Monday, December 13, 2010

Do Angels Dance on Pins? Yes, just like humans cause global warming

An article came to my attention showing that during a recent period (in geologic time), atmospheric CO2 fell over 1,000 ppm (its about 350 ppm now) while temperatures rose 7 degrees Centigrade (12.6 degrees Fahrneheit). Many questions came to mind. One, how much higher was global temperature then than now? Answer: about 12 degrees F. As the chart below shows, the Earth is usually warmer, and as expected, atmospheric CO2 was much higher because of the warmer seas and the higher rate of plant growth and subsequent decay. All natural, of course.


Now we are in a period of relatively low temperatures and atmospheric CO2. Atmospheric CO2 has increased about 80 ppm in the past 200 years, and warming increased a modest 0.6 degrees Centigrade (1 degree F) since the end of the Little Ice Age about 160 years ago.

Only Al Gore and his Acolytes would think that any of this is remarkable, or not natural. What is an icrease of 80 ppm for CO2 when previous fluctuations have been in thousands? What is an increase of 0.6 degrees C when geological records show rapid swings of 7 degrees C?

I have seen hundreds of peer-reviewed journal articles that establish such phenomena as a global Medieval Warm Period, a much warmer than present Holocene Optimum, and at least four other periods of equal or greater warming in the past 11,000 years. Arrayed against that is the discredited "hockey stick" of Mann et al, which among many shortcomings attempts to hide the divergence between what the trees are supposedly telling us compared to modern instument records. Can you have it both ways? Tree rings prove there was no Medieval Warm Period, but can't show current warming?

Concerning CO2 levels, 3% is produced by human activity, and 97% by the natural carbon cycle, which includes decaying plant material and the oceans. In terms of the nonexistent "greenhouse effect", water vapor contributes roughly 95% of atmospheric warming as the atmosphere acts as an air conditioner cooling and warming the Earth by a combination of thermodynamics and radiation.

CO2 is an insignificant trace gas, incapable of aborbing heat energy and reradiating it towards an area of greater energy concentration, the Earth. Simply, a cooler body cannot warm a warmer one.

All of the Warmist arguements are like speculating about the number of Angels who can dance on the head of a pin, without first proving the existence of Angels.

Friday, December 10, 2010

To Obscurity, Whoever You Are

I just posted this on Dr. Roy Spencer's blog as a comment to a post by "Obscurity", who accused skeptics of making fun of man-caused global warming by noting the current record lows in Cancun, the UK, and Europe.

Skeptics are not alone in sometimes citing weather (cold snaps, record low temperatures) as climate trend. Al Gore was awarded a Nobel Prize for that very thing. When or where did Al Gore mention that current warming started around 1850, at the end of the Little Ice Age? Or that there have been at least six periods of greater or equal natural warming in the Holocene, including most recently the Medieval Warm Period?

"An Inconvenient Truth" is replete with examples of weather (Katrina, floods, a strong storm drowning three polar bears, etc.) that Al Gore cites as proof of AGW (or climate change). Kilimanjaro is prominently featured, even though its glacier retreat occured predominantly prior to 1900 and had nothing to do with warming (the glacier field never warms above freezing - Al never heard of sublimation?). Then there's the 20 feet of sea rise by 2100 compared to about six inches in the past century (and 420 feet in the past 11,000 years, an average of four feet per century).

What explains that cooling always beginnings when atmospheric CO2 is relatively high? If increasing CO2 causes warming, why can't high levels of CO2 prevent cooling?

I'm glad Al Gore brought the Vostok ice cores to our attention, showing that changes in CO2 follow, not precede, changes in temperature. Thanks, Al.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Swept Away and Sinking Fast - Democrat "Leadership"

Nancy Pelosi and Democrat leadership permanently reside in “Fools’ Paradise.” The chairmen of President Obama’s fiscal commission just released a report proposing sweeping changes to Social Security, Medicare and the tax code. The plan would reduce the deficit by nearly $4 trillion over the next decade by making dramatic spending cuts and overhauling the tax code by lowering tax rates while wiping out some deductions, such as for mortgage interest. Pelosi and union leaders called it “simply unacceptable.”

What is acceptable? Drowning in our current raging, rising deficits? At the Federal level, unfunded liabilities for Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security total over $80 trillion, roughly six trillion more than the world’s gross annual product. For state and municipalities, indebtedness plus unfunded public employee pension liabilities exceed four trillion dollars, or $41,000 per household. Very soon every tax dollar will be consumed by entitlement programs. You want to increase funding for education by cutting the military budget? No problem; military spending will have to be cut – to zero! But so too will funding for education, parks, transportation, police, fire, libraries; everything but entitlements will have to be eliminated.

Is there a way out? Yes, states and municipalities can default on their debt payments. “Experts” who say this won’t happen consider only bonded indebtedness but ignore the unfunded pension liabilities tsunami. These experts suggest the Feds should rescue states and municipalities, yet they ignore the super-tsunami of unfunded Federal entitlement liabilities. Who rescues the rescuer?

Public employee pensions, “negotiated” between public employee unions and politicians (who are also public employees) seeking their contributions and votes, will be swept away by waves of municipal bankruptcies. In California pension costs rose 2,000% from 1999 to 2009, while state funding for higher education declined. That’s unsustainable.

Piloting the “Ship of Fools,” Nancy Pelosi calls that simply acceptable.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

E. J. Dionne Jr. doesn’t get it (and never will)

According to liberal columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr., Obama and the Democrats did the right things, they just didn’t “sell them” well, and now Republicans should do what Democrats would if they continued to control Congress. Dionne pointed to revenue sharing with the states, especially now that most will have Republican governors.

That’s a dumb idea. The states – and counties, and cities – have unleashed a tsunami of unsupportable spending for public employee pensions. Soon the only funds available to governmental units that can’t print money will be totally consumed by government employee pensions.

If Republicans cooperate with Democrats and governors through revenue sharing they will be enablers of this spending addiction. Simple mathematical analysis illustrates that current and projected tax revenues, even given the most optimistic scenarios, are insufficient in light of unfunded public employee pension liabilities. If private businesses had such unfunded liabilities, the government would immediately shut them down.

It’s inevitable that there will be massive public sector bankruptcies – cities, counties and states – and that the Federal government does not have the will or the means to rescue them from themselves.

The best thing Republicans can do is to practice “tough love” and resist vain rescue attempts, because in fifty years unfunded entitlement liabilities for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will squeeze out all “discretionary” Federal spending programs. Right now would-be rescuers would best serve their country by avoiding being part of long-running government incompetence that sees the problems facing later generations and doesn’t do a thing to prevent them.

So, Mr. Dionne, Mr. Obama, and all you “progressives” – give me proof that I am wrong.

Obviously you must believe I am, or else you would be doing something about it.

Wouldn’t you?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Election is Over!

The election is over, and Republicans did quite well. Let the analyses begin!

First, there will be near universal agreement by the main stream media with Senator Kerry that the American public are “know-nothings” because if they were “know-somethings” they would have voted for Democrats. Another point of agreement is that Republicans are divisive – in fact, Obama considers anyone who disagrees with Democrats not only divisive, but “enemies.” Obama told Latinos that instead of sitting out the election, they should be saying, “We’re gonna punish our enemies, and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.”

More agreement – it’s all the fault of Republicans and George W. Bush. This one’s easy, since the Republicans only lost the House and Senate four years ago, and the presidency two years ago. If the Republicans would have just gone along with Democrats, unemployment wouldn’t have doubled in two years to 9.6% and neither would the public debt.

Of course, with total Democrat control of government since 2009, the Democrats didn’t need even one Republican vote to pass anything they wanted. That didn’t change until the voters of heavily Democrat Massachusetts, the only state suffering universal healthcare, elected Scott Brown to fill the Senate seat of Mr. Universal Healthcare, Ted Kennedy, thereby giving Republicans a filibuster option – if no Republican defected. In order to claim “victory,” Democrats then hastily passed the health care bill no one (except the health insurance companies) likes, including almost all Democrats running for House and Senate seats.

Interestingly, the most important issues: enormous unfunded liabilities for public employee pensions, Medicare and Medicaid, and Social Security will soon prevent politicians from spending for anything else. Until these unsustainable entitlement programs are fixed, all else is just “grandstanding on the Maginot Line.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Temperatures Fall During The Past Five Years

North American temperatures have fallen during the past five years.

So much for global warming.

Can continents opt out of global warming?

That's what this NASA global temperature chart covering the past five years would seem to indicate. (You can click on it to get a much larger image - however, even this small image makes the point.)

Not to be entirely frivolous - continents probably can't vote - but these temperature trends also challenge a primary tenant of man-made global warming (aka climate change): warming is greatest at higher latitudes near the poles.

If cooling, not warming, is now greatest at higher latitudes near the poles, isn't that the opposite of what the alarmists have said?

Doesn't it look like they are totally wrong?

I think so.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's Too Late, Democrats - Save Your Money!

I mailed in my absentee ballot today, October 13, 2010. I could have mailed it in a week ago when I received it - I had already made all my selections among the candidates and propositions before it arrived, so I should have filled it out and dropped it in the mail immediately.

Why the rush?

No rush. Unlike many other citizens, I've been studying the candidates and issues for months while never watching a political ad on TV. Since the only thing we use our TV for is watching videos and football games, at the start of each game I put the DirecTV unit on record and pause, go off and do some chores, then start watching. When the game goes to commercials, I fast forward to the resumption of play, paying little attention to the fast flickering images of the commercials I zip through. The past weekend I noticed one ad repeated constantly. It featured a picture of Republican candidate for California Governor Meg Whitman with a Pinnochio-growing nose. "How clever," I mused sarcastically, and congratulated myself for not wasting any time watching such sophomoric programming.

The Pinnochio nose was tired and old political advertising when we Republicans ran it repeatedly over 16 years ago about Bill Clinton.

Maybe its use now is a tribute to the Green movement - recycling of old political ads to save the time and energy of creating any that are new, clever, and pertinent.

At any rate, all televised political ads are wasted on me - my ballot's in the mail, just in time as the avalanche of expensive Democrat ads hits the airwaves. I think that interested California voters have already done as I have, and mailed their ballots. The ones who haven't voted yet should get so turned off by the barrage of political advertising that they skip the election in disgust. Since most who lay around watching TV all day are Democrats, Republicans win!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Pelosi-Reid Deficit

When Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected a $379 billion surplus over the next decade. Now, after four years under Pelosi and Reid, and two years of Obama, the 2007-2016 projection is a deficit of $7.16 trillion. Obama blamed Bush for the nation's fiscal condition. "When I walked in, wrapped in a nice bow was a $1.3 trillion deficit sitting right there on my doorstep." Earlier this year he asserted that "we came in with $8 trillion worth of debt over the next decade." However, according to the CBO neither statement is true.

Obama also overlooks the inconvenient truth that Democrats controlled Congress for two years before he began his presidency. While Democrats credit the minority Republicans with blocking Obama’s agenda, vast credit should be given to the majority Democrats for extraordinary spending and dubious achievement. Remember the promise Pelosi made on the day she became speaker? "Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt." After four years of Democrat rule, national unemployment rose to 9.5% from 4.4% (California unemployment went from 4.9% to 12.4%) while the Democrat budget will add twice as much debt as President Bush over the same number of years.

So much for unburdened opportunities. Like a weather report: “According to CBO projections covering the next several years, expect high and rising deficits with persistent unemployment, and no relief in sight.”

As a typical Democrat, Barbara Boxer spent two days talking about jobs and the previous 28 years supporting tax increases and job-killing regulations. Since she, Obama, Pelosi, and Jerry Brown have no experience working in the private-sector, it is no wonder they are clueless about employment and economics. To Democrats, ignorance is bliss.

(I borrowed heavily from an article in the Wall Street Journal for inspiration for this post)

Global Warming - Still Dead, Al Gore

Five years ago Al Gore convinced the World that hurricanes like Katrina were due to anthropogenic global warming, and that the worst was yet to come, and on its way.

Since Al set the standard, what has happened since Katrina is fair game for global warming skeptics.

This chart shows (click on it for a larger image) that world-wide tropical cyclone activity increased in the early 1990's, dipped for a few years then increased again in the late 1990's, fell rapidly in the early 2000's, rose for four years but not as high as in the 1990's, then fell steadily for the last four years to the lowest point in the past 33 years.
Are these fluctuations normal or anomalous?

To answer that question we need to look at a longer time period. How about since 1950, which the global warming alarmists have identified as the beginning since atmospheric CO2 according to their numbers began its steady increase then, corresponding with the rapid industrialisation after World War II.

What do you think? (again, click the chart to get a larger image)

Among many obvious conclusions that can be drawn from this chart, the most important is that for about 24 years strarting in 1970, tropical cyclone activity was very low, even as CO2 increased steadily.

Would you like to comment at this time, Mr. Gore?

Notice 1950 and 1961 had stonger activity than any of the years since.

Mr. Gore, doesn't it look like the steadily higher levels of atmospheric CO2 aren't reflected in the trend of tropical cyclone activity since 1950, and doesn't that mean that there is no evidence that increasing CO2 is causing stronger, thereby more dangerous, hurricane activity?

You showed us Katrina, and said it does.

Florida State University (click on this link - their name - to read Florida State's full report) is showing us sixty years of tropical cyclone activity that says it doesn't.

CO2 goes up, hurricane activity doesn't.

That's not the way you said it happens, Al.

Talk about an incovenient truth.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Democrats' Ignorance is Bliss

When Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected a $379 billion surplus over the next decade. Now, after four years under Pelosi and Reid, and two years of Obama, the 2007-2016 projection is a deficit of $7.16 trillion. Obama blamed Bush for the nation's fiscal condition. "When I walked in, wrapped in a nice bow was a $1.3 trillion deficit sitting right there on my doorstep." Earlier this year he asserted that "we came in with $8 trillion worth of debt over the next decade." However, according to the CBO neither statement is true.

Obama also overlooks the inconvenient truth that Democrats controlled Congress for two years before he began his presidency. While Democrats credit the minority Republicans with blocking Obama’s agenda, vast credit should be given to the majority Democrats for extraordinary spending and dubious achievement. Remember the promise Pelosi made on the day she became speaker? "Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt." After four years of Democrat rule, national unemployment rose to 9.5% from 4.4% (California unemployment went from 4.9% to 12.4%) while the Democrat budget will add twice as much debt as President Bush over the same number of years.

So much for unburdened opportunities. Like a weather report: “According to CBO projections covering the next several years, expect high and rising deficits with persistent unemployment, and no relief in sight.”

As a typical Democrat, Barbara Boxer spent two days talking about jobs and the previous 28 years supporting tax increases and job-killing regulations. Since she, Obama, Pelosi, and Jerry Brown have no experience working in the private-sector, it is no wonder they are clueless about employment and economics.

To Democrats, ignorance is bliss.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Obamacare - Arbitary and Capricious, A Liberal Dream

Commerce Clause abuse is a Liberal mainstay. Article I, Section 8, Clause 3, simply states: “[The Congress shall have power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.” Thus, the original purpose of the Commerce Clause was primarily to eliminate trade barriers among the states.

Nowhere in the Commerce Clause does it provide the power to regulate commerce within a state. This is in keeping with the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

In a 1942 Supreme Court ruling against Filburn, a small farmer was fined for growing 12 acres of wheat above his government allotment on his own land for his own use.

More recently and closer to home, the Court decided that the Commerce Clause permits Congress to prohibit the medicinal use of cannabis (Gonzales vs Raich), even though two California women following doctors’ recommendations only grew six cannabis plants on their own property for their own use .

However, as our new local marijuana dispensary illustrates, enforcement of the federal Controlled Substances Act is arbitrary and capricious. For example, Congress has permitted all fifty states to erect the type of barriers that the Commerce Clause was written precisely to tear down, the barring of insurers from selling policies to people in another state.

Which brings us to the mandated healthcare so lavishly praised by Liberals. In the words of Ben Stein, "(It’s hypocritical) that Obama wants every citizen to prove they are insured, but people don't have to prove they are citizens."

It can’t get any more arbitrary and capricious than that.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Obama Immigration Hypocrisy

Federal authorities arrested 596 illegal immigrants with prior criminal convictions, according to John Morton, head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). Most of them will be deported, though 22 may be prosecuted for illegal entry after previous deportation. He said the Obama administration is focused on deporting immigrants who break the law.

The sweep exposed holes in the U.S. immigration enforcement system, since 572 of the criminals, some previously convicted of murder, sex crimes, assault and fraud, had been released from jail or prison without being turned over to immigration authorities as the law requires, Morton acknowledged.

There are as many as a million such criminal illegal immigrants in the U.S., Morton said.

The sweep illustrates the hypocrisy of the Obama administration towards immigration enforcement as it opposes Arizona’s law.

Obama officials say they are focusing their efforts on people convicted of crimes, but acknowledge that they continue to remove noncriminals.

Meanwhile, the administration is also facing criticism from Congress that it is not aggressively enforcing immigration laws. In response, officials say they are removing a record number of immigrants, about 400,000 per year. A majority of those have not been convicted of crimes.

Arizona proposes doing what the federal government does poorly – enforce immigration laws. Under the legal doctrine of "concurrent enforcement," states are allowed to ban what is already prohibited by federal law. As an example, courts have upheld efforts by Arizona, California and other states to enact sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants.

If I were stopped for a driving violation, the officer would ask to see my driver’s license. If an illegal immigrant were stopped for the same violation and asked to show a driver’s license, that’s not racial profiling, unless illegal immigrants have more civil rights than citizens.

Perfect Financial Mismanagement Storm

Who said? “Tax reduction thus sets off a process that can bring gains for everyone, gains won by marshalling resources that would otherwise stand idle—workers without jobs and farm and factory capacity without markets. Yet many taxpayers seemed prepared to deny the nation the fruits of tax reduction because they question the financial soundness of reducing taxes when the federal budget is already in deficit. Let me make clear why, in today's economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarged the federal deficit—why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues.”

John F. Kennedy, January 1963. And it worked. Lower tax rates produced higher tax revenues. Interestingly, the greatest increase in tax revenues came from the wealthiest taxpayers. In the past forty-seven years, as a percentage of GDP, the top one percent of taxpayers now pay 3.3 percent, compared to 1.3 percent in 1963. In fact, they are now paying the same in total as the bottom 95 percent, who are only paying at half the rate they were prior to the Reagan tax cuts.

That’s right. Since the Reagan tax cuts, the rich are paying at twice the rate, and the bottom 95 percent are paying at half the rate. So much for the Democrat mantra that Reagan gave tax cuts to the rich on the backs of the poor (and middle class).

That won’t stop Democrats from playing to the same old class envy and demanding more taxes on the rich so they “pay their fair share.” However, as always, if the taxes on the rich go up, total tax revenues (and employment, and investment, and job creation) will go down, and the deficit will go up.

It’s a “Perfect Financial Mismanagement Storm.”

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Obama and FDR's Ant

About a matter of profound insignificance, FDR once said, "Did you ever hear an ant break wind in a hurricane."

Obama's proposal to cut $100,000,000 (that's one hundred million dollars) from a $3,5 trillion budget (that's $3,500,000,000,000 - I don't know if I have enough electrons in this computer for that many zeros!) has the same effect as the ant in the hurricane.

Since it's easier to show than tell, click on this link (Illustration of the Federal Budget) for a short (one minute 38 seconds) video that puts Obama's proposed budget cut in perspective.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Job is a Right?

With an attitude like that, it's no wonder she won't get a job!

If having a job is a right, then someone is obligated to provide that job.

Usually, someone is hired based upon skills, education, experience, appearance, intelligence - usually a combination of these, and more. If each person has a right to a job, then the use of such discriminators would not be allowed, except...

There are jobs that are so menial that the qualifications for them don't go much past being upright and breathing. However, since the value of the work done is low, the pay is low. The only ones who will take such jobs are illegal aliens.

Any person who has a right to a job wouldn't be caught dead accepting such employment.

So we have citizens with very low value as employees demanding high-value jobs as their right.

What good is it to have the right to a job if the only jobs you are offered because of your lack of employment skills are the ones you wouldn't accept anyway?

So how do you exercise your right to a job you would accept, if no one will offer you such a job?

It's simple. The government has to hire you. And pay you what you think you're worth.

So the government hires you into a good paying job - one you're not qualified to do.

The stress and frustration of not being able to do the work cause you to have health problems and spend a lot of time on sick leave.

However, the job still needs to be done, so the government hires another employee who can do the work, keeps you on the job too, and lowers your stress level by not requiring you to do anything.

You celebrate your good fortune by producing many children, secure in the knowledge that, no matter their lack of skills and education, they will have guaranteed good paying jobs for life, just like you.

You congratulate yourself for being such a responsible citizen, and adding many more to the workforce just like you.

Life is good!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Obama's "Mission Accomplished" Moment

Today everyone is a spin doctor. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner does his part for Obama in the New York Times (of course), in his Op-Ed piece "Welcome to the Recovery." For being tone-deaf and clueless, this is a prize winner.

It's a "blame it on Bush" piece, conveniently overlooking that Democrats controlled Congress for two years before the recession bit, and that Barney Frank, the Congressional Black Caucus, Franklin Delano Raines, and the clowns at Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac sowed the seeds and nurtured the crop of mortgage malpractice activities, then attempted to "wash their hands" of any and all responsibility.

Hitting with great backspin, Newt Gingrich has an article with superb charts (click on the links) chronicling the "Indisputable Failure" of Obamanomics. There's the Obama Jobs Gap, the Obama Jobs Deficit, and a comparison with past recessions and recoveries.

Democrats suffer from schizophrenia about government stimulus. They say Bush's was bad, but about half of Democrats think Obama passed TARP instead of Bush, and think that was good.

From one of the least likely sources, an article by Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek, "Obama's CEO Problem," we find that the major problem is not government inaction, but the threat of government action. Zakaria admits that government cannot do what business can to end the recession, and that what is holding business back is uncertainty concerning taxes and regulation.

"The key to a sustainable recovery and robust economic growth," wrote Zakaria, "is to get companies to start investing in America." And why won't they? One CEO told Zakaria about uncertainty about government actions, “Almost every agency we deal with has announced some expansion of its authority, which naturally makes me concerned about what’s in store for us for the future.”

We don't need the government to take our money, then give it back to its chosen winners. That's the path to making us all losers.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Arthur's War

I remember Arthur in war
Now that Arthur’s gone
His memories are mine

I remember a man just eighteen
On the quiet North Africa morning
Standing by his shining gun
Its master and its servant
Their war began and ended
Before they fought in it
Destroyed by bigger and more powerful German guns
Death arrived before announced by sound
Of gun and friends only Arthur survived

I remember Arthur in a Yankee hospital
Blessed with luck and youth
And skills and labors of doctors and nurses
Gifted him sixty more years of precious life
Months later returned to England
In a Suffolk hospital cheerfully met
Then married Nurse Molly
And went again among the friendly Yanks
Working in Supply at RAF Bentwaters

I remember RAF Bentwaters and Woodbridge
Were birthed by war in 1944
Spitfires and Mustangs fluttered like butterflies
Rising from wheat stalk-paved runways
Then circling in droning swarms
Until a sputtering flare arcing high
Signaled formations in great V’s
Eastward across the English Channel

I remember Suffolk, an immobile aircraft carrier
Sending fighters and bombers over German factories
And farms, and cathedrals, and villages
Aircrews never seeing the frightened German faces
Scanning leaden skies for raining death
Or the faces of the prayerful Jews
In abandonment of hope for life
Wishing death equally on captive and captor

I remember Arthur
Serving in the Home Guard
Old men and boys and the wounded
Patrolling the Suffolk beaches
Scanning the North Sea horizon
Searching the leaden skies
Waiting and watching
For the ones that never came

I remember borne in war in 1942
With all the world’s mad pain and suffering
I was softly pulled from Mom’s belly
A triumph over her crippled hip and leg
My most precious gift from Mom and Pop
Brother Ron arrived less than a year later
Against long odds our little family grew
As other families perished all together

I remember when I arrived at Bentwaters
And met Arthur my first day on the job
The Cold War raged, and our 72 Phantom jets
Were in England to fly a deadly mission
A one-way trip to the Fulda Gap
Ending in a high-speed dive
A sudden pull up and release
A nuclear bomb powered by inertia and gravity
Flashing above the Eastern Army tanks and trains
Bringing death before sound announces its arrival

I remember fighting a thermo-nuclear war
Every month for over five years
Strangely war always arrived quietly
Dilly and I would be in the field
Dilly chasing a hare as I approved
Then on the dirt farm road
Our old Ford Anglia bouncing
Marilynn waving, shouting “Alert”
I changed to my uniform and raced to the Command Post

I remember plotting nuclear detonations
Of differing megatonage and how the winds
Distributed the nuclear fallout pattern downwind
Soon the first nukes would fall
London would be gone
The millions of people and the thousands of years
Living and building gone in a flash
Next Manchester, deadly for us
Prevailing winds would soon bring fallout
And we rushed to launch our flights of death
Before its silent and invisible shroud
Covered us

I remember, I remember
Another exercise is over
Released into the cold English night
From the bustling Command Post
The quiet, the silence, the peace

I remember telling Arthur
“Mate, I can’t imagine war,
What was it like?”
“Mike, I don’t know
My war was over before I knew it”

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Public Option - We're Going There When England is Coming Back

My recurring healthcare theme has been that our demographics are lagging Europe's, and that we can learn from their mistakes and not mess things up.

One of the liberal's guiding lights to lead us all to the public option has been the British National Health Service (NHS). It gives universal coverage for free, so the liberals say, and is a model of what our healthcare should be.

I've begged to differ, since I observed the NHS on a first-hand basis for five years living in England (1970-1975). A bloke who worked for me then was one of my best friends, the late Arthur Sharman. Arthur suffered under the NHS for a decade until he died waiting vainly for a hip replacement. Each year he would be scheduled for the operation, and each year higher priorities and budget crunches would cause his hip replacement to be rescheduled for the following year.

For several years before his death, it became obvious that the damage done by not having the hip replacement earlier had gone too far for the operation to restore his quality of life.

The new British government, the conservative party named Tories, have now made clear what has been known for decades: the NHS will have to severely reduce and ration healthcare, and in particular such procedures as hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery, services for the terminally ill, and long-term care. (click here for the article on the massive cuts proposed for the NHS)

The slang name for the English healthcare screening units could easily be "Death" panels. That's obviously what must be part of a publically funded universal healthcare system. The "free" systems, like the NHS, depend on government taxing half or more of income away from its citizens, and healthcare has to compete for a share against education, transportation, welfare, and all the other government programs.

Also, to an extent greater than the other government programs, healthcare must serve a rapidly aging population and at the same time intergrate inceasingly expensive improvements in medical detection and treatment of illness.

We're lucky in the United States. We can watch Europe go blindly where we're headed, and learn from their mistakes.

Unless our leaders persist in following Europe blindly.

Experience is a great teacher, and teaches best when we can learn from the mistakes of others rather than our own.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Democrats Bail Out on Cap and Tax

A farmer once told me he had a donkey that would do anything he said. When I asked for a demonstration, he walked up to the donkey and hit its head a hard blow with an ax handle.

"I thought you said the donkey would do whatever, you asked," I said. "If so, why did you hit it with the ax handle?"

"Well," said the farmer, "first you have to get his attention."

Just like the farmer's donkey, the first thing you have to do with Democrats is get their attention. Unfortunately, that means you have to wait for an election year to roll around before they will listen. The Democrats passed their so-called health care reform even though roughly sixty percent of American voters oppose it, because the Democrats thought the voters would forget about it by election time.

However, while they were trying for a radical makeover of health care, and then settling for a mishmash that no one liked, their ominous Cap and Trade legislation passed by the House just sat there mouldering in the Senate while the bloom was coming off the Obama rose.

Now Democrats are blaming Republicans for the death of Cap and Trade, but truth be known, many Democrats vainly praying for re-election want nothing to do with passing it in the face of high unemployment and persistent recession. Obama is looking ahead to 2012 and wants Congressional Democrats to "win one for the Capper," but those Democrats know a vote for Cap and Trade is their sure ticket out of Congress.

With a Congressional approval rating of 11 percent, many of them are on the way out anyway. Their only hope is a sudden economic turnaround, and that is sure not to happen if they mess up energy and make it more expensive. The recent modest economic improvements we see are rooted in the markets' certainty that Cap and Trade won't happen.

Democrats know that public attention is focused on jobs, jobs, jobs, and that messing up the economy now will prove that they have been ignoring the voters.

Time to get out the ax handle.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Left's Census, Post Office, and Healthcare Follies

The Left here in northern California has an incredible faith in government, quite unlike the Left of thirty or thereabouts years ago. For example, they want a single payer system for healthcare, the total abolishment of private insurance companies; in other words, a government monopoly.

Not long ago Alice and one of our leading leftists were comparing notes about another government program, the Census. Every ten years the Census lays an egg in our area, since the Post Office will not do home delivery in our rural area, and the Census will not allow post office box delivery of the mailed Census forms. Therefore, all the Census forms mailed to our area are returned to the Census office as undeliverable, since they are addressed to our property addresses instead of our Post Office boxes.

Knowing this to be the case, we do a variety of things to comply with Census requirements, such as getting forms from a local non-government social services office and mailing them in.

However, even after we do that the Census hires and sends in an army of Census workers hired outside of our area and therefore paid wages plus transportation, lodging, and meals expenses to come here and go house to house to complete the census. The landlady of one of the downtown inns said June was her best month in years because she was full of Census workers. At the same time, we had an abnormally high rate of unemployed in our area who, if hired by the Census, could have worked from their homes and saved the government the expenses of the out-of-towners, plus cut down on unemployment and welfare benefits paid to locals.

After I filled out and sent in our census form ahead of the deadline, Alice and I went on an African safari vacation. When we came back we found notices from three different census workers, two pinned on our front door and one on a side gate we rarely use. They had made their calls over two weeks after we sent in the completed form.

(The Census chief says that their shaky computer system won't be a problem in getting an accurate census. For more about this, click here.)

We called one of the numbers and answered the same questions that we had previously provided via mail almost a month before.

When Alice and the prominent local lefty discussed this, Alice asked: "Is there anything the government runs well?" and the Lefty replied: "The Post Office."

At this point, we need to recap that the root of our Census problem every ten years is that the Post Office will not deliver mail to our home addresses, and will not put mail addressed to our homes into our post office boxes - even though the Post Office employees know our names and our box numbers from memory.

Meanwhile, every week day United Parcel, Federal Express, and other delivery companies drive throughout our lightly populated rural area delivering to our home addresses. Frequently their service is amazing. I'll buy an item over the internet in the evening, and often the next day it will be delivered to my door, even though I haven't paid extra for expedited delivery.

And concerning healthcare, the very low Medicaid (called MediCal in California) reimbursement rate drains so much money from our small local medical center that evening and weekend services have had to be reduced severely. In Texas many doctors are dropping Medicaid patient service completely because they can't afford to provide it.

Yet the Left wants the government to run more things.

I know what the Left is smoking, because this area is one of the leading sources of marijuana, but its users say that it's supposed to be harmless.

Not if it makes the Democrats think that the government should run everything, it isn't!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Boxer Proud of Jobs Record

Barbara Boxer claims California voters should reelect her because of her record on jobs for Californians (click here for the San Francisco Chronicle report). I think this illustrates Barbara's most outstanding trait: low intelligence. Who else would be proud of California's worst in the nation unemployment of 12.5%?

Californians are catching on. The bad news for Barbara is in the latest Fields poll, which shows her unfavorable rating is higher than her favorable (click here for this news items).

I must admit Barbara didn't do it all herself, although with three terms in the Senate, she deserves some of the credit for the total mess that is California government. If she had been a more effective Senator, she would have accomplished more of her leftist agenda, and then we could give her more credit for the mess.

California has been governed by Democrats for decades, and California's Democrats are a wholly owned subsidiary of California's powerful public employee unions. However, Barbara is on a two-day "jobs for California" tour, seemingly clueless about how this is calling attention to California Democrats' greatest failing. If the Democrats hadn't messed up California business and education so completely for so long, then our vast, intractable budget deficit wouldn't be blocking all attempts to get back on track.

Of course, California's Democrats got a lot of help from Washington Democrats like Barney Frank and Franklin Delano Raines, who badgered Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac into insolvency by forcing them to make mortgage loans to home buyers who had no chance in Hell of making the payments.

Californians are hurting enough now to finally notice that "Dim Bulb" Barbara hasn't accomplished anything of note, and that her loud-mouthed exhortations for government to spend more and be more like Europeans look odd now that the Europeans are trying to put an end to such foolishness.

Barbara's only hope is that the Californian electorate has been dumbed down so much by the destruction Democrats inflicted on California's once great educational system that they won't realize what a useless Senator she has been.

Actually, betting on the stupidity of the California electorate is usually a sure thing.

Barbara might not be so dumb after all.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Germany Shows Us How, Just Like They Showed Argentina

Which of the major industrialized nations has the healthiest economy?

Germany. (for more interesting facts and analyisis of Germany's success story, click here)


Because Germany is cutting spending, not raising taxes or increasing government spending.

Why does that work to make their economy strong?

Simply, because it increases confidence in their economy. Businesses know they are not going to get hit with ruinous tax increases. Inefficient government and socialized businesses realize that they aren’t going to be bailed out by the German government.

On the one hand businesses can confidently go ahead with improved products and expansion, and government-supported organizations know they must become more effective or fail.

As usual, the Liberals are crying that the poor will suffer.


Isn’t it better to be able to find work in a growing economy, than to hope for a welfare miracle from a failing one?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Medieval Warm Period in China

The belief system that is Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) has had a rallying cry for years: “Do away with the Medieval Warm Period!” It’s understandable why they would want to – indeed have to – eliminate the Medieval Warm Period. If let stand, the Medieval Warm Period provides two crushing blows to CAGW: first, that current warming is unprecedented, and second, that the rate of warming is unprecedented.

Of course, if increased levels of the trace atmospheric gas, carbon dioxide, must be the driver of warming, the current warming and its rate must be unprecedented. Otherwise, previous periods of rapid warming would have to be due to something other than rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Therefore, there cannot be any previous periods of rapid warming, meaning there cannot be a Medieval Warm Period.

Or a Roman Warming.

Or the even warmer Holocene Climate Optimum.

While we’re at it, there can’t be a Little Ice Age, either.

Why not?

Because a Little Ice Age would just set the stage for the current warming to be properly considered a natural change back to warming from a cold period.

Or another way to look at the Little Ice Age: If increased carbon dioxide causes warming, then reduced carbon dioxide must cause cooling.

That’s absurd?

Why? If the increased carbon dioxide causes warming, then to cool things the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere must go down, right? Or do you think that cooling is caused by something else?

If you do, doesn’t that open the possibility that warming is caused by something else, too?

However, the warmists have a way out. They contend that the Medieval Warm Period was just a local – a European – phenomenon.

Hundreds of studies prove otherwise, but the warmists then contend that the studies are all bought and paid for by Big Oil. BP, for instance.

BP, of course, was spending great piles of money promoting itself as the greenest of green energy companies, and having nothing to do with CAGW skeptics.

However, we’ll let the warmists have their mythologies, because another very important source has recently been heard from, China (for this eye-opening study, click here).

Chinese scientists reconstructed temperatures from a variety of proxies covering the past 2,000 years, and found periods when warming was greater and more rapid than the present.

As previously mentioned, there are hundreds of studies that find the same, it’s just that these Chinese studies are conveniently separated from Europe and from Western culture Big Energy influences.

There are not many places left for the CAGW to find cover. At the moment they are as exposed as Al Gore in Portland.

Let them try to massage this!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Al Gore in Heat While Earth Cools

Al Gore is on fire

It takes a lot to heat things up in Portland, but Al Gore came there in 2006 with a burning desire. Henceforth, whenever I hear a catastrophic global warming alarmist intoning imminent disaster, I'll have a mental picture of Al as an overweight poodle humping a red-headed masseuse's leg.

I'll see it as a metaphor for the way he and his acolytes have been trying to screw the world to satisfy their lust for power.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fifty Year Reunion, Point Arena Class of 1960 and Friends

There comes a time in every man's life when he does something he feels just has to be done.

In my case, it's putting together a 50th year reunion of my high school graduating class of 1960, Point Arena, California.

I started thinking small, just invite our class and their families - including, of course, my younger brother Ron, Class of 1961. There were only 27 in our graduating class, and sadly, at least four have passed away. Then there are about half-a-dozen that drifted through, children whose parents moved to wherever the next sawmill was hiring, or wherever the Air Force decreed their next job. California was a foot-loose state, people coming here for the California life, then searching all over California to find it.

Some did, many didn't, and many moved on.

That's why a reunion of just my class and close friends and family would be very small.

Immediately I was reproached (very nicely and politely) by classmates and other younger and older Point Arena graduates who wanted a grander reunion. To cut to the chase, I quickly caved in and invited everyone from the Class of 1964 back to the dawn of time to attend.

That brought me to look at to help me spread the word. The good news was that membership already included quite a few Point Arena High alumni, and that there is a "reunions" section to provide details and spread the word. The bad news is that the "reunions" section of is as hard headed and inflexible as many spouses are (wrongfully) accused of being.

When I set up the reunion announcement I screwed up and omitted classes 1962 and 1964. To correct the error I had to set up an almost identical reunion announcement because I couldn't just go back and correct the erroneous one.

Then I started using the system to send out reunion reminders. Unfortunately, their reminders go out to everyone, including those who have RSVP'd and need no further reminders. These unnecessary reminders, as would be expected, only serve to create confusion and anxiety amongst those who have already responded.

My attempts to get out information and explanations through the system proved to be frustrating and cumbersome. I couldn't send out a semi-mass mailing to selected addressees - I had to send the information out one address at a time. The mass messaging system doesn't allow including web sites or e-mail addresses in the messages, which makes it very difficult for me to publicize the web site I've set up to disseminate information and to post (auto) biographies: Point Arena High, Class of 1960. (Please click on the preceding blue and gold link to go to our reunion web site)

Or if that's too cutesy, just click here.

At any rate, be advised (as we would say in the Air Force) that I have unilaterally decided to extend the reunion hours by starting earlier - 4 PM instead of 6 PM at the Gualala Community Center, September 18, 2010, with a two-hour socializing period augmented by cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, and vino. Then we have dinner at 6 PM, followed by alumni introducing themselves and sharing what they've been up to for the past half-century or more.

Then music, dancing, socializing, moderate drinking, &etc. until we all realize we're up past our bed times.

Don't miss it!

e-mail me at

call me at 707-884-3741

Write me and send checks to Mike Combs, P O Box 1639, Gualala, CA 95445.

Don't procrastinate!

Do it!



Thursday, June 03, 2010

Pacific Islands Cope with Sea-Level Rise

Sea levels have risen a lot in the past 12,000 years since the end of the most recent Ice Age - over 400 feet, or an average of over three feet per century. In recent centuries the rate of sea-level rise has been much lower, about six inches per century. The reasons for sea level rise and the changing rates are obvious: we're currently in an inter-glacial, the period between Ice Ages, so the melting since the last Ice Age continues; and sea-levels rose the fastest just after the end of the Ice Age because there was a lot of terrestrial ice to melt.

Now the good news about drowning islands in the South Pacific: they're not.

Readers of this and other skeptic blogs already knew (1) the rate of sea-level rise was natural and moderate, and (2) coral islands have been keeping up with rising sea levels for millions of years.

Now even New Scientist acknowledges the obvious, which you can avail by clicking the following link to New Scientist article.

I wonder what anthropogenic global warming alarmists think about fluctuating sea levels and coral? Are they aware that large changes in sea levels in a short time period - over 400 feet in 12,000 years - are natural? What do they think corals were doing when the sea levels were 420 feet lower? Or what corals did as levels rose over 400 feet? Do they think that today's Pacific atolls were just sitting there waiting for sea levels to come up and inundate them?

Do the alarmists know that coral growth kept pace with rapid sea-level rise during those thousands of years? Do they know that corals grow faster in warmer water than in colder, and have thrived for millions of years in a variety of warmer and colder sea temperatures, and in an environment when CO2 levels were 20 or more times higher?

These things are all voluminously documented and available to even a layman researcher, such as myself.

It's not brain surgery or rocket science.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Obamacare – Bad and Badder

The Obama administration and Democrats placed their bets on passing any health reform bill they could, and then selling it to voters before the November elections. They felt they could do this because little if anything would change before the election, so all they would have to do is tell the voters how wonderful things will be.

The problem is that evidence is piling up that Obamacare will be far from wonderful. Estimated costs have been steadily revised upwards as unrealistic assumptions are examined and rejected. The most obvious assumption was that payments to doctors and hospitals would be cut to finance the expansion. The truth is that planned cuts are always rescinded, and the only cutting has been doctors and hospitals dropping coverage of Medicare and Medicaid patients because the low reimbursement rates don’t cover costs. Simply, they cause losses.

The whole scheme will soon collapse like a house of cards when compelling all citizens to buy a product – health insurance – is ruled unconstitutional. It’s one thing to say you can’t drive without a license, or get a mortgage without home insurance, but to say that the mere fact that you are an American is cause to be compelled to buy health insurance will not be considered a legitimate use of government power.

We have a Constitution, you know.

Karl Rove in an excellent Wall Street Journal article provides cogent analysis of the problems of Obamacare, which you can access by merely clicking here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Arizona Adopted California and Oklahoma Immigration Laws

All the liberal anxiety aimed at Arizona's new tough illegal immigration law is surprising, since I don't remember any of it when California passed a law years ago almost the same as Arizona's.

the California Penal Code actually requires that every law enforcement agency in the state shall "fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws."

Below is a copy of section 834b of the California Penal Code that deals with immigration law enforcement at the local level.

(a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. (b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following: (1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status. (2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States. (3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity. (c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.

The last sentence prohibits such abominations as San Francisco's "sanctuary" law.

Three years ago Oklahoma passed a similar law:

House Bill 1804 was passed by overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate of the Oklahoma Legislature. The measure’s sponsor, State Representative
Randy Terrill, says the bill has four main topical areas: it deals with identity theft; it terminates public assistance benefits to illegals; it empowers state and local police to enforce federal immigration laws; and it punishes employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens.

So what makes Arizona's law special? In fact, what would make any state law special in light of federal law?

President Obama was a spokesperson for those of you ignorant of federal law (apparently all Liberals fall in this category), when he said in Iowa:

"One of the things that the law says is that local officials are allowed to ask somebody who they have a suspicion might be an illegal immigrant for their papers."

If the President believes that is wrong, his complaint is with federal law, not Arizona's.

It is already federal law that an alien in the United States must register and carry certain documents with him while he's in the United States. In fact it's been federal law for 70 years.

Nor is it news to local law officers. They check the immigration status of those they stop on suspicion of a crime.

The federal government has a 24-7 hotline that's been in place for about 15 years for exactly that purpose. And it's being used more than a thousand times a day all over the country.

The defenders of the immigration law say it's essentially the same as federal law -- which the president is bound to uphold.
(The above information was provided by Kris Kobach, a lawyer who is an expert in immigration and who helped construct the Arizona bill.)

So there you have it -- grandstanding by ignoramuses, which seems to be our leaders' most highly developed talent.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

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.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Damn! I Want Global Warming!

Alice and I moved to the northern California coast in 1998, when we were each 56 years old. We knew the weather on the coast was cool, but with expectations of global warming, as promised by Al Gore, we thought it would warm as we aged.

Old people need warmer, you know.

If you don't believe me, go to Florida and Arizona.

Anyway, each year we look for the warming signs.

Last summer it was so cool on the coast that the blackberries we pass on our daily walks to the beach never ripened. We watched them hungrily, day after day, and they never made it past "too bitter to swallow."

They were at their best twelve year ago just after we moved here from hot and sunny Livermore. That also happened to be the last real warm year we've had here, thanks to the strongest El Nino in the past hundred years.

Now a very respected scientist finds that we're in for more cooling until around 2030.

Whoa just a ding dong dang minute! In 2030 Alice and I will be 88 years old, and in need of all the warming we can get!

No one seems to like cooling, least of all our elders. If you look at a map of population trends in the United States, you will see massive movement from the colder regions to the warmer. In effect, we've been voting for global warming with our feet for the past century.

However, Alice and I love our home, and we don't want to move south, particularly to the idiocy and stupidity of Los Angeles, where I was born and Alice grew up. Alice and I are looking forward to the lights going off in Los Angeles when LA votes to boycott Arizona. We're already boycotting San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley because of their fatuous boycotts. Now we've added LA to the list. So far our boycotts have resulted in almost $1,000 of our funds not being spent in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We're doing our part to cool them off.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Don’t Shit in Your Mess Kit – Protecting Against Terrorists

The would-be Times Square terrorist almost escaped. The Obama administration says that it’s the job of the airlines to check passengers against the no-fly list, and that Emirates Airlines dropped the ball. Luckily Customs spotted Faisal Shahzad on the passenger list before his flight left, but after he had already boarded.

The Obama administration may claim a victory here, but it seems more like dumb luck. The anti-terrorist system is no good if you trust that the airlines will do all the right things at the right time. In this case, Emirate Airlines followed their usual procedure of updating their no-fly list infrequently, and we didn’t have a clue that they probably wouldn’t have a current list available to check against less than 24 hours after Faisal Shahzad was put on it.

Trusting in dumb luck is no way to run an airline, and even less an anti-terrorist system.

Illegal Immigrants Have More Rights Than Citizens

Federal authorities just arrested 596 illegal immigrants with prior criminal convictions (LA Times), according to John Morton, head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). Most of them will be deported, though 22 may be prosecuted for illegal entry after previous deportation. He said the Obama administration is focused on deporting immigrants who break the law.

The sweep exposed holes in the U.S. immigration enforcement system, since 572 of the criminals, some previously convicted of murder, sex crimes, assault and fraud, had been released from jail or prison without being turned over to immigration authorities as the law requires, Morton acknowledged.

There are as many as a million such criminal illegal immigrants in the U.S., Morton said.

The sweep illustrates the hypocrisy of the Obama administration towards immigration enforcement as it dithers over responding to Arizona’s law. Obama officials say they are focusing their efforts on people convicted of crimes, but acknowledge that they continue to remove noncriminals.

Meanwhile, the administration is also facing criticism from Congress that it is not aggressively enforcing immigration laws. In response, officials say they are removing a record number of immigrants, about 400,000 per year. A majority of those have not been convicted of crimes.

Arizona proposes doing what the federal government does poorly – enforce immigration laws. Under the legal doctrine of "concurrent enforcement," states are allowed to ban what is already prohibited by federal law. As an example, courts have upheld efforts by Arizona, California and other states to enact sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants.

If I were stopped for a driving violation, the officer would ask to see my driver’s license. If an illegal immigrant were stopped for the same violation and asked to show a driver’s license, that’s not racial profiling, unless illegal immigrants now have more civil rights than U. S. citizens.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Hide The Decline

It Is The Government, Stupid!

It is the government, Mr. Obama. What we're seeing in Greece is a foreshadow of what's in store for us if you, the government, and the public employees unions continue to grow the public sector on the back of the private.

Here's the money quote about Greece and its problems:

Economists regard the bloated civil service with its jobs for life and generous pensions as a cancer consuming the country’s resources. The older generation, the experts grimly concur, turned the state into a giant cash machine to be plundered at will.

In California, the counties and cities have lived far beyond their means by expanding public employment much faster than the general population growth, and demanding more and better government services. Looming over all the public sector employment - which, the public seems to have forgotten is paid for by taxes out of someone's pockets - is the spector of generous pension plans that begin with the illogic of very early retirements.

Of course, much of this is not recognized by the voters, because many of them are net recipients of tax monies rather than payers. Add to these beneficiaries of government generosity the members of the fastest growing voting block in California, the public employees themselves, and you have a perfect system for increasing taxes and spending.

In Europe they have been working at this longer than we have, so are much further down the path to economic ruin. We could learn from their mistakes, but instead we emulate them because we don't recogize that their security, which we envy, is only illusory.

Look to Greece for an example of what's soon to come for Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Iceland - and they're only tips of the iceberg.

Bureaucrats will raise their fists at the barricades in a general strike and protests on Wednesday to protect their considerable perks from the IMF.

They and other public sector workers are virtually unsackable, can retire as early as 45 and get bonuses for using a computer, speaking a foreign language and arriving at work on time.

Obama denies it, but even a fool should realize that what happened in Greece happened because government employees became too strong.

California's public employment is up significantly during the past four years, even as California as a whole has its highest rate of unemployment of modern times.

California public service unions are so strong, that even though the only answer to California's ruinous budget deficits is drastic cuts to the public payroll, California politicians will not bite that bullet. The unions are too powerful.

You Can't Get There From Here

Global warming alarmists base their scenarios of doom on the contemplation of a doubling of atmospheric CO2. However, responsible scientists realize the impossibility of doubling atmospheric CO2. Simply, we will not have enough hydrocarbons available to burn in the time frames the alarmists envision. Both fossil fuel emmissions and atmospheric CO2 will peak before 2100, and atospheric CO2 will only reach about 500 ppm, a 32% increase over the present 380 ppm.
As the farmer in the field replied when the city slicker asked directions to New York City, "You can't get there from here."

Al Gore - Can He Have It Both Ways?

A graph of Northern Hemisphere snowfall by decade for the past fifty years shows the past decade was the smowiest. Click link here for eye-opening information Al Gore denies exists.

According to Al:

"Just as it’s important not to miss the forest for the trees, neither should we miss the climate for the snowstorm,” Gore wrote in a wonky Op-Ed for The New York Times.

"The heavy snowfalls this month have been used as fodder for ridicule by those who argue that global warming is a myth,” he acknowledged.

“Yet scientists have long pointed out that warmer global temperatures have been increasing the rate of evaporation from the oceans,” he wrote. And that puts “significantly more moisture into the atmosphere – thus causing heavier downfalls of both rain and snow.”

Al, look at the graph. Notice the high levels of snow in the relatively cool 1960's and 1970's, and the diminishing levels in the warming 1980's and 1990's.

Then the record-breaking (for the fifty-year period, that is) snow for the 2000's.

Al, you say the increased snow in the 2000's is proof of warming. Then what did the much lower levels of snow in the warming 80's and 90's prove? And the higher levels in the 60's and 70's?

Al, you just don't make sense.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Porndogs" or Watchdogs?

Some posts write themselves.

According to an Associated Press news story, "Securities and Exchange Commission ... senior agency staffers spent hours surfing pornographic websites on government-issued computers while they were supposed to be policing the nation's financial system."

Phrased another way, Who watches the watchers?

Since a very high percentage of government workers are Democrats, what are the odds that these government workers, seventeen of whom were "at a senior level" earning salaries up to $222,418 per year, were predominantly Democrats?

The "senior attorney" among them undoubtedly was.

Clearly these Securities and Exchange officials "'were preoccupied with other distractions' when they should have been overseeing the growing problems in the financial system."

But have no worries.

The Democrats are minding the store, and have been since the mid-term election of 2008.

Barney Frank, the Congressional Black Caucus, and Franklin Delano Raines were on top of everything.

If you doubt me, check out what the SEC staffers were watching.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Unprecedented" Warming for 160 Years

Like the dollar, "unprecedented" just doesn't go as far as it used to.

Believers in anthropogenic global warming argue that current warming is unprecedented. The gist of my counter-argument is that numerous studies show warming was greater during the Medieval Warm Period (800 to 1300AD), and that it was even warmer during the Holocene Climate Optimum 9,000 to 5,000 years ago. These studies will show that warming during those periods was global and persistent, was reflected in ice cores, lake and ocean sediments, in the distribution of plants by latitude and elevations, and evidence from human settlements and historical records.

Arrayed against this record of natural climate changes going back over 11,000 years to the end of the Ice Age, the alleged evidence of man-caused global warming spans 60 years when global temperatures both rose and fell while atmospheric carbon dioxide increased. Now the “Climategate” e-mails show that alarmist scientists had to “hide the decline,” admit that the Medieval Warm Period was as warm or warmer, and that it is a “travesty” that their computer models can’t explain recent cooling.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Earth Day Blows It

On Earth Day the “Windies” gusted, and John Muir spun. The marriage of convenience between environmentalists – the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, the American Bird Conservancy, Greenpeace, and the Audubon Society – and industrial wind power projects offends the principles of both science and conservation.

Wind power is retrograde, a technological dinosaur. It only generates within a narrow range of wind speeds, is intermittent, produces best when needed least (nighttime), doesn’t play well with others (see “intermittent”), destroys scenic vistas, remorselessly kills birds (endangered or otherwise), and is and will continue to be prohibitively expensive. Although wind power has a very low capacity factor (25%) compared to nuclear (over 90%), coal (around 80%), natural gas (used primarily for load following, 60%), or hydro (50%), it is much better than solar (under 20%).

For example, between Maryland and West Virginia there is potential for around 2000 wind turbines, each nearly 500-feet tall; they would be placed atop 400 miles of the Allegheny Mountain ridges. About 20 acres of forest must be clear cut to support each turbine—4-6 acres to allow free flow of wind per turbine; one or more large staging areas for each wind project; access road construction; and a variety of substations and transmission lines. Cumulatively, about 40,000 acres of CO² sequestering woodlands containing rare habitat and many vulnerable wildlife species would be destroyed.

Local environmentalists used the California Coastal Commission to annihilate my home-town Gualala’s modest fireworks display by demonstrating that a few nesting pairs of seabirds were disturbed. I doubt any of these environmentalists have voiced objections to the thousands of eagles and raptors killed, not just disturbed, by the Altamont Pass wind farm, or the thousands of migratory birds and sea birds killed annually worldwide. On the contrary, most “environmentalists” turn a blind eye to such carnage.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Congress F's Up Their Own Health Care

The New York Times reports that Congress screwed itself out of its own health care program by mistake.

This is poetic justice - the comment was made over and over that Congress didn't know what was in the Health Care Bill, but still Democrats rushed to pass it to save their political asses. They knew if they took their time that their constituents would be all over them on their Spring break.

"Pass anything, then hope something will work out before November elections."

Well "anything" was passed, and it's hard to criticize because no one understands it - particularly the Democrats.

When the New York Times gives Democrats a hard time, you know they really messed up.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Iowa Method Proves Global Warming

Scientists' use of computer models to predict climate change is under attack

The following is an excerpt from the above Washington Post article:

But scientists say that, during this time, they have only become more certain that their models work.

Put in the conditions on Earth more than 20,000 years ago: they produce an Ice Age, NASA's Schmidt said. Put in the conditions from 1991, when a volcanic eruption filled the earth's atmosphere with a sun-shade of dust. The models produce cooling temperatures and shifts in wind patterns, Schmidt said, just like the real world did.

If the models are as flawed as critics say, Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies said, "You have to ask yourself, 'How come they work?' "

“The Iowa Method, that’s why they work,” would have answered my late friend, Senior Master Sergeant Robert Kenneth Clough, US Air Force. According to Sgt. Clough, the Iowa Method is a brilliant model of simplicity and accuracy: you start with the desired conclusion, and then figure how you got there.

In short, the Iowa Method is infallible.

Apparently that’s the way climate scientists like Gavin Schmidt feel about their computer models.

Do you want an Ice Age? Take the one that occurred, and build a model that you declare replicates it. The model will always create the Ice Age that occurred, although it may not create the one that’s coming.

Does the computer model of the last Ice Age begin with a precipitous drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide? It should, if the computer model predicting current rapid warming based on rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is also the Ice Age model.

The same is true for a volcanic eruption in 1991. It may seemingly explain the subsequent cooling, but what explains the past decade of cooling without volcanic eruptions? Kevin Trenberth in a Climategate e-mail says it’s a "travesty" that our climate science (based on computer models) doesn’t explain the current lack of warming.

A major segment of climate models is based on paleoclimate reconstructions by Michael Mann, Keith Briffa, Phillip Jones, et al. In essence their studies, heavily weighted to analyses of tree rings, show very little variation in global temperatures for the past thousand years, then a rapid warming in the last half century corresponding to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Inconveniently, their tree-ring reconstructions show cooling after 1960 instead of warming, so researchers conveniently discarded that portion of their research and replaced it by grafting on instrumental records to “hide the decline.”

Doing this obviated the need to explain why the tree-ring proxies for temperatures were good until 1960, then not good thereafter.

While ethically problematical, their approach satisfied the dictates of the Iowa Method: show that global warming did not begin until atmospheric carbon dioxide increased.

Non-scientists like Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. grabbed hold of this “correlation” by first stating that current warming was “unprecedented” for the past thousand years, then by doubling this claim to the time of Jesus Christ.

Again inconveniently, Über-climate alarmist Phil Jones recently admitted that the Medieval Warm Period (900 to 1400 AD) may have been warmer than present, and that global climate had cooled recently.

However, Jones ended by proclaiming what can only be regarded as inconsequential, that January 2010 was the warmest on record, the record having begun in 1979. I doubt any reputable scientists would regard one month in a 31-year record as proof of anything, up to and including considering it to be just cause for reordering energy production and the economies of all nations.

Although the Iowa Method would approve.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cargo Cult Science - Anthropogenic Global Warming

CARGO CULT SCIENCE, by Richard Feynman, was presented at Caltech commencement in 1974. In it he defined Cargo Cult Sciences as theories that don't work, and science that isn't science.

What are Cargo Cult Sciences missing? Scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to utter honesty; leaning over backwards. For example, in an experiment you should report everything that you think might make it invalid; not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked--to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

AGW has become – probably always has been – a Cargo Cult Science. Examples of past warmer periods have been ignored or dismissed. Recent periods of cooling during heightened levels of atmospheric CO2 have been mated to strained explanations involving aerosols, etc. Recent low levels of Arctic ice create panic even though lower Arctic ice was previously reported – 1922 for just one example. AGW links were forged to Katrina, Midwestern tornados, Himalayan glaciers, Amazon rain forests, African agriculture, Mount Kilimanjaro ice cap, Bangladesh sea level, without mention that there were sounder scientific explanations for these anomalies.

And these are anomalies only in light of ignorance of climate history.

Like the true Cargo Cult believers, the AGW true believers gather in worshipful expectancy of catastrophes that will never come, while practicing rituals that do nothing to alter the direction of natural climate change.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bill Mauldin - Tribute

For many of my Air Force years, the military newspaper Stars and Stripes was my local paper. I looked forward to it every day, in Turkey, the United Kingdom, and in other lands where duty ocassionally called me - Germany, Japan, Korea, The Phillipines. By then World War II was already almost two decades past, but the Stars and Stripes was still there as our link to "home."

Bill Mauldin famously cartooned for Stars and Stripes during the war, and published a book Up Front of "Willie and Joe" cartoons in 1945. Pop read Up Front to me - explaining the cartoons while giving me history lessons - sometime around 1950 when we were living in the old abandoned Point Arena High School building.

The following tribute to Bill Mauldin was written by Bob Greene, author and award-winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

The post office gets a lot of criticism. Always has, always will.

And with the renewed push to get rid of Saturday mail delivery, expect complaints to intensify. But the United States Postal Service deserves a standing ovation for something that's going to happen this month. Bill Mauldin is getting his own postage stamp.

Mauldin died at age 81 in the early days of 2003. The end of his life had been rugged. He had been scalded in a bathtub, which led to terrible injuries and infections; Alzheimer's disease was inflicting its cruelties. Unable to care for himself after the scalding, he became a resident of a California nursing home, his health and spirits in rapid decline.

He was not forgotten, though. Mauldin and his work meant so much to the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, and to those who had waited for them to come home. He was a kid cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper. Mauldin's drawings of his muddy, exhausted, whisker-stubbled infantrymen, Willie and Joe, were the voice of truth about what it was like on the front lines.

Beautiful view. Is there one for the enlisted men?
Mauldin was an enlisted man just like the soldiers he drew for; his gripes were their gripes, his laughs were their laughs, his heartaches were their heartaches. He was one of them. They loved him.

Radio th' ol' man we'll be late on account of a thousand-mile detour.
He never held back. Sometimes, when his cartoons cut too close for comfort, his superior officers tried to tone him down. In one memorable incident, he enraged Gen. George S. Patton, and Patton informed Mauldin he wanted the pointed cartoons -- celebrating the fighting men, lampooning the high-ranking officers -- to stop. Now.The news passed from soldier to soldier. How was Sgt. Bill Mauldin going to stand up to Gen. Patton? It seemed impossible.

Not quite. Mauldin, it turned out, had an ardent fan: Five-star Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe. Ike put out the word: Mauldin draws what Mauldin wants. Mauldin won. Patton lost.

If in your line of work you've ever considered yourself a young hotshot, or if you've ever known anyone who has felt that way about himself or herself, the story of Mauldin's young manhood will humble you. Here is what, by the time he was 23 years old, Mauldin had accomplished:

He won the Pulitzer Prize. He was featured on the cover of Time magazine. His book "Up Front" was the No. 1 best-seller in the United States.

All of that at 23. Yet when he returned to civilian life and he grew older, he never lost that boyish Mauldin grin, he never outgrew his excitement about doing his job, he never big-shotted or high-hatted the people with whom he worked every day. I was lucky enough to be one of them; Mauldin roamed the hallways of the Chicago Sun-Times in the late 1960s and early 1970s with no more officiousness or air of haughtiness than if he was a copyboy. That impish look on his face remained.

He had achieved so much. He had won a second Pulitzer Prize, and he should have won a third for what may be the single greatest editorial cartoon in the history of the craft, his deadline rendering on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated of the statue at the Lincoln Memorial slumped in grief, its head cradled in its hands. But he never acted as if he was better than the people he met. He was still Mauldin, the enlisted man.

During the late summer of 2002, as Mauldin lay in that California nursing home, some of the old World War II infantry guys caught wind of it. They didn't want Mauldin to go out that way. They thought he should know that he was still their hero.

Gordon Dillow, a columnist for the Orange County Register, put out the call in Southern California for people in the area to send their best wishes to Mauldin. I joined Dillow in the effort, helping to spread the appeal nationally so that Bill would not feel so alone. Soon more than 10,000 letters and cards had arrived at Mauldin's bedside.

Even better than that, the old soldiers began to show up just to sit with Mauldin, to let him know that they were there for him, as he, long ago, had been there for them. So many volunteered to visit Bill that there was a waiting list. Here is how Todd DePastino, in the first paragraph of his wonderful biography of Mauldin, described it:"Almost every day in the summer and fall of 2002 they came to Park Superior nursing home in Newport Beach, California, to honor Army Sergeant, Technician Third Grade, Bill Mauldin. They came bearing relics of their youth: medals, insignia, photographs, and carefully folded newspaper clippings. Some wore old garrison caps. Others arrived resplendent in uniforms over a half century old. Almost all of them wept as they filed down the corridor like pilgrims fulfilling some long-neglected obligation.

"One of the veterans explained to me why it was so important: "You would have to be part of a combat infantry unit to appreciate what moments of relief Bill gave us. You had to be reading a soaking wet Stars and Stripes in a water-filled foxhole and then see one of his cartoons.

"Mauldin is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This month, the kid cartoonist makes it onto a first-class postage stamp. It's an honor that most generals and admirals never receive.

What Mauldin would have loved most, I believe, is the sight of the two guys who are keeping him company on that stamp.

Take a look at it. There's Willie. There's Joe.

And there, to the side, drawing them and smiling that shy, quietly observant smile, is Mauldin, himself, with his buddies, right where he belongs. Forever.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bob Greene. And me. And a lot of other guys.