Sunday, April 30, 2006

Happy May Day, Gringo

At the farmer’s market this morning one hot topic of conversation was the Hispanic effort on May 1 to impact the economy of the United States in the name of “civil rights.” [Ok, I admit that the discussion took place in Starbucks and that my boycott of Demo-sponsoring businesses has already stalled. There are now four Starbucks on the Hill and nothing else. Howard Schultz is like Bill Gates: He does not strive to own all the money in the world he just wants to “touch” it. – just like governments run by Democrats.]

Anyway, the conversation was lively. Two small-business owners who employ “documented” workers told their employees that Monday is a work day and if they do not show up they could look for work elsewhere. Bob thought that his students in Torrance would not take off, but he expressed support for the marchers. The State Senate also passed a resolution of support. Dave countered that the illegal movement is immoral, since they are jumping in line ahead of immigrants who have been waiting many years to enter legally.

The issue is a tough one since we all came from immigrants and we tend to sympathize with those who wish to come here for a better life. However, a nation must uphold its laws and Dave’s point is surely valid. And the radicals are not helping their cause. John Taft wrote in NewsWithViews:

Any group that illegally pours millions of bodies into our cities with the professed intent of shutting those cities down has in essence declared war on the United States and its citizens. Further, the US economic boycott has spread to Mexico where radicals are also calling for a boycott of all US goods in that country on May 1st. Jorge Rodriguez, a union official who helped organize earlier rallies bragged, “We’re going to close down Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Tucson, Phoenix, Fresno."

Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez of the University of Texas has nothing good to say about the gringos: "We have an aging white America. They are not making babies. They are dying. The explosion is in our population . . . I love it. They are (expletive) in their pants with fear. I love it." The professor goes on to say: "We have got to eliminate the gringo, and what I mean by that is if the worst comes to the worst, we have got to kill him."

Professor Gutierrez is symbolic of the radical Hispanic movement that intends to bring this nation to its knees. It is emblematic that the demonstrations are on May 1. From Wikipedia: “May Day has long been a focal point for demonstrations by various
socialist, communist, and anarchist groups.” The radicals have allegiance to a foreign country, Mexico.

Now what about the illegal immigrant’s complaints? Do they have legitimate “civil rights” claims or are they themselves the real problem? In Los Angeles County, according to the LA Times:

1. 40% of all workers are working for cash and not paying taxes because they are predominantly illegal immigrants, working without a green card.

2. 95% of warrants for murder are for illegal aliens.

3. 75% of people on the most wanted list are illegal aliens.

4. Over 2/3 of all births are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal.

5. Nearly 25% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.

Immigration to America is not a right. It is a privilege that needs to be earned. The first step of the process is to enter the country legally like millions have before. They also did work that most Americans did not want to do, but the numbers were small enough that any American who wanted such a job could get one.

When my grandfather came from Italy in 1906, he left his wife and two children behind. He worked as a fireman (he shoveled coal) on the railroad for three years before he earned enough to send for my grandmother and the two kids. They came here legally, worked very hard, learned the language and transferred all their loyalty to their adopted country. Their three boys served in the military, in Europe or Korea.

That has been the American immigrant model for two centuries. It works and is the model we must return to if we hope to keep America the greatest nation on God’s green earth.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Buy Red, Live Red

The lefty web site lists companies that donate heavily to liberal causes, encouraging their readers to buy from those companies. At the bottom of their list are those companies that contribute 100% to the Republican Party.

Here is the list of Republican hundred-percenters: Michaels Stores, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Russell Stover Candies, Domino's Pizza, Best Buy, Ruby Tuesday, Fruit of the Loom, Krispy Kreme, Hooters and RE/MAX. Other huge Republican contributors, although not quite at 100%, are Outback Steakhouse, Wendy's, Domino’s Pizza and Oracle. These are the places that we should support with all our Red-State hearts and cash.

Those to avoid at all cost, the 100% Democratic Party companies, include: Men’s Wearhouse, IAC/Interactive (owns HSN and TicketMaster), Levi Strauss, SPS Studios (owns Blue Mountain Art – it figures!), Google (cozying up to the Chi-Coms), Polo, Dress Barn, Starwood Hotels, Loews Hotels and, (here is the killer for me) Starbucks. Other huge Democratic Party contributors, but not quite 100%, are Costco, J. Crew, Martha Stewart Living and (the biggest of all) Progressive Insurance. The PalosVerdesBlog BuyRed pledge is to shop elsewhere. Coffee Bean, here I come!

While we’re doing lists, Human Events online today published the list of America’s most liberal cities. (Thanks to John Lama for the tip.) In 10th place we have (ACU = American Conservative Union):

10. Seattle, Wash.

Well known for its environmentalist population. Home of Demo Rep. Jim McDermott (ACU lifetime rating: 2%) who claimed Saddam Hussein is more credible than President Bush and omitted the words "under God" when leading the Pledge of Allegiance on the House floor.

9. Newark, N.J.

One of the most crime-ridden cities in the country. Demo Rep. Donald Payne (ACU lifetime: 3%), defended Kofi Annan in oil-for-food scandals.

8. Berkeley, Calif.

Home to liberal University of California and Demo Rep. Barbara Lee (ACU lifetime: 4%). Denied rent subsidy to the Sea Scouts because its parent organization, the Boy Scouts, excludes gays and atheists. City council in 2004 passed resolution demanding "censure of President Bush for a litany of grievances."

7. Madison, Wis.
Represented by Demo Tammy Baldwin (ACU lifetime: 3%), a public lesbian who has pushed for hate crime protection for gender and sexual orientation. City Council supported a "cities for peace" resolution before the Iraq War began and a "Bring the Troops Home Now" referendum advocating immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

6. Portland, Ore.
Enacted an "urban growth boundary" that has caused high housing costs. Demo Rep. Earl Blumenauer (ACU lifetime: 5%), who represents the city, pushes a far-left environmental agenda.

5. Washington, D.C.
Known for irresponsible, bloated government run by liberal Democrats. Handguns banned, residents effectively prohibited from using guns to defend themselves in their homes.

4. Detroit, Mich.
Home of liberal Demo Rep’s Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (ACU lifetime: 5%) and John Conyers (ACU lifetime: 5%), known for its high crime rate and unemployment. Named the "Most Liberal City" by non-partisan Bay Area Center for Voting Research in 2005.

3. New York, N.Y.
Represented by several leftists, including Jerry Nadler, Gregory Meeks, Anthony Weiner and Charlie Rangel. Has double the national average of abortions. Still attempting to sue the gun industry.

2. Boston, Mass.

Represented by liberal Demo Michael Capuano (ACU lifetime: 5%). Mayor Thomas Menino blames city's crime problem on guns from New Hampshire.

And topping the list, the most liberal city in the nation is:

1. San Francisco, Calif.
The home of liberal Minority Leader Nancy “The Brain” Pelosi (ACU lifetime rating: 3%) once claimed leftist Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein as its mayor. Current Mayor Gavin Newsom gave out same-sex marriage licenses in 2004 in violation of a state law. Board of Supervisors banned smoking in public parks, passed a resolution urging impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney and refused to accept the World War II battleship U.S.S. Iowa. Voters approved a handgun ban last November.

Although I enjoy visiting my son in San Francisco, after a few days there I get an uneasy feeling due to the flagrant drugs, homosexuals, pan handling, people living on the streets, trash everywhere and cultural filth. We're hoping John will move to the South Bay area of LA one of these days.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Gasbags, Windbags and Democrats

Bush is an oil man! Cheney is an oil man! The price of gas is above $3 a gallon. Do the math, its cause and effect, proclaimed Nancy “The Brain” Pelosi, House minority leader (Democrat, CA).

Since George Bush and Dick Cheney took over as president and vice president, gas prices have doubled! charged Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), standing at an Exxon station on Capitol Hill where regular unleaded hit $3.10. They are too cozy with the oil industry. She then hopped in a waiting 18 mpg Chrysler LHS, even though her Senate office was only a block away.

Other Democraticos have stepped up to the plate. Numero Uno Gasbag Senator Chuck Schumer posed at the gas station said, I feel your pain. Congress needs to have hearings to belittle the oil executives so all the Senators can grandstand.

Senator “Turban” Durbin went on the Neil Cavuto show to expose the price gouging by the oil companies. My son John had this to say:

Mr. Cavuto, Thanks for not going soft and exposing Senator Durban and the Democrats for their BS finger-pointing and lack of willingness to do anything constructive. I am amazed when I hear politicians talk about a windfall profits tax. Are they serious? Have these people taken Econ 101? By the way, when Senator Durban refers to "enviromentally responsible exploration", I assume he means no exploration. Next time, can you ask him where in the US he would support new oil drilling, specifically?

So what of that $3.00 per gallon price? How does it split up? The oil company’s average profit on a gallon of gas is about $ 0.15 per gallon. That’s 15 cents or 5 percent. At $75.00 per barrel the cost of the oil accounts for $1.64 per gallon (or 55%) at the pump. The cost of refining per gallon of gas is $0.65 (21.7%), the cost of distribution, storage and marketing is $0.13 (4.5%) and the government takes $0.57 (18.9%), except in states like New York where the tax rip off is over 80 cents.

I wonder if Nancy Pelosi could do the math and tell us why the Bush/Cheney cabal could not do better than a 5% profit for their oil buddies.

If the gas bags in Congress really wanted to help the American people they could forego the gas tax, reducing the price to $2.43 per gallon, just like that! They could put a moratorium on the two dozen different blends of gas mandated by the EPA which raises cost and reduces availability of gas at the pump. They could reduce the 800 to 900 permits required to build a refinery, not taking into account the lawsuits from the environmental groups. They could pass legislation to open up ANWR (the legislation that was vetoed by Bill Clinton) and off-shore drilling to increase supplies. But, don’t hold your breath.

Back at the gas station, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) stepped into an eight-cylinder Ford Explorer (14mpg); Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) disappeared into a Lincoln Town Car (17); Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) met up with an idling Chrysler minivan (18). Next came Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), greeted by a Ford Explorer XLT (14) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), who was met by a Dodge Durango V8 (14). Also waiting were three Suburbans, a Nissan Armada V8, two Cadillacs and a Lexus.

Of course the Republican senators were also driving gas guzzlers, but our guys don’t pretend; they love big and fast cars as much as I do.

And speaking of windbags,… momentum is building in Congress to buck the bid by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) to block the proposed Cape Cod wind energy project, potentially reviving efforts to construct the windmill farm in Nantucket Sound. Environmental groups have launched an aggressive advertising and lobbying campaign to persuade Democrats to abandon Kennedy and back a promising source of renewable energy. If the wind farm becomes a reality, advocates say, it could provide three-fourths of the Cape and Islands' energy needs and could set an example for the nation.

It's odd that the people who are against it are the people (Kennedys) who have scenic views, said Representative Charles Bass (R-NH). I'm sorry about that, but the project ought to rise or fall on its merits.

I’ll close with another car related headline: Kerry's Tire-Slashers Sentenced.
A Democratic congresswoman's son and three Democratic campaign workers were sentenced yesterday to four to six months in jail for slashing the tires of 25 vans rented by Republicans to take voters to polls on Election Day 2004. Michael Pratt, 33, and Lewis Caldwell, 29, were each sentenced to six months in jail while Lavelle Mohammad, 36, got five months and Sowande Omokunde, 26, got four months. Pratt is the son of former Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt and Omokunde is the son of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.).

This case had to be a public example of what can happen when you interfere with voters' rights, said Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Michael Brennan, who rejected prosecutors' recommendation of probation for the four men.

Gasbags, windbags and slashers… Democrats all.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Environmental Predictors and Fast Cars

Auto Hydrocarbon Emissions from 1968 - 2004

The Pacific Research Institute, a free-market think tank, has just published its “2006 Index of Leading Environmental Indicators.” From the press release:

The year 2005 offered a full plate of environmental episodes that riveted the nation’s attention, including sky-high energy prices, expanded talk of permanent oil shortages, Hurricane Katrina, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal, where the U.S. came in for the usual pasting from the international community.

Yet a funny thing happened along the way.

The modern environmental movement died
, at least according to “The Death of Environmentalism,” the dire warning from two enviro insiders Michael Schellenberger and Ted Nordhaus. They argue that environmentalism has failed in its larger aims and should now integrate itself within a broader spectrum of “progressive” causes such as gay marriage, opposition to the war and to the death penalty.

Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times liberal columnist, wrote in a scathing column “that environmental groups are too often alarmists. They have an awful track record, so they’ve lost credibility with the public. . . . I was once an environmental groupie, and I still share the movement’s broad aims, but I’m now skeptical of the movement’s I Have a Nightmare speeches. . . .”

British novelist Ian McEwan wrote in the Los Angeles Times on Earth Day last year:
“The environmental movement has been let down by dire predictions— scientifically based — that over the last two or three decades have proved spectacularly wrong. It is tempting to embrace with enthusiasm the latest bleak scenario because it fits our mood. But we should be asking for the provenance of the data, the assumptions fed into the computer model, the response of the peer review community, and so on. Pessimism is intellectually delicious, even thrilling, but the matter before us is too serious for mere self-pleasuring. It would be self-defeating if the environmental movement degenerated into a religion of gloomy faith.”

The American people have not been persuaded by the environmental radicals: “Gallup’s annual environmental poll finds few signs that environmentalists opposed to President George W. Bush’s environmental agenda have had success persuading the public to see things from their perspective.”

A recent survey by MIT found that environmental issues ranked 13th out of 21 issues by importance, following terrorism, health care, the economy, unemployment, family values, education, the budget deficit, foreign policy, crime, social security, drugs and taxes. And for this 13th ranked issue, global warming ranked only sixth out of 10 environmental issues, below water pollution and toxic waste and just above urban sprawl. Three-quarters of respondents said they expect the U.S. to suffer a biological or nuclear attack within the next 20 years, yet only a third considered global warming to be a significant threat.

Americans, by large majorities, are overwhelmingly optimistic—even if a catastrophe looms.

Still, we Crunchy Cons believe strongly that the environment should be protected. So let’s take a look at a few of the findings in the report.

Air Quality: The number of exceedances of the eight-hour ozone standard in Los Angeles during the last 30 years has dropped significantly, from 201 in 1975 to 75 in 2005. There are large scale areas of the LA air basin where there have been no exceedances of the ozone standard for the last several years, meaning millions of residents have no exposure to high levels of ozone.

Biodiversity: The Catalogue of Life Program, begun in 2001, has passed the half-million mark in the number of species listed in its database. Grizzly bears may be coming off the endangered species list. The largest population in the continental U.S. outside of Alaska lives in and near Yellowstone National Park, where the grizzly population has grown from about 200 in the early 1980s to about 600 today.

Acid Rain: The EPA found significant declines in high acidity in every region except New England, where there was no change from 1990 levels.

Auto Emissions: Automobile tailpipe emissions from carbon monoxide have been reduced by 96 percent since the 1950s. These emissions rates are per mile—not an average for the whole auto fleet. The frequently-heard claim that large SUVs "pollute more" is a myth.

And speaking of autos, big engines stay popular despite gas spike. U.S. consumers bought vehicles with big, gas-guzzling engines at an unchanged rate in the first three months of the year despite rising gas prices. If that trend holds, it would be positive news for General Motors, which has staked its product strategy on a new line of SUVs which run on V8 engines.

Meanwhile, US hybrid sales mostly slack despite gasoline hike. U.S. gas prices have risen nearly a third over the past year without touching off a boom in sales of fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, some of which are sitting on dealer lots for as long as three months. U.S. consumers are concluding that what they save in gasoline and on tax credits from driving a hybrid does not justify the $3,000 premium, even with high and volatile fuel prices. That poses a problem for car makers including Honda, Ford and Toyota that have bet on broadening popularity for hybrids.

Finally, at the high end there are Europe's Supercars. Newer stars of the superfast firmament include the Porsche Carrera GT, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and the 660 horsepower, V12 Ferrari Enzo, all of which cost more than $500,000. What's more, 2006 marks what may be an apex in supercar history. That's because the vaunted Bugatti Veyron will be rolling off the assembly line and cranking from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds making it the fastest car in the world. That’s what 1,001 horses will do for you.

I just love fast cars!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Views from the War Zone

Those who oppose the war invariably say they nevertheless support the troops. Some even claim to speak for the troops. In a previous post (Troops in Support of the War, 4/13/06) I presented a response to the anti-warriors from Marine veteran Wade Zirkle and his Vets for Freedom organization. Zirkle objects to those who say the war is a disaster and the troops are demoralized. Says Zirkle, the morale of the trigger-pulling class of today's fighting force is strong.

One of the trigger-pulling class is Palos Verdes Marine Brian Weiss, who has this to say about the whiners who frequent my blog comment space.

RE: Troops in Support of the War

Many worthy things have been achieved by war. It seems to me that these whining people are once again blaming the US for trying to protect itself. I have no problem with diplomacy, but it is tough to use rational words with complete lunatics, like in the cases of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and North Korea. I know that we will be safe only when we intervene with our military.

It is completely unacceptable to take the Democratic point of view and wait for American blood to be spilled before we strike. I waited for the 2004 election to be over before I joined the military, as I was not going into the service with a Democrat in office. I want a hawkish Commander In Chief who will not only punish the people responsible for the 2001 attacks but also will ensure, as President Bush has, that we will use any means necessary to prevent future attacks(including wire taps).

Most of the people whining here seem to forget that we MUST be proactive, and that sticking our heads in the sand will not fix the problem that was handed to us after years of terrorism mismanagement by the Clinton folks. I know we will be safe at least until the next election, and that I really have to work hard to elect another hawkish Republican to protect our future.

As per the comments in regards to Bill's service: Bill serves me and this country in many ways (do they??), with the unrelenting support he has always offered to the military, he always sides with Americans (a lesson some Liberals should learn), he is a true patriot, and he is a great American. I only wish I could see the patriotism, caring, and support coming from the Democratic side of the house.

All too often the Democrats want to use anything they can to justify their position (like editorializing the American deaths in the war) instead of putting some positive energy into being truly supportive. Like all of my brothers and sisters in the Military, we volunteered for our service. I am here in a combat zone, with 270 California Marines who have dropped their personal lives to serve their country in a just mission.

I would give my life a thousand times over to provide safety and freedom to all Americans. I only wish all Americans had the same devotion to the country as I do. Imagine the successes the US could achieve!


Thank you again and again for your service Brian.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Crunchy Cons

Happy Earth Day! I almost let it slip me by. Son John was visiting this weekend and yesterday we stopped at Starbucks and found that the coffee was free. Happy Earth Day, here’s your joe! Not having been around at the beginning, John asked me: “Were the environmentalists back then whackos like many are now? Did they do anything good?” Ah, out of the mouths….

Having recently read The Progress Paradox (by Gregg Easterbrook) I had some of the statistics ready to hand. The enviro movement was an immense success if you just look at the data. Since the 1970s, smog has declined by one third despite double the number of cars, acid rain decreased by two thirds, airborne lead is down 97 percent, CFC emissions have stopped and the bald eagle, grey whale, brown pelican and peregrine falcon have been removed from the endangered list. Every environmental indicator in America is positive, ... except for greenhouse gas emissions.

So, what is the new crisis? It’s global warming, of course, caused by those same greenhouse gasses, produced by us. It’s true, I looked it up. Right there in Wikipedia I found that just by breathing average humans produce 700 pounds of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) per year, that the plants love but the environmentalists don’t. I know that this is very, very small compared to the 6,000,000,000,000,000 pounds in the atmosphere, but there are a lot of us humans. Perhaps if we all agree to breathe 10 percent less that would help.

But it is the dreaded automobile that is the real culprit. I went on the Earth Day website
where I learned that my Porsche produces 4500 pounds of CO2 per year at my typical 5000 miles per (I hardly ever leave the Hill). Lee’s Jag produces 4550 pounds from her 5000 miles. But each of us can be forgiven our sins simply by purchasing a TerraPass, a decal that you place on your car showing that you have sponsored a clean energy project that balances out the environmental impact of your driving.

TerraPass funds clean energy from sources like wind farms, methane capture facilities, and more. By replacing energy from fossil fuels with clean energy, TerraPass reduces carbon dioxide emissions, thereby balancing the emissions from your car. It’s like paying for an indulgence, where the environmental organization has replaced the Catholic Church. For only $29.95, I can purchase a Hybrid TerraPass that abolishes 6000 pounds of CO2 emission. Whew, I feel better already.

Wait just a minute! I think I’ve already paid at the office, so to speak. When I was working and driving my 4Runner 12,000 miles per year I was producing 12,000 pounds of CO2. By retiring and switching to a Porsche I’m generating 8,000 pounds less of CO2. Perhaps TerraPass owes me $29.95.

Anyway, I’m happy to do my part for the Earth. Back at the Earth Day site I took the Earth Day Quiz: How Green Can You Get?

I turn off the water while I brush my teeth.
I carpool more than once a week.
I drive a hybrid, electric, or other alternative fuel vehicle.
I compost food waste from my kitchen and garden.
I use solar power or buy "green" electricity.
I recycle toxic items that require special handling such as paint, household cleansers, and batteries. CHECK
When I leave a room, I remember to turn off the lights. CHECK
I've weatherproofed my home, eliminating drafts from windows and doors. CHECK
The dishwasher in my house is used only when fully loaded. CHECK
For local errands, I walk or bike.
I keep my car's tires inflated to improve fuel efficiency. CHECK
I eat as much local produce as I can. CHECK
At work, I turn off my computer screen when I'm away from my desk. CHECK
My home has mostly compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
I donate money or time to environmental organizations. (I used to.)

Unfortunately, I’m not as good as I might be. Thus my mission is to borrow and read the new book Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party) by former National Review writer Rod Dreher.

From an review: Crunchy Cons is an attempt to discover a more authentic conservativism. Dreher argues that conservatives must embrace rural values and traditions opposing the dominant consumerist culture. He recognizes the need for a universal system of ethics, based in his Roman Catholic religious beliefs.

It might be for me.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Blogging Bad Boys

In the Blogging business you have to take the bad with the good. For example, my last post about the Spring/Summer Apologetics series sponsored by Biola University ended with a brief mention of a new book that I liked. The very first comment on my blog had this to say.

Bill, why can't you read serious books on theology? His demographic data on atheism is wrong, since atheism is on the RISE! And while there may be a resurgence of interest in religion, it is of the brain dead fundamentalist variety, where science is held in low esteem, and where bigotry prevails.

I take that as a “bad” comment. But then there are these.

Anonymous is full of #!@%. The Godless swine are always telling us that “God is Dead.” I say Nietzche to him.

Bill, never mind Anonymous, you are doing God’s work. And Mikekoshi is right on the button.

Bill, I think you are wonderful. That Anonymous guy is just a sorehead who probably was weaned too soon. His mother has a lot to answer for.
(your Mom)

So, three “good” comments versus one “bad” comment is not so bad. But, you say that you can’t fine the good comments by Mikekoshi, Nofanofcablecos and Mom on my blog. Well, they could very well be there, if only I made them up and posted them like Michael Hiltzig does.

Those of you not familiar with the LA Times (I call you the lucky ones) might not recognize Hiltzig as the designated blogger on the Times-sponsored Golden State blog. This is what Los Angeles Assistant District Attorney Patrick Frey said about Hiltzig on his own (private) blog, Patterico's Pontifications.

Three in One: Michael Hiltzik, Mikekoshi, and Nofanofcablecos

“Mikekoshi” has commented on various blogs over the past two or three years, including L.A. Observed, Brad DeLong, at Hiltzik’s blog, and at my own blog. Mikekoshi and Hiltzik appear to get along quite well. In comments on his blog, Hiltzik has praised Mikekoshi’s arguments. For his part, Mikekoshi has lobbed rude insults at folks known to be disliked by Hiltzik.

If Mikekoshi sounds a lot like Michael Hiltzik, that’s no coincidence. Because “Mikekoshi” is, in fact, Michael Hiltzik. The weirdest thing about Mikekoshi is the way that he and Hiltzik praise each other, and back each other up — all the while pretending that they are different people.

Is that the end of the story? No . . . the plot thickens further. The blog Independent Sources reports on a comment left on their site by someone called “Nofanofcablecos.” The comment’s opening line displays Hiltzik/Mikekoshi’s usual tact:

Boy, you guys are stupid.

The topic of Nofanofcablecos’s comment ended up being the subject of Michael Hiltzik’s L.A. Times column two days later. And now, for the coup de grace: His IP address wasn’t from the L.A. Times — but guess what? It was the same as Mikekoshi’s other IP address. Nofanofcablecos is also Michael Hiltzig.

This is how the main stream media has entered the Internet world, by using the same biased, unethical means they use in the print media.

But I have strayed from the “bad” comment by Anonymous about my sources. To balance the book that I praised (The Twilight of Atheism by Alister McGrath) I chose The End of Faith by Sam Harris, a dedicated atheist.

“I hope to show,” writes Harris, “that the very ideal of religious tolerance is one of the principle forces driving us toward the abyss.” Perhaps this is what they now call a moderate position. And then there was this statement about religious tolerance: “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.”

Harris would have been right at home with Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot; and, perhaps, with Anonymous.

A review of both books may be found in the Fall 2005 edition of the Claremont Review of Books.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Imagine There’s No Heaven

In one of the silliest songs ever written, John Lennon asked us to imagine humanity without faith, countries or possessions. With nothing to kill or die for, Lennon promised, “the world will live as one.” You have to wonder what John thought of that gigantic love fest called Communism?

The Christian Apologetics Program at Biola University asks us to imagine too, at six exciting events/debates coming up this Spring and Summer.

The first event: The Qur’an or the Bible: Where Has God Revealed Himself? is a debate on the transmission, authenticity, and inspiration of Scripture between a Muslim scholar and a Christian scholar. It will be held on Sunday, May 7, at 7:00PM, Chase Gymnasium, Biola University.

The second event: The Da Vinci Code on Trial, with Sean McDowell, Craig Hazen, and Jay Miller is on Tuesday, May 9, 7:00PM at Capistrano Valley Church.

The third event: Intelligent Design Under Fire is where experts will cross-examine the top proponents of Intelligent Design theory. It will be on Friday, May 12, 7:30 PM at Sutherland Auditorium, Biola University.

The fourth event: Intelligent Design: Religion or Science? is a debate on the central issues of the Intelligent Design movement: are these ideas properly considered scientific or religious? It will be held on Sunday, May 21, 7:00 PM at Rolling Hills Covenant Church in Palos Verdes.

The fifth event: C.S. Lewis & the Case for Christianity, with Jerry Root, Mike Erre, and Craig Hazen, will be on Thursday, June 1, 7:30 PM at the Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton.

The sixth event: Defending the Faith Summer Lecture Series, with John Mark Reynolds, JP Moreland, John Bloom, Greg Koukl, Craig Hawkins, and Joe Hellerman will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, June 6-27, 7:00 – 10:00 PM, at Calvary Chapel Auditorium, Biola University.

All of these thought-provoking events are worth your time. I’d like to excerpt a few more thoughts about the Intelligent Design events from the Biola Apologetics web site

“Intelligent Design Under Fire” is an unprecedented event. Never before have ID thinkers gathered together and invited their toughest critics to join them and ask their most challenging questions publicly. Some believe recent court rulings have settled the questions about creation and evolution. Come out and see just how wrong they are. The controversy is alive and well and landing at Biola. The experts and critics include: Michael Behe, Guillermo Gonzalez, Steven Meyer, Paul Nelson, Jonathan Wells, Antony Flew, and Keith Morrison (NBC News).

“Intelligent Design: Religion or Science?” is a debate on the central issues of the Intelligent Design movement. ID proponents Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds will go toe-to-toe with ID detractors James Hofmann and Craig Nelson in this thought-provoking event. The Biola Christian Apologetics Program is partnering with Rolling Hills Covenant Church in this unique opportunity to see a free exchange of ideas on this cutting-edge topic.

Rolling Hills Covenant Church
2222 Palos Verdes Drive North
Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274

I'll finish with a plug for a new book by Alister McGrath called The Twilight of Athiesm: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World. (Doubleday) Lennon's Imagine depicts faith as more or less melting peacefully away into a brotherhhod of man. But what happens, McGrath wonders, if people rather like religion and refuse to abandon it? Just imagine!!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Libraries of the Future

Calling all dreamers and wannabe space travelers -- Join Buzz Aldrin (at the Malaga Cove Library on Sunday, May 7 at 1:00PM) as he revisits his history-making trip to the moon. Take a journey into space as Buzz reads excerpts from his book, Reaching for the Moon and shares stories from his childhood about a lifelong dream of space travel.

Astronauts, famous chefs and architects, music festivals, art exhibitions, wireless Internet… This is NOT your Grandma’s library.

Like many other public libraries, Palos Verdes Library District (PVLD) is undergoing a transition to the library of the future. And, in many ways, the future is now.

Last week I attended a workshop on “The Future of Public Libraries: Matching Innovations to Expectations” with library futurist Joan Frye Williams. The workshop dealt with five Expectations that the most successful libraries would master. These included 24/7 Convenience, Focus on User Success, Info to Go, Virtual Community Building and Customer Driven Service Priorities.

How would you like a library where patrons sipped coffee while reading or chatting with friends (whispering not required); where vending machines dispensed flash drives and other useful devices; where wireless internet access is available; where paying fines is painless?

Would you like to rate the books you’ve read on an electronic service that learns to recommend books you’d like? Would you like to have a library toolbar on your internet home page? Would it be convenient to download a podcast of Story Time when you are unable to bring your child to the library?

Would your young teenagers like a special place where they could “hang” with friends, play computer games, listen to CDs, surf the internet, get help from a tutor, all under the watchful eyes of a friendly Youth Librarian?

Everybody loves libraries, or at least all those who know what they are like today and what is available. Yet there are many who remember their Grandma’s library as kind of boring and regimented and think it’s still like that. The Daily Breeze newspaper published an opinion piece by Adelle Shay, Business Prof. at LA Harbor College, who asked herself: Why has someone so attached to the goodness of libraries stopped borrowing books from them?

Shay’s response reveals her old fashioned idea of the modern library.

Perhaps the quiet is unnerving, and I require the sound of cash registers to make a title choice. Perhaps the chairs are uncomfortable and I want to sink into an overstuffed seat when perusing a book. Perhaps I think sipping a double latte is a browsing requirement.

For Ms. Shay, the book store has replaced the library.

I walked into Borders yesterday to look around. Every couch and chair was filled. People browsed shelves, read, drank coffee, searched for books on computers and mingled quietly. There were all kinds of things for sale that had nothing to do with reading. It hit me that the bookstore had become my library, and that made me sad.

It is sad, indeed, that people are unaware of the changes that took place in libraries while they were busily pursuing careers. The Moms who bring their kids to multiple story times know about today’s library. The foreign readers who take out books in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Farsi, Arabic, and Russian know too. All the patrons who use the various services (apply for a Passport; get a document notarized; browse a gift shop with a selection of unique gifts; buy used books at super-bargain prices; learn about computers and the internet) appreciate the library of today and will absolutely love the library of tomorrow.

By the way, next month is the Mysterious Month of May at PVLD. The program features 18 mystery authors on nine dates. Check out for details.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Omnilore Your Mind

I attended a meeting today of a learning group called Omnilore at the invitation of my friend Dick Johnson, who happens to be President of the 250 member organization. Omnilore is focused on Learning in Retirement founded on the belief that education is a lifelong process. The Omnilore learning community organizes Study and Discussion Groups that are conceived, planned and directed by the members. There are no tests, no grades (Hooray!) and membership is open to all who seek intellectual stimulation and the challenge of shared inquiry.

A Study/Discussion Group consists of between eight and sixteen members who gather informally at meeting rooms at the Franklin Center in Redondo Beach (click here for map) to discuss a given subject. There is no instructor, but members act as coordinators.

The Omnilore Program consists of three trimesters a year, each four months long. Study/Discussion groups meet for two hours twice each month for four months. Annual dues of only $90 entitle a member to any number of courses. Listening to the organizers at the meeting today and studying the curriculum convinced me that this is one of the very best bargains around.

A sampling of the Winter 2006 Course Offerings include the following (Click on a course title to get a detailed description)


The Winter session ends this month and the Summer session begins in May. A sampling of the Summer courses include:

The Americas Before Columbus

Great Decisions 2006

Were the Dark Ages Really Dark?

Contemporary International Short Stories

Get Over Getting Older

Sculpture – Wielding the Chisel

Simon Weisenthal

The Writing Mind

Origins of Life

I’ve already signed up for Great Decisions – 2006 and Origins of Life and I’m on the waiting list for Were the Dark Ages really Dark?

In addition to the courses, there are "Special Interest Groups" such as Computer Talks, Brown Bag Science, Stock Market and Hiking in Palos Verdes. There are also Quarterly Forums, usually at the Los Verdes Country Club in Palos Verdes, to enjoy a special luncheon followed by a stimulating lecture presentation. Past forums have featured college professors, scientists, researchers, newspaper editors, musicians.

If you are retired or nearing retirement and your mind is turning to mush (or not) take a look at Omnilore. We could car pool.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Real Security Democratic Style

The anonymous criticism of my last post “Democratic Message on Iran” focused on my use of AMERICAblog as a source of Democratic wisdom. Anony said: Bill is being completely dishonest about the democratic position. If you want to know what the democrats stand for, start here!

Ok, I went there and found a 123 page pdf file entitled “Real Security” which was produced by the Senate and House Democrats. It contains about 100 pages of criticism of the Bush Administration (expected) and some recommendations that I support.

For example, it says to increase the fighting army by 30,000 men (I recommended 100,000) and to double the size of the Special Forces. (Since Special Operations troops are especially special in terms of intelligence, strength and bravery, my prior suggestion to double military salaries should be revised to triple for the Spec. Ops.) They also suggest rebuilding the human intelligence capabilities that Clinton decimated.

I’m fine with the Democrats so far, but find it amusing that the anti-military Party is suddenly so gung-ho. Perhaps it has to do with the Congressional elections in November.

Turning now to the Iran situation, the report starts with some reasonable statements:

Iran is racing to join the nuclear weapons club.”

A nuclear Iran threatens regional and global security.”

Then it criticizes the Bush approach thus far.

“The US government has no viable plan for stopping Iran.”

“The US subcontracted the job to France, Germany and the UK.”

Well, by this time (somewhere around page 64) I was dying to know the Democratic Party plan. Are you ready? Drum roll, please. The Dems propose:

1. “A five year global moratorium on all new enrichment and reprocessing of uranium.”

2. “ Delivery of important economic benefits to Iran.”

3. “Give Iran the opportunity to buy additional nuclear reactors and fuel from Russia.”

4. “Assurances that the US will not attack Iran.”

5. “But, Iran has to understand the existential threat of a military response under some conditions.”

I am not kidding. It actually says this is what we should do about the Iranian madmen. Somehow, we are going to enforce a “global moratorium” on Uranium enrichment. How, pray tell, are we supposed to get the North Koreans, Chinese, Russians, Pakistanis, … French, to stop doing what they are doing? Three of those countries have veto power on the UN Security Council, so that proposal won’t even make it out of the UN.

Then the world is supposed to pay off the Iranians with “important economic benefits” because they threatened us. And of course give them the ability to produce nuclear power (by paying off the Russians) since we will have the IAEA (a joke if there ever was one) watching to make sure they don’t enrich any of the nuclear fuel. We have to promise not to attack Iran, but they had better understand that we hold out the threat of an “existential military response.”

THIS is the Democratic Party’s approach to the Iranian crisis. Is there any wonder that the American people will not let them near the presidency?

California’s Democratic prima dona Diane Feinstein wrote a 1500 word piece in the LA Times today called “Confronting Iran: Will we learn from our mistakes and apply tough diplomacy – or rely once again on the failed doctrine of preemption?” Princess Di used about 1480 words to bash preemption and then laid out the Democratic Party plan: “The US should engage Iran diplomatically. We must push for a complete halt to Iran’s enrichment activities and full access to all nuclear sites by the IAEA. If Iran refuses, international sanctions should follow, and inspections with UN forces if necessary.” The woman is delusional, or perhaps she just forgot about the Chinese and Russian vetoes.

You have to wonder what drives the Democratic Party. Here is a clue from the “Real Security” report: “Polls indicate that large majorities of Europeans hold an unfavorable view of America and see the US as posing the greatest threat to international security.” Do you get it now?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Democratic message on Iran

I watched Hugh Hewitt on a C-Span "Book TV" panel with Fred Barnes (Rep) and Bob Beckel (Dem). The subject was Hugh’s new book, Painting the Map Red. As usual, Beckel was full of criticism of the Bush Administration. Like the moonbats who comment anonymously on my blog, the Democrats are virtuosos in the fine arts of blame and nay-saying.

Unfortunately, they have nothing constructive to say. Who knows what they would do if in power. Howard Dean admits it, saying the Democratic Party does not and should not have any policy positions since they are in the minority. It’s like Rush says, the Dem’s can’t let you know what they really think or they would never win the presidency.

I decided to search the web for a Democratic position on the Iran “situation.” At a Lefty site called AMERICAblog, I found the “Democratic Message on Iran.” Are you ready? Here it is in nine points.

1. George Bush is the wrong man to be launching yet another war.

2. Slow down, we've got ten years.

3. Since we have ten years, we can at the very least wait seven months until the congressional elections this fall.

4. It is ridiculous to consider any congressional resolution on Iran until after the fall elections.

5. There is no reason we need to even go to war until Bush has left office.

6. Bush is the not the president we want exercising the nuclear option.

7. Bush either lied to us, or was unable to determine the truth, about Iraq's WMD program

8. What military and what money are we going to use to launch a war against Iran?

9. Why is it always us?

I don’t know about you, but this Democratic policy statement gives me confidence. Not confidence that the Democrats will defend America, but confidence that the Dem Party will eventually go the way of the Communist Party USA. These are not serious people.

It’s said here and in the main-stream media that America does not have the military to attack Iran and that a two front war is beyond our capability. When Hugh Hewitt posed this question to Mark Steyn yesterday, Mark’s response was that if that statement were in fact true, then shame on us! Clinton did his best to decimate the military, spending less than 3% of GDP on defense at the low point. Bush has been aggressively rebuilding the military but I do think it needs to be stronger still.

In round figures we now spend about $500B or 4% of GDP on defense. In order to build the strength of the military, I think we should do two things. First, increase all active military salaries by 50%. This might cost an additional $120B. Then I’d recruit an additional 100,000 troops at an additional $30B. The final defense budget would be about $650B or 5% of GDP, still low by historical standards. If we needed more then I can’t think of a more important expenditure of our federal funds.

I wonder if the Democrats would go for it.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Troops in Support of the War

This is a test. Following are seven comments posted to my blog re “Ayatollah, Don’t Khomieni Closer” (4/11/06). Question 1: Which ones sound like the words of intelligent people? Question 2: Which have weight? Question 3: Who would you trust with our national security? (Hint: None of the answers are “anonymous.”) Thank you, Cowboy and Jen.

Anonymous said…. Hey Bill, just curious if you ever served in the military? It seems like it's precisely those who beat the war drums the most are the ones who've never been in combat.

Anonymous said… Looks like Bill's been reading too much Tom Clancy. For most of these chickenhawks, war is a boardgame, kind of like Stratego. They have pictures of marines hanging out in Djibouti, but have never been in a combat zone to see those young people die.

Yolo Cowboy said... Hey Bill, it seems like the first two anonymous guests don't have a problem with a lunatic possessing a nuclear bomb and the blind ambition to bring about the coming of the 12th Imam. Sometimes there is no alternative to stopping a mentally disturbed Islamo-fascist before he attains the means to start WWIII. If you think a very small yield, tactical nuclear warhead taking out this madman’s nuclear arsenal is bad, what do think of a full scale nuclear exchange with Iran and North Korea?

Anonymous said... Yolo, Hate to harp on this, but are you of military age and/or did you serve? We need less soldiers with the 101st Keyboard Brigade and more able bodied soldiers to "liberate" Iraq.

fetching jen said... Such hostility with the liberal anon posters... I wasn’t able to serve but come from a military family. Even my liberal sister supports the war (she was in Iraq for one year). She was in combat and met Iraqi's who are grateful for America.

Anonymous said... Bill, You are one sick SOB. Please get some help….E.J. Saperstein

Yolo Cowboy said... First Anon, I would like to thank you for your service. I don't what your status has to do with the threat posed by a madman who is enriching uranium. Either, your views have merit or they don't, the messenger has little to do with it.

Anony seems to have a military background, but so did John Kerry (He served in Vietnam, you know.) but I have no respect for his opinions and thank God that he is not the Commander-in-Chief. There are active military men who have the bona-fides to speak for the troops, including Col. Dave McCarthy, Major Rob Barry, Cpl. Brian Weiss and Sgt. John Walton.

A vet who can speak for the troops is Wade Zirkle who served two tours in Iraq with the Marines before being wounded in action. Wade is a founder and executive director of about
Vets for Freedom, the new organization made up of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who are getting the word out about the accomplishments of the fighting military. Zirkle’s op-ed in this morning's Washington Post, "Troops in Support of the War," addresses the antiwar lefties who pretend to speak for the troops. Following are excerpts.

Earlier this year there was a town hall meeting on the Iraq war, sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), and featuring Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a former Marine who had become an outspoken critic of the war, with the participation of such antiwar organizations as CodePink and To this Iraq war veteran, it was a good example of something that's become all too common: People from politics, the media and elsewhere purporting to represent "our" views. With all due respect, most often they don't.

John Murtha has earned the right to speak. But his comments supposedly expressing the negative views of those who have and are now serving in the Middle East run counter to what I and others know and hear from our own colleagues -- from junior officers to the enlisted backbone of our fighting force. Murtha undoubtedly knows full well that the greatest single thing that drags on morale in war is the loss of a buddy. But second to that is politicians questioning, in amplified tones, the validity of that loss to our families, colleagues, the nation and the world.

While we don't question his motives, we do question his assumptions. When he called for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, there was a sense of respectful disagreement among most military personnel. But when he subsequently stated that he would not join today's military, he made clear to the majority of us that he is out of touch with the troops. Quite frankly, it was received as a slap in the face.

The morale of the trigger-pulling class of today's fighting force is strong. Unfortunately, we have not had a microphone or media audience willing to report our comments.

I believe it is our responsibility as Americans to amplify the words of these American heroes. Don’t forget to visit their site
Vets for Freedom, and contribute to their cause and ours.

ps. I'm listening to Wade Zirkle on
Hugh Hewitt's show right now. He is an eloquent spokesman for our military.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

John Walton, Wolfpack

This handsome guy is Carolynne’s son and my grandson, Sgt. Johnny Walton of the Army 82nd Airborne Division. The picture was taken in 2001 when Johnny, still seventeen and just graduated from high school, was in basic training. His unit shipped out to Iraq in September, 2003 and replaced Hernaldo Garay’s unit in Fallujah. (See “Hernaldo Garay, 82nd Airborne Division,” 4/5/06). Johnny turned twenty in that dangerous place.

I’m reading a wonderful book about the early days of the war by Karl Zinsmeister. “Boots on the Ground” tells the story of the 82nd Airborne Division as it convoys from Camp Champion in Kuwait to the Tallil Air Base in Iraq and then on to the City of Samawah and battles with Baathists and fedayeen terrorists. Zinsmeister traveled with Hernaldo’s 325th Regiment, embedded with the 2nd Battalion, Alpha Company.

A few hours after the Twin Towers collapsed, the 82nd Airborne in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina was mobilizing. Only the 82nd is able to get infantry, vehicles and armed helicopters onto an airplane headed anywhere on the globe in one day. Zins describes how they do it.

For every two or three thousand fighting men, take sixty to seventy communications trucks, gun jeeps, ammunition trailers and construction trucks (including a dump truck and a bulldozer) and pack them on pallets with stacks of shock absorbing cardboard. Within hours of any call from the President, these soldiers and this gear will pile into a C-130 and fly to wherever the bad guys live. Other C-130s each carry two armed Kiowa helicopters (or seven Kiowa's in the larger C-17s).

When the drop site comes into range, the first transport planes drop the Kiowa’s, then the rest of the transports drop the trucks and other gear, followed by the paratroopers. Each trooper wears body armor and a ballistic helmet, his weapon (rifle, machine gun, grenade launcher) will add another twenty pounds, and he’ll have forty-five pounds of ammo, food, water, night-vision gear and other equipment. (Johnny says it hurts when you land and “minor injuries” are common.)

Soon after landing, the Kiowa’s are aloft. These splendid helicopters are the modern-day equivalent of the horse cavalry, with weapons capable of killing tanks and masses of charging soldiers. The Kiowa teams are known as the Wolfpack.

As Zinsmeister put it, these American soldiers wrap goodness and agressiveness in the very same uniform. Here they are in Fallujah with the Kiowa's in the background. Johnny is in the third row, right in the middle.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

“Ayatollah, Don’t Khomeini Closer.”

Satellite image shows Natanz nuclear complex in Iran, about 150 miles south of Tehran. The centrifuge program is located at the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Plant, parts of which have been built underground to protect it from air or missile strikes. (AP Photo provided by Space Imaging/Inta SpaceTurk)

Iran's holocaust-denying, apocalypse-obsessed president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today that the country has joined the club of nuclear countries by successfully enriching uranium for the first time. Iran said it successfully enriched uranium using 164 centrifuges at Natanz.

In a lengthy piece “Facing Down Iran: Our lives depend on it,” Mark Steyn today quoted a Daily Telegraph of London report: “Iran’s hard-line spiritual leaders have issued an unprecedented new fatwa, or holy order, sanctioning the use of atomic weapons against its enemies.” Mark noted it appears that “the use of nuclear weapons may not constitute a problem, according to sharia.”

While the international community and every Democrat fervently believe that negotiation is the only option for dealing with Iran, if diplomacy fails, there may be no non-nuclear option to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the Iranian regime's hands. And if anyone wonders what Iran’s crazys would do with nukes, Mark points to five characteristics of Iranian foreign policy over the last 27 years: contempt for the most basic international conventions; long-reach extraterritoriality; effective promotion of radical Pan-Islamism; a willingness to go the extra mile for Jew-killing (unlike, say, Osama); an all-but-total synchronization between rhetoric and action. The cost of de-nuking Iran will be high now but significantly higher with every year it’s postponed.

So what are we able to do? The Lefties who called into Hugh Hewitt today insist that the US military is INCAPABLE of taking out the Iranian nuclear facilities. But an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily yesterday described our capability.

The B61-11 is an earth-penetrating nuclear gravity bomb that can be dropped by B-2 Stealth bombers or other planes. It has a hardened casing and hits at bullet speed to drill underground and deliver a delayed mini-nuke blast whose shock waves can destroy a target hundreds of feet underneath. Its yield could be as little as 0.3 kilotons — less than 5% the blast of the Hiroshima bomb. And unlike the atomic bombing of Japan to end World War II, a B61-11 bunker-buster explosion would be partially underground.

Why use it? Conventional weapons won't work against below-ground facilities such as Iran's. In 1996, Harold Smith, then assistant to the secretary of defense for atomic energy, said no conventional weapon could take out Libya's underground chemical weapons factory in Tarhunah, Libya, but that the B61-11 could.

The Pentagon, in fact, wants a bunker buster that would cause even fewer deaths than the B61-11. According to its 2002 Nuclear Posture Review, "With a more effective earth penetrator, many buried targets could be attacked using a weapon with a much lower yield." Such a bomb would do the same damage, but produce less fallout (by a factor of 10) than a much larger bomb at the surface, according to the Pentagon report.

Back to Mark Steyn: Iran with nukes will be a suicide bomber with a radioactive waist. A quarter-century ago, there was a minor British pop hit calledAyatollah, Don’t Khomeini Closer.” If you’re a U.S. diplomat or a British novelist, a Croat Christian or an Argentine Jew, he’s already come way too close. How much closer do you want him to get?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Junk Science

This morning the foot doctor promoted me from ski boot with crutches to ankle brace with cane. I can finally drive my car!! (I almost kissed the Doc.) The first thing I did was drive to Starbucks, then got the Boxter washed. Lori (Jazzboo) emailed: It’s almost like being 16 again and getting your license!! Freedom!!! Congrats!!!!

Lori was one of the many friends (I counted at least eighteen of you) who carted me around when I needed to get to Starbucks or the Library or Church or dinner. I'm very lucky to have such friends.

The Doc is a good guy. He looked at the X-Rays and said “Hmmm… How does it feel?” I immediately exclaimed “Great! Really fine!! Can I drive now?” He took the foot in his hands, gave it some tugs and prods and when I said “Ouch” he proclaimed it stiff from the ten weeks in the ski boot. But it was healing, so I was instructed to wear the boot another week and come back to see him. Well, that was not what I wanted to hear, since I can’t drive in that damn boot.

Unashamedly I pled for another solution so the Doc relented and said I could wear an ankle brace thingy that laces up tight with crisscrossed straps and provides great support. I nearly kissed the Doc. On my way out I asked if I should come back in a week to get it officially removed but he informed me that it was a one month deal, unlike the one week boot. Who knew? I call it “junk science.”

Not really, I just used that as a setup for this piece on my favorite recovery topic, debunking the “science” of global warming. I receive a daily email newsletter from Steven Franks that is always a good read. Today Steve discussed the “Three Great Junk Science Scams of Our Times.” The first two are egregious scandals, beginning with Rachel Carson and her "Silent Spring" scam against pesticides. She claimed that DDT was bad for our health. Carson and other Leftists wanted to stop the use of DDT, a pesticide, in order to control the "wrong" population. Just like Marget Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood) used abortion to promote the killing of non-whites (she was a KKK type racist) Carson and her ilk were targeting the over-population: of Africa by blacks. So, we ended the use of DDT and an epidemic of malaria hit Africa, killing millions.

The second science driven scandal was the "over population" scam. Paul Ehrlich in his 1968 book, "Population Bomb" predicted that by the beginning of the twenty-first century hundreds of millions would starve to death. In the prologue to The Population Bomb he wrote, "The battle to feed all of humanity is over.”

The third scam history will note from our unenlightened, politically correct era, will be that of "global warming". The very same folks who thirty years ago said we were moving into an "Ice Age" have now concluded we are quickly burning up the Earth. Some of these radicals, the PETA crowd, are working hard to outlaw cows (meat) by claiming that cow farts cause global warming.

In California, Governor Schwarzenegger created a "California Climate Action Team" that recommended $7.9 billion in mandated retro-fitting of California businesses and a "public goods service charge" (a new tax) on oil products (gasoline).

But, What about the facts? Do they even matter? Professor Bob Carter, a geologist at James Cook University, Queensland, engaged in paleoclimate research wrote today that “There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998.” Carter reported that the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, show that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase, there was actually a slight decrease. Did we stop burning coal and driving SUVs during that eight year period?

Greenhouse gas concentrations have been increasing continuously since the industrial revolution, but global temperatures go up and down. In the last century, warming occurred between 1918 and 1940, prior to the greatest phase of world industrialization, but cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965, at precisely the time that human emissions were increasing at their greatest rate. Honest scientists know that such short-term climate fluctuations are chiefly of natural origin. (See sunspots, volcanoes, etc.)

The reality of the climate record is that a sudden natural cooling is far more to be feared, and will do infinitely more social and economic damage, than the late 20th century phase of gentle warming.

Fortunately the public in the Americas is unconvinced. In a recent story from Editor and Publisher, the headline read "Gallup: Most Americans Don't See Global Warming as Urgent Issue." Gallup reports that only one in three Americans predict global warming will pose a serious threat in their lifetimes.

In Canada, the new Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has been urged by more than 60 leading international climate change experts to review the global warming policies he inherited from his predecessor. "Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural 'noise'. Much of the billions of dollars earmarked for implementation of the protocol in Canada will be squandered without a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science," they wrote in the Canadian Financial Post last week.

Global warming is just the latest “junk science” unlike podiatry which fixed my foot. Thanks, Doc.

Dori emailed: Well done, my friend. Now I look forward to the time you’re saying, "I’m back at the gym." Tomorrow, friend! Vroom-Vroom!!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

NEW YORK (AP - 4/8/06) -- Solid employment data (GOOD) sent stocks skidding (BAD) on Friday. --- Huh?

The U.S. economy turned in a solid performance last month, adding a net 211,000 new jobs and driving the unemployment rate back to its lowest point in the current expansion, the government reported. March's jobless rate fell to 4.7%, the lowest rate since July 2001.

At the close of trading Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average sank 96.46, or 0.86 percent, to 11,120. Broader stock indicators also fell after reaching five-year highs in the prior session. Bonds slumped alongside stocks.

Does anyone understand economics?

The first quarter was a pretty good YEAR, with Real Estate up 13.7% (compared to 11/7% for the entire year 2005), Small-cap growth up 12.7% (compared to 5.7%), Communications 10.2% (7.4%), Technology 7.6% (5.5%).

Never mind Asia! If these stay absolutely flat for the rest of 2006, I’ll be happy.

The fact that we've had some decent growth, as long as it isn't associated with inflation risk, is generally good for equity markets, said Michael Gregory, a senior economist at BMO Nesbitt Burns. But we did see that wage pressure remains elevated. From that perspective, (the report) is neutral.

OK, that explains it, I guess,… Nah, I don’t get it. But let me try.

The Bush tax cuts provide incentive for businesses to expand, hiring goes up and the jobless rate goes down, thus causing the Federal Reserve Board (Bless Alan Greenspan’s memory) to worry that competition for employees will drive up wages and prices (Oh Oh -- INFLATION), so the stock market believes that the Fed will raise the benchmark short term (overnight) interest rate another 0.25 percent (the 16th such increase in the last 16 months), because, SOMEHOW, the higher cost of money lowers the price of goods and services, keeping INFLATION in check. Got that?

In order to check out my theory I consulted my home economics textbook, Freakonomics, by Levitt and Dubner. I looked up INFLATION in the index, but it wasn’t there. The book did have chapters about why drug dealers still live with their moms and what school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common. It’s no wonder I have no clue about economics.

But wait, looking further I did find incentives – economic, where I learned that people are humans and humans respond to incentives (p.7). Later, on page 20, I found that every economist believes the world has not invented a problem that he cannot fix if given a free hand to design the proper incentives scheme. Very smart these economists, and humble too.

But with the short term rates increasing due to Fed action while the long term rates (like mortgages) remain at historical lows, the possibility of an INVERSION looms. Just imagine if you could borrow money for 30 years cheaper than for 30 days. The world would be stood on its head.

Richard Yamarone, an economist, said the economy appears to have achieved what analysts call full employment -- a state where nearly every worker who wants a job can get one fairly easily.

But Roger Kubarych, an economist, said the markets have little to fear that what's good for workers will be bad for investors. Despite the low unemployment rate, wage pressures are modest.

Help!! Does anyone understand economics?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Introducing “The Plan”

In his piece “Egalite, liberte, 401(k)” (LA Times, 4/6/06) Jonah Goldberg explains an incredible fact. Today it is the liberal left who, in Bill Buckley’s famous words, are "standing athwart history yelling, stop!" The liberals have cashed out.

Remember Bobby Kennedy’s "I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?" Forget about it. Today the radicals are on the right… the neo-conservatives.

Goldberg looks at France, home of the “serious left,” and is amazed that the student marches today are about government guaranteed job security and paid vacations. Gone are the days of tearing down the system. Now is the time to burn a car for better dental benefits. To a former liberal like me, it’s just pathetic!

Here in America the left oppose not man’s inhumanity to man but reform of Social Security. They opt for the status quo when the grossly under-funded retirement system is heading for collapse. Forget about our grandkids, they will probably grow up to be Republicans anyway. President Bush bravely spent a year trying to convince the nation that we owed it to future generations to reform the system. Then, when he reported on the sad lack of progress at the last State of the Union address, the Democrats in the audience cheered.

So where do the radical new ideas come from if not from the liberal strain our polity? In my posts about the welfare system (“How We Lost the War on Poverty” and “The Welfare Trap” 3/6-7/06) I noted that Charles Murray’s new book In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State promised to present a radical solution to the seemingly intractable problem. I received the book a few days ago and was not disappointed.

From the Introduction, Murray explains: America’s population is wealthier than any in history. Every year the government redistributes more than a Trillion dollars of wealth to provide for retirement, health care, and the alleviation of poverty. (Note: “Redistributes” means to take from one American and give to another American.) We still have millions of people without comfortable retirements, without adequate health care and living in poverty. Only a government can spend so much money so ineffectually. The solution is to give the money to the people. He sounds like Milton Friedman.

In a nutshell, under Murray's plan, all transfer payments would vanish, from Social Security and Medicare to corporate welfare and agricultural subsidies. In exchange, every low-income American over the age of 21 and not in jail would get $10,000 a year from the government. And everybody else would still get at least $5,000 a year from Uncle Sam. The only hitch is that people would be required to take out a minimal health insurance policy.

Murray’s plan, that he calls simply “The Plan,” is remarkably simple and effective. In a flash the working poor would be richer, many leaving the ranks of the welfare plantation.

Consider a young, under-educated, poor couple working for minimum wages of about $10,000 each per year. Under The Plan, the couple’s income would jump from $20,000 to $40,000 per year with no tax increase. The couple would leave the welfare rolls and be required to purchase catastrophic health insurance at a competitive price. Working hard and climbing the ladder at their company, say WalMart, imagine that the couple are able to double their income in three years. They still receive the Plan’s $20,000, with no tax deducted, for a grand total of $60,000 a year.

Now the couple has several attractive choices. They might decide to purchase a starter home. They might decide to have a child. The woman might even decide to become a stay-at-home mom, and she still keeps her $10,000 from The Plan. A nuclear family, welfare-free, homeowners, these are the things that make up an empowered society.

There is much more to study until one could endorse The Plan. But I am gratified that one of us conservatives would take up the challenge of the “third rail” in a radical, I might even say, a liberal way.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tiktaalik the Fishapod

Evolutionary scientists are dancing in the streets. After searching for “the missing link” for 146 years since the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, they have finally found it. The fossils of a 375 million-year-old fish that they say is a long-sought "missing link" in the evolution of fishes from water to a life walking on four limbs on land was discovered in the Canadian Arctic, 600 miles from the North Pole.

Dr. Neil H. Shubin, leader of the research team, announced the finding in the standard language of scientific discoveries: It's a really amazing remarkable intermediate fossil — it's like, holy cow. I think he may have meant holy Pezosiren portelli, the legged sea cow. These evolutionary scientists tend to be excitable fellows.

The fossil skeletons have the fins and scales of a giant fish up to nine feet long, but other anatomical traits of a transitional creature, a fish that is still a fish but exhibiting changes that anticipate the emergence of land animals — a predecessor thus of amphibians, reptiles and dinosaurs, mammals and eventually humans.

The fish has been named Tiktaalik which means "large shallow water fish." Tiktaalik, Dr. Shubin said, is "both fish and tetrapod, which we sometimes call a fishapod."

The New York Times gushed that the fossils are widely seen by scientists as a powerful rebuttal to religious creationists, who hold a literal biblical view on the origins and development of life. (John Wilford, 5/5/06)

Doug Tennapel objects: Wait a minute, you're telling me that scientists have been preaching Godless evolution all this time without a legit fish-to-tetrapod missing link?! Well what were you using all this time on the fossil tree, science fiction? Luckily, no gap is so great between species that can make some scientists lose their faith in a dogmatic fundamentalist allegience to Materialist Darwinism.

It seems to me that some widely seen scientists still believe that their competition are the religious creationists, somehow missing the entry into the heavy-weight division of the Intelligent Designer who has been manhandling their champion in the manner of Joe Louis Barrow over Max Schmeling in 1938. (As an aside, it is interesting that, in 1940, The Brown Bomber actively campaigned for Wendell Willkie for the presidency over FDR because he believed that Willkie and the Republicans would do more for civil rights.)

But, returning to Tiktaalik, and the more important socio-political aspects of the discovery. Hugh Hewitt was the first to ask: “So, are we all descended from a Canadian fish?

Well, as much as I respect Hugh, I am not willing to go that far. However, Tiktaalik does have a remarkable likeness to John Kerry, so it may be that the fishapod is the ancestor of French Canadians, and American liberals. I don’t know but it could be that survival of the fittest thing. I can just about see the phylogenetic tree from fishapod to walking sea cow, to monkeys, apes and liberal (or French) hominids.

As Darwin said, "Probably all of the organic liberals which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed."

I can believe it.