Monday, October 31, 2005
My word one can't turn on the TV or the radio these days without being frightened half to death. If HaliBushHitlerBurton doesn't get you the bird flu will! The hysteria building over the so-called avian flu seems a little over the top at this juncture. With a total of about a hundred cases and 62 deaths in a world with 6+ billion souls the hype doesn't quite measure up to the facts.
The bird flu officially known as H5N1 is making headlines around the world provoking the Bush Administration to get in the act with proclamations that government ordered quarantines and military order will be authorized in the event a pandemic ensues.
The cynics and conspiracy buffs are all abuzz with theories that this is a rouse to sell vaccines and drugs (the Bush Aminstration is behind this too, of course). Personally I think the President is mostly guilty of "me tooism" - stung by the criticism of the Katrina affair George doesn't want to be seen as uncaring toward the elderly and weak who would most surely be the first victims of this flu should it ever strike this country. The White House wants to be out in front of this one.
Last night the Discovery Channel or the History Channel aired a "Worst Case Scenario" special that would see the world fall into such ruin that there would be no hope of ever clawing our way back again. It was thoroughly depressing and not even that entertaining.
Out on the Internet there are a few voices of reason - bloggers, of course - but there is certain official who likes to see his face on TV so he can sell his books who sent me over the top. Michael Osterholm, who is familiar to us Minnesotans having been our state epidemiologist before becoming a world famous doomsayer, was all over the TV last night scaring the shit out of everybody. I have been listening to this guy for years telling me that one thing after another is going to kill me. First it was AIDs, then acid rain and ozone holes. Last year it was SARS followed by the regular old flu because of the vaccine shortage. After 9/11 there he was telling us that anthrax and small pox would devour major urban centers like the giant heart that ate Philadelphia.
I'm sure Mr. Osterholm is eminently qualified to speak to these issues but so far I am still alive, amazing I know, but yes, I am still kicking. I sincerely hope nothing comes of this (other than a few giant pharmaceuticals shore up their bottom lines) and Michael Osterholm continues his hitless streak.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Michael Fumento posts yet another article extolling the virtues of another successful adult stem cell therapy at TechCentralStation.com. The promise of adult stem cell therapy is breathtaking. Since embryonic stem cells have, to the best of my knowledge, produced no viable therapies to date we have to wonder why there is such a push to get Federal and State money, and such a desire to endorse this research over the proven efficacy of adult stem cell research.
From the article:
It's still true that, as I wrote two years ago, "When an ESC hiccups it makes page one, but reports of ASCs actually saving human lives are often ignored." A search of the Lexis-Nexis database reveals that the incredible liver breakthrough was picked up by two lesser British newspapers and UPI. BBC.com also mentioned it. That's it. No U.S. newspaper seems to have mentioned it.
I find this incredible, incredibly revealing that is... For what possible reason would the major media supress this wonderful news? Of course there are billions in research dollars at stake for ESC research- but what difference would that make to the media? I would expect there are research dollars for ASC as well - again what is the media's interest in that?
I know the anti-Christians all over this land support ESC research solely because the Church is against it. The cynic in me says this is why the media acts the way it does on this issue. The Church, by the way, endorses Adult Stem Cell research.
Friday, October 21, 2005
I found this article mildly interesting only because when the shoe is on the other foot the MSM trips over itself not to pass judgement on the hate filled hip-hop culture.
Lynx and Lamb are apparently singers who are proud to be white and don't mind telling the world. Normally if they would have stopped there I wouldn't have minded too much. It is the praising of infamous Nazis that turns my stomach. The parents of these two girls are sickos, enough said.
The dynamic duo of Lamb and Lynx probably don't get much airplay in America, and rightly so. We do not need any more animosity pouring out of our radios - we have plenty of hate and ugliness already with the gansta rap and something called the hip-hop culture. While there are some people from within the black community who have stood up and said the preaching (singing???) of hate has got to stop, there has been little in the way of actually doing anything about it. As long as it sells it will keep being peddled to our kids.
So, while I HATE to see these beautiful young girls being brainwashed into such intolerance and hatred how can society condemn them while forking out billions to buy and worship hip-hop hate.
Maybe I don't understand the hip-hop and rap cultures (I will grant you that) but the white racists can say the same thing, can't they?
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Harm de Blij the noted geographer and a professor at a Michigan university is a fascinating and passionate man. Seeing him talk at a World Affairs conference which aired recently on CSPAN's Book TV was a real eye opener.
De Blij (pronounced duh blay) is a Dutch born immigrant who came to this country as a young man after WWII. Harm speaks eloquently on a number of subjects not the least of which is one of our favorite topics here - global warming. In his book "Why Geography Matters" Harm delves deep into the cause and effect of climate change on geo-politics and human development. Toward the end of his talk at the World Affairs conference he paused briefly, lowered his voice and decalred that he couldn't leave without a few words about the current global warming hysteria. It is, in a word - HYSTERIA!
De Blij points out that we are currently living in an Ice Age. We happen to be in a inter-glacial period where global temperatures rise as part of a natural cycle that repeats itself many times during each Ice Age. The current ice age started some 35 million years ago. De Blij goes over the numbers in an interview with The Pittsburgh Tribune's Bill Steigerwald:
Q: We're being told over and over by the mainstream media and scientists as well that global warming is a real problem for earthlings. Yet you say we need to prepare for a quick climate change that will be a precipitous cooling. What's that all about?
A: We are living in an Ice Age -- which consists of long cold spells interrupted by short warm spells. This is something that every student in introductory geography learns all over the world. It started about 30 or 35 million years ago. It's been going on. It's been getting colder. Approximately, 30 million years ago, the Antarctic ice sheet began to form; 20 million years ago glaciers began to form in high mountains even in the tropical areas; 10 million years ago the Arctic Ocean froze over. About 1.8 million years ago, we began a sequence of events that is still going on, which is as follows: It is very cold for 100,000 years in a row -- never, of course, continuously cold, but up and down. Then it gets very warm, very quickly, and for about an average of 10,000 to 12,000 years it is about as warm as it is today. Then that ends with a precipitous cooling, and it is cold for another 100,000 years.
Just 18,000 years ago, ice sheets hundreds of feet high covered all of North America down to the Ohio River. All that melted when global warming started. It melted in a matter of a few thousand years. It was some dramatic event: Huge slabs of ice the size of the Canadian province of Quebec would slide into the ocean, raise the sea level, cool the water, change local climate. The coastal plains, along which we humans had been migrating, got inundated. It must have been an incredibly dramatic time.
Then about 7,000 years ago, it was warm like it is now and it has been that warm ever since. We are now at the point that the period of global warming like the one that got rid of the glaciers the last time has been going on for about 15,000 years. We are already well into the autumn of our warm spell. So even though we worry about global warming, I am saying that what we are likely to experience is an increasing number of extremes and then a collapse of the system and a return to glacial conditions. It's happened for 2 million years and it's going to happen again, whether or not we do to the atmosphere what we are doing. Nature will overpower our pollution of the atmosphere.
Q: What's your official position on global warming?
A: That it is existing, that it is happening, but that it will not go on indefinitely.
Harm believes we should have endorsed the Kyoto Protocol not as a substantiative effort to stop global warming but rather as an international gesture of cooperation. I don't necessarily agree that a gesture is worth even the short term problems Kyoto would cause to the economy while China and India get off scott free, but I trust that his reading of geologic history is accurate.
Furiously drawing graphs on the overhead projector he shows that this current period of warming has happened in a blink of geologic time in which all of recorded human history has occured. He goes on to state that this inter-glacial period could come crashing down in a very short period of time. He is not talking about thousands of years or even hundreds of years, but rather mere decades. The impact on humanity and world politics would be all encompassing. Canada, northern Europe and most of Russia would cease to exist. The industrial heart of the United States would be under miles of ice forcing our entire population south. He decalres that China will be the big winner because of it's geography and proximity to southeast Asia and Indonesia. A scary thought in and of itself.
The picture de Blij paints is illustrated in a fascinating Sci-Fi novel by Larry Niven called "Fallen Angels" in which the Greens have taken over the political structure of the world by using global warming as a pretext to stop technological progress. When the burning of fossil fuels is banned the atmosphere is robbed of the particulate matter needed for water droplets to form and therefore clouds become more and more scarce. Without clouds the warmth of the planet escapes into the night sky and a glacial age ensues. Harm de Blij and the author Larry Niven both refer to the "mini ice age" that plagued Britain an few centuries ago. Niven speculates that the increased burning of coal for heat by the large population on the island nation had a part in the warming period that followed allowing Britain to become the preeminent power in the world.
In the end, however, Niven, de Blij and you and I will come to realize that we are powerless against the forces of nature and if we endure the next glacial period it will have to be by our wits AND our technology. Until then, my advice, make hay while the sun shines!
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Jordanian journalist Yassin Musharbash has put down on paper the goals and objectives of the world's foremost terrorist organization. It reads like a comic book caper where the arch villain, with his manical laughter and that crazed look in his eyes, gleefully spills his dastardly plans to the super hero he has suspended over a vat of roiling acid.
The problem is that much of the civilized world reads the War on Terror as if it were a comic book. For hundreds of years the leaders of the Islamic world have sought to regain what they had lost and then some, but they lacked the money and the means to strike the West in any meaningful way. Today, flush with oil money and access to the modern world they strike us with the one weapon that has been the downfall of many an empire: our own complacency.
Here, without further fanfare the plot:
The First Phase Known as "the awakening" -- this has already been carried out and was supposed to have lasted from 2000 to 2003, or more precisely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington to the fall of Baghdad in 2003. The aim of the attacks of 9/11 was to provoke the US into declaring war on the Islamic world and thereby "awakening" Muslims. "The first phase was judged by the strategists and masterminds behind al-Qaida as very successful," writes Hussein. "The battle field was opened up and the Americans and their allies became a closer and easier target." The terrorist network is also reported as being satisfied that its message can now be heard "everywhere."
The Second Phase "Opening Eyes" is, according to Hussein's definition, the period we are now in and should last until 2006. Hussein says the terrorists hope to make the western conspiracy aware of the "Islamic community." Hussein believes this is a phase in which al-Qaida wants an organization to develop into a movement. The network is banking on recruiting young men during this period. Iraq should become the center for all global operations, with an "army" set up there and bases established in other Arabic states.
The Third Phase This is described as "Arising and Standing Up" and should last from 2007 to 2010. "There will be a focus on Syria," prophesies Hussein, based on what his sources told him. The fighting cadres are supposedly already prepared and some are in Iraq. Attacks on Turkey and -- even more explosive -- in Israel are predicted. Al-Qaida's masterminds hope that attacks on Israel will help the terrorist group become a recognized organization. The author also believes that countries neighboring Iraq, such as Jordan, are also in danger.
The Fourth Phase Between 2010 and 2013, Hussein writes that al-Qaida will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments. The estimate is that "the creeping loss of the regimes' power will lead to a steady growth in strength within al-Qaida." At the same time attacks will be carried out against oil suppliers and the US economy will be targeted using cyber terrorism.
The Fifth Phase This will be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, can be declared. The plan is that by this time, between 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al-Qaida hopes that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.
The Sixth Phase Hussein believes that from 2016 onwards there will a period of "total confrontation." As soon as the caliphate has been declared the "Islamic army" it will instigate the "fight between the believers and the non-believers" which has so often been predicted by Osama bin Laden.
The Seventh Phase This final stage is described as "definitive victory." Hussein writes that in the terrorists' eyes, because the rest of the world will be so beaten down by the "one-and-a-half billion Muslims," the caliphate will undoubtedly succeed. This phase should be completed by 2020, although the war shouldn't last longer than two years.
What part of this plan is impossible? Unless we in the West decide to heed the warning that President Bush has outlined 900,000 times since 9/11 then I believe that none of this is impossible - in fact it is all very probable.
Anytime I start to doubt that the Iraq War was the right thing to do I remind myself of the enemy we face. I realize that not only is Iraq the key to Western victory over islamo-facism it is hinge pin that all of modernity is swinging on.
There are enough goof balls in the West that believe we are leading unsustainable lifestyles, and enough people who detest Judeo-Christian precepts and the dynamic world it has created, who would gladly throw it all away. Just wait until they find that their political correctness and benign stewardship of mother earth has no meaning to their new Islamic rulers once this civilization crashes down.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
The Metropolitan Council (of the Twin Cities - Minneapolis/St. Paul) may regret ever sending me a survey form. According to the welcome letter I was randomly selected to participate in their state of the metro questionaire. I gleefully filled it out...
I have never been a big fan of the Met Council primarily over their growth restriction policies. By drawing an imaginary line beyond which they would not extend regional services they have managed to drive up property values on the inside making the nice houses in the outer ring suburbs out of reach for most of us. In turn it has forced people who desire a little more space and little more house for their money move further and further out encouraging the very sprawl they sought to supress. Eventually the road capacity out in the hinterlands becomes an issue and even more development follows the bigger, wider new roads.
Yes, the effects of unintended circumstances often plague central planning. This is not to say the Met Council doesn't play an important role in the areas where metro services cross city lines such as waste management, roads and mass transit.
The survey asked what was the single best thing and what was the single worst thing about our metro area. After traveling to nearly all the major cities in our region of the country I think it's fair to say that our prosperity is easily the best thing about the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. The worst thing is something we share with every city, county and state in the union: illegal immigration! I can almost guarantee this will not see the light of day when the results of this survey is published in a few months - but they have to hear it.
The other thing they will not like to hear is the inadequate state of our freeway capacity. The Twin Cities is around the 14th or 15th largest metro area in the country and yet we still have for the most part a 2 lane beltway circling the central cities. I am all for mass transist (I ride the bus everyday) when and where it makes sense. Still, the need for lane miles and sensible freeway design is elemental to the quality of life these central planners are so transfixed on.
Recently the Met Council opened up a one billion dollar light rail line to much fanfare. It runs 12 miles between the Mall of America, the airport and downtown Minneapolis... That's right - one billion dollars for 12 miles. Despite the fact that the ridership and usage surpasses what was expected the line accomplishes absolutely nothing in the way of traffic congestion relief. Seems like a whole lot of money for such a little return especially since the state and regional government will be subsidizing the damn thing in perpetuity.
Commuter rail defenders will say "well you have to start somewhere!" Indeed. Then WHY is the next line being pushed a rail link between the St. Cloud area and downtown Minneapolis? St Cloud is a city 70 miles away and the only thing a commuter rail will accomplish out there is more urban sprawl which is exactly what the Met Council is trying to supress.
I would be the first in line to ride the rail from my neighborhood in St. Paul that took me to my office in downtown Minneapolis - and there would be thousands of people standing behind me. A line from the east metro intersecting downtown St. Paul and ending in downtown Minneapolis would take thousands of cars off the freeway. A second line from the south metro to downtown Minneapolis would also relieve major daily freeway congestion. I may cost several billion dollars - but so does concrete for roads and overpasses and the gas to run all those cars riding on them.
I understand that the urbanization of more and more land will at some point be disasterous. What I don't understand is the central cities and the Met Council's excruciatingly slow pace on urban renewal. City life can be quite enjoyable and very practical especially as our population ages. Yet all the redevelopment seems to be on high end condos in the downtown areas when the need is for decent, modestly priced single family homes in nice neighborhoods. Perhaps my lack of knowledge about the economics of urban redevelopment hampers me on this - but why can't there be profitability in buldozing urban blight and building homes? It would seem to address the problem of sprawl and the infrastructure (roads, sewers, utilities etc) would already be there.
By and large my response to their survey is probably a lone voice barking in the wind. I do appreciate, however, that they do seemingly care what the Average Joe thinks.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
I rarely read Richard Cohen. Like Robert Scheer of the LA Times and Derrick Jackson of the Boston Globe I doubt he has anything to say we haven't heard a million times before. Besides the cynicism and hatred of all things conservative is a real turn off for us right-wingers. There are plenty of good liberal writers worth reading so that we can keep that mirror up in front of us - but these three are not among them.
Yesterday Cohen surprised me with a hit piece on his own party. Lets face it, the Democrats and the socialists have for years successfully portrayed the Republicans and conservatives as the intolerant, hateful and racist party. I think the libs are guilty of what psychologists like to call projection; pasting us with the qualities they themselves possess.
Cohen was lamenting the passing of the time honored tradition of politicians and public figures using boiler plate platitudes before addressing specific topics. For instance one might use the word "allegedly" when attributing a crime to a perp he knows to be guilty as sin. Today's Democrat skips right past the platitude and straight to the charge: President Bush IS a liar, Bill Bennet IS a racist, Tom Delay IS guilty - you get the drift.
Mr. Cohen goes on to defend William Bennet who was guilty of thinking out loud and nothing more when he made the "abort all black babies" statement on his radio show.
For prominent Democrats, it seemed it was not enough to forget their manners about DeLay. They then abandoned their party's tradition -- I would say "obligation" -- of defending unpopular speech by piling on William Bennett, the former education secretary, best-selling author and now, inevitably, talk show host.
Responding to a caller who argued that if abortion were outlawed the Social Security trust fund would benefit -- more people, more contributions, was the apparent (idiotic) reasoning -- Bennett said, sure, he understood what the fellow was saying. It was similar to the theory that the low crime rate of recent years was the consequence of high abortion rates: the fewer African American males born, the fewer crimes committed. (Young black males commit a disproportionate share of crime.) This theory has been around for some time. Bennett was not referring to anything new.
But he did add something very important: If implemented, the idea would be "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do."
He should have saved his breath. Prominent Democrats -- Harry Reid in the Senate, John Conyers and Rahm Emanuel in the House and, of course, Pelosi -- jumped all over him.
...and the alphabet networks wasted no time hauling out the twin buffoons of Sharpton and Jackson to condemn Bennet and all conservatives. I find it very racist of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC to constantly use the aforementioned buffoons as spokesmen for the entire American black community.
It is the party of the conservatives that is actually tolerant of diverse viewpoints. Liberals and Democrats in general regard their attitudes and beliefs to be so self evident that anything else is just crazy talk. Anyone who strays from the reservation is voted off permanently.
How many of you know that the junior Senator from Minnesota, the honorable Norm Coleman, was the Democratic Mayor of St. Paul in the early 90's? The problem with Norm was he wouldn't raise taxes. He also expressed that he and his wife were personally pro-life. The local Democratic party shunned him, failed to endorse his re-election run and mounted a frontal challenge against him keeping his job. Norm switched parties and won re-election easily.
His succsessor, Mayor Randy Kelly, a lifelong Democrat and a former state senator, had the audacity to endorse President Bush in this time of global war and now faces the same fate as Senator Coleman. The DFL is working against Mayor Kelly's re-election. Mr. Kelly has no intention of becoming republican - he gleefully embraces multiculturalism and "diversity" and all the other feel-good garbage the Democrats love - and he has since announced a significant raising of property taxes. Will his loyalty to the party and his about face on raising taxes save him? Not likely - he has commited an irreparable transgression when he refused to denouce his endorsement of Bush. The DFL has banned him from their clubhouse.
These are not the actions of a tolerant party. These are not the actions of a party that believes strongly in freedom of speech or freedom of expression. Their morally superior attitudes actually makes them more close-minded than their backward looking rivals on the right.
I used to vote for Democrats in another life, today I would be hard pressed to name even one who really impresses me as anything but a party line hack. Kelly was impressive despite his love of anything that says "diversity" because he saw the truth in some conservative ideals like low taxes and supporting private enterprise rather than punishing it with onerous regulations. I am afraid he will now bend over backwards for the wet kiss of the DFL. He will likely still lose the election. Mayor Kelly will experience first hand what the party of tolerance and free speech is really all about.