Archive for August, 2008

You know how a weak US dollar is good for the economy?  TOURISM.   I’ve just been through San Francisco, at Fisherman’s Wharf, followed by the San Diego ZOO and Sea World (not all in the same day, of course).  We kept track, and I heard no less than seven different languages in San Francisico.   One Euro is running at about 1.5 US dollars these days.  So a whole lot of our European brethren are over here taking advantage of the great exchange rate.

And you know what?  There were no bombings.  No shootings or assasinations.  No race riots or hate crimes to speak of.  Everyone ran around, walked around, bustled and hustled and stumbled and jostled and…somehow miraculously managed to get along just fine.  I’m not saying it was all kumbaya and happy smiles, but everybody coexisted.  They blended, and had fun!

I’ve been to a great many countries in this world, and MOST other countries are almost exclusively ethnically homogenous.  Korea, Thailand, Japan.  They are very race pure.  They have a strong ethnic identity, and are in many respects fairly xenophobic.  Most still look down very strongly on inter-racial marriages.  Even Australia and New Zealand are almost exclusive Anglo, with only a relatively small aboriginal population.

And yet, when I was stationed overseas, I could walk into the Food Court at the PX on base, and instantly I would see a whole spectrum of skin colors and ethnic backgrounds.  While Palestinians are blowing up Israelis, and vice versa, while the Tutsis and Hutus are slaughtering each other in Ruwanda, in a little enclave of US-ness, you’ve got a black family getting ice cream at Baskin Robbins, while the asian family is getting Subway, and the plain ol’ white folks are getting General Tso’s chicken at China Express.  No hostility, no fear.  Because we are used to it.  It’s just the way we are.

I once had a counterpart from the Aussie Army ask, as we sat around our field rations one night, what an American looked like?  I thought for a minute, and said that there wasn’t really any ONE look for an American.  Blacks, indians, chinese, whites…anybody could be an American citizen.  He just shook his head.  Not because he thought it was a bad idea, it was just a foreign concept to him.

And yet we continue to hear so much about how we need to “open a dialogue” about instituional racism in America.  We need to cleanse the wounds, heal the past, etc., yada, ad nauseum.   I’ve noticed that Obama has toned down his racial rhetoric a bit of late.  I can imagine that the two extremely affluent, ivy-league educated people “of-color” may have finally realized the strange dissonance is running for President of the United States on a platform of overcoming racial inequality.   Seems to me like they done overcome it pretty well.

What I see is a lot of manufactured drama carefully spun out and woven into a well-polished and premeditatively emotional package designed to influence black (and white) voters to “vote for the black guy.”  Not necessarily the most qualified candidate.  The Black Guy. 

You see it on a lot of the Prog blogs.  You hear it in the righteous indignation of Democrat shills and sycophants who insist that you’d only vote against Obama if you’re racist.  This, ladies and germs, is what they call an oxymoron.  Or perhaps, circular logic.  Also know as the self-defeating argument.  I have to vote for the black guy to prove I’m not racist.  So I’m voting based solely on race.  How is that not racism?  Perhaps it is better described as racialism.  If I vote for McCain, I’m not actually voting for McCain, but against the black guy. 

If I cannot vote against Barak Obama for any other reason than he is black, then the very groups who are so vehemently decrying racism are also requiring that I ignore his qualifications and focus solely on the color of his skin.

In other words, racism.

I’m here to tell you, we may have our problems, but the US is probably one of the LEAST RACIST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD.  Even the much vaunted European countries are very ethno-centric.  Our greatest struggle with racism is that we seem totally incapable of just letting it die.  We take such immense pains and troubles to show how “sensitive” we are to racial issues that we end up constantly keeping it in the very forefront of the social consciousness.  You can’t heal from something if you keep tearing at the wound while screaming, “LOOK! I’M BLEEDING!”

What if maybe, just maybe that guy is not a racist; maybe he’s just an asshole.  Maybe the system isn’t really out to get black people; maybe poor, uneducated black people are committing a greater proportion of the crime.  And maybe that means that there’s a larger issue at work here than vigilante white judges stickin’ it to the poor black man.  You know, just because they can.  And most of us whiteys is just haters.  Or something equally as vapid and emotion-based.

The worst thing in the world for this country is for us to just vote for a black man.  Instead, we should vote for the most qualified man or woman, regardless of the skin color.  As long as we continue to make race a pivotal issue…it will remain a pivotal issue.  Let’s put it to rest, and get back to dealing with people as people, not as members of some elite, untouchable poor disenfranchised special interest group.

Climate change scientists and researchers who rely on Government grants for their livelihood, are apparently insisting that more government grants are needed to adequately study climate change.  Shocking, I know.

Scientists: U.S. not prepared for severe weather, climate change 
{insert sirens, screaming, clips of black and white 1950′s B-movie disaster films, giant mutant ants eating police cars, etc.}}

Wow.  I’m shocked I tell you, just shocked!  In related news, foxes call for building of more hen houses for them to guard.

Now, I know the link is from “just a blog,” but it’s from a CNN blog, right?  Doesn’t that make it subject to all those multiple layers of fact checking and all that?  And yet this thing is the single greatest testament to the maddening doublespeak and vague obfuscation used so often by the global warming climate change nuts that I’ve seen in a while.  But wait, it get’s better…

Scientists cannot fully understand or deal with the impacts of climate change without the proper political leadership, and without funding for scientific observation and computing.

Scientists cannot fully understand climate change without the proper political leadership.  Just sort of savor that for a minute; let it roll around the ganglia and sink in a bit.  The trained, educated, Masters and PHD holding elite of the intelligentsia are struggling to understand climate change because they don’t have the right kind of POLITICAL leadership?  Huh?!

The scientists are making five recommendations they say will improve the country’s resilience to severe weather and climate change

Because without a full-on media blitz and complete with streaming video and annoying pop-up ads, the American people will be left to just blindly deal with seasonal weather extremes like they’ve been doing for the last 230+ years.  And the price tag for all this?

The group says lawmakers will need to add about $9 billion to the current $10 billion that is budgeted over the next five years.

But wait a minute!  I thought global warming climate change was a forgone conclusion, a done deal, an immutable fact right up there with evolution and the 9/11 coverup?  You mean {{shocked gasp}} there are things we don’t know?  Can’t predict?  Are inadequately measuring?  OH. THE. HORROR!   And then of course, from the Blinding Flash of the Obvious department, we get this little jewel:

Whether it is hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods, snow, or drought, 75% of natural disasters around the world are triggered by weather and climate.

That’s right folks, you heard it here first.  Tornadoes, floods, snow and drought are caused by…wait for it…WEATHER.  And not just weather, but EXTREME weather.  Weather we will quite simply be unable to understand or predict without 19 Billion dollars in additional federal funding.

But wait, I say again.  I thought we had a “consensus” from the “majority of scientists” throught the “global scientific community” penning all sorts of strident missives about the types, severity, and near imminence of doom based on global warming climate change?  Did this lady not get the memo about “don’t mess with the meme?”

“Frankly, we think this is one of the most pressing problems facing humankind, but it just happens to be on a longer scale than a lot of problems our country faces,” said Fellows.

That’s right.  We need to be long-visioned about this, invest in the future, prepare our country for the worst.  Except when it comes to drilling for oil, because we won’t see any results for 7-10 years, you know.

So, in conclusion, global warming climate change is a confirmed fact, even though we don’t know enough about it because Washington has short-changed us on the funds.  And we can predict all sorts of dire consequences to global warming climate change, complete with fancy graphs and pie charts, and cool multi-media morphing animations showing jungles getting swallowed up by deserts, but you know, we can’t do REALLY cool graphs and 3D CGI graphics and cutting edge holographic surround-sound experience-based “teaching tools” at museums and theme parks, because the Government is more worried about funding the military and feeding the poor, and such.  Short-sighted mouth breathers that they are.  We must act now!

I dearly love the fact that in the entire linked article, the words “global warming” are nowhere to be found.  This term is now tres passe’.  Why, you ask?  Because in my neck of the woods, in Spokane, WA, they’ve experienced one of the coolest summers on record.  The temperature this week has been in the 50′s, with rain and hail.  In AUGUST.  So the term “global warming” rings a little hollow, and now it’s “climate change” and “extreme weather.”

And “give us more funding or we’ll all die.”  Subtle, guys.  Subtle.

UPDATE:
Me, I question the timing.  I have this vague suspicion that the thinly veiled suggestion of stronger “political leadership” in the area of climate change might, just MIGHT be meant to suggest that we elect someone a little stronger on the whole global warming thing than, perhaps oh say, the Republicans have been.  Cuz, you know, CNN is so fair and balanced and all that.

The Clash of the Cures

Posted: August 21, 2008 in Blitherings

Gulf ‘dead zone’ suffocating fish and livelihoods

Scientists have been studying the Gulf’s dead zone for about 20 years, although its existence has been known for decades. So why is oxygen disappearing from fishing waters in the Gulf of Mexico? The answer, scientists say, is found hundreds of miles to the north, up the Mississippi River in corn country.

Farmers in Iowa and across the Midwest use tons of nitrogen and phosphorous to make their cornfields more productive, which allows the farmers to take advantage of high corn prices resulting from growing demand from ethanol factories and developing countries.

Rain always causes some fertilizer to run off farmland, but this summer’s historic flooding caused even more runoff into rivers that flow into the Mississippi.

So, lemme get this straight.  We can’t drill for the oil in the Gulf of Mexico because of the potential for damage to the ecosystem.  So instead we promote ill-considered alternative fuels which instead have very real and direct consequences on the Gulf ecosystem?

This is one of my classic beefs with the radical enviro-weenies.   It’s all froth and fervor and chest-beating demands that we DO SOMETHING!  And so we push through well-intentioned band-aid solutions, and yet fail to address the long-term consequences.   I consider myself an environmentalist of sorts.  I believe that we should protect and preserve the environment…so that we can enjoy it.  I believe that humans have a unique stewardship of the earth, not that we are the “Enemy” against which mother Gaia needs to be protected.

We can’t drill in the coastal plan of ANWAR, a barren, desolate wasteland, because it “might” hurt some wandering caribou. Uh….yeah.   This is once again where reality runs smack dabs up against the environmental lobby….and loses.  Because the greenies hate oil, any proposed increase in drilling is inherently BAD.  To defeat any such proposal, they trot out the time-tested, consensus-bases, debate-defeating querulousness, that caramel-in-the-craw question which locks jaws shut quicker than a raging case of tetanus, “BUT DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT!?? THE ALASKAN TUNDRA IS SENSITIVE AND NEEDS TO BE PRESERVED FROM THE DESPOILING RAVAGES OF OIL DRILLING.!!”  {{insert shocked gasp, horrendous look of dismay, tsking and clucking and head shaking, etc.}}

The simple reality is that our “alternative fuels” simply cannot meet the demand our nation places upon them.  Any energy policy that doesn’t include drilling for all the oil we can on our own sovereign freakin’ territory, is not just short-sighted and stupid, but a clear capitulation to the hard-left greenies who care more about their jingoistic adherence to a wild-eyed environmental utopianism than any sort of rational approach to meeting our country’s future energy needs.

And so far, the cures have turned out to be worse than the disease, and by a good measure.  It brings to mind a statement made along about the Vietnam era, something to the effect of, “We had to destroy the village to save it.”  But this time, it’s not the hated military holding the torches to the thatched huts, but the rabid environmentalists so willfully blind to the consequences of their actions that they will continue to hold desperately to idealogies and methodologies which prove to ultimately be not only counterproductive or ineffectual, but even more damaging to the environment than those which they oppose.

A day late and a dollar short, but that’s my usual M.O. anyway.

I didn’t get to watch all of the interview, debate, whatever it was with Rick Warren and the two presumptive presidential nominees, but I did get to see enough of both segments to get a representative taste of it all.

What I thought was the most interesting was the clear and almost irreconcilable philosophical disconnect between the two camps.  On questions of taxes, McCain was able to present the, to me, most common sense view that the best way to strengthen the economy, the best way to increase individual security and stability is to give them more of their own money with which to make choices.

I heard from Obama the basic tenet of progressive socialism that the rich bear some sort of inherently greater burden of responsibility to pay for social programs than anybody else.  If you make over $250,000, then you are going to take it in the shorts on taxes because you are (ptooie) rich.  What these social engineering crusaders seem constitutionally unable to comprehend is the simple reality that rich people spend more money because they have more money to spend.  The more penalties you put on being successful, the more burdensome you make it to have disposable income, the more you hamstring any kind of economic growth.  You’d think this to be self-evident, but the lofty idealism of the Progs sees higher taxes and centralized government as the cure for it all.  Here’s your government health care and like it.  No, really, you have to sign up, and you HAVE to pay X% of your income to support it.  You know, for the poor.  And the children.

I found it interesting that when asked which Supreme Court judges they wouldn’t have nominated, Obama named the conservative ones, and McCain named the liberal ones.  Which I guess ultimately shows that there’s probably a pretty good mix as it is.

As interesting as the actual interviews were the regular breaks to the commentator panel.  I just shook my head after a piece of the McCain portion, where the Democrat analyst was clucking and fretting and just generally all atwitter.  He was comfortably predictable as he trotted out the same tired old bugaboo about Roe V. Wade.   One of the most oft repeated memes amongst the Progs is the idea that one too many conservative justices on the Supreme Court, just let the ideological balance shift ever so slightly in the “wrong” direction, and the first thing they’ll do after fluffing their robes and dusting their wigs is overturn Roe V. Wade.  The big, dark, scary monster under the bed is that this will of course, by direct inference, lead to back alleys run red with blood from coat hanger abortions by savage, unscrupulous hacks preying on poor defensless teens who couldn’t seem to manage any other form of birth control.

Nevermind the fact that all overturning Roe V. Wade will do is return the decision on whether or not to ban abortion BACK TO THE STATES.  Roe v. Wade is one of the single most egregious violations of the principles of Federalism and States rights ever to hit the books.  Roe V. Wade only stated that it was unconstitutional for STATES to ban abortion, reserving that right solely at the Federal level.  The only thing that would result from round-filing this ridiculous piece of legislation jurisprudence is that States would be free, once again, to determine what happens inside their borders with respect to abortion.  But that kind of silliness simply can’t be allowed now, can it?

I also heard, yet again, the strange “7-10 years” mantra from the Dem side wrt domestic oil drilling.  I simply cannot comprehend how an otherwise seemingly intelligent human being can continue to parrot the nonsense that, since we won’t see results for 7-10 years from increased domestic oil drilling, then we shouldn’t start. Huh?!  NO, they cry!  We need better solutions, NOW! Not ten years from now!  Well no shit, Sherlock.  Let’s find some great, solid, workable short-term solutions, WHILE WE STEADILY BUILD THE INFRASTRUCTURE NECESSARY FOR OUR GRADE SCHOOLERS TO HAVE AFFORDABLE FUEL WHEN THEY START DRIVING 10 YEARS FROM NOW!   Is that as far the the “vision” of our Prog brethren extends?  Less than seven years?  Anything past that simply isn’t worth considering?  Idiots.

For a group of folks who are so “all about the children” all the time, they don’t seem to be real bright on providing for these same kids’ futures.

I didn’t see anything that radically changed my mind in this forum.  I thought B.O. was smooth as butter, baby.  He also deftly avoided answering/committing to a position on several of the tough questions.  I thought McCain was much more blunt, and direct, but he seemed to have a lot more of the common-sense answers and solutions to problems that I would expect.  He also talked around several of the thornier issues, but overall, I came away with a clearer understanding of his positions than Obama’s.

I just can’t get my head around the globalist, socialist, “rich people are bad and poor people are somehow developmentally disabled and need the Goverment to look after them” mentality that is modern progressive liberalism.  They say they demand an energy policy, but oppose nuclear fuel, building more refineries or drilling domestically, while we continue to send huge chunks of our GNP to foreign oil interests who are showing increasing hostility to us in the world market place.  Face it folks, we are a fossil-fuel based economy and have been for a hundred years.  That isn’t going to change overnight.  Sure, yes, absolutely, let’s find a way to change that, work for a brighter tomorrow and all that.  But let us also be starkly realistic about our ongoing energy needs for the next 20 or 30 years.

They say they are for the children, and yet excorciate anyone who would monkey with the sacrosanct Grail that is abortion.  B.O. said that he would support deploying troops in support of our national interests, but thinks we need to “dialogue” with militant Islam.

After all is said and done, though, I often wonder if we don’t make just a liiiiitle too big a deal about this whole thing.  We aren’t electing a king.   Appointing a chancellor.  There is no imperial decree.  The balance of powers still works…shakily at times…but it works.  As yet no President has managed to set aside the Constitution.  It’s Congress where the real sausage is made.  So, instead of making this one man the make or break all, the catastrophic tragedy or penultimate hope of the country, let’s just find the guy that will be the most likely to work within the system to do what’s best for the country overall.

Of the two serious choices we’ve got, I’ve got to say that the best person for that job is McCain.