Saturday, August 18, 2007

Surf Fishing at Alder Creek

Pop used to take Ron and me, and Puddles, and sometimes Mom would come along in our old International Harvester pickup, to the beach at Alder Creek to catch surf fish with a dip net. Back then, in the early 1950’s, Alder Creek formed a lagoon that lapped against the low cliff on the south side. We didn’t know it then, but the reason for the cliffs on either side of Alder Creek was that this was where the San Andreas fault entered the Pacific. The concrete abutments of the old bridge destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake provided a good visual to locate the fault line. 

The water lapping against the cliff meant that Mom, Ron, and I had to take a trail from the parking lot over the hill and then down to the beach. Pop and Puddles went through Alder Creek, in typical Pop fashion. When they reached the shore of the lagoon, Pop put his gear – six pack of Bürgermeister beer, gunny sack for the fish, dip net, and Puddles – into a galvanized steel washtub (which was also our bathtub), and waded across the lagoon pushing the washtub with Puddles proudly standing lookout. When they reached the opposite shore, Puddles jumped out to run in the sand, and Ron and I carried the washtub to a large drift log on the beach, where we gathered driftwood and started a fire while Pop checked out whether any day fish (smelt) were running. 

There are two types of smelt that spawn on the Alder Creek beach. The day fish are about six inches long, and come in to spawn at high tide. There are several ways to find if they are “running” (coming in to spawn). None of the ways are guaranteed or fool proof, but one of the best is to watch for sea birds “working” (diving to feed on fish near the shore). Another way is to watch for fish in the waves. Unlike grunion, the surf fish stay in the wave instead of lying on the sand waiting for another wave to come in and take them back out. That makes seeing them in the waves difficult, but when you do see them, you know you’ll get some fish. The way Pop would usually find fish was just start dipping his net into the waves. Often he would catch fish when there was no indication that they were running.

Michael Vick is Finished

As the gruesome, barbaric tale of Michael Vick’s involvement in dog fighting unfolds, I have already read of expectations that he will plea bargain, pay a price, and return in a year or two to quarterback the Atlanta Falcons.

Who would cheer for such a monster if he returned to the NFL? What sort of heartless beasts of fans support professional football players, no matter what atrocities they commit?

As I read of the horrors dog fighting enthusiasts inflict on dogs, I look at Buddy and give him a tummy rub. Buddy is so gentle, so trusting, that the idea of someone using Buddy for their own monstrous entertainment makes my heart ache.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Since Michael Vick’s crimes became public, I’ve read reports of dog fighting trainers who get stolen pets and use them to train their dogs to fight and kill. I look at Buddy and imagine a nightmare, that his jaws are taped and he’s thrown into a pit with a fierce fighting dog. Buddy would wag his tail, the same as when he meets other dogs, because he dearly loves to play with them. Buddy would be totally defenseless as the other dog ignored his trusting friendliness with a vicious charge and savage bites.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Alice and I, Buddy showing where the infected thorn was removed, and Buddy's little sister Duchess.

Maybe it’s not Buddy being sacrificed to train vicious killers. It could be a child’s beloved pet, his dear friend and companion, being torn apart pitilessly under the approving eyes of Michael Vick and his dog fighting and gambling friends.

Michael Vick will go to prison, then he will come out, and his fans will say he paid his debt to society and that now it’s time to let him play football and to earn his millions again.

Perhaps they’re right that by serving time in prison Michael Vick will have paid his debt to society for the crimes he committed.

Maybe the NFL commissioner will overlook that Michael Vick gambled, associated with criminals and gamblers, lied to the commissioner about his gambling and criminally cruel acts, and declare him rehabilitated.

But they’re wrong that he will ever again be quarterbacking an NFL team.

What he did is more than a violation of a law.

He violated standards of decency such that he can never pay a high enough price to wash the stains of his cruelty and sadism from our hearts and minds.

Hearts and minds.

The highest courts of all.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More CBS Partisan Reporting

From Fishbowl DC, courtesy of the Drudge Report:

As Karl Rove embraced President Bush today following an emotional farewell announcement on the South Lawn, the solemnity of the moment was shattered by Bill Plante of CBS, who bellowed to Bush: "If he's so smart, how come you lost Congress?"

Apparently this is what passes for journalism today.

Maybe this is Mr. Plante’s standard, non-partisan question he asks of all presidents when they lose Congress.

It’s just that no one heard him when he called it out to Bill Clinton when he lost Congress in 1994 by a lot more seats in both the House and the Senate than President Bush lost in 2006.

Or a variant of the question: “President Clinton, if you and your wife are both so smart, why did you appoint her to do Health Care Reform (Hillarycare), and why did she make such a mess of it that you lost Congress?”

For those who are historically challenged, which includes most journalists and all Democrats, in 1994 the Clintons’ lack of smarts resulted in a swing of ten Senate and 54 house seats to Republicans.

In contrast, the first mid-term election for President Bush saw the Republicans pick up two seats in the Senate, and six in the House. This was one of only four mid-term elections in the past hundred years where the party holding the presidency picked up seats.

If Bill Plante is such a smart journalist, how come he asks such stupid, partisan questions? And does it in such a boorish manner?

Oh, that’s right. He works for CBS.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Abolish the Electoral College

It would be great to have California divide its electoral votes on the basis of the ratio of votes for president.

The reason I applaud this proposed change is simple, and selfish.

A Republican would be elected president in 2008.

Probably in 2012 too, even if Democrats caught on and by some miracle were able to get all states to change to proportional division of electors by popular vote.

The reason the Republicans would continue winning is simple: the power of incumbency.

I have another “selfish” reason for wanting the change besides future Republican victories. I’m a Republican in the Northern California Democrat fiefdom. It would be nice to have my vote for president mean something. In my district, instead of “one man, one vote,” it’s “Republican? Why vote?”

The Electoral College got us a win in 2000. Without the Electoral College we might have won anyway, because without it voting patterns would change, and the changes might have brought out more Republicans in places, like Northern California, where voting in presidential elections seems futile.

Some say that doing away with the Electoral College, and going to direct popular voting for president would favor the big states.


Because that’s where most of the people live.


One man…excuse me, one person, one vote.

What’s wrong with that?

It Suddenly Got Hotter – In the 1930s!

Stop the cotton-picking presses!



Read all about it!

Temperatures adjusted up!

In the 1930s.

Temperatures adjusted down.

In the 1990s and 2000s.

Actually, as reported in Noel Sheppard’s Blog, 8/9/07: “A change in climate history data at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies recently occurred which dramatically alters the debate over global warming. Yet, this transpired with no official announcement from GISS head James Hansen…”

The change? Reporting as if commenting on a golf match, Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit, had looked at NASA’s report “Contiguous 48 U.S. Surface Air Temperature Anomaly”, which displays average annual mean temperatures from 1880 through 2006, and found:

“Four of the top 10 are now from the 1930s: 1934, 1931, 1938 and 1939, while only 3 of the top 10 are from the last 10 years (1998, 2006, 1999). Several years (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004) fell well down the leaderboard, behind even 1900.”

Since the American climate data collection system is the finest on the planet, I wonder when the inevitable revisions to world temperature “records” will be made, and whether they will be quietly adjusted, with no media fanfare, as NASA’s records for the contiguous 48 American states.

I don’t wonder.

I know the answer.

For several years we were told that 1998 was the hottest year on record. Frequently that statement didn’t include the qualifier that it was so hot because it was an El Niño year, one of the two strongest of the past century.

The year of Katrina, 2005, was only tied for 15th warmest of the past 127 years. In contrast, 2006 was the fourth warmest in that period, but was virtually hurricane free.

Yet we read all about man-caused global warming causing the highest temperatures of the past century, of the past millennium, even since the birth of Christ.

Then NASA quietly changes the American records.

They didn’t want to causes headlines about any “inconvenient truths.”

A “Strong Ox” Post Script

Recently a warming trend in Nevada, which to me corresponds very closely with the phenomenal recent growth in Nevada’s population (creating “urban heat islands”, which like the heating trend in Nevada, are characteristically much warmer at night), was breathlessly reported as a wake-up call for Nevada politicians “to do something.”

What the “something” Nevada’s politicians were supposed to do to combat global warming was not even hinted at in the article.

I suggested they do like California politicians, only more so, and sharply increase taxes and greatly tighten regulations on development and business activities. That will discourage businesses and people from moving to Nevada, and when the taxes get really high and the casinos, and businesses and employees that depend on the casinos, start to fold, it will even discourage tourists from going there.

I'll bet that the temperature, as well as prosperity, will come down and make the Democrat politicians happy.

California’s politicians haven’t succeeded in killing California’s population and economic growth yet, because the small group of Republicans in the California Senate can still block ruinous legislation and thwart the desires of the majority Democrats and Governor Schwarzenegger.

The Democrats won't stand for that much longer.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Making The Army Of Reconquista

“Maria, it is your patriotic Mexicana duty to make a baby with me tonight.”

“Jose, you already have esposa y ocho niños in Mexico. You send them all your dinero except for what you spend on yourself y los prostitutas. I know why you want to go to bed with me. But why do you want to make a bebé?”

“Maria, you think I am just a peón, but I am a Reconquistadore, a gallant soldier in the Army of Reconquista. And tonight I want to enlist you in this noble cause”

“Last night Juan wanted me to go to his room too, but he didn’t say he wanted to ‘enlist’ me. He used a different word.”

“Juan is a selfish pig. He told you he would use a condom, so no bebé, verdad, is that not so? He wanted you for his pleasure only, I want you to show my patriotism.”

“Jose, last night I think Juan showed me a bigger patriotism than yours.”

“Maria, la Reconquista must have babies, mucho bebés. Very soon, maybe 15 years, the babies will be big, and they will have mucho bebés. Then, in 15 more years, mucho, mucho bebés! Comprende, Maria? In 50 years California will be just like Mexico!”

“Jose, are you loco? We came to California to get away from Mexico. What will we do when California is just as bad?”

“Maria, then we will go to New York. You will like it. For now, show me your patriotism.”

Media Biases, and Other Sins

Surprise and shock about the Pew Research Center finding that the American public sees the news media as biased, inaccurate, and uncaring are not two of the emotions I felt. Having just posted "More Newsweek Lies," and other posts concerning the abysmal standards of reporting on Plamegate (which should have been nicknamed "Uncovertgate"), and the reporting last year from Lebanon, I would have been surprised and shocked if the American public didn't share my low opinion of the news media.

Another recent example, The New Republic publishing fabricated tales of American atrocities supposedly written by a GI in Iraq.

Then there was the unreported death of affirmative action.

There's always the hypocrisy of the New York Times and their Liberal herd.

As the Left whines loudly and continually about Fox News, the public is aware that NBC, CBS (with its ongoing "60 Minutes" jounalistic atrocities), ABC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, the SF Chronicle, and most of the other major news organizations have their own liberal versions of "truth."

No wonder the public thinks as badly of the news media as they do of the Democrat-controlled Congress, also now at an all-time low in popularity.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Newsweek Lies

Recently there have been articles that compare the United States economy with Europe, and conclude that Europe is doing better. Intuitively, that doesn’t seem possible, given the almost zero population growth of Europe, its rapidly aging population, its high tax rates, and smothering regulations.

I would think one sign of economic strength would be the growth of a county’s economy, so I wanted first to check and see how the US was doing. In the past ten years the US GDP grew almost five trillion dollars (1997, $8.2 trillion; 2006, $13.0 trillion). In fact, the US GDP grew $3.0 trillion in just the past five years.

To put these numbers in perspective, the growth alone in US GDP in the past ten years is larger than the entire GDP of the second largest economy, Japan, and the growth in the past five years is greater than the entire GDP of any nation besides Japan, including China.

So far it doesn’t seem the United States is falling behind surging European economic juggernauts.

Last year an article in Newsweek International (Europe: The Great Job Machine - Despite its laggard reputation, Europe continues to grow faster, and create more jobs, than America, by Emily Flynn Vencat) trumpeted that the European job growth rate was greater than the US (0.9% vs. 0.7%) since the beginning of the decade. Since the US unemployment rate has fallen steadily, and is now at about a rock-bottom 4.5%, I surmised that the European rate must be even lower.

What a shock to find the overall European rate hadn’t fallen below 8% for over a decade, and that for the four largest mainland European economies -- Germany, France, Italy, and Spain – the unemployment rates have been 10% or higher for that same period. In addition, the duration of unemployment in Europe tends to be very long. For example, in Germany and Italy, more than half of the unemployed have been that way for more than one year.

I’m not too sure just what the robust job growth in Europe statistics mean. Europe's population is expected to decrease by 2050 due to declining birth rates. By that time the population of Europe will be 18 million smaller than the United States. Europe already registers the world's lowest population growth rate at 0.03 percent. In the region of Eastern Europe, population growth is -0.2 percent.

Any Newsweek writer expecting to dig good economic news for Europe out of these population statistics is desperate indeed to convince readers that the United States should follow the European lead.

According to Newsweek:

“In America's roaring 1990s, the average annual job-growth rate was a whopping 1.4 percent, compared with Europe's 0.4 percent. But then, at the beginning of the decade, America's GDP growth halved from 4.4 to 2.2 percent, which hit jobs hard.”

How hard did America’s GDP growth fall? In 2003 GDP went up 2.45%, in 2004 up 3.1%, in 2005 up 4.4%, and in 2006 up 3.2%.

How does that compare with the Newsweek glowing comparison of Europe to the United States? Interestingly, I found “the United States ranks first in economic growth (compared to Canada, Japan, and the European Union) with an average annualized seasonally adjusted real GDP growth rate of 2.7 percent from the first quarter of 2001 through the third quarter of 2005.”

How did the European Union do? Their GDP growth rate for the same period was 1.5%, close to half of the United States growth rate.

The United States and the European Union (EU) both added five million jobs in that period. Since the US population is smaller than the EU, simple math shows the US had a higher rate of job growth for the almost five-year period starting in 2001.

The European unemployment rate was 8.8% vs. 5.4% for the US during that period, and the US rate has since fallen to 4.5%.

More from Newsweek:

“Europe was buoyed by the fact that its high-cost, high-value work model began to produce jobs in cutting-edge fields like IT, environmental technology and R&D. In the United States, by contrast, permanent losses in manufacturing, among other factors, made an easy rebound impossible.”

How does that square with the United States having a higher rate of GDP growth, and far lower unemployment? Or a 4.6% increase in industrial production compared to an EU increase of 1.2% for the almost five-year period?

American productivity -- output per employed person -- rose 9.4% vs. 3.2% for the EU during the period 2001 through 2005.

But enough of beating on hapless Newsweek and their socialist dreams.

What is obvious from even a casual review of these statistics is that the generous European welfare state health and pension systems are doomed to failure, and to failure soon. Already the average European is 35 years old, by far the oldest in the world. The older age groups in Europe are larger than the younger, and are increasing steadily in proportion.

However, all the statistics showing the positives for the United States, and the negatives for Europe, won’t stop or even slow down the Democrats and Main Stream Media from urging us to embrace socialism.

As you can see from the Newsweek International article, they are not going to stop at selective reporting and analyses of statistics (also known as lying) to try to lead us down the failed paths of the European nanny welfare states.

So remember that the magazine that brought us false tales of Korans being flushed is not above spreading falsehoods about how better off we would be if we just had higher taxes and more regulations.

Their messages have the full support and approval of the Democrat Party.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Index of Posts Except Political

(Please mouse click on the red, underlined link titles to be magically transported to the articles described. I'll be glad you did. How you will feel about the process may be something else entirely, but go ahead, take a chance!)

Link to Political Posts - Politics is funny, especially when Liberals get serious.

The Galapagos Island cruise and Ecuador trip, January 2006

It's the Family After All - That is no stranger hanging on the cross.
Finding Real Beauty in the Galapagos Islands - A human mind can be beautiful too.

Point Arena Stories, 1949-1960

Big and Smart - Mom, Pop, the Runt and I
Eight-Man Football at Point Arena High - The more you goof off and take things easy, the longer you get to do them.
Jesus Saves, and the Little Red Truck - A thoughtful message from a friend I never met.
Point Arena Apprentice Poker Players - One day we thought we would be the big boys.
The Great Point Arena Fire of 1954 - Everyone likes to help
After the Summer of 1954 - You can't do a "kiss and tell," if you didn't do the kiss.
Pete Bjornavik, a Point Arena character - Fun to be around
Gopher Capital of the World? - There's a bit of larceny in all of us
1960 NCAA Basketball Championships - Thanks, "Chub" Ohleyer - A very generous man
Sweethearts Dance 1960 - Bad weather makes a special memory
Number, Please? - Personal connections before the dial telephone
Puddles the Pup - A big part of the best childhood in the whole world
You Gotta Ring Them Bells - Some wedding nights you don't forget, but you try!
After The Summer of 1954 - 7th and 8th grade, 60 students, one great teacher
The House We Built - Brother Ron and I dug the basement in 1954, with help from "Prince"
The Old High School - When we came to Pt. Arena in 1949, we lived in one big room of an abandoned high school building.
A Capsule Summary of My Life - So far, so good.
Humboldt State Lumberjack Reporter - The beginning of a nine-year, seven-college odyssey.

The Air Force Years, 1962 to 1984

You're in the Air Force Now - A very tiny thing can change a life.
It's a Gig - Sometimes the hard times are the best.
Sober Reflections on Memorial Day - Trying to find my place in Memorial Day.
They Also Served - Marilynn and our three sons were in the front lines.
England, 1970 to 1975 - My best job at my best base.
Traveling with a Water Bed - It's not often your guests bring their own.
Why Planes Break Down in Christchurch - Not just mechanical parts can delay a mission!
The Pineapple Express - Jimmuh and me have something in common.

Life in Gualala, 1998 to present

Our 2006 Christmas Letter - A Christmas letter is like a box of chocolates.
Europe Bicycle Trip of a Lifetime - When you haven't biked much, a four-month trip on bikes through Europe is a natural choice to celebrate retirement.
We Arrive in Europe - Our bike hike, continued.
Klein Gumpen, Here We Come! - Our bike hike, continued.
Uncle Jack - You're never to old to teach or to learn.
The Dublin to Tralee Train, and how Alice stopped it!
Running - Now Buddy keeps me going.
Same Time Next Year - Finding out how the other half live.
Excitement in Anchor Bay - Big doin's in a one potty town.
Mixed Company - When Alice and I stepped in, the company became mixed.

Tales of Alice

Feliz Ano Nuevo! - Wish your friends a new one! Just don't tell them what "it" is!
Alice and Vulcan Incorporated - Only in America
"Heartless" Capitalism is the Most Compassionate - Alice succeeds while France fails.
Alice's Project Complete! - It is worth it
Great Expectations - The tale of our whirlwind "story book" romance, featuring me picking Alice from a book.
The Dublin to Tralee Train, and how Alice stopped it!
Alice, the California Can Carrier - I think the Italian men liked the way she carried her can.
A Burning Desire - How lust landed me on the ski slopes
Murder by Wasabi - Was watching Monday Night Football a capital offense?
The Strong Woman Myth - In conclusion, a tribute to Alice and her daughters
Christmas Letter, 2005 - Alice had a busy year
A Fool Such As I - In a letter to the editor of our local paper, someone called me a fool. Alice didn't like that, and replied.

Some Observations

Almost Fetch With Buddy - It's a great game
Science Fiction - Where's the Science? - UFO's don't exist, and won't ever show up here. Why would they?
Really Dumb Football Players - NFL players are getting bigger, stronger, faster, and a whole lot dumber!
Garcia vs. Owens - Class Against No-Class - Jeff Garcia has class and the courage, Terrell Owens has neither
My Ancestors Owned Slaves - And I haven't.
Country and Western, Telling Life's Stories - Songs for adults.
Making the Army of Reconquista - There's more than one way to build an army of conquest!
Pardo's Push - Bravery, ingenuity, loyalty. It was an honor to serve with guys like these.
The Devil Made Me Do It - When you mess up, you have to blame someone.
Revolutionary Jesus - Seeking Truth at Christmas - It’s time for weak-kneed agnostics to stand up and be counted!
Free Will or Preordination? - Amen
Of Mensa and Me - No excuse for doing dumb things.
For Veterans Today, And Tomorrow - "For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!" But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot"
The Deadly Bigotry of Low Expectations - It's easy to live down to expectations
If I Received a Love Poem - An expanded view of love.
Greatest Baseball Player of All - Willie and the Babe, forever number one.
Fight to get Your Virginity Back! - Once you lose it, abstinence won't get it back.
Cargo Cults, Reparations, and Casinos - The dreams are alive!
Review of Global Warming, What You Need to Know - I was happy to be chosen to review Tom Brokaw's special.
Keep it Simple, Simplifiers - There are two types of people in the world, simplifiers and complicators, and you know who you are.

The Global Warming Suite (Global Warming is science, not politics, according to Liberals, so it can go in this index)

Al Gore and his Merry Band of Global Warming Deniers - In denial that global warming is natural.
Preacher Al Gore and the Global Warming Fundies - "Brothers, let me hear you say 'Hot!' Sisters, let me hear you say 'Real Hot!' What have we got!? "A lot a' hot brothers and sisters! Turn on the air conditioning!"
Global Warming Consensus is not Science - At one time scientific consensus was the earth was flat; now it's global warming is man-made.
We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period! - If Al Gore can't get rid of it, his "science" is toast
Harvard Study Disproves Unprecedented Global Warming - And Harvard is not a right-wing stronghold
Global Warming - A Stroll Through the European Countryside - Liberals should be very careful as they stroll, since they can't look down and see signs of the Medieval Warm Period. With any luck they'll fall off the "man-made global warming" cliff.
A Sign of the Coming of the Global Warming Plagues - The Gospel according to Preacher Al Gore
Science Opposed to Global Warming Theory - An Index - If you still believe in Preacher Al Gore's Global Warming after you read these articles, you really got the faith!
Ain't No Big Thing - My advice to Al concerning rising sea levels.
Chilling Out Global Warming Hype - A pre-review of Tom Brokaw's Global Warming, What You Need to Know
Review of Global Warming, What You Need to Know - Presenting the other side.
Bring On Global Warming! - Please! Before we freeze!
The Four Whorsemen Of Global Warming - There are more than four now. Maybe I can add a few by having them ride double.
Hypocrisy of New York Times and Liberals - The champions of personal liberty and freedom of the press look the other way when the Left is doing the violating.

Please click on the labels below to see all my articles on each topic.

The Ultimate Global Warming Challenge

As Al Gore and Newsweek whine about vast conspiracies to foment debate about global warming, throws down the gauntlet to actually generate more scientific debate (Hat Tip, Atlas Shrugs).

What a radical concept!

Encouraging the free and open discussion and debating of an issue!

In today's academic climate, that's blasphemous.

"Don't you know the world's scientists (the one's funded by trusted organizations' grants) agree that government has to control everything, because people can't be trusted to do what the elite decide is right?"

"Further, don't you know that research funded by any organization not controlled by the proper perspective (that man is causing global warming) is not to be believed?"

What are Al Gore and the groups funded by government and academic grants (redundant-term alert!) so afraid of?

That truth will out?

When I read Newsweek and Al Gore preaching about truth - Newsweek: "The Truth about Denial" - I hear the sound of Korans being flushed down toilets; of Al Gore weeping about his sister's death from smoking accompanied by an audio tape playing Gore's speech to tobacco growers about how he used to proudly work growing and harvesting tobacco.

In other words, I hear Newsweek and Al Gore calling on "Truth" as a shield against further scientific inquiry that might uncover truths that inconvenience Al Gore and Newsweek.

Monday, August 06, 2007

New Republic's Twilight Zone Journalism

The Left continues its unhealthy rush to surrender in Iraq, and once respected institutions, like news magazines and newspapers, are prostituting their reputations to jump on any opportunity to smear the United States military.

The litany of compromised journalistic integrity is long, and lengthening rapidly. The reason for it is quite clear. When asked about what it would mean if the “surge” appeared to be succeeding, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said that would be "a real big problem for us.”

In truth, Democrats can’t afford American success in Iraq, and they’ll do all in their power to prevent it, ably assisted by their lapdog main stream media allies.

In the latest installment of bad news mongering, the New Republic featured articles by a “Baghdad Diarist” purportedly disclosing the "morally and emotionally distorting effects of war” in Iraq.

However, the previously anonymous author, Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp, after stating that he stood by the entirety of his articles, signed a sworn statement admitting that all three articles he published in the New Republic were exaggerations and falsehoods--fabrications containing only "a smidgen of truth," in the words of a source reporting to the Weekly Standard on a military investigation into the articles.

The New Republic may have established a new standard for journalistic chutzpah with the following as reported by the Weekly Standard:

In their August 2 statement, the New Republic's editors complained that the military investigation was "short-circuiting" TNR's own fact-checking efforts. "Beauchamp," they said, "had his cell-phone and computer taken away and is currently unable to speak to even his family. His fellow soldiers no longer feel comfortable communicating with reporters. If further substantive information comes to light, TNR will, of course, share it with you."

Unbelievable. Heretofore I thought journalists did their fact checking before publishing, not after.

Prior fact checking must be “old” journalism, not the “new” as practiced by the New Republic.

Of course, breathless “reporting” is nothing new for the Main Stream Media. When the misdeeds of Abu Ghraib were “uncovered,” the military had already discovered and were investigating the derelictions of duty committed by a few poorly trained and unsupervised national guardsmen.

I am positive that there wasn’t any direction from superiors to mistreat the Abu Ghraib prisoners, because my oldest son Bruce was there at the same time with a Nevada National Guard Military Police contingent, and they were commended for performing their duties competently and professionally.

Another journalist distortion was the reporting of the outing of “covert” Valerie Plame, supposedly as vengeance on her husband, Joseph Wilson, for contradicting the Bush administration on Iraq’s attempts to buy yellow cake uranium in Niger. Incredibly, the same news organizations that harped on a covert CIA being outed, also filed a “friend of the court” brief proving beyond a shadow of doubt that Plame was not covert.

These same news organizations continually brought up that Joseph Wilson reported that Iraq had not approached Niger about buying yellow cake uranium, even long after a Senate investigation determined that Wilson himself had reported that that was what Iraq had done.

Then, through it all, the media focused on “Scooter” Libby and ignored Richard Armitage, and the fact that Fitzgerald knew Armitage leaked to Novak before Fitzgerald even began his investigation.

After a while of this “news reporting,” I keep expecting to see Rod Serling step forward to inform us all that we had just experienced a journey through the Twilight Zone of modern journalism.

Fighting the Global Warming War, One Letter at a Time

For the past decade I've maintained a steady stream of letters to the Editor of our local weekly newspaper, The Independent Coast Observer (ICO), Gualala, California. Unlike my letters to the San Francisco Chronicle, almost all my letters to the ICO are printed, even though its editorial policy is to the left of the Chronicle.

My most recent letters have concerned global warming. I assert global warming is natural, and the ICO and most of its readers blame it on mankind, particularly the United States. My most recent exchange has been with a young person who just completed his first year of college. Naturally he is ready to require mankind do everything possible to save the Earth from the depredations of the United States, even if there is only scant evidence that the Earth needs saving, or that there is anything that could be done to effect a rescue.

I'm sure that the young man believes in the gospel according to Al Gore, and worships at the altar of "An Inconvenient Truth."

In my letter I first take him to task for being ignorant of all the letters I wrote while he, as a Freshman in college, was learning that he already knew everything. However, as President Reagan once famously said, I won't hold my opponent's youth and inexperience against him.

After the perfunctory salutation "Editor," my letter begins:

Mr. McMurtry, you asserted that I haven’t backed up my claims with sources. Obviously you are ignorant of the many previous letters I have written the ICO on the subject of global warming, and of the many sources I cited in those letters. Since the ICO Editor will hold me to his 300-word per letter limit, rather than the over 700 words he allowed you, please Google “Strong as an ox and nearly as smart,” my blog. There you will find over 50 articles I have posted on global warming, many of which are my letters to the ICO, each one of which has links to supporting studies.

The Harvard study was one I had cited in previous letters. Harvard researchers looked at over 240 climate studies, and determined that the Medieval Warm Period (AD 850-1350) was world wide, and was warmer than the present.

The Vostock ice core sample you mentioned showing CO2 the highest in 420,000 years was earlier cited by me because it indicated warming preceded, not followed, increased CO2 by hundreds of years.

(I had to edit out the following two paragraphs to keep under the ICO's 300-word limit per letter, but since I am the editor of my blog, I get to indulge myself and put them back in.)

Perhaps the current increased levels of CO2 are a lagging indicator of warming 800 years ago, just as a study of peat bogs indicates that CO2 reached a level similar to today about 4,700 years ago at the end of the much warmer Holocene Climate Optimum (9,000 to 5,000 ago).

Yale Professor Mark Pagani found atmospheric CO2 five times higher than present levels 45 to 34 million years ago, without any sign of prehistoric SUVs.

You mention the California drought, Western states wildfires, and Katrina as possible examples that climate change is real. However, Googling “wildfires,” “droughts,” and “hurricanes” brings up many examples that these are not new phenomena. For example, wildfires burned ten times more acreage in the 1930s than today, and housing development plus forest mismanagement including fire suppression, not climate change, are responsible for recent increased devastation.

I’ve exceeded the ICO limit before I could even briefly address half your points, which are unsupported (i.e., range of disease carrying mosquitoes) or based on computer climate models. Since these models can’t even explain weather we’ve already experienced, I question their validity as clarion calls for us to waste scarce resources in vain attempts to turn back natural forces.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Words Mean Something

Forty-five years ago today I took the Oath of Enlistment at the Armed Services Induction Center in Oakland, California, and began a twenty-one and a half year adventure in the US Air Force.

"I, Michael Bruce Combs, do solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America; that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies whomsoever; and that I will obey the orders of the president of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

Just over six years later I took the Oath of Office as an officer in the Air Force.

"I, Michael Bruce Combs, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God."

In 1991, seven years after I retired, I packed my Air Force dress uniform and went to Germany on a vacation with Alice. While there I administered the Oath of Enlistment to re-enlist my oldest son, Bruce, for another six years in the Army.

Evelyn, Bruce, Alice and I, and Leaha and Melicia at Bruce's Army reenlistment, Germany, 1991

“I, Bruce Allan Combs, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the president of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

The Oath

Salute from the proud father

Certificate of reenlistment

About six years later, Bruce was stationed in Ft. Polk, Louisiana. We visited with Granddaughter Ashley as Bruce and his wife celebrated their Tenth anniversary with a ceremony to rededicate their marriage vows. Bruce cleverly had me wear my dress uniform to his unit headquarters before the ceremony, and happily surprised me by having me re-enlist him again.

Fifty-seven years doesn’t seem that long ago. I vividly remember my first night in the Air Force in an old two-story, single-wall barracks at Lackland Air Force Base. Our barracks, and many identical buildings on Lackland, were left over from World War II, and had been condemned years before.

There I lived for eight weeks of Basic Training, and then for another six weeks on Casual Status awaiting assignment to Indiana University for Russian language training. It was the start of a very enjoyable and satisfying Air Force career.

But my first night there, 3 Aug 62, lying on my military bunk, still wearing civilian clothes, sweating, too tired to fall asleep, worrying about what the next day might have in store, I wondered, “What am I doing here?”

In that Lackland barracks, on that hot August night, I wasn’t the only wonderer.

Those old, condemed barracks were still in use six years later when I went to the Medina Annex of Lackland Air Force Base for Officer Training School (OTS).

During my three months at OTS I lived in a two-man room in a dormitory instead of an open-bay barracks.

However, I started OTS the first week of July, 1968, so it got as hot as Basic Training six years earlier.

It brought back memories, but even on that first night back, tired and sweating profusely again, this time I didn't wonder why I was there.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bill Walsh - Thanks from One of the Faithful

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Coach Walsh, Joe Montana, 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo - winning the Lombardi Trophy became a 49ers tradition

I became a 49er fan in 1954 when we got our first TV set. We were living in Point Arena, and the Packard-Bell TV was all hooked up and in operation for the New York Giants – Cleveland Indians World Series. Ron and I came home from Point Arena Elementary School – we lived just across School Street, about 50 feet from the south-west corner of the school yard – and sat down with Mom in the living room to watch the game and eat our lunches.

We were lucky to be able to watch the World Series at all. In 1954 there were three television networks – ABC, CBS, and NBC - but Point Arena is over 100 miles north of the San Francisco transmitters, and the only channel we got a decent picture on was Channel 4, KRON, the NBC station.

The Indian’s batter, Vic Wertz, with two runners on and none out, hit a long drive to deep center field, and Willie Mays made the greatest defensive play in baseball history, racing back, catching the ball over his shoulder, and spinning to throw a strike back to the infield to prevent a runner from tagging up and moving into scoring position from first.

Mom immediately recognized how great a play we had just seen Willie make. Ron and I didn’t at first, because we had little baseball knowledge to measure it against.

In only four days the Giants had swept the Indians and the World Series ended Saturday afternoon, October 2. At that point I had only watched a little of the first three games, which were played during school time, and all of the fourth game. Just as I was all exited about watching TV sports, it was all over, I thought.

Fortunately, all was not lost. The next day, Sunday the 3rd of October, I watched my first televised professional football game, the 49ers playing to a 24-24 tie with the hated (since then) LA Rams. With players like Y. A. “The Bald Eagle” Tittle, “Hurrying” Hugh McElhenny, Joe “The Jet” Perry, Bob “The Geek” St Clair, Leo “The Lion” Nomellini, John Henry Johnson, Gordie Soltau, and Billy Wilson, I was soon hooked.

Many football seasons have passed since that early Fall day in 1954, and through it all I have been a loyal and passionate 49er fan – I was one of the “Faithful,” which we long-suffering 49er loyalists called ourselves.

For many years the 1957 playoff for the Western Division title against the Detroit Lions typified the 49ers. Ahead 27-7 in the third quarter, the 49ers lost 31-27 and the Lions went on to easily beat the Cleveland Browns 59-14 for the NFL championship.

Even when they were good in the early Seventies, they couldn’t get past the final hurdle, the Dallas Cowboys. After losing two NFC West championships in a row to the Cowboys, the 49ers led the Cowboys for the 1972 West championship 28-16 with less than two minutes to play.

The Cowboys won, 30-28.

The 49ers were usually entertaining, but they always came up short.

Until Eddie DeBartolo Jr. hired Bill Walsh to coach the 49ers in 1979.

I was stationed in Hawaii at the time, at Hickam Air Force Base next to Pearl Harbor and the Honolulu International Airport. Because of the time difference, I would wake up as early as 6 am Sunday mornings to watch the 49ers. The first year with Bill Walsh as coach they had 2 wins and 14 losses, the same as the preceding season without him. However, the next year they won 6, lost 10, but played well and most of their losses were in close games.

In 1981 the 49ers were 13-3 in the regular season, beat the New York Giants in the divisional playoff, and then faced the Cowboys. Although everything about the Cowboys game is seared in my memory, as it is in the memories of all the “Faithful,” at the time the game was played I was on a 747 returning from a 30-day Pacific Air Forces inspection tour of Korean bases. On the plane with me were most of the 80 other members of the inspection team, and I was the only 49ers fan.

The pilot gave us game updates over the 747’s cabin speaker system, and my lone cheers were lost in the tumult of Cowboys supporters each of the three times the pilot announced the Cowboys had regained the lead. When the Cowboys went up 27-21, with less than five minutes to play, my inspection teammates were cheering and toasting a Cowboys victory and speculating whether they would beat the Chargers or the Bengals in Super Bowl XVI.

When the pilot announced the 49ers had won 28-27, my cheer rang through an otherwise silent plane.

It wasn’t until a day later, when I played the videotape Marilynn recorded for me, and read the newspaper, and watched the sports commentary on TV, that I knew about “The Catch” or the 89-yard drive it culminated, then the game saving tackle Eric Wright made on Drew Pearson, the sack and forced fumble by Lawrence Pillars on Danny White, and the fumble recovery by Jim Stuckey.

After following the 49ers for 27 years, a new era, the winning era, the Bill Walsh era had arrived.

In the years that followed, my “49ers Faithful” cup runneth over.

They won Super Bowl XVI thanks to the heroics of “The Stand,” stopping the Bengals four times inside the three-yard line, and featuring Dan Bunz’s open field tackle on Charles Alexander at the one-yard line on a swing pass.

The 1984 49ers team was the greatest football team ever assembled, up to and including the present. Their offense was 2nd to the Dolphins in points scored, and their defense was the best in the NFL for fewest points allowed. The 49ers were 15-1 in the regular season (their only loss by three points to the Steelers) and easily beat the high-scoring Miami Dolphins led by Dan Marino, 38-16, in Super Bowl XIX. Eleven 49ers went to the Pro Bowl, including the entire defensive backfield and most of the offensive line, and more could have gone but Coach Walsh was so deep in great defensive linemen – Fred Dean, Gary “Big Hands” Johnson, Michael Carter, Dwaine “Pee Wee” Board, Lawrence Pillars, Louie Kelcher – that he continually rotated them to keep them fresh. He had great linebackers too – Keena Turner, Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds, Riki Ellison, Dan Bunz, and Jim Stuckey.

For an offensive genius, Bill Walsh put together a pretty good defensive unit.

I watched Super Bowl XXIII at Alice's house in Dublin, California, about two months after she accepted my proposal of marriage. With a little over three minutes to play, and the 49ers trailing the Bengals 13-16, 49ers ball on their own 8-yard line, I interrupted Alice baking cookies and told her, "watch this."

"The Drive" brought the 49ers their third Super Bowl victory, and added to the legend of Coach Walsh and Joe "Cool" Montana.

I can't believe how calm I was watching "The Drive" unfold. When I think about it now I get nervous, even though I know the outcome.

By far Bill Walsh's greatest legacy was that for sixteen years in a row the 49ers won at least ten games each season. No NFL team will ever beat or even tie that record. In fact, no professional team in any sport has or will ever achieve the equivalent of at least a 62.5% winning percentage for sixteen consecutive seasons, and an overall winning percentage during the streak of 75%.

The 49ers played in and won five Super Bowls. Bill Walsh selected and groomed the best quarterback of all time, Joe Montana, the second best of all time, Steve Young, and three-time Pro Bowler (and still playing very well), Jeff Garcia.

Along the way Bill Walsh also brought the Faithful the greatest defensive back of all time, Ronnie Lott, and greatest receiver, Jerry Rice.

Unfortunately, Coach Walsh was not stingy with his talent, and many of the top coaches in the NFL were his pupils, which makes it more difficult for the current 49ers to continue his winning tradition.

The greatest misfortune was that Coach Walsh retired too soon. He later regretted his decision, and so did the Faithful. I can understand the pressure and frustration that led to his early retirement. The Bay Area sports reporters became spoiled by 49er success, and began to write about 49er games as if they were recitals, not competitions. Even when the 49ers won, the writers faulted them and took away “style” points. “They passed too much.” “They ran too much.” Too many short passes to running backs.”

My comments after reading of 49er victories over twenty years ago was that I didn’t know the 49ers had lost until I read the game summaries the next day in the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Once again,” I wrote, “Chronicle sportswriters have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”

“It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

Thanks for making the NFL a 49er arena.

To the memories of Coach Walsh, from one of the Faithful.