Saturday, July 29, 2006
Point Arena should be famous for its gophers. Not because there is anything special about them, just that there are so many of them. In fact, Point Arena is gopher heaven. When Ron and I were digging the basement for our house, I noticed the dark top soil was a couple of feet thick, great for plants, which made it great for gophers too.
Pop was raised on a farm near Bakersfield, and he liked to grow vegetables. Of course, gophers like to eat vegetables. Pop worked on the garden evenings and weekends, the gophers ate in the garden around the clock, seven days a week. The gophers’ fondness for his garden irritated Pop. At first Pop thought that he could get rid of the gophers through reason. Gophers could detect approaching danger by the vibrations they felt thorough the soil. So Pop decided to rig some windmills that would rattle on top of the fence posts surrounding the garden, and this would cause the gophers to reason that they were always in danger. It didn’t work. Our property was at the southern end of Windy Hollow, and the wind never stops blowing across it. The gophers quickly got used to the constant vibrations from the windmills, and the fact that nothing bad happened, and just tuned the “danger” out.
It did not take long before Pop concluded that you could not reason with gophers, you have to kill them. His attempts at drowning them with water, or asphyxiating them with the exhaust from our old Chevy, didn’t seem to make a difference, so Pop started trapping them. The wire gopher traps that impaled the gopher as he worked at his tunnel end worked pretty well. The traps were simple and inexpensive. The only problem with them was they were labor intensive. You had to locate a fresh mound, open it, and set and anchor the trap. And reset it if the gopher pushed dirt into it and triggered it before he was in the danger zone. Of course, you also had to remove the dead gophers when the trap succeeded.
Soon Pop had a brilliant idea. He had spare change in his pockets, but not much spare time. Ron and I had a lot of spare time, and were usually broke or close to it. Pop proposed paying us a dime a gopher tail, and we gladly accepted. We set all of Pop’s traps, and borrowed several traps from neighbors. Soon we were trapping gophers to the tune of about a dollar a day. However, after just a couple of weeks our gopher trapping income started to fall – we were running out of gophers. But we had gotten into a habit of luxurious living because of the gopher money, and we didn’t want to reduce our new lifestyle. The cherry coke after school at Titus’ Sweet Shop, a bag of popcorn before going to the Point Arena Theater, and a Cherry-a-let candy bar after the movie. It hadn’t taken long for us to add these luxuries to our expectations. Now the gopher shortage was threatening to take all this away.
About that time we noticed that there was not a gopher shortage on the neighboring properties. Then it dawned on us that as long as there were gophers living next door, they could easily invade and destroy the garden. So without knowing the word “preemptive,” we launched a preemptive attack on the neighbors’ gophers. We soon had our income back to about a dollar a day, and Pop (and his neighbors) had some of the most productive vegetable gardens ever grown in Point Arena.
Sad to say, fifty years have passed and the gophers have recovered and then some. Just recently a high school football game had to be moved because the gophers had taken over the football field. Alice and I were on the School Board when the gophers in the football field problem came up, and one estimate of the cost of solving the problem was $250,000. The days when gophers could be eliminated for ten cents each were long gone.
(The San Francisco Chronicle, where Leftist opinion parades as news, has an article about gopher control without poisons in its 4 March 2006 issue that I spotted a few hours after I posted this. The bottom line - trapping works, if you keep at it.)
Friday, July 28, 2006
As Alan Dershowitz points out, human rights in the case of terrorism are being used to promote human wrongs.
Hezbollah hides a rocket launcher in a civilian house. The laws of warfare says that is a violation, using civilians as shields, and the Israeli destruction of the house does not violate the law.
Go to Vital Perspective for the total perspective on the war in the Middle East.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
To be the worst, you have to suffer in comparison to others. You have to do something worse than President Clinton did in 1994, when he studiously ignored the slaughter of 800,000 in Rwanda. You also should not notice that more people died in a heat wave in Chicago in 1995 than in Katrina in Louisiana. Of course, you have to forget the excruciating embarrassment of Monica. Finally, I doubt if any Democrats with memories intact forgive Bill and Hillary for the Hillarycare fiasco. Republicans should create a monument to it, as it resulted in Republicans winning both the House and Senate for the first time in forty years.
Worst ever comparisons must also include LBJ. He micromanaged us to defeat in Vietnam (where we never lost a battle), and about as many or more Americans were killed in any four-month period in 1967 through 1969 than have died in three years of fighting in Iraq. Against the widely discredited claim that 100,000 Iraqis have died, the Vietnam War killed over two million Vietnamese.
Who can forget the pathetic presidency of Jimmy Carter? Remember “malaise?” Double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates, economic stagnation, recession, the 444-day Iranian hostage crisis, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? Jimmy really fixed them when he boycotted the Olympics, didn’t he?
JFK was well on his way to a miserable presidency too, following the Bay of Pigs debacle with starting and escalating the Vietnam War. Given his chance to clean up the mess, LBJ just made it worse.
A Republican could never be the worst President. Democrats already set the bar too high.
UPDATE: In a mano-a-mano comparison of President Bush with President Clinton, President Bush wins in a walk. For irrefutable proof, go to Bush Outperforms His Predecessor, by Matt Nobles.
The reason for having a strong military is to convince potential enemies not to attack you. If they attack anyway, then the reason for a strong military is to beat the (expletives of your choice) out of them. At no point is there a rational military objective for the stronger nation to have a fair fight with anyone.
Do the numbers. If Israel responds to attacks from Lebanon by Hezbollah in a proportionate manner, if both lose the same number of citizens Israel is a big loser. There are 6.3 million Israelis, there are a total of 90.9 million Lebanese, Syrians, and Iranians. “Whoa,” you may say, “wait a minute here, there are only 3.9 million Lebanese.”
“Whoa,” I say, “wait a minute yourself; everyone agrees that Hezbollah, a state within a state, attacked Israel. No one says Lebanon did. And for whom do Hezbollah toil?”
If you have a tough time answering that question, it’s probably because you have an anti-Israel agenda, and not because you don’t know that Iran supplies Hezbollah all their rockets and other military equipment and training through Syria. If Hezbollah and Israel suffer the same amount of casualties, Iran and Syria can make up Hezbollah’s losses, but Israel is significantly weakened.
So the plain facts are that Israel is fighting Iran and Syria by retaliating against their Hezbollah proxy. In that battle, Israel is outnumbered 14 to 1. What if horrific fighting breaks out, and each side (keeping Israel’s response proportionate to the provocation) loses 3 million people? Now Israel is outnumbered 28 to 1. It is easy to see that Israel can’t allow itself to get drawn into battle where they can only respond in proportion and with the same means as their aggressors. Such an Israeli battle plan would be called “Suicide.”
When Hezbollah kidnapped the two Israeli soldiers, and killed eight others, they and their leader Nasrallah were shocked that Israel would go to war over two soldiers. They must have felt that they could just keep on irritating Israel, while digging trenches and building rocket emplacements to increase their ability to conduct a low-level war of attrition. After all, it’s a lot easier and inexpensive to launch sporadic attacks at selected targets chosen from many in a large area than it is to try to defend against all attacks. When Hezbollah added larger and longer ranged rockets to their repertoire, they multiplied Israel’s defense concerns tenfold.
Hezbollah – read Iran and Syria - has left Israel only one rational choice. Destroy Hezbollah.
The United States has been left with only one rational choice. Don’t stop Israel from destroying Hezbollah.
The Lebanese don’t have any choices, anymore. They made theirs when they allowed Hezbollah to set up operations in their villages.
The United Nations don’t have any choices either. They made theirs when they watched as Hezbollah built up strength in Lebanon, often by locating right next to United Nations units.
Iran and Syria have choices. They can withdraw their support of Hezbollah, or they can escalate the fighting and have both the United States and Israel rain death and destruction upon them as soon as they cross the line.
Hezbollah gets no choices. Allah better have a lot of spare virgins.
(Inspiration for this post is Captains Quarters)
When I was in the Navy, I once witnessed a bar fight in downtown Olongapo (Philippines) that still haunts my dreams. The fight was between a big oafish Marine and a rather soft-spoken, medium sized Latino sailor from my ship.
All evening the Marine had been trying to pick a fight with one of us and had finally set his sights on this diminutive shipmate of mine... figuring him for a safe target. When my friend refused to be goaded into a fight the Marine sucker punched him from behind on the side of the head so hard that blood instantly started to pour from this poor man's mutilated ear.
Everyone present was horrified and was prepared to absolutely murder this Marine, but my shipmate quickly turned on him and began to single-handedly back him towards a corner with a series of stinging jabs and upper cuts that gave more than a hint to a youth spent boxing in a small gym in the Bronx.
Each punch opened a cut on the Marine's startled face and by the time he had been backed completely into the corner he was blubbering for someone to stop the fight. He invoked his split lips and chipped teeth as reasons to stop the fight. He begged us to stop the fight because he could barely see through the river of blood that was pouring out of his split and swollen brows.
Nobody moved. Not one person.
(To learn the lesson of this teaching story, or parable, go to Treppenwitz)
From just the past month alone, the riches have been piling up. For example:
From Iraq, Aisha Mohammed proposes a fair negotiated percentage of $11,000,000.
Stanly Edward, from Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, and his family are giving me 20% of $12,500,000 ($2,500,000).
Mr. Chiwetalu Philips Onuma, an accountant officer with Intercontinental Bank,Plc (I.B.P) branch in Dakar Senegal, is giving me 40% of $18,200,000 ($7,280,000).
Fatou, the daughter of Mr.Sanha from republic of Guinee Bissau, is getting me to help her invest $5,300,000.
Mr. Nana Boatin, the Manager, Brokerage and Investments, Bank Guarantee Ltd, Accra, Ghana, is giving me 30% of $3,950,000 ($1,185,000).
At this rate, I may quit my day job.
Of course, one of the conditions of these deals is that I keep them top secret. Therefore, I sent them the following assurance.
Since no one reads my blog, our secrets are safe.
This is the latest:
LOTERIA LA PRIMITIVA
LOTERIA DE LA PRIMITIVA
AVNIDA DE AMERICA,
137MADRID - SPAIN
FROM: THE DESK OF THE PROMOTIONS MANAGER, INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT,
AWARD WINNING NOTIFICATION LETTER
YOUR REF: LP/26510460037/06
YOUR BATCH: 24/00319/IPD
We are pleased to inform you of the announcement, of winners of the LOTTERY PRIMITIVA SWEEPSTAKES/INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS held on 4th december,2005. the late release of this result was due to difficulties encountered in sorting out mixed up numbers and email addresses, that´s why we have been working 24 hours to see that everything is ok. Your email address name attached to ticket number 025 11464992-750 with serial number 2113-05 drew the lucky number 3-18-19-30-32-39, which consequently won the lottery in the 3rd category. You are therefore have been approved for the lump sum pay out of euros 1.847,824 (ONE MILLION EIGHT HUNDERD AND FOURTY SEVEEN THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED AND TWENTY FOUR EUROS ONLY.) in cash credited to the file REF: P/26510460037/04,BATCH: 24/00319/IPD.
This is from a total prize of euros 26,299,000.00 shared among the seventeen (17)International winners in this category. CONGRATULATION! Your fund is now deposited with a Security Company EURO SECURITY AND INSURANCE .S.A.. Due to the mixed up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award a top secret from the public notice until your claim as been processed and your prize money remitted to your account as this is a part of our Security protocol to avoid double claiming award or unwarranted taking advantage of this program by participants. All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 25,000 email addresses, names from Australia, USA, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Middle-East and South-North America .
As part of our international promotions program, which we conducted once in a year. We hope with a part of your prize, you will take part in our end of the year high stake euros 300 Million International Lottery. To begin your claim, please contact the issuing authority, your prize claim agent, Mr.MICHEAL SARDA, (Foreign Operational Manager) Tel: 0034 630212176, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. with the following informations.
YOUR REFERENCE NO:
YOUR BATCH NO:
Remember, all prize money must be claimed not later than the 22nd of DICEMBER 2006. After this date, all funds will be returned as unclaimed. Note: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference and batch numbers in every of your correspondence with your agent.if not you reply will not be answered for security reasons Furthermore, should there be any change of address do inform your claims agent as soon as possible. Please remember to quote your reference and batch number in all your correspondence Congratulation again from all member of our staff and thank you for been part of our promotion program.
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At your disposal, I remain.
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no 20 fuenlabradaMadrid-España
SPAINWarning!!!: Fraudulent emails are circulating that appear to be using National Lottery addresses, but are not from The National Lottery.PLEASE REPORT IMMEDIATELY TO: CUSTOMER CARE/COMPLAINTS DEPT:CUSTOMERCARE@EXCITE.COM
Monday, July 24, 2006
Chris Matthews on the left and Pat Buchanan on the right show stupidity is universal. I am proud to be a veteran American fighting man who helped make the world safe for mental midgets to expose their brainless conditions. Outside the United States, you usually have to be a world leader to have such an audience for dumb.
Standard Dumb Letter 1a is quite simple – quite simplistic – and goes like this. “If (fill in the blank with just about anything the United States or Israel does to fight terrorism), the terrorists have won.”
The latest example follows:
The letter above, from Irfan Rydhan, San Jose, fits the template perfectly: “If the Israeli army responds harshly, Hezbollah gets exactly what they want.” The letter goes on to illustrate the horrible problems Israel is causing itself. “Hezbollah will be much stronger… Israel has given them a reason to continue their fight and commit more acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians.”
Giving terrorists what they want (Letters to the Editor, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 July 2006)
Editor -- It seems that Israel, backed by the United States, still has not learned how to deal with the "terrorists." The maniacal military response by the Israeli army is exactly what Hezbollah was after. The vivid images of bombed-out buildings and homes, bodies of innocent children in the street and the total destruction of the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon are re-energizing Hezbollah and are perfect recruitment tools for other militant groups.
The Arab and Muslim worlds are watching in awe as the United States and Western governments allow this destruction to continue without any regard for the 330-plus mostly civilian casualties inflicted by Israel. This is the perfect scenario for "terrorist" groups. Israel may capture or kill Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah after the bombings are over, but Hezbollah will be much stronger than before. Israel has given them a reason to continue their fight and commit more acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians.
Violence begets violence. If Israel and the United States truly want to end terrorism, they need to stop giving terrorists what they want!
The logic of the above is certainly inescapable. If Israel kills a lot of trained, experienced Hezbollah fighters, and captures and destroys their huge stockpiles of military equipment, rockets, and explosives, Hezbollah will be much stronger. But of course!
Why? Because “Israel has given them a reason to continue their fight and commit more acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians.” In other words, they will have an excuse to keep on doing what they have been doing all along.
Mr. Rydhan seems sure that Hezbollah would have stopped attacking eventually if Israel didn’t respond to Hezbollah’s attacks. Why would Hezbollah have stopped attacking eventually? Hezbollah terrorists have all gotten old and tired, and since Israel hasn’t responded to any of their attacks, Hezbollah hasn’t gotten any recruits for years? All the Jews in Israel are dead from the continual unanswered attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas on Israeli civilians? Iran got its nuke and Hezbollah doesn’t want to be around when Iran and Israel nuke it out?
And, of course, “(the scenes of destruction) are re-energizing Hezbollah and are perfect recruitment tools for other militant groups.”
Mr. Rydhan, all of these terrorist groups (you call them militants) were recruiting jihadists and attacking civilians frequently and viciously all over the world for several decades now, in areas where the United States and Israeli militaries never set foot. It is a tenant of the Muslim religion that Allah requires all non-Muslims be made subservient to his will or be killed. The Koran, the unalterable word of Allah, so states, so no Muslim or Muslim apologist can say that Islam is a religion of peace. Well, Islam could be when all non-believers are killed or subjugated.
In the meantime, whenever harsh measures are taken against Islamofascist terrorists, we can count on The San Francisco Chronicle running letters that we are giving the terrorists exactly what they want.
It pleases me to know that the terrorists want to die, because I want them to die too. The sooner, the better.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Thursday, July 20, 2006
We Are Compulsive Tinkers
As soon as I started to plow through the headlines and commentary on the Mid-East crisis, I knew that Israel and President Bush are doing the right thing. In Newsweek, President Bush’s foreign policy is given a “down” arrow. The San Francisco Chronicle criticizes Israel for killing Lebanese civilians. European governments, and commentators at all levels of newspapers, television, and magazines, collectively wring their hands and implore, beseech, plead, demand, a cease fire.
What, in the name of Sam Hill, would a cease fire accomplish? Would it “pave the way for diplomacy?” So far, the way paved by diplomacy was used by Hezbollah and Hamas to bring in and sequester a very large supply of rockets, the sole purpose of which was to rain terror on Israel by killing Israeli civilians.
Iran and Syria have hidden behind the actions of their Hezbollah and Hamas surrogates, bankrolling and supplying war materials to them while denying involvement.
Again I ask, what does a cease fire accomplish? The government of Lebanon cannot even control southern Lebanon. The only way Hezbollah will cease their murderous ways is if they are annihilated by Israeli attacks. Why should Hezbollah be given freedom to attack Israel from Lebanon, without Israel treating this as an act of war? Should Israel be expected to not blow up Hezbollah fighters and war materials because Hezbollah chooses to hide them among Lebanese civilians? Hezbollah certainly isn't constrained by world opinion from attacking Israeli civilians – in fact, Israeli civilians seem to be their primary target.
Why does Hezbollah have the rockets? Not for defensive purposes, obviously. Why did Hamas keep firing rockets into Israel? Not for defensive purposes, obviously.
What then is the obvious reason Hezbollah and Hamas have the rockets, and have been attacking Israel? The obvious reason is they want to perpetuate a state of war with Israel until their final triumph over Israel. The old saying is “it doesn’t matter how many times Israel wins, Israel’s opponents only have to win once.”
Still the fools, and the savages who hate Israel, plead for President Bush to make Israel cease firing. Israel must not be allowed to decimate Hezbollah and Hamas, because that would be “disproportionate” use of force. After all, Hezbollah and Hamas can’t annihilate Israel, yet, so why shouldn’t Israel be made to wait until annihilation is a more credible threat? At least wait until Hezbollah and Hamas are better armed, and can inflict real damage. Also Israel should wait until Iran has nuclear warfare capabilities, rather than striking preemptively. Where is Israel’s sense of fairness? Just because all of their antagonists have pledged the destruction of Israel shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
Americans are natural-born tinkers. We don’t want to take something that isn’t working worth a damn, tear it out by its roots, and replace it with something that makes sense. Our Internal Revenue Code runs into hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations and interpretations, so to solve the problem we create – more regulations and interpretations – and then we will label the resulting abomination the IRS Simplification and Reform Act of Year Whatever. In truth, only the very simple think anything was simplified or reformed. We just tinker, we never actually change anything.
If Israel is continually attacked by agencies sworn to its destruction, we plead for diplomacy to be given a chance. Liberals point to the great diplomatic efforts of Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat, which brought peace to the Middle East for a weekend or two. A peace that was used then as cover to recruit, train, and supply the forces that are attacking Israel now. Hamas says they won’t honor any of the agreements previously made with Israel. So much for Bill Clinton’s legacy as Tinker-in-Chief.
The demands are at a crescendo for President Bush to show he can tinker. And he had better start his tinkering right now, before it’s too late for Hezbollah and Hamas. Israel is “a-fixin’-to” lay some serious “tinkering” on them.
(Numerous other Democratic expletives deleted - not suitable for a family-friendly blog)
(This post inspired by Dr. Sanity)
When a Liberal has holes bored in his head, the truth finally gets a chance to penetrate. In an article posted to Time.com on July 16, 2006, Yes, It Really Is Brain Surgery Be nice to the man with the holes in his head, by Michael Kinsley (a great talent, to whom I wish all the best recovery from surgery for Parkinson’s Disease), Michael wrote that he was working on the line he would deliver when he came out of surgery.
Time Magazine update: Kinsley's surgery took place on July 12 and went fine. His first words were, "Well, of course, when you cut taxes, government revenues go up. Why couldn't I see that before?"
What wonderful timing for Michael Kinsley, to see the light just as President Bush was announcing:
"This economy is growing, federal taxes are rising, and we're cutting the federal deficit faster than we expected," Bush noted, citing a mid-year report released earlier in the day by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). "As a matter of fact, we're a year ahead" of cutting the deficit in half by 2009, he stated.After noting that his administration's original deficit projection for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2006, was $423 billion, the president stated: "Today's report from OMB tells us that this year's deficit will actually come in at about $296 billion," a decline of $127 billion.At one time even the Democrats knew the power of cutting taxes to create economic growth and increase tax revenues. Although Teddy Kennedy cried “foul” when President Bush brought this fact up in his 2004 election campaign, according to President Kennedy (Heritage Foundation Tax Research) :
“Our true choice is not between tax reduction, on the one hand, and the avoidance of large Federal deficits on the other. It is increasingly clear that no matter what party is in power, so long as our national security needs keep rising, an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenues to balance our budget just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits. Surely the lesson of the last decade is that budget deficits are not caused by wild-eyed spenders but by slow economic growth and periodic recessions and any new recession would break all deficit records. In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now.”
President Kennedy proposed a series of tax rate reductions in 1963 that resulted in legislation the following year dropping the top rate from 91 percent in 1963 to 70 percent by 1965.
The Kennedy tax cuts helped trigger the longest economic expansion in America's history. Between 1961 and 1968, the inflation-adjusted economy expanded by more than 42 percent. On a yearly basis, economic growth averaged more than 5 percent.
Tax revenues grew strongly, rising by 62 percent between 1961 and 1968. Adjusted for inflation, they rose by one-third.
After the Jimmy Carter-inspired malaise, the Reagan era began.
Reagan's across-the-board tax cuts ushered in America's longest peacetime expansion, helping to create 20 million new jobs and pushing incomes and living standards to record highs.
The economic effects of the Reagan tax cuts were dramatic. When Reagan took office in 1981, the economy was being choked by high inflation and was in the middle of a double-dip recession (1980 and 1982). The tax cuts helped pull the economy out of the doldrums and ushered in the longest period of peacetime economic growth in America's history. During the seven-year Reagan boom, economic growth averaged almost 4 percent.
As a direct result of the Reagan tax cuts, total tax revenues climbed by 99.4 percent during the 1980s, and the results are even more impressive when looking at what happened to personal income tax revenues. Once the economy received an unambiguous tax cut in January 1983, income tax revenues climbed dramatically, increasing by more than 54 percent by 1989 (28 percent after adjusting for inflation).
After Michael Kinsley came to after surgery and stated his revelation, his next words to the doctors and nurses gathered round probably were: “I hope you’re all Democrats, and not a word of this gets out.”
(Seamlessly – maybe shamelessly – shifting from the medical theater to a courtroom scene)
Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, in summation, this is an open and shut case. Tax cuts encourage economic activity and grow the economy, and a growing economy increases total tax revenues.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
(This is a continuation of Prometheus 6 - Into The Lions Den, where a lively discussion ensued centered on my post, My Ancestors Owned Slaves. It was me against the website, and after a short while I felt I had them surrounded.)
Reluctantly, I say my goodbyes to Prometheus 6. They initiated the discussion, I chimed in with comments, and it didn't take long for the whole process to deteriorate into them posturing and posing. Once the "trash talking" takes over, nowhere is where you're getting fast. It was interesting and exciting for me, but I sensed I wasn't playing my part. I'm a foreigner in their culture and don't understand the significance of the profanity and put-downs. I think I was supposed to respond in kind, but that would come across as phoney. Since I haven't watched TV (except football) for over ten years, my "jive" talk would sound like ten year sit-com "jive"talk. And I bet no one but me calls it "jive" talk anymore, anyway.
I sent the following "goodbye" letter, but it appears I didn't need to, because Prometheus 6 already pulled the plug on me. I sent it a couple of hours ago, it went into their "comment moderation" cycle, and it hasn't appeared yet.
Worn Out My Welcome
It has been fun. I still have a lot of points on the table none of you have touched, for example, the General Motors analogy. Still, I see that you have declared victory, without breaking a sweat. So just sit back now and wait for the reparations checks to roll in. (See Cargo Cult, Reparations, and Casinos for more of my thoughts on Reparations)
Your boasts and brags are like tales “Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” But for a few brief moments my article and comments stirred you, and you unleashed your torrents of “bigot, red neck, racist dog, Major Asshole,” and plantation imagery of mint julep sipping while watching the slaves sweating for ‘Ol Massa.
When you said in your comments I was “Beat Down,” I looked up "Beat Down," but didn’t find me there. Then I looked at what I have written, and I found someone who was happy to be brought to your Garden Party, even though you did so selectively by cherry picking my article. I didn’t write the article to be a race baiter, but I did hope to stir controversy. Mission accomplished. Why? Because I am a descendent of slave owners, and many Blacks are too. Blacks want reparations paid for slavery, but only because they are living comfortably in a nation that can afford to waste its money - on them. The Blacks living in Africa, most of them descendents of both slaves and slavers, know that descendents of the ones who were taken to the United States are the lucky ones.
Plus I don't suffer from the Liberal guilt that would make me keep my mouth shut.
In the meantime, my thoughts take me back to the over 21 years I served in the greatest meritocracy the world has ever seen, the U S Air Force in particular, and the U S military overall. The folks I served with proudly didn’t need reparations, or affirmative action, to get ahead and do a great job. Many, like me, were born and raised poor, but we took our opportunities and made the best of them. It feels great when the one responsible for your accomplishments is you, and you’re the only one to blame for your failures.
The person who says he can do it, and the one who says he can’t, are both right.
UPDATE: This comment from Prometheus 6 just popped up on their web site:
I haven't declared victory. I just see no reason to subject the folks here to 20 year old race-baiting lines.
You've established nothing. You've only expressed your unsupported opinions.
Meanwhile, I think I'll stop past your place and see if you deleted my comments.
How interesting. He decided not to subject his folks to my comments, after earlier going to Real Clear Politics, selectively copying from my article, and commenting on it. I suppose I can understand why he doesn't want to subject "the folks" to my ideas - they definitely don't fit in on his plantation. Then he gratuitously declares them 20 years old - I didn't realize my ideas were time/date stamped - and that they are "race-baiting" because I don't support reparations and affirmative action.
These are not unsupported opinions. My article was opposed to paying reparations to Blacks for slavery because none of us were slave owners or slaves. Prometheus 6 never proved any of us were, and further never made a logical case - remember the General Motors analogy? - for a collective responsibility to pay Blacks reparations for slavery.
Other support for my "unsupported" opinions comes from Bill Cosby, Dr. Walter Williams, and Dr. Thomas Sowell. These learned gentlemen believe Blacks are responsible for their problems, and for their solutions. Making Black failures a collective responsibility that somehow can be solved by giving money for nothing is something that no fair and rational being could support.
Then his argument moved away from reparations for slavery, and morphed into living under Jim Crow. Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended the vestiges of Jim Crow, over half of Blacks today were born after 1964, and many Blacks prior to 1964 did not live in the South, it is logical to say that only a small minority of Blacks alive today lived under Jim Crow.
Therefore, it is illogical to pay reparations to all Blacks for living under Jim Crow when most didn't, and since the vast majority of Americans alive today did not uphold Jim Crow or have anything to do with it, to have them pay for it.
But then it was time to move on to the book Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism (Hardcover) by James W. Loewen , $29.95 marked down to $18.87, currently number 72,062 in Amazon rankings. Dr. Loewen's anecdotal "proof" is very interesting, but not sufficient cause to pay all Blacks reparations because a small minority can't live in towns such as Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Darien, Connecticutt, and in all of Idaho (Huh? I didn't know they wanted to).
At this point I am wondering what the NAACP is doing to earn all the dues they collect, if they can't get their army of lawyers on these cases and end illegal housing discrimination.
While Dr. Loewen is at it, he should check on why so few Blacks live on The Sea Ranch, California. My buddy Don is one. I can't think of any others. I wouldn't want to live there myself - too many rules - but the median home price there is also $835,000, which makes it even easier to not live there.
His final statement, that he is going to check on me to see if I deleted his earlier comments, is illustrative of his warped viewpoint. I don't delete comments. I don't even "moderate" comments, as he does. I think he suspects me of being like him.
He visited and left a comment. Darn. I was hoping he wouldn't get there until after I added this update. I'll email him and let him know what he missed.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Prometheus In Chains
My post on Real Clear Politics Reader Articles, "My Ancestors Owned Slaves" was my most popular post so far by far. During the past three days I had over 400 visitors, and about 300 of them viewed "My Ancestors Owned Slaves," plus enough readers voted for it (and for "Making The Army Of Reconquista") to move both posts into the featured Reader Submissions category.
One added plus, a contributor to Prometheus 6, a Black-themed website, posted an excerpt and commented on my article. Click on "Prometheus 6" above to go to the post and comments concerning my article. Don't expect to find that anyone at Prometheus 6 agreed with anything I wrote. The following is my reply to the leading and following comments of the Prometheus 6-ers:
I want to get a few things straight in our discussion of my article, “My Ancestors Owned Slaves.” The first is I didn’t crash your “Prometheus 6” garden party; you invited me when you selected portions of my article to post on your website.
The second, I don’t have to base my arguments against reparations on going back to and discussing all the historical wrongs of slavery and the post slavery period; you have to convince me that you’re due reparations because you were victimized, not because your life has been tough. What you want may not be what you get, and so far I have not seen one coherent argument for reparations.
Third, I understand you have an incredible database to document the reasons for your failures; wallowing in victimhood seems to have become a national pastime, not just a Black obsession. I’m sure many of you have Ph. D.’s in Victimology.
Fourth, my disagreeing with you is not a sign of ignorance, lack of education, or intellectual capacity. If you take the time to go to my website and browse, you will find a lot of things you disagree with, but you will also find I have led a life of educational accomplishment, travel, and variety of experience. Born and raised poor, now living the American dream.
Finally, all the threats that I should “tread lightly, or get em-bare-assed,” or being called “Major Asshole Mike,” don’t constitute proof that you are right. I know I’m in hostile territory. I know you have your own Gospel of “the way it is,” and that nothing I do or say will shake your beliefs. In fact, it won’t even make you think, but maybe it will make you wonder if someone can have a reasonable and logical basis for disagreeing with you.
Blacks are not the only ones who have it rough. Not in the least. Irish tell of “No dogs or Irish” signs. Japanese lost property and were placed in internment camps during World War II. The Asian refugees you called “self selected” left Cambodia and Vietnam in fear of their lives. Hispanics are fleeing Cuban government oppression, and poverty and corruption in Mexico, Guatemala, and many other American nations. In Haiti, Blacks experience anything and everything that could be bad, and worse. Since all of these problems are blamed on Uncle Sam, maybe they should be the ones claiming reparations.
I hope I didn’t give them any ideas.
Just this past Friday a Rotary Club officer told of how she and her family suffered religious and ethnic persecution at the hands of both the Soviets and the Nazis, and spent over eight years in fear, desperation, and starvation before they were able to leave war-torn Europe for a new life in the United States. Arriving with no money, no education, not being able to speak, read, or converse in English, her father, brothers, and a sister dead, no family or friends to call on, she is now a successful business woman who has dedicated herself to improving the lives of unfortunate Africans – clean water, better nutrition, education – her gifts to the world, because of the opportunities she found in the United States.
Only Blacks who have experienced the inhumanity of Darfur, or Rwanda, can know how Jews in Europe were enslaved, starved, beaten and tortured, then killed with less humanity than we show a stray dog found in the street. Many of those who escaped annihilation arrived with ruined bodies and health, penniless, not understanding the language and culture, after living through a decade of Hell on Earth. I doubt any descendent of American slaves alive today has experienced the like.
As a final point, your analogy of citizenship and ownership of General Motors shares stinks. On this one, I’ll have to pull rank. Not the rank of a retired Air Force Major, but that of a CPA, MBA. When you buy the shares of a publicly traded company, like General Motors, your liability is limited to the amount of your investment. If the company goes bankrupt, not impossible given the current state of General Motors, and the company goes into liquidation (not likely), the investors are not liable for liabilities remaining after assets are sold and proceeds of the sale applied to liabilities.
Your analogy stinks on many other grounds. When you make an investment in a publicly traded company, you are investing in earnings potential, given past performance and projections of future performance. All this is done in light of the risk you perceive, and your degree of risk aversion. If circumstances change and now don’t suit your investment objectives, you sell General Motors and do something else with your money. Buying General Motors is a choice, being born in the United States isn’t usually, unless you’re a pregnant foreigner who gets across the border just in time to have your baby in the United States.
So far the analogy that underpins your whole argument doesn’t hold water. Come back at me when you get the intellectual leaks patched.
(Dear Reader - please click the following link to see than I am Having More Fun Than The Law Allows)
Saturday, July 15, 2006
A couple of weeks ago a writer to the ICO was saddened by the lower education level of soldiers who signed up on AnySoldier.com. She found them to be “not the cream of the crop, not obvious college material, not the ‘advantaged.’” “They often are the under dogs from the under belly of our country.”
Intrigued, I decided to run this test myself and see if I could make snap judgments of education and character based on Internet information, so I went to DailyKos and Democratic Underground, and skimmed the comments. The writer may be on to something. A lot of the comments, particularly about the military and President Bush, were ungrammatical, poorly punctuated, with numerous misspellings. As a bonus, they had a feature lacking on AnySoldier.com, they were laced with profanity, especially the ones concerning President Bush. Apparently they think many Republicans have serious Oedipus complexes.
Actually, I think it was very nice the Democrats organized a Military Appreciation Day to send goodies to the troops. My family did that frequently for me during the early part of my 21 years in the Air Force, and Alice and I have sent many packages to my Army son when he was in Iraq, and earlier Haiti. We also sent a lot of magazines and other goodies for him to pass around in his unit.
However, increasingly the American public is out of touch with our military and its members. This ignorance is manifested in many ways, one of which was demonstrated in the comments of a well-meaning and good-intentioned neighbor.
In truth, most of the guys and gals in today’s military can buy goodies at the Exchanges on or near their operating bases. Which begs the question, “What is the best thing we can send our troops?” In my humble opinion, “RESPECT.”
(End of letter)
The end of the letter, but not quite the end of what I felt like saying. But I try to honor the 300 word limit per letter established by our local paper.
However, this area has become a hotbed of anti-military prejudices because of its proximity to San Francisco, and many of the comments I hear concerning the military are very derogatory. On the day Baghdad fell, the essentially pro-Palestinian Women in Black had an anti-war protest rally in front of the Post Office. As I passed by, one of the Women in Black, my dentist at the time, called me over to argue about the war. Another of the women asked my what I used to do, and I told her I served over 21 years in the Air Force. She then asked, "What did you do after you wasted 21 years of your life?" I got the impression that it would have been OK with her if we didn't have a military, and just let the Soviets take over the world without any opposition.
You don’t have to agree with what our military does, but they are doing it for all of us, even the ungrateful. I have spoken to many people over the years who are ignorant of the military, and are contemptuous rather than thankful. One friend told me we forced Japan to attack us, and events like the Rape of Nanking and other Japanese atrocities prior to Pearl Harbor didn’t mean anything. Another said The Treaty of Versailles was responsible for Nazi atrocities, not the Germans. Their conclusion: we would have been better off if we didn’t oppose the Germans and Japanese with military force.
I sure do beg to differ. Maybe they don't hold freedom and liberty dear, but I do. They don't realize, or care, that "Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf*."
They may say "I didn't ask them to do that, they don't do it in my name," but I'm grateful that even our ingrates have the freedom to gripe and bitch incessantly. All that bitching and griping is the sound of freedom. You won't hear it in Iran, or Syria, or North Korea.
*The words in the banner of "The Mudville Gazette."
Your analysis, as always, is impeccable, and I would know if it was peccable, because I read all the Left's columnists too.
Simply, Israel must attack Iran. If Israel waits, Iran becomes stronger and the inevitable future war more costly. The fallacy of warfare which has entrapped the West is that you only fight to your opponent's capabilities. A fair fight may excite boxing fans, but the survival of a nation is not sport.
When Israel attacks Iran, we had better be ready to defend from terrorist attacks and attack Iran ourselves. Another fallacy of our times is that a sovereign nation cannot be attacked if it harbors terrorists but doesn't overtly use its own forces. The stupidity of allowing terrorists sanctuary didn't make sense even when North Vietnam had the USSR and China as protectors, and it makes no sense at all now that those two powers are not players.
George Bush the Elder listened to all the smart guys and outsmarted himself. Real politick was born of Cold War cynicism, perpetuating un-democratic states as a balance against the power of others. Nothing is solved, only the tensions are preserved to play havoc another day.
"The time has come, the walrus said..."
Oops, wrong closing.
And you beat me to: "There comes a time in the affairs of a man when he has to take the bull by the tail and face the situation. -- W.C. Fields
So I will close: "In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result." --James Allen
Friday, July 14, 2006
"Did you and Aisha enjoy your honeymoon, Mohammed?"
Good fortune continues to seek me out. Just over a month ago I found I had won $1,843,210 in a lottery in which I didn’t even participate.
Tonight I found riches seeking me out from Iraq, from a Mrs. Aisha Mohammed. Where had I heard that name before? Oh yes, Mohammed and his child bride, Aisha. As we students of religion recall, the man who brought us Jihad also was quite a hand with the ladies, and liked to start them young. Muhammad was 52 and Aisha was 9 when he married her and sexually consummated their marriage.
The ancient Aisha was screwed then, but the modern Aisha wants to reverse roles.
The following is an unedited copy of the email I received today informing me of my good fortune.
"From:Mrs MOHAMMED. Attn:The Managing Director Before I proceed, may I humbly introduce myself to your goodself, My Name is Mrs. Aisha mohammed, an Iraqi refugee ,my husband was until recently, one of the personal aid to the president of Iraq who was formerly overthrown out of power Prior to this last serious crisis that is still ravaging in my country,which recently led to misfortune of our government and my late husband position as the personal aid to the president, ,We inherited the sum of US$11 million.The funds were originally gotten from my late husband proceeds. My late husband was able to safe guard the fund with a very good diplomatic contact from my Country and deposited it in thailand. .I have decided to contact you because I am interested in investing in your country which is investment friendly. Please kindly guide and assist me in making the right investment since I am also interested in buying a residential property as I will be moving with my only son musa in over there as soon as every thing regarding technical and logictics details is worked out and ascertained to our respective satisfaction. In view of your participation,I am ready to give you a good negotiable percentage for your assistance,or better still commit it into viable Joint venture projects with you.,be assured that you stand no risk of any kind as the funds belong to me and my only survived son musa. As soon as I get your consent, we will quickly move this fund to your country for investment . However, upon your acceptance to work as my partner, you can contact me with my private e-mail for more details. , I strongly believe that associating with you to embark on this and other business ventures will derive a huge success here after, please include you private contact telephone number and private e-mail when replying. Yours Sincerely. Mrs.AISHA MOHAMMED. email@example.com"
My cup runneth over.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
The Coverts, Joseph Wilson and wife, "undercover" CIA agent Valerie Plame, keeping a low profile in Vogue. This photo was taken about the time that "treasonous" Joe Wilson outed her identity in his entry in Who's Who.
A few months ago a Democrat asked me what I thought about the treasonous act of outing a "covert" CIA agent. I made a simple reply, that no agent was "covert" if they worked at a desk job in CIA Headquarters at Langley for over the past five years. That was not opinion on my part, but a statement of relevant law.
Now a classified program of surveillance of international communications by suspected terrorists, with some of the communications originating or terminating in the United States, has been leaked to the press. This compromise of classified information should be pursued with far more zeal than the Valerie Plame tempest, because it actually damages the security interests of the United States.
A Special Prosecutor must be assigned to subpoena reporters for their testimony to enable the identification and punishment of the leakers.
I am sure the Main Stream Media will pursue this with the same vigor as the Plame "case," because of course they are objective and unbiased.
(In a just released UCLA study of 20 major media outlets, 18 scored left of the average voter, with CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.)
What media bias?
Finally it is revealed on Captains Quarters that Valerie Plame was outed by - her husband, Joseph Wilson, in his entry in Who's Who! Of course, that doesn't change the Democrats in their position that outing her was a treasonous act by the Bush administration, even though all the testimony shows Joseph Wilson lied about his wife's involvement in getting him the "yellow cake uranium" assignment, and about what he found concerning Iraqi attempts to purchase it.
Now the San Francisco Chronicle watch begins. Will they report this, as they breathlessly reported all the allegations about Karl Rove? If they report it, how deeply in the paper will they bury it? And of most import, will they draw a parallel between Democrat's charges of treason vis-a-vis the Plame disclosure, and the New York Times disclosure of significant classified information on the National Security Agency monitoring and the SWIFT terrorist financial transactions tracking?
I bet the Chronicle practices its usual policy of selective outrage, reserving it only for bashing the Bush administration.
Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets.
The San Francisco Chronicle ran the Washington Post article about Valerie Plame and her husband suing the White House figures without once mentioning that Robert Novack said he got her identity from her husband via Who's Who.
So far, the only mention in the Chronicle was on the Editorial Page, where a Robert Novack column explained his involvement and that he found Valerie Plame's identity in Joseph Wilson's entry in Who's Who. Not surprisingly, the Chronicle didn't find that newsworthy, although anything previously that even hinted of Bush administration involvement merited front page converage. It's amazing how little news sense is found in the Chronicle's newsroom. You would think it would be a huge story that the Special Prosectutor Fitzgerald spent over a year and a lot of taxpayer money on nothing.
Sometimes you learn more from what isn't reported than from what is.
Positive trends in Global Warming
I just reviewed Global Warming, What You Need To Know, narrated by Tom Brokaw, which will premier on the Discovery Channel July 16 at 8 PM. Although the subtitle, What You Need To Know, sounded intriguing, I soon determined what they meant is that I need to know that Global Warming is man made, and that in some vague way some or maybe all of us can solve the problem, or maybe not.
I not only did a review, I did a pre-review I titled Chilling Out Global Warming Hype.
This "Global Warming is man made" sermon was backed by a Mormon Tabernacle-sized choir of scientists, but was remarkably unscientific. Not a scientist, not an argument, was presented that challenged the conclusion that Global Warming is man made, and will have catastrophic impacts on most of the Earth’s life forms - except noxious insects, who will thrive and add to the bedevilment of the unfortunate survivors. Over and over again, scientific observations were presented, and then catastrophe was predicted. Many of the scientists presented what was basically anecdotal evidence, since their observations seemed confined to what they personally observed during the past two or three decades of their work experiences.
The whole effort reminded me of the saying, “When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” In the absence of dissenting opinion, scientific incest was committed repeatedly. Polar bears were examined, and recent observations showed their average body weight was down about fifteen percent from other observations made in the past twenty years. Global Warming has reduced the amount of sea ice earlier in recent years, making it more difficult for the polar bear to fatten up on seals. Interestingly, in the 1930's there was another period of vastly reduced sea ice in the Arctic, and enough polar bears survived to be imperiled today. The polar bear scientist “cherry picked” the time period, leaving the impression that all was a polar bear paradise before mankind got around to screwing it up.
Much was made of the fact that the global temperature increased one degree Fahrenheit in the past hundred years, but the fact wasn’t disclosed that most of that increase occurred in the first half of the 100 years. The emphasis on anecdotes and recent observations obscured the fluctuations which have occurred even in this century, let alone in the past 1,000 years. The Medieval Warm Period of roughly 1,000 years ago was not mentioned, probably because it is an Inconvenient Truth that it was as warm then as now without the benefit of the internal combustion engine. Then the subsequent Little Ice Age was overlooked, which actually set the stage for our current discussion of the climate warming. Of course it’s warming, or we would still be freezing our butts off!
One of the showcased scientists for man-made Global Warming was James Hansen of NASA. What he didn’t say in the documentary was more interesting than what he said. In an article NASA Extinguishes Global-Warming Fire, By Patrick Michaels, The Cato Institute:
“NASA's James Hansen now predicts precisely the same, small amount of warming in the next 50 years that the much-derided "climate skeptics" predicted all along. According to both the skeptics and Mr. Hansen, the planet is destined for a mere 0.7 degree Centigrade (1.25 degree Fahrenheit) warming between now and 2050. It's a good thing "W" listened to those skeptics before he decided on Kyoto. If he had waited for NASA, he might have committed the United States down the road to an unwarranted economic disaster for no good reason.”
That part of Dr. Hansen’s predictions somehow didn’t find a place in the documentary. This presentation technique is known as “lying by omission.” “Cherry picking the facts.” “Cheating.” I am not a scientist, but I’m sure it is not known as good science. It’s the sort of thing I would expect from a used-car salesman selling damaged goods.
More questionable “scientific” testimony abounded. An Amazon rain forest specialist noted that 2005 was the driest year he had seen in twenty years. I think that would be analogous to a scientist in Oklahoma saying 2005 was the driest year he had seen in twenty years, without mentioning he hadn’t been born in time to observe the Dust Bowl years.
An Australian ranger noted that it was hot in Australia – many fires, nasty drought – yet he didn’t tell us what Australia was like in earlier epochs. Are we to believe that what we observe in our lifetimes is the sum of knowledge?
In February 2006 an island in the South Pacific experienced the highest tide the inhabitants had ever seen. I wonder what high tides their ancestors experienced? Apparently, this vignette was to illustrate that oceans are rising because of Global Warming, although: “No mention was made of the fact that sea level has been rising at a rate of 1.8 mm per year for the past 8,000 years; the IPCC (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) notes that ‘No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected.’” Click on the link to see my previous advice to Al Gore that the rising sea levels "Ain't No Big Thing."
The repeated melodramatic special effects of flooded cityscapes – New York City landmarks, London submerged, an island village under water – demonstrated how desperately Global Warming was being oversold. Over and over again, what was presented as “what could be,” morphed into “what would be,” with no regard for other possibilities.
El Niño was presented as a growing menace, even though recent observations indicate that La Niña appears to have the upper hand at the moment. This fact contradicts the Global Warming position that Pacific Ocean heating is out of control.
Hurricane Katrina, of course, was highlighted, although the fact it was a piddling Category 3 hurricane – no big thing – when it hit New Orleans was not mentioned, nor was the fact that poorly constructed levees broke under a force they were designed to withstand. I thought that scientific ethics would have demanded that the multi-decadal hurricane cycle – hurricanes wax and wane in a cycle that stretches over decades – would be mentioned, but it apparently was not a Convenient Truth for the proponents of man-made Global Warming.
The entire “documentary” can be summed up with one word, “dishonest,” but that doesn’t do justice to the presentation. After trading on emotion laden phrases such as man-made Global Warming is an “irreversible problem,” we are at or past the “point of no return” for our climate, “coastal civilization will disappear,” “half of the species will be extinct in fifty years,” we are relieved to find that, miraculously, solving man-made Global Warming is not that hard after all.
“We have the technologies now,” to “come in for a soft landing, not a crash landing.” We can drive hybrid cars, take mass transit (if you live in New York), replace an incandescent light with a fluorescent bulb, and pretend that over two billion Chinese and Indians aren’t industrializing full speed ahead. That’s right, pretty soon they will be consuming fuels to produce energy for their needs just like we have been, only there will be eight of them for each of us, and they won’t have an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to mess up their rapid industrialization.
That’s right. America can solve man-made Global Warming simply by turning our economy back to the Stone Age – too much greenhouse gases produced by horses to just go back to the horse and buggy days – which will retard the growth of the Chinese and Indian economies so much that they will be pushed back into a pre-industrial state too.
Or maybe we can all get the energy we need to support a modern life style from wind and solar farms, plus from all the other alternative methods of producing power. However, anyone with a grasp of the enormity of future world energy needs knows that all of the “clean” technologies are actually very polluting in their own way and are totally inadequate to meet demand.
Of course, nuclear power could and would get the job done, but the same illogic that drives scientists to embrace man-made Global Warming also prevents them from mentioning that nuclear is the only viable alternative to the world’s “clean, non-polluting” power needs.
If you watch Global Warming, What You Need To Know, please pay close attention to what is not presented. Science is full of Inconvenient Truths on both sides of the Global Warming issue.
For more of my comments on Global Warming, please go to Bring On Global Warming! and The Four Whorsemen Of Global Warming. But only go to my earlier posts if you really want a fair and balanced look at Global Warming. They are full of the Inconvenient Truths that Al Gore and the "Global Warming is man made" preachers don't talk about.
The reviews below are linked to indicate that I'm not a lonely voice in the wilderness - although being one is usually a good way of being right.
Brokaw Warns..... Bloomberg.com
Senate Committee: Brokaw's Global Warming Special is Biased (Be sure to click on the "Update" link at the bottom)
Senate Majority Press Release
"What You Need to Know" About Brokaw's Global Warming Special
'Global Warming' TV Special 'Misleads Public,' Scientist Says
See the Truth on climate history
Misled again: The Hockey Stick climate
Robert Samuelson knows that if Global Warming is a potential calamity, the only way to minimize it (probably can't stop it) is through engineering, not political moralizing.
To possibly learn, and perhaps even understand, the "Greenhouse Effect," don't go to Al Gore or Tom Brokaw, go to Junkscience.com. Damn, they're good!
"These days, people get bashed over the head with the idea that there is a consensus, and anybody who speaks out against the so-called consensus is a contrarian or a tool of the oil industry or an otherwise morally suspect person." (Iain Murray, a senior fellow specializing in global climate change and environmental science at the free market-based Competitive Enterprise Institute)
Al Gore, Tom Brokaw, and other enthusiasts of man-made Global Warming are fond of citing a "consensus" of scientific opinion supporting their position. However, the study they are most enamored of by Naomi Oreskes has more holes in it than Howard Dean's emotional stability.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
The door of the Point Arena Hotel bar (now called the Sign of the Whale) still features the etched “girl in the champagne glass” window. Inside, the long bar on the right looks the same as when Pop and Mom, with Puddles hanging on Pop’s pants leg, would two-step through “The Blacksmith Blues,” or whatever else was playing on the juke box, early 1950’s. It didn’t matter the song or the beat, Pop and Mom with their versatile two-step were up to the occasion.
The Japanese glass fishing net floats still line the top of the mirror behind the bar. When we arrived in Point Arena in 1949, the time when glass floats were commonly found on the beaches had already passed. The hand-blown floats began their journey to the Northern California coast when they were torn or rotted loose from fishing nets in Japan. The floats entered the Humboldt Current and were carried north, then eastward below the Aleutian Islands, down the Alaskan and Canadian coast, and finally washed ashore on Manchester Beach.
The juke box used to be against the wall next to the restaurant entrance, just before where the shuffleboard table had been set against the left wall. That’s where brother Ron and I, still a couple of years from being teenagers, polished skills that few of the bar regulars could top, especially after they had a couple of drinks. In the center of the rear part of the barroom had stood a bumper pool table, another game that Ron and I soon mastered to the point we could easily beat most inebriated adults. And most of the sober ones too.
None of that is there anymore. The big fireplace at the back doesn’t look like it has been fired up since the law was changed and minors were barred from California bars in the mid 1950’s, about the same time it was made legal for Native Americans to buy booze.
A few years ago Alice and I watched a movie, "Life on the Rez,” made by local Pomo Indian high school students. One of the scenes was shot at the door of Sonny’s liquor store next to the Hotel bar. The film narrator, pointing at the bottles of liquor, says “look what the White Man has done to the Indian.” At that point I burst out laughing. The people around me probably thought, “What an insensitive White Man, doesn’t he realize how terrible alcohol is for Indians?” I laughed because I remember how the Indians and other do-gooders thought it was so horrible that Indians couldn’t buy alcohol, so they got the law changed. Bad White Man!
Lest I seem insensitive, I’m an alcoholic who hasn’t had a drop of alcohol in over twelve years, with no one to blame but me for my drinking, and I give myself a lot of credit for not drinking now. My mother died of cirrhosis of the liver at age 52, so I do give a damn.
At the back of the barroom is the door to the restrooms. Go through and down past the restroom doors to the door at the back. Go through it, then turn right, go in another door, and you’re in the worst kept secret of Point Arena in the 1950’s, the Point Arena Hotel poker room. It’s not much now, it wasn’t much then. Just a round table with a green felt top surrounded by half a dozen chairs. Gene Price, the son of the owners Fred and Flora Price, would invite me and friends for a game of poker whenever we had a little time on our hands. We’d come in the back way, through the door from the rear parking lot, and have a game of nickel ante, quarter limit, poker. Besides Gene and myself, nicknamed “Kraus,” the usual gang was Chuck “Chaswick” York, Dale “Dink” Withrow, Gene Bowman, and Lester “Fester” Ball. At times we were joined by Rick “Gassy” Arbogast, Bruno Fistolera, and others who I will remember and add as memory serves me. We spent many happy years playing poker to basically trade a twenty dollar bill amongst ourselves.
Each of us had our favorite game. Mine was seven-card stud, high and low hand split the pot. Dale was the youngest and most aggressive; he liked five-card, or seven-card, or nine-card No Peekee, where you got all your cards dealt to you face down, and played in turn until you beat the hand before you, or ran out of cards. A pair of aces early meant a lot of raises on every round. You could be into the pot for a lot of money before you saw your first card.
Some of the other favorites were the usual, like draw poker Jacks or better to open, five-card stud, five-card and seven-card stud roll your own hole card, and seven-stud low hole card wild. Some times we played games with an excess of wild cards, like Acey-Deucy or Dr. Pepper, maybe even draw poker with one-eyed Jacks wild, but for the most part we stuck to the basics.
Sometimes our games wouldn't last as long as we wanted. There would be a knock at the door, and a voice would announce, "The big boys are going to play now." Fred Price, Sonny Buti, John Wolstenholm, Spence Withrow, and others, would come in with a sack of silver dollars - Fred Price brought back silver dollars every time he went to Reno - give us a moment to finish and clear our stuff - see who was winning, razz us about something - then the big money would change hands. Before the first hand was dealt, we would be out and looking for our next adventure.
The purpose of our poker games was not to obsess over the twenty dollars we traded back and forth, but to have an excuse to sit down and needle each other and tell stories. We were already into reminiscences, even in our tender teens. We fished a lot together, so we had a lot of fishing stories. We all knew everyone in town, so it was easy to gossip. Our trips to the Garcia River to the good swimming hole at Franci’s were legends in our own minds.
The swimming, and diving from the trees, stumps, and rocks, was just a sidelight of our trips. The most important part was swimming underwater to catch a bunch of crawdads by hand, because that was lunch after we boiled them on the beach in a can we kept hidden in the trees, over a driftwood fire. And the most significant thing about lunch was that it gave us another excuse to sit around and tell more tales, after which we would have - another poker game!
One of the tales we told, and embellished, was about one of our younger days when we bicycled from Point Arena up Windy Hollow Road, and when we crossed the Garcia on the temporary summer crossing bridge, we decided it was too hot and that we needed a swim, even though we hadn’t brought our swim suits. We rode and walked our bicycles up the gravel bar to the Franci swimming hole, took off our clothes, and jumped in. We were soon splashing, diving, and having a great time, when I became aware of a strange sound – feminine laughter. It was easy to spot where the laughter was coming from. The open meadow on the hillside on the south side of the Garcia was covered with squaws and their children, who had walked over to the river from the Garcia Rancheria, the newer of the two Garcia River Indian reservations. They were sitting there on the hillside, pointing and laughing at us. Our bikes – and our now very important clothes – were on the gravel bar on the north side, about fifty feet across in the open from the river bank. Our frolicking and diving stopped. We thought it would not be long before we would have to make a mad rush in the nude across to our clothes, then into the bushes to get dressed. We didn’t know how long our spectators would be there. With us as entertainment, probably as long as we were there to amuse them. It was summertime, and it wouldn’t be dark for seven hours.
We quickly hatched a plan. We told Charley Van Horn’s visiting cousin, Tink, to run and get all of our clothes and bring them to us in a grove of brush we could crawl into from the river bank. Tink made it clear what he thought of our plan. We tried to convince Tink of the logic of our plan. He was the only one of us who didn’t live here, he would be going back home in a week, so he wouldn’t be around to suffer embarrassment like we would. Also, he was the littlest, so he wouldn’t be exposing as much as the rest of us. Tink, however, was inordinately proud of what he would be exposing, and felt in that regard he was as big as or bigger than any of us. Truthfully, at that time, at our ages, our exposure concerns were much ado about nothing. Which was probably why the squaws were laughing so hard.
It didn’t take long for us, lying there now feeling very cold because of inactivity, to come up with our next plan. Draw straws. But when the time came to draw for the short straw, no one would take the chance.
On to the next plan. Every man for himself! We decided on the count of “three” we would all make a mad rush for our clothes. “One, two, three” - no body moved. We counted again, same result. One more time – nothing happened.
At about this point, I realized it would not be long before I wouldn’t have to worry about exposing myself. At the rate my private parts were shrinking, the cold was either going to make them disappear or they were going to drop off. It was then I exhibited the leadership skills that are born of desperation. Under cover of river bank brush, I slipped from the water into the brush, accompanied by laughs and hoots from our audience. The rest of the guys quickly followed. We worked our way through the brush, which had a generous share of blackberry vines, to a point closest to our clothes. There, without too much hesitation, I ran and grabbed my stuff and ducked back into the brush. More laughing and shouting.
Then each of the guys did the same, accompanied by louder and louder laughter and shouts. When we were decently dressed, we quickly and quietly grabbed our bikes and pedaled furiously down the sandbar out of sight.
Once out of sight, it was our turn to laugh. At ourselves.
Even then, I think we all knew another legend had been made.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Where is a New York Times when you really need it?!
Not content with just continuing its highest and best use, which is training puppies to piddle and poo properly, the New York Times now demonstrates an uncanny ability to poop all over itself.
To recap, the New York Times said their disclosure of administration surveillance of terrorist financial transactions was necessary because the administration was too secretive.
Got that? Administration too secretive.
Ok, then the NY Times said there was nothing wrong with their disclosure, because everyone already knew what the administration was doing.
Got that? Administration not too secretive.
The New York Times considered the administration's surveillance of terrorist financial transactions an invasion of the privacy rights of American citizens.
Got that? American citizens' privacy rights invaded.
The NY Times said privacy rights were not invaded, because the terrorists, like everyone else in the world, knew that these transactions were being monitored.
Got that? Absolutely no one's privacy rights violated.
Now that all that is clear, please go to Villainous Company for an delicious eyeful, plus insightful analysis of New York Times historical revisionism. The "newspaper of record" is setting records for contradicting itself.
At this rate of dithering incompetence and incoherence, and adding the financial and journalistic failings of the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, we may soon be forced to find suitable puppy trainer substitutes. It won't be an impossible task, but it will be very hard to find anything else so symbolically appropriate.
It's a shame CBS doesn't come in print.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Obviously, mine is not a popular position, but it should be. "No pain, no gain." America is a nation of tinkers. We like to work on a problem, make a little change here, an adjustment there, take a little nip, put in a little tuck, cobble it together, and muddle through. That’s why we have abominations like paying non-farmers to not farm. Why not non-workers to not work?
Oops, that's right, we're already doing that.
Eventually the best approach to a problem is to tear down the old and build anew. Add Social Security and the Internal Revenue Service to the long list of things that have been and continue to be tinkered, when they really need a mercy killing and rebirth.
Mexico is like a druggie, an alcoholic. No one can cure the druggie or alcoholic but themselves. And to cure themselves, they have to want the cure, which usually means they have to hit rock bottom first before they want to go into recovery. That’s not going to happen as long as the Mexican government does a half-assed job of running the country, and the United States gives Mexicans a way to escape their misery. As it now stands, the government of Mexico owes its continued existence to illegal immigration and the remittances illegal immigrants send back to Mexico.
Almost twenty percent of Mexicans are in the United States, and their remittances in total roughly equal the value of Mexico’s largest export, oil. With the output of Mexican oil fields declining steadily, and the economy of the United States booming, where does that leave the Mexicans? In misery? Or in America?
Why can’t a nation with abundant natural resources, salubrious climate, energetic and hardworking citizens, located next to the richest nation of all time, be prosperous? As Dick E. noted in a comment on Big Lizards, the country has been run “in a manner of speaking” by a stable political party for almost a century. When you compare the progress the United States and Mexico have made in that one hundred years, it is obvious Mexico has made no significant progress. Compare Mexico to South Korea. Half a century ago South Korea was war torn and impoverished. In 2005, South Korea’s per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $20,400, Mexico’s was $10,000. Even Botswana was doing better ($10,500).
Mexico is missing two key ingredients for progress – ending corruption and improving education. And to improve education, Mexico has to end corruption. Let’s try another comparison. Less than 200 years ago Ireland was an impoverished nation of starving people, with civil wars and insurrections. Ireland and Mexico achieved political stability at about the same time, and now Ireland’s educated population produces a per capita GDP of $41,000, seventh highest in the world and almost up with the United States ($41,800).
The students of both South Korea and Ireland achieve high rankings in math, reading, and science, and Mexico is ranked near the bottom in all three categories. Other nations that suffered the devastation of war – Germany, France, Japan, Poland, even Russia – are all ranked higher on both education and economic performance than Mexico. Does it take a war or revolution for Mexico to start getting its act together?
UPDATE: Be careful what you wish for, because some times wishes come true.
"Democratic" López Obrador Threatens Revolution If He Loses, as posted at Big Lizards
Even Al Gore and John Kerry weren't quite this big a sore loser!
UPDATED UPDATE: Yes they are, at least Robert "I'm not the Kennedy in rehab - yet" Kennedy, Jr. is!
Almost two years later, Robert Kennedy, Jr. is still fighting the 2004 presidential election results in Ohio. In Rolling Stone magazine, of all places. Interestingly, many of his conclusions were refuted by the Democratic Party in a study they performed following the election, after which they concluded that President Bush had indeed won Ohio. His conclusions were also refuted in the following Salon.com article.
Was the 2004 election stolen? No. By Farhad Manjoo, Salon.com, June 3, 2006
"In Rolling Stone, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues that new evidence proves that Bush stole the election. But the evidence he cites isn't new and his argument is filled with distortions and blatant omissions."
Monday, July 03, 2006
I wonder if Democrats will agree that WMD is WMD? It seems that no matter how much of it we find, they still aren’t satisfied that WMD has been found. The reason for the reluctance is quite simple. If they ever admit the truth, they are election-day road kill.
Speaking of Democratic reluctance to face the truth: "It's very difficult to characterize these as the imminent threat weapons that we were told we were looking for," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, a California Democrat.
Ms. Tauscher, President Bush never said we were looking for “imminent threat” weapons. President Bush said: “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.”
In other words, we’re taking him out before he can get to “imminent threat.”
Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters finds that the mobile labs captured early in the war could not have been for hydrogen production, but were most likely mobile WMD facilities as first thought. Another Liberal balloon popped.
Hamas invaded Israel from Gaza and kidnapped an Israeli soldier. When a sovereign nation invades another and kills and kidnaps the citizens of that nation, it is an act of war. Now Hamas wants to use their “spoils of war” to extort Israel to release imprisoned terrorists. Israel says “No, that would only encourage more kidnapping. Instead, we are going to make your lives miserable until you unconditionally return our citizen.”
In light of the fact that Israel won’t be extorted, Big Lizards asks “What should Hamas do?” Take Big Lizards’ quiz and see what recommendations you would make to Hamas.
David Horowitz is campaigning very successfully for an Academic Bill of Rights, as reported by Power Line. In essence it would prevent political or religious issues from being used against students and faculty, and course work should be based on a broad range of information and viewpoints. Further, dissenting viewpoints should be encouraged and tolerated.
Why does the liberal-dominated academic world find these concepts so threatening?
Who is Lieutenant Tom Cotton, and why is his very existence a dire threat to Liberals?
Lt. Cotton is such a damning spokesman against the New York Times betrayal of the security classified SWIFT Program, that Liberals are left with questioning his existence as the only path to reducing his effectiveness.
I think I’ve inflicted enough Liberal pain for one evening.
My nomination for the most destructive book in terms of human suffering is Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.” It inspired an almost total ban on using DDT worldwide, causing millions of deaths each year in Africa alone from malaria. Her emotional presentation of pseudo science set back progress in Africa as much or more than any of the other admittedly criminal and foolish things that Marxist African despots have inflicted on their long-suffering subjects.
For the most destructive movie, the envelope please. Tada! It’s Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”
As an aside, I get the same feeling when I hear the Democrats spouting “truth” as I did when I heard the Communists name their enslaved nations the “People’s Democratic Republics of Whatever.” It seems the charlatans always cloak themselves in the guise of their opposite. For example, TruthOut.org.
Actually, Al Gore’s desperate attempt to find relevance does not have “legs,” meaning that its shortcomings are already well documented and that his attempt to start a global warming stampede will backfire. In fact, the heightened interest will eventually benefit global warming critics more than adherents, because to this point the main stream media was only interested in the “hype and drama” of the global warming alarmists. Every hot day, every glacier calving an iceberg, each hurricane, dry spell, wet spell, heavy snowfall, El Niño, La Niña, anything and everything was pointed to as a sign of global warming.
National Geographic Magazine must have a policy that every article has to be tied to global warming some way. “Paris fashion models are featuring higher hemlines and aquatic footwear, just the thing when global warming puts the streets of Europe under water.”
However, they may have a long wait. The seas are rising, but they are not rising very fast. “Gore claims that sea level rise could drown the Pacific islands, Florida, major cities the world over, and the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. No mention is made of the fact that sea level has been rising at a rate of 1.8 mm per year for the past 8,000 years; the IPCC (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) notes that ‘No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected.’"
Those United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change guys are just a bunch of global warming spoil sports, aren’t they? Take away the rising oceans panic, and you can’t stir up enough fear to “jump and shout, and run about,” can you? Well yes you can, if you’re a Democrat, but not if you are a rational human being.
“1.8 millimeters per year? Good Gawd, Gerty! In 100 years that’ll be four inches! Four inches, Gerty! Do you know how much four inches is?’
Sorry, Gerty, I forgot. Like you always say, ‘Ain’t no big thing.’”
It’s funny Al Gore thinks it is.