Saturday, January 31, 2009
It is ridiculous to think that our current climate is stable, or that we must or even are capable of maintaining it in its current state, or changing it for better or worse.
Only 18,000 years ago, so much water was trapped in ice sheets over the northern hemisphere that sea levels were over 400 feet lower. From Gualala it would have been a six-mile hike to the Pacific shore, and from San Francisco you would have to walk over 27 miles, past the horizon and the Farallon Islands, to reach the beach.
However, about 125,000 years ago sea levels were about 25 feet higher than today, and ocean temperatures averaged almost four degrees Fahrenheit warmer. Northern hemisphere winters were generally warmer and wetter than now. Trees grew as far north as the southern portion of Baffin Island, several hundred miles north of the current tree line in the Nunavik region of Quebec. Similarly in Europe, forests grew in Norway well above the Arctic Circle, where they don’t now.
In more recent years – in fact, less than 1,000 years ago – the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today. Al Gore’s claim our warm weather is “unprecedented” only holds if you define weather as not including the three warmer periods of the Holocene, which began 10,000 years ago and continues today. The Holocene is an interglacial period in our current ice age, and when it ends soon (in geological terms), our climate will be once again very cold.
Less than 1,000 years ago it was so warm that vineyards flourished in England, where they don’t now. The British say the way to make a small fortune is to have a large one and invest it in vineyards in England.
Al Gore makes fools of many, convincing them that our global warming is unprecedented, but you can’t fool Mother Nature.
Friday, January 30, 2009
You have to give Daschle credit for chutzpah. The man who was in on writing our tax laws for decades made "honest mistakes" in determining what should be included in taxable income.
Apparently the only way to get high-ranking Democrats to pay their back taxes is to nominate them for a high position in the Obama administration, and then do a thorough vetting of their background. That leads me to suggest that Obama create more positions, nominate Democrat high-rollers to fill them, then use the tax revenues generated during the review process to help reduce the deficit.
However, the nominee should then be blocked from taking the position, and another nominee selected. The whole process is wasted if you approve the tax cheats for the jobs anyway, because then they'll just soak up and spend more of the taxpayers' money than they paid back.
The compensation Daschle and other former Democrat legislators are paid are clearly legal bribes for access to Democrat power brokers. Yet Daschle and others resent giving a little back after being enriched so much.
Our American armed forces accomplished their mission fantastically. They had every right and reason to display their congratulations for the most successful military campaign in history. What followed was the irrationality that accompanies Islam worldwide: one Muslim hates another more than any other, and this has persisted for over a thousand years.
In the unerring certitude of hindsight, we are now aware that Shi’ite and Sunni cannot put aside their murderous animosities, even when released from brutal tyranny and given every opportunity to travel a peaceful and democratic road.
On the other hand, what has Obama “won” except the opportunity to attempt to govern wisely? To date nothing has been accomplished, and Obama and the Democrats’ attempts at solutions to the world’s problems are vague and unformed. When last I was updated, the plan was to have the government spend us into prosperity. If I had known it was that simple, I would want the government to do it all the time, just like California.
I wonder why it works for the federal government and not the states? It must be something about the states having to balance their budgets, and the federal government doesn’t.
What are the objectives of the stimulus package, and how will we know if they have been accomplished?
When that moment comes, Obama can hang his “I Won” sign, but now is too soon.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
If the temperature of the Earth’s surface is changing, something needs to be done to mitigate the effects.
Of course, that is what humans have been doing for thousands of years. Actually, adapting to change is what humans do best.
What do we know about the temperature of the Earth’s surface that is incontrovertible?
We know that it is constantly changing.
And we know that we must do something to mitigate the effects of these constant changes.
In Minnesota we put on a thick coat. In Alaska we put on a couple of thick coats. In Oregon and Washington we wear rain clothes and carry umbrellas. In Hawaii, we take off almost everything. In California we complain about everything, demanding perfection in our weather as we do in all things.
Looking back in time, less than 20,000 years ago North America to points south of the Great Lakes was covered by mile-thick ice sheets. Come to think of it, the Great Lakes were a product of that Ice Age.
Obviously, humans mitigated the effects of that climate change by waiting for the ice to melt before living in Chicago.
In more recent years, Americans living in the populous northeastern states found they could find employment and live more comfortably in the warmer southern and western states, and a massive exodus from the colder states ensued. This movement in favor of global warming was abetted by the invention of air conditioning, which mitigated the effects of voluntary climate change.
In the 1930s heat and drought afflicted the Plains States – in particular northern Texas, western Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota, and eastern Colorado and New Mexico. Many of the residents of the Dust Bowl area took action to mitigate the effects of the climate change – they loaded up their trucks and moved to Californy.
Today Canadian and New England “Snow Birds” migrate to Florida and Arizona each winter to mitigate the effects of climate change. For them, warmer is better.
People also move in great masses to mitigate the effects of political climate change, but that’s for another article.
Then my dentist gave me more bad news. "The two upper right implants are mobile. They've failed, and it's just a matter of time before you lose them too."
I gingerly checked them, and they moved a lot side to side. So did the bottom right impant. "They should be very firm, not mobile like that," my dentist said.
The bottom line is that concerning my teeth, I'm worse off now than before I got the implants. It won't be long before all I have are the anchors embedded in my jaws, with no implants in them. Also, the anchors are not compatible with any fixes or repairs I could get in the United States, and there is no reason to believe I could get the dentists in Hungary to make them work any better than they do now. Now with each bite I expect an implant to pop out.
Sometimes saving money can get mighty expensive.
Except the Blagojevich impeachment skipped the parts about impartial jury selection, presumption of innocence, confronting of witnesses, and calling witnesses for the defense.
In truth, I sympathize with the Democrats rush to judgment. If left to his own devices, I wouldn’t be surprised if Blagojevich wouldn’t take out many prominent Illinois politicians, from a list headlined by Rahm Emanuel and Jesse Jackson, Jr.
According to legendary former California Speaker of the Assembly Willie Brown, Governor Blagojevich phoned him when he read an item in Willie’s World, Willie Brown’s column in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle. In the article Willie opined that all Prosecutor Fitzgerald had on Blagojevich was loose talk, no done deals. Blagojevich told Brown that he had had many “heated conversations” with Rahm Emanuel about the Senate appointment.
This isn’t one of them. This link takes you to a fictional discussion between Blagojevich and Emanuel which was posted on the Daily Kos. Although fiction, it’s as close to fact as you’ll find on Daily Kos, and I’ll bet Fitzgerald has several similar taped conversations which will make much more interesting reading when Blagojevich is called before a real judicial procedure instead of the Illinois kangaroo court.
When Blagojevich is finally brought to trial, which it seems Fitzgerald must do even though all Democrats will object, it will be interesting to learn how well Obama, Emanuel, and Jesse Jackson, Jr. tip-toed through the Chicago cesspool without getting splattered by Blagojevich.
I think that a lot of what Blagojevich tossed around has stuck, and it will be interesting to find out what it was and who were the stuckees.
And to watch the Democrats do all they can to keep embarrassing disclosures from public scrutiny.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
James Lovelock, a British scientist approaching a 90th birthday in July, and a dedicated global warming alarmist himself, recently commented on the futility of current efforts to combat global warming by reducing carbon dioxide, saying:
Most of the "green" stuff is verging on a gigantic scam. Carbon trading, with its huge government subsidies, is just what finance and industry wanted. It's not going to do a damn thing about climate change, but it'll make a lot of money for a lot of people and postpone the moment of reckoning. I am not against renewable energy, but to spoil all the decent countryside in the UK with wind farms is driving me mad. It's absolutely unnecessary, and it takes 2500 square kilometres to produce a gigawatt - that's an awful lot of countryside.
Please allow me to append other examples of idiocy that I presume Mr. Lovelock would find agreeable. In the United States, and in states like California, in cities like San Francisco (and Berkeley, of course), laws are being passed to fight global warming by reducing CO2 emissions in those jurisdictions. Their primary means of reducing CO2 emissions involve the simple act of taxing them, or placing a cap on their creation. What will this do to reduce global CO2 emissions? If you answer fairly and honestly, you will say “nothing.”
If being burdened by added costs drives businesses away from San Francisco, or Berkeley, or California, will atmospheric CO2 be lessened?
Obviously, China, India, and other developing nations are not going to stop their rapid economic development. As we tax and cap ourselves into being increasingly uncompetitive in world markets, the developing countries will take business from us at increasing rates, and in the bargain pollute far more than we would if we continued to do “business as usual.” In this regard I’m not counting CO2 as pollution. The developing countries will, of course, be releasing additional huge quantities of CO2 – that’s how they generate power to increase their production. But they will also be producing the good old standard, garden variety of pollution too – of the air, the water, and destruction of natural habitat.
We’ll be congratulating ourselves as good Californians saving the world from global warming, not considering that if we eliminated all forms of carbon-based energy production in California, including campfires to heat our homes and cook our food, the climate of the world would not notice. Not now, not a hundred years from now, nor a thousand years or more.
We would make of ourselves a monument, dedicated to our arrogance and irrelevancy.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Carbon dioxide accounts for about half of the global warming caused by greenhouse gases, but the other gases are removed from the atmosphere more quickly. Thus, the long-term influence of carbon dioxide will have the greatest effect on climate change, the report said.
Who writes this stuff? Water vapor is the primary greenhouse gas, responsible for about 95% of the greenhouse gas effect. Human activity causes about 0.28% of the total greenhouse effect.
It would be truthful if the writer wrote: "Carbon dioxide accounts for about half of the greenhouse effect if you ignore the 95% due to water vapor."
Perhaps the scientists were only referring to the greenhouse gas effect after ignoring water vapor, the 5%. At that point greenhouse gases caused by human activity are responsible for about 5.53%, since over 94% of greenhouse gases are produced naturally even when water vapor is ignored.
It's easy to understand why water vapor is ignored by global warming alarmists. It's hard to panic rational humans when they are told that the whole problem depends on getting all panicked over the 0.28% of greenhouse gases caused by human activity.
Only a charlatan, or a Democrat politician, would try to get away with such balderdash.
Please excuse the redundancy in the sentence above.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Why the change? In one word, “control.” In two words, “government control.” Want three words? “Democrat political control.”
The Democrats see the financial crisis as a golden opportunity to increase their share of citizens dependent on government. Over half our citizens pay little (usually none) of total income taxes. Now Democrats promise to pay them more, and tax them even less.
Question. How can you tax someone even less when they don’t pay any income taxes? Answer. By paying them a tax credit, even when they haven’t paid any taxes.
Democrats also are taking advantage by increasing the total of government workers, who are overwhelmingly supporters of Democrats, plus strengthening other Democrat stalwarts, the public employees unions.
All is not rosy for Democrats. Some discouraging words were heard from an unlikely source, the Congressional Budget Office, usually a Democrat lap dog.
The Democratic plan took a hit when the Congressional Budget Office estimated that only 7 percent of infrastructure money would make its way into the economy by the end of the year, and only 38 percent would be spent by the end of the 2010 fiscal year. Obama's new White House budget director, Peter Orszag, disputed the findings, saying 75 percent of the money would be spent by fiscal 2010.
Democrats were united in deriding President Bush’s stimulus package of tax refunds, $600 to individuals and $1,200 to married couples. Now it’s déjà vu all over again.
Other parts of the package, including the tax cuts and the direct aid to states, would be injected more quickly into the economy. The bill would offer a payroll tax cut of $500 to individuals who earn less than $75,000 a year, and a $1,000 credit to married couples who earn less than $150,000 a year.
Democrats expect it will be easy to pass their bill in the House and Senate, with at most the support of one or two Republican Senators.
So be it. The stimulus bill will wear an all-Democrat label.
Let the chips fall where they may.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Words I never thought I would write: Abolish the death penalty.
For all practical purposes, capital punishment has already been abolished in the United States. The legalities of finding for capital punishment, and then going through the appeals process, has de facto eliminated executions under the death penalty. Excluding Texas (of 15 executions in 2007, 13 were in Texas), the odds of someone on Death Row being executed are very small – the condemned will live longer on Death Row than outside. Death Row inmates die of many causes, but judicial execution is rarely one of them.
In 2007 there were 3,308 on Death Row in the United States. Since the Death Penalty was reinstated in 1976, there have been 1,138 executions, and over 600,000 murders. Each year since 1976 we’ve executed an average of 38, and over 20,000 have been murdered. Since we only execute to punish murderers, it is obvious that having a Death Penalty (and hardly ever using it), is not a deterrent to murder. Equally obvious is that the tsunami of litigation that follows each death penalty sentence, and delays execution until the condemned die of natural causes, will not go away.
Our system of capital punishment is a creature of legalisms, not justice. The victims of murderers have no rights, no redress, no recourse, and no appeals on the basis of law or mercy. Their murderer, acting as sole judge, jury, and executioner, denied his victim all the rights he enjoys before trail and after conviction.
I’ve known for most of my life that the death penalty was not an effective deterrent to murder, but I supported it because I wanted the murderer to suffer a little of the pain and terror he inflicted on his victims. Rationally, I knew he wouldn’t suffer much, because of our obsession with rendering a monster’s death in the most humane (and antiseptic?) way possible.
I’ve also been aware that our system of infrequent capital punishment is very expensive. In my home state, California, Governor Schwarzenegger wants to expand death row at an estimated cost of $337 million to upgrade security and increase death row's capacity to 1,152 beds. That’s almost $300,000 per inmate just to keep them around a long time in the faint hope that one day we will be able to kill them.
(…In) truth, building more death row prison cells is a concession to the open secret that California's condemned inmates are rarely executed. Since the death penalty was reinstated in California in the 1970s after a brief ban by the U.S. Supreme Court, the state has sent more than 700 men and women to death row and killed 13. An equal number have committed suicide while awaiting an execution date. In all, 54 death row inmates have expired without being executed, most from natural causes.
In essence, we need a bigger Death Row to house the increase in condemned men and women who are not going to be executed. Once the new Death Row is built, the obscene costs won’t go away:
Keeping someone on death row costs $92,000 annually above the cost of a year at a maximum-security state prison, the commission found. The cost of appeals can be three times the cost of the original trial.
I could keep up my Quixotic support of the death penalty. I still believe it is the only real justice for perpetrators of heinous murders. However, the only direction our legal system is taking is towards the elimination of executions regardless of the crime and sentence. If I continue supporting a failed system, I’ll be doubly disappointed because the bad guys aren’t executed, and my taxes will continue to be wasted (at an increasing rate) for lawyers and prison guards.
Getting nothing, and paying more for it, doesn’t make sense.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Bill Clinton administration is being recycled in more than one way.
A friend e-mailed me a comment purportedly from the London Daily Mail. It took a bit of googling to find it actually is from the Toronto Sun. Michael Coren's article includes:
A victory for the hysterical Oprah Winfrey, the mad racist preacher Jeremiah Wright, the mainstream media who abandoned any sense of objectivity long ago, Europeans who despise America largely because they depend on her, comics who
claim to be dangerous and fearless but would not dare attack genuinely powerful special interest groups. A victory for Obama-worshippers everywhere.
The writer's point is very simple: Obama has nothing in his very thin resume that would justify election to President of the United States. Almost all of his achievements were in Chicago, and Chicago shows no signs of being improved by Obama's ministrations. But the man who couldn't fix Chicago is the man to handle the whole world's problems?
Of course, Obama will be ably supported by the Democrats. Democrats are the ones who pour fuel on burning disasters. Remember how Bill Clinton was proud to sign financial deregulation promoted by Robert Rubin and his acolyte, Lawrence Summers? Liberal columnist Robert Scheer does, and wonders why Obama chose Summers to solve the problem Summer helped create. Meanwhile, Robert Rubin has walked away an extremely wealthy man from the train wreck he orchestrated at Citibank.
Timing is everything, right Democrats?
President Bush, after many attempts to reform housing financing, was left holding the bag while U-Tube is rife with videos of Barney Frank, the Congressional Black Caucusl, and the other usual suspects opposing tighter regulations because that would deny poor people "affordable" housing.
Being a Democrat means you never have to be responsible for you foul-ups, right?
Benediction at Obama 's inauguration, Rev. Joseph Lowery: 'Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen'...
I'm glad that Rev. Lowery didn't ask the Lord to let "the yellow be mellow," because as I've already proven, most Asians are doing really well in America.
Asians have higher median incomes, higher education levels, the second highest home ownership, and second lowest poverty rate when compared to whites in America.
Since many Asians arrived in the United States with just the clothes on their backs, little education, and not speaking English, they have done remarkably well.
Was their advantage that their skin is white? As Rev. Lowery might rhyme, "No, that ain't right."
Was it because of their political pluck? "Lots of luck!"
Congressional Blacks, 43; Hispanics, 26; Asians and Pacific Islanders, 5.
So what special privileges do Asians in America have that makes them as successful or more successful than whites?
First, (take note of this, Rev. Lowery, 'cause it rhymes) dedication to education.
Second, hard work.
In America, Rev. Lowery, that's all it takes.
So tell the Black to get out of the back, the Brown to stop being down, and the Red that "yes we can."
A slave is someone waiting for someone else to set them free.
Slave, Obama set you free!
You're free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last!
Now go to class and get to work.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Has there ever been such a stupid protest as against “disproportionate response”? Hamas has launched over 7,000 rockets in three years from Gaza against Israel. The rockets are increasing in range and accuracy, and all have been targeted against innocent Israeli citizens.
Activists in the United States protest against civilian casualties in Gaza, yet apparently don’t notice or care that Hamas uses fellow Palestinians as shields.
Shall we try to look at this logically? Hamas is indiscriminately targeting Israeli citizens. Israel is carefully targeting Hamas militants, who happen to be hiding amongst Palestinian “civilians.” Because of Hamas’ use of Palestinians as human shields, does that mean Hamas gets an “Attack Israel for Free” card?
I know liberals, and Europeans, insist that Israel must negotiate with Hamas. However, Hamas has clearly stated, ad infinitum, that Hamas will never recognize Israel, or even the right of any Jew to live in Palestine. That doesn’t seem to leave much room for negotiations, does it?
Israel has only one option: obliterate Hamas. If left unchecked, Hamas would soon control the West Bank as well as Gaza, and all Israel would be caught in a daily, deadly crossfire. All that prevents that now is Israel’s control of the border crossings. Doubters need look no farther than Gaza, where Hamas has used its porous border with Egypt to arm with continually more deadly Iranian-supplied rockets.
Any knowledgeable person, especially a world leader, who doesn’t recognize the murderous truth about Hamas is either a fool or mendacious (mendacious: the perfect word to describe such a person – one given to or characterized by deception or falsehood or divergence from absolute truth. For an example of mendacious, go to Bill Clinton and his denial of genocide in Rwanda as it progressed).
Morton Zuckerman has posted a great article on the situation confronting Obama in the Middle East on Jewish World Review. It is must reading for the fair and open minded among us. I’m sure liberals and most Europeans will avoid reading it and facing facts and logic about Israel and the Palestinians. Their ignorance is the source of their bliss.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Obama would do well to remember the example of a young Democratic president who was willing to make long-range plans. Bill Clinton began his presidency in 1993 after having promised to cut the federal deficit in half in four years. The initial plan looked shaky, and Clinton took a lot of heat for more than a year. But he and his team stuck to their basic strategy of cutting federal spending and raising taxes, which laid a major part of the foundation of the economic boom of the Clinton era. It was classic strategic planning, showing a willingness to pay a short-term price for the sort of long-term gains that go down in the history books.
The first “overlook” Bob Woodward made in this example is that Bill Clinton squandered the Peace Dividend from the collapse of the Soviet Union, and we’re still paying for his mistake. The federal spending he cut was the military budget, but Clinton increased spending in other areas, and we’ve had to spend heavily to repair the military damage since.
Clinton’s “Hillarycare” proposal to reform health care showed no sign of strategic thinking, and paved the way for Republicans to capture the House and Senate in 1994 for the first time in decades.
The Dot.com boom increased tax revenues and the deficit disappeared, but then in Clinton's last year in office the Dot.com bubble burst, the NASDAQ lost 40 percent of its value, and we plunged into a recession. For all the hand wringing now, Woodward conveniently forgets that Bill Clinton left us in a big mess:
For all of last year, industrial production declined 1.8 percent, a sharp reversal from the 1.7 percent increase logged in 2007. It marked the worst showing since a 3.4 percent decline in 2001, when the country last suffered through a recession.Was a recession part of Bill Clinton's strategic planning, Mr. Woodward?
Along the way, Bill Clinton bailed out on the most important reforms, Social Security and Medicare. Medicare is now bankrupt, with a projected unfunded liability of over forty trillion dollars, and Social Security will be bankrupt in less than a decade with a more modest unfunded liability of only fifteen trillion dollars.
There is ample evidence that Clinton and European leaders were well aware of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Is it good strategic thinking to look the other way when 750,000 people being safeguarded by the United Nations are slaughtered?
Islamic terrorism increased as Bill Clinton yielded to distractions, like triangulating with Republicans and Monica Lewinsky. When he blew up the pharmaceutical factory in Sudan in 1998 (Operation Infinite Reach), killing a couple of night watchmen and cleaning ladies, and then a few hundred thousand Sudanese died because of a lack of medicine for treatable diseases, Bill Clinton showed that he could look "presidential."
The simultaneous cruise missile attacks on terrorist training bases in Afghanistan showed that we were ready to make empty gestures, and hope against all reason that they would solve the problem. At least it convinced the terrorists that they had nothing to worry about from Bill Clinton.
Mr. Woodward, is "Wag the Dog" an example of strategic thinking?
As his last hurrah, Bill Clinton was aided and advised by Robert Rubin, who with his disciple Lawrence Summers led the deregulation of financial markets, setting the scene for Rubin to gain obscene riches from Citibank and for the current financial collapse and recession. I know you won’t take the word of an unreconstructed and unrepentant conservative, so I would like to call on a bleeding heart liberal, Robert Scheer, who just penned an article with the ungrammatical title: A bailout run by those got us in, Creators Syndicate Inc., Wednesday, January 14, 2009.
According to Scheer:
When candidate Obama gave his major economic address on March 27, he couldn't have been clearer in condemning the deregulation that Rubin and Summers had engineered: "Unfortunately, instead of establishing a 21st century regulatory framework, we simply dismantled the old one - aided by a legal but corrupt bargain in which campaign money all too often shaped policy and watered down oversight. In doing so, we encouraged a winner-take-all, anything-goes environment that helped foster devastating dislocations in our economy."
(Obama) was referring to the deregulation legislation that Summers hailed on the day that Clinton signed it into law as "a major step forward to the 21st century." Now he is relying on Summers to reverse a disaster of his own creation. It's like returning to the same surgeon who almost killed the patient in the first operation to once again cut open the body to repair the damage.
What we need is a second opinion.
And we could use a much more insightful Bob Woodward.
However, I would beg Mr. Waxman not to overdue it. I’m afraid that he has already been too successful, and is prematurely plunging us into the next Ice Age, which has been forecasted to be on its way, but not this soon.
Alice and I were hoping to live out our days in sunshine and warmth, and leave the cold, storms, famine, and disease to future generations.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
In January a year ago The New York Times ran an article about the “high murder rate” of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan service. I immediately noticed that The New York Times didn’t provide any murder rates statistics from civilian populations, or even from the military. All The Times article contained were anecdotes.
I posted “New York Times Blows Military Murders Report” on January 13 last year.
Before writing my post, I made a cursory review of internet sites, the sort of thing I would have expected The Times to do as a minimum, and found what I expected: murder is primarily an activity of young males. The veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are predominantly young males. Therefore, to make an apples to apples comparison, all we need do is answer a very simple question: What was their murder rate, and how did it compare to the murder rates of other young males?
The murder rate for military veterans was easy to compute: 8 per 100,000 per year. What should that rate be compared to? A typical American city rate?
I decided to be nasty, and compare it to two California cities with high murder rates, Oakland and Richmond in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was no contest. The Oakland and Richmond rates for young males were about ten times higher than the veterans’ rate.
Then I thought I would compare the rates to more “civilized” American cities, but instead I chose New York and San Francisco. The San Francisco murder rate for young males was three times higher than the veterans. The New York rate for all males, which includes babies through old men, was double the veterans’ rate.
Obviously, at this point in my investigation I was thoroughly disgusted with the sloppy reporting and institutionalized biases of The New York Times. Actually, such thorough disgust with The New York Times and other main stream media is nothing new for me. I had previously been disgusted by CBS News and perky Katie Couric and their fraudulent reporting of veteran suicides (go to my post totally debunking their article), another post exposing the Associated Press for fraudulently reporting that the Heritage Foundation ranked Europe as the economically freest region of the world, and a swarm of bloggers including me jumped all over The New Republic for publishing lurid and defamatory stories written by Private Scott Beauchamp supposedly based on his ongoing experiences in Iraq entitled “Baghdad Diarist.”
So far it looks like a scorecard of sort of winning one out of four. The New Republic decided not to stand behind the “Baghdad Diarist,” although the last I knew they still did not run a retraction. Katie Couric and CBS News stand by their report, even though it is a statistical abomination. And this year’s Heritage Report on the freest economies of the world is still characterized by the media as concluding that Europe is the freest region, even though an analysis of the Heritage rankings by countries and regions easily demonstrates that North America is the freest region.
Just as it did last year.
I feel like I'm shoveling fecal matter against the tide, but will keep on shoveling because it's fun to have a battle of wits with unarmed opponents, and the increasing financial problems of the main stream media indicate they are losing their death-grip on "truth."
Maybe we bloggers are doing them in, one kilobyte at a time.
Now Altamont Pass is a much quieter place, the site of what was once the largest wind farm in the world. As we drove past it on a winter afternoon, not one of the 4,900 windmills was turning. When we came back through Altamont eight days later, no windmill was turning. On the basis of the consistent, persistent cold weather during our eight-day sojourn, the Altamont wind farm probably didn’t produce much, if any, electrical power during that period.
I wasn’t surprised. During our nine years in Livermore, Alice and I could see many of the windmills from our back yard. As often as not, none would be turning, particularly in the morning, in the evening, in the winter, and from my very limited personal observations, at night (it was too dark to view the still windmills except for the few times I drove through Altamont Pass after dark). The reason for the rampant inactivity is quite simple: windmills are powered by the sun creating temperature differentials, and the resultant movement of air masses.
During the day, the San Joaquin Valley warms rapidly, and the Pacific Ocean doesn’t. Warm air rises from the land, and cooler air rushes inland through the Altamont Pass, powering the windmills as it passes. The land cools faster than the ocean after the sun goes down, and the process is reversed – except the cooling is slower, and the air movement is also slower, providing far less energy to move the windmills.
Wind farms like the Altamont Pass are very inefficient, and wouldn’t exist without heavy subsidies and wishful thinking on the part of politicians and environmentalists. The Altamont wind farm only operates at an average efficiency of 22 percent (producing about 125 megawatts from a 576 megawatts capacity). In fact, because so much power is generated by higher windspeed, much of the energy comes in short bursts; half of the energy available comes from just 15% of the operating time.
To an honest engineer, the math is very simple: moving air has a very low energy density and is unreliable – a huge land area is needed to harvest energy from it. The United States is blessed with stronger winds than Europe, and still wind generates only about one percent of our electricity. According to the Department of Energy, wind farms “could generate 20% of US electricity by 2030.” Apparently no honest engineers were consulted before the Department of Energy made this asinine pronouncement. Wind farms will be lucky to stay at one percent, given our current economic downturn.
An honest assessment of wind power is that it can only be relied on to "supply a low proportion of total demand."
When a wind farm is erected, the fossil fuel generator providing power to the area can't be closed and torn down. Based on my observations, and the observations of others, it still has to run almost eighty percent of the time, and that would be true even if the capacity of the wind farm quadrupled, quintupled, or even exceeded ten times the capacity of the old generator. Why? Simple. No matter how big a wind farm you build, when the wind isn't blowing, it isn't generating.
But the need for electricity doesn't wait for the wind to return.
Where will funding for wind farms arise? From the Federal government, running record deficits while over a trillion dollars is going to bail out banks and automobile manufacturers? From the states? California is in a forty billion dollar hole, with deep cutbacks in education and health services, to name just the neediest state programs. From investors? They’ve been eaten alive by the recession, and wind farm investments make sense only if heavily subsidized by the government – and then they still don’t make sense.
The next time you admire a wind farm, chances are that you will be observing wind mills in inaction. If that is the case, think of all the politicians and engineers that have sold their integrity to create an expensive and wasteful eyesore.
One that you helped build, and must subsidize to operate.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
The Giants-Eagles today included Donovan McNabb picking up nine yards as the Eagles were running out the clock, leading the Giants 23-11. But then his inner stupid came out, and he grabbed a phone on the Giants bench and said something on it. He was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, 15 yards. Fortunately for McNabb and the Eagles, the Giants couldn't do anything with the extra time McNabb's stupidity gave them, but why take the chance?
The Chargers-Steelers started off with a classic stupid play. Vincent Jackson caught a great pass from Rivers, Chargers touchdown!
But then Jackson had to show how stupid professional football players can be, and cost his team 15 yards on the following kickoff with an "excessive" celebration. The Steelers received the kickoff and started almost at mid-field, then Roethlisberger pooch-punted from the Charger's 35 (a great call by Pittsburgh!) to put the ball on the 10-yard line. The Chargers went three-and-out, punted, and Santonio Holmes ran it back for a Steeler's touchdown.
Thanks to Jackson, the Steelers had great field position, and the Chargers didn't. Jackson let all of his teammates down, just to do a show-off celebration. Players sweat and strain to gain 15 yards of field position, then one stupid play pisses it away.
Of course, the players are not the only stupids on the field. The referees get their share too. Yesterday the Baltimore Ravens didn't have a delay-of-game penalty called, even though the play clock hit zero almost a full second before the ball was snapped. Baltimore got a first down on the play instead of losing five yards.
Instant replay challenges and timeouts are two of the most valuable possessions a coach has. Today coaches foolishly wasted challenges (and timeouts) on plays that were not going to be game deciders. For example, San Diego coach Norv Turner challenged the spot of the ball on fourth down and inches, even though a glance at the network replays showed he would lose the challenge - and a timeout.
Not to be undone for stupid, the Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called a fake punt at midfield that failed, and gave the Chargers great field position and led to a Charger field goal.
Fortunately for the Steelers, the Chargers went into their "prevent" defense during the last two minutes of the first half, and the Steelers took advantage of their soft defense and easily scored a go-ahead touchdown.
Steelers 14, Chargers 10 at halftime.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Sounds bad, and it was. But it's worth remembering that Democrats had plenty of scandals of their own. In 2004, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey resigned after the married father was alleged to have hired an unqualified boy toy to run his Homeland Security Department. In 2006, Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana was caught with nearly $100,000 in his freezer. That same year, Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island rammed his Ford Mustang into a Capitol Hill security checkpoint and, faster than his dad could say "Chappaquiddick," checked himself into rehab for a pill addiction. Last spring, New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer, a self-righteous anti-corruption zealot, resigned after it was revealed he had been using a call-girl service. Then the Democrat who replaced Foley was brought down for allegedly firing his mistress. Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards was caught cheating on his cancer-stricken wife. Charles Rangel, the Democratic dinosaur in charge of the House Ways and Means Committee, is embroiled in a series of allegations of self-dealing orruption. And now, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has bowed out as President-elect Barack Obama's choice to be Commerce secretary thanks to an unfolding investigation into possible pay-for-play deal of less than Blagospheric proportions.
Will the liberal main stream media give up on reporting political scandals now that they will be reporting on Democrats? Will they fill their 24-hour, seven days a week news channels with People's Magazine reporting of celebrity worship and scandals? They will probably try, and most Americans will be satisfied. However, one day they will tire of full-time Paris Hilton updates and try political reporting again to appeal to their tiny niche audience that actually is interested in non-celebrity news.
Then the liberal main stream media will discover Democat scandals that make Republicans look like saints. Just digging through Illinois politics during Obama's early political career will be a treasure trove of intrigue and scandal.
As the British would cry when the hounds scented the fox, "Tally Ho!"
Tally Ho! The Democrats!
My prediction is that Senator Reid is serving his last term in the Senate.
And that Governor Blagojevich will still be governor of Illinois when Reid says farewell.
DeWayne Wickham, Opposition to Burris might blow up on Democrats, USA Today, January 6, 2008, paints a clear picture of how foolish Reid was in trying to be judge, jury, and executioner before our justice system was given a chance to fulfill its obligations.
Senator Reid, it seems strange that a person in your position must be instructed about the presumption of innocence and that you can't assess guilt by association. You of all persons should know that you can't take a short-cut to justice.
That's called vigilantism.
It's the sort of thing lynch mobs do.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Now another notable California Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein, has upped the ante by stating that Blagojevich's choice, Burris, should be seated. Since Senator Feinstein chairs the Senate Rules Committee, which Democrats thought would stall Blagojevich until he could be impeached and removed, I think I hear the sound of a done deal here.
Remember Bill Clinton making appointments as he was being impeached?
Senator Roland Burris, take your seat!
Isn't it obvious that with no deal done, Blagojevich skates free?
To embarrass Democrats another day!
Sunday, January 04, 2009
In Willie's latest column, he notes a "Joe Montana" play: "Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's appointment of Roland Burris to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama - the same seat Blagojevich stands accused of attempting to sell - is the political play of the season."
Now we know that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid earlier tried to get Blagojevich to not appoint three other black males, preferring that he appoint a white female because he thought any of the blacks would not be re-electable. And it's all on tape, waiting to come out and add to the Democrat's embarrassment both before and after Obama's inauguration.
Speaking of embarrassing, now "New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Sunday announced that he was withdrawing his nomination to be President-elect Barack Obama's commerce secretary amid a grand jury investigation into how some of his political donors won a lucrative state contract."
The Obama Administration-elect is already the most scandal-prone administration-elect of all time.
And it will only get better.