Thursday, July 30, 2009
A Real Glory Over Devil's Tower
It's tough to see our galactic plane from well lighted areas, like cities, but in the middle of nowhere...
Labels: Milky Way; Devil's Tower
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Thought of the Day
Nicholas Stern, a professor of economics, has issued an influential report arguing that the transition to a low-carbon economy is affordable and compatible with continued economic growth. Leading western politicians say that they believe this and talk airily of the “green jobs” of the future. But there is little sign that they are prepared to back their arguments with deliberate efforts to raise the cost of fossil fuels or to make the necessary investments in alternative energy. All the politicians involved in the global climate change negotiations know that a country that moves unilaterally risks severely damaging its economy, at least in the short-term – without affecting the global problem.
Labels: Gideon Rachman quote
Monday, July 27, 2009
Second Thought of the Day
Gary at RedState
Labels: Gary at RedState quote
Thought of the Day
Labels: Ben Stein quote
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Questions For the Secretary
The West's vast solar energy potential — along with wind, geothermal, and other renewables — can power our economy with affordable energy, create thousands of new jobs, and reduce the carbon emissions that are warming our planet.
That is why I am changing how the federal government does business on the 20 percent of the nation's land mass and 1.75 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf that we oversee. We are now managing these lands not just for balanced oil, natural gas, and coal development, but also — for the first time ever — to allow environmentally responsible renewable energy projects that can help power President Obama's vision for our clean energy future.
American business is responding to these new opportunities. Companies are investing in wind farms off the Atlantic seacoast, solar facilities in the Southwest, and geothermal energy projects throughout the West.
And here's the grand finish:
We need comprehensive legislation that will create new jobs, promote investment in a new generation of energy technology, break our dependence on foreign oil, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Here is one my questions with an answer following:
Can solar, wind and geothermal power our economy?
Germany, which has more photovoltaic arrays than any other nation, and a lot of wind generators, hasn't cut back on coal fired plants (indeed is expanding coal fired plants) and is backing off their poorly thought out notion of closing all their nuclear power plants. Their share of solar wind and geothermal power is 8%. Ours is .7%. Germany produces six times as much photovoltaic power as we do. So we're way behind where the Germans are and the Germans say virtually none of their economy is powered by wind solar or geothermal, because they run their fossil fuel plants as if the wind, solar and geothermal gadgets don't exist. Is it really likely that we will do differently? We'll do better?
Here are questions for which I have no answers:
How does legislation create jobs?
How does legislation promote investment? If a project makes no economic sense, how can the government make it better without funding it in whole or part?
How can refusing to allow us to develop and use our fossil energy here, in 20% of America and off our shores, break our dependence on foreign oil?
Why do you think that the severe economic damage the Cap and Tax Bill will cause (for a miniscule reduction in CO2) will not be worse for Americans than doing nothing and seeing a slight continuance of normal warming cooling, now cooling?
UPDATE: That last question is a little biased and assumes facts for which I have previously provided evidence. But our current proposed legislative actions wouldn't be the first time the Government's so called cure was not worse than the disease. Anyone recall ethanol fuel derived from food crops? Photovoltaic and wind generators are just as bad.
Labels: Pixie Dust Energy; Ken Salazar
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Thought of the Day
Option a): I could get hot under the collar, yell at him, get tasered into submission and possibly shot while "resisting arrest";
Option b): I could politely tell the trooper I object to his characterization, and then write a letter to the commander of his barracks the following morning suggesting that such language is not appropriate to routine encounters with members of the public and betrays a profoundly defective understanding of the relationship between law enforcement officials and the citizenry in civilized societies.
I chose the latter course, and received a letter back offering partial satisfaction and explaining that the trooper would be receiving "supervisory performance-related issue-counseling," which, with any luck, is even more ghastly than it sounds and hopefully is still ongoing.
Professor Gates chose option a), which is just plain stupid.
Labels: Mark Steyn quote
More Democrat Hypocrisy
Here's some of what they left out.
Palin asserts that job losses are "certain." Wrong. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and American Clean Energy and Security legislation will create significant employment opportunities across the country in a broad array of sectors linked to the clean energy economy. Studies at the federal level and by states have demonstrated clean energy job creation. A report by the Center for American Progress calculated that $150 billion in clean energy investments would create more than 1.7 million domestic and community-based jobs that can't be shipped overseas.
We know for a fact that the so called stimulus bill has done squat to help the economy and has not produced good long term jobs. Indeed we continue to shed jobs at an alarming rate. Regarding the Cap and Tax Bill, yes, some short term jobs will be created to build the nearly useless wind generators and solar panels the government mandates, but at what cost? A million dollars a job? What about the jobs the nearly useless wind generators and solar panels will cost in the oil and gas industry. The Spanish, who have strained their treasury to get to 18% wind et al. renewable, who actually have a track record to study, say that each very expensive temporary 'green' job displaces 2.2 real jobs already extant, and that's not mentioning the cost to the Spanish economy from higher prices for electricity. The Danes and Germans admit that their backing and building lots of generators of the intermittent power from wind and sun has been a terribly expensive disaster. So it is just fantasy to believe the lefty think tank hypothetical study, which does not even mention the problem of displaced workers, over the real world lessons learned by our European brothers. The Democrats are big into fantasy bills lately. There's more.
Palin seems nostalgic for the campaign rally chant of "drill, baby, drill." But she ignores the fact that the United States has only 3 percent of the world's proven oil reserves, while we are responsible for 25 percent of the world's oil consumption.
What Boxer and Kerry leave out is the huge natural gas reserves we have (and we're finding more every year). We could run a lot of vehicles on natural gas. Nor do they seem aware of the billions of barrels of what we call oil shale (actually kerogen in a sedimentary rock not usually classified as shale) here in Colorado et al. Billions of barrels. More than the proven reserves of regular crude in the whole of the Middle East. Seems quite a big thing to leave out to me. The Israelis have a proprietary method of extraction (probably using a mixture containing bitumen) that does not creat too big an environmental mess. It takes more effort to refine kerogen but that doesn't mean we won't have fuel. As a last resort, we could use the Nazi no longer proprietary method of turning coal into gasoline and diesel. We have more coal than anyone else. Another huge reserve of potential fuel Boxer and Kerry fail utterly to mention. Nor do they mention the huge oil and gas reserves in Alaska and offshore. Indeed, there was more things they left out than they included, as they accuse Palin of leaving things out. There's more.
How will increased cost for the real energy we produce "jump-start" the economy? It will do the opposite. Since current American renewable energy which does not produce CO2 (so that does not include nuclear which "burns" uranium), nor is generated by damming a river, is only .65%, how will not having enough energy make us a leading economic power? Even if we increase the energy preferred by Boxer and Kerry by a factor of 10, can we have a vibrant economy with the magic energy only 6.5% of what we use now? Fantasy. The idea that human generated CO2 has any measurable effect on world mean temperature continues to take hit after hit by peer reviewed papers. Yet the Senators assure us that Cap and Tax will have a serious effect on CO2 levels. That is a plain lie. Neither China nor India are buying into the fantasy that human efforts trump the natural variability of the weather and their citizens' energy use will only rise in the future and that will be substantial, since they have billions of people and we're just over 300 million.
The carefully crafted clean energy bill that we will present to the Senate, building on the Waxman-Markey legislation passed by the House, will jump-start our economy, protect consumers, stop the ravages of unchecked global climate change and ensure that the United States -- not China or India -- will be the leading economic power in this century.
We are already working every day in the Senate to pass legislation that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create millions of clean energy jobs and protect our children from pollution.
By not allowing us to develop and use the energy deposits in Alaska and offshore, the Senate is increasing our dependence on foreign oil. By wasting money chasing pixie dust energy, the Senate is increasing our dependence on foreign oil. CO2 is produced with ever breath we take. It is essential to plant growth, which means it is essential to nearly all life on earth, but especially us. It is as far from pollution as oxygen is and only the really stupid people you can get with enough education could consider it pollution.
Just as Americans are increasingly having difficulty swallowing the transparent untruths of our President, we can hope they will not swallow the cherry picked support and general untruths voiced by the likes of Senators Boxer and Kerry.
Friday, July 24, 2009
That For Which There Is No Substitute
I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur.
I'm with MacArthur, there is no substitute for victory in war. Our President is a strategic maroon. He's also not much of a student of the Pacific Theater in WWII. Hirohito did not sign anything regarding a surrender with MacArthur, a small contingent of the Japanese Armed Forces and government (some in morning coats and top hats) went out to the Missouri and signed the surrender papers on September 2, 1945. I know this because my dad's destroyer, the Buchanan (DD 484), ferried them out to the Missouri. I've seen all his photos of the guys there on the dock and on the gangplank to his boat. No Emperor.
Below is the delegation on the Missouri. The Japanese envoys Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu signed their names on the Instrument of Surrender. Still no Hirohito. I can't guarantee you that the ship these Japanese are boarding is the Buchanan. It might have been a different boat, and even a third one took the French to the Missouri. What were the French doing there? Hadn't they collaborated with the Japanese in Indochina throughout the war? Why, yes they had. I guess it was Free French on the Missouri. Even though their impact on the war against the Japanese was absolutely nil.
Andrew Jackson, paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson.
Honduras is in the right and will not, I hope, be bullied into allowing what the Honduran Constitution applied to the facts here calls a traitor. Yeah, I'm talking about former President Zelaya. He's going to try to crash the border. I hope the worse thing that happens to him is that he is arrested in Honduras.
Labels: Honduran non coup
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Thought of the Day
Labels: Scott Johnson quote
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Anthropogenic Global Warming--The Problem of Perspective
Here is a near hidden gem, however:
The idea that solar cycles are related to climate is hard to fit with the actual change in energy output from the sun. From solar maximum to solar minimum, the Sun’s energy output drops a minuscule 0.1 percent.
So a .1% drop in energy is minuscule. However, the effect of .038% of the atmosphere (that part which is CO2) is huge and forces the entire system of heating the atmosphere and oceans. Yes, I can see how in a certain (anti-scientific) frame of reference, .1% could be perceived as minuscule and .038% could be perceived as huge. It could happen.
Labels: Global Warming; Sun Spots
Thought of the Day
Labels: Abe Greenwald quote
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Friday Movie Review (quite late) The Hurt Locker
This is not to say that the movie is without mistakes, anachronisms, cliches and a sometimes weak script, but it does a lot more right and for once it seems, doesn't have a mewling lefty bitch tone about the politics of the war. Thank God for small favors. It's also pretty tense and drags you in to the "drug" of war that keeps you craving more action, bigger explosions.
Bigelow is known for her great near start of Near Dark, a new sort of vampire flick, which I liked quite a bit until I saw it again recently. She followed that up with the quite decent Point Break but then she absolutely blew the chance to make a reasonably good science fiction film out of Strange Days. She came halfway back with Soviet submarine film, K-19. A lot of people go all slack jawed that a woman can make such hard edged action pieces, but I'm not that much a chauvinist--of course a woman director can make good action flicks. What would stop her? Men make good romantic films. You get the point; she gets no slack for being a woman.
The key to this film is Guy Pierce's replacement Jeremy Renner, who was the sympathetic sniper in 28 Weeks Later and the unsympathetic dead serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. He's supposed to be a Staff Sergeant but he wears a Sergeant First Class badge on his helmet. Still he nails the role as a reckless/fearless war lover who cannot live in the calm of peace (quite the cliche from several films over the past 50 years). But you like the guy, kinda, and you want him to survive, and pulling for him gets you from one set piece to another to the end with your sympathy intact. He's pretty endearing with the full colonel, David Morse, praising and quizzing him at the not bombed out UN building.
But man is he reckless. I tend to think that the Explosive Ordinance Disposal don't have to provide their own crowd control or cordoning off, but these guys go deep after the enemy alone, clear bomb factories and generally just roam around alone in a slightly up armored Humvee.
Let's talk about the counter sniper scene. To paraphrase Butch Cassidy, who were those guys led by Ralph Fiennes? SAS? Contractors like Blackwater? Straight mercenaries? Very weird. They sure are slow to get the Barrett .50 cal into play (although our guys move even slower and are only fair shots). But the power of the BMG round wins the day and the Druganov holding Iraqi sniper keeps a death grip on his gun. Little silly that. We've seen what .50 BMG does to real targets in Afghanistan. It nearly quarters them on the death porn tapes on the web. Still it's Insurgents 3, Americans 4. There's too much about wiping the blood off the rounds and too little about countersniper protocols. Our guys are too slow to get rounds downrange, but I guess that's because they are engineers, not infantry. For all it's shortcomings, the scene has a lot of power and sticks with you. Where were the guys with the mortars though?
I could go on and on the mistakes I saw, but verisimilitude is apparently not the raison d'etre for Ms. Bigelow. She wants to show what it takes to be a warrior and the price you pay for it; and by and large she is successful. I recommend this without hesitation, unless you served in Iraq in 2004. It might be too Hollywood for you veterans, although it's not Hollywood at all.
Oh and as I recall, being in the Hurt Locker is Marine slang from at least Viet Nam, perhaps before that, and it really doesn't need translation. You know when you're in it.
Labels: The Hurt Locker
Thought of the Day
What Biden meant to say, in his puckish way, that they misunderstood what an economy is, and how it works. Piling up a mountain of proposed taxes, mandates, regulations, do-nothing programs and pork unseen in such dimensions since Pink Floyd floated a dirigible pig over an outdoor concert might, in fact, prevent recovery.
So do not criticize him; applaud his palaver, and hope for more. Biden's "gaffes" are anything but -- they're simply what the administration is really thinking. Truer words have never been babbled.
Labels: James Lileks quote
Obama Is Supporting the Wrong Guy
Joseph Stalin (attributed)
Here is an interesting story from Spanish speaking media (Catalan):
SpanishCatalan paper is reporting that Honduran authorities have seized computers found in the Presidential Palace belonging to deposed president Mel Zelaya. Taking a page right out of the leftist dictator's handbook, these computers, according to the news report, contained the official and certified results of the illegal constitutional referendum Zelaya wanted to conduct that never took place. The results of this fraudulent vote was tilted heavily in Zelaya's favor, ensuring he could go ahead and illegally change the constitution so he could remain in power for as long as he wanted to. ACORN, I'm sure, is taking notes.
This is the man that the OAS, the UN, and the Obama State Department want the Honduran people to reinstall as their leader.
This appears to be the new (old) way of dictators. Chavez is overwhelmingly opposed by a lot of Venezuelans, the exit poles say he's going down to defeat, yet he wins by double digits. Hmmmm.
If the Catalan story is true, we should immediately abandon and denounce Zelaya and refine the Monroe Doctrine to say no South or Central American Nations (not just Europeans) should insert themselves into the political or economic workings any other nation in the New World.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Thought of the Day
But this psychologizing only exposes the inability of climate activists to take seriously the rational case for inaction. In fact, there is a perfectly good reason developing countries are unwilling to act on climate change: What they are being asked to do is more awful than climate change's implications--even if one accepts all the alarmist predictions.
Labels: Shikha Dalmia quote
I bring it up because rather than close with the Taliban/al Qaeda in Waziristan, the Pakistan armed forces are going to rely on artillery and air strikes. Damn. Another lost opportunity.
Because our naive and now actively stupid-on-this President has backed a lefty would be dictator in Honduras from nearly the beginning of his lawlessness, the United States will not protect Honduras from invasion by forces from Nicaragua and Venezuela trying to reimpose their comrade in ideas on the unwilling people of Honduras. Smart Diplomacy.
The report from unnamed diplomats is that Iran is 6 months from an atomic bomb test. Our President will do nothing to stop it and indeed may actively hinder the Israelis from delaying the Iranian program with air strikes. Thus the second Holocaust inches closer with a nuclear strike on Tel Aviv et al. just months away.
The recession and deficit deepen, our money becomes ever worth less, unemployment rises, local and state governments are now defaulting or will soon default on governmental obligations (or issue IOUs) and our clueless and inept federal government seems intent on doing the exactly wrong things--spending and taxing more. The White House's near Trillion dollar stimulus and the 50 Billion foreclosure relief programs are both dismal failures
Have a good weekend.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thought of the Day
Vice President Joe Biden
Labels: Joe Biden quote
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Clouds over the horizon block the setting sun's rays and create the blue shadows seen here. Kinda cool.
Labels: Crepuscular Light
Thought of the Day
Cliff May, talking about the continued non-coverage of our victory in Iraq, a victory won despite the disgraceful efforts of the Neo-Copperheads to have us quit in Iraq.
Labels: Cliff May quote
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Noticing the Weather
There is the normal pot-calling-kettle-black complaint about talking about so short a period (a decade), too short to derive a valid trend. But, of course, the Warmie true believers use very short time periods too. Since 1900, they chart, temperatures have gone up and down but ended up about .6 degrees C warmer. But if you look at the past 1000 years, you notice that the global mean temperature goes up and down and it was much warmer just a few centuries ago. We're just catching up. Back to the Real Climate article.
After raising the possibility that the recent decade of cooling might not really exist, the Warmie writes:
...only time will tell if it’s real. Regardless, it’s important to note that we are not talking about global cooling, just a pause in warming.
(Emphasis in the original).
Ah, just a pause. Warming will resume. It's not cooling, though, even though it's cooler now. How can he be so blind yet so sure? There is no evidence given, just hypothesis.
To be fair, there may be some actual evidence (as opposed to computer simulation) in the paper the article talks about. I couldn't find it.
We hypothesize that the established pre-1998 trend is the true forced warming signal, and that the climate system effectively overshot this signal in response to the 1997/98 El Niño. This overshoot is in the process of radiatively dissipating, and the climate will return to its earlier defined, greenhouse gas-forced warming signal. If this hypothesis is correct, the era of consistent record-breaking global mean temperatures will not resume until roughly 2020.
But the article is unconsciously honest in its closing paragraph:
What do our results have to do with Global Warming, i.e., the century-scale response to greenhouse gas emissions? VERY LITTLE, contrary to claims that others have made on our behalf. Nature (with hopefully some constructive input from humans) will decide the global warming question based upon climate sensitivity, net radiative forcing, and oceanic storage of heat, not on the type of multi-decadal time scale variability we are discussing here. However, this apparent impulsive behavior explicitly highlights the fact that humanity is poking a complex, nonlinear system with GHG forcing – and that there are no guarantees to how the climate may respond.(Second emphasis added).
Let me paraphrase that last sentence: Regarding increased CO2 in the atmosphere, we have no freakin' idea what it will do to the global temperature.
Here is an undisputed graph of the radiative forcing CO2 can do now. We're at the end of the squiggly blue line. Not that sensitive. Looks like between less than a half degree to less than two degrees is possible by 2300, except that the increased water vapor from the past slight warming has been acting like a negative feedback system and cooling the planet.
Labels: Global Warming; Pause in Warming
Thought of the Day
This is their most ludicrous gambit in a long time — and that’s saying something. Given their eight years of complaints about President Bush’s failure to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, and given President Clinton’s indignant insistence (against the weight of the evidence) that he absolutely wanted the CIA to kill bin Laden, one is moved to ask: What did Democrats think the CIA was doing for the last eight years?
Intelligence activities are not reliant on congressional authorization or supervision. Like all executive power under the Constitution, the president is checked in this area by Congress’s enumerated powers, particularly the power of the purse. As is its wont, Congress tries to leverage this authority to usurp presidential prerogatives — to make itself a partner in the actual running of intelligence activities, albeit a partner with no accountability (see Nancy Pelosi, supra).
So, to score some political points, Democrats have put themselves in the position of opposing CIA efforts to defeat our enemies.
Third, after 9/11, even as President Bush’s warfare strategy decimated al-Qaeda’s top hierarchy, Democrats complained that the Bush administration had failed to kill or capture bin Laden. Now that the political winds have shifted, they have returned to their default position of complaining that government agents were trying to kill or capture bin Laden.
Fourth, this bizarre complaint comes in the form of grousing about a failure to notify Congress, voiced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, among others. But consider that back in February, Senator Feinstein publicly revealed that Pakistan’s government was allowing the United States to use Pakistani territory as a base for Predator drones being used for controversial targeted assassinations. Unlike Leahy’s aforementioned malfeasance, Feinstein’s unfortunate revelation was doubtlessly inadvertent. But it underscores the danger of informing Congress about intelligence activities.
The last point is a critical one, showing starkly the difference between Democrats and Republicans on national security. President Obama is clearly conducting a war in Pakistan, a country with which we are formally at peace. The legitimate existence of wartime conditions is crucial: If we are not at war, there is no basis in international law for killing Pakistanis (or non-Pakistanis) in Pakistan. But the Right is not accusing the president of conducting an illegal war, of failing to seek congressional authorization, or of committing war crimes. Nor did Republicans seek to exploit Feinstein’s gaffe — while there might have been political sport in it, doing so would have made it more difficult for Pakistan to cooperate with the Obama administration in an effort that advances American security interests.
That is, while Democrats politicize “torture,” “domestic spying,” the Patriot Act, and now the CIA’s efforts to defeat al-Qaeda, Republicans are generally supporting Obama’s Pakistan policy for the greater good of protecting our national security.
Eventually, people do figure out who the grown-ups are.
Labels: Andrew McCarthy quote
Monday, July 13, 2009
The New Energy Economy
Colorado gets about 80% of its electricity from coal fired plants in and around the state. The amount generated from wind and solar is minimal, less than .07%. So, let's say our hypothetical, earnestly green, Warmie family using $1,200 worth of electricity each year wants to put a photovoltaic rig on the roof in order to save the planet from warm doom, does that make economic sense?
Well without any discounts, rebates or government subsidies, there is no way. The average price for an array which supplies the average house (during daylight hours) is between $35,000 and $76,000. Let's pick a less pricey model and pretend that it can generate enough electricity to generally equal the $100 per month of electricity we've assigned. Of course, our hypothetical family will have to buy electricity at night, early morning, late afternoon and when it's really cloudy or has snowed. But let's again presume that, plugged into the grid, our guys can sell the excess electricity generated back to the electric company. In the winter, they'll certainly be net buyers of electricity due to shortened days and in the summer they should be net sellers. Let's assume that the selling equals the buying and that they therefore have no electricity bills after installation of the array and thus save $1,200 a year. How long will it take them to pay off the investment (not counting borrowing costs, etc.)? If the system costs $36,000, it will take them 30 years to pay for it. Too bad the system will only last 20 years, 25 if they are lucky. So it makes no economic sense to install such a system; and that's why the amount of photovoltaic electricity in the Colorado grid is too small almost to be measured, much less have any real effect on base power calculations--that is, when the coal fired plants produce enough power so that when we flip the switch, the lights go on everywhere, everytime, they produce this amount of base power without considering the tiny bit of unreliable, intermittent power available through wind and solar radiation. So installing solar or wind power stations here and there doesn't diminish the amount of coal burned by the base power providers by a single lump. Not one lump, Warmies.
Ah, you say, but the array doesn't cost $36,000, you get rebates and subsidies. That's right. So the government takes money from successful people and gives it to losers who can't figure out it makes no economic sense to buy a photovoltaic array and it saves not a single gram of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. But all that shifting of wealth, through taxation, does is reduce the cost to, say, $25,000 and increase the dollar value of the "sale" of sun generated power, if the utility will buy it. But that doesn't solve the problem.
There is a long list of things that the array will not power, like air conditioners or electric furnaces. So our hypothetical family won't get to $1,200 saving per year. Some of the components to a system, like the inverters, which change the DC photovoltaic power into usable AC power for the computer and refrigerator, only last 10 to 15 years and have to be replaced.
Even if there is a breakthrough and a system that generates, on average, $100 per month of Colorado power would last 25 years and only cost $18,000 installed, then it might make sense, with the subsidies and rebates, to those people who have that sort of money just lying around. If you have to finance the thing, it never pays for itself before you have to buy a new one; and it won't in the foreseeable future.
The next time you hear 'green' or 'new' energy from a Warmie or a politician, think 'pixie dust' instead. It's just as real.
Thought of the Day
Labels: Kevin Williamson quote
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Tax the Rich
I look on income taxes as the "rent" for living is such a great country. I don't eagerly pay them, but I am perfectly willing to pay my fair share, which recently was in the second tier of top rates and will migrate up due to my fortuitous marriage (economically speaking of course, there is no money value you can place on true, deep and abiding love).
Of course the rich will pay more taxes on their income because the percentage taxed on higher incomes is of course higher. But that there is a tier system, with higher income earners paying not just more, but more at a higher rate, is a moral sink hole. There is no logical justification other than there is more there for the government to confiscate. Certainly the idea that the rich take more governmental services is demonstrably wrong. The rich rarely cash an unemployment or welfare check. They are less involved than the poor in the various governmental services and systems, such as the criminal justice system. They are net tax givers; yet the Democratic elite want them to give involuntarily even more. Moral bankruptcy is a kind way to describe that so called thinking.
A flat rate, which motherfraking Russia has, Russia!, is the fair way to go of course (since a consumption tax seems unachievable) because everyone pays rent at the same percentage of his or her income. If we were to cut the corporate taxes to half or more and go to a 15% flat rate with few deductions, we would soon lead the world out of the doldrums of our current recession. Everyone is willing to work harder if he or she gets to keep the overwhelming bulk of the fruits of their labor.
As it is now, the top 1% pays about 40% of federal income tax; the top 5% pays about 60% and the top 10% pay about 70%. Yet our demagogic leaders say that's not good enough; that's not paying their fair share. The lowest half of the income earners pay a whopping 3% of federal income taxes. Yeah, that seems fair.
The down side of confiscating the rich citizens' income is that they will quit, go 'Galt', shelter their income or leave the country with the corresponding bad economic effect that will have on the area they once inhabited.
Tax the rich even more. An idea whose time has passed logically and morally, yet which seems all the more popular now. More's the pity
Labels: progressive taxation
Second Thought of the Day
Victor Davis Hanson
Labels: Victor Davis Hanson quote
Thought of the Day
Capitalism and consumerism have brought the world to the brink of economic and environmental collapse, the Prince of Wales has warned. . . . And in a searing indictment on capitalist society, Charles said we can no longer afford consumerism and that the ‘age of convenience’ was over.
He then got in his limo and was driven to his other palace.
UPDATE: Steyn uses the term 'warm-mongers' to refer to Warmie true believers. Wow, that's pretty good.
Labels: Mark Steyn quote
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thought of the Day
Labels: Melissa Clouthier quote
Battle of the Graphs
How can I be so sure it is true? The independent source rule. When two or more people, without any connection, say the same thing, the chances of it being true are at least tripled. When unconnected hundreds say it after careful analysis of the real world, it is true to a moral certainty.
Let's go back. The reason I have an interest in climate is the paper I wrote in Old Norse class at UVA in 1977. Back then there was no easy investigation with computers--you had to go to the library and look up and then find dusty old magazine articles. I was looking for the reason why Icelandic culture started about 950, peaked about 1150, and between 1000 and the society collapse at 1400, Icelandic scribes put out tons of very readable accounts of extended families, which accounts are called Sagas, almost all of them set in the first period 1000 to 1150. Why was the time of literary vigor so concentrated during that 450 year period?
Something like the lower graph in an old magazine, called Paleoclimatology, hit me like a hammer. Of course the climate was the answer. I got a A - as I recall, but later heard my professor, who knew I was listening, repeat my thesis and some of the details during a lecture.
When I saw the Hockey Stick graph in the first decade of our new millennium, I said to myself, what happened to the Little Optimum (that's what we called the Medieval Warm Period 30 years ago)? There had been no doubt in the dozens of peer reviewed articles and papers I had read back then that the Medieval Warm Period existed and indeed was much warmer than it is now. Now, in the Mann graph, it was gone.
That bit of scientific legerdemain sparked my interest in the Global Warming Hoax, and perhaps set my bias and filters about it, so that I have evolved into an active, proselytizing Denier.
Oh and here is a non visual representation of a visual model for our atmosphere. Consider that 100,000 beach balls half filling up a football stadium represent the various gasses in our planet's dry atmosphere.
78,080 of them are nitrogen, not a greenhouse gas
20,850 of them are oxygen, not a greenhouse gas
930 of them are argon, not a greenhouse gas
38 of them are CO2, a greenhouse gas
2 of them represent all the rest of the trace gasses in the atmosphere, some of which are greenhouse gasses.
Most of the 38 CO2 beach balls are naturally occurring so the Warmie theory is that between 2 and 10 of the 100,000 beach balls are causing a rapid and alarming warming.
I think it's the Sun, which has gently and normally been warming us since the last global cooling in the 60s and early 70s. That gentle and normal warming lasted until 2001, when the graph began to trend to cooler again.
Oh, and the atmosphere is not dry and adds to the stadium between 2,000 and 4,000 beach balls representing water vapor, which is a week greenhouse gas, but very powerful because it has such a heavy presence in the atmosphere. I have to ask, which do you think would have a greater effect, 38 or 3,000?
The question answers itself. Water vapor overlaps all but one of the frequencies on the electromagnetic spectrum that excites CO2 molecules and water vapor does about 95% of the global warming.
Labels: Global Warming
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Report on the American War Dead in Afghanistan and Iraq
Here is further breakdown. In Iraq, eight were killed by IEDs (just one less than last month), one died from small arms (an ATG?), four died from non combat causes, and one died in an accident.
In Afghanistan, fourteen died from IEDs (ten more than in June), three from non-combat causes, two died from small arms, two in combat operations, three from direct fire, and two were killed in accidents. The IED totals, unfortunately, is following the curve from Iraq a few years ago. The total in Afghanistan was 25, more than two times the number from last month. The total during June for the wars being waged against us is 39, slightly more than one per day.
It was a deadly month for officers. These dead were: Major Kevin Jennette, 37, of Lula, GA who died from an IED explosion in Afghanistan; Commander Master Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey Garber, 43, of Hemingford, NE, who died in the Arabian Sea but is counted as an Afghan casualty; Major Rocco Barnes, 50, of LA, CA, , killed in an accident in Afghanistan; 1st Lt. Brian Bradshaw, 24, of Steilacoom, WA, who was killed by an IED in Afghanistan, ; Captain Kafele Sims, 23 of LA, CA, who died from a non combat cause in Iraq; and, Chief Warrant Officer Ricky Richardson, Jr., 33, of Franklin, MO, killed by an IED in Afghanistan.
Our thoughts and prayers go to the families and loved ones of these fallen warriors, and all our hopes for their continued success goes to our men and women, mainly men, fighting overseas.
Photoshop of the Day
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Labels: Viet Nam War
Blue Eyed Soul
Miller and he were schoolmates at St. Marks in Dallas and went to college together as well. Miller has said rather unkindly that when Boz came to the band the only thing he could play was the tambourine. Still, Boz had the good fortune to land little known Duane Allman to do the lead guitar work on Loan Me a Dime (a song I liked a lot, even if a phone call now costs 50 cents if you can find a pay phone at all). He did that song as his encore, which I appreciated. Boz has lately been into jazz standards and it has affected his older songs. They have a laid back feel which I can't tell is either good or bad. His voice was in good not great shape and his best song of the night was a duet with a great girl backup who nearly stole the show later when she had the mike to herself.
Michael McDonald, for all his snow white hair, is merely an AARP member, just a year older than I am, and his voice still has a lot of power even as it frays around the edges. I, like most people, first heard him singing for the Doobie Brothers. I later learned of the good work he did for Steely Dan prior to becoming a brother. His career since the Doobs broke up has been ever more towards Motown and soul, with some country now and again. He seems to have slowed his tempo a beat or two as well--the aging/mellowing/declining conundrum. He seems to let his back up singers carry the main tune while he riffs on it, in effect, cantorizing. Sometimes that is disconcerting but other times marvelous.
I have to say that both these boys are now nostalgia acts with no real effect on modern music, more's the pity, but it is a fine nostalgia, and a good time was had by most.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Bubkes for the Faux Indian Fraud
Labels: Ward Churchill
Thought of the Day
In other words, if group X doesn't pass a test nearly as often as group Y, then there is something wrong with the test, according to this reasoning or lack of reasoning. This implicitly assumes that there cannot be any great difference between the two groups in the skills, talents or efforts required.
That notion is the grand dogma of our time-- an idea for which no evidence is asked or given, and an idea that no amount of contradictory evidence can change in the minds of the true believers, or in the rhetoric of ideologues and opportunists.
Trying to reconcile that dogma with the principle of equal treatment for all has led courts into feats of higher metaphysics that the Medieval Scholastics could be proud of.
Labels: Thomas Sowell quote
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Friday Movie Review (quite late): Away We Go
There's a bit of that disapproving condesension again in this film, but there is a lot less to loath about the Director's vision down his nose at us post-colonial rubes this time. But there are some rubes, and they are pretty awful.
Every couple but one is a trainwreck of selfishness, and the one couple who isn't--they live in Montreal, not us crass, loud Americans mind you--has a sadness within that is subtly but powerfully portrayed (and good to see Melanie Lynskey from Heavenly Creatures again, she had been almost completely eclipsed by her co star Kate Winslet's recent supernova of a career). The single people in the film are OK. So what is the search but from one bad role model to another to ultimate solitude? Isn't that just sort of giving up on human connection?
Still, it's a fun journey. The nouveau hippie Maggie Gyllenhaal (looking real good) and seahorse husband, Josh Hamilton, is a comic delight from beginning to end. The little boy, Beckett, prompted into confessing his desire to smother the baby is a gem of comic timing. And Krasinski saying very inappropriate things to his lover on the train is the funniest thing in the movie.
There are little directing visual things too that are great: The plane in Phoenix going across the windows; Gyllenhaal breastfeeding both her children; and, the brief view of the orange tree with things hanging in it.
I seem to recall Maya Rudolph being pregnant in another movie, the complete waste of filmstock, A Prairie Home Companion. The guy who keeps knocking her up is the esteemed director, Paul Thomas Anderson, who did Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood. Like our film's traveling couple, they too are apparently never to be married. But enough gossip.
After each fresh hell of couples, who are so bad as to be nearly unbelievable, there is a cleansing breath of genuine connection with the siblings of our traveling hero and heroine.--Maya and her sister in the bathtub; Krasinski and bro lamenting the future of the abandoned daughter. Those are good things. But the only connection that seems to matter to Mendes is the connection of Rudolph to Kasinski as they are the sun and moon of this movie.
This movie does the opposite of American Beauty--the more I think of it, the better I think of it.
Labels: Away We Go
Thought of the Day
Labels: Mark Steyn quote
Saturday, July 04, 2009
We have twice impeached Presidents with no convictions following. But say, for example, the Senate had convicted Andrew Johnson and removed him from office, and Johnson had been so stubborn as to require federal troops to remove him from the White House. Would we have ever thought to have called that a coup? Not on your life; it wouldn't have been the truth to call it a coup.
I am ever a servant of the truth and will stand by what I rationally believe no matter what the consensus is against me. If a billion people believe a wrong thing, it is still a wrong thing. My apologies to Anatole France.
At one time, I despaired when a sufficient number of people on the right began to join the consensus regarding anthropogenic global warming, but I never have really wavered. And I am buoyed lately by the fact that more and more real scientists are refusing to tow the official line and are joining the Denier Alliance. Even more hopeful, for me, is how the Warmie true believers are reacting to the Deniers. They suppress the Denier papers and speeches, they go immediately ad hominem, they say that AGW is settled "peer reviewed" science and is no longer open for discussion; in short, they do everything but refute the Deniers with scientific method like analysis of their opinions. That's not the winning boy's mojo.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Hello, Pot? This is the Kettle--You're Black.
Some aspects of climate change are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago - such as rising sea levels, the increase of heat stored in the ocean and the shrinking Arctic sea ice.
Roger Pielke, Sr. thought each of the three so called worsening aspects of climate change was false and he wrote on Anthony Watt's site detailing his reasons for thinking that:
1. Sea level has actually flattened since 2006;
2. There has been no statistically significant warming of the upper ocean since 2003; and,
3. [S]ee the Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Anomaly from the University of Illinois Cyrosphere Today website. Since 2008, the anomalies have actually decreased.
Commenters on Real Climate responded. It was tough to call a winner of that round. For each set of statistics Pielke could marshal, the Warmies had a different set. Part of the problem was with the imprecision of the offending sentence above. The 2009 report updated the latest IPCC report from 2007, but there are a series of IPPC reports going back to 1990. For every recent (i.e., 2 year old) prediction, the Real Climate writers were able to show older predictions which were indeed less than the data they cited. I though this was unfair, as the offending sentence said that the rising, warming, and melting were worse than "a few years ago". That sounded like things had indeed worsened since the 2007 report. Two years of change is too short a period from which to establish a trend.
Then there was a second round and what struck me about the writing on Real Climate was the following repeated criticism of Pielke:
First of all, trends over such a short sub-interval of a few years vary greatly due to short-term natural variations, and one could get any result one likes by cherry-picking a suitable interval...[...]
...Pielke is referring to a 5-year period which is too short to obtain statistically robust trends in the presence of short-term variability and data accuracy problems...[...]
And Pielke is again referring to a time span (“since 2008”!) that is far too short to have much to do with climatic trends.
But what was Real Climate saying in the offending sentence? -- that the Warmie scientists had discovered trends, necessarily over just a few years, which revealed some things were worse than just "a few years ago."
So apparently when Warmies discern trends over just a few years, they are significant; but when AGW skeptics discover trends over the same few years, they are bunk.
It's necessary to know the distinction to make sense of the controversy.
Thought of the Day
President Obama is now way beyond mere support of such engagement. Under his leadership, and even as the mullahs who have been at war with the United States for 30 years are engaged in a Tiananmen-style crackdown, Obama is neck-deep in terrorist-for-hostages negotiations with Iran-backed killers who have American blood on their hands.
To what end? Other than emboldening terrorists everywhere with the message that the way to gain American concessions is to kidnap Americans and American allies, all we have achieved by freeing a murderer of American soldiers is the retrieval of two British murder victims when we’d been led to believe that all five hostages still were alive.
Labels: Andrew McCarthy quote
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Thought of the Day
Isn't excelling on written tests how Ruth Bader Ginsburg got where she is? It's curious how people whose entire careers are based on doing well on tests find them so irrelevant to other people's jobs.
Labels: Ann Coulter quote