Day by Day

Friday, March 28, 2008

Message to Al Gore – The Skeptics have Science on Their Side


Al Gore’s message to climate change skeptics is, as usual, long on polemics and devoid of facts. According to Gore, if you don’t believe climate change is man made, you’re like the believers in a flat Earth.

Memo to Gore: Al, the science is almost all on the skeptics’ side. The Earth has experienced hundreds of periods of climate change. In fact, the Earth is in a constant climate-change mode. So far there is no proof that man caused or is causing climate change, but there is an enormous file of scientific evidence that climate changes have occurred naturally.

Are sea levels becoming too high? Only 18,000 years ago, during the last major Ice Age, they were over 400 feet lower than today. During previous warmer periods when the Earth lost almost all its ice, even at the Poles, sea levels were higher than today.

Al, what is the optimum sea level? Today’s? Then what is mankind to do to stop the next Ice Age, or the next Hot Age?

Is it too warm? It was warmer 1,000 years ago during the Medieval Warm Period, and mankind flourished. It was in the Little Ice Age that followed, and lasted until 1850, that the sort of suffering from violent weather, disease, and malnutrition you predict for global warming plagued mankind.

It was warmer during the Holocene Climate Optimum 5,000 years ago, and civilizations grew and flourished. Ditto for the Roman Warm Period of 2,000 years ago.

Do you see a pattern here, Al? Natural global warming occurred three times since the last Ice Age, and mankind not only survived, but prospered. Only 1,000 years ago, vineyards bloomed and farming was widespread where both are marginally possible today.

Harvard and Smithsonian scientists studied over 240 climate studies and concluded the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today.

Al, your vaunted “hockey stick” of global temperatures by tree-ring proxies has been proven to be fundamentally flawed and useless. Yet it was the centerpiece of your “Inconvenient Truths” presentation.

Wow, talk about an inconvenient truth!

And your famous picture of polar bears on a shrinking ice berg was taken in August, when you would expect to find polar bears on shrinking ice bergs. Didn’t you give us the impression that it was unusual?

That’s not science, Al, that’s lying.

Al, it hasn’t warmed up since 1998, and it’s been cooling lately, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. Did the Southern Hemisphere decide not to participate in global warming?

Or is it happening naturally, the way it has hundreds of times in the past?

Al, you may call us skeptical, but we call you gullible.

Your pronouncements continue to demonstrate that your mediocre scholastic achievements are a true reflection of your abilities.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

If Al Gore is the Answer, What was the Question?

I know the answer! I know the answer! Teacher! My hand is up!

I know the answer!

The question was: Are you a member of an organized political party?

The answer is: No, I’m a Democrat.

With apologies to Will Rogers, the last humorous and charming Democrat.

Only Democrats could be at the stage in this long primary election campaign, where two candidates have already slugged it out through most of the states large and small, and yet be ready to throw both aside and call for…

Al Gore?

Yes, Al Gore.

You can’t make this stuff up. Look. It’s right here, in Time Magazine. See? They actually paid a guy named Joe Klein to write this stuff.

I’m not lying. You can read it yourself.

If Time is that spooked at Hillary or Obama being the candidate, the Democrats are really worried. The polls are piling up showing Hillary supporters won’t vote for Obama, and Obama supporters will bail out on Hillary.

And it will only get worse. If you’re a Democrat.

If you’re a Republican, the next five months until the Democrat Convention are like a dream come true.

With Al Gore added to the picture, it’s a Republican masterpiece.

The only way it can get better is if the Democrats bring on interns or escorts.

Oh sorry.

My bad.

They already have.

Both.

Fitna, the Movie

Click on the movie name in red to go to Fitna, (courtesy of Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs) the Movie by Geert Wilders about the Quran (in English). The movie is short, and very simple. It merely takes the words of the Quran and translates them, then illustrates some of the resulting violence the Quran has inspired in the followers of Islam. In other words, it just uses the words of the Quran in juxtaposition to the words and deeds of its adherents.

As usual, the Islamofascists have threatened to kill any and all who have anything to do with this movie. That includes you and me - me for bringing it to your attention, and you for watching it. Of course, it's easier for them to learn of my part than yours.

However, they still haven't found Gualala, and I guess I'm safe since GPS can't find it either. I do keep my eyes open for anyone wearing a long flowing robe or a burqa, but that description applies to some of the old hippies up here too.

A "Hail Mary" for Hillary

In a desperate attempt to rescue Hillary from her lies that she was “under fire” when she landed in Bosnia, in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece, “Bosnia in March 1996 was a war zone,” by Richard Rapaport, March 26, 2008, the writer concludes that: “It is thus silly and degrading to argue about the inherent dangers of traveling to Bosnia in March 1996. As well protected as she was, Hillary Clinton did take risks to go there.”

All well and good, Mr. Rapaport, but that’s not what Hillary said. She reported in vivid detail things that did not happen and repeated instructions she was not given. No one said that there was no danger. There is inherent danger in flying. There is less danger if you’re flying in an aircraft provided, maintained, and protected by the U. S. Air Force expressly for the transport of the First Lady and First Daughter, and flying into an area that had been “sanitized” by the U. S. Army for weeks before Hillary’s arrival. Mr. Rapaport related his experiences flying into the same part of Bosnia ten days earlier, and he obviously didn’t find the same circumstances then that Hillary did later.

However, Hillary didn’t accurately report what happened on her arrival, she embellished the story, and was found out by CBS News, not exactly a bastion of the “great right-wing conspiracy.” The fact that there were glaring discrepancies between what she reported and what others experienced is newsworthy, regardless of Mr. Rapaport’s admiration for Hillary and her husband.

The old adage: “When in doubt whether the reporters will remember, tell the truth,” has been a problem for Bill and Hillary for a long time, and it looks like nothing has changed.

Socialized Medicine - the Dream is Alive

Socialized medicine shares a universal aspect of socialism: The believers in socialism (communism without a KGB) always say it will work if ever it were done properly. The problem isn’t socialism, they say, but the people running it.

However, the true believers in socialized medicine have eyes but will not see, have ears but will not hear. As they speak of the marvels of socialized medicine in Europe, the reality of Europe is quite different.

The population of the European Union is shrinking and aging rapidly, as it also becomes lower skilled and less educated. Europe’s birthrate is below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per female needed to maintain zero population growth, and even Muslim immigration with its higher birthrates is not enough to stabilize its population.

As birthrates fall, longevity rises. A shrinking workforce pays ever-higher taxes to pay the benefits of the rapidly growing elderly and disabled populations.

All of this is playing out to the background music of rapid Islamification of Europe, featuring hoards of uneducated, unskilled, and because of culture and attitudes, virtually unemployable Muslim youth.

But enough of Europe’s problems, which proponents of socialized medicine studiously ignore. We are surrounded right here, in the good old capitalist United States, with classic examples of the failure of socialized medicine. The San Francisco Chronicle chronicled just such failure in a front-page article, “Newsom ready to sue over cuts in Medi-Cal; Reduced payments to doctors would burden city, he says,” March 26, 2008.

Gavin Newsom, San Francisco’s adulterous alcoholic Mayor, who would be governor in 2010, was reacting to a 10 percent reduction in California state reimbursements to doctors who treat Medi-Cal patients, which he called “unconscionable.”

(Medi-Cal is California's medical insurance program for the poor, funded half by the state, and the other half by federal matching funds. The California 10-percent cut will be a “double-whammy,” since the federal contribution will be cut the $567 million no longer required to match state funding. Medi-Cal will cost $38 billion next year and serves 6.7 million patients at an average cost of $5,672 per patient. The 10-percent reduction is only for reimbursements to doctors. If it was against the entire program, it would be $3.8 billion, or 6.7 times greater.)

(Nationally, California is already near the bottom in reimbursing doctors for treating Medi-Cal patients and dead last in how much money it spends per Medi-Cal patient, according to the California Medical Association.)

Call it what you will, Mayor Newsom, but the State of California is in a bad state financially. Its Democrat legislature, and its pseudo-Republican governor, has always spent tax revenues like a New York Mayor patronizing an escort service. However, for many years the buoyant economy and ever-higher property values produced tax revenues almost but not quite faster than they could be squandered.

What happens to all those government services and benefits when the good times stop rolling?

According to Lenny Goldberg, executive director of the California Tax Reform Association of Sacramento, which advocates equitable taxation and is supported by labor and education groups, "We have such an irrational property tax system, we rely on the growing housing market, and then when it levels off, there's an awful lot of schools and services hanging out there."

In other words, when things don’t just keep rising – our “over exuberant” economy stalls – what happens next can be summed up succinctly:

“Oops.”

In California’s situation, the “oops” is about a 16-billion shortage of revenues compared to expenses. And it’s really a lot more than that, because California does what other governments all do (and what they don’t allow businesses to do), and ignores its burgeoning unfunded liabilities for future retirees. At a point in the not-too-distant future, this big chicken will come home to roost – it already has in some areas, such as Contra Costa County – and no matter how wonderfully the tax revenues revive, the rapidly growing retirement payments will deplete all other government-funded programs and services.

In particular, Medi-Cal will continue to have growing needs at the same time California will have less funds available for it. Mayor Newsom predicts that “physicians will stop treating Medi-Cal patients altogether and that poor people will be forced to visit hospital emergency rooms for all of their medical care.” Public hospitals, such as the ones funded by the City and County of San Francisco, must accept all patients regardless of whether they have insurance or what kind it is.

The cities, counties, states, and federal government, of course, are all in the same pickle of falling tax revenues, and all of them have based their spending programs on the assumption of ever-growing tax revenues.

Nowhere in any government plans are there provisions for temporary or permanent setbacks such as recessions, shrinking and aging populations, lower property transfers or values, or reduced benefits or public services.

Indeed, even as one system after another fails or approaches failure, there is a clamor for more of the same, and failing programs such as socialized medicine or social security are held up as examples of what we should have, or need more of.

It’s like we’re watching a train speeding down a track that we know is broken ahead, and we’re all congratulating ourselves for building a faster train. In a way, it makes sense. Without a real disaster, a world-class train wreck, we’ll do what Americans all do when faced with a problem. We’ll tinker it to death. We won’t do something new, big, visionary, or least of all, something that will effectively solve the problem.

We’ll do what we did to “reform” or “simplify” the Internal Revenue Service. We’ll add hundreds of new regulations, not get rid of any of the old ones, and just more deeply entrench the status quo.

I can hear Congress now: “They want reform? We’ll give them reform! Then they’ll learn to stop moaning and whining about reform, and keep their mouths shut!”

Still, Americans continue to ask, nay demand, that government do more of everything. Americans are like the socialists. It’s not a problem with the system, is just that the system hasn’t been done right yet.

In the meantime, be careful what you wish for, because sometimes wishes come true.

The Six Miracles of Socialism

There is no unemployment, but nobody works.

No one works, but everyone receives wages.

All get wages, but nothing can be bought with them.

Nothing is purchased, but everybody owns everything.

Everybody owns everything, but they are all dissatisfied.

All are dissatisfied, but everyone votes for the system.

(Purloined from Osmica Magazine, Yugoslavia, via Herb Caen’s column in the San Francisco Chronicle, over a decade ago, and probably more like two decades ago.)


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Medical Expense Bankruptcies

A recent commenter accused me of being either an owner, employee, or a “plant” for medical insurance companies. His reasons, apparently, were that I don’t believe in socialized medicine, and I don't believe that medical expenses cause over half of personal bankruptcies.

I’m neither an owner, employee, nor a “plant” of medical insurance companies, although for a little over a year beginning in the summer of 1996 I was an internal auditor for Kaiser Permanente working out of their Oakland, California, headquarters.

On his first point, he’s right. I don’t believe in socialized medicine, and I have written several posts laden with proof that socialized medicine is doomed to failure because of its inefficiencies and the demographics of the populations it serves.

Inefficiencies: It’s run by governments, and there are no incentives for working harder or smarter. The United Kingdom National Health Service daily provides case studies in how not to provide adequate health services while having constant budget shortages, rationing of services, and longer waiting periods.

Demographics: Populations in the developed world are aging rapidly, and many are shrinking. Soon there won’t be enough workers paying in to support the ever-growing portion of the population demanding and receiving benefits.

Now to the ever-growing numbers of personal bankruptcies. A recent study found that medical problems contributed to roughly half of personal bankruptcies. When that study was announced, the word “contributed” became “caused” in the news releases.

A close study of the details of the study showed that illness did contribute to some of the bankruptcies, as would be expected. In some instances, illnesses caused loss of jobs and incomes, plus in some cases loss of medical insurance, and contributed to bankruptcy filings. In other cases even individuals with health insurance were unable to handle the co-payments, deductibles, and other medical expenses that weren’t totally covered by their policies.

The study showed that the number of personal bankruptcies was increasing at an alarming rate, and was now about twenty times greater than just two decades ago.

At this point I began to wonder about what it is about health-care costs today that make so many more American citizens go under financially than in years gone by. I know that Americans are healthier and living longer, more active lives than formerly. I supposed that could be a factor.

But then the study indicated that the profile of the typical filer for bankruptcy was a single female with two and a fraction children. At this point I heard an “Aha!” somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of my brain. Twenty years ago I never thought of the typical American family consisting of a single female and two and a fraction children.

That demographic explains a lot. A household headed by a single mother is financially very fragile. I wondered if there were more hidden gems in the study?

There were. In the past two decades easy credit proliferated, and many Americans sunk up to their eyeballs in debt. That explained why the very modest medical co-pays and deductibles were now pushing people with heath insurance over the edge into bankruptcy. They already had overextended credit, and any little unexpected extra expense was too much.

Then when the study asked them why they filed for bankruptcy, of course they mentioned that medical expenses were a contributing cause.

And when the study results were released, medical expenses “contributed” to bankruptcy became “caused” bankruptcy.

Its advocates had another stick to beat on us and drive us towards socialized medicine, at the same time most of the developed world is realizing it’s a failed system and introducing privatized medical services.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Misplaced Outrage Over Eliot Spitzer in San Francisco

A letter to the San Francisco Chronicle editor fit the all-too familiar pattern of: “Yes, (something or other) was wrong, but where is the outrage about (all sorts of things that upset Liberals)?”

(Ms. Gregory’s letter is the eighth one down, and is copied and pasted to the end of this post)

In this case the “something” was public outrage over Gov. Eliot Spitzer. The writer, Jean Gregory of Oakland, admits Spitzer was wrong, betrayed our trust, and needs to atone for his actions. Of course, as a good Liberal Ms. Gregory “can’t understand why we freak out over private sexual behavior, especially when it doesn’t involve minors or other unwilling victims.”

Off the top of my head I would guess that we freak out over it because, in this case anyway, we have a public official breaking laws he is sworn to uphold. If he doesn’t like these laws he is in a great position to try to change them, but not to decide they don’t apply to him.

However, I think Gov. Spitzer did think the laws applied to him, because he went to great lengths to conceal his actions.

Ms. Gregory also wonders “where is the outrage over unethical actions” over President Bush taking us to war in Iraq, and over “draconian cuts to public education and social services?” Then Ms. Gregory gets on a real roll and calls for a discussion of “our greater ethical hypocrisy regarding the (mis)allocation of public funds, the refusal to implement the Kyoto environmental agreements, the ever increasing gaps between rich and poor, the eroding of human rights, (and) our alarming rate of consumerism.”

Bless me, Ms. Gregory, but you must live up a tree in Berkeley. All of the things you mentioned have been, are being, and will continue to be discussed with no discernable shortage of outrage across the fruited plain. Therefore, since all is being discussed as you wish, may I be so bold as to divine the real purpose of your letter?

You don’t want us discussing these issues, you want us deciding them in accordance with your desires. In other words, you want your wishes enacted by a Tsar, and one of your choosing.

You want to blame the Iraq war solely on President Bush and Republicans, ignoring that President Clinton and most Democrat leaders, such as Senators Kerry and Clinton, found Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and violated United Nations sanctions long before the world knew what George Bush felt or said about Iraq.

The War in Iraq was brought before a public referendum in 2004, and President Bush won.

Ms. Gregory, I understand you and millions of other Californians not wanting “draconian cuts” to education and social services. Politicians don’t either. But when faced with Gargantuan deficits, cuts must be made, and education and social services are where almost all the money is spent.

I know that at this point you, Ms. Gregory, are jumping up and down violently waving your hand and screaming, “Don’t cut spending, raise taxes on the rich and corporations!”

I know because that is always the Liberal answer.

However, it’s not that easy. The rich are already paying over 85 percent of income taxes, and Proposition 13 limits tax increases on private and corporate property. The rich also employ tax lawyers and accountants, and are not bashful about moving their accounts when a state or nation becomes inhospitable.

Further, if you raise corporate taxes the end result is you raise the taxes paid by private citizens, like yourself, because corporations merely pass those taxes along through their costs of goods or services sold and act as tax collectors, not tax payers. Their only negative reaction to tax increases occurs when higher taxes make then charge higher prices and lose sales to corporations based outside California. When that happens they relocate, and California loses taxes revenues and jobs.

Only Liberals want that.

About your other points, Ms. Gregory, I suggest you talk to the Democrats who control both the Senate and Assembly about their misallocation of public funds. Then you could talk to the United States Senators who voted 95-0 not to ratify Kyoto. After that you should talk to the poor and tell them to work hard at school and on the job, and save their money, and in that way close the income gap.

I’m sure that your preferred approach to closing the income gap is to take it from the rich and give it to the poor, and the poor would like that too, but it’s far better for the poor in the long run to become educated and develop job skills. I know Liberals don’t like that, because then the former poor may become conservative and expect others to learn and earn their own way.

Ms. Gregory, you are really clueless about “the erosion of human rights,” leading me to believe you know nothing about the real erosion of human rights that occurred during the presidencies of FDR, JFK, and LBJ. As a hint of where you can go to get a clue, Google “Japanese detention camps,” “Bay of Pigs,” and “J. Edgar Hoover and Democrats.” If you have a strong stomach for truth, which Liberals don’t but you could be an exception, Google “Vietnam War.” It only became “Nixon’s War” after JFK started it, LBJ expanded it and micromanaged it to death, and Nixon cleaned up the mess.

I’ll bet you don’t know, Ms. Gregory, that more Americans were killed in each four-month period in the last year of LBJ’s reign than the total to date in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at least twenty times as many Vietnamese killed (over three million) than Iraqis since 2003.

On your last point, our alarming rate of consumerism, I don’t know what to tell you. If the poor follow my advice and improve their education and job skills, they’ll become even more competent consumers. They already own bigger houses, more cars, TV sets, washers and dryers, dishwashers, air conditioners, and other consumer comforts than the average European or Japanese.

Or the median American household in 1955.

We could walk to the top of Mt. Diablo and scream, “Stop that damned consuming!” and see what happens. That’s my plan. I’ll bet yours isn’t any better.

Regardless of the alarming rate of American consumerism, the Chinese and Indians are poised on the threshold of becoming alarming consumers too. The only way you can stop them, Ms. Gregory, and their constant increasing production of greenhouse gasses, is to halt and reverse their economic progress.

You don’t want that, do you Ms Gregory? To consign over two billion fellow humans to continue living short, brutish lives of hardship and deprivation, just to comply with a Liberal’s dream of the way things ought to be?

I’ll bet you do, and if you could choose a Tsarina, that’s what you’d have her decree.

Wouldn’t you?

(The following is the letter to the Editor, San Francisco Chronicle, that inspired my comments.)

Misplaced outrage

Editor - Yes, Gov. Eliot Spitzer was wrong. Yes, he was a hypocrite. Yes, he betrayed our trust. Yes, he needs to atone for his actions. But why is there such an overwhelming frenzy? He was engaged in a common enough victimless crime.
Where is the outrage over unethical actions of President Bush and Vice President Cheney who lied and distorted information to engage us in a disastrous war in Iraq? Where is the outcry over the draconian cuts to public education and social services? If we want to engage in a discussion of morality, why do we insist on limiting the discussion to sexual improprieties?
Let's discuss our greater ethical hypocrisy regarding the (mis)allocation of public funds, the refusal to implement the Kyoto environmental agreements, the ever increasing gaps between rich and poor, the eroding of human rights, our alarming rate of consumerism?
I can't understand why we freak out over private sexual misbehavior, especially when it doesn't involve minors or other unwilling victims.
I can understand being appalled by their choices, but how on Earth does it compare to war, greed, violation of human rights, increasing global poverty, and degradation of the environment?
Let's put these misdeeds in perspective!
JEAN GREGORY
Oakland

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pork The New York Times

I read an editorial in The New York Times, Spare the Pork, but Dish Some Candor, published: March 15, 2008.

As usual, The New York Times spared the candor.

The Times noted correctly that politicians posture over pork while spending like drunken Democrats – OK, The Times never used those words – The Times as usual felt that the biggest spending problem was that President Bush cut taxes “on the rich” and spent money fighting terrorism – OK, that President Bush spent money on the Iraq War, which The Times thought was fighting terrorism until it looked like George Bush became too popular after Baghdad fell, at which point The Times changed their editorial minds.

Since when is cutting taxes equated with pork spending? The answer, of course, is it always has been at The New York Times.

Are the editorial writers of The New York Times surprised tax cuts benefit the wealthy? They shouldn’t be, since it is well known that the “top 1 percent of taxpayers, ranked by adjusted gross income, paid 34.3 percent of all federal income taxes (in 2003). The top 5 percent paid 54.4 percent, the top 10 percent paid 65.8 percent, and the top 25 percent paid 83.9 percent.”

Possibly the all-seeing, all knowing editorial writers of The New York Times don’t know this common knowledge, or at least don’t know it when it is inconvenient to the point they are making.

They probably also know, but choose not to let on they do, that the percentage of federal income taxes paid by the highest earners has increased steadily, while the share paid by the bottom half of all taxpayers has steadily shrunk to less than five percent of the total.

But in all New York Times candor, isn’t there something missing from their analysis of government spending? A hint. Aren’t the editorial writers for The Times ignoring the vast majority of government spending?

If I were to ask Democrats-in-the-street what George Bush is wasting all the government’s money on, their answer would be “his illegal war!” (A war that was authorized by Democrats and Republicans, and was raging three years ago when President Bush was reelected. But I digress).

Defense costs

Defense vs entitlements

While defense spending as a percent of GDP has fallen to half of its level in the 1950's and 1960's (including the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan), entitlements spending (now eight percent of GDP)has quadrupled and is now twice as large as defense spending and growing at a phenomenal rate. The tax cuts and Iraq spending are not driving the growth of the deficit, it's Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Where in The Times "candid" analysis of pork and government spending did their editorial staff divulge the simple facts that Social Security and Medicare will be overwhelmed by Baby Boomer retirements and the needs of our rapidly aging population? They didn't, because they haven't figured a way to blame the Baby Boomer demographic disaster on George Bush - yet.

Regardless of taxes cut or not, or the continued expense of Iraq, Social Security will be bankrupt within a decade, and Medicare and Medicaid already are.

How can that be, you ask?

Simple. Medicare and Medicaid are now paying out more than they are taking in. In less than a decade Social Security will be doing the same. Since The Times didn't candidly tell you about the real porky problem, they also didn't tell you what it means to your future, again regardless of what President Bush or any other president has done or will do about tax cuts or the Iraq War.

Once again, it's quite simple. Entitlement benefits will have to be cut and/or postponed, and payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare will have to be increased.

It's as simple as that. The huge Baby Boomer population, which for decades has been shoveling huge mounds of payroll taxes into a hole of steadily expanding benefits, will now be drawing those benefits out, but the hole is empty.

No matter what sort of shell-game explanation is attempted to explain the Social Security Trust Fund, the simple truth is that Social Security and Medicare are pay-as-go programs. Current workers pay current recipients, and any excess is applied to the cash-flow demands of other government programs. When entitlements programs operate at a deficit, fund will have to be taken from other government programs.

Compounding the problem, the worker base contributing payroll taxes is steadily shrinking in proportion to the benefit receivers, but at the same time recipients are living longer, and benefitting from better and more expensive medical care.

Thanks to The New York Times and other liberal enablers, all of our attention is being directed towards the irrelevant and inconsequential and not at the looming disaster before us.

Read The Times article yourself. I linked to it at the beginning of this post. Have The Times editors in any way or form measured and analyzed the truly significant aspects of government spending? If taxes were not cut, would the deficit go away? Or would the deficit grow because higher tax levels reduce economic activity resulting in lower tax revenues?

Don't laugh. Even a Democrat, President Kennedy, noted that paradoxically it was necessary to cut taxes to stimulate economic growth and thereby increase total tax revenues.

If The New York Times editorial staff would read history with candor they might learn the wisdom that JFK and the Democrats once had. But then they couldn't blame Bush for everything.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Democrat Politician Sex Scandals

(I've written many letters to the Editors of the San Francisco Chronicle over the years, often to correct their errors and ommissions. Professionals usually carry E & O insurance, but the Chronicle just lets their errors fly, because they know they can, and because they can edit out annoying letters like mine. One of the nice things about blogging is knowing that at least some of my letters will be read, no matter what the Chronicle editors do.)

Editor

In the San Francisco Chronicle’s expose of sex scandals since the 1970s involving U.S. politicians, (Sex Scandal Lineup, March 13, 2008) you included Florida Rep. Mark Foley (Republican), but erroneously wrote that he was “accused of sending sexually explicit e-mails and instant messages in 2006 to teenage congressional pages.” He actually sent the communications to ex-congressional pages, no longer government employees, all 19 or older.

Not surprisingly the Chronicle omitted Massachusetts Rep. Gary Studds (Democrat), who in 1973 plied a 17-year old congressional page with alcohol, had sex with him including penetration, and took him on an official trip to Europe. Studds was reelected many times, even though the violations concerning giving alcohol to a minor, transportation over state and national borders for sex, and abusing a superior/subordinate worker relationship seem much more serious than Foley “e-mailing while gay.”

Also not surprising, the Chronicle omitted Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank (Democrat), although a male prostitute he hired ran an escort service from his apartment in 1990.
President Clinton made the list, of course, but I was surprised the Chronicle omitted that as a result of his perjury concerning relations with Monica, he was disbarred from his Arkansas law license for five years, ordered to pay $25,000 in fines, and was forced to resign or face disbarment from the Supreme Court bar.

Sen. Brock Adams, Washington-Dem. (1988), numerous accusations of drugging, assault and rape; Rep. Fred Richmond, New York-Dem. (1978), soliciting sex from a 16-year-old; Rep. John Young, Texas-Dem. (1975), increased the salary of a staffer after she gave in to his sexual advances; and Rep. Mel Reynolds, Illinois-Dem., convicted of 12 counts of sexual assault with a 16-year-old. President Bill Clinton pardoned him before leaving office.

Mr. Editor, you could have done your entire article with Democrats alone. I suppose you needed a couple of Republicans for “balance.”

The San Francisco Chronicle Chokes over Nuclear Energy

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"If only there was a viable reliable alternative source of energy that is low in greenhouse gas emissions and plentiful..." says the Green.

The San Francisco Chronicle editorialized that “The EPA chokes” concerning its recent reduction of ozone limits from 80 to 84 parts per billion down to at least 75 parts. Citing a scientific panel’s recommendation that the standard should be reduced to at least 70 parts per billion, the Chronicle tore into the EPA for not implementing the full recommendation, and added that it had “signed off on lax standards for mercury pollution, refused to allow California and other states to set tighter tailpipe emission rules and dragged its heels on acknowledging global warming.”


Aside from the fact there are many good, scientific grounds for skepticism about global warming, I have yet to see a Chronicle editorial about how the environmentalists have choked by not acknowledging that nuclear power is the only viable means towards meeting environmentalists’ goals of greenhouse gas and air pollution reduction.

This is an interesting oversight on the part of the Chronicle’s editorial writers, since just a day before the Chronicle ran a front page article “Green energy is making big money.” It would seem that the analytical minds of the Chronicle editors would have immediately noticed the obvious in that article: that there is no way of replacing the energy generated by oil, coal, and natural gas by developing solar, wind, biofuels, fuel cells, and the other fringe energy alternatives.

Hidden in the article were little tidbits of awareness: “Worldwide sales for companies specializing in biofuels, wind farms, solar panels and fuel cells grew 40 percent in 2007 to reach $77.3 billion” – on the other hand - “Exxon Mobil, the world's largest international oil company, reported $404.5 billion in sales last year - more than five times the entire alternative energy industry combined. And that's just one company.”

And that doesn’t include coal or natural gas.

Another tidbit: “(I)f Congress doesn't renew tax credits used by renewable energy developers, companies that specialize in solar and wind power will be hard hit.”

"If these (renewable energy) credits are not extended by the time they expire at the end of this year, we could see the growth of solar and wind come to a standstill in the U.S."

A “cap-and-trade system (for limiting carbon dioxide emissions) would increase the cost of energy derived from fossil fuels and make alternative energy sources more attractive.”

Tidbits the Chronicle missed:

The alternative energy industry, at its greatest scope of development, wouldn’t be able to meet more than a fraction of the rapidly increasing worldwide demand for energy. In fact, it could not meet the needs of just one country, China.

In fact, due to China’s rapid and continuing growth in energy needs, the only way of satisfying China’s burgeoning energy requirements is through adding coal-fired generation plants, and China is adding a plant every ten days large enough to power San Diego.

The same increased cost for oil and gas makes nuclear energy much more cost effective than alternative energy.

Alternative energy companies will go belly up without tax subsidies, whereas nuclear energy is thriving without subsidies. If you doubt this, look to France and Japan.

Even with the high cost of oil, the alternative energy industry is highly inefficient. The production of ethanol and hydrogen require more energy to make than they produce.

Solar and wind power require huge acreages, are difficult and expensive to maintain, must be supported by 100 percent conventional energy backup in a constant state of readiness, cause incalculable environmental damage such as killing protected birds, destroying fragile habitats such as deserts, and are visual pollutants (just as Ted Kennedy and his family about a proposed wind farm off the Hyannis Port coast).

Biofuels drive up food costs, compete for scarce water resources, require more energy to produce than they provide, compete for natural gas to make fertilizers, and release such copious quantities of greenhouse gases when land is cleared for planting that it takes 93 years of CO2 savings before any positive result is accrued.

All this information, of course, is readily available to the Chronicle. However, it’s not the sort of information the Chronicle or its targeted readership is comfortable knowing, so they remain willfully ignorant. Fortunately for the Chronicle its readers are ecstatic to be surrounded in ignorance in their Liberal Fool’s Paradise, and the Chronicle is pleased to be a constant contributor to their growing lack of knowledge.

The motto of the alternative energy industry: “Anything is possible when you know nothing.”

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Coolest Winter Since 2001

That’s a fine Howdy Doo for a world being driven to ruin by man-made global warming. Here we are deep into the Apocalypse, and we’re still suffering cooling relapses.

The latest global warming update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that the winter of December 2007 through February 2008 was the 54th coolest winter since national records began in 1895 (or the 49th warmest, if you would like to look at it that way).

Either way, it’s a long way from the burning discomfort we have been told we are already experiencing. In fact, since global warming is supposed to have its greatest effect in warming up our winters, I wonder where has all the warming gone that has been building up since the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850? By the late 1950’s, according to NASA, we had already experienced six of the ten hottest years of the last one hundred.

Since the warming platform was already well established by 1940, shouldn’t we expect that warming fueled by greatly increased atmospheric carbon dioxide after 1950 should have driven us to new heights of heating? And yet here we are, almost a decade after 1998, the second hottest year after 1934 of the last 100, and we haven’t surpassed a record for warmth set 73 years ago.

Photobucket

In fact, ocean temperatures derived from the study of marine organisms in Sargasso Sea sediments show that our current ocean temperature is lower than the average for the past three thousand years, and is about 2 degrees Fahrenheit below than 1,000 years ago during the Medieval Warm Period.

It should go without saying, but since we’re dealing with Al Gore and His True Believers we can’t assume anything, that during the preceding warmer periods of 1,000 years ago (Medieval Warm Period) and over 3,000 years ago (Holocene Climate Optimum), there was not enough burning of fossil fuels by mankind to drive global warming.

Further, since sea levels have risen an average of two feet per century since the end of the last Ice Age 18,000 years ago, our current increase of seven inches in the past century does not appear remarkable.

Polar bears in Summer
Unlike Al Gore would have us believe, this photo was taken in August, also known as Summer, and is a perfectly normal occurrence at that time of year. The only danger these polar bear face is embarrassment that Al would make them a party to his lie.

Polar bears should be pleased, if polar bears can be pleasured by weather trends, that Arctic ice is back to levels similar to decades ago. In fact, Arctic ice coverage appears to be the same as in 1980, when satellite records were in their infancy. They should also be pleased, if the availability of polar bears of the opposite sex has the capacity to give them pleasure, that overall polar bear populations are increasing, and in a few areas, thriving.

None of this will stop, or even slow down, the worshipful attendance of Al and His Acolytes on the altar of Anthropogenic Global Warming. As will all religion, man-caused global warming is based on belief, not science, and mere facts will not weaken the faith of true believers.

I just hope, for their sakes, that they hang onto a good, thick coat, and keep their central heaters tuned up. For my part, I wouldn’t mind it warming a few degrees here in Gualala. I’m not getting any younger, and someday I will feel like forsaking the short-sleeve shirts I wear the year around as my aging body yearns for more warmth. In my secret heart I was looking forward to Arizona weather coming to northern California so Alice and I would never have to move to stay warm.

The way it’s cooling now, a polar bear may move into the neighborhood.

The Immorality of Proportionate Response - Israel and Gaza

Hamas continues a daily rocket barrage on Israel from Gaza, and is stockpiling Syrian and Iranian rockets in Lebanon to resume attacks from there soon. This is the thanks Palestinians give to Israel for leaving Gaza to facilitate the creation of a Palestinian state by Palestinians.

As should have been expected, it didn’t take long for the Hamas war-lords to drive Fatah, the incompetent and venal followers of Arafat, out of power and, for the most part, out of Gaza. Then began the only “peace” process Hamas is capable of, incessant attacks on Israel launched from populated areas of Gaza to provoke a military response with civilian casualties.

At that point, also as anticipated, the nations of the world take the stage to criticize Israel for making a “disproportionate” response to Hamas’ provocation. Apparently it’s unfair to try to take effective action to stop the Hamas rockets.

My criticism of Israel is that they have made a proportionate response, and I suggest they should try a disproportionate one. Israel obviously has the military might to obliterate the areas Hamas uses to launch rockets. Israel also has the military strength to turn off electrical power and stop fuel, food, and other necessities at the Gaza border, and should make total use of it.

Israel owes its citizens nothing less than security against Hamas (and Hezbollah) attacks. It doesn’t owe any one in Gaza immunity because Hamas is using them for a shield, even if involuntary. Just because Hamas chooses to hide behind Gaza civilians doesn’t mean they must be given sanctuary by Israel. After all, the Palestinians in Gaza did vote Hamas into power.

If Israel does not retaliate, will Hamas stop the attacks?

No, of course not.

If Israel retaliates, will Hamas stop the attacks?

No again.

So what stops Hamas attacks?

The deaths of Hamas leaders and fighters.

Oh.

It’s very simple. Hamas wants nothing less than the destruction of Israel. That’s all they and their ideological progenitors have wanted for decades. Will Hamas change or compromise?

No.

Is that a fact?

To answer a question with a question, when have Hamas ever said otherwise?

So what is this dream of peace between Israel and the Gaza Palestinians led by Hamas?

Idiocy, kept alive by people who know better, but won’t admit its reality.

Also known as fools.

Just because you dream it, doesn’t mean anyone else does.

Monday, March 10, 2008

California Propositions I Wish I Could Refuse

I hate propositions.

California propositions, that is.

In California our legislature punts on deciding any controversial issue, so then some so-called group of “concerned citizens” qualifies a proposition for the ballot that really screws things up.

Legislative inaction on run-away home appreciation causing run-away property taxes led to the ongoing nightmare that all Californians and their legislative representatives have been stuck with ever since, Proposition 13, by far the dumbest and most costly of the many dumb, costly propositions Californians have passed.

Our courts sometimes “save” us from propositions we pass by declaring them unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the courts don’t rid us of any really dumb and costly propositions, like Proposition 13, only the ones that the people really support that make sense.

For example, California Proposition 187 was supported by 59 percent of the voters, and only required that California employees follow the law: 1) Any person arrested who was suspected of being an illegal alien would have had their immigration status verified, and 2) no one could receive public benefits until they demonstrated that they were in the country legally.

These laws were already on the books, but weren’t being enforced. Proposition 187 said, in essence, “enforce our laws.”

The federal courts placed a hold on Prop. 187, diddled it for four years, and then the infamous Ninth U. S. Circuit Court was about to finally take it up, which would have eventually ended up with the Supreme Court of the United States overturning yet another of the Ninth’s liberal misadventures. Unfortunately, at that time Democrat Gray Davis became governor, quickly fiddled 187 into mediation, then withdrew it from appeals, thereby effectively killing it and laying a plank for his eventual recall.

The recall of Gray Davis was the only good thing that came out of the Proposition 187 farce, but it took five years and more instances of arrogant disregard for the will of the people before Californians finally couldn’t take any more.

As I mentioned, the courts only see fit to save us from laws that make sense, not the idiotic ones.

Proposition 13, for example, almost immediately removed local control over property taxation, making local governments and school boards totally subservient to the whims and mismanagement of the budget by the amiably incompetent California legislators. The California education system fell from being ranked amongst the best in 1960 to being saved from rock bottom only by the greater incompetence and indifference of Louisiana, Mississippi, and of course, Washington, D. C.

For a long list of Prop. 13 negatives, go here.

One of the finest examples I have seen of the misuse of the proposition to make California law, and the perversion of the Constitution by the courts to make the unconstitutional the law of the land, was Proposition 20, The Coastal Initiative, which established the California Coastal Commission in 1972. Similar to the current stink over the Kelo decision, The Coastal Initiative gave California the power to take property rights from private owners and give them to other private parties, and worse than Kelo, to do it without just compensation.

Indeed, to do it without any compensation.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Happy Days are Here Again!

I admit I was scared. The Obama bus was blazing along, fueled by hot air and wishful thinking, while Hillary looked and sounded old and desperate. Obama seemed out of bounds for any questions tougher than, “With the world in such a sorry state, isn’t it time for change?”

And: “Hope is so essential for effectively driving change, don’t you think, Mr. Obama?”

Mind you, “I don’t cry for you, Hillary.” I was glad to see her take her lumps. She has a lot of experience, all right. Experience screwing things up.

My wife, Alice, is an entrepreneur par excellence. While Hillary attached herself to Bill’s star, Alice started a “man’s” business, and totally succeeded where her competitors found it easy to fail.

Alice still hasn’t forgiven Hillary for attempting what turned into Hillary’s, and Bill’s, greatest debacle: “Hillarycare.” At the time, Alice’s business, Vulcan Incorporated, had just weathered the mild recession that brought Bill Clinton into power.

Since Bill owed Hillary big time for “standing by her man” through Jennifer Flowers and other “Bimbo Eruptions,” he let her run with changing healthcare as a reward. Hillary, in her unimaginative bulldog way, proceeded to dig in to every element of healthcare, and created a highly detailed and complicated abomination that only a Democrat could love.

When it was brought to her attention that the costs to small businesses of providing healthcare to their employees would bankrupt many of them, Hillary famously said: “I can’t be responsible for undercapitalized small businesses.”

When she heard Hillary’s comment, Alice screamed, “That Bitch!”

Alice is too much of a lady to say what other words she was thinking at the time, but they were inspired by the many years of hard work, sacrifice, worry, and torment that Alice had invested in establishing and growing Vulcan.

And then, there was this politician’s wife who only knew business as an employee, not an employer, cavalierly threatening to destroy Alice’s hard-earned prosperity and security.

And for what? For a theory that was a relic of wartime controls, when businesses competed for labor with benefits, because it was illegal to compete with wages.

Now we’re stuck with a system where employees are afraid to change jobs because they might lose healthcare coverage, and costs are out of control because healthcare consumers don’t pay its costs.

Hillary, if you were as smart as your supporters think you are, you would have started a movement to unshackle healthcare from employment through privatization, but that would have betrayed your allegiance to finding big government solutions to everything.

For a Democrat, dogma triumphs over brains every time.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Cuba? Who Gives a Rat’s Patootie?

An article in Time Magazine suggested we would blow a golden opportunity if we didn’t take advantage of Fidel’s retirement and end the embargo of Cuba. Apparently it is felt that if we take that step, Raul Castro and his clique will ease their draconian rule over Cuba, and soon Cuba will be like Key West but just further south.

Why in the name of anything and all that makes sense would we want to do that? For almost fifty years Cuba has been a laboratory study of all that is wrong, and can go wrong if a country goes and stays communist.

Every day Cuba teaches us Communism 101: “What is bad about Communism, and what is even worse.”

Even better, Cuba provides a place for our Left to go on a pilgrimage. Several old Lefties from northern California have gone there, even before Michael Moore, and have come back singing Cuba’s praises. They were particularly impressed by how everyone has an education (although they didn’t say anything about how no one was paid a living wage), and they were impressed with universal healthcare (but said little about the lack of modern medical equipment and supplies).

They absolutely fumed and fulminated when I brought up recent information that Cuban prostitutes working foreign tourist areas had incomes many times higher than Cuban doctors or teachers. Many times higher, in fact, than any Cuban except the top Cuban leaders, who have done quite well even in the face of their countrymen’s crushing poverty.

The poverty of the Cuban people is not just the poverty of material things. It is also the poverty of deprivation of the intellect and the soul. Cubans can’t read freely, can’t speak freely, can’t worship freely, can’t travel freely, can’t surf the internet freely, and have no choice of leaders or of how they are led. Cuban prisons are full of Cubans whose only crime was criticizing their leaders.

The old joke: an American in Cuba tells a Cuban, “In the United States we are free to say that our President is a fool.”

The Cuban replies: “It’s the same for us in Cuba. We are free to say that your President is a fool too.”

If we change towards Cuba and let Cuba become just another capitalist success story, where will people go to find out what a failure Communism is?

Already I hear people say that China is prospering under Communism. I’ve heard it said that China shows how much better central planning and control works than our chaotic capitalism. However, those commenters seem ignorant that the Chinese government is doing all they can, legal and otherwise, to transform or close their SOE’s (the old State-Owned Enterprises).

They are also ignorant that China, according to a recent study by the Rand Corporation, has an unemployment rate of 23 percent. Or that the Chinese early retirement system is mandatory, and that its purpose is to get older workers off government employment so they can be paid tiny pensions.

The Chinese have “put a Chinese face on Communism,” which makes it look a lot like capitalism.

If it weren’t for Cuba (and North Korea, which we know nothing about), we ignorant Americans could easily be fooled into believing that communism is succeeding where our capitalism is failing.

Even now, as socialism enters its death throes in Europe, we’re constantly urged to copy them as if they were models of success, while their under-funded social safety nets come unraveled.

That’s why we need Cuba, to have a permanent display of “Communism under glass,” a preserved specimen of how peoples can sacrifice lifetimes in pursuit of Utopian pipe dreams.

The Cuban people seem proud of their accomplishments and our Left points with pride to Cuba, so why should we pervert their idealism and contaminate their noble experiment?

Let’s honor Fidel’s wishes and let Cuba be Cuba.

It’s the least we can do now that Fidel is too old and weak to continue leading the way to socialist nirvana.

If we don’t continue to honor Fidel, it will be like Che died for nothing.

Think how that would hurt T-shirt sales.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Socialism Can’t Work


Over the Senior Spaghetti Dinner at the Druids Hall, my Liberal friends were decrying the world’s rapidly increasing population. Apocalyptic predictions were prophesized, eerily reminiscent of Paul R. Erlich’s book that bombed, “The Population Bomb.”

From the conversation at our table, possibly inspired by the Green atmosphere, Ehrlich was being recycled. According to my friends, only doom and gloom is in store for an Earth whose human population will grow from six billion to nine billion by the end of the century.

I entered the conversation by noting that wherever prosperity increases, the rate of population growth rapidly decreases. The cure to the menace troubling my Liberal friends already exists, and is being practiced. Therefore, we don’t need a great idea, or a great leader, to save us.

We’re already saving ourselves.

Of course, along our way to salvation we’ll have to discard many of our current solutions that don’t work, chief among which is socialism. Socialism sounded great when there was a large population of relatively young workers paying a large but not crushing percentage of their earnings into the pot that provided benefits of education and medical care, etc., to all. However, the percentage of the population that was older and in worsening health steadily increased over the years, creating a need for additional funds at the same time the tax-paying segment was shrinking in proportion to the whole.

The European dependency ratio – the ratio of workers to people over 65 years old – is now four to one, and by 2050 will fall to two to one. The European fertility rate is 1.52 births per female, well below the “replacement rate” of 2.1, which is considered the level needed for a stable population. However, not one European Union country has a birth rate as high as the replacement rate.

With current trends, the United States with a population of 160 million less than the European Union will equal the EU by 2050 if current trends of shrinking EU and growing United States populations hold. The negative population growth rate of the EU has already caused projected EU economic growth to be reduced about one percent per year. Anyone familiar with the effects of compound interest knows that a one percent reduction would cut growth a third by 2050.

I don't see how the effects of a shrinking and aging European Union population, which will be accompanied by ever increasing tax rates, can result in anything but a negative growth rate for GDP. Simply, there will be fewer people to make goods and buy products, they'll have less to spend because of increased taxes, and older people buy less of almost all things except medical care. And in the European Union, governments pay most of the medical care costs after they tax the money from their shrinking work force.

So what is the answer? I never thought you would ask.

Privatization of social security and medical care, of course.

The same laws of compounding interest that dramatically affect GDP when the difference is only one percent, have the same effects on funds invested for retirement or medical needs.

Medical insurance that pays for catastrophic injuries or illness, but has the policy holder pay routine medical costs - just as your car or home insurance doesn't pay for oil changes or plumbing repairs - would greatly reduce medical insurance costs.

Contributions to a private savings account for social security add up quickly. For example, 12.4% of an annual income of $50,000, if invested at 5 percent, would result in an estate of over $1,000,000 at retirement age. Invested in an annuity at three percent, the payout per year for 20 years would be $65,000, or about triple Social Security. If you didn't want to take chances, in case you lived to 105, your annual payout would be about $42,000, roughly double Social Security.

If you didn't make it to 105, the balance would go to your estate.

Under Social Security, if you're single and don't make it to 65, nobody gets anything. With a privatized account, if you died at 65 the $1,000,000 would go to your heirs.

The nicest benefit about privatized accounts, from the viewpoint of our nation, not the individual, is that you fund your own medical and retirement needs. Under our present system, and in the European Union, the ever shrinking current worker group is funding the medical and retirement needs for an ever growing retired group.

Those numbers just don't add up.

And will only get worse.

The Secret of World Peace Discovered over Spaghetti

At the monthly spaghetti dinner at the Druids Hall in Point Arena to raise funds for the Senior Center, Alice and I were surrounded, as is usual, by liberal friends. Last night Richard took the floor with a prediction that it would be all over for mankind by 2050. Peter sort of seconded the prediction, and added that the world was overpopulated, and that being far less populated very quickly would be necessary. The efficacy of a variety of plagues to accomplish that end was mentioned.

As is usual, I took absolutely the opposite side. I noted that the best cure for overpopulation was prosperity – it’s worked everywhere it’s been tried.

I also noted that the genius of mankind is to adapt to changing circumstances. Humans have adapted their environments to their needs more than any other living creature. We live in the hot and cold, high and low, wet and dry, in the sea and on the sea. Various other animals share these environments with us, but we’re the only one that occupies them all.

Humans are marvels of adaptation. What doesn’t work is mankind being led by a great leader, or leaders, or groups of leaders, or a great –ism; e.g. communism, socialism, Islamism, even capitalism.

What works best in the long run is the collective mind of the masses (I chose these words carefully - they seemed to fit our group), each rational member of which wants a comfortable present and a secure future. As democracy spreads and takes hold, the power of people over their governments increases, and with it the standards of living and security through the rule of law. Totalitarian nations lose sway as they weaken while democratic ones prosper. Soon the only means left to fight against democratization is terrorism, because oppressive nations like North Korea, Cuba, and Iran can be encapsulated like a malignant organism, and left to wither and die.

Terrorism is the last stand for fanatics who insist on theocratic or dogmatic control over peoples. Since they are unable to change the fabric of societies, they want to tear it apart and replace individual freedom and the rule of law with the tyranny of fear. However, their existence is dependent upon the very things they attack: they hide behind civil rights established by the very rule of law they seek to eliminate.

The secret to world peace then is to do what mankind always does best - adapt to a changing environment. Our primary fear is no longer the attack from abroad from another nation/state, it's the attacks from within by terrorists with no clear links to a nation/state. Since we have lost the power to deter attacks by annihilating an attacking nation, we must develop better capabilities of identifying and monitoring suspect individuals and groups.

The spaghetti-eating group I was with last night would be appalled at my suggestion, because they believe it better to have 1,000 killed by terrorists than to infringe a civil right. On the other hand, I would rather apologize to 1,000 than overlook the terrorist that kills one innocent person. Right now we're wasting a lot of time, resources, and energy checking low- or no-threat individuals and groups so we can justify also looking at higher-threat individuals.

In terms of effectiveness, the only thing that makes sense is we identify and closely monitor all potential high-threat individuals in the United States, and seeking admission.

No matter what Liberals say, we're never going to communicate effectively with them, and eliminate their grievances against the West through negotiation and dialogue. That doesn't work with someone who thinks he is an instrument of the will of Allah, and that his death while causing yours will assuredly secure his place in Heaven.

Face it, he believes Allah will reward him whether he is successful killing you or not, so you might as well speed his path to Heaven before he succeeds. That way everyone should be happy, even Allah: just like in all religions, it's the thought that counts.