Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bound for the Border

We are heading for the border for the 4th of July week. My son and I will be joining several of my brothers and sisters in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. This is an annual trip that has become somewhat of a tradition and for once I'm joining in.

My son and I bought new fishing gear and upgraded our tent camping equipment. The little pop-up camper we had used for many years was sold this year - so it's back to the basics for us.

The weather here in the cities (which is several hundred miles south of the BWCA) has been spectacular. So, here's to hoping it remains spectacular!

Lord knows I need a vacation. My life has become so complicated and with work being so busy due to manpower shortages my mind is fried. Not to worry all the problems and pressures will be waiting for me when I get back. For one week I will try as hard as I can to cleanse my mind... Wish me luck.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Is Capitalist Inertia Killing the Electric Car?

The well known urban myth of the 100 MPG carburetor that was hushed by the oil industry has grown into legendary status. This myth has been busted by the simple limitations of physics. There is only so much energy potential in a gallon of gasoline to propel an average car down the road. Conspiracies are fun, but usually they are just plain goofy. You can weave a credible sounding conspiracy by taking any small element of truth and embellish it with a money/greed angle. Presto, there you have it, a conspiracy of your own.

Yet, there is a phenomena that is very conspiracy-like and in a sense it's the grandest conspiracy of them all. The basis of this is usually what we'd call vested interests or, who stands to lose the most? It's not necessarily organized into a covert and clandestine operation. In the short run it may not even be deleterious. It's called Capitalist Inertia.

In short, any massive and sudden change in business as usual is going to cause disruptions and pain (in someone's pocketbook). In any finely tuned system a sudden and massive change is usually not handled well by those who rely on things being "steady as she goes".

In the story of the electric car I suspect that the vested interests in the status quo have actually loosely conspired to keep the door closed on a large scale adoption of electric vehicles for the masses.

It seems from what I can deduce that the technology for a viable plug-in (not hybrid) electric car exists and for whatever reason it is being kept away from the consumer. Many suspect it is capitalist inertia. In the Sony Pictures movie "Who Killed the Electric Car" that's exactly what is implied.

Alexandra Paul, a well known actress and activist for personal electric locomotion, asks "did car companies really want electric cars to succeed?" in her 2006 editorial piece. This is a compelling question. She continues: The success of electric vehicles would have threatened the status quo and core business models of two of the world's biggest industries -- oil and automobile. It is more expedient for these companies to give lip service to hydrogen in an attempt to appear "green."

Obviously there are billions at stake for both the auto industry and the oil industry. The auto industry would be faced with cars that last much longer and require fewer parts which is a huge portion of the business. The effect on the oil business is obvious.

The auto industry could (and should) adapt. General Motors is working on a new program with a concept car called the Volt. This after many accused GM of killing the promising EV1 in the 1990's when oil prices stabilized. While GM claims there are still technical hurdles to overcome the Volt is said to be able to go a whopping 40 miles solely on battery power alone. Wow. I am not alone when I wonder how this huge company with millions of research dollars available can't do any better than that???

Just take a look at Tesla Motors. They have created what is in essence a super car. It can achieve dizzying performance purely with electric motors and has a range of up to 200 miles. And GM, Honda, Toyota and the others can't do that? Sure the Tesla is way out reach for the average car buyer costing over six figures, but geez each car is handmade! And GM, Honda, Toyota and the others can't do it cheaper???

Indeed rapidly upsetting the economic balance is not desirable, but this change has to happen. The pluses outweigh the minuses by a large margin. Capitalism will adapt, that is the very strength of a free market based economy. Soviet-style socialism could not adapt to world economic globalization and it collapsed. China, on the other hand has adapted by integrating capitalism into its totalitarian state. India has adapted as well by throwing out hard socialist restraints on their economy. It's time for the U.S. and the West to make the move, slowly at first, and usher in the beginning of the end of the oil age.

What I fear is a frustrated public whipped up by a populist (dictator in training) against our capitalist/market system. The problems with this system are well known and visible, but the promises of a benevolent government claiming to bring about a post-capitalist world, where productive activity will be performed for direct satisfaction of humanity while stepping lightly on the planetary environment is pie in the sky. Nothing will stop human self-interest. Nothing will meld humanity into a caring and sharing lot when each man has himself as the center of universe. Capitalism deals the best with our human nature as it is today. Feel good rhetoric about the abolition of wage labor, the emergence of new social relations where poverty is abolished in a classless, stateless, moneyless global human community is pure crap and we all know it.

The one thing that could allow such a populist to rise to power and dismantle our society is the cost of gas to run our cars. Without our cars we are not really free. Riding in trains is just great for those who choose it. But for all we know a modern Auschwitz might be what is waiting for us at the end of the line.

It's time we demanded of GM, Honda, Toyota and all the others to give us the choice of electric cars - before we all lose...


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Good News Soars On Eagles Wings

When I was a youngster seeing the majestic Bald Eagle was a real treat that made you stop in your tracks. This was true because it was a rare event. Today, while I still feel a tinge of wonderment - seeing a Bald Eagle is not so miraculous.

Right here in town I can drive down a major highway on my way to work and see a nesting pair no more than 60 yards from the road. This is the third year they have successfully raised eaglets within shouting distance of a bumper to bumper traffic jam.

In the lower 48 Minnesota tops the list with 1,312 known nesting pairs, followed by Florida with 1,133 pairs and Wisconsin's 1,065 pairs. It comes as no surprise that since I live in Minnesota and am a mere 15 miles from Wisconsin that I chance to see eagles regularly.

The Eagle is a truly national bird and has nesting pairs in every state in the lower 48 - nearly 9,800 of them in total. In Alaska the Bald Eagle was never in danger and are as common as crows. It is estimated that there are 40,000+ breeding pairs in the 49th state!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to remove the bald eagle from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. To ensure the eagle will be protected upon delisting, the Service is working to finalize the definition of "disturb" and the bald eagle management guidelines under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The Service is to make a decision on delisting the bald eagle by June 29, 2007. Many land owners eagerly await this date because their property is useless under the current rules.

It was the Bald Eagle for the most part that created the whole environmental movement in this country. As it is with many, many things in life, with environmentalism bad came with the good. There's little doubt that a growing awareness of how polluted we were letting our air, water and land become by the 1960's was a good thing. Land conservation and some environmental regulations have gone a long way toward making America a cleaner, more beautiful place to live. High technology has played it's part as well, but who is to say that without awareness and horn blowers that our culture would have focused so well on cleaning up our filthy output.

The detrimental effects of this environmental "awakening" have come about not by people with pure intentions but those who use lies and shaky science to drive an agenda. The agenda is almost always an attack on capitalism when it is truly examined. Global Warming is the at the very pinnacle of this hucksterism. In the foothills it was a small book written by a biologist and writer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Rachel Carson, it is said, became aware of the dangers of chemical pesticides in the decline of eagle populations, including DDT, but was also aware of the controversy within the agricultural community which needed such pesticides to support crop production. Carson made the decision to produce her book "Silent Spring" after years of research.

It's hard to say if Carson was a pawn or not but the truth about DDT was never told. Banning DDT, which it turned out was the cheapest safest way of prevent millions of deaths due to malaria, should have been treated as a crime against humanity.

In 1971 during the EPA hearings on the banning of DDT Dr. J. Gordon Edwards asserted that DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man. DDT is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man. The uses of DDT under the regulations involved did not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife. This flew right in the face of the most well-known allegation about DDT - that the insecticide supposedly caused declines in the populations of birds such as the Bald Eagle.

Edwards knew this was a lie. Bald Eagle populations had declined decades before DDT had ever been used. Actually, eagle populations were rebounding during the years of peak DDT use, according to bird counts.

Nonetheless DDT was banned by then EPA administrator William Ruckleshaus. Dr. Edwards investigated and uncovered disturbing statements and troubling connections between Ruckleshaus and anti-DDT environmental extremist groups. The fact that Ruckleshaus had made up his mind to ban DDT regardless of the facts is increased by his refusal of requests made under the Freedom of Information Act to turn over the documentation on which the ban was based.

Amazingly, just as critics of the "consensus" science on Global Warming are called deniers and are accused of being in the back pockets of the oil companies Dr. Edwards was also accused of being a "paid scientist". He was no such thing.

Before his death in 2004 he saw an about face by the New York Times and his nemesis, publisher Mr. Sulzberger, when they ran a pro-DDT editorial on Dec. 23, 2002 ("Fighting Malaria with DDT), a pro-DDT op-ed column on Aug. 7, 2003 (Is there a place for DDT?") and a pro-DDT New York Times Magazine article on April 11, 2004. ("What the World Needs Now is DDT").

Since then, there has been growing awareness for the need to rehabilitate DDT's image. Public health professionals and non-governmental organizations, notably Africa Fighting Malaria, stepped up efforts to increase the use of DDT. Alas, criminal charges will never be brought against busy-body do-gooders in the West who pushed to have DDT banned world-wide - they nearly succeeded and millions died.

Despite good old Ben Franklin's desire to relegate the Bald Eagle to scoundrel status (in favor of the truly awe inspiring Wild Turkey) I am glad this handsome bird is our national symbol. It was not the Bald Eagles fault it was used as a pawn - a role ill suited for this regal bird of prey.


Monday, June 18, 2007

New Music : Introducing Young Craig

Ladies and Gentleman (and you cavemen too) all of us here are pleased to announce the debut CD single from the Artist Formally Unknown to Everyone: Young Craig!

The debut CD single features 2 new songs "Save The World" and "The American Idol Song"

We invite you to listen or download the MP3's and share this link with everyone in your address book. This will be available after June 18th...

You can read the lyrics and find other information at the above link.

The reviews so far have been solid! Please share your impressions with us. Please comment anonymously or send an e-mail to


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Deficit, What Deficit?

What Are the Democrats Going to Run on In 2008?

Well it won't be "...the Economy Stupid". They say pocketbook issues are what elect people to office. In 1992 even though the economy was already picking up Bill Clinton successfully exploited Bush the Elder's weakness. It was Bush himself who was the recipient of Reagan's economic policies as he sailed into the White House against a feckless Dukakis who could only promise to raise taxes.

Oddly the smoke and mirrors economy of the late 90's didn't seem to help Gore- of course Gore couldn't help Gore - no one could. But when it comes to 2008 the democrats won't be able to point to high unemployment, corporate downsizing or sky high inflation. They can point to sky high gas prices, but their only solution is to make them higher - that's not a winning strategy.

The question is will they even have that old standby called the "deficit" to bash the Bush presidency with? Current projections indicate, assuming current economic growth that the deficit will push into surplus territory by April 2008 (see the chart) -source, click here-

It would be an utterly amazing feat to have an economy racked by terrorist attacks, recession, corporate scandals and wars pull itself up by its tax-cut bootstraps and restore surpluses before the Bush presidency ends. It's hard to say what the democrats will complain about then. George Will does a nice job (for once) framing the democrat's conundrum in this Washington Post piece.

Of course all of this will be short lived. The democrats now in control will never extend any Bush tax cuts. When the child tax credit goes back to $500 from a $1000, the marriage penalty is restored, the estate tax goes back to 50+% and capital gains taxes return to their 90's level there's a good possibility the economy will tank - or at least deficits will return about a year or so after Bush is out of office.

Never fear: It will still be his fault!


Government-run Healthcare: Disaster For All

Socialized Medicine Will Not Only Make You Wait - It Could Kill You

If there is one reason to consider not giving Hillary or Obama or Edwards (or any Democrat) the nod in Nov 2008 your health is it. No one is saying that the state of the healthcare industry in America is perfect. No one is saying that in a country like ours children should go without basic healthcare. But if you want to save the children nationalizing healthcare under a government-run single payer system is not the way to do it.

One need only to look at the British, Canadian and Cuban systems to see what would happen here on a massive scale. For certain some people (and corporations) in those countries love their healthcare system because its "free". Nothing in life is free. There are trade offs. In Cuba the trade off for "free" healthcare is freedom itself. That's why self-serving bastards like Michael Moore is so disingenuous when he hauls Americans to Havana for healthcare to make some kind of point about our country. The poor (and I mean poor in every sense) souls in Cuba would be beaten and jailed if they dare to try making a similar point about Cuba. Free healthcare without personal freedom is a joke!

I have a friend whose spouse is from Britain and she told me that her husband was worried about his sister because she was very ill and was coughing up blood. They suspected TB but wouldn't know for sure because her tests were not for another five weeks. Five weeks! That's not only ridiculous, its criminal! This gal is the lucky one, the NHS has just announced that no one waiting for tests or procedures will wait more that 18 weeks now.

My friend had lived in London in her youth and often touted how much she loved the NHS because it was "free" and portable. Now, oddly enough, she and her husband live here in the U.S. and with her being a mother now I can attest that she does not hesitate to get the tests she and her doctors think the kids need right NOW!

This was just one anecdote, but story repeats itself over and over in Britain and Canada. In the great white north we have heard stories about 60 year old patients being denied procedures because they were old and it would not be a good use of public healthcare resources. But these people paid into the system for 40 years through exorbitant taxes. That's called rationing. Do you want that here for your mother or your grandfather?

Our own experience in this country with the VA and Medicare should be enough of a wake up call. The government can not run an efficient and effective system. Do you want to risk your health and possibly your life supporting those who would foist this upon you?

I think America and the rest of the world have to realize that a one size fits all healthcare system does not work. We need to accept a two tiered health system - one for those who can afford it and one for those who can't. The best doctors and equipment will go where the money is.

One way to ensure that most people can be served by the upper tier is to revamp the insurance system. Allow workers to shop for and buy their own plan, a plan that suits them. It would get companies out of the healthcare administration business by boiling down the whole thing to a monetary benefit on a paycheck as opposed to an entire system of administrators and coordinators. Some call it a Medical Savings Account others call it something else but the point is to make the patient the owner of his health plan. The portability problem is solved by this.

Ideas like this have been on the table for years and because they make too much sense they will never be adopted. The conservatives and Republicans who generally favor this approach have never had the backbone to fight for it and the liberals and the Democrats will have none of it because they want socialized healthcare so that the "rich" have to suffer along with the rest of us.

But the rich won't suffer, your moronic liberals, they never do. They will simple get on a jet and fly to India or Thailand where they will be able to get their tests and treatments while you sit here on your flipping high horse coughing up blood waiting for your TB test...


Monday, June 04, 2007

The Church of Global Warming

Coming to a School Near You

Something strange happened
at my son's school during the parent-teacher conference. Me, the parent, got an education. Something else happened too - the teacher (or priestess, if you prefer) was confronted. You should have seen the look on her face!

As I quickly looked over my 8th grader's progress report (by the way - another school that did away with A,B,C,D and F in favor of good, close, tried hard and disadvantaged) I saw a class called Global Warming. I did a double take. There it was surrounded by Math, Phy-ed, Spanish and Art. My initial reaction was "you've got to be kidding me?"

"You have a class called Global Warming?" I asked incredulously. "This is part of the regular curriculum?"

"Oh yes," she said. "It's a combined Earth Science and Social Studies unit."

With a look of grave concern I said that I had a problem with that. She was stunned. I assume not one other parent had raised an eyebrow. I said, "Let me ask you something, you do realize that the climate is always changing, that there have been times on this Earth when it was a lot hotter than it is now and other times when it was a lot colder, right? I'm talking about a time long before SUV's , coal fired power plants and Al Gore." She sheepishly agreed. "You do tell these kids that there is still a debate over the "human caused theory" despite what Al Gore says, don't you?" Slack-jaw stare... "How about the Sun? Do you discuss the Sun's role in our climate?"

"Well, we watch documentaries and look at models and talk about ways we can all save energy. We talk about melting glaciers and species extinction."

I smiled "I don't think that mankind should wantonly pollute and we should do all we can to cleanup after ourselves and we should develop high tech solutions to the problems with fossil fuels. I have absolutely no problem with conservation as a personal virtue, but you know what would bother me?" I said sternly. "If you are pointing your fingers at these kids and telling them that they are to blame for global warming, I got a huge problem with that!"

"Oh no, we don't do that."

I could clearly see that I had taken this teacher quite by surprise. In my mind I could see these teachers taking the role of the nuns at the Catholic school and laying the proverbial guilt trip on these young kids. You'll go to hell Johnny if you don't save the world - and your little dog too!

As I left I was convinced that all my son's teachers were going to hear how much of a kook his father is. Oh well.

I have no doubt that they are going to know who filled out the "anonymous" survey that said simply, blah blah blah for my opinion on how important diversity was in my child's education.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Enemies Within

In a country where government entities are openly hostile to religion isn't it curious how we keep hearing about special accommodations being made for one religion under the guise of "tolerance".

In Minnesota and other states as well we read how colleges and universities are constructing special ritual washing areas for Muslim students because it is an important part of their prayer requirements. These are public institutions not private colleges. Where is this so-called separation of church and state? According to article by Katherine Kersten in the Minneapolis StarTribune the accommodations will not stop there.

"eventual objectives on American campuses include the following, according to the website: permanent Muslim prayer spaces, ritual washing facilities, separate food and housing for Muslim students, separate hours at athletic facilities for Muslim women, paid imams or religious counselors, and campus observance of Muslim holidays."

Again, I ask where is this so-called separation of church and state? These things are already in place in many colleges. We have heard of some colleges who are now removing the crucifix from chapels citing the divisiveness and offensiveness of this Christian symbol.

In Boston it has come to light a sweetheart deal for the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) for a prime piece of land adjacent to Roxbury Community College. According to an article in the Weekly Standard plans for the land were initially for the construction of a "garage." When the deal was investigated by Bill Sapers, a member of the college's foundation he learned:

"the land had been conveyed for somewhere between 10 percent and 40 percent of its appraised value. On the plot, the ISB was going to build a $22 million mosque with a 125-foot minaret and a 75-foot dome. In exchange for the city's largesse, the ISB would provide nebulously defined services to Roxbury Community College, including an educational lecture series, and nebulously defined services to the city, including maintenance of a nearby public park."

He also learned the the ISB has as members known radical jihadists. It comes as no suprise that most of the local media (read: liberal media) in Boston is ignoring the story. Only the local FOX affiliate (surprise, surprise), The Boston Herald (a paper a fraction of the size of the Boston Globe) and Jeff Jacoby, the token conservative at the Boston Globe, have picked up the ISB's sleight of hand aspect of the story.

There is evidence that just as large swaths of the mainstream media conspired in 1996 to ensure favorable press for Bill Clinton's reelection there has been a concerted effort to turn a blind eye to Islamic encroachment into the public realm. This while the media actively chides Christian and Jewish aspects of the culture for the very same thing. It can be argued fairly that no religion should be entwined into the public realm, but this kind of story is repeating itself across the nation.

There is no intent by me or any of the people bringing this phenomenon to the publics attention to deny Muslims in America their right to worship. Let them build their mosques - we just don't like the double standard and the uncritical examination by the powers in the media and the governments that oversee public policy and the cultural implications of these blinders.