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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Straw Man Cometh...

The yearly American Library Association "Banned Books" week is upon us again. No sensible person wants books to be banned, but the ALA has a rather broad definition and it includes challenges to the placements of particular books that happened decades ago. It also includes challenges to particular books - of no particular offense to the vast majority of American citizens - made by those of questionable sanity. It likely includes these challenges as a way to broadbrush the larger "Traditional Values" community.

As an example, you may recall a few years ago, a particular mom (who had read none of the Harry Potter books) engaged in an effort to have the Harry Potter books removed from a local school library [I am going on memory here, don't have time to call it up on the internet], based upon it's witchcraft subject matter. Most mainstream Christians that I know don't have a problem with their kids reading Harry Potter - as long as things are kept in perspective. Simply reading and engaging one's imagination doesn't mean that one's kid is going to go out and pursue Wicca. Most parents are glad that their kids have turned off the TV and video games long enough to pick up a book. And keeping a reserved attitude about it will keep the issue of witchcraft (while not desireable) from being seen as "forbidden fruit".

As a thinly veiled effort to bash Conservatives (and others that value Traditional Values), the NewsBusters has this article about the Huffington Post and their treatment of the issue.

So let's consider the reality of the situation, the only entities in the country - that can really ban a book - are the government and publishers that engage in collusion to prevent a book being published, sometimes by buying the rights and burying them. This may be more of an issue regarding books printed in other countries, that have not officially been released here.

When concerned parents ask that a book not be made available to children in school or public libraries, because of it being either wholly inappropriate or at least age-inappropriate, that is not banning.

If those advocates of that particular book (or other related books) are so concerned about this book being available to the public, they can ask that the book be retained on reserve or there are other alternatives. Unlike Cuba, it is entirely legal and proper for American citizens to establish their own libraries (or private reading rooms).

If the book is available for sale on Amazon, eBay, or other internet outlets, it is not banned. This is simply a yearly attempt to whip up sentiment against a non-existent threat. As long as we have our series of Checks-and-Balances and free speech forums, such as talk radio and the internet, Left Wing or Right Wing efforts at any sort of book banning will wither under the light of day.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Environmental Tyranny...is Still Tyranny

By way of Wizbang, is this cross-posted article on what is being done to the common people of Hatteras Island, NC.

In another Leftist agenda-driven power (and land) grab is just another step along the way towards John Holdren's goal of de-development (and depopulation, initially local areas) of the United States.

The soft RINOs, willing to make deals with Leftists, are not going to stop this sort of tyranny.

There are ways to work with people to help protect bird (and other) habitats, rather than government seeking to depopulate (de-develop) an area, at the behest of elitist environmentalists. This sort of agenda-driven tyranny only produces a backlash effect against other environmental protection efforts, even sensible efforts will be greated with skepticism, at best.

The people that have lived on Hatteras Island have learned - over the course of decades and generations - what works and what doesn't.

They have no desire to destroy anything. These are reasonable people that would cooperate with reasonable environmental efforts.

It is the same story as what goes on in the rural Western United States, where environmentalists, in collusion with the Federal Government are working to put ranchers out of business, by hook or crook (or both). The ranching families that have been there for decades could not have survived if they hadn't learned (on their own) what constitutes sustainable behaviors. They are willing to listen to sensible suggestions.

More than anything else, it is a power game.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Politics as Usual

As I may have stated before, I am not a political purist. I am part pragmatist.

I don't have a problem with taxpayer subsidies to farmers IF THERE IS A "SUNSET CLAUSE", i.e., it only lasts 3 - 5 years. That being said, subsidies should be avoided, as there are always strings attached.

One problem that I have with federal farm subsidies is that often they go to the well-connected, instead of the small family farm - an entity which is cited as a justification for these subsidies, "We must save the small family farm."

From this CNS News article, a similar thing is happening with federal small business "set asides". They are going to the well-connected.

From the article:

"The Small Business Set-Aside Program (SBSA) is intended to help small businesses get a certain percentage of government contracts, but for nearly a decade, the federal government has counted contracts with large businesses -- in some cases, Fortune 500 firms and other publicly traded companies -- toward meeting its legally required small-business contract goals.

The Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997 sets a goal that 23 percent of all government contracts go to small businesses, as defined by employee size and revenue."

Design or accident? Maybe a little of both. Maybe a little bit of overlooked fraud. Maybe government not keeping up with changes in the status of businesses.

From the article:

"The SBA admits there have been problems. In some cases, the problem stems from a company misrepresenting itself, in which case, “We’re going to go after them,” SBA spokesman Jonathan Swain said. But he also said problems most often arise from agency errors, typically when a small business grows or is acquired, but the bureaucracy continues to view it under its previous status.

“Over the course of, let’s say, a five-year contract, that business actually grows and they no longer fall under the small-business size standard,” Swain said. “So they should no longer be counted. That contract, after the third year or fourth year, hypothetically, should no longer be counted as going to a small business. So those things need to be updated.”

Perhaps some useful legislation (not having read it):

"Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) introduced a bill with 26 co-sponsors called the Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act. It would prohibit a publicly traded company from being counted as a small business, and it would penalize companies that misreport their status to get contracts. Chapman [Lloyd Chapman, president of the American Small Business League (ASBL)] said the legislation would create more jobs than any other existing proposal."

Another thought, large businesses (including corporate farms) have legal departments (or lawyers on retainer) to deal with the paperwork and the attached strings. Small businesses (and farms) may not be willing to mess with these hassles.

So when Congress wishes to buy more votes with another subsidy bill, please just keep these things in mind.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And It Was All Nonsense!

The continued belief (by some) at Socialism - in its various forms - actually works, is historically-proven nonsense. Perhaps nonsense is too tame a word for it, considering the death toll of 20th century Socialism.

The title remark is from this Chicago Boyz blog post.

The post was based upon a comment from a previous post. The commenter had - as so many Leftists before - parroted the condescension raining down from the intellectual class, in regard to Sarah Palin and the Tea Partiers.

A couple of brief paragraphs from the post:

Most of the contemporary political and social theories of today’s left are nothing but rebranded Marxism. Most of today’s leftwing leaders were educated in college by Marxists and Freudians, and 18% of liberal-arts professors, who are major Palin haters, still are dumb enough to self-identify themselves as Marxist. (Universities are often museums of intellectual failure.)

Therefore, leftists today are just as likely as their immediate ideological ancestors to believe stupid things with great passion. After all, they haven’t changed anything about their methodology, i.e., the way they generate ideas and test them. It is reasonable to presume they will likewise latch onto some fallacious and dangerous idea and treat it as absolute fact. (Global Warming seems like a good suspect. All the signs are there.)

Basically, the problem with a "high falutin'" education from an Ivy League school (or something comparable) is that often the recipients graduate thinking that they have nothing left to learn. Or else they are so used to having "information" spoonfed by their professors, they are unable to become self-taught - about anything - once they leave the graduation ceremony.

Those of us with one or more degrees from more pedestrian universities understand that our learning has just begun.

As others wiser than myself have said, Liberalism is intellectual laziness and cowardice. Intellectual laziness in not being willing to read and listen to viewpoint that contradict what they think they know and cowardice in not being willing to engage in self-examination of their long-held viewpoints and making changes.

More later...

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 - Dead Man Talking

[I don't remember if I related this 9/11 story before, I probably did at some point.]

After the college cancelled classes for the rest of the day on 9/11, I decided to go to a local Mexican restaurant because they had several TVs and chips and salsa is a comfort food for me.

While standing in line to get a table, I overheard part of a conversation from a nearby couple. [This was before either of the towers had fallen.] The woman remarked that she (or perhaps a friend of hers) had gotten a phone call from a nephew in one of the towers, above the fire.

At the time, no one knew the finality of the events and apparently, the intensity fire had not reached the nephew's floor, as her recounting of the conversation seemed rather matter-of-fact, i.e., at that time, perhaps she had some hope that they would somehow be rescued.

We found out otherwise a bit later...

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9/11 Remembrance - 2010


[Updated and slightly modified from 9/11/06, 9/11/07, 9/11/08, and 9/11/09. I think that these links and blogs still work.]

Because Each One Had a Name - The 2,996 Project

Who was Robert A. Lawrence? He was a husband to Suzanne and a Dad to daughter Toland, then 11 and son Bobby, then 9. [They are now 20 and 18.]

He was one of the 2,996 victims of 9/11. Robert A. Lawrence was 41 at the time of his death on 9/11.

He was a Mortgage-backed Securities Specialist for the firm of Sandler O'Neill & Partners. Sandler O'Neill and Partners was on the 104th floor of 2 World Trade Center. Of the 180 employees, 66 were killed.

Robert, despite his dislike of heights, began his career with Sandler O'Neill & Partners on September 10, 2001. It was one of those sacrifices that parents make in order to put food on the family table.We know that Tower 2 was partially evacuated after Tower 1 was hit, but because too many people were in the "it was an accident" mindset, workers in Tower 2 were given the "all clear" to re-enter the building at 9:00 AM.

At 9:03 AM, United Flight 175 slammed into 2 WTC (the South Tower), immediately impacting floors 78 through 84 of the 110. The impact isolated those above the crash by blocking stairwells and elevator shafts, through damage, debris, and fire.

Besides being a Husband and Dad, he was a Son, a Brother, a Nephew, a Cousin, and no doubt a Friend to many. From the online tributes, we also know that he enjoyed sports with family members, he liked to play guitar to entertain his kids and other family members. He had a sense of humor and he liked to organize events and meetings.

He was just another American engaging in commerce, bringing together the combined talents of "Wall Street" and "Main Street", both vital parts of American commerce, which the MSM tries to separate. [We can make our after-the-collapse judgments of mortgage-backed securities in another venue.]

This is one particular timeline of 9/11, because some want us to forget. [Some are saying, in essence, that it is "no big deal".]

Another 2,996 Project tribute of Robert A. Lawrence is by Matt Rooney at The Republic Square.
[2008 Update: I hope I continue to do some justice in this brief tribute with this brief yearly tribute. We need to continue our private efforts as the MSM is clearly devoted to hiding images from our collective view. Also remember how Keith Olbermann "had a cow" over the 9/11 tribute at the Republican National Convention. That sanctimonious bastard got torqued over the Republican Party's "exploitation" of 9/11, when most adults-in-the-room know that it is about reminding ourselves of why we continue to prosecute the War on Islamist Terror.]

[2010 Update: Does anyone remember that a certain current Vice President said that our current President "would be tested"? Most thought of a military/terror test (and that could still happen), but this Ground Zero mosque proposal - against the wishes of most of the 9/11 families and about 70% of NYC residents - could be another test, of our resolve and backbone. Weakness invites more attacks.]

[More links to the 2,996 Project and other info were posted on 9/12/06. Here is what I posted on 9/11/05. Go back and study some more.]

Because each one had a name.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Just a Short Rant...

about the proposed "Qu'ran burning" and the Ground Zero mosque.

We are taught in our youth that for every freedom, there is a responsibility.

The nutcases in Florida have the right to burn as many Qu'rans as they wish, BUT IT IS IRRESPONSIBLE!

The folks that want to build a Muslim community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero have a right to do so, BUT IT IS IRRESPONSIBLE!

That should be clear enough!

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What Makes Him Tick

Or some of what makes him tick...[Updated on 9/11]

Briefly, Barack Obama - during his life in Indonesia as Barry Soetoro - did not live a life of comfort as he might have with his grandparents in Hawaii.

The article addresses the pay differences between Barry Soetoro's family and the pay of expatriate Americans working for oil companies and other businesses, as well as embassy workers. In other words, the native Indonesian workers were not paid nearly as well as the visiting Americans. This no doubt, in the view of Stanley Ann Dunham's socialist mindset, generated a great deal of resentment towards Americans and American businesses.

[Expatriates being paid more than natives is nothing new. Back in the 1970s, several of my friends here worked for Minolta in the camera service department. The Japanese workers were hired by a separate Minolta entity, in order for them to legally justify paying the Japanese workers more than the Americans.]

Because of Barry's American mother, there was probably some interaction with other members of the "American community". [Conjecture here, but it is probable that, as stated above, Stanley Ann made negative comments about the pay differences within earshot of young Barry. These things make impressions on kids.]

(More later, as my work schedule permits).

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