Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Feed the Children

Millions of our fellow Americans are suffering in the aftermath of Katrina, especially the old, the infirm and the children. Radio station KRLA has been rallying support from listeners around the country. Dennis, Michael, Hugh and the other hosts have been encouraging us to donate whatever we can and that one of the very best charities is Feed The Children. Click on that link or call 1-888-58-child. I just clicked on the site and found that every $1 donated sends 7 pounds of food and other goods to the refugees created by this disaster. Contribute $100 and you are sending 700 pounds to the children. This is the best way to help immediately.

Ask your friends, your churches and charitable organizations to pitch in. I’m going to ask the Library to put a link on the PVLD web site.

Hugh Hewitt suggests that Churches are always excellent conduits to the communities they serve, and can be trusted to be judicious yet generous with the aid they are provided.

Here's a list of links to churches in New Orleans.

Here's a list of links to churches in Biloxi.

Here's list of churches in Gulfport.

Joshua Sharf has compiled a list of Jewish organizations in the area that can use help.

Institution-to-institution relief will be the long term solution once the short term humanitarian crisis passes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Archie Pitches a Shutout

A wise man once said that there are only two seasons, baseball season and the Void. Here in Southern California we are fortunate to have two major league teams, the Brooklyn (I mean, LA) Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim (Go Halos!). And there’s no Void here since we always have the beach. But if you venture off the sports pages you find that the dog days of summer are filled with news about a disappearing coed in Aruba, a war protesting mom in Texas and the never-ending debate over creation and Darwinism.

Unfortunately, the evolution debate is full of rhetoric and short on logic. The Darwinists proclaim that evolution “is a fact” while creationism is religious hocus-pocus. The Intelligent Design advocates point to the gaps and unexplained events in the evolutionary story and proclaim it to be “only a theory.” Neither side listens to the other long enough to realize that they are in different ballparks and their sides are playing against phantom opponents. It’s not very satisfying for the spectators.

So what’s to be done? How can we move closer to the truth, which ought to be the goal in an intellectual debate? How do we bring the teams into the same ball park? Well, if we want to play baseball the first step is to agree on the rules of the game. In legal terms, what is stipulated?

For example, we could agree that natural selection explains the evolution of characteristics within species. We might stipulate the reliance on random mutations and survival of the fittest. See how easy that is. So let the game begin.

After a flip of the coin the Intelligent Design team takes the field while the Evolution team comes to bat. Since evolution is a “chancy” prospect, the batter is a gambler by the name of Minnesota Fats. The pitcher for the Intelligent Design is an architect, Archie for short.

Fats: That miserly stipulation is only a bunt single, whereas Darwinism is a home run. It explains the evolution of species to species (eg apes to man) and the evolution of life from non-life. It’s the whole shebang!

Archie: Hold on there, I agreed to stipulate what Darwin actually showed about species, not what he postulated about species jumping. Show me the proof and I’ll reconsider.

Fats: Well …. There’s plenty of inferential evidence, but if you want to play hardball, give me your best pitch.

Archie: Winding up.... I stipulate that in America most people (nearly 90%) believe in God, that God is all powerful, and that God created our universe out of nothing.

Fats: Wait a minute, I thought we were debating science; evolution, not religion.

Archie: We’re debating the truth. Don’t you see the truth of my statement?

Fats: Sure, it’s true that Americans are religious, but so what?

Archie: I stipulate that even most scientists believe in creation and they have a name for it: the Big Bang. They know lots of detail about how the physical universe evolved since that instant. They understand how amazingly special our universe is, how finely tuned are the laws of physics, and they appreciate the grandeur of the architect. They …

Fats: OK, Ok, I stipulate!! Give me a break.

Archie: So we see that God “interfered” once by creating our universe. Perhaps God interfered again by creating just the right conditions here on Earth for life to begin and flourish. Astrobiologists have been amazed to learn how very special the Earth is.

Fats: Come on, you may be right, but it also could have been random chance; I do not stipulate.

Archie: Suit yourself, if you want to go through life throwing craps all the time. But my side, those who believe in God, know that God architected the universe, probably the Earth and most likely life itself. Your evolutionary team has no explanation, or even a reasonable theory, of how the first living cells were born. A glance at your literature shows that you’ve even stopped trying to find out.

Fats: Well, your team can’t prove anything that you’ve said about God, creation or life. The only scientific theory we have is evolution.

Archie: Well, our theory is simpler and a lot more beautiful than yours, and if it’s the truth, who cares if you call it science. You can be the gambler, I’ll bet on a sure thing: God.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Zoo Manimals

Warning: Humans in their Natural Environment read the sign at the entrance to the exhibit, where the captives could be seen on a rock ledge in a bear enclosure, clad in bathing suits with strategically placed fig leaves to preserve their modesty.

The eight men and women monkeyed around for the crowds in an exhibit labeled Humans at the London Zoo.

Visitors stopped to point and laugh, and several children could be heard asking, Why are there people in there? Zoo spokeswoman Polly Wills says that's exactly the question the zoo wants to answer.

Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals ... teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate, Wills said.

Tom Mahoney decided to participate since anything that draws attention to apes has his support. A lot of people think humans are above other animals, he told The Associated Press. When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds us that we're not that special.

What do you think the manimals are saying to one another?

How embarrassing is this? Those morons gawking at us actually think we're just animals. Clearly they have no souls. Only in Britain!!!

If you want to see what is happening in secular Europe check out the new book Our Culture, What's Left of it by Theodore Dalrymple a British doctor and writer. A sample of his opinion:

In no country has the process of vulgarization gone further than in Britain: in this, at least, we lead the world. Our rates of social pathology -- public drunkenness, drug taking, venereal disease, hooliganism, criminality -- are the highest in the world.

I wonder if that is a result of believing that humans are just animals, not that special?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Terrorist Season

Continuing in the good humor vein, this piece from my good friend Gene is the solution to that little terrorist mixup over there in I-rak.

The Pentagon announced today the formation of a new 500-man elite fighting unit called the U.S. REDNECK SPECIAL FORCES (USRSF). These North and South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Tennessee boys will be dropped into Iraq and have been given only the following facts about the Terrorists:

1. The terrorist season opened today.

2. There is no limit.

3. They taste just like BBQ chicken.

4. They don't like beer, football, pickups, country music or Jesus.

5. They are DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the death of Dale Earnhardt and are plotting against Dale Jr.

That little mess in Iraq should be over IN A WEEK.


One of the great pleasures of blogging is discovering little treasures when you explore the blogosphere (the real final frontier). Another is sharing those treasures with your friends. Well Scrappleface blog (News Fairly Unbalanced. We report. You Decipher.) is one such treasure. If you enjoy satire, as I do, you will love this site. So do yourself a favor. Add Scrappleface to your favorites list, just below PalosVerdesBlog, and visit (both) every day.

Here is a sample from Scott Ott at Scrappleface.

Vacationing Bush Writes New Iraqi Constitution
Scott Ott

(2005-08-26) -- After weeks of failure by the Iraqi National Assembly to approve a draft of a new national charter, President George Bush today intervened and required the legislative body to adopt a constitution he recently composed while on vacation in Texas.

"I know most folks think I've just been goofing off and dodging Cindy Sheehan," said Mr. Bush, "but while I was sitting by the pool, sipping a sweet tea, I actually knocked out a pretty decent little Iraqi constitution. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner. It's so much easier than waiting around for them to write their own."

The new document, which immediately received the backing of the 150,000-member U.S. occupation force, provides all the rights and privileges enjoyed in America, without the years of struggle and debate which the U.S. Constitution required.

The president said his Iraqi constitution "resolves ancient ethnic and religious tensions among Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds and creates an atmosphere of trust and peaceful fellowship between Iraqi citizens and the terrorists who have been blowing them up."

"I'm still working on the Iraqi national anthem," Mr. Bush added. "What I've got so far reminds me of Lee Greenwood's 'God Bless the USA' but I'm making it sound real foreign so Iraqis will feel like it's their own song."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Michael Yon Update

My last post (Gates of Fire) about the experiences of Michael Yon, the embedded reporter with an Army unit in Iraq, created an uproar in the blogosphere.

Yesterday, Yon joined Hugh Hewitt’s show, in the middle of the night, Iraq time. Radioblogger posted the entire interview that starts like this.

Hugh: Michael, thanks for the great dispatch yesterday. How is Deuce 4 doing after the departure of Lt. Col. Kurilla?

Michael: Oh, the unit's doing great. I mean, they continue with operations. You know, it's a great unit, and one of the marks of a great unit is that, you know, continuity of command. I mean, if a leader goes down, they know what to do.

Hugh: Michael Yon, today I got a letter from Lamonte Long, whose son is Specialist Craig Killian with your unit. Lamonte told me that your dispatches have been crucial lifelines for families of the soldiers you're serving with. Was that your intention starting out? Or what was the intention of the Deuce 4 reporting?

Michael: No, I never really intended to be a lifeline to units, or to families, although I'm very flattered by that remark. Basically, I just wanted to come over and tell what was going on.
That’s just what the American people need to know: what is actually going on. I sent my blog post to the local rags and suggested they print some of Yon’s stories. I’m not holding my breath. But yesterday Yon’s site got over 100,000 hits, so some are getting the message.
From Hugh: A father of a soldier with the Deuce Four unit that
Michael Yon is embedded with called this afternoon to talk about how Yon has been their lifeline. This dad, who has had his son's great friend, Sgt. Lama, under his roof, wanted to make sure that my audience knew how much easier Michael Yon's work had made it for them.

If you'd like to drop LTC Kurilla or SGT Lama a note of appreciation, here's the address:

LTC Erik Kurilla or SGT Daniel Lama
9040 Jackson Avenue
Madigan Army Medical Center
Tacoma, WA 98431
By the way, the title “Gates of Fire” is also the title of a great book by Steven Pressfield (“An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae”) much beloved by LTC Eric Kurilla.

Zone friend SpinDr (David) asked about other good military blogs. Here is Hugh’s list of Milblogs:
Austin Bay
Belmont Club
Black Five
Counterterrorism Blog
Froggy Ruminations
Mudville Gazette
Training for Eternity

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Gates of Fire

Michael Yon, former Special Forces and author of Danger Close, is currently a free lance reporter in Iraq. Michael describes himself as “an independent, informed observer chronicling the monumentally important events in the efforts to stabilize Iraq. His dispatches have the benefit of his life experiences without drawbacks based on deadlines or demands of marketplace.”

Today Michael posted a report on an heroic and remarkable mission by an Army unit in Mosul. Hugh Hewitt read the entire piece on his radio show today and received calls from several friendsa and family members of the soldiers in the story.

Following are a few excerpts. Please go to Yon’s blog to read the whole thing and pass it on. It's a story that needs to be known.

Combat comes unexpectedly, even in war.

As a "surge" operation, Lancer Fury is sort of a crocodile hunt, where our people do things to make the crocodiles come out, trying to flush them into predictable directions, or make them take certain actions. And when they do, we nail them. The combat portion of the Surge amounted to a sophisticated "area ambush" that would unfold over the period of about one week.

Alpha Company had deployed during the early hours and was conducting operations around Yarmook Traffic Circle. SGT Daniel Lama, who is as much respected as he is liked, was pulling security in an air guard position of his Stryker, when a bullet flew straight at his neck, striking him. As he collapsed into the Stryker, his body clenched in seizure, fingers frozen, arms and legs rigid.

Bap bap bap! on my door. I jumped up and there was CSM Robert Prosser, the top enlisted soldier at Deuce Four. Prosser is always professional, always direct: "Sergeant Lama's been shot. We're rolling in ten minutes," he said.

Chaplain Wilson came out from the hospital smiling and explained that Daniel (Sergeant Lama) was fine. The seizure was just a natural reaction to getting shot in the neck. It was just a flesh wound. As if offering proof, Chaplain Wilson said: "When they rolled Daniel over, the doctor stuck his finger in Daniel's butt to check his prostate, and Daniel said, 'Hey! What are you doing?!'" Everybody laughed.

SGT Daniel Lama

We loaded the Strykers and headed downtown.

Automatic weapons fire started coming from at least two places. Bullets were kicking up the dust, and we got a radio call that troops were in contact at Yarmook Traffic Circle.

We were searching the area for the source of that automatic weapons fire when Commander Kurilla spotted three men in a black Opel and his sixth sense kicked. When Kurilla keyed in on them, he pointed his rifle at the car and signaled them to get out. The driver tucked his head and gunned the gas. The chase was on.

The car chase ended, but the men fled on foot up an alley. We approached in the Strykers and I heard Kurilla say on the radio, "Shots fired!" as he ducked for a moment then popped back up in the hatch. Kurilla continued, "I'm going to block the back door on the north side!"

LTC Kurilla began running in the direction of the shooting. He passed by me and I chased, Kurilla leading the way. There was a quick and heavy volume of fire. And then LTC Kurilla was shot. One bullet smashed through his femur, snapping his leg. His other leg was hit and so was an arm.

Kurilla was running when he was shot, but he didn't seem to miss a stride; he did a crazy judo roll and came up shooting.

LTC Kurilla

And then help arrived in the form of one man: CSM Prosser..............

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Casey Sheehan

BLACKFIVE is one of the very best of the mil blogs, voted #1 in 2004. BLACKFIVE blogger Matt (only his mom, Sister Mary Margaret and his battalion commanders call him Matthew) was interviewed by Jennifer of Jennifer's History and Stuff.

Matt said he is an average looking Irishman … told that I look sort of like Russell Crowe on a bad day -- that or a drunk Pillsbury Doughboy. On his love of beer, Matt commented that at places like Wrigley Field, I order two at a time so that I don't have to wait on the beer guy to come back around to my section.

Jenifer asked: If you could beat the living crap out of only one person, would it be Michael Moore, George Clooney, or the kid who stole your lunch in the second grade, and why?

Matt: Alec Baldwin. Damn, I would love to just have a few minutes to pummel the crap out of him. Really! You know where I can find him?

I'd like to know BLACKFIVE Matt.

He recently wrote eloquently about Casey Sheehan, fallen soldier son of the anti-American Cindy Sheehan. Following are excerpts from BLACKFIVE.

Casey grew up in a devout Catholic home, served as an altar boy and then as a key member of his church's youth group. Casey was a Boy Scout, becoming the very second Eagle Scout out of his troop.

He enlisted in the Army when he was twenty years old. He was a mechanic, took Combat Lifesaver training and was also certified to assist with giving communion to soldiers while in the field.

Specialist Sheehan re-enlisted in the Army in 2004 knowing full well that he could be sent into a combat zone.

Casey Sheehan was a Humvee mechanic with the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.

On April 3rd, 2004, forces loyal to Muqtada al'Sadr stormed police stations and government offices in Sadr City. They knew the Americans would come, and they wanted a fight. American forces attacked on April 4. A battle raged across Sadr City. Soldiers of the 5th Cavalry Regiment were ambushed with RPGs and pinned down and dying. While fighting off an attack himself, Commander LTC Volesky called for help. A Quick Reaction Force (QRF) was formed of volunteers - their mission was to go out and rescue the American troops.

Casey Sheehan had just returned from Mass. After Sheehan volunteered once, the Sergeant asked Sheehan again if he wanted to go on the mission. According to many reports, Casey responded, Where my Chief goes, I go.

The QRF was launched. Sheehan's vehicle was hit with multiple RPGs and automatic-weapons fire. Specialist Casey Sheehan and Corporal Forest Jostes were killed.

Seven men died with Casey Sheehan on Sunday, April 4th, 2004. They were Spc. Robert Arsiaga, Spc. Ahmed Cason, Sgt. Yihjyh "Eddie" Chen, Spc. Stephen Hiller, Spc. Israel Garza, Cpl. Forest Jostes, and Sgt. Michael Mitchell.

Casey Sheehan received the Bronze Star for his Valor that day.

It was Palm Sunday.

In recognition of Casey, the Catholic Chapel at Fort Hood, Texas (where Sheehan was stationed) named the Knights of Columbus chapter the Casey Austin Sheehan Council

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Liberals Love Lawyers

Of the many ideologies that divide the left and the right, I’m convinced that attitudes about the legal profession is a biggie.

Conservatives generally tolerate lawyers as a necessary evil, but dearly love lawyer jokes. Skidmarks in front of the snake …. a good start ….. his lips are moving ….. we love them all!

I’ll never forget the night Lee and I were dining out and she was telling a string of hysterical lawyer jokes. Suddenly there appeared at our table a very earnest and straight faced man. “I’d like you to know,” he said, “that my wife and I are both lawyers and we are nothing at all like that!” Taken aback, I replied that the jokes were not about him or his wife; we didn’t even know that they were lawyers. He left unsatisfied. It's sad to have no sense of humor.

Liberals either can’t understand or simply dislike lawyer jokes, but they dearly love lawyers.

The ACLU lefties use lawyers to defend pedophiles and to force cities across the country to remove tiny crosses from public buildings. Environmentalists use lawyers to keep us from drilling for oil in remote Alaska, but then complain about the cost of gasoline. Teacher’s Union lawyers oppose poor parents who want to use vouchers to give their children a chance in a better school. Democratic city governments use lawyers to seize property from individuals and give it to corporations who will pay more taxes. Yes, lawyers have their uses.

Liberals particularly love the fact that lawyers can become judges who are then able to enact liberal social policy without having to deal with that tedious legislative process. After all, judges are so much smarter than the rest of us, why do we need to be involved?

However, there is a certain kind of lawyer, and a certain kind of judge, that liberals do not like at all. It appears that John G. Roberts is one of those (Hugh Hewitt is another). And what is his problem exactly? Well, it seems that Judge Roberts committed that most egregious of sins…. he told a lawyer joke.

It happened in 1985 when he and Linda Chavez were working in the Reagan White House. Chavez proposed entering her deputy, Linda Arey, in a contest sponsored by the Clairol shampoo company to honor women who had changed their lives after age 30. Arey had been a schoolteacher who decided to change careers, went to law school and became a successful attorney.

Later as an assistant dean at the University of Richmond law school Arey had “encouraged many former homemakers to enter law school and become lawyers.”

Roberts said that he saw no legal objection to her taking part in the Clairol contest. Then he added a personal aside: “Some might question whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good, but I suppose that is for the judges to decide.”

Roberts’ associates recount that he is known for his dry humor and a tendency to self deprecation. Here he was joking about the desirability of creating more lawyers, just like any good conservative would. It was a joke like the one: “What are 1000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?”... “A good start.” Or he was making a value judgment between homemakers (Good) and lawyers (Bad).

But do the liberals get the joke? Are you kidding? They take this as proof positive that Roberts is a sexist Neanderthal.

Apparently his lawyer wife Jane likes him anyway.

Caveman John courtesy of Rush Limbaugh.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

My Box of Docs

Cookie and I were taking our afternoon walk at Highridge Park, listening to Hugh Hewitt (me), sniffing trees (her) and watching the little kids at Galaxy soccer camp (both of us) when Hugh put out a call to arms. The Reagan Library had released 80 boxes of John Roberts’ documents and Hugh was calling on his Blogger Legion to adopt the boxes for careful review and analysis, in an effort to get out ahead of the Democrats and mediots who would be scouring them for ammunition to use against Judge Roberts Supreme Court nomination.

Needless to say, I wanted to help. I explained to Cookie that we had to go home but she sat right down and looked in the other direction. I sometimes think she’s a Liberal. So I reverted to plan B: “Cookie, do you want a treat?” It worked like a charm as long as I kept repeating “treat” on the way home.

At home around 4:30PM, I gave Cookie the treat (a banana), logged on to Hugh’s site and sent an email to offer my services, with a copy to the “Generalisimo.” To help my chances I mentioned that I am a physics PhD, retired, and inspired to become a blogger by Hugh’s book (Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation that's changing your world). I understand that kissing up frequently works with Hugh.

Then I waited, while playing Zone Bridge with Judy, listening to Hugh and watching my email box. At 5:17PM an email arrived from Duane Patterson, aka Generalisimo: “you're in. here's your link...make sure you send me a link when you've posted on what you've found...dp”

With real excitement I clicked on the link. Hugh had mentioned the often indescribable tension and high stakes legal machinations within the world's ‘most exclusive law firm’ --the White House Counsel's Office ... and I was ready.

The pdf for “Box 3-JGR/Appointee Clearances 06/24/1983-07/08/1983” opened and I read Doc No 1: “Appointment process personal interview record re Daniel Rathburn,” memo to John Herrington, from Fred Fielding (Roberts’ boss) to the effect that all clearances had been accomplished for appointment to the President’s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness for eight individuals.

Then came the shock: All eight (8) individuals were ….. MEN. The memo was copied to John Roberts and to Claire, Jane and Barbara, but I doubt if their womanhood counts. Please Red Flag this memo.

Following that was a press release announcing the appointment of HP CEO John Young to the Commission and his designation as chairman. The remainder of the Box was less exciting, though the appointment of males to government positions was a recurring theme. Many of the actual memos, letters and reports were missing, only the covers appearing in the Box.

Finally near the end was a page of notes in Roberts’ delicate handwriting. On 8/16 there was this notation: “Gordon Fields called – no copy of 7/13? (mentioned to him several times before). Sent duplicate.” Could this be an example of hostility to a subordinate, reminiscent of…. John Bolton? Potential Red Flag here.

That’s all I have to report.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Hero Families

The anti-war movement and their friends in the main-stream media have made a heroine of Cindy Sheehan, mother of a fallen soldier. Yet it was her son Casey who was the hero, and Mrs. Sheehan has been dishonoring his most honorable sacrifice.

Mrs. Sheehan has become the new face of the anti-war fringe, featured in New York Times editorials, in Maureen Dowd columns, blogging on Michael Moore’s web site, supported by the radical group United for Peace and Justice and the Communist Party USA. But she does not represent the Gold Star Mothers or the other family members of our fallen soldiers.

The father of Kyle Andrew Griffin, a recipient of the Army Commendation Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star, who was killed in a truck accident on a road between Mosul and Tikrit on May 30, 2003 spoke for many of those families in the Wall Street Journal today. Following are excerpts from Ronald Griffin’s moving letter.

I lost a son in Iraq and Cindy Sheehan does not speak for me. I honor her son for his service and sacrifice. However, I abhor all that she represents and those who would cast her as the symbol for parents of our fallen soldiers. Over the past few days I have reached out to other parents and loved ones of fallen heroes in an attempt to find out their reactions to all the attention Mrs. Sheehan has attracted.

Ann and Dale Hampton lost their only child, Capt. Kimberly Hampton, on Jan. 2, 2004, while she was flying her Kiowa helicopter. She was a member of the 82nd Airborne and the company commander. Ann Hampton wrote, "My grief sometimes seems unbearable, but I cannot add the additional baggage of anger. Mrs. Sheehan has every right to protest . . . but I cannot do that. I would be protesting the very thing that Kimberly believed in and died for." (Capt. Hampton was our grandson Johnny’s commanding officer.)

Karen Long is the mother of Spc. Zachariah Long, who died with my son Kyle on May 30, 2003. Zack and Kyle were inseparable friends as only soldiers can be. Karen's view is that what Mrs. Sheehan is doing she has every right to do, but she is dishonoring all soldiers, including Karen's son, Zack. Karen will tell you over and over again that Zack is not here and no one, but no one will dishonor her son.

Those who lost their lives believed in the mission. To honor their memory, and because it is right, we must believe in the mission, too. We refuse to allow Cindy Sheehan to speak for all of us. Instead, we ask you to learn the individual stories. They are glorious. Honor their memories. Honor their service.

Never dishonor them by giving in. They never did.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Real Science

Darwinists may well object to the bold-faced statement in my last post (Finally Some Science) that Evolution Science is an oxymoron. After all, the only explanation I offered was that the major problems with evolution theory today are the same ones that were raised by Darwin himself 145 years ago.

Darwin discussed the lack of any evidence for the evolution of one species from another. He was very honest and explicit that evidence to the contrary would blow up his thesis. Furthermore, Darwin wrote to Hooker on life itself: “It is mere rubbish thinking, at present, of origin of life; one might as well think of origin of matter.” For more than a century since Darwin, those fundamental problems persist. What’s worse is that most evolutionary scientists have studiously avoided these foundational issues all this time. One wonders what they are afraid of.

Here I’ll further illustrate my contention about the weakness of evolution science by looking at physics, a real science.

Two centuries before Darwin, physics was making a monumental leap forward due to the work of Isaac Newton. In 1687 Newton published Philosophia Naturalis Principia Mathematica, his masterpiece written entirely in Latin. In it Newton described the meaning of absolute time and space; the three laws of motion; the mathematical theory of gravitation; he explained planetary motion in great detail; and to assist his work he developed analytical geometry and calculus. Newton was a giant.

For the next two centuries Newton’s work stood against every test, but that did not deter physicists from their explorations. There was much to learn about the physical world and generations of physicists focused their energies on the most fundamental and difficult problems.

Great advances were made in the understanding of gases (Bernoulli), thermodynamics (Boltzmann), energy (Joule), electromagnetism (Maxwell), relative motion and the equivalence of mass and energy (Einstein), atomic theory (Bohr) and quantum mechanics (Planck, Heisenberg, Schrodinger) over the next two centuries.

Physicists developed a deep understanding of the interaction of light with charged particles (Feynman, Schwinger) and laid the foundation of theoretical chemistry. They looked inside the nucleus and discovered fundamental particles called quarks (Gell-mann) that are the building blocks of all nuclei. They continue working on the unification of all the forces of physics in one Grand Unified Theory.

Physicists explored the most fundamental questions on the smallest scale and the largest. The discovery of universal cosmic expansion (Hubble) had been predicted by the application (Friedmann) of the equations of General Relativity (Einstein) and led to the Big Bang model of the universe. Theory shows that the ultimate fate of the universe depends on the total mass and energy contained, and measurements are continually updating the predictions.

The cosmic expansion implied a beginning and it was shown (Hawking) that the Big Bang was a singularity in space-time, where the density and temperature are infinite and time began. The instant of creation is now known to be about 14.5B years ago and the precision of that instant is being continuously refined.

The Big Bang model of creation is believed by most Christians and Jews to be the modern version of Genesis. The initial radiation dominated phase of the model explains for the first time the Biblical account of the creation of light before the sun was born. Physics can now be said to explain the evolution of the world from the instant of Devine creation until the ultimate future. Most scientists are quite comfortable with this account.

However, this belief does not deter physicists from exploring the creation in more detail and from looking for other possible creation scenarios. For example, one proposed model treats the Big Bang as a transition point between a collapsing universe and the expanding universe where we live. All such postulates are given serious study by physicists since truth is the ultimate goal.

Can the same be said of evolution theory?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Finally Some Science

The university and media elites have been all in a tizzy since George W. Bush responding to a question about teaching Intelligent Design (ID) said he felt both sides ought to be properly taught so people can understand what the debate is about.

The media feeding frenzy has included numerous statements such as the following: Intelligent design explains nothing and predicts nothing, it isn't even a theory. Like creation science, ID is presented as a scientific alternative to evolution, though its scientific content is intentionally vague. Exactly eighty years after the Scopes "monkey trial" in Dayton, Tennessee, history is about to repeat itself.

The crux of the argument seems to be that the theory of evolution underpins all modern biology while ID isn’t even science. Evolutionary science is, supposedly, like any vibrant science constantly being expanded and modified as new lines of evidence appear. Furthermore, it must be true since thousands upon thousands of research scientists have contributed to it since Darwin proposed the mechanism of natural selection as an explanation for the relationships among species.

It sounds like a closed argument. Yet, over 400 distinguished scientists from all disciplines have signed onto a list of those expressing skepticism of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. And that list is growing, despite the persecution of some signers since they signed it. As the prestigious Russian biologist Vladimir Voeikov said, The ideology and philosophy of neo-Darwinism, which is sold by its adepts as a scientific theoretical foundation of biology, seriously hampers the development of science and hides from students the field's real problems.

Even scientists who are proponents of Darwinian evolution worry about the frantic rejection of alternative thinking. Take for example Darwinist Richard Lewontin of Harvard. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life ….. because we have a prior commitment to materialism. … materialism is absolute for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.

If their science were unassailable, would they so vigorously resist its subjection to academic scrutiny?

Indeed, perhaps it is because Evolution Science is really an oxymoron. When Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859 he explicitly described the problems with his theory of the evolution of species. He asked, firstly, why if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms. Why is not all nature in confusion….? Darwin discussed three other serious objections, and he never did address the origin of life itself. Now if Evolutionary Science were a true science, one would expect intense investigation of these weak points of the theory by the thousands upon thousands of research scientists who have contributed to it.

Instead, as Michael Behe notes in his book Darwin’s Black Box: There has never been a meeting, or a book or a paper on details of the evolution of complex biological systems. The same can be said about the creation of living cells from inanimate matter. That is reinforced by a recent announcement by Harvard University that it is at long last launching a research project to study how life began. My expectation is that we will be able to reduce this to a very simple series of logical events that could have taken place with no divine intervention, said David R. Liu, a professor chemical biology at Harvard. Doesn't Liu sound like a research scientist… simply looking for the truth. Amazing!!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Some Interesting Statistics

Several statistical analyses of global public opinion and social trends have been published recently. I’ll take a look at three examples that I find particularly interesting. See if you can spot the thread that runs through them.

Global views of the United States

In the Pew Global Project, 17000 people in 16 countries were asked their opinion of the United States, favorable or unfavorable. So who do you think likes us best? France? Just kidding! The country with the most favorable opinion of the US is India with 71% favorable. (Note that Israel was not polled.) The second most favorable was Poland (62%) followed by Canada (59%), Great Britain (55%) and Russia (52%). Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey are at the bottom, with 22% favorable. The Western European countries France, Germany, Netherlands and Spain averaged 42% favorable, about the same as China and Lebanon. I wonder how many times we have to save France’s bacon before they start to like us.

Even more disturbing was the 14% unfavorable rating of the US among US citizens. Bet they live mostly in New York, San Francisco, Hollywood and Detroit, the most liberal US city according to a recent poll.

Religion in the West

According to the Gallup Millennium Survey of religious attitudes, barely 20% of West Europeans attend church services at least once a week, compared with 47% of North Americans. Fewer than half of West Europeans say God is a "very important" part of their lives, as against 83% of Americans. And 15% of West Europeans deny that there is any kind of "spirit, God or life force" compared to 2% of Americans. Little more than a quarter of Britons say that they pray regularly, compared with two thirds of Americans. And barely 10% of Britons would be willing to die for our God or our beliefs, compared with 71% of Americans. The loss of faith in Western Europe over the last half century is one of the most discouraging phenomena of our times.

The day before Pope John Paul II died, Cardinal Ratzinger spoke of the danger to Europe. Europe has developed a culture that … excludes God from the public conscience. Attempts to manage human affairs while disdaining God have led us to the edge of the abyss. Since the attacks on London, Britons have worried a lot about the threat to their way of life posed by Muslim extremists. How far has their own loss of religious faith turned Britain into a soft target for the fanaticism of others? (Niall Ferguson, Daily Telegraph)

American Virtue

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics violent crime in the United States is down by 55% since 1993 and violence by teenagers has dropped an astonishing 71%. The number of drunken driving fatalities has declined by 38% since 1982 while the number of vehicle miles traveled is up 81%. Teenage pregnancy has declined by 28% since its peak in 1990. Fewer children are living in poverty, teenage suicide is down and elementary school test scores are rising. What’s going on?

David Brooks offers these reasons in his NY Times piece of 8/7/05. The first thing that has happened is that people stopped believing in stupid ideas: that the traditional family is obsolete, that drugs are liberating, that it is every adolescent's social duty to be a rebel. The second thing is that many Americans have become better parents. Third, many people in the younger generation are reacting against the culture of divorce. Fourth, neighborhood and charitable groups have emerged to help people lead more organized lives, even in the absence of cohesive families.

I could add that churches and organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Boy and Girl Scouts are reaching out to help more youngsters. And the country is becoming more conservative and more Republican.

Western Europe: liberal, socialist, non-religious with struggling economies, rising crime rates and threats from within.

America: conservative, capitalist, religious, with a growing economy, declining crime rates and few internal threats.

It’s no wonder the 14% of Americans who don’t like us still do not leave.

Friday, August 12, 2005

On my honor

As a Boy Scout one of my greatest thrills was the Order of the Arrow induction exercise at Camp Massawepie in the Adirondack Mountains.

The exciting part of the induction was the “ordeal.” The Scout leaders took the new Arrowmen on a hike and a night of camping out before returning to base camp. After hiking all morning we came to Mount Arab which took a couple of hours to climb. After setting up our tents and making the cooking fires, I was one of the scouts who cooked the evening meal. Simple food never tasted so good.

That night the leaders told us scary stories while we roasted marshmallows. When we awoke the next morning the clouds were below us as we cooked and ate breakfast. Bacon and eggs and biscuits …… mmmmm good. We finished every scrap of food. When the clouds cleared away the sight below us was breathtaking.

After dousing and burying the fires, we cleaned up camp and climbed down the mountain. On the way back to Massawepie the “ordeal” commenced. We got “lost.”

The scout leaders stopped the hike, began looking at their maps and announced that they didn't know what way to go. After some discussion we decided on a direction and took off. Nothing looked familiar and after a few hours we realized that we were really, truly lost. And very hungry!

That’s when we learned our first lesson. Don’t eat all the food before your destination is in sight. And don’t drink all the water either. The rest of that day, that night and half of the next day we learned many lessons in self reliance, including how to eat bushes and the bark off certain trees.

Finally back at camp after the ordeal we were treated to an ordeal ceremony, a Brotherhood questioning, and an Order of the Arrow Brotherhood ceremony. Our pledge: “We as Arrowmen have the great privilege of pointing the way to other people. It’s the way to happiness in life. It’s the way of cheerful service.”

I’ll never forget that experience.

Last month four Boy Scout leaders were struck fatally by lightning at the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Virginia. President Bush called these men “models of good citizenship.” Scout leaders are special people. They invest a prodigious amount of time, effort and talent in helping young men develop character. The most important component of character is honor.

A Scout pledges, "On my honor, I will do my best." Honorable people do what is right not because they fear the consequences of wrongdoing but because doing the right thing is the right thing to do. (Jack Kelbe, Daily Breeze, 8/11/05).

I can no longer remember the names of my Boy Scout leaders, but I’ll never forget what they did for me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Lies, Damn Lies and Democrats

Daylight come….and you want go home.

Calypso artist Harry Belafonte, a featured speaker at the march in Atlanta commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, referred to prominent African-American officials in the Bush administration as "black tyrants" and compared the administration to Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany.

Belafonte issued what he called a wake-up call to George Bush, warning that Bush had better sign the extension to the Voting Rights Act that Congress is expected to pass. The audience chanted: “What do you want?... Voting Rights! When do you want it?... Now!” Prominent Democrats in the audience including Nancy Pelosi and Al Sharpton cheered. What these activists failed to notice is that President Bush said over a year ago that he was prepared to sign the voting rights extension.

The truth means nothing to these folks.

When asked about the prominent Blacks in the Bush administration, Belafonte replied: "Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich. Color does not necessarily denote quality, content or value," "[If] a black is a tyrant, he is first and foremost a tyrant, then he incidentally is black." It appears that Belafonte is a liar and a bigot too. "Day-O" Harry.

Voter Fraud and Intimidation in the 2004 Presidential Election

The American Center for Voting Rights recently issued a comprehensive report on the 2004 presidential election. The results contradict Democratic claims of Republican misdeeds. “While Democrats routinely accuse Republicans of voter intimidation and suppression, the evidence shows that Democrats waged aggressive intimidation and suppression campaigns against Republican voters and volunteers in 2004.” Some examples:

Paid Democrat operatives slashed the tires of 25 Republican get-out-the-vote vans in Milwaukee on the morning of Election Day.

Misleading telephone calls made by Democrat operatives targeting Republican voters in Ohio with the wrong date for the election and faulty polling place information.

Intimidating and deceiving mailings and telephone calls paid for by the DNC threatening Republican volunteers in Florida with legal action.

Union-coordinated intimidation and violence targeting Republican campaign offices and volunteers.

NAACP National Voter Fund worker in Ohio paid crack cocaine in exchange for a large number of fraudulent voter registration cards in names of Dick Tracy, Mary Poppins and other fictional characters.

The list goes on and on, all Democrat misdeeds while Democratic leaders accuse Republicans. There was nothing like this perpetrated by the GOP.

And the Democrats are fighting against voter identification cards; wonder why?

NARAL takes the prize

When ranking the lie-meisters it’s not possible to overlook NARAL Pro Choice America. Their latest TV ad opposing Judge John Roberts is just one long lie.

When Roberts was an assistant to the U.S. solicitor general he argued the government case that obstruction of an abortion clinic entrance does not violate an 1871 Federal civil rights law. The Supreme court voted 6-3 against a Virginia clinic and others that said the group Operation Rescue had denied women their right to abortions by blocking access to clinics. Roberts’ arguments were valid.

However the NARAL ad accuses Roberts of condoning violence against women despite the fact that the case had nothing to do with violence. The violence shown in the ad is from another case several years later having nothing to do with Roberts.

Furthermore, Roberts had written very strongly that any such violence is illegal and he urged the first President Bush to not even consider clemency for any of those convicted of violence against abortionists.

Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, called NARAL's claims “false and outrageous.”

That about sums up the Democratic leadership as well.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mario the Pious

It was 1960 and John Fitzgerald Kennedy was campaigning to be the first Roman Catholic president of the United States. The burning question was whether his faith would interfere with his ability to lead the country in accordance with the Constitution. Democrats argued that Kennedy would give precedence to the law of the land as he had in the Senate. The electorate thought so too and we had our first Catholic president.

Now it is 45 years later and the Democrats have changed their spots. All of a sudden it is a big deal, a danger even, that Judge John Roberts who was nominated to the Supreme Court is a Catholic. Now they want to know whether he will take orders from the Pope.

That’s right, former NY Governor Mario Cuomo, a Catholic Democrat who tangled with the church on the politics of abortion, wonders (in USA Today) if Roberts upheld the abortion law, the bishops who went after Kerry would have to say that it's different for a judge, but that would be very hard to explain.

The Democrats have resurfaced the intellectual giant Mario the Pious because the Dem Senators know the people would be outraged if they followed that line of inquiry.

Mario also attacks Judge Roberts from the bizarro world of upside down politics. He claims that President Bush, by nominating Judge John Roberts, seeks to put on the Supreme Court a justice who will help achieve significant changes in laws through judicial decisions that the political branches of our government have failed to deliver. That would include limitations on abortion and the separation of church and state.

Think about that for a minute. Did he actually say he’s worried Roberts would achieve significant changes in laws through judicial decisions??? But that’s exactly what Roberts most opposes. Roberts believes in the Constitution, in the separation of powers, and that the legislative body makes the laws not the judiciary. So is Cuomo arguing for what Roberts believes?

Don’t believe it for a minute. Mario the Pious is a liberal Democrat and as such he wants the judiciary to make laws, as long as they are “progressive” laws. He’s absolutely delighted that previous Supreme Courts have uncovered nonexistent rights in the Constitution, such as the (unlimited) right to abortion, and nonexistent restrictions, such as the wall of separation between church and state.

Democrats like Cuomo cannot accomplish their policy aims via the democratic process so the only recourse they have is to force them through the courts.

When Roberts was appointed to the appellate court he swore to faithfully uphold the laws of the land? The only question he must answer now is whether he will faithfully interpret the Constitution. We already know the answer.

ps Thanks to Rush for the title, Mario the Pious.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Taxes Have Curves

The July economic statistics are out and “everything in the American garden is lovely. So, why the long face buddy?” asked Gerard Baker in The Times of London.

U.S. employers created 207,000 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent. "Once skittish businesses are turning into confident businesses that are willing and able to hire," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at

So far this year, the economy is adding an average of 191,000 jobs a month, better than the average of 183,000 a month registered last year. The payroll numbers are based on a survey of employers while a separate survey of households determines the jobless rate. That survey showed employment rose by 438,000 last month, about the same as the number of people entering the job market.

As the labor market gained traction, workers' wages are also going up. “Strong gains in efficiency have buoyed real incomes and restrained inflation,” Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said in July 20 testimony before Congress. Real compensation--wages plus benefits-- grew at a 3.9% rate in the first quarter of this year, the latest period for which such data are available, compared to a 2.8% rate when Bush took office.

The US economy continues its amazing growth. Last year the economy grew at a rate of 4.2%, the fastest in five years. The last quarter the economy grew at a 3.4% pace and it was the ninth straight quarter in which the economy has grown at an annual rate of more than 3%. By miserable contrast, Germany has not had nine quarters in the last 50 in which its economy expanded at that pace. Over the last 23 years the US has had only two years of moderate downturn, separated by ten and a half years of brisk expansion.

Bill Clinton left George Bush a weakening economy following the dot-com bubble burst. This was followed by the 9/11/01 terror attacks, a string of corporate scandals, a European recession and oil at $60+ a barrel. Not the best of hands.

But Bush played it very well indeed by instituting a smart tax-cutting program that reduced everyone’s taxes and stimulated business investment. More important, he established an optimistic tone that combined with pro-business actions (eg. class-action and bankruptcy law reform) to provide further encouragement to a level of risk-taking and entrepreneurial activity that is the envy of the world.

It is important to note that the reduction in tax rates has been accompanied by an increase in government revenues. The theory behind this seeming paradox is really one of the simplest concepts in economics, yet its logic continues to elude the class-warfare lobby among the Democrats.

The idea is that lowering the tax rate on production, work, investment and risk-taking will spur more of these activities and thereby lead to more tax revenue collections for the government rather than less. This is the essence of the famous Laffer Curve, first drawn by economist Arthur Laffer in 1974, and credited with launching the Reaganomics Revolution here at home and a frenzy of tax-rate cutting around the globe (with the exception of continental Europe) that continues to this day.

As the figure shows there is an optimum tax rate that maximizes government revenue. When tax rates are too high (past the peak) a rate reduction will move the point on the curve upward toward the peak yielding more revenue.

The Congressional Budget Office just released its latest report showing that Federal tax revenues surged in the first eight months of this fiscal year by $187 billion, a 15.4% rise in federal tax receipts over 2004. Individual and corporate income tax receipts are up 30% in the two years since the Bush tax cuts. Once again, tax rate cuts have created a virtuous chain reaction of higher economic growth, more jobs, higher corporate profits, and finally more tax receipts.

This Laffer effect has also created a revenue windfall for states and cities. As the economic expansion has plowed forward state tax receipts have climbed 7.5% this year already.

Returning now to Gerard Baker, when it comes to economics, all but America’s most fervent critics can still only marvel. So why are we so gloomy?

The real problem, I suspect, lies in the paradox of the efficient modern globalised economy that the US has become. The factors behind America’s impressive performance are the very same factors that make Americans uncertain and nervous about their future. Since the late 1980s, its flexibility and dynamism has made the US both the main driver and the main beneficiary of the economic forces at work in the world: technological change; deregulation and competition; globalisation. These have combined to raise productivity, lift living standards and quell the inflation that bedevilled the industrialised world for decades. But even as they sharpened US competitiveness, these forces pierced Americans’ own economic security. There are global lessons in the discomfiting success of the US economy. Creative destruction not only produces winners and losers; it makes even the winners nervous.

So, buck up!, America, the world is your oyster.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


This post is an unabashed plug for a website owned by Jackie Floyd, daughter of my Zone Bridge friend TexasJudy1. Jackie describes ELEMENT List as a new website dedicated to providing free, publicly available resources for scientific research.... links to top science news sites, research labs, educational resources, scientific data, freeware for data analysis, chat forums, research funding and job opportunities. Lots of great stuff here.

When you click on ELEMENT List you can sign up to be a Genius member as long as your IQ exceeds mine (LOL). Really, sign up so you can comment and contribute to the site.

ELEMENT is an example of a blog dedicated to making science accessible to the non-scientist. The Scientist magazine named ELEMENT among its list of illustrious science blogs.

Jackie also hosts fun events like the Sexiest Scientist contest.

We're tired of scientists being portrayed as boring, unstylish geeks. So what are we going to do about it? We're holding the First Annual Element List Sexiest Scientist Contest, that's what! Yes, you, dear Element List readers, will have the opportunity to nominate yourselves or the sexy scientists you admire most to be the Sexiest Scientist of the Year. One male and one female scientist will win.

To be eligible, persons nominated for the Sexiest Scientist Contest must (1) be living (Einstein is not eligible!), (2) have a Ph.D. from an accredited university, and (3) have published at least one first-authored paper in a scholarly, peer-reviewed scientific journal. E-mail a picture of your sexy scientist nominee along with their name, contact information, and brief professional background by October 31, 2005, to Eligible entries will posted on the Element List website for voting by Element List readers, and the winners will be announced in December.

My entry was Leon Lederman, one of the pioneers in experimental particle physics, Nobel Prize winner and still active professionally at 83.

Lederman is one of my science idols.

Check out ELEMENT List and nominate your own favorite sexy scientist.

By the way, yours truly (1) is living, (2) has a PhD in physics, and (3) has published at least one peer-reviewed paper.

I'm eligible!

Friday, August 05, 2005

My Birthday Ride

Yesterday the weather was gorgeous and I decided to take the helicopter ride Lee gave me for my 63rd birthday. I drove down to JJ Helicopters, Inc at the tiny Torrance Airport and boarded an even tinier R22 personal helicopter produced at the famous Robinson Helicopter plant right next door. Robinson is an amazing private company founded by Frank Robinson, with revenues of more than $100M in 2004, a 63% increase over 2003. The R22 sells for $310,000.

My pilot was Hitomi Jinda a young lady from Japan. Before we took off Hitomi asked me if I wanted a door (no) and if I wanted to fly the thing (NO). I asked how much horsepower (185) and if we had enough gas (she thought so).

We lifted off and immediately climbed the 1500 foot Palos Verdes hill, heading for the ocean. The scene below is known as Portugese Point and is a famous Palos Verdes location. The founding Vanderlip family cleared the point and began construction of a mansion around 1928. The next year the stock market crashed and the plans were scrapped. The view is spectacular.

To the right of the point is Abalone Cove named for the once plentiful shellfish, and where we take kids to the tide pools. To the left of the point is Sacred Cove, a sometimes nude beach.

Hitomi took the copter South along the beach at about 500 feet as we flew over the Trump National Golf Course at Los Angeles (we used to call it Ocean Trails) then over San Pedro and the Port of Los Angeles. I pointed to the Vincent Thomas Bridge and told Hitomi that the Palos Verdes Fault goes directly underneath. She said not to worry we were not going to take the bridge. Smarty-pants!

We then looped around and reclimbed the hill looking for Casa Lama. From up there most of the neighborhoods and houses looked similar but I eventually spotted Wallace Ranch and we circled over my house. It's the one in the center of the photo with the pool.

The lot size is 10,000 sq.ft. but notice how little the yard is. The neighbor above me in the picture concreted his entire yard so his kids could play tennis.

After waving to Lee in the yard we flew 1 mile back to the ocean and North past Malaga Cove to Redondo Beach and back to the airport. I aged at least a year during that 30 minute ride, but it was a real blast! Thanks Hon.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Snuppy the Wonder Dog

When this goofy pup was delivered by Caesarean section on April 24 he was a one in a thousand shot. His dad was a 3-year old Afghan Hound selected for his gentle nature, his mom was a yellow Labrador Retreiver. Yet Snuppy (short for Seoul National University Puppy) is 100% Afghan and identical to his dad in every way. Snuppy was not created in the usual way.

Scientists in South Korea took a skin cell from his dad's ear and extracted the genetic material from the nucleus. They transferred the genetic material to an unfertilized egg from his mom, whose nucleus had been removed. The reconstructed cell holding the dad's DNA was zapped with electricity to stimulate cell division and then implanted into mom's womb.

This same procedure was repeated with 1095 surrogate moms. The only successful birth was Snuppy. What a guy!!!

The scientists think this is an important step in medical research since dogs share many physiological characteristics with humans.

Meanwhile, investigators are probing the shocking discovery of hundreds of fetuses and stillborn babies stored in a Paris hospital morgue. Officials in France said 351 stillborn babies and fetuses were kept at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Hospital's morgue -- some for two decades.

A top geneticist and medical ethicist, Doctor Axel Khan, said he was not surprised. I think that there are fetuses and stillborn infants in all maternity wards at university hospitals. Once, it was the norm ... Researchers who needed them for their work asked obstetricians not to dispose of them.

Health Minister Xavier Bertrand described his shock at visiting the morgue, saying that the remains were stored in disgraceful conditions. I still have these disturbing images in my mind, these sacks and bottles of formaldehyde spread out, he told Le Parisien newspaper.

Caroline Lemoine's search for the remains of a fetus she had aborted in 2002 led to the discovery, Le Parisien reported. I wanted to verify that my child was cremated, like they said he would be. They told me "Your son has not been cremated, his body is still here." At last I knew the truth. My mourning came to an end.

France is surely a Godless country.

A Gallup poll in May found that 61% of Americans considered animal cloning morally unacceptable. Objection to human cloning must approach 100% in America.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

May Kyoto RIP

Lost in the London euphoria over the Olympic Committee decision and the horror of the terror attacks was the release of a blockbuster report on the Economics of Climate Change. If the names Goodhart, Kingsdown, Sheppard of Didgemere and Vallance of Tummel mean nothing to you, it is because the members of the British House of Lords, Economics Affairs Committee, operate well below the popular radar. Yet their report released on July 6, 2005 could be the death knell for the Kyoto Treaty on Climate Change.

The report is an attack on the Kyoto accord through its weakest point, the underlying science. The committee savages the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the body on whose research Kyoto is built. The language, as befits their lordships, is suitably restrained. (Neil Collins, Daily Telegraph, 8/1/05).

From the Lords' report: "We have some concerns about the objectivity of the IPCC process with some of its emissions scenarios and summary documentation apparently influenced by political considerations. There are significant doubts about some aspects of the IPCC's emissions scenario exercise. . . the Government should press the IPCC to change their approach. There are some positive aspects to global warming and these appear to have been played down in the IPCC reports . . ." It's the nearest the Lords ever comes to blowing a raspberry.

At the recent G8 meeting in Gleneagles, the Americans argued that both the science and economics of climate change were highly uncertain and that the solution to global warming lay with technology rather than rationing. The logic of this position convinced the other G8 leaders and, consequently, the Kyoto accord is looking very ill.

Last week the US and Asian allies launched the snappily named Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. Endorsed by Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan, the plan is to try to find practical solutions based on technology.

Their lordships report concluded: "The Kyoto protocol makes little difference to rates of warming, and has a naive compliance mechanism which can only deter other countries from signing up to subsequent tighter emissions targets. We urge the Government to take a lead in exploring alternative 'architectures' for future protocols, based perhaps on agreements on technology and its diffusion."

Hard though it may be for radical environmentalists and left-leaning politicians to accept, there's an awfully good possibility that President Bush is right. The Kyoto accord looks like yesterday's approach to yesterday's conception of tomorrow's problem.... RIP.

Monday, August 01, 2005

French Family Values

New York Times lefty Paul Krugman extols the socio-economic virtues of France and frets that Americans are learning nothing from the French. (“Family values? France does it right,” Daily Breeze, 8/1/05) His thesis has only two problems, the economic facts and the social conclusions.

Krugman argues that “France's GDP per person is well below that of the United States … because French workers spend more time with their families.” In fact the French GDP per person is 43% below that of the US.

Krugman admits that part of the differential is due to the higher French unemployment rate. In fact the French unemployment rate exceeds 10% compared to 5% in the US. If our jobless rate got anywhere near 10% the Democrats would be demanding the president’s scalp, with good reason.

In France the Socialists introduced “les 35 heures” figuring that limiting full time jobs to 35 hours/week would force employers to hire massively. Like most socialist theories this one failed miserably as unemployment grew to 10% and employers froze wages to make up for lost labor. “The intention was to spread the work around, but the effect was to spread our salaries around,” said Finance Minister Thierry Breton.

Krugman admits that “the French family, without question, has lower disposable income. This translates into lower personal consumption: a smaller car, a smaller house, less eating out.” Let’s take a look at the other major factor in the disposable income equation.

A recent issue of Forbes magazine listed the Global Misery Index, a table of countries ranked by their total tax rates. Topping the misery list is France at 175 points, more than double the US index. France is even worse off than Communist China. It's no wonder that the French voters rejected the EU constitution that would have added even more taxes to their happy lot.

Given our much higher wages and much lower taxes, it’s no surprise that Americans are so much better off than the French.

But Krugman’s main point is that “to the extent that the French have less income than we do, it's mainly a matter of choice.” He would have us believe that the French income problem is actually a consequence of their “family values.” Krugman translates 35 hour work weeks, 7 week vacations and socialized medicine as family values.

When most Americans think of family values they mean having children, supporting those children to the best of their abilities, giving their children a moral code based on a belief in God and regular attendance at religious services, and protecting their families from threats, foreign and domestic.

On every count Americans do so much better than the French. I’ll take America, Krugman can have France.