accessed by the smaller drilling firms (with lower overheads). During the years of lower crude oil prices, small equipment-leasing firms go out-of-business (or some of their equipment "rusts up" on back lots in Portales, NM or Woodward, OK) and when there is a "boom", there is a lag-time when the demand for drilling hardware outstrips the supply.

5) If some of these leases are in already-established oil patches, the smaller drilling firms may be interested, when they get "caught up".

6) If these are "frontier" areas, without the established infrastructure, e.g. pipelines, the smaller firms don't have the cash to build those pipelines and all that goes with the pipelines. And at lower, previous prices, the large firms may have been hesitant to build pipelines into "marginal areas". Again, remember their higher operating costs. Plus there are going to be environmental battles for each new pipeline.

Yes, oil companies have made mistakes and there has to be some sort of oversight - by honest people that understand the industry - not scientifically-ignorant imbeciles such as Reid, Pelosi, and Obama. The free-market system works, when unfettered.

The Democrats, as with so many other issues, do not want solutions. They want the issues so they can "beat Republicans over their collective heads", while the MSM helps perpetuate the lies. President Bush made past efforts to deal with this, but despite having a Republican majority in the House, the closer margins in the Senate (and their population of we-want-to-be-liked RINOs) made it impossible to get legislation through. And President Bush does bear some responsibility for not using the bully pulpit as President Reagan would have.

Pardon my language, but Republicans do a lousy-shit job of explaining "hows and whys" of their policies. And because we may explain something once, we think the job "is done". If we had an honest unbiased MSM, it would be. Over time, their "big lie" policy trumps our prior explanations.

Newt did a good job of explaining things as a former history professor, but he lost his influence over the way he treated his second wife (dating in Washington, DC before the divorce was final) and because he bitched about not getting the right seat on Air Force One (that was Newt, wasn't it?). So after the Republican House and Senate approved ANWR drilling in 1995, why wasn't Newt up-front about saying "this is advance planning for 10, 20, or more years down-the-road"?

Republican actions (and the American people) can't change the past, but they can damn-sure change the future. We can un-fetter the American oil companies and let them do what they do best, for our collective benefit, while we turn our efforts to other strategies.

Barack Obama - wrong for so many reasons. At least McCain's winning could contain and balance the evil Socialist influences of Reid and Pelosi, if the populace doesn't get united enough to return Congress to those that at least pretend to support the free-market system.

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A Brief Respite...

from chores and other stuff.

Normally I regard our indoor cat as an entertaining nuisance (our outdoor cat, a very good "mouser" disappeared about a year and a half ago). About nine weeks ago our "indoor" cat slipped outdoors and had an "encounter" with a local tom cat. Yesterday morning, she gave birth to two kittens, one of which was deformed and stillborn, the other - an almost exact replica of her - is small, but it seems healthy. Because the mother cat is a small cat (physically), she is probably not capable of carrying a larger litter - which is fine.

I grew up with both dogs and cats in a semi-rural setting, but I hadn't been around any cats with kittens since my sister and I "left home for college" (in 1974 and 1972, respectively). With us out of the house, our parents found homes for their female cats and kept a couple of males that were later neutered. So I haven't been in a home with a newborn kitten in about 34 or so years.

The first-time mom seems to be taking to the new role well. I hope the little one makes it. Though we may spay the cat later to avoid this happening again. In that past, semi-rural setting with some local farms, it was fairly easy to find homes for kittens. Such is not the case now.



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