Saturday, February 18, 2006

Lobbyists and their Money

The Center for Responsive Politics tells us that the lobbyist money split for the last 15 years is $53M to Republicans and $48M to Democrats, a period of time when the Republicans have been in the majority of both houses of Congress pretty consistently. (HT: Powerline) The prevailing political thought is that whatever party is in power will get more money because they have the ability to get legislation through. So the fact that when in power the Republicans got more money isn't surprising.

Compare that with the early 90's when the Democrats were in charge. They were then pulling in the bucks 70/30 over the Republicans. Today the Republicans are leading 55/45, which is almost exactly the split of representation, the Democrats never had anything remotely close to a 70/30 representative lead. Interesting?

There are multiple possible explanations for this.

The obvious one is that the system works the way it is supposed to. Lobbyists represent issues or groups and they give their money to policitians that they think will vote with them on their issues or the issues of the group they represent. Since the majority of lobbying is done to get the government to give their group/issue more money than they spend on lobbying, people in favor of larger government (Democrats more than Republicans although neither is without sin), more lobbyists are hanging out with Donkeys than Elephants. When the Democrats fell out of power their ability to deliver the gravy train fell off so the gifts from their lobbyists fell. Since the Democrats weren't shy about using the filibuster and former President Clinton wasn't bashful with the veto pen, the Republicans only have had the ability to really pay off their lobbyists for the short time that they have had a 55/45 lead in the Senate. And while they have to some degree paid off their contributors they have been kind of distracted with this little thing called a war which has been straining the budget. In order to keep the base happy, who are more conservative than the politicians themselves and are much more likely to be small government conservatives at that, they can only afford a few bridges to nowhere. Sending a lobbyist into a small government conservative's office asking for a handout is a lot like sending a chicken into the fox's den. You might lobby them for non-economic changes in law but not for a handout. My impression is that there is a lot more lobbying money in the latter than the former.

The second possible answer is that the Democrats just represent more special interests, or at least more special interests with big wallets. We know that lawyers give more money to Democrats as do unions and the AARP. Those are three groups with a lot of cash. Being in power is not going to suddenly draw a lot of union money to the Republicans. Most Republicans think unions, and not the words in the constitution, are outdated and should be ignored in the modern world. The drop in donations to Democrats (or rise to Republicans) simply represents some pragmatism but not their desires.

The third possible answer is that McCain-Feingold and other lobbying reforms over the years didn't change in any way the amount of money that is being spent lobbying, it just changed how it is getting spent. 527 groups favoring Democrats greatly outspent those favoring Republicans. What does lobbyist money get spent on? Advertising on TV, radio, the Internet, newspapers, polling and sending out flyers. What did the 527s spend their money on? Same thing. Not only is the paltry $5M difference in lobbying money over 15 years insignificant in light of the kind of money George Soros threw around, the whole $101M is. Georgy spent way more than that on one election. People looking for a handout for their favorite cause greatly favor Democrats who, by and large, think that the federal government spending more money will fix everything. It wasn't Republican control of the congress that changed the spending habits of people wanting to lobby, it was campaign finance reforms over the years that changed the way the money gets funneled into advertising. As lobbyists faced more and more restrictions on hard and traditional soft money they found new ways to spend their advertising dollars.

My guess is that latter is closest to explaining what the Center found. Proving it would require doing a bunch of research and correlation that I don't have the resources to do. I admit that it also tends to lean towards my own opinions on the system so my judgement could be a little clouded on this topic.

Crazy Mullah smarter than Kofi?

There is at least one thing the crazy Mullahs in Iran believe that I agree with them on. Have a look at this story:

“They (the West) are trying to terrify us with a scarecrow called the Security Council. We are not scared ...”

I am shocked, shocked I tell you. The crazies continue to prove that the UN is a big waste of time and money. These lunatics only respect power, and then only power you are actually willing to use. I hope we don't have to use direct power this time. There are a lot of people in Iran who want a peaceful, free market democracy. This seems to me to be a job for folks like the CIA and special forces to go in and help (read give guns to) and train the locals so they have the ability to fight their own battle. All the data seems to suggest Iran is a country where the good guys greatly outnumber the bad guys but the worst of the bad guys are in charge.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Humor for the Day

Of all the places that one might assume you might find humor, my totally sick sense of it leads me to protests over the scandalous cartoons. The following is a picture from a rally in NY in front of the Danish embassy (HT: LGF):

I admit, I sometimes have a twisted sense of humor. My first thought when I read "Responsible editors must be punished" was "Are there any?" This sign was clearly made by an ESL student.

From I give you the different definitions of "responsible". I assume they mean #3, my first thought was #5/6.
  1. Liable to be required to give account, as of one's actions or of the discharge of a duty or trust.
  2. Involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority: a responsible position within the firm.
  3. Being a source or cause.
  4. Able to make moral or rational decisions on one's own and therefore answerable for one's behavior.
  5. Able to be trusted or depended upon; reliable.
  6. Based on or characterized by good judgment or sound thinking: responsible journalism.
  7. Having the means to pay debts or fulfill obligations.
  8. Required to render account; answerable: The cabinet is responsible to the parliament.
Have a good weekend, blogging is likely to be light on my end.

Editors Suspended over cartoons at UofI

Whatever you think of republishing the jihad cartoons, is it reasonable for a University to suspend the student editor and his opinions editor for making the decision to do so? At the University of Illinois that is exactly what happened. The student leaders at the paper decided to publish them. The university then suspended them. They went even farther by:
Then, on Monday, the paper ran an editorial apologizing for Gorton's decision and called the move "a blatant abuse of power" by a "renegade editor who firmly believes that his will is also the will of the paper."
I don't know much about the newspaper business but I always thought that deciding what to publish and not to publish was the substantially the responsibility of the person with the title “Editor”.

I respect the right of the Muslims on campus to peacably protest the publishing. I am surprised that I don't find stories about most of the student body protesting the suspension. I guess Big 10 students have gotten a little more mellow about censorship since I was there. (HT: Hugh)

C470 congestion nightmare

The state has no money to put more lanes in on C-470. It is a congestion nightmare at rush hour, and it is getting worse all the time. The government proposes:

Federal highway officials late last week approved an environmental study that recommends toll lanes as the "preferred alternative" for expanding capacity on C-470 between Interstate 25 and South Kipling Parkway, over the objections of many residents in the corridor and key Douglas County officials.

OK, I am cool with that at least as a short term measure to pay for building the lanes. But haven't they learned anything by the success of the public/private plan with E470?
Tolling gives CDOT an alternative way of paying for highway expansion. To build the toll lanes, the state toll authority would sell bonds to private investors and tolls collected over decades would pay back bondholders.
Don't sell bonds. Put out a bid request for private companies to build it and keep the revenues from the tolls through 2010 or 2012. The road will be built better and faster and most likely with less disruption to existing traffic.

Cheney shooting jokes

Now that the victim is up and around, and apparently in good humor, it seems to me that the lid is off for this.

Hamas doesn't want our money

Our money is now apparently Satanic. We're very glad they don't want it because they are not going to get any.

There is a repercussion to this move, of course. They will just ask for, and probably get, more money from Iran (and possibly Syria). That money will come with conditions. Those conditions will almost certainly include Hamas not changing their charter accepting the state of Israel. So Hamas will be painted into a corner. They won't be able to afford to become more moderate and nobody who matters will sit at the table with them until they do.

Will the people throw them out after things get worse? Will this escalate into a full out war? I don't know but I am glad we are turning off the tap. At some point you have to stand up against evil. Hopefully the people who elected these terrorists will see the error of their ways quickly.

Harry Whittington looks good for a dead guy

He just did a press conference in front of the hospital. He seemed to be in great spirits. He will be discharged later today.

Here we go again

The Denver Post has done it again. They have decided that CU has a major problem with the number of minorities they have on campus. They, of course, offer no evidence that CU has fewer minorities than one would expect given circumstances. We get this:

The number of ethnic minorities at CU-Boulder is embarrassingly low: The campus is only 1.5 percent African-American, 5.8 percent Latino and 6 percent Asian.

They fail to mention a number of factors.

  • Colorado is a pretty white state, not Utah, but pretty pale.
  • Boulder, where the main campus is, is a wacko lefty town that lots of folks wouldn't want to live in
  • Boulder is an expensive place to live, even as a student. It is ultra-white, ultra-liberal, upper middle class
  • We don't know how many black students attend other Colorado schools
  • We don't know how many black Colorado students want to go to "traditionally black" schools
  • We don't know how many minority students are attending a parent's alma mater (not CU)
  • We don't know what percentage of the black students get academic or sports scholarships to better schools

They do offer this one tidbit:

However, part of the answer for CU's woes can't be found in Boulder or Fort Collins. It's a K-12 problem. The pool of ethnic minority students for CU to recruit already is too small, as far too many minorities drop out before graduation. In fact, only about half of African-American and Latino ninth-graders graduate from high school within four years in Colorado - many having disappeared long before they could worry about SAT scores or other admission requirements.

K-12 needs to build a better pipeline to our colleges and universities.

So the one useful piece of statistical information they offer tells me (since I know that Colorado is pretty white to begin with) that there just aren't very many ethnic minorities graduating from High School. In a court room wouldn't that be considered exculpatory data?

As I have said before in many posts CU has a bunch of problems. I am not convinced yet that one of them is racial but I am open to the possibility. Do a little research and convince me.

And, of course, in typical antique media fashion, the article in question is an unsigned Opinion piece. Anonymous Editor at the Post has opinions but doesn't know how to use a phone or the Internet.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Coach Davis will resign at end of season

It is the right decision. Mike Davis was put in an impossible situation. Nobody should try their first head coaching job at IU. Between the expectations of winning and graduating students it is a pressure cooker that is only going to be handled by someone with experience in being a head coach. On top of that, most IU basketball fans were more than a little peeved about Coach Knight being thrown out. Alumni donations plummetted and as far as I know have never recovered. As I said, an impossible situation. You might compare it to rebound dating.

The article linked has this in it:

Floyd Keith, executive director of the Black Coaches Association and a former assistant football coach with the Hoosiers, suggested some Indiana supporters never accepted the school's first black head coach.

"I coached in southern Indiana for nine years and I understand the culture of southern Indiana," Keith said. "I know there's always going to be a pocket of folks who don't quite think like other folks do. ... I wouldn't be honest if I said there wasn't a little bit of that that exists. It did, and Mike had to deal with it."

Honestly, he is partially right. There is still racism in the area. The KKK was founded just 30 minutes off campus. The call for his resignation, on the other hand, has nothing to do with racism. It has to do with basketball finaticism. I am guilty as charged. I know a lot of other people, including most of my family, that would similarly plead guilty. People in Indiana are absolutely nuts about high school and college basketball. If you have never spent time there you cannot understand. I have spent time in Texas. They like their football. I have spent time in Europe. They like their football (read soccer here). Multiply by 5 and you are in the right ballpark.

IU fans couldn't care if the head coach was purple, had 3 eyes and 1 eyebrow. They care if we win. They care if there are misconduct scandals. They care if the kids don't manage to graduate. They really, really care if we lose. They really don't care what color or religion he is.

Good luck on whatever is next for you Coach Davis.


I am going to attempt in this post to avoid any specifics of judgment about the Cheney hunting mishap while trying to explain the terms being thrown around. That is my point in writing this. While the antique press has been screaming about the people's need to know (read be spoon fed) they have neglected to tell you anything about guns or hunting. Many of them are making statements about hunting that fly in the face of reality. In a conversation about the incident the other night it became apparent to me that my wife didn't have the basic knowledge to understand what had happened, and she has lived with me for a while. That means there are a lot of you out there living in cities who not only have never been hunting but don't live with somebody who has. You must be completely lost given the pathetic coverage in the press. That's OK, I am here to help.

My credentials on the topic: I started bird hunting with a BB gun as a small child. At the age of 8 my parents gave me my first shotgun and the BB gun started collecting dust. I still have that shotgun 30 years later and it is in mint condition. I grew up on a farm as an only child. I spent a lot of time hunting and shooting. Please don't get my Dad started on the money he spent on ammunition for me as a child. In other words, I was a typical farm boy. I do not claim to be a firearms expert. I know relatively little about handguns although I have shot a fair number of them. I know a lot about hunting guns and hunting because I did a lot of it and I had the good fortune to have a number of great teachers and an uncle who had a veritable arsenal of different guns.

My feelings on hunting: I hunt for one of two reasons, and quite honestly on a Midwest farm it is an even split. I have gone hunting for food. I have also gone hunting to get rid of animals that destroy crops or threaten people or domestic animals. Those creatures are not evil, they are just trying to survive and reproduce. Given the choice between finding food in the forest and walking out into a field we have carefully cultivated to be full of food, the choice probably looks really easy to your average groundhog. That choice, however, runs counter to you having cheap, fresh food in your grocery store. Shotgun and rifle shells being relatively cheap (Dad's comments aside) the choice of losing crops or killing groundhogs is also an easy one for a farmer who wants food on his table and clothes on his kids. All of that said, hunting just to kill something is unacceptable to me. We kill for survival in one form or another.

Now to the meat of it. My first gun was a 20 gauge full choke single shot. For a good description of gauges, go here. A 20 gauge gun has a bore diameter of .615 inches, making it one of the smaller common shotguns. A 12 gauge, by comparison, has a bore diameter of .729 inches. On the edges, one of the most common "first" guns for children is a 410 (which should be called a 67 gauge) is .410 inches and the biggest common gun is a 10 gauge which is .775 inches and kicks like a mule. The VP was using a quite uncommon gun, a 28 gauge, which comes in at .550 inches.

Kick is a term you will see me use. You put the gun to your shoulder and pull the trigger. The gun recoils back into you as the projectiles go away from you. The amount of force the gun puts on your shoulder is referred to as kick. A 410 has almost no kick and a 10 gauge has a lot. The amount of kick is determined by two things. The obvious one is the amount of powder in the shell. Larger shells cause an individual gun to kick harder. The second factor is the construction of the gun. Recoil springs, the right kind of wood and rubber "butt pads" that sit between the actual gun and your shoulder all reduce the amount of kick. Guns also rise when fired. The barrel goes up after the projectile leaves. The amount of rise is a function of the gauge of the gun and the weight of the barrel.

Shotgun shells come in a variety of measurements. Obviously, you need a shell that is made for the gauge of gun you are using. The next measurement is the length of the shell. Most gauges of guns have the option of 2.75 inch and 3 inch shells but not all guns will accept a 3 inch shell. You will sometimes hear hunters use the terms "standard shell" and "magnum". These refer to the 2.75 and 3 inch shells, respectively. 3 inch shells have both more gun powder and more lead in them. This provides the ability to shoot farther and pack a bigger punch. It also means that the gun kicks harder and, assuming you are close by, more pellets wind up in what you are shooting. Therefore 2.75 inch shells are almost always used for small game so you don't tear the meat up any more than necessary. We know that the VP was shooting 2.75 inch shells because 3 inch shells are not available for 28 gauge shotguns. The final measurement on a shotgun shell is the shot size. The term slug refers to a single large piece of lead or copper that is a solitary projectile like a rifle bullet only MUCH bigger. It is used for hunting large game like White Tail Deer (yummy, yummy) and bears. Most shotgun shells, however, contain pellets. The size of the pellet, like the gauges of the guns, are inverse to the number used to describe them. A number 4 shot shell has pellets that are twice the size of a number 8. The larger the pellets, the fewer of them there are in the shell. Also, as a general rule, the larger the pellets the deeper the penetration will be and the less the effective range will be. As a result, the smaller and faster the game you are hunting, the smaller the pellets you use. Here is a great picture showing various shot sizes next to a US Penny. (HT: Hugh )

For any small bird hunting I, personally, would never be shooting anything larger (meaning smaller number) than a 7.5. Again, personal preference is what it is but I usually used a 7.5 or 8. I don't think we know for sure but it is a pretty safe bet that what the VP was shooting was a number 6 - 8.5. That BB on the upper left of the picture is a standard .177 BB like kids use in BB guns. The second row is copper pellets which are larger for the same number because the measurement is one of weight, not diameter. The vast majority of shotgun shells in the US are lead and we do know that the VP was shooting lead and not copper. I have shot copper but didn't like it. I don't think copper shells are available in a 28 gauge but don't quote me on that.

There is one more important measurement. A guns "choke" is how restrictive the end of the gun is. A "full choke gun", like my 20 gauge, has a slightly longer range and the pellets stay closer together. You will hear this referred to as a "tight spread". It is commonly used for squirrel and rabbit hunting where I grew up. On the other end of the common chokes is "Improved" which has very little choke and therefore gives a very wide spread. It is probably the most common choke for bird hunting. In the middle is "Modified". There are several others but these are the most common ones. Many modern guns come with choke inserts making it possible to have the option of different chokes with the same gun and barrel. We got Dad one of these a few years ago and it is great. We don't know, but it would again be a safe bet that the VP was shooting an Improved choke.

Shotguns have a very short "effective" range, especially when shooting 2.75 inch pellet loads. The larger the gun (meaning the smaller the gauge number), the longer the effective range. A 12 gauge shotgun shooting 2.75 inch number 7s has an effective range of about 30 yards. The farther the shot gets away from the gun the slower the pellets are moving and the farther apart they get, making killing what you were shooting at less probable. This does not mean that you can't get hurt by being shot past the effective range, BTW. The effective range on a 28 gauge gun is less than 30 yards, the distance the poor lawyer is claimed to have been from the VP. Being hit by a small number of pellets at a distance is referred to as being "peppered". If you are at a closer range and you catch the center of the spread you have been shot, not peppered. "Rained on" is a similar term. When someone at a large distance shoots up at something and the pellets arch and come down on you, you have been rained on. That isn't fun either. I have never peppered anyone or been peppered. I have been rained on more than once and, unfortunately have rained on other folks as well.

Most of the hunting I did was done without dogs. You either sit still or walk around quietly looking for whatever you are hunting. You always know where the nearest roads, houses, domestic wildlife and other people are. Farmers and ranchers are very restrictive about letting people hunt on their property so when they or their friends go hunting they can be fairly sure there aren't people they don't know about in their fields and woods. If you are hunting on someone else's private property you need their permission. I know that sounds like a no-brainer but I have frog marched more than my share of idiots off of my family's property who claimed they didn't know that. Just because it is a woods, doesn't mean you belong there. In many states you are required to have written permission on your person from the owner if you are hunting on their property and they are not with you. As a matter of safety and courtesy you always contact the owner when you arrive and when you leave their property. This prevents two groups who don't know about each other being in the same general vicinity. It also prevents you from dying in the woods without anybody knowing.

Hunting with dogs changes things a fair bit. Hunting with dogs is done in a hunting line. That means all the hunters stay in a straight line behind the dog or dogs. You progress forward together. The guys on the end of the line are the only ones with an effective firing field of more than about 60 degrees. The dog handler is in the middle of the line and may or may not have a gun. Dogs have keen senses. They see, hear, and smell better than we do. Ergo, if you do it right, the dog will know where the birds or rabbits or whatever are before the hunters and before the prey knows the gig is up. So you are basically slowly and quietly walking behind the dog in a line with your gun pointed up or down waiting for the dog to find the prey. When the dog thinks he knows where a bird or rabbit is the dog will point, literally. The dog will stop moving with his nose pointing in the direction of the game and he stretches forward, often with one front paw off the ground. If nothing else happens a well trained dog will stand like that all day. What usually happens is the dog handler makes sure all the hunters have stopped, seen the point, and put their guns to their shoulders. He then tells the dog to flush, often with only a hand signal. At this point the slow walking, sniffing thing is over. The dog will leap forward into a dead run at the prey, causing it to panic and run for its life. This is where the guns come in. Your line of fire cannot include anyone else in the hunting line or the dog. With birds the dog is usually not in any danger because they will fly UP. With rabbits or other ground animals it is a serious concern. You are more likely to piss off the handler by peppering his dog than by peppering him. Anyway, the prey flushes. Bang! Assuming a kill, there are two options. Everybody goes guns down and the shooter or shooters walk up to pick up the game. Alternatively, everybody goes guns down and waits for the dog to bring it back. I have done both. Treat for the dog, lots of praise and petting. Everybody gets squared away. Repeat. As a total aside, dogs who fetch love multiple kills on a flush. They grab one, bring it back, get a treat. The handler then points at the second and he runs off to fetch it. He brings it back and gets another treat. Happy dog!

If you are rich and hunting on a multi-thousand acre ranch, hunting with dogs is slightly different than that. Spotters drive around looking for game. They radio the hunters to come to them when they find it. The dogs and hunters drive up, get out and hunt that segment while the spotters go off and look for the next location. The hunting line will have three people in it, a shooter on each end and the dog handler in the middle. The dog hunter will not be shooting. This gives each shooter a wider range of motion to shoot in thereby increasing the odds of an individual kill. I have done dog hunting in a two man, one dog configuration as well but I never had spotters. It seems like cheating to me. They found the birds, they should shoot them.

There is one more thing that is popping up in the press. When talking about small bird hunting there are two types of game. Wild game is just that, birds that naturally decided to live there or be there that day. Raised or domestic or cooped game is really cheating but it is done. As far as I am concerned that isn't hunting, it is shooting. In that case you raise the animals in cages and then release them on the property the day of the hunt. This is pretty common among the British elite and is done in many places in the US. Much of the press seems to have assumed this was the case for the VP's trip. That assumption seems pretty outlandish to me. Texas has a lot of wild birds. Also, if you were hunting cooped game why would you be driving around all over the place. Cooped game tends to pretty much hang out where you release it. Anyway, I don't know, and as far as I can tell nobody has asked anyone who would know, which type of game was in play on the trip.

Update: It was pointed out to me that in more than one place above I missed the "7" in "2.75", leaving a "2.5" which was incorrect. I hope I caught all instances of the error which I must have compounded with spell check......

Some things are naturally true in democracy

As brilliantly pointed out in today's Dry Bones.

French wire service blames Bush for Clinton mistake

Another great post by Tammy points us to this "mistake" in coverage. From Tammy:
Weldon's new information confirms once again that the Clinton White House and lawyers working for the administration blocked efforts by Able Danger to inform the FBI about the impending risk and danger of Mohammad Atta, as well as not warning the captain of the USS Cole about information received in Yemen about that impending attack.
From the Agence France-Presse:
Weldon said he now had proof there had been several attempts to transfer the information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but they were blocked by lawyers for the administration of President George W. Bush.

"We have information that will be testified to under oath that there were attempts to transfer information to the FBI on at least three occasions, and on all three of those occasions in September of 2000, lawyers within the administration denied those meetings from taking place," he said. [ ed. - emphasis mine ]
And as Tammy correctly points out:
The problem with this, of course, is that the administration in question that blocked Able Danger's requests to transfer to Atta information to the FBI was the Clinton administration, not the GWB White House. In fact, this stonewalling of Able Danger by Clinton was done two months prior to the election itself. GWB did not take office until January 2001.

Not so much fun with math

In "Iran's envoy to Portugal questions Holocaust" I found this odd statement:
"To incinerate 6 million people, 15 years would be necessary," he said.
I found that odd. I know that there are still people in the world who deny that one of the best documented horrors the world has knowoccurreded. I didn't realize there were people who actually believe that it COULDN'T have happened.

Curiosity got the best of me. A quick Google search led me to several cremation sites. Consensus is that full cremation takes a 2-3 hours at 1500 degrees. Knowing that European Jews are generally pretty small people and a lot of them were starved to near death before being killed, I will use 2 hours. Further, I will use his assumption, even though we know it isn't the case, that we need to cremate all 6 million (a ton of the them were buried in mass graves).

There are 24 hours in a day so, again using a silly assumption of one body/oven at a time we get 12 bodies/oven/day. 12 x 365 x 15 = 65,700 bodies/oven in 15 years. So this guy is assuming that the Nazis were not capable of having more than 100 bodies in ovens at a time...... odd. The Nazis were many things, unimaginative, unresourceful and uncreative were not among them.

Victor David Hanson on Europe's future

As usual, well written and compelling. Go read.

Chicago GOP goes after sacred cow

Planned Parenthood is definitely a sacred cow for the Democrats. And in Chicago it is assumed that if you are black you will vote for them. So when the Cook County GOP sent out a press release that included:
One of the most infamous cases ever decided by a Democrat-controlled court was the Dred Scott case ... The result of Dred Scott was to strip African Americans of their standing under the law and thereby prevent them from ever exercising political power for the good of their people. Roe v. Wade subtly accomplishes the same ends by a different means.

The black population is curbed by convincing black mothers that their unborn children are only property which will financially destroy them, so it is in their interests and the interests of society to kill them. African Americans can thank the Democratic Party and its unyielding support for Roe v. Wade ... for today's veritable black genocide. Today's Democrats continue to advocate a society in which certain people are stripped of their humanity and denied political power.

Recent statistics indicate that since 1973, abortion has reduced the black population by over 25 percent. Because abortion has been aggressively peddled to innercity black communities, black babies today are three times more likely to be killed in the womb than white babies. Abortion kills twice as many black babies as AIDS, accidents, violent crimes, cancer and heart disease combined. Although it is possible that Planned Parenthood and its ilk are racially blind, 80 percent of Planned Parenthood facilities are located in minority neighborhoods.
I bet the Dems got very unhappy in Cook County. "Do not rock that boat" they must be saying, "It is our job to play the race card". The press is being uncharacteristically bizarre these days so they can't be bothered to get out of the briefing room and go talk to folks on the street to see what they think about this. This seems like a better policital story than a hunting accident. Oh, I forgot, the idea is to discredit the administration, not to cover real news. A quick search would suggest that even the Trib hasn't covered this.

The Openly Gay, Closeted Alcoholic Bishop

What a title! Tammy's post is great too. Is it a brave new world or a not-so-brave new world? It is clearly a new world either way.

Post 500, comments on

I am trying a little experiment with comments beginning with this post (#500 BTW, good for me). They are moderated mostly because I don't need the lawsuits. I say I am trying it as an experiment because I don't know how much of a time vaccuum they will become. I promise to do my best to try to stay on top of it. Given the small readership it should work unless the lunatics or bots attack.

I will state here publicly that I am not responsible for the content of comments. I will not censor comments simply because I disagree with them.

The Rules
  1. No foul language.
  2. No gratuitous insults, defamation, or offensiveness (in other words, no Kos Kid behavior).
  3. Nothing that sounds like a threat to anyone.
  4. No ads for your junk.
  5. No lunatic conspiracy theories.
  6. Stay at least remotely on topic.

I think that covers most of it. If you leave a valid email address and I decide to censor your post for something outside of those 6 I will email you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Is Ann Coulter offensive?

Of course she is. She is also right that Syria has defacto declared war on the Danes and we are required, by the NATO treaty, to do something about it. Ann is a political pundit and her schtick is to be outlandish. Many find that offensive. Those few of us left with a sense of humor find her at her funniest (just like a lot of funny leftists) when she makes a good point in an over the top manner. If you are a sensitive Muslim or Arab you won't want to read the whole post so I will give you the non-offensive good point she makes toward the end of her "I'll show you offensive" rant this week.

Muslims in Syria torched the Danish Embassy a few weeks ago, burning it to the ground. According to everyone, the Syrian government was behind the attack – the prime minister of Denmark, Condoleezza Rice and White House spokesman Scott McClellan. I think even the gals on "The View" have acknowledged that Damascus was behind this one.

McClellan said: "We will hold Syria responsible for such violent demonstrations since they do not take place in that country without government knowledge and support."

We are signatories to a treaty that requires us to do more than "hold Syria responsible" for this attack. Syria has staged a state-sponsored attack on our NATO partner on Danish soil, the Danish Embassy. According to the terms of the NATO treaty, the United States and most of Europe have an obligation to go to war with Syria.

Hackborne's Printers still alive and well

HP increased both sales and profits under its new leader. As a former HP-er, I found the following most interesting.
HP's Imaging and Printing Group saw sales improve 8 percent to $6.5 billion. Within that, consumer hardware revenue increased 1 percent while commercial hardware grew 6 percent. Supplies - a big profit driver for the company - jumped 11 percent.
Richard "Dick" Hackborne is exclusively credited with making HP the industry leader in the printer biz. When I worked there it was referred to as the "Gillette" model of business. We don't care if we make money on the printers themselves so long as you come back and buy your ink and paper from us, which we make a boat-load of profit on. Here, the razor is free, need some replacement blades? It has turned out to be a brilliant strategy and they are still, despite the mismanagement of a couple CEOs in a row, a thriving business for the company. They are still the industry leader. I have two printers in my home, both purchased after I left HP, and both have HP plastered on the front.

An 11 percent improvement in printer supplies is huge. If you are an HP stockholder, thank Dick for the money you made today.

It is now time for Davis to go

Penn State, an excellent University and a fine football school, has beaten my beloved Hoosiers on the hardwood. This is unacceptable. If their fairly recent addition to the Big 10 had created the opportunity for them to recruit better in basketball and become a powerhouse this would not bother me. They were 4W-8L in the league. Bye bye Mike. I am sure you are a very nice fellow but you need to find a new career, or at least go somewhere where the alumni doesn't care about the sport.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lawrence O'Donnell asks if the VP was drunk

Hugh got wind of this post at the Huffington insane asylum. Lawrence actually went on Hugh's show for 15 minutes to defend the position that this was a really serious possibility. Hopefully RadioBlogger will put up the audio as well as the transcript. It is worth the time for the humor factor.
How do we know there was no alcohol? Cheney refused to talk to local authorities until the next day. No point in giving him a breathalyzer then. Every lawyer I've talked to assumes Cheney was too drunk to talk to the cops after the shooting. The next question for the White House should be: Was Cheney drunk?
Let us think about this for a minute. Rational explanation:
  1. Secret Service informed the local police about the accident soon after, arranged for VP to be interviewed the next day.
  2. VP's buddy in hospital, VP wants to be with him and get any resources needed.
  3. Local police in TX carry loaded guns. The Secret Service does not let people near VP with loaded guns without doing their own background first.
  4. It was an accident witnessed by Secret Service guys. I would imagine when a Secret Service guy tells you that a shooting was an accident you would believe them.
  5. The guy was alive and expected to recover. I presume the locals have interviewed him and a pile of other witnesses by now.
  6. You don't send out CSI and grill people when EVERYONE involved says it was an accident.

Lawrence's explanation (proposed possibly but not actually out right stated)
  1. VP and buddies all got drunk while out shooting guns.
  2. VP shot the lawyer in a drunken haze.

There are a couple teeney tiny problems with this scenario.
  1. The VP is not known to be a heavy drinker.
  2. The Secret Service does not let people hang out drunk with the VP while holding loaded guns. So the VP was drunk and everybody else was sober?
  3. While the Secret Service's primary function is the security of their charge and don't talk about personal things they witness as a rule they are required to report crimes, at least in most circumstances and would be in Lawrence's scenario. I don't know but would guess that shooting someone while drunk could be crime even if it is an accident.
  4. There is a high likelihood, I would think, that the hospital took a blood test on the lawyer. Don't they screen for alcohol and drugs in Intensive Care as rule? It would be a good question.
They have truly gone around the bend over there.

Update: Radioblogger has come through with both the audio and transcripts on both Hugh's Lawrence O'Donnell interview and his, even funnier, Helen Thomas interview of Wednesday. Thank you sir.

Taxachusetts forcing Walmart to carry Plan B

The State of Massachusetts pharmacy board has ruled that Wal-Mart stores in the state must carry Plan B (otherwise known as morning after) pills. As a rule they don't saying:
Company spokesman Dan Fogelman says Wal-mart "chooses not to carry many products for business reasons," citing low customer demand as one reason. He indicated that Wal-Mart pharmacists refer customers to other pharmacies that carry drugs it doesn't.

Three women sued (or is it technically filed a complaint?) and the state will force Walmart to carry the drug. They are not the only state forcing Walmart to carry the drug.
Responding to the board's decision, NARAL's state affiliate said it was "delighted" and called on Wal-Mart to carry the Plan B drugs in all of its pharmacies.

I bet.

The guys who run Walmart are very smart indeed. If they voluntarily chose to carry the drug some of the anti-abortion crowd would have been on their case. They can, with the straightest of faces, say to the public that they only carry it because they are forced to. They must have anticipated that a number of states would, in fact, force them to carry them. Further, their official story is that it isn't profitable enough to bother with carrying them so there is no moral assertion that the pro-abortion folks can complain about. Brilliant!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cheney Lacked $7 Hunting Credential

This was the above the fold, front page headline in the LA Times today. Are their senior editors and publishers asleep at the wheel, crazy, or just idiots?

First of all, as they tell you in paragraph 2, still above the fold, this is a non-story story.
Cheney, an experienced outdoorsman who had a valid out-of-state hunting license, will receive a formal warning for failing to purchase the required $7 stamp for bird hunting, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said in a statement. The stamp is a new requirement, and the department has issued verbal warnings to hunters, who were apparently unaware that they needed it.

As I stated before, somebody on Cheney's staff must have muffed it for him not to be compliant, but their own story makes it clear that this is a new requirement and lots of people have made this mistake. A mistake for which the state is handing out.... wait for it.... verbal warnings. Next thing you know they will be telling us that the VP is evil and must resign because he once jaywalked in a one stoplight town in Montana.

But more importantly, if you don't know anything about hunting ask somebody who does. It is not a surprise or a critique that your average LA reporter knows bupkus about hunting. Your average person who lives in any big city is similarly ignorant. Country boys don't know anything about subways as a rule. OK, so your average Angelino doesn't either, bad choice :-) So find somebody who does know something about hunting who will happily inform you that nobody who does know about hunting refers to "credentials". Credentials are what diplomats carry. Hunters carry licenses, stamps, tags, ID and permission slips. We don't carry anything we call credentials.

Engineering modification 487

This is very cute marketing. If you are a parent you should go look at the customizable message M&Ms (HT: MKH) Go look and then come back. Any bets on what percentage get the message "Happy Birthday"? And they can get ten bucks per 8 oz. bag of them. Very cute.

Now, for the engineering modification: I want to buy bags of M&Ms that just have a big letter on the back side so that I can top cakes and stuff with a custom message I make from a set of M&Ms (ask my wife, this is about as artistic as I get). How many M&Ms come in an 8oz bag? Just sell bags full of the letters at Walmart guys. That would be cool, although admittedly this could be worth while as well.

"Marry me" fits on one of your two lines so as long as your chocoholic bride-to-be has a name or nickname 8 characters or less, this could be fun. This works with "Goodbye" as well for those of you not happy. "Mailgeek" fits on one line so I if I ever go commercial this could be a useful handout. The possibilities are endless.

Mayor of Tall 'Afar, Ninewa, Iraq can write

By which I do not mean he is literate. Of course he is, he is the mayor. Nobody would elect a mayor who wasn't literate. I mean HE CAN WRITE, and he can do it in English (presumably not his native tongue). Tears welled up in my eyes when I read this tribute he wrote to the 3rd Armor Cav (HT: Mary Katharine Ham). From the left we hear that the Iraqis hate us and want us out now. From the military on the other hand, you remember them, the men and women who are actually there every day risking their lives, we get this:

From: Mayor of Tall 'Afar, Ninewa, Iraq

In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful

To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall 'Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.

To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.

To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.

Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi's followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zuma and Avgani finally destroyed them.

I have met many soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment; they are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism.

The leaders of this Regiment; COL McMaster, COL Armstrong, LTC Hickey, LTC Gibson, and LTC Reilly embody courage, strength, vision and wisdom.

Officers and soldiers alike bristle with the confidence and character of knights in a bygone era. The mission they have accomplished, by means of a unique military operation, stands among the finest military feats to date in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and truly deserves to be studied in military science. This military operation was clean, with little collateral damage, despite the ferocity of the enemy. With the skill and precision of surgeons they dealt with the terrorist cancers in the city without causing unnecessary damage.

God bless this brave Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget. To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.

Finally, no matter how much I write or speak about this brave Regiment, I haven't the words to describe the courage of its officers and soldiers. I pray to God to grant happiness and health to these legendary heroes and their brave families.



Mayor of Tall 'Afar,

Ninewa, Iraq

Who do you believe? Are people wise enough to elect this guy as mayor worth saving?

Is the Civil Rights Movement Dead?

It is a good question and Virgil at the Conservative BrotherHood takes a whack at it. Go read the whole thing but here are my favorite two bits.
The democratic, liberal, left are losing it. They are so upset at Bush that even at a funeral they lost focus on the legacy and life of one Coretta Scott King and began to focus on political tirades that made them look silly, petty, and irresponsibly disrespectful


If all we have left of the civil rights movement is Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Minister Louis Farra(KKK)khan then the movement is officially dead.

Is SOX Unconstitutional.

Professor Bainbridge has a great post on a suit that the Free Enterprise Fund has filed claiming that Sarbanes-Oxley is unconstitutional. He seems to think they have a reasonable argument. I don't know nothin' 'bout this but I hope they win. Go read the article.

I found this strange

From a post on LGF there is this little tidbit in the middle of his cut of this article about rioters in Pakistan.
In the capital, Islamabad, hundreds of students stormed through the main entrance of the tightly guarded enclave that houses most foreign embassies in the capital, brandishing sticks and throwing stones. They were soon dispersed with tear gas and no foreigners were hurt.

Am I the only one who finds that strange? My understanding (and maybe this is the problem) is that Pakistan is essentially a military dictatorship and that folks there live under military rule. When you talk about a country like that I would assume that "tightly guarded enclave that houses most foreign embassies" would mean soldiers with guns under order to shoot people who try to break in. Even large groups of students "brandishing sticks and throwing stones" tend not to get past heavily armed soldiers guarding something.

I don't know if it means anything but it looks to like there should be more to this story. Am I wrong?

OOOPPSY for the VPs staff

Apparently, the VP paid $15 for a federal permit that he had already paid but neglected to pay $7 for a TX permit that he needed. The fact that he overpaid by $8 tends to show that he did not intend to violate the licensing law in any way. Expect to see the wacko-Dems (read Democratic party national elect and the antique press) to attempt to make hay out of a pumpkin. The VP has sent the additional $7 check to the state of Texas, even though he did not kill any quail, to promote just hunting law.....

Shame on his staff for not making sure he saved $8 and was totally legal. I don't want my VP to hunt illegally but I also don't want him to overpay for the privilege.

One lone Canadian magazine speaks out

The Western Standard published 8 of the terrible, awful cartoons. Much more importantly, IMHO, they take the western media in total to task for being a bunch of childish, scared wimps. The point in this exercise is not whether the Danish paper should have run a contest to see if they could find illustrators for a multi-cultural children's book. The point isn't the ethics of publishing things which offend the sensibilities of reasonable people. If that were the case the western press would not have published many things, in words and cartoon, that they have in the past month alone. The point is that you either value freedom of speech or you don't. The point is that if you knuckle under to "pressure" in the form of barbaric behavior you are a wimp, particularly when you have the US armed forces on your side.

I don't want to see regular publications of the Muslim prophet. I also don't want to see pictures of the Virgin Mary covered in imported dung. If the majority of the western press had chosen for reasons of responsibility not to publish anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim and anti-pick-your-favorite-religion stories and depictions I would be all for it. The fact is that the western press has only chosen not to republish the cartoons because they are a bunch of yellow bellied chickens who have been pushed against the wall not by the threat of local and immediate violence but by barbaric behavior ten thousand miles away. And in the midst of it, they have republished the pictures of the Virgin Mary in dung. I am not buying what they are selling and neither is the Western Standard.

North American Muslims have shown a great deal of restraint in the face of this controversy. For this, they should be praised, but we should not be surprised. Their numbers have not completely integrated into our culture yet but they do seem to understand the trade-offs involved in a free society. Hooray for them! Seriously. This is the ultimate goal of any free society. I am sure many of them wish the cartoons had never published because they found them profoundly offensive. But they appear to find the love of freedom of religion on their individual terms more compelling than the desire to be barbaric in defense of religious sensibilities. How, I ask, are they in any fundamental way different than any other group of recent immigrants to our shores in this respect? People come here for the freedoms and they are willing to live with the level of inconvenience that it necessarily means in order to have the luxuries both monetarily and socially that it provides. Sound familiar?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Manila is sinking

The local scientists say that the people are pulling too much ground water out causing subsidence. Ergo, they are losing some of their beach. But according to Al Gore, the sea is rising due to global warming and the whole island will be underwater soon. The local scientists are not happy.

Do we have to keep paying for Gore's protection?

There ought to be a law that says we pay for the Secret Service protection until you start running around whipping up the crazies and providing aid and comfort to the enemy for money. At that point, you are on your own.

Torn on WND poll

I hate it when sites put up polls that have several answers I agree with and they only let me pick one.
What's your reaction to Vice President's Cheney shooting a fellow hunter?

They gave 10 choices and I wanted to pick 7.5 of them.
Media will blow this out of proportion purposefully to make Cheney look bad

I still would rather go hunting with Cheney than Bill or Hillary Clinton any day of the week

Hunting can be dangerous, and accidents happen

I feel bad for the victim and Cheney, but I can't wait to hear the jokes

I stand by Dick Cheney, who is a great vice president

Thank goodness the man was not hurt more seriously or killed, it would have been a major tragedy

And just for the humor factor, I liked this one:
The incident shows guns don't shoot people, vice presidents do

We don't need this either

Vandals in Denmark Strike Muslim Graves. It was only 25 graves so it may have just been stupid kids, but we don't need that any more than we need riots over cartoons or church burnings.

Hugh is right

This baby Panda playing with Mom in the snow is extremely cute.

The French begin to surrender again

But this time they won't admit to it. (HT: LGF) Par for the course I guess.
French retail giant Carrefour on Thursday denied it had ordered the removal of Danish goods from its stores, but admitted that some Middle Eastern franchise outlets had done so for fear of Muslim reprisals.

In other words, we didn't take the Danish stuff out of the stores in all white parts of town, just in the parts that sell to Arabs. Even in surrender the French can't seem to take a consistent moral position.


Dry Bones won several categories in the "2005 Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards". LGF also picked up "Best Overall Mega Blog". There are a lot good blogs listed if you aren't already overloaded.

Some Danes have had enough

I was wondering how long it would take before an article like this showed up. (HT: LGF)
I feel that currently my beloved country is being pissed upon rather too much. Denmark has not been neglecting its duties on the international stage. We have supported poor people with acts and advice, we have worked for peace, we have sent soldiers, policemen and experts to all the far flung corners of the world. We have democracy, a rule of law and a welfare state. Not all is perfect, but we harbor no malice towards our fellow men.

And yet Denmark is being pissed upon. The spokesman of the US State Department is pissing on Denmark, the British Secretary of Foreign Affairs is pissing on Denmark, the President of Afghanistan is pissing on Denmark, the Government of Iraq is pissing on Denmark, other Muslim regimes are pissing on Denmark. In Gaza, where Danes for years have provided humanitarian aid, crazed Imams encourage people to cut off the hands and heads of the cartoonists who made the drawings of Mohammed for the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Excuse my choice of words, but all this pissing is pissing me off.

The Danes have a pretty small country but for the most part they have pulled their own weight and then some over the last half century or so.

And then we get to the punch line that matches my own gut feelings (not that I am suggesting we make policy based on gut feelings, it is just my first gut reaction to lunacy).
We, for our part, have no wish to be a burden to the Arab governments. We will happily withdraw our soldiers, policemen and diplomats. If they think our money smells, we will retract our aid. Our trade must make do as well as it can. We promise to not bear a grudge and, in time, we will be glad to return, but we are through with the hypocrisy. We have better things to do than being pissed upon at our own expense.

Go read the whole thing.

Calm protest over cartoons and rioting

This is a very good sign. (HT: Rantingprofs)
The event aimed to explain the views of moderate Muslims towards cartoons published in a Danish newspaper which led to worldwide protests.

Organisers also said it wanted to dissociate the mainstream Muslim community from a "minority of extremists".

A very good sign indeed.

Wash Times whacks Jimmy's knuckles

The Washington Times has a very informative and quite sharp rebuke of former (thank God) President Jimmy Carter over his highly inappropriate remarks at the King funeral. (HT: Powerline) I did a little cherry picking below but go read the whole thing.

But in 1977, Mr. Carter and his attorney general, Griffin B. Bell, authorized warrantless electronic surveillance used in the conviction of two men for spying on behalf of Vietnam.
The men, Truong Dinh Hung and Ronald Louis Humphrey, challenged their espionage convictions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which unanimously ruled that the warrantless searches did not violate the men's rights.


Republicans say they welcome such criticism because it proves Democrats can't be trusted with national security.
"Just when you thought that the Democrats' image of being soft on defense issues couldn't get any worse, enter the sage wisdom of President Jimmy Carter to save the day," said Brian Nick, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Yeah, thanks Brian, we knew that already but adults should behave at funerals all the same.

To be fair the Times, they present both sides of the "argument" over the constitutionality of warrentless wiretapping and do so pretty fairly. The fact remains that you can't read the beginning of the article any way except "Jimmy tried to take a swipe at Bush, during a funeral no less, for doing something we know he did himself and defended." The legal "argument" against Bush's program isn't much of an argument, but that is another story.

club for growth conservative paper list

This is a useful resource if you are tired of the left wing editorial pages. (HT:Hugh)

Anonymous slam on the Roman church

From the Denver Post today:

Whether it was a pedophile priest, a school teacher or a Boy Scout official, responsible adults and their institutions should not be able to avoid accountability for their acts.

Ok, I can agree with this. Then we get this:
The church is arguing that Colorado law makes it tougher to sue public schools under routine governmental immunity laws and therefore it should be just as tough to sue the church for its pedophile priests. Church officials say sexual misconduct in public schools is a more serious problem than it is in the Roman Catholic Church. To prove its point, the church has come up with 85 cases of public school teachers in Colorado dating back to 1997 who had their licenses revoked or denied due to alleged sexual misconduct. Apparently the church considers that far more serious than Colorado priests who allegedly repeatedly molested altar boys and other young boys.

The numbers game is a blatant effort by the church to divert attention from its responsibility to compensate priests' victims. The fact is, the church is under pressure because officials knew that priests were abusing children in their own flock yet covered it up, quietly moving the priests from parish to parish. In Colorado, at least two priests have been accused in court by two dozen young men of abusing them as boys. The number of victims might be even bigger, but their day in court has long ago passed, thanks to the statute of limitations that some lawmakers want to relax or eliminate for future cases.

And that is based on what? Did the lazy editorialists actually check out the allegations against the teachers? If it is a "blatant effort to divert attention" then how about telling us that, say 73 of the 85 claims were XYZ, which is a very minor offense, if it happened at all. No, research requires time and effort, we'll just slam the church.

Now, just to be clear, I am more offended by the Roman church problem than the school teacher problem. The church claims to be following and teaching the tenets of Christ. The school isn't. But all of the offenders should be in jail and the institutions should pay. The Roman church is upset because they are talking about retroactively changing the law in a way that will cost them money, lots of money. That is surprising? They have done precious little to fix the problem IMHO, which would have been an entirely reasonable editorial. Cardinal Law booked the country and they won't extradite him. They put him in charge of a Basilica as a reward for his scandalous behavior. Write about that. But why slam an organization for working in their best financial interest through the open political system? Why not follow up on the the abuse claims against schools and find out that it is VERY hard to sue a school (or so I am told). Nope, let's just blast the Christian organization with no proof of anything.

And while we are at it, we'll do it ANONYMOUSLY. If I were King for a day. I love that thought. If I were king for a day it would be illegal to have an editorial in the paper without attribution. I have no problem with free speech and freedom of the press but I ought to be allowed to know who is writing offensive and stupid things in the press.

Global warming wackos

Warning: Rant ahead

I listened to a podcast lecture on the topic of Global Warming from Stanford this weekend. I learned a few things. Something that always bugs me about people like the Professor in question is that they always claim there is a "consensus" in the scientific community that Global Warming is real and human behavior significantly contributes to it if not outright causes it. They then say something to the effect that there are a few people out there who are non-believers but they are mostly uncredentialed.

I would love the opportunity to ask "what credentials do you need?" I suspect I know the answer. You need to be a global climatologist researcher. I believe this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we accept this as the standard then there will never be any serious "credentialed" people to speak out.


I believe that most scientists and mathematicians would fall into one of three categories. There are those that believe that we are having an effect on the global climate (mostly to its detriment). There are those who believe that the earth is a self balancing, self healing entity and while we may do damage to ourselves and a few other species we just aren't capable of having a large impact long term on the planet. BTW, I don't think there is a large percentage of the scientific community with this opinion but it is out there. Then there is what I think is the largest percentage of serious science students. The earth's climate is so complex and has so many variables and we have such little data of any historical significance that it is simply impossible to predict future climate changes based on our lack of knowledge.

If I am correct, and I think I am but am open to argument on that, I don't see a reasonable possibility of people these climatologists are going to respect who are going to argue with them. They are a self-selecting group. If you think it is an unsolvable problem or there is no possibility of a problem you are going to put your talents to use somewhere else. How many cancer researchers believe that it isn't possible to find a cure or new treatment for cancer? There is no proof that it is possible to find a cure, but the folks who look for a cure for a living, by definition, believe that it can be found. Similarly, I think that people who go into the field of global climatology, by definition, believe that our actions change the climate significantly and over the long term.

They are the classic group of people who have a predetermined answer and are looking for the proof of that answer. Notice I said people, not scientists. If you are a real scientist you have a question and are looking for an answer. Further, the theory of Global Warming isn't, to my knowledge, a valid theory. In order for a theory to be scientifically valid there are two important conditions that I believe these guys haven't met. First, all of their predictions based on their theories and models have turned out to be badly wrong. They say "we tweaked the models, they are better now". Then they proceed with the next doomsday prediction which turns out not to come true, circle ad naseum. Second, and perhaps more importantly, they offer no experiment or future observation which would disprove the theory. Granted, an experiment on this one would be pretty much impossible. But instead of saying that if our predictions don't come true the theory isn't right, they only point to the models and say "given everything we learned over the last decade we can improve the model". If there is no observation or set of observations in the future which would disprove the theory then it isn't a valid scientific theory.

Let's just watch and see if the Russian astronomer is right. If he is the global temperature will start dropping significantly in the next 10-15 years. The climatologists will say, "Ah, we missed an important variable in the model, we have improved it." If he isn't right and 30 years from now the global temp is still rising, do you think the climatologists will say to him "dude, your theory is probably right, you should tweak your models"? I don't think so either.

Again, for all I know these lunatics could be right. For a whole pile of reasons I think we should reduce pollution and CO2 emmisions and all that good stuff. But just because they may turn out to be right we won't know for a thousand years and it will be dumb luck. If the temp keeps going up and over the next hundred years, the polar caps melt and Florida disappears that doesn't mean that humans caused it. If over the next hundred years it cools back, the caps refreeze and the planet goes into an ice age they would be wrong. What they are doing isn't science so I can't take these guys terribly serious.

Hold on news to talk about podcasts

As you all know I love my ipod. I love music which is why I bought my first one. I then discovered how useful it is for books on tape. I then found a bunch of podcast novels put out by aspiring authors some of which are VERY good. Now the Universities have jumped in with both feet. There are thousands of lectures available FREE (my favorite four letter F word). Some of them are of poor quality (both technically and in content) but a lot of them are very good.

If you are interested in this, go grab iTunes from Apple, go to the Music Store, select the category podcasts and push Browse. From there go to Education -> Higher Education. At present there are 954 lectures available for free there. A google search will show you a bunch more but iTunes just makes it so easy.

Have fun.

Feeding frenzy in DC Press Corp

Just finished watching a feeding frenzy at the White House press conference this morning. Dozens of redundant questions about how the local press in TX was aware of the VP accidentally shooting someone before they were briefed on it. It seems to me that once he informed them that VP Cheney had spoken to the owner of the ranch and encouraged her to speak to her local paper there is no story here. It was a hunting accident. Nobody died. There are no charges filed and there will not be. The press was informed. There is no cover up.

That is not enough for the DC press corp. They are all pissed off because some "nobody" at a local paper got to break a story that they didn't. How many of these news agencies had someone locally to cover the VP's trip? There has been no mention of that question of course. My guess is a big fat ZERO.

I am not saying that the VP shooting somebody isn't a story. It would have been a bigger story if there was an effort to cover it up. There wasn't. This is a classic example of the press not understanding the topic they are covering. The White House was informed that there was a hunting accident and the VP was OK. It appears that it was hours later before they were aware that the VP was the one who shot the guy. This is not surprising if you know anything about the topic. While I have been on many hunting outings I have never been involved in this type of accident. I was on a hunting trip where somebody tripped and badly twisted an ankle. Everything stops. You get the person safe and treated. Then you worry about getting all the facts together and informing whomever needs to be informed. I am sure that the VP was busy being at the hospital with his buddy and his buddy's wife. I would guess that his team was busy with security and rescheduling, etc. Any time the President or VP has an unplanned schedule change there is chaos.

This was a misstep on the part of the White House press team, but it actually is coming out as more negative to the press than to them. These guys, meaning the DC press corp, need adult supervision.