Monday, June 30, 2008

McCain's military service questioned

Some on the left, far left it appears, are questioning Senator McCain's war record. It is the usual garbage about war crimes and fighting in an unjust war. Outside of San Francisco and Berkeley, I'm doubtful that anyone will buy this particular line of unreasoning. This will play well in the old hippy echo chamber, but it is not likely to hurt McCain. It is more likely to damage Obama if it gains any level of press coverage. Though, he has clearly stated he considers McCain to be a war hero.

Friday, June 27, 2008

August Swim at the North Pole?

Despite some of the information being spread around on this blog and by the oil companies, perhaps there is something to this global warming thing. No ice at the North Pole? What will Santa do??

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Yes We Can - keep our guns

In District of Columbia v. Heller the U. S. Supreme Court finally, after 217 years, weighed in on whether Amendment II of the U. S. Constitution granted an individual right to keep and bear arms. Surprisingly, the decision was a narrow 5-4 majority in favor of Heller which recognized the individual right. It is hard to understand how it could have been otherwise. The Bill of Rights is a laundry list of individual rights, enacted in order to limit governmental authority.

Justice Stephens, in the dissent, wrote that the majority, "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made the decision to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian use of weapons." This is, in my opinion, exactly backwards. The purpose of Amendment II is to limit the tools of government against the individual.

I am no Constitutional scholar, but I can read, and it is sometimes hard for me to understand the contortions the Court must go through in order to reach a decision that fits the justices' individual prejudices. Today is a good day for those of us who believe that the Constitution means what it says rather than having some obscure meaning that is hidden somewhere just out of sight of the rational mind.

Below are the first ten amendments of the U. S. Constitution:

Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Things that make you say WTF

According to the Pew Forum on religion and public life, 21% of atheists believe in God, 55% of agnostics believe in God. Do these people not know what atheist and agnostic mean? I can see where a small percentage of agnostics might believe in God, but not 55%, and atheist means, according to Webster's online dictionary, Someone who denies the existence of god. Is this just another example of American ignorance?


Maureen Dowd has a column I really enjoyed this morning. The very idea that Rove, Dubya, Rush Limbaugh, et. al. dare to suggest that Obama is "elite" without taking a good look in the mirror is laughable.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hezbollah planning an attack?

This ABC News item is rather scary. Hezbollah, with the blessing of Tehran, is planning a large scale attack against a western target, probably Canada or South America. This group is well organized and financed, as they have the support of the Iranian theocracy. Hopefully, the intelligence services involved will be able to foil these plots.

"Hezbollah would not carry out an attack in the west, or wherever this attack is going to occur, without approval from Tehran," said Baer, the former CIA intelligence officer.

Baer says his Hezbollah contacts told him an attack against the US was unlikely because Iran and Hezbollah did not want to give the Bush administration an excuse to attack.

If this statement is true, then we should all be glad that President Bush has such an unpopular foreign policy. It seems very effective in this instance.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Dr. Robin Hansen has an excellent article on change (the kind Senator Obama talks about, not the stuff in your pocket.) The basic theory is that world changing events occur more and more frequently. The pace of change is logarithmic (see the graph above), basically meaning significant events occur in half the time that the previous significant change occurred. The article is very interesting and not so technical that we can't all understand it. It also links to some other notable articles on the same premise.

These events are called singularities, and two of note are the invention of agriculture and the industrial revolution. The economic implications of singularities are also discussed. Dr. Hansen theorizes that the next singularity will come with the perfection of intelligent machines (those that are capable of thought and learning.)

There are many more graphs showing logarithmic progress in things like computing speed, internet use, U.S. war deaths, etc. It is very interesting.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Is warming bad?

Cousin Mark goes to the trouble of reading the IPCC report so we don't have to. I looked up site after site and graph after graph on the points made in the report. For every claim made there is a counter claim. The statistics can be interpreted in many ways. But, let's suppose that all of the global warming enthusiasts are right and we are entering a significantly warmer period; is this a bad thing?

One of the many things that is constantly brought up is increased drought due to warming; this makes no sense. If the planet warms then that should cause melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps. If that occurs what is the impact? The impact is to release more water. Therefore, a warm period should be a wetter period. Glacial periods are the truly dry periods with low biomass; fewer plants and therefore fewer animals. Interglacial periods are the periods of plenty on the Earth. The Mesozaic era, the dinosaur period, was a time of a warmer planet than what we are in now, or likely to be in, even in the worst case scenarios. This period lasted some 180 million years and was a time of tremendous abundance in flora and fauna.

The only real problem that warming presents is a disruption of the status quo. Flooding of some low lying coastal areas, and perhaps inundation of some low elevation islands, like the Maldives. This is problematic for the people in the affected areas, but on a global issue we have to consider the impact on the human species, not individual humans.

So though I'm skeptical of global warming as a long term problem. I think we should hope for warming as opposed to cooling, which is what sunspot activity would predict.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Le Regime Cowboy

Maureen Dowd is one of my favorite columnists. She has an amusing column in today's NY Times about Dubya's visit to Paris. Apparently the French feel that the 2008 Presidential election has already been decided in the Democratic primary. How could the Americans possibly elect the boring old man McCain? I'm afraid we Democrats may find out, but I sure hope not.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Global Warming - A Real Concern

I thought I would post the summary points from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report (see below), just to highlight items that concern me and apparently many millions of people.

Even though I am skeptical of the future predictions of climate based on global warming science, I believe humans are altering the atmosphere (the numbers indicated below are inescapable), and governments should take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Eleven of the last twelve years (1995-2006) rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850).
  • Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely (90%+ probability) due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.
  • The average temperature of the global ocean has increased to depths of at least 3000 m and that the ocean has been absorbing more than 80% of the heat added to the climate system. Such warming causes seawater to expand, contributing to sea level rise.
  • Mountain glaciers and snow cover have declined on average in both hemispheres. Widespread decreases in glaciers and ice caps have contributed to sea level rise
  • Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003, about 3.1 mm per year.
  • Average Arctic temperatures increased at almost twice the global average rate in the past 100 years.
  • More intense and longer droughts have been observed over wider areas since the 1970s, particularly in the tropics and subtropics.
  • Widespread changes in extreme temperatures have been observed over the last 50 years. Cold days, cold nights and frost have become less frequent, while hot days, hot nights, and heat waves have become more frequent
  • The global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased from a pre-industrial value of about 280 ppm to 379 ppm in 2005. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide in 2005 exceeds by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years (180 to 300 ppm) as determined from ice cores.
  • The primary source of the increased atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide since the pre-industrial period results from fossil fuel use, with land use change providing another significant but smaller contribution. Annual fossil carbon dioxide emissions increased from an average of 23.5 Gt CO2 per year in the 1990s, to 26.4 Gt CO2 per year in 2000-2005.
  • The global atmospheric concentration of methane has increased from a pre-industrial value of about 715 ppb to 1732 ppb in the early 1990s, and is 1774 ppb in 2005.
  • The combined radiative forcing due to increases in carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide is +2.30 W/m2, and its rate of increase during the industrial era is very likely to have been unprecedented in more than 10,000 years.

Global warming and the cost of gasoline

The whole climate change discussion strikes me as unbalanced. I have a hard time believing what is screamed by the media because they are parroting the environmental activists groups and, of course, Al Gore. The environmentalists are more anti-corporation and anti-free markets than they are truly environmental. The case of biofuels fairly proves that. So, it is virtually impossible to trust anything that is said by those groups or Al Gore (Manbearpig). These people provide the definition of "hidden agenda." But, they have had a stranglehold on the discussion to this point.

John Coleman, the founder of the Weather Channel, has some strong words on the subject. This article is well worth reading so that you get some balance on the subject. His point is that CO2 is not the enemy, and the "science" proving that it is, is highly questionable.

It seems to me that a wait and see attitude is by far the better response than destroying the world's economy in a silly effort to reduce carbon by 10% or 20% or whatever the number is today. The planet has cooled over the last ten years but the warming fanatics think we should ignore that; One even commented that the cooling was masking the warming trend. (That individual should get the Orwell award for double speak.) It is about the same as saying that the high gas prices are masking a downward trend in the price of fuel.

Talk about bitterly clinging!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Obama has a Muslim background?

I thought this had been put to rest. Someone forgot to tell Senator Obama's brother that he has never had anything do do with Islam.

Barack Obama's half brother Malik said Thursday that if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people, despite his Muslim background.
And what about those of us who are gentiles? Will he not make a good president for us?

Al Franken Decade

The 1980's were the Al Franken Decade. At least that is what Al Franken declared on Weekend Update in late 1979. But now Franken expects the voters of Minnesota to make the 2000's the Al Franken decade, and elect him to the U.S. Senate. Seems a bit weird, but these freaky Swedish-Germans did elect a former professional wrestler to be their Governor.

There was a time when Al Franken was funny; like in "Trading Places" when he was working with Tom Davis as Franken and Davis. He hasn't been funny in quite a while. He has just been another angry liberal. But who knows, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has nominated him their candidate for the Senate seat now held by Norm Coleman. Coleman should be in trouble as a Bush Republican, but the Democrats may have found one of the few candidates that can't beat a Republican this year. And the Republicans are already digging up every controversial comedy sketch he ever wrote, and there are a lot of them.

This one should be fun to watch; unless you live in Minnesota and are in danger of being represented by this nimrod.

Monday, June 9, 2008


The Texas hill country is truly one of the most beautiful areas of Texas. Geographically it is roughly the area defined by the Edwards Plateau. The scenery is lovely, the people are friendly and the activities available are wide and varied. Everything from wineries to dude ranches. Fredericksburg is the central location within what would be considered the hill country. Fredericksburg is a German community settled in the late 1840's. The German influence is still strong; names like Klein, Schwertner, Weinheimer, Ersch, Knopp, Loeffler and even Jacoby are still common in the area. There are beautiful rivers like the Guadalupe, the Pedernales, the Frio, the Sabinal, the Medina and the Llano (one can see a bit of the Spanish influence there.) These rivers are lined with large cypress, oak, pecan and elm trees.

It has long been a well kept secret from non-Texans. That has ended. The New York Times puts the hill country as the number one vacation spot for the summer of 2008. Fredericksburg was already nothing more than a tourist spot. Now the rest of the region is in danger of becoming something quite not authentic. But know that you will always be made to feel welcome. This is a happy circumstance for the region economically, but there is always a lot lost in translation.

Hat tip to the Lady from Ipenema.

Warming is good

I am not a climatologist, but then hardly anyone else screaming about global warming is either. It seems obvious to me that warming is a net positive for humans. As the planet warms more areas become arable. The reduction in glaciation and the ice caps frees more water to the water cycle.

History teaches that the ice ages are droughty times which are hard on animal populations (including man) and the warm eras are times of great abundance. This is why I don't understand all of the current doom and gloom over potential warming. Unfortunately, it appears that the warming fear mongers are wrong and we are actually entering a cooling period.

This article in the Financial Post argues for the positive influence of CO2. I am not at all sure about the effects of carbon, but it does seem that high carbon levels follow warming, not the other way around.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hillary & Misogyny

The New York Times has an interesting editorial by Judith Warner which discusses the level of misogyny/sexism directed at Hillary during the Democratic primary campaign. It is an interesting read and also compares the situation with Hillary to "Sex and the City." (P.S. I may be one of the few men who plans to see that movie, but I really enjoyed the series!).

The editorial also has some good points about how it seems to be acceptable in today's culture to be sexist, and make abusive sexist comments, but racist and ethnic comments are taboo.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cousin Mark

I have invited Cousin Mark to blog here with me. He should provide some balance to my political views which are unfailingly right wing.

Mark's mother and my mother are sisters. We both grew up in religious homes of Republican orientation. Somewhere along the way I went wrong on religion and Mark went wrong on politics. The family just kind of looks at him and shakes their heads. They talk about us heathens as well. I'm not saying we are black sheep, but perhaps there is more dark fiber in our fleece than some would like.

But on the positive side of things we are both Aggies, so we can't be all bad.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Cousin Mark comments that President Clinton (that would be Bill, not Hillary) seems deranged these days. Perhaps that is just the ultimate manifestation of the BDS (Bush derangement syndrome) that the ultra lefties have suffered from for almost eight years.

Congratulations Senator Obama

While it is obvious I'm not a fan of the Senator from Illinois, I see clearly the significance of his likely nomination as the Democratic candidate for the Presidency.

It is wonderful to see that America has advanced to the stage where a black man can be a serious contender for the highest office. And he is indeed a serious candidate. Previous candidacies by Jesse Jackson and Al Shaprton were not truly serious. Those two represented black America only. Senator Obama, despite attempts by the Clintons to prove otherwise, is a candidate for all Americans.

I do not wish to see this man elected, but his nomination will make it possible for a black man or a woman, thank you Senator Clinton, to vie for the office in the future without the question constantly arising about race and/or gender. There are some good candidates ideologically nearer the center who may be more willing to enter future races thanks to the Democratic primary this year.

Congratulations Senator Obama.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cry baby

Father Pfleger who is the latest person to be caught up in the Trinity United COC debacle trots out the dumbest canard that the left has adopted in years. "This is a dangerous time in America, the freest country in the world," Pfleger says, "where you have to whisper your thoughts." This is right up there with the Dixie Chicks bullshit. No one has to whisper their thoughts. Read the blogs, watch cable news, read a newspaper; no one is whispering their thoughts. They are out there for everyone to hear and see. That is the problem he has. He said things that were widely condemned by the American public and he perceives that as some form of censorship. We are all entitled to say whatever we wish. Conversely everyone else is welcome to tell us we are ugly, racist, fools, etc. That is not censorship and it is not unAmerican, it is the epitome of free speech.

I am sick and tired of having people who say things that they then learn are unpopular, then demanding that everyone else shut up because disagreement is tantamount to censorship. And you know what; these people are always, ALWAYS, some dumbass liberals. They are so accustomed to silencing others by playing the political correctness card that when it is used on them they are shocked, shocked I say, to learn what it is like to be called on an unpopular opinion.

End of rant.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The topic of service to one's country

This is the topic of Senator Obama's commencement address to the 2008 graduates of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Senator Obama was subbing for Senator Kennedy who, obviously, could not make the address.

Obama makes the point that he took a job as a community organizer when he graduated Columbia, rather than pursuing the big bucks on Wall Street. Personally, I don't know what a community organizer is; the image I get is of a paid rabble rouser. He was paid only $12,000 plus $2,000 for a beat up old car. He goes on to describe the value of public service and the many opportunities available. Oddly, he doesn't mention one obvious line of service.

When I hear the term service to one's country the first thought I have is of military service. Senator Obama did not mention it as a course of service to one's country. I am sure that Senator Kennedy would feel quite comfortable with military service, as his brother Joe was killed in WWII and Jack was seriously wounded. President Kennedy was a true war hero. I don't think the words, "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," were a call to community organizing.

A man who is running for Commander in Chief should not be comfortable with ignoring the value of military service.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Senator Obama resigned from Trinity United Church of Christ on Saturday. He said he felt he was a burden to other church members, and he could no longer allow inflammatory things said in the church to be imputed to him.

This is some major portion of 20 years too late. He sat in a church where racist hate speech was delivered on a regular basis. The congregation clapped, cheered, amen'ed and hallelujah'ed this speech while he sat there (I suspect at least smiling.) His rejection of this, to me, bizarre hatred of white America comes quite a bit too late to be accepted as legitimate.