Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

In a recent article in the Vancouver Sun, Australian geologist Ian Plimer is profiled, and his newest book, Heaven and Earth -- Global Warming: The Missing Science is introduced. Plimer is known primarily as an outspoken critic of the theory of manmade global warming. A few snippets from the article:

"Purging humankind of its supposed sins of environmental degradation has become a religion with a fanatical and often intolerant priesthood, especially among the First World urban elites."

"...anthropogenic global warming is little more than a con trick on the public perpetrated by fundamentalist environmentalists and callously adopted by politicians and government officials who love nothing more than an issue that causes public anxiety."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hawkins Once More

John Hawkins has once again written a great column, this one titled "Seven Things That Would Be Different If McCain Had Beaten Obama." Very fair, and impressively credible analysis. The first paragraph of #7 was particularly insightful:

"Item #7: You'd be talking Republicans down off of ledges today: After the last four years of Bush, having another Republican President who paid little attention to the grassroots would have been incredibly demoralizing."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hand, Meet Cookie Jar

"WASHINGTON – Despite their denials, influential Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd were told from the start they were getting VIP mortgage discounts from one of the nation's largest lenders, the official who handled their loans has told Congress in secret testimony."

This would be Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, by the way.

Read the rest of the AP story here. If you want to see something even more interesting, look at this.

On Communism and Healthcare

Bruce Bilosky has a great column today that addresses Communism and the proposed healthcare legislation in Congress. A couple of interesting tidbits:

"A business colleague of mine commented recently that he supported Communism. He stated it would be fine if he were at the top and thus in control of money and decisions. He mentioned Fidel Castro’s supposed $6 billion that he has in foreign bank accounts. This gentleman understands that not everyone has the same results under Communism."

"...refer to the July 15th editorial in Investor’s Business Daily which speaks to their reading of the bill. It only took them to page 16 to find a clause that would outlaw anyone from taking on a new private policy once the public option is established thus forcing everyone into government-run health care."

[Edit: That last claim, which seems so plausible, may or may not actually be the case. Page 16 (out of 1018 pages) of the House's healthcare legislation is written in such dense legalese that it can mean practically anything they want it to mean. So the claim of "outlawing new policies" is on the bubble of credibility at this point.]

[Edit #2: There now seems to be at least some merit to the claim. Fortune/ stated in a recent column: "The employees who got their coverage before the law goes into effect can keep their plans, but once again, there's a catch. If the plan changes in any way -- by altering co-pays, deductibles, or even switching coverage for this or that drug -- the employee must drop out and shop through the [Government-run] exchange. Since these plans generally change their policies every year, it's likely that millions of employees will lose their plans in 12 months." So the needle moves slightly to the "credible" side.]

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Riddle Me This

This morning I read a clever riddle that I don't remember seeing or hearing before. I didn't solve it, yet the answer is obvious, once you know it. (The sign of a good riddle.) Here's the riddle:

The man who made it doesn't want it.
The man who bought it doesn't need it.
The man who needs it doesn't know it.
What is it?

Highlight the next line to see the answer.
A coffin or casket

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Things Our Kids Won't Know has a GeekDad article, "100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About." Wifey and I have discussed this subject quite a bit because of all the changes that have occurred in the last twenty-five years, along with our more-than-usual rural upbringings. It makes me wonder -- what did our parents (and grandparents) know that we were never aware of?

Some of the knowledge lost to our kids:
  • Rotary dial televisions with no remote control. You know, the ones where the kids were the remote control.
  • 8-track cartridges (And the matchbooks required to keep them in the tape deck. - kw)
  • The scream of a modem connecting
  • Waiting several minutes (or even hours!) to download something
  • When Spam was just a meat product — or even a Monty Python sketch
  • Typewriters
  • CB radios
  • Remembering someone’s phone number
  • Finding books in a card catalog at the library.

It's worth checking out the other 91 items.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Are You Tone Deaf?

I'm not much of a singer. I've been reminded of that pretty consistently my whole life. Here's an excerpt from a real conversation with my dad from thirty years ago:

Dad: "What did you do with that money?"
Me: "What money?"
Dad: "The money you should have spent on singing lessons."

Okay, so I've accepted that I can't sing. But I have a good ear. In other words, I can tell whether or not someone else is singing in tune. That was always a brag, until I found the Distorted Tunes Test online. The web site is provided by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The test actually measures one's ability to determine pitch. It's simple. One at a time, snippets of several songs are played, and you answer whether the snippet was played correctly or not. The songs are all standards, so recognizing the song itself should be easy.

In this case, my self-confidence was justified, as I judged 26 out of 26 samples correctly. Apparently the money I spent on listening lessons was well-spent.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Yes, Let's Compare Obama to Bush

Barack Obama threw out the first pitch at the 2009 All Star game today. You can see the video of it here. Here's what Yahoo Sports had to say:

"Earlier on Tuesday, the President said that he planned to throw his first Presidential pitch high so it'd get to the plate without bouncing, but his control was lacking. He clearly didn't throw a strike like George W. Bush famously did during the 2001 World Series in New York just weeks after Sept. 11.

"The more debatable point from the historic moment was the reception the President was afforded... Though Obama was roundly cheered by the All-Star fans, his live presence still didn't attract the applause that George W. Bush did during a taped announcement by the four previous Presidents before the game and some boos could even be heard among the cheers."

Despite what the announcers said, Obama clearly didn't get the ball to the plate. Note where Pujols' feet and glove are.
Here's Bush's first pitch from 2001:

For all of Obama's vaunted athleticism, Bush made Obama look like a little girl in comparison. Now, which one looked more like the leader of the free world?

Other People Say Smart Stuff, Too Part XV

I've written about (or plagiarized from) columnist John Hawkins previously. Today he struck paydirt again with his column titled "Five Criticisms of George Bush That Could Be Better Applied to Barack Obama."

Monday, July 06, 2009

Auto Racing Drama

I normally don't care about any kind of auto racing, but with its Hollywood-like drama, this one race kept my attention. The storyline is self explanatory. Action really starts at about the 3:00 mark.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Let's Start Keeping Score

The Obama administration and its willing accomplices in the Democrat-controlled Congress have developed the technique of rushing through enormous legislation, because of the dire consequences they claim would happen if anyone carefully inspected, thoroughly contemplated, or even actually read the legislation. As a result, the trillion dollar stimulus bill and the trillion dollar climate bill both passed quickly, against Republican resistance.

Since hurried legislation was so necessary, let's look at the first results of the stimulus bill. Without the stimulus bill, the Obama administration said, unemployment could reach as high as 8.5 percent by April. With the Democrat bill, we were told, unemployment would only reach 7.8 percent.

As of today, less than a week after the end of the second quarter, unemployment is at 9.5 percent. This is what Vice President Joe Biden meant when he said everyone "guessed wrong" on unemployment. Biden said the White House is keenly aware of the gap between the rhetoric used to sell fast passage of the legislation and reality.

I subscribe to Edmund Burke's idea of Conservatism, wherein change is introduced gradually, building on the wisdom of what has gone before. Change must be organic, rather than revolutionary. Rushing through radical change without due consideration, "may be a mask for the preferences of one man, and at best represents only the untested wisdom of one generation." I don't think our latest generation of Congressmen have shown themselves to be unusually wise. The stimulus legislation scorecard illustrates this.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

20 Days? Really?

Okay, trying to finish two writing projects kept me busy, but twenty days since my last post is excessive, even for me. And it's not like there's not a lot going on.

Sarah Palin resigning her governorship? Explanations run the gamut, from "she's leaving to make money" via a talk show, highly-paid speeches or sitting on boards of directors, to preparing her run for President in 2012, to "she's just nuts." While I have no idea what she's about to do, the timing of her announcement -- late Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend -- fits the pattern of politicians who don't want the media to jump on the story. This may be the sign of a breaking scandal. Stay tuned.

North Korea's playing chicken with the United States, pushing to see how far they can go. To his credit, Barack Obama has not apologized for provoking the North Korean belligerence. Yet. Stay tuned for further developments in this possible prelude to WW III.

Obama sided with Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro in condemning the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya by the military. The coup occurred after Zelaya tried to change the Honduran constitution so that he could run for President again. Apparently the Honduran military, judiciary and legislature took a dim view of such a dictatorial move. No wonder Obama sympathizes with Zelaya. A Constitution and laws get in the way. Marxist dictators get nervous when the people revolt like that.

Since my last post, it's been an unhealthy time to be a celebrity. Goodbye and good luck to Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays, Ed McMahon, Fred Travalena, Gale Storm, Karl Malden et al. And news coming out today is that former NFL quarterback Steve McNair was found shot to death.

The House of Representatives passed a monstrous climate bill 219-212, with votes along mostly party lines. In what has become normal procedure, Democrats dumped 300 pages of the 1200-page legislation at 3:00 a.m. the morning before the vote was to be taken. The legislation, which would have practically no effect on reducing carbon emissions, would drive up energy costs for all consumers while lining the pockets (via pork, aka "earmarks") of Democrats. We'll see what the Senate does with this "pile os s--t" (as described by House Minority Leader John Boehner.) (And which I described -- accurately, I think -- as "poor legislation directed at the wrong cause of a questionable phenomenon of an unproven and increasingly-disputed theory, which will lead to higher energy costs.")