Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Veterans For Peace - Think. It's Patriotic

I mentioned that I didn't run in to any obnoxious protestors at yesterday's Memorial Day parade.

I didn't run in to any, but I ended up with a leaflet from an outfit called "Veterans For Peace". (A lady I ran into wrote her email address on it and gave it to me so I could send her a couple of pictures I took of her kids at the parade.)

I've seen them before. I salute anyone who has fought honorably to defend America -- for doing that. With this group, though, the first thing that comes to mind is the smugness, the moral high ground declaration in the name. (Read today's Thomas Sowell for a little more on that kind of talk).

"Veterans for Peace." There is an unstated suggestion that if you're not with them, you're not for peace. As if the "other" flavor of veterans must be "Veterans for War". As if anyone is not for peace.

I'm for peace. It's not a question of being against peace. It's what kind of peace are you willing to accept? Dihimitude is peace. But that's not what America is about. America is not about peace. It's not about being patriotic. It's about liberty. It's about freedom. It is, by design, a nation of free men (and ladies, when I say "men" in that context, that includes you, too just as "horses" includes "mares". English is spoken here.)

So I'm reading this, and it asks:

All around the world, people wish for the same things -- a place to live, food to eat, and health for our families. Does our government facilitate this? Is it an example for our kids, teaching them to value life, love, and community?
Well, our government does facilitate this. It facilitates a system where free men are free to choose what they do for a living, who they associate with, and how they care for their families and friends.

Is our government an example for our kids, teaching them to value life, love, and community?
Our government is not supposed to be an example to our kids, teaching them anything. At least that's not the way it was designed. That has traditionally been the role of religion over the ages. How ironic it is that those who cry loudest about "separation of church and state" want the state to become the new church now that they have pretty much disconnected the values and culture of the church that produced the state. This is precisely why they put that clause in the first amendment. The state should teach our kids values? Isn't that pretty much religion? No, families get to teach their own kids their own values.

That aside, the underlying suggestion is that our government is an aggressive war-mongering machine and is thus a bad example to our kids. But our government isn't an aggressive, war-mongering machine. It does, however, when it goes to war teach kids that some things are worth defending, and that is a value that should be well understood.

It should also be understood that

All around the world, people wish for the same things -- a place to live, food to eat, and health for our families -- and some of them wish for a world without infidels.

And if you're not a Muslim, no matter how much you support them -- you're still an infidel.

At any rate, then they go on to say that "this is not about pro-peace vs pro-war. This is about being a part of a democracy." (Distributed by Mid-Missouri Peaceworks -- right).

Right before they basically go and cast it that way in carefully chosen language to make their balanced-sounding "thinking points". After all, the slogan (remember those, John Edwards?) on the pamphlet is "Think. It's Patriotic." Right before they go ahead try to subtly tell you what you should think (so you don't have to -- see, they've already done it for you).

"Some people think Memorial Day should be celebrated with dispays of weapons and planes, while others hold to its original purpose: to honor all who've died in the tragedy of war."
Well first of all, bub, those two ain't mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, a display of power is a great way to honor them, as it shows we are still here and still strong, thanks to them. That it wasn't just a tragedy, but it was a tragedy in the line of duty to a higher purpose. The continuation of the idea that is America.

And secondly, it is not to honor all who have died in the tragedy of war. It is to honor all of our soldiers (or soldiers from other armies fighting for us) who have died tragically -- in the tragedy of war. It is not to honor Hitler or Saddam or his sons, or Zarqawi or the filthy bits of sub-humanity who purposely kill civillians in an attempt to sway public opinion through fear and sorrow. The war deaths of those people is not tragic, and this day is not to honor them, but to thank those who died killing them and those like them.

Some people think Memorial Day is an opportunity to recruit more young people into the military while others think our young people should serve our country in ways that don't involve participating wars of aggression.
Well didn't that one come with a truckload of presumptions? Remember, this isn't about pro-peace vs. pro-war. Riiiiiiight. Look at the language. Opportunists are preying on our children to fight for Halliburton is pretty much what they're saying. But "some people think this" and "some people think that". Look how balanced we are! We don't have an agenda, no sir. We just want you to think. In our terms.

Secondly, yes, if it is honorable to die fighting for our country, then it is honorable for young people to pick up the swords of the fallen and follow in their footsteps so they will have died preserving something that we still think is worth preserving.

Some think making war against countries like Iraq or Iran is defending our freedom. But others point out that they have done nothing to us and pose no threat.
Some people apparently haven't been paying attention for the last 30 years if they "point" that "out" -- or they are lying. And check that language out -- see, "some people think" -- but now the other side is "pointing out" -- implying fact, now, not opinion. It's not even "they think" - "we think" anymore. Iran has made no secret that it wishes to undermine and destroy Western Civilization, for it is incompatible with Islam. Iraq invaded a soveriegn country, the U.N. (mostly us, as usual, providing the teeth) kicked his ass back into Iraq. But then the U.N. said - "wait! stop! cease fire!". Uh, only who stayed there to enforce the conditions of that cease-fire? And whose planes were continually shot at (they did nothing to us my round bippie). 17 resolutions. 11 years. America takes the heat (along with Great Britain). As usual.

Where did we station the military force we needed to enforce the "cease fire"? A:Saudi Arabia. And what pissed Bin Laden off more than anything ... something about infidels on holy soil. What could he have been referring to?

Of course, then we get to the whole "blood for oil" thing:

Rather, they think these countries have resources (such as oil) our nation covets and that's the real reason for making war.
Which is the biggest load of bullshit the "Pro-Peace" folks keep repeating. Listen, if we were that big an aggressive, swaggering, thieving bastard... we. would. go. take. the. oil.

We do not. We pay these countries handsomely to use our technology and know-how to basically mine the only natural resource these countries have other than sand. They can't do it. They benefit from it anyway. We pay them for it. Is it in our best interest if that area of the world is kept as stable as possible? Sure it is. But as far as I can see, and nobody has shown me any credible evidence to the contrary - If Iraq is stabilized, she will own her oil and sell it to the highest bidder -- and it ain't just us bidding.

That's the way it works, and that's why oil prices are so high. Because demand not only from us, but from every other developed country in the world is high, and they all bid on it and pay what the market will bear.

If Mid-Missouri Peaceworks gets its way, Iraq will not be stabilized, so that they can gloat about what a mistake it was to try to end the 1991 war once and for all, and leave Iraq free from the tyranny that started it, and their oil won't be any good to us or Iraqis. Just the terrorist-supporting, Islamist government that will take over. Won't that be pretty? (Well, until our technology breaks down and they can't get it out of the ground anymore without commercial mercenaries they might recruit to help them under the table).

Then they go on to babble about "energy independence" through renewable energy rather than through "domination in the Persian Gulf". Well, folks, domination in the Persian Gulf doesn't give us energy independence at all -- so it's a false comparison. And we don't dominate the Persian Gulf. We influence it, for sure, and that's not only good for us but for the rest of the developed world.

Renewable energy is great. Make it work on the scale we need it to, and I'll sign on.

Some think U.S. policy promotes democracy, but others think aggressive militarism makes more enemies, robs our economy of funds needed for productive investments and does not contribute to our real security.
Well, the ones who think U.S. policy promotes democracy actually really think that democracy promotes democracy, and democracy promotes peace. No democratic nation has ever declared war on another one. Right now what I care about is that the Islamists see that the U.S. isn't going to appease them or merely pretend-slap them on the wrists. They wanted our attention, they got it. "Some people" seem to think that if we just ignore them they'll go away. Well, we pretty much ignored them for the better part of 30 years and they kept trying more and more spectacular acts to get our attention. They did not go away. Like undisciplined children, they kept screaming louder and louder until we put the newspaper down and gave them more than a stern look for once.

I saved this one for last, because it is a question worth answering.

Some folks think supporting our troops mean you have to support the orders they've been given, while others think bringing our troops home safe and alive and providing them with healthcare and education (ed. wtf???) is the best way to support the troops.
Ok. No, supporting the troops doesn't mean you have to support the orders they've been given (or even the mission -- which is a word I noticed they carefully avoided using). But we do expect a few things. We expect you not to accuse them of things they haven't done. We expect you not to judge their actions by the same standards you would expect someone to hold in a quiet restaurant in peacetime. These people are getting shot at with bullets and missiles and grenades. They have split-seconds to react, then split-seconds to react again, and again, and again. We expect you to give them the benefit of the doubt. We expect you to recognize that the vast majority of them are decent human beings who don't torture, rape, or kill indiscriminately. We expect you not to wish them dead so that the other side wins so that you can claim you were "right". And we expect you not to do your utmost to undermine them by aiding and comforting the enemy.

We can talk about the wisdom of starting it later before the next round, but we had that debate and we won. We expect you to talk about it rationally when its all over. Quitting now would be far, far worse than starting it and accomplishing the mission would have been -- even the "some folks" on the other side agree about that -- so we expect you to at the very least respect the fact that we're trying our best so that we only have one enemy prolonging the fight, not two.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

This morning, over the skies of my hometown.

We went to the Memorial Day parade, and there was quite a good turnout. And I didn't run in to any obnoxious protesting leftists, either. Our town is full of them, so I thank them for that.

The parade started out with some parachuters, followed by a flyover by these fighter jets. They passed fairly low, and the roar -- especially after they passed, made you glad they were on YOUR side. I couldn't help it. That "America, F* Yeah!" feeling. And darned proud to feel it knowing the quality of the American character behind it.

Yesterday the wife watched The Patriot, Pearl Harbor, and Behind Enemy Lines. Today, she's doing the "A Band of Brothers" marathon. We bought it after seeing it Memorial Day last year. It's a lot of stuff to watch, but it was really well put together. It does not sugar-coat war, and it puts you in the thick of WWII Europe. It was a chunk of change to buy it, but it's worth it, especially for what you get.

My step son is an Iraqi veteran now. Around 3,000 of his comrades in arms have fallen in this war on Islamism in Iraq alone. Thankfully, he was not among them. All in all, we're talking at worst a 3% casualty rate. Every single one of them is a tragedy. Every single one of them is a tribute to our resistance to this 7th century idealism, the ultimate in cultural centrism, this deadly, black disease that will have itself spread all over the planet if we only let it. If we show it we don't have the will to fight it. It thinks we don't have the will to fight it. Our Democrats have been doing their damnedest to prove them right.

Me, I thank each and every one of our soldiers who fought honorably and died, or fought honorably and lived. And dispite what many would have you believe, most of our soldiers, the vast majority of our soldiers, fight in the most honorable fashion, to the most honorable standards in the world.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thanks, Victor. I needed that.

Victor Davis Hanson does his best to soothe my worries. Mostly by postulating that the very fact that we worry all the time, combined with the flexibility of the American "system" -- is what always saves our butts in the end.

I hope he's right.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bill Whittle's new essay

A two-parter. As usual, I cannot improve on it, so I will merely send you here.

The illustrated "electricity stealing" example is particularly powerful.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sowell muses about the anger of the Angry Left

From "The Anger of the Left":

If the reason for the anger is a feeling that corporate CEOs are overpaid for their contributions, then there should be even more anger at people who get even more money for doing absolutely nothing, because they have inherited fortunes.

Yet how often has the left gotten worked up into high dudgeon over those who inherited the Rockefeller, Roosevelt or Kennedy fortunes? Even spoiled heirs like Paris Hilton don't really seem to set them off.

How true indeed. Think about it. What they're more about is some sort of self-righteous populism. Bumper-sticker-template psuedo-opinions that sound so rich and chocolatey good that they are generally responded to with equally shallow nods of approval to make themselves feel better than everyone else. Because deep down, I don't think they do feel very good about themselves.

So what is it they hate, actually? Oh yeah:

It seems to be the threat to their egos that they hate. And nothing is more of a threat to their desire to run other people's lives than the free market and its defenders.
You hit the nail on the head there, buddy.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Another Bumpersticker Idea

Socialism Kills

Courtesy and Responsibility

There's a Liberty Mutual Ad out with a really nice sentiment, but there's just something not quite right about it.

The commercial shows a bunch of people being courteous, and without a doubt, being courteous is The Right Thing To Do™ 99.44% of the time.

What gets me at the end is that they imply very strongly in the end, that doing these things is called "Responsibility".

Which is really not true. Doing these things is called "Courtesy", and courtesy is definitely a Good Thing™. (By the way, ™ here is not meant as sarcasm as I more often use it -- it's meant to denote something means a little more to us all than the mere words I use to express them. More of an A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh capitalization thing, with a flourish).

And maybe the reason I'm sensitive to this distinction is that I think our culture is well on its way to losing the meaning of Responsibility. While both courtesy and responsibility are very desirable traits in a person, there is a difference.

Let me give you some examples of Responsibility:
  • you drop it, you pick it up.
  • you break it, you fix or replace it.
  • you say you will be there at a certain time, you show up on time.
  • you make a promise, you keep it (and this applies to debt, too, for those who don't get it).
  • you bring a child in to this world, you make sure it learns things like courtesy and responsibility and takes them to heart. Oh yeah, and you feed it and nurture it, too, until it can do all of these things on its own.
  • You vote, you make sure you have a clue about what you're voting on.

Of course, if you're looking for such clues, we're here serving up fly balls about every day. :-)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sowell Sums it Up

in his latest article.

One of the reasons people don't bother to stop and think is that symbolism lets them feel good about themselves. They can go through life leaving havoc in their wake, while enjoying a warm glow of self-approval.
It applies to much more than he meant it to in his article. Sums up the bulk of progressive philosophy, if you ask me.

Not that it's any surprise to me, but I couldn't have said it better myself.

Imagination and Knowledge

Another "Life is Not a Bumpersticker" moment.

Downtown today I was behind a car with a bumpersticker that read
Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Sounds nice and truth-to-power, finger-in-the-man's-eye. Which, I imagine, is why the lady had it on her car. To show us all how open minded she is, and how stuffy facts and people who know stuff are.

I agree. Imagination is important.

On the other hand, imagination without knowledge is mere amusement.

I could better go along with
Imagination is as important as knowledge
though I'm not sure that's entirely true, either. There is a good bit of truth to it, for sure. Imagination combined with knowledge is the force that allows us to make things out of disparate other things we've made. It allows us to acquire more knowledge by providing synergy with the knowledge we already have.

If we had to choose one, and thank God we don't, I'd have to go with knowledge. Knowledge is, in the end, what we're after. Imagination helps us get more of it.

Imagination without knowledge is mere amusement.

is that a "thing I know"? I'll have to ponder that.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Plenty of blame to go around

It seems all we've heard for the last 4 years about the war is Bush Lied, Administration's mistakes, blunder, quagmire, mismanagement....

I believe one of the main factors in the "insurgency"'s strength and endurance has been the anti-war movement itself. The anti-war movement has prolonged this war, and made it worse for Iraqis, more difficult for America. It is on the brink of making a prophet out of Osama Bin Laden.

I was out reading this story, and a couple of passages stick out:

The push to expand the U.S. and Iraqi presence in Baghdad's neighborhoods reflects what U.S. commanders now acknowledge was a mistaken drawdown in 2005 and 2006 of American troops in the capital, leaving Iraqi forces in their place.


"It's fairly obvious that we transferred out too soon,"

Now why, you might ask, did we try to transfer out so fast? Why, could it be political pressure at home?

Who put that political pressure on the Administration?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

No Means No

I am one of millions of Americans who signed up for state and national No Call lists.

I heard a spokesman on the news today saying something to the effect of

people signed up for no call lists so they wouldn't have their dinner interrupted with solicitations for ginsu knives. They never intended to be deprived of information.
They were mainly talking here about political robo calls, calling them "information".

I want to be perfectly clear why I signed up for No Call:

I don't want to be called. By anyone other than friends, family, a neighbor in need, or to be informed of an emergency. Period.

My phone is a personal communications device for which I pay. A telephone is by nature a high-priority interrupt. When you ring my telephone, you have in effect barged in to my home. You had better be welcomed here. If you are, it's not a problem. This is because when it rings, I feel compelled to answer it. It is likely a friend or family member or someone informing me of some emergency. Telephone solicitors understand this and take advantage of it.

The only other exception would be if someone I have established a buisiness relationship with and something comes up concerning that relationship requires action on my part. And it had better be important. That's the nature of the tool. It is not for you to advertise your product or candidate or issue to me. It is not there for you to solicit donations from me. It's my telephone, not yours. These people take advantage of social protocols of politeness on the telephone to further keep us on the phone once we have answered. It is rude.

If you would like to inform me on the issues or solicit donations or sell me something, send me paper. Paper is a low-priority interrupt. I look at it when I have time. If I've given you my email address, you may send me email.

The spokesperson said they have "no way of knowing" if we want political calls or not. Not true at all. They could ask. They could take a survey (a paper one). But they don't, because they know what the answer is - and they don't like it.

No means no.

George Orwell Much?

I admit I am a bit hypersensitive to these things. I agree that we can have a detrimental affect on our planet and its ability to support us and that we ought to, for our own sakes, take care in these matters. I think this guy (and many others) goes way beyond that.

As I've said before, I consider myself an environmentalist. How can I not be, given the the things that I love?

It is partly the language this guy uses that exposes his anti-human bias, the way I see it.

It began 50,000 years ago when a relatively hairless primate stumbled out of equatorial Africa and began wiping out the megafauna of the time.
We're ugly, clumsy, and undiscriminatingly destructive. This was the point of infection.

As they advanced, the mammoth, sabre-toothed cats, cave bears, giant sloths, camels, horses, and wholly rhinos fell to their stone weapons and deliberately set fires. The extinction of all of these great mega-species is directly attributable to “primitive” human hunters.
I highly doubt this -- I think non-human induced climate change had a lot more to do with it. I think he exagerates primitive man's influence to the point of absurdity -- precisely to make his point that man is bad. Question for ya.... what fauna were wiped out when sabre-toothed cats & cave bears rose to prominence? You think none?

Some fifty millennia ago, the entire ecosystem of Australia was disrupted and transformed by humans.
And if it was, so what? People have apparently done just fine in Australia for the past 50,000 years. So unless you think there's something morally wrong with what happened... it appears to be no big deal. If you think there's something inherently moral about the state of some ecosystem at a particular point in time, we're now entering the realm of religion.

In all, some 85 percent of the mega-fauna was removed because of human intervention.
I'd like to see this backed up in some peer-reviewed papers with the other side presented. But I doubt we'll see that, especially the "other side presented" part. This is because contrary to:

This is a cataclysmic prediction, yet it is strangely absent from the world’s media. No one wants to hear about it. It’s depressing. We would rather collectively deny ecological realities.
the world's media is obsessed with telling us about it. Cataclysmic predictions sell, and everybody wants to be a messiah. People want to hear about it like they want to hear horror stories. Consider, just for the sake of argument, that pending cataclysm is not reality. I realize that it is heresy even to suggest it, but claiming it is so isn't enough for me. There have been Chicken Littles around for at least as long as we've had language. You bet I'd rather not suffer cataclysm, and I would rather not deny it if it were clear that is what we are facing. It's just not clear at all to me and I honestly don't think we are.

... the analysis of organic material in some 700 fossil eggshells laid over centuries by the enormous bird Genyornis newtoni revealed that the birds lived among an abundant array of vegetation that suddenly became very scarce. This scarcity coincides with the period of colonization of Australia by humans from Indonesia.
Things I know #4. Correlation does not mean causation. Could it possibly be that a change in climate that was unfavorable to Genyornis Newtoni was, in turn, favorable for the colonization of Australia by humans from Indonesia? Not if your underlying belief is that humans are the cause of all "evil", and extinction of species is "evil". It happened at the same time, ergo it was the cause? Given the enormity of both events in history, my money is on an external factor precipitating both events.

“It can happen anywhere at any time: Humans are a part of any ecosystem, so when you introduce people into the system, they're bound to alter it – often so rapidly that other parts of the ecosystem don't have any time to adjust. The result is extinction''
Humans are a part of any ecosystem, yet they are "introduced". Well ok, I'll play along. Any organism that is introduced to an ecosystem is bound to alter it, sometimes rapidly, and has caused other species to go extinct. This has happened over and over in the history of the planet. Again, unless there is something morally wrong about species going extinct due to the introduction of another... Now perhaps it is undesirable to us in some manner for species to become extinct, but that's another matter.

The latest reports from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List (IUCN) – a database measuring the global status of Earth's 1.5 million scientifically named species – states quite confidently that we will lose half of them by 2150.
Misha was dead right on this one. I realize he is prone to using hyperbole and ridicule (which is what makes him fun to read). But these things do, in fact, tend to get grossly over-exaggerated -- and when they don't happen as predicted, nobody retracts it. There's no accountability. These things come up all the time, every day, every year, and most of them never come about -- not because we altered our behavior, but because the premise was wrong in the first place. However, they are scary and tend to attract lots of attention and funding -- both of which people like. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List has an interest in self-perpetuation. It needs to stay relevant to survive. If they come out every day and say "Hey, everything's going all right. There's no crisis" people tend to stop paying attention to them. Which is sad, because a lot of these organizations were set up based on good intentions and did some good things, but have since developed irrational tunnel vision, and they over-state their cases more and more dramatically over time just to stay in the headlines.

Species work interdependently to develop mutually beneficial strategies that maintain and strengthen ecosystems. Every species removed diminishes the system and weakens the collective body of the biosphere.
This is nothing but religious belief. We're so conditioned to it because we hear it every day that it takes a little bit of effort and thought to come around to this... but eventually if you are familiar with the history of the planet, you can see that this is simply a point of view. I'm not saying it's a useless point of view. But it is nonetheless just a point of view.

There is only one cure, only one way of stopping this rising epidemic of extinctions. The solution requires an extraordinarily immense effort by all of human society but it is achievable.

We need to re-wild the planet. We need to “get ourselves back to the garden” as Joni Mitchell once so poetically framed it.

This is a process that will require a complete overhaul of all of humanities economic, cultural, and life style systems. Within the context of our present anthropocentric mind-set the solution is impossible. It will require a complete transformation of all human realities.

Joni Mitchell's poetry aside, I'm always suspicious of anyone who says there's only one cure, and that they're the ones who have it. And here is the littany of things that (remember, there's only one cure, so we have to do these things) we need to do.

  • We need to stop burning fossil fuels and utilize only wind, water, and solar power
  • Sea transportation should be by sail
  • Air transportation should be by solar powered blimps when air transportation is necessary.

Frankly, I'd love to find something as flexible and energy-rich as fossil fuels to replace them with, and we will some day. As a Saudi prince once said, "the stone age didn't come to an end because we ran out of stones." But people who say we should utilize only "renewable" sources have no freaking idea how much energy it takes to power their homes every day and what a pittance a windmill or a solar panel is against that. No idea at all. It all sounds nice - but if it worked, we'd be doing it already. We may find a breakthrough -- people are working on this every day. But it ain't here yet. I understand our frustration -- we'd like abundant, clean energy. However, resentment and backlash against the fossil fuel industry doesn't change the nature of the technical obstacles we face.

Now for the man's true agenda:

  • All consumption should be local
  • No food products need to be transported over hundreds of miles to market
  • If local communities need to fish the fish should be caught individually by hand.
  • Preferably vegan and vegetarian diets can be adopted.
  • We need to eliminate herds of ungulates like cows and sheep and replace them with wild ungulates like bison and caribou and allow those species to fulfill the proper roles in nature
Their proper roles. See, it is a moral issue. Since we stopped using fossil fuels and now rely solely on solar, water, and wind, large-scale agriculture is now impossible. We're back to a hand on the plow behind an ox. This means most people must farm -- grow the majority of their own food. Bad crop year? What used to happen when local, isolated agrarian populations had crops fail? People starved. In great numbers.
  • We need to restore the prey predator relationship and bring back the wolf and the bear
  • We need the large predators and ungulates, not as food, but as custodians of the land that absorbs the carbon dioxide and produces the oxygen
Yes. Bears and wolves are the proper custodians. Not humans. When we're in control, we're a virus. When bears do it, they're custodians. In fact, only we have the capability to be custodians. Bears are bears.

  • We need to remove and destroy all fences and barriers that bar wildlife from moving freely across the land.
You know, property itself is evil to socialists. Which is why you'll generally find them on this bandwagon. It is only a tool for them, though.

  • We can retain technology but within the context of Henry David Thoreau’s simple message to “simplify, simplify, simplify.”

I'm all for simplicity, relatively speaking. Simple is good. Technically speaking, stone arrowheads are technology, though. So I guess you can keep your solar-powered I-Pod (if you ever have time to listen to it), but you'll have to give up your lawn mower. You can use your push mower, but only after you've made sure that your garden is tended to and you've secured enough wild bison (since livestock is evil) to eat (which you really shouldn't because you should eat only plants) and your solar panels (which use no chemicals and produce no pollution in manufacture and I assume are provided for you free by the government -- though I don't know who builds them or transports them to you -- everybody's so busy growing their food locally and long-distance transportation is illegal.) The truth is, non-agrarian society is what allows us to come up with things like solar and wind (electrical) power. I'm hoping we're allowed to burn wood to heat our homes at least -- but using even dead wood robs insects and micro-organisms, mosses, and fungus of habitat -- not to mention the removal of organic material from the "fragile" ecosystem. Intervention, you know. If so, we can add wood cutting (using hand saws and axes, of course) to the list of things we need to get done before we can bother with working in a factory that produces solar panels and windmill generators.

  • We need an economic system that provides all people with educational, medical, security, and support systems without mass production and vast utilization of resources.
Hmmm... what economic system does that sound like to you? I wonder... I wonder....

  • This will only work within the context of a much smaller global population.
It was suggested to me that this man is, in fact, pro-human and is merely interested in our continued existence. But "we" can only do it if fewer of us "exist". And speaking of existence:

  • Who should have children? Those who are responsible and completely dedicated to the responsibility which is actually a very small percentage of humans.
George Orwell much? Who is going to decide who is responsible? My bet is that the author considers himself one of those very small percentage of humans and that people like him will be doing the deciding. What is the punishment for going against the mandate? Sounds to me like his world is incompatible with liberty.

  • Curing a body of cancer requires radical and invasive therapy, and therefore, curing the biosphere of the human virus will also require a radical and invasive approach
Language again. We are a disease. The radical, invasive therapy for cancer is to surgically remove it or bombard it with poison of one kind or another to kill it. The "cure" is to eliminate the vast majority of us.

So here we have justified taking complete control of everyone's lives, deciding who gets to reproduce, who can have what food and where and when, what parts of the planet you are effectively allowed to live in, let alone visit, limiting our choices for energy use (thus limiting where we can live since we'll need to heat our homes). In short, he'd like to return a select few of us to a strictly agrarian society where our daily lives are once again consumed with survival AND we'll need permission to reproduce. That is the implication of all of his solutions. No-freaking-thanks.

I'm not saying we don't need to curb and control pollution. Chemical pollution of our water, land, and air are things I'm very much concerned with. But his solution is basically to cull the human population and control it from the top down (that's the only way social policy that is contrary to human nature ever "works". See... oh, every socialist experiment in the 20th century). My solution would be to use our ingeniuity to make our waste compatible with the environment that we may live and enjoy the planet. Use the brains we were naturally given so we can all live. Mine's a pro-human approach.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Guns Kill People. Period?

Guns Kill People. Period. (U.S. News & World Report Article)

This writing is not going to earn me any Christmas card from the zealots at the National Rifle Association or best wishes from the unyielding adherents to the Second Amendment.
Nope. And it shouldn't. Shame on us who are unyielding in our upholding of the Constitution.

Guns kill people. Period.

The tragedy at Virginia Tech should open our minds to a problem our nation refuses to confront. The easy access to guns and lethal weapons is a national disgrace.

It wasn't all that easy for me. Sure, if I want a simple rifle, I only need to wait a few minutes for a background check (I still have to wait for one -- and I'm not even mentally deranged. Well, I'm sure you would think I am -- for my position on this issue alone). But for my pistols, I had to wait 10 working days before I even got permission to buy each one. I wouldn't call that easy access.

And my guns have never killed any people. Nor do I intend for them to unless they are used prevent a similar crime or to protect my property.

In Virginia alone, gun owners are limited to one purchase a month. Some limitation.

Considering the fact that the second amendment says that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and the fact that being limited to purchasing one a month is an infringement, I think it is some limitation.

I can hear the response from the NRA already: People kill people. Yes, but they do it with guns and too frequently with those easily accessible weapons.
What part of shall not be infringed do you not understand? Yes, People kill people. With whatever they have available to them. Before they had guns they did it with knives. Or clubs. Or fire. Or poison.

The condolences from the NRA are of little comfort to the mourners of those slaughtered in Blacksburg.
Considering the fact that nobody in the NRA had anything to do with this nutjob going ape with a couple of pistols on campus, I'd consider the condolences a sincere gesture from an uninvolved third party.

The NRA, to put it bluntly, has too many willing friends in Congress from both political parties. Campaign cash flows to them in hefty amounts. Members of both parties should be ashamed.
It also has a lot of willing friends in the citizenry, which is why it has willing friends in Congress. Most of that campaign cash comes to them from citizens like me, who give it to them. Without coersion. But in your utopian world, power would come from and be vested only in the government, and not the people, apparently.

The Second Amendment, a biblical passage to its followers, may give a right to bear arms. It does not, however, give a license to kill. Try telling it to the NRA.
The NRA thinks the second amendment gives us a license to kill? You mean those laws against homicide only pertain to sharp objects and blunt instruments? The second amendment was a well-thought-out, intensely argued and hashed-out piece of the Constitution (since ratification of the constitution required such a bill of rights by many states as a prerequisite). Would you say the same thing of the first amendment? Which other amendments can we just label "religious passages" so we can strike them down if we don't like them?

I was raised in South Dakota, where hunting pheasants and ducks is a tradition. In those less chaotic days, no one had ever heard of Saturday night specials on the quiet streets of Sioux Falls or in the hunting fields for that matter.
You mean before gun control laws, you couldn't buy an illegal gun anywhere? Or is it that nobody ever killed anybody with a gun that they used for hunting? What's your point?

Hunting is perfectly legal. There are accidents. Ask Vice President Cheney.
Progressive Handbook Rule #12: Never miss a chance to bash the Bush administration. Ever.

But the NRA and its PR machine cry foul at any attempt to restrict access to guns. It is not a sport to hunt wild game with an Uzi or other semiautomatic weapons.

We need to tighten existing laws or limit the frequent purchases like those of the disturbed student at Virginia Tech who had no trouble arming himself to the hilt.

Bait and switch, eh? The Virginia Tech shooter used a couple of pistols. No Uzi was involved. It's also illegal to hunt with an Uzi. If "armed to the hilt" means you have a .22 pistol and a 9mm pistol, our definitions of "the hilt" are grossly divergent.

The second amendment was designed in part to keep people like you from converting this country from a bottom-up form of government back to a top-down form -- the kind the Founding Fathers and countless citizens unburdened themselves from in the revolutionary war -- using those very arms.

A few weeks ago, the House of Representatives shelved a voting rights bill for the District of Columbia. The action came after a Texas Republican offered an amendment to repeal the D.C. ban on guns.
Washington D.C. -- where the crime rate is the highest in the land and where gun laws are most restrictive. Sounds to me like the "Texas Republican" (no doubt used as a double-plus ungood slur here) was trying to rectify the situation.

In time, the rampage at VT will be off the front pages and evening newscasts.
How sad for you, who would like to continue to use it to pull a major foundational piece of our constitution out from under our system of government by the people.

What is it going to take for us to finally wake up?
For you? Probably a nation-wide gun ban and the predictable subsequent sharp rise in crime. Once you've removed the right of the people to protect themselves from criminals (who, I'm sorry to spoil this for you -- but they will have guns regardless of your gun laws just as they murder regardless of laws against homicide) criminals will have a field day, unfettered by the worry that the person on the other side of the door or window, or sitting at the next table in a restaurant, or behind them in the queue in a bank -- might have the means to stop them.

Maybe when you're staring down the barrel of an illegal gun with no means to protect you and your family from it with a legal one (since there won't be such a thing) -- maybe then you'll wake up.

If you're lucky.

- An NRA member who doesn't live in Texas, has all his teeth, has two college degrees and doesn't drive a pickup truck.

Bees and Politics

Bees are disappearing.

And it's ALL YOUR FAULT!!!!

Let's see, the Global Warmening people are certain that it's global warming causing the bees to disappear. The GM food fearmongers are sure that it has something to do with genetically engineered crops. Organic farmers tie that in with pesticides.

Evidence points to a fungal disease.

The bees are disappearing. No bodies are found. We actually don't know that they're dying, apparently -- they're just skipping town. Bees do this when a hive becomes unhealthy. The fact that they did it in the fall makes many believe they probably went somewhere and didn't survive the winter -- since they didn't have the raw materials or time to build a new hive before cold set in.

My bet is that the hives are getting infected with the fungus, and bees are striking out on their own. Maybe many are dying. But I'll bet if we look around this spring we'll find beehives in the wild populated by at least some of the flighty bugs. Nature usually has a way of surprising us with her resiliency.

Friday, May 04, 2007

At least one candidate got this one right:

I can't even understand why anyone would need this clarified in the first place. Well, nobody who is American by my definition. You know, those who actually understand and take to heart the first amendment, what it means, and what thought went into it.

To me the only relevance would be to see if someone gave the correct answer, which Romney gave. But I'm sure it's not the one more progressive types want to hear.

MR. MATTHEWS: Governor Romney, what do you say to Roman Catholic bishops who would deny communion to elected officials who support abortion rights?

MR. ROMNEY: I don't say anything to Roman Catholic bishops. They can do whatever the heck they want. (Laughter.) Roman Catholic bishops are in a private institution, a religion, and they can do whatever they want in a religion. America --

MR. MATTHEWS: Do you see that as interference in public life?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, I can't imagine a government telling a church who can have communion in their church. I can't -- we have a separation of church and state; it's served us well in this country.
My hunch is that there are a frightening number of people who call themselves American to whom the correct answer would be more along the lines of "I would slap those evil b*tches down!" and would see nothing inconsistent with the Constitution in that at all.

Incidentally, I didn't watch or listen to the debates (but play one on TV!) -- I think all of this campaigning started waaaay to early. My guy isn't even in the race yet. And that's a plus in his column!

This is the kind of rationalization progressives pride themselves in: A church enforcing its rules on a member (and membership is voluntary!) if that member happens to be a politician is interference in public life. (????) It's not like there's a right to communion in the Constitution, and there certainly isn't one in the Catholic Church. The politician could always say "well I don't agree with the church, therefore I won't take communion" thus at least following the rules (the church didn't kick him out, did it? It certainly has the right to) or -- if he really doesn't agree with the church he just might re-think his voluntary membership.

Imagine how it would go if the Church, hypothetically, supported abortion rights and refused to give communion to members who did not support abortion rights. How many progressives do you think would consider that interference in public life?

Either way, you believe what you believe, and the church has its rules. Take your pick. Groucho Marx aside, should you really be in a club that won't have you as a member? You are in a club because you believe certain things. If you don't believe those things, you're not really a member of that club, are you?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Quote of the Day Week

Misha wins the quote of the day week with this one:

What??? You mean to say that criminals steal weapons in spite of it being against the law???? Why, that’s absurd! How are we ever going to get to a gun-free utopia with unicorns dancing in fields of marshmallows if criminals insist on breaking the law?

I about spit my drink out all over my monitor and keyboard.

Toxic Waste & Compact Flourescents

Brother Jeffmon, from whom I shamelessy hijacked my nickname, pointed out that CFLs aren't without their environmental minuses. Mercury is apparently a necessary element in their manufacture, and you really don't want to be breaking a bunch of them in your home. You probably shouldn't throw them out with the trash.

Our town has a toxic waste facility that's opened every other weekend spring through fall, so I'll be taking mine there when they burn out.

Another thing I don't like about CFL's is that there seems to be so much waste with the ballasts. They used to make ballasts that you just plugged tubes into, so the disposable part was just the tube like the old ... well... tube lights (I suppose we've just changed the shape of the tube). I don't see those around anymore.

I mentioned that they don't dim -- it turns out they do make dimable ones at fairly low wattages (5-8 watts ... 8 watts gives you about a 25 watt equivalent using the normal ratio. They claim 40. Maybe they're more efficient or something).

They don't work real well with the clip-on lamp shades, either -- but they're getting better.

Then there's the fatness of the ballasts themselves -- which are also getting smaller, but they just don't look good in some decorative applications yet.

Other than all that, I like the money saving aspect of them. So I have a bunch.

Things I Know #12 & British Midland Flight 092

"Believed to be" and "is" are not synonymous.

Example: The CO2 increase is generally believed to be due to the combination of increased burning of fossil fuels and (mostly before 1905) deforestation.

The CO2 increase is to be due to the combination of increased burning of fossil fuels and (mostly before 1905) deforestation.

Not the same statement. "Has been shown to be" would be much closer to being synonymous with is.

If we believe that the earth's climate is in some moral, stable state that is just because that's the way it's supposed to be -- and we see it change -- we are likely to believe that we had something to do with it. Not that it's a bad thing to suspect, but you might see then how this might cause us to go back and see what it was that we had done to upset the mythical balance. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to fit things we find to what it is we're looking for. So we find things we did that correlate to the time that the balance was disrupted, and we say "aha!" We've been burning fossil fuels which put off C02. CO2 levels have been rising in the atmosphere. Ipso fatco!

Wait, somebody says. That doesn't explain the increases in CO2 and temperature before 1905. Hmmm. Hmmm... it must have been something ELSE we did. We cut down TREES! Trees consume CO2 -- there were fewer of them to do it.... Ipso fatco!

I watched a show last night on National Geographic called "Seconds From Disaster". This one concerned a British Midland Flight 092 in 1989 in which somewhere during the flight the plane started shaking. Smoke started coming into the cabin. The pilots knew an engine was acting up. They believed that the air conditioning ran through the right engine -- therefore, if smoke were coming in it had to be the right engine that was acting up. What they didn't know was that on this newer 737, the air conditioning actually ran through both. They shut the right engine down. The vibrations stopped. The smoke stopped. They must have been right! Ipso facto!

Unfortunately, they weren't. It turns out that to shut one engine down, they had to disengage what would be the equivalent of the plane's cruise control -- a system that automatically delivered more fuel to an engine to keep the plane going the same speed if it sensed the plane was slowing down. Only it really wasn't sensing if the plane was slowing down, it was sensing the fan speed and assuming that if the fan speed slowed, the plane must be slowing -- so it was delivering more fuel to the left engine than it could handle in its crippled state.

When they disengaged the cruise (autothrottle), this stopped happening as the fuel rate was reduced to the manual throttle setting at that position.

See Things I Know #4. Correlation does not mean causation.

Of course, on final approach they manually increased the throttle, the vibration started again, the engine failed, and they were going too slow to start the other one up by airspeed alone this time, though they tried. Thanks to heroic efforts by the pilots, the plane didn't crash in a nearby neigborhood, but rather on a highway embankment right near the start of the runway. 47 people died. (Happily, 79 lived!)

Tragically, several passengers had noticed that after the pilot said everything was ok, there were still flames and sparks coming from the left engine. Nobody tried to inform the pilots. Why not?

Because they trusted the experts (this was confirmed in interviews with the survivors). They trusted the pilots' expertise dispite clear evidence that something about what the pilot had just told them wasn't right. The experts had spoken. The debate was over.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Title Coincidence

Remember my "Things I Know #'s 3 & 4, and things we don't know" post?

I just ran across one of Richard Lindzen's papers from 1994:

What we know and what we don't know about global warming.

Granted, it's a 13 year old paper. Wonder how much we didn't know then that we still don't know now -- and how much we know now that we didn't then? I'll have to read it.

I've heard it said that if we knew then what we know now, there would never have been a Kyoto.

Free Tibet! (well, work on it anyway)

In that same Mark Steyn article:

Meanwhile [..] while fond of "causes," leftists dislike those that require meaningful action: Ask Tibetans about the effectiveness of America's half-a-century "Free Tibet" campaign; or ask Darfuris, assuming you find one still breathing, how the left's latest fetishization is going from their perspective:

"On Sunday, April 29, Salt Lake Saves Darfur invites the greater Salt Lake community of compassion to join with us as we honor the fallen and suffering Darfuris in a day of films, discussion and dance with a Sudanese dance troupe."
Marvelous. I hope as the "Salt Lake Saves Darfur" campaign intensifies in the decades ahead there'll still be enough Darfuris to man the dance troupe. It would be truer to say the greater Salt Lake community of compassion, like Mr. Obama with his light bulbs, is "working on" saving Darfur.

Obama's Gantt Chart for Lightbulb Replacement

If I were running for president with "We've got to do something about Global Warming NOW" in my platform, you can bet that while I was putting my exploratory comittee together to see if I should announce my candidacy, I'd replace all of the lightbulbs in my house that I was going to replace with flourescent ones. I mean, man! It's pretty simple. And every single person who is running for President is many times over wealthy enough to do it in one day.

Even li'l ole non-progressive me has changed most of his - there are a few more to go out of the ones I'm going to replace -- which puts me over 75% flourescent. There are some that won't work because they're on dimmers, and there's halogen security light out front. Few of those get used much anyway, and the security light is on a motion sensor.

But Barack Obama is "working on" replacing the light bulbs in his house. I guess he's been concerned about it for a long time, but just hasn't had enough time to take a few hours of his time to do his part to save the planet. Or a few minutes of his time to hire someone to do it for him. Or, God forbid, have one of the kids do it. Democrats would probably call that child exploitation.

Even Gore himself, the reigning Pope of the Environmental Movement doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot of walking the walk he talks -- and he talks it big. 22,000KWh a month -- plus there's that heated pool. Yeah. $1,000 a month on gas to heat the pool. But granny better turn her thermostat down.

"Vote for me, I'm Environmental".

Maybe minus the "Environ".

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

GreenCows Gasses

I'll bet several of you laughed when I suggested that if the EPA were required to regulate CO2 emissions, and since we emit CO2 every time we breathe out -- that the Govermnent would be free to (actually required to, the way it reads) regulate our breathing.

Think it's funny now?

Yup, the EU is considering regulating Cow Farts.
Environmental scientist Professor Frank Convery claims cows breaking wind and belching account for 35% of Ireland's green-house gas emissions. These have been linked to global climate change.
Of course. Every study shows some link between the study subject and Global Warming -- because ... that's how they got their funding in the first place. I have to wonder if this 35% figure will allow industry to scale back its Kyoto cutbacks payments to Russia for Carbon Credits (that it got retro-active credit for for factories & plants it shut down before 1990), or if this is a new 35% that we need to be worrying about buying more indulgences to "offset". Vladimir! You dog!
Under "carbon trading" farmers could gain credit by investing in afforestation or measures to recover the methane gas emitted by cows.
Carbon trading is a brilliant political tool, isn't it? Uh, Mr. Tibbs? We couldn't help but notice the musical cacophony coming from your pastures. Care to buy some tree credits? For the mere price of 15 pounds a tree, we at Generation Investment Management would like to sell you the credits for the 4 trees per head you will need to come in at your Greenhouse Quota™ . Is that cabbage soup you're eating? Let's talk.
Those wishing to get out of farming could sell the resulting reduction in geenhouse gas production.
Food? We don't need no stinking food! (heh-heh... get it... stinking?)

Seriously, though, it'll make PeTA and/or it's European equivalent (the Animal Rights sect of the Anti-Human Enviro-faith) happy.

Reason #73 why I am not a Liberal.