December 31, 2010

2010 Warmest Ever?

USA Today says that 2010 might just be the warmest year since record keeping began:

This will be the 34th consecutive year that the global temperature will be above average, according to the data center. The last below-average year was 1976.

I'm sure you folks in Florida agree, yes? Frost on the windows doesn't mean we're not getting warmer, after all... yeah, right.

Take a look at the chart up top. If 2010 is the warmest year since record keeping began (in 1880, evidently), it will still rank as one of the coldest years in the last 10,500 years. Click on the chart for more information, but the key trick here, as always, is to throw away the entire history of the Earth up until the year 1880 and then claim this year is horribly hot.

Of the past 10,500 years, 9,100 (87 percent) were warmer than 2010. Now, be scared and do as the government says.

2010 as the warmest year is put to rest by Christopher Monckton

December 30, 2010

Service Lost

The idea that county, city, state and federal workers are performing a public service is being lost. To have NYC workers purposefully delay clearing the roads shows just how ill the relationship between governmnent workers and the people they serve can get. The fact that people's lives are in jeopardy, with emergency vehicles unable to reach those in need -- appears to be less important than padding paychecks and union loyalties.

Out in the heartland, where this infection of losing the concept of service has not yet taken hold, workers, both volunteer and paid, still rise in the night to put out fires, still offer up their four-wheel drives to reach those in need and still push back snow and fix water, electric and gas leaks and remove waste tirelessly. And the public they serve still appreciates and honors them. Budget shortfalls will put a strain on this relationship between service providers and the public they serve... public displays of appreciation is one way to let hard workers and life riskers know the difference they make.

So as the end of the year comes near -- thank you, thank you to all of you in county, city, state and federal government -- as well as those who volunteer as fire fighters, hospital workers, social workers, teachers and aids -- who are doing your best, working your hardest, in service to the public. Don't take complaints about the worst of you as definition of your efforts.

December 23, 2010

Iran, Venezuela and Russia

We haven't taken care of the last "Axis of Evil" and it's already spreading to the Americas.

Among the two most alarming revelations is the already completed sale and delivery, to Venezuela by Russia, of nearly 2,000 advanced, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles capable of hitting aircraft as high as 19,000 feet. Equally and perhaps more alarming is an October agreement between Iran and Venezuela. The agreement establishes a joint ground-to-ground missile base on Venezuelan soil and calls for the sharing of missile technology and the training of technicians and officers. In addition, Venezuela may use the missiles as it chooses for "national needs" and in case of "emergency." Several types of missiles will be deployed, giving Venezuela the ability to strike targets throughout South and Central America and throughout the U.S.

Are we going to have to pat-down Hugo Chavez before every flight takes off in America?

December 21, 2010

UN Resolution for Indigenous Peoples

President Obama has reversed the Bush Administration's position on the UN resolution stating "Indigenous Peoples Have the Right to the Lands They Have Traditionally Owned, Occupied or Otherwise Used or Acquired." 

Section 26 of that resolution says, "Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired," and it says nations "shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources."  President Bush thought that section made the resolution impossible to follow since it doesn't recognize current legal rights to the land.

I don't quite see how Congress will ever agree to passing this thing... On the other hand, there's a case to be made that the only people  Indigenous to the Americas (The Clovis culture) died out when a comet hit the north American ice shield 12,900 years ago.  Since then, everyone's an immigrant.  What does indigenous mean, anyway, except that you claim your culture originated on the land where you live.  I so claim.

EPA Removes Saccharin from Hazardous Substances

The EPA has removed saccharin from the agency's list of hazardous substances.  Saccharin is no longer considered a potential hazard to human health.

EPA scientist Emily Litella spoke to the press, saying, "Never mind."

Clark Griswold, eat your heart out

December 17, 2010

Full Lunar Eclipse Coming Your Way

If you wake up way early Tuesday morning 12/21 (or go to bed way late Monday night 12/20), take a glance at the moon.  North America has a front row seat to a full lunar eclipse beginning 12/21 at 12:55am, becoming complete from 2:41am to 3:53am, and ending at 5:35am.

The moon should be reddish orange for over an hour!

December 15, 2010

Great Start, Norwell

The Knights are off to a great start this basketball season.  The girls are 6-1, having lost only to 4A Homestead, and the boys are 4-1, having lost only to 3A Whitko.   The girls have a 23 point average margin of victory while the boys have a 10 point margin of victory. 

Keep it up!

December 10, 2010

Iran placing missiles in Venezuela?

This can't be good...

The situation that is unfolding in Venezuela has some resemblance to the Cuba crisis of 1962. At that time, Cuba was acting on behalf of the USSR; now Venezuela is acting on behalf of Iran. At present, the geopolitical situation is very different: the world is no longer ruled by two superpowers; new nations, often with questionable leaders and the ambition of acquiring global status, are appearing on the international scene. Their danger to the free world will be greater if the process of nuclear proliferation is not stopped. Among the nations that aspire to become world powers, Iran has certainly the best capabilities of posing a challenge to the West.

Back in the 1962, thanks to the stern stance adopted by the then Kennedy administration, the crisis was defused

Nowadays, however, we do not see the same firmness from the present administration. On the contrary, we see a lax attitude, both in language and in deeds, that results in extending hands when our adversaries have no intention of shaking hands with us.

I think maybe it's time for Hugo Chevez to join Manuel Noriega in that French Prison... does Obama have any Ramones tunes on his iPod?


November 29, 2010

Title IX

Title IX, which simply reads,

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

really opened up women's sports in America... but the law which once allowed Norwell girls to try out for the boys' tennis team because there was no girls' tennis team and which created the great girls' basketball system we see today, has become a hammer in modern schools. To avoid lawsuits, high schools and colleges have decided that the ratio of boys to girls in a school must be reflected in athletics. Since for decades the education system in America has been focusing on providing opportunities for women, colleges currently have a ratio of 60 women for every 40 men. Thus, to avoid lawsuits, colleges work to have 60 female athletes for every 40 male athletes.

The trouble is, after great early strides added girls' sports, and since (in general) more men seem to want to participate in sports than women, the only cost-effective way to achieve the matching ratio in athletics was not to add girls' sports -- because the coaches, the facilities and the time were just not feasible in the budgets of the schools. The only way to achieve the needed ratio to avoid lawsuits was to eliminate boys' teams, and that is what many high schools and colleges are doing and have done.

What's interesting to me, though, is that Title IX says nothing, not one word, about sports. The law that once allowed access for women into shop class and for men into home economics class, has been turned into a one way sports quota system. But who is looking out for equality in the ratios between guys and gals in, say, cheerleading, or journalism, or theater, or band or other really important things like attendance and GPA? Nobody, that's who, and perhaps that's why more women than men attend and are successful in college these days.

November 28, 2010

Godspeed Leslie Nielson

Lelsie Nielson has passed away at age 84.

"Surely you're not serious"  "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley."

November 22, 2010

Flying with Points

It seems to me that the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) could easily come up with a point system that would take a major step in eliminating the long lines and the public unrest at airports.  They wouldn't even have to publish it, they could keep it secret so the terrorists don't know exactly what is being used to identify them.  The data would come from a combination of security databases, answering standard questions or even providing your Social Security Number for the purchase of tickets. Every ticket would end up having a point value and if the value exceeded a certain amount, the traveler would have to go through the strip-search x-ray machine or be patted down.

Something like this: 

A US citizen:  0 points 
Male:  10 points
Female: 5 points
Current Military: free pass
Veteran over 65: free pass
US Citizen over 70: take away 20 points
A non-US citizen:  20 points
A non-US citizen from terror-list country: 40 points
Been to a terror-list country in last ten years?:  40 points
A frequent flier:  0 points
Flying with Family:  0 points
Round-trip ticket:  0 points
One way ticket: 20 points
Small airplane:  0 points
Medium sized airplane: 10 points
Large airplane: 20 points
Destination New York: 25 points
Destination LA:  20 points
Destination Chicago: 15 points
Random:  Add 40 points to every 500th person.

You get the idea... once a certain point level is reached, you go through a different scanner.  You're from a terror-list country, on a one way ticket to New York on a large airliner?  You bet you're over the point count.  You're from Fort Wayne, IN flying with your family on round trip ticket to Orlando?  Pass on through.  The vast, vast majority of travelers would not need to be examined.  I believe they are doing the random thing now... you can ask when you get your tickets if any of them are going to be scanned and you can opt out your kids under 12 before you even get to the security area.


November 21, 2010

2010 Might be the Warmest Year on Record?

NASA is touting the likelihood that 2010 may be judged the warmest year on record, moving past 1998, which previously held the record.

First of all, NASA had to retract that 1998 was the warmest year on record after it was discovered that a Y2K error in the NASA models caused it to be just a little warmer than 1934. NASA, to their discredit, then decided to go regional on us, claiming 1934 was the warmest year in the United States, but not in the world. Imagine the difficulty involved in that determination... that 1934 was the warmest year in America, but the rest of the planet, no so much. For that matter, the whole idea of taking the temperature of planet Earth, which is ever changing, with weather stations that are ever changing, by people and nations that are ever changing... and then claiming this year is a half a degree warmer than that year is just downright silly.

Secondly, NASA has delayed and outright refused freedom of information requests to release the math they use to arrive at these claims. NASA doesn't record the temperatures, they take others' data and post-process it with fudge factors they refused to release to the public (even though we pay for it) and then claim it's getting hotter.

Thirdly, as I've said before, in 1990, NOAA started eliminating all weather stations at high altitudes and in rural areas from their recording lists -- these, of course, were all stations which recorded cooler temperatures, on average -- so NOAA now favors more easily visited stations in warmer areas. Where they used to look at 7500 weather stations, now they only look at 1500 or less. The temperature immediately started to rise (surprise, surprise).

Lastly, though I'm sure there are other complaints, let's get someone to tell us how this determination of "warmest December," "warmest winter," "warmest year" is being determined. In England, for example, their NOAA, called "The Met" records the highest temperatures and lowest temperatures of each day. They then take the highest 15 readings between November and March and average them to determine how warm the winter has been... if you can see how silly that is, why can't they? In early January 2010 the Met announced that the winter of 2010 was the warmest on record -- and they hadn't even gone through January, February and March! All because November 2009 had been a warm month -- all 15 of the warmest days were in November of 2009. Of course it escapes them that a winter could easily be both the warmest and coldest on record in the same year.

Just remember, when these warmest years and coldest years claims come out... the temperature ranges on Earth between -90 degrees Celsius to +60 degrees Celsius and that has not changed throughout 30 years of global warming. There is no average temperature on Earth, we do not have the monitoring technology to determine the average temperature on Earth. The temperature where you are when you read the thermometer averaged with the temperature in Alaska or Mongolia or Australia or Chad -- is meaningless.

November 16, 2010

Bullies

The Transportation Safety Administration is now investigating the man who opted out going through the strip-search scanner and then refused to be patted down. The TSA told him he would have to leave the airport, which he chose to do. After he left the scanning/pat-down area, but before he got out the door of the airport, some administrator told him he could be fined up to $10,000 for leaving (after he was told he must leave if he refused to be searched). So the current rules, apparently, are that once you step into line, stepping out will result in the TSA working to destroy you.

And now they are doubling down on their pat-down/molestations in their attempt to stop anyone from opting out of the strip-search scanners.

The TSA is run by bullies.

November 12, 2010

Dark Matter, or Time Winding Down

The red areas in the image above represent dark matter missing in Milky Way. Scientists don't understand the apparent speed and movement in the universe based on the amount of matter we can see. They theorize there must be huge amounts of matter out there we just can't see (thus, dark matter). To make what is observed match Newton's laws, dark matter must make up 80% of the matter in the universe. So if an eight slice pizza was the universe, you would open your pizza box and only see two pieces, one of them half eaten.

Some say, dark matter is proof that we really don't understand the universe at all... I mean, if you have to make up a substance that can't be seen that is four times bigger than what you do see just to make your observations accurate, something must be off somewhere. Some say the amount of dark matter needed to make the universe move properly is proof that the Big Bang theory is wrong, that the universe always was and always will be in a steady state.

A new theory does away with dark matter through the hypothesis that time is slowing down... this would explain why the further away stars are, the faster they appear to move. If time itself is not constant, all the calculations used to map celestial movement are off and would need a gigantic fudge factor (dark matter) for them to make sense.

So what happens when time stops?

Update: And there is also the Electric Universe Theory, as well, which if you ask me, which you didn't, seems to match observation much better than the Big Bang/Dark Matter theory to which mathematicians subscribe.

November 11, 2010

Top Selling Authors of the last Decade

A nice list of the top selling authors 2000-2009. You might guess that JK Rowling would be right up there -- and you might be right!

Author Books Sold (Value)
1 JK Rowling 29,084,999 (£225.9m)
2 Roger Hargreaves 14,163,141 (£26.6m)
3 Dan Brown 13,372,007 (£74.1m)
4 Jacqueline Wilson 12,673,148 (£69.9m)
5 Terry Pratchett 10,455,397 (£77.2m)
6 John Grisham 9,862,998 (£65.9m)
7 Richard Parsons 9,561,776 (£49.2m)
8 Danielle Steel 9,119,149 (£51m)
9 James Patterson 8,172,647 (£53.8m)
10 Enid Blyton 7,910,758 (£31.2m)

See the entire top 100 at the link, it's quite interesting.

November 4, 2010

Sparky "Captain Hook" Anderson 1934-2010

Sparky Anderson has passed away.  Being a kid, growing up in Indiana, the Big Red Machine managed by Sparky Anderson had a huge impact on us.  Godspeed, Sparky.

November 3, 2010

Anti-Incumbent Fever?

37 Senate seats were up for grabs.  14 Senators either retired or decided not to run this year, so 23 Incumbents were running.  Only 2 lost.

254 Congressional seats were up for grabs.  37 Representatives either retired or decided not to run this year, so 217 Incumbents were running.  4 of those Incumbents lost in the primaries.  I have not seen how many of those 213 that remained in the General Election lost, but will update this post if I find the number.

October 29, 2010

Top 25 Halloween Movies

John Nolte's Top 25 Halloween Movies countdown (be sure to click on each for a nice analysis/synopsis):

Netflix: Yes/No/Instant! Queue

25. The Blair Witch Project (1999) Yes
24. The Uninvited (1944) No
23. The Others (2001) Yes
22. The Thing (1951 and 1982) 1982-Yes 1951-No
21. Wolfen (1981) Yes
20. Salem's Lot (1979) Not yet
19. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) Yes
18. Near Dark (1987) Yes
17. An American Werewolf in London (1981) Instant!
16. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987) Yes
15. The Ring (2002) Yes
14. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) Instant!
13. The Orphanage (2007) Instant!
12. The Night Stalker (1972) Yes
11. The Hills Have Eyes (1977) Yes
10. Rosemary's Baby (1968) Yes
9. The Changeling (1980) Yes
8. The Last House on the Left (1972) Instant!
7. Freaks (1932) Yes
6. Halloween (1978) Yes
5. George Romero Zombie Movies (1968-2005) Instant! Yes.
4. The Exorcist (1973) Instant!
3. Psycho 1960 Yes
2. Universal Studio Monsters (1931-1954) Instant! Yes.
1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) Yes

Note: As I post this, the countdown is ongoing, but since this weekend will likely be prime Halloween Movie watching time, I'm sending it now and will update it as the final three are revealed.

October 28, 2010

October 27, 2010

Negative Ads



What should have been said to Matt Lauer: Matt, I'd like you to go back to your bosses at NBC and get them to pledge to only provide good, positive news and not air anything negative about any of the candidates on this stage on any NBC broadcast until after the election. Once they agree, I'll agree as well. But do you know what they'll say? They'll say, who the hell is she to tell us what the public has a right to know? Who the hell is she to tell us our business. But I'm game if you are, Matt, let me know what they say.

Government Intervention

VP Biden says,

"Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive. In the middle of the Civil War you had a guy named Lincoln paying people $16,000 for every 40 miles of track they laid across the continental United States. … No private enterprise would have done that for another 35 years."

In other words, the government has glommed onto and intruded upon every great idea anyone has had in America for the last 200 years.  Besides that, Biden is talking about the Transcontinental Railroad and the government paid minimum $16K in bonds per mile -- much more over more difficult terrain -- not per 40 miles.  Does Biden mention that the whole idea was tied up in Congress for decades because all of them wanted the railroad to go through their own state?  It wasn't until the South seceded from the Union that the North was able to pass the legislation for Lincoln to sign.

Aside from that, can VP Biden point to the legislation that invented the assembly line?  The electric light? The telephone? The air conditioner?  Duct tape?  Toasters? Slinkies? Airplanes?  The iPod?  Google?  How about aspirin?  Did government vision invent aspirin, because his statement is so idiotic it gives me a really big headache.


October 26, 2010

The Zombie Apocalypse

Frank Fleming has a way with words regarding why the Republicans will win next week even though they're awful.

... you have a car stuck in ditch, so you call the mechanic, but the only tool he brings with him is a sledgehammer. And then he smashes your car to pieces and charges you $100,000 for his service. Finally, he calls you racist for complaining.

Read the whole thing at the link, if you're into zombie apocalyptic analogies... or dogs barking in the night.

October 25, 2010

Heresy and the Creation of Monsters

Judith Curry has started her own blog in response the strange Scientific American article about her.  At both links, the comments are as interesting as the articles.

If you've not been following the fallout from the Global Warming emails, this is that.

Deficit Commission Looters

The Deficit Commission (set up to give Congress cover when they raise our taxes) says the mortgage interest deduction costs the government nearly $1 Trillion a year.  Look, let's get this straight, the government costs me a lot of money every year.  Me keeping my own money does not cost the government anything.  What costs the government money is the things for which they write checks!

Congress and the President claim the deficit commission was set up to recommend the tough choices (because Congress and the President are too wimpy to tell the American people we have to cut back on services) to get us out of debt:

[Deficit Commission] officials have found there aren't any easy ways to balance the budget, and they are expected to steer clear of more polarizing issues like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and a broad rewrite of the tax code in their short-term recommendations.

Aside from raising our taxes, the commission is considering whether to recommend "a freeze on domestic discretionary spending"  (shock and awe, baby, shock and awe). 

October 24, 2010

Private Docs Must be Released

A Judge in Alaska has just ruled that private documents pertaining to Joe Miller (Republican running for Senator of Alaska) must be released to the public because

"...although Mr. Miller has a legitimate expectation of privacy in those documents, Mr. Miller's right to privacy is indeed outweighed by the public's significant interest in the background of a public figure who is running for the U.S. Senate," the judge said. He noted that U.S. senator is among the highest elected offices in the nation."

Well, well, well... is this a new precedent which will finally allow us to see President Obama's college records?  And how will this affect people running for office in the future? 

October 22, 2010

The Truth about Thorium

Popular Mechanics includes a very nice article this month about using Thorium for nuclear power.  As I've mentioned here before, Thorium is more plentiful than Uranium, it produces more power by mass than Uranium, its waste is not usable for weapons and decays far faster than Uranium.  The ony reason we're not using it today is because we wanted Uranium for bombs.


The Sun is Crackling

The mega-filament of magnetized material on the lower right of the Sun is longer than the distance between the Earth the Moon... and it's crackling with solar flares.

October 21, 2010

Ready, Willing and Able



From the movie Ready, Willing and Able in 1937. Pretty inventive... when will talent like this roll around in Hollywood again?

Via TYWKIWDBI.

On the Firing of Juan Williams

NPR fired Juan Williams? 

Now, I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us who went through 9/11 would be pretty nervous of those in Muslim garb on airplanes; number two, that NPR acted stupidly in firing somebody when there was already proof that they were not bigoted and were, in fact, a well know author and historian of civil rights in America ; and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history at NPR of African-Americans and Latinos not being hired in the first place. That's just a fact

October 20, 2010

Fearful Weather

I've always thought the best thing about the weather is that people accept it for what it is. You don't deal with the weather the way you deal with people, you look outside, measure the sky and act accordingly. Oh, you can plan a bit -- buy a generator, store some water and food, keep a stock of candles just in case -- but nobody has preconceptions about weather months, let alone years, in advance. They just step outside and accept it.

But now we're constantly told to be afraid. Just today, we're told, we can look forward to extreme drought as hasn't every been seen in the Western Hemisphere, with the western two thirds of America looking like Death Valley for decades and decades -- coming to a theater near you in 20 years or so.

The thing is, scientists are people, too. If world governments dangle billions of dollars in front of the scientific community to research Climate Change... you can bet there will be plenty of reasons found for further research. 95% of the climate models being used to predict future climate have failed to match observations. Propounding the worst as justification for action not likely to alter the outcome doesn't work forever... eventually people step outside and let the fall breeze tousle their hair...and they smile.

Update: Do we even measure precipitation properly?

October 17, 2010

Hummel

Purdue's Hummel out for the season.  Same knee as last year.  We'll see how far Purdue falls in the rankings... they had been in the top three in the nation for awhile.

October 6, 2010

Paying more next year?

Congress went home without passing a budget because they were too afraid overspending would be used against them. And they went home without extending the Bush tax cuts because they were too afraid tax increases would be used against them. But neither issue sits idly by while candidates, back home, lie to their constituents. We keep borrowing and spending despite our lack of a budget, and the Treasury department is busily assuming your tax rates are going up next year because that is the law Congress failed to change on their way out the door.

Congress returns in the middle of November, which is when the tax-rate tables are normally sent to businesses for the new year. Unless Congress acts immediately upon return, every single earner in America is likely going to be paying the higher tax rate in early 2011.

Norwell Girls Volleyball, 18-10

The Norwell Girls Volleyball team is 18-10 on the season, facing Homestead (4-11), Concordia (6-6) and Bluffton (3-13) yet this season.  The Knights have no Juniors on the team this year -- just four seniors, three sophomores and five freshman. 

Norwell Football, 2-5

Norwell's had a tough season and it's about to get tougher.  The Knights sit at 2-5 and face 5A Homestead (6-1) and 4A Columbia City (6-1) in the final two games.

The Knights two blowout victories were against 3A Heritage (3-4) and 4A DeKalb (0-7).  The Northeast Hoosier Conference is split between feast and famine teams. This year, Columbia City, Homestead, New Haven and East Noble have been feasting while Carroll, Norwell, Bellmont and DeKalb are enduring famine rebuilding years.

Good luck to the Knights, I've been there, it ain't easy.

September 30, 2010

StuxNet Paranoia

Chris Carter writes in the US Report that the StuxNet virus that infected the Iranian nuclear power plant may also make the Iranians paranoid.

American companies are under constant cyber-attack by the Chinese... it's a story the culture-obsessed media is failing to cover. The attacks are like a buzzing of gnats all around our business culture and it take constant effort to protect our computers and data from theft and destruction.

But just as when modern American warfare capabilities were put on full display in the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan and it became clear what smart-bomb technology can/could/did do to our enemies -- taking them apart with the precision of a circus knife thrower, so this StuxNet virus shows what truly advanced cyber warfare looks like. We don't know, today, which Iranian enemy planted the virus, but let's hope it's either us, or an ally of ours. And let's hope that along with the development of this virus (which can wreak havoc on systems controlling infrastructure) an antidote was developed, as well.

Iranians seek help, but no white flag yet.

There's Two Sides to Every Story

The Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers, how they lived, what they have achieved.  A lengthy, interesting article.

Can Obamacare be Repealed?

With the news that McDonald's will drop its workers off its popular mini-health-care plan due to the new Health Care law unless they get a waiver, it becomes clear that the longer Congress waits to repeal the Health Care overhaul, the harder it will be to undo what's been done, especially when more and more businesses drop their employees and pay the default fines.

Godspeed Tony Curtis

Tony Curtis has passed away at 85, pictured above with his one-time wife, Janet Leigh and daughters Jamie Lee and Kelly Curtis.

I loved him as Houdini, didn't you?

September 25, 2010

The Military and UFO's

Members of the military are meeting at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss their encounters with UFO's.  Should be interesting.

September 24, 2010

Christopher Coates Testifies

A Justice Department prosecutor is blowing the whistle on the Justice Department's voting rights division.

American Hero negates a year of Justice Department spin

He has practiced voting rights law longer than any other lawyer at the Justice Department. His testimony today was the worst possible nightmare for the Obama political officials responsible for the dismissal.


September 23, 2010

Has the US attacked Iran?

Malicious Computer Worm Launched at Industrial Targets

The Stuxnet computer worm spreads through previously unknown holes in MicroSoft's Windows operating system and then looks for a type of software made by Siemans and used to control industrial components, including valves and brakes.

Stuxnet can hide itself, wait for certain conditions and give new orders to the components that reverse what they would normally do, the experts said. At a closed-door conference this week in Maryland, Ralph Langner, a German industrial controls safety expert, said Stuxnet might be targeting not a sector but perhaps only one plant, and he speculated that it could be a controversial nuclear facility in Iran.

According to Symantec, which has been investigating the virus and plans to publish details of the rogue commands on Wednesday, Iran has had far more infections than any other country.

Interesting.

September 22, 2010

Anyone got any Lipstick?

President Obama shows off his prize pig.

"No, she's not a pig, she's my signature legislative achievement, and she's six months old today... Anyone got any lipstick?"

September 10, 2010

Martian Ice

Water ice in crater at Martian North Pole, picture taken in February, 2005.  I don't remember seeing this, at the time.  The frozen water covers several miles of the crater.

via TYWKIWDBI

September 9, 2010

Norwell vs. Bellmont at Lucas Oil

Norwell's had a rough start to the football season, defeating Heritage, but falling to Carroll and Leo. Let's hope they can put the hurt on Bellmont when they meet down in Indy at the Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday 9/11 at 1:45pm.

Burning Books

A pastor at an itty-bitty church in Florida says he's gonna burn copies of the Koran. He's visited by the FBI, the President of the United States asks him to not do it, the Pope asks him not to do it, the Attorney General of the United States calls him an idiot, the American Secretary of State calls him disgraceful. the top American General in the Army tells him he's endangering American troops, Religious and political leaders across the Muslim world tell him he's putting Christians and Americans in harms way across the globe...  

I suspect he's made his point. None of these important people see Islam as a religion of peace, but they keep on telling us it is.  It appears the emperor has no clothes and all it took to prove it was one little church in Florida pointing it out.

September 8, 2010

Student Loan Bubble

A nice article on the soon-to-possibly-burst studen loan bubble.  Just how long can we go on paying $65-100 thousand for a degree that pays $25-30 thousand a year?  Just how many defaults will it take before the whole industry collapses of its own weight?  In 20 years, when our grandkids are headed to college, will our children still be paying on their own loans?

September 3, 2010

The Milky Way

The Milky Way, as seen in Death Valley, California

Mr. Unpopular

Elkhart remembers a different Barack Obama...

A sense of disappointment, bordering on betrayal, has been growing across the country, especially in moderate states like Indiana, where people now openly say they didn't quite understand the President they voted for in 2008. The fear most often expressed is that Obama is taking the country somewhere they don't want to go. "We bought what he said. He offered a lot of hope," says Fred Ferlic, an Obama voter and orthopedic surgeon in South Bend who has since soured on his choice. Ferlic talks about the messy compromises in health care reform, his sense of an inhospitable business climate and the growth of government spending under Obama. "He's trying to Europeanize us, and the Europeans are going the other way," continues Ferlic, a former Democratic campaign donor who plans to vote Republican this year. "The entire American spirit is being broken."

I don't think the American Spirit is broken yet, but if Republicans are elected in November and continue down the Bush path of Government Control and Growth, it won't be long.

Consensus no more...

The United Nations Climate Panel is being challenged by other scientific groups on their lack of science...

What does the best evidence now tell us? That man-made global warming is a mere hypothesis that has been inflated by both exaggeration and downright malfeasance, fueled by the awarding of fat grants and salaries to any scientist who'll produce the "right" results.

Finally, someone is mentioning the monetary incentives given to scientists for "believing" in man-made global warming.

September 1, 2010

Knights Netters 7-0

The Norwell Boys Tennis Team improved to 7-0 on the season, defeating Huntington North 5-0.

Since Huntington South, Huntington East and Huntington West High Schools don't exist, the Norwell boys can cross Huntington off their list and move on.

August 31, 2010

The Manning Rule

Peyton Manning (and other quarterbacks in the league) is frustrated with a rule change that slows down the game.

From what I could tell during the last pre-season game I watched, sportscasters don't like the new rule, either, which seems to require a referee to stand in the offensive backfield, rather than the defensive backfield (to protect the refs), and give the QB an OK-to-snap high sign. 

Having umpired my fair share of baseball games, it should be the responsibility of the referees to be in position when the ball is snapped, not the responsibility of the quarterback to make sure the referee is in position.

August 20, 2010

TSA Screening Goes Overboard

A woman in Philadelphia was headed to Charlotte for work.  She was selected for in-depth search, patted down, bags opened and then the TSA agents started going through her wallet, checkbook, prescriptions and receipts... they found checks written to her and her husband, they accused her of trying to steal money from her own joint checking account, accused her of trying to embezzle money, called the police, called her husband...

Just makes you want to travel by car, doesn't it...


Earth and Moon


Messenger, on its way to Mercury, sends along this photo of the Earth and the Moon from 183 million miles away.

August 17, 2010

Mosque Triangulation?

Jim Geraghty's readers think President Obama came out in favor of the Ground Zero Mosque to "open up an easy way for Democrats to distance themselves from the administration in a manner that is likely to have minimal long-term consequences."

If true, the danger of this gambit is that it might turn out like the "Spongebob Squarepants" episode, "I'm with Stupid."  Spongebob volunteers to pretend to be stupid for Patrick's parents so Patrick will seem to be smarter in comparison.  Trouble starts when the lame-brained Patrick forgets that Spongebob's only pretending to be stupid and goes on-and-on about how idiotic Spongebob is and always has been.

So, in this case, Harry Reid is playing the IQ challenged starfish to President Obama's sponge-pretending-to-be-stupid.  Once Leader-Reid gets a taste of being the smart one, will he find it hard to stop?  Will the Reid-starfish will go on a tear about how lame the Incentive package is, how stupid the Obama-sponge was to push Health Care through over the will of the people, how moronic the Administration was during the oil spill?  You get the idea... suddenly triangulation becomes a haunting ring of laughter in the President's ears when he's trying to sleep nights.

Just for the record, I disagree with Geraghty's readers... I don't think the President is pretending to be out of touch with the American people.  He's not that good an actor.

August 13, 2010

A Billion Bushels

The Hoosier corncrop may top one billion bushels this year for the first time ever.

Juanita Waugh gives a gift

"An 87-year-old Hoosier farmer with Indianapolis ties who bequeathed 7,634 acres to an Indiana college after her death in February has made another stunning contribution.

Juanita K. Waugh is giving more than $43 million to the world-famous Mayo Clinic the third-largest gift in that medical center's history."

Repeal the new 1099 Rule

Will Congress repeal the new 1099 rule that forces everyone to fill out a 1099 form for buying $600 worth of anything?

The Taxpayer Advocate, an independent watchdog group within the IRS, worries enforcement of the rule will overburden the agency and possibly cost as much money as it collects. It's skeptical the law will achieve its intended goal of reducing tax fraud.

Democrats tacked this new rule onto the ObamaCare bill, saying it would save the country $19 million in tax fraud, but even the IRS says it will cost them more to process all the forms than they'll ever uncover in tax fraud.  Everyone agrees the new rule should be repealed, but the Republicans want to repeal the whole Health Care Bill, not little pieces of it, and Democrats are afraid a repeal of the new rule will add to the every-growing price tag of ObamaCare.

August 5, 2010

Venus, Mars and Saturn

From now until the end of August, look for Venus, Mars and Saturn low in the western sky at twilight.

August 2, 2010

Government Health Care is already killing us

The federal government pushed American's toward a high carb diet, warning us off meat and eggs in the late 70's and early 80's... since then, our health has gone downhill... and these people want more control?


According to Scientific American, growing research into carbohydrate-based diets has demonstrated that the medical establishment may have harmed Americans by steering them toward carbs. Research by Meir Stampfer, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard, concludes that diets rich in carbohydrates that are quickly digestible—that is, with a high glycemic index, like potatoes, white rice, and white bread—give people an insulin boost that increases the risk of diabetes and makes them far more likely to contract cardiovascular disease than those who eat moderate amounts of meat and fewer carbs. Though federal guidelines now emphasize eating more fiber-rich carbohydrates, which take longer to digest, the incessant message over the last 30 years to substitute carbs for meat appears to have done significant damage.

An interesting article.  Read also, the Scientific American article it's based on.


July 23, 2010

The Racial Divide

Senator Webb has written a remarkable article about race in America. In "Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege" we actually hear whispers here of the post-racial society so many hoped for after the election in 2008.  Where President Obama's famous race relations speech was praised by the media, its most memorable lines were about his grandmother as "a typical white person" and about his reverend as believing white racisim is endemic in America,  Senator Webb's article holds far more hope for America and calls for the end of "government-directed diversity programs."

That, is a post-racial thought.

July 22, 2010

Brickyard 400 Loses Allstate

Allstate has dropped sponsorship of the Brickyard 400 due to bad economic times. 

Allstate thinks there's more bang for its buck in College Football.

July 19, 2010

Breitbart and Post Racial America

Perhaps you remember back to when "60 Minutes" was a perennial number one show. How those veteran newsmen used to ambush ne're-do-wells and dig until they got to the bottom of politicians or bureaucrats or businessmen who were harming society or stealing public money or misleading consumers. The trouble these days is that the "60 Minutes" newsmen in the mainstream media (or should we move-on to the new meme, and call them the ruling-class media?) won't touch stories that might put Democrats or any other sacred cows in a bad light.

Enter Andrew Breitbart. After the NAACP passed a resolution condemning the racists elements in the Tea Parties, Breitbart's new media published a speech by a bureaucrat in the Agriculture department to the NAACP "wherein she regaled the audience with tails of sticking it to poor, white farmers. The woman has since resigned.

What's the old saw? "Black's can't be racists because they do not have the power or infrastructure to support their superiority?" "60 Minutes" won't do this story, and you can bet the network news won't play it anymore than they played the Acorn story or the New Black Panther stories. But the new media, Breitbart in particular, has blown a hole in the old saw. Perhaps we are, now, a post-racial America -- an America where every race can put the boot to every other race.

July 18, 2010

The Commerce Clause, by any other name

Randy Barnett has written a nice analysis of the Obamacare use of the commerce clause to demand people buy insurance... now the Administration is backing off and claiming they are taxing people for not buying health care.

America's Ruling Class

Angelo Codevilla's "America's Ruling Class -- and the Perils of Revolution" is a long and interesting read.

July 14, 2010

Obama's Katrina

"So when people say "Obama's Katrina," it's a contraction, not a possessive . . . ."

Via Glenn Reynolds at Instapundant (for all you lovers of the English Language):


July 13, 2010

Modern Burda Club

I was kind of disappointed, after watching "Deadliest Warrior" the other day, to find that Amazon doesn't sell Celtic Burda Clubs. I thought it might be nice to keep one under my car seat -- one never knows when one might need a burda club.

But then I saw an add for the Razor-back Pulverizer in a magazine. I bet a Celtic warrior would rather carry the pulverizer than the burda. In addition, I don't think the burda club would be of any use prying off hubcaps.



Greenfield Warehouse Raided

Federal agents are searching a large warehouse owned by University Loft Company in Greenfield, IN, just north of I-70.

July 9, 2010

Without any fear

John Fund repeats the latest meme, that the coming lame-duck Congress will pass all the major legislation they can even if they've been voted out of office:

there have been signs in recent weeks that party leaders are planning an ambitious, lame-duck session to muscle through bills in December they don't want to defend before November. Retiring or defeated members of Congress would then be able to vote for sweeping legislation without any fear of voter retaliation.

There's a scene I remember from the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" where a politician was ridden out of town on a rail.  There's another scene, from the HBO Series "John Adams" where a politician is tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail (see the pictures above).

I'm just saying, voter retaliation comes in many forms, some of them are quite unpleasant and have nothing to do with the voting booth.  Some forms of voter retaliation seem to have entered the dustbin of history, and that's probably a good thing, for the most part.

Obama: 15th of 43

238 presidential scholars ranked the presidents for the 5th time since 1982.  For the fifth time in a row, FDR took the top spot.  This time saw President George W. Bush fall from 23rd to 39th and President Obama entered the list at 15th.

According to the survey results, President Obama is ranked 13th out of all President's regarding his willingness to take risks while President Bush (W) is ranked 19th in that same category; President Obama is ranked 16th in his Domestic Accomplishments while President Reagan is ranked 23rd; President Obama is ranked as smarter, more imaginative and better able to communicate than President Clinton, to have better executive ability and better ability to handle the US economy than Reagan, and is ranked as having more experience and background preparation than George W. Bush.

Those items are obviously false.  W took far more risks than Obama has.  Reagan handled the economy far better than Obama has.  President Clinton was far better able to communicate both in prepared speeches and off-the-cuff than Obama, and President Bush came from a Presidential family and was Governor of Texas for 6 years while President Obama was a half-term senator from a family with no political history at all.

Apparently, being a presidential scholar doesn't mean putting aside your personal political feelings.

July 8, 2010

Not a crime

Bad parenting is not a crime, but I'm sure it's somewhere on Washington's To-Do list.

July 6, 2010

Wheat Rust

After 50 years, wheat rust (a fungal infection of wheat stems) is back... and spreading.  Wheat rust is scary stuff, but perhaps we have a better handle on it than the graphic would imply.

June 30, 2010

The Jones Act, Part 2

I wrote earlier about the Jones Act, wonder why the President hasn't issued a global waiver (as President Bush did during hurricanes) to allow foreign vessels to assist in the Gulf clean up.  A variety of articles friendly to the Administration have said the Jones act is not a problem and can and will be waived when needed.

Alas, the Times-Picayune discovers this is not so.  The Jones Act is preventing and delaying cleanup in the gulf:

In the end, he sold nine of the spill response boats to a Florida company last week, which made them American boats and circumvented the problems with the Jones Act. Vial believes that BP and the federal government have been overwhelmed by the number of people offering assistance and ideas, thus slowing down the whole response.

"To respond to the crisis, whether it's BP or the U.S. government, they may have created too many administrative steps and barriers that are making the whole process much lengthier," he said.

Sens. LeMieux, Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and John Cornyn, R-Texas, have proposed legislation that would temporarily waive the Jones Act for oil spill response vessels. Although there is a Jones Act waiver process for foreign vessels during an oil spill, the law requires that the Coast Guard make a determination that "an adequate number" of U.S. oil spill response vessels "cannot be engaged to recover oil from an oil spill in or near those waters in a timely manner." And the foreign country offering the boats must agree to allow the United States similar privileges in their country.

As of last week, no Jones Act waivers had been granted. According to the joint information center for the response, six vessels involved in oil containment have applied for Jones Act waivers that are still pending.

As the oil continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico and bleed onto the Gulf-Coast beaches, where is President Obama?

Where is the President?

And another article, this time by Dick Morris, detailing the bureaucratic vetoes destroying the beaches and wildlife along the Gulf Coast.

The obvious fact is that Obama has no executive experience, nor do any of his top advisers. Without a clear mandate from the top, needed efforts to salvage the situation are repeatedly stymied by well-meaning bureaucrats strictly following the letter of their agency policy and federal law. The result, ironically, of their determined efforts to protect the environment has been the greatest environmental disaster in history.

Where is President Obama, and why isn't he overruling OSHA and the EPA and the Fish and Wildlife Administration and their myopic rules.  He holds his chin high, peering into the distance, but his vision is parochial.

In case of emergency...

Oil Messed Up is a very nice article by the Weekly Standard's Winston Groom.  Here's a bit:

According to the Coast Guard there are 400 skimmer vessels working along the affected coast—which, depending on how its measured, is somewhere between 500 miles (the linear measure) and 5,000 (if you measure every cove and creek). There are said to be 2,000 skimmers available in the United States. Gulf Coast residents are wondering just what the other 1,600 are doing. Apparently many of them are required by government regulation to remain right where they are in case of emergency.

In case of emergency... I wonder if these bureaucrats are watching any nightly news shows. 

As I mentioned before, this is exactly the problem you end up with when you put people in charge who have no executive experience.  They fear being held to account for the downside of making obviously correct decisions.  It wasn't long after the spill started that it was obvious the EPA should waive rules that disallow skimmers from dumping small amounts of oil into the gulf.  It wasn't long after the spill that it was obvious this is a case for all hands (all skimmers) on deck.  It wasn't long after the spill that it was obvious we could use foreign help immediately (rather than having Americans trained while the oil spewed).  But we didn't, and haven't done the obvious out of fear breaking the rules.  Well get a clue... when the house is burning down sometimes you have to throw the baby out the window -- that's not child endangerment, that's rescue.

The Cost of Idealism

The Financial Post's Lawrence Solomon has a nice article about the oil spill:  Avertible Catastrophe.  Here is a little bit:

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn't good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million -- if water isn't at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. As U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the clean-up operation, explained in a press briefing on June 11, "We have skimmed, to date, about 18 million gallons of oily water--the oil has to be decanted from that [and] our yield is usually somewhere around 10% or 15% on that." In other words, U.S. ships have mostly been removing water from the Gulf, requiring them to make up to 10 times as many trips to storage facilities where they off-load their oil-water mixture, an approach Koops calls "crazy."

The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer -- but only partly. Because the U.S. didn't want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.


So for more than a month we've been tea spooning oily water ashore to cleanse it because the EPA demands perfection.  This is why executive experience should be part of every presidential resume.  Executives have a daily relationship with trade offs and understand the cost of perfection.

June 29, 2010

A Profile of Governor Mitch Daniels

Mitch Daniels has done right by Indiana.

These days, Daniels' approval rating oscillates between 60 and 70% – which is remarkable given that he is a balding, mild-mannered, unassuming man inclined to travel through the state on a Harley, stop at a diner, and sit down to chat with the patrons.

 

June 26, 2010

The Black Panther Case

What the status of the Black Panther voter intimidation case?  Here is a very nice synopsis by a lawyer who resigned in protest.

June 25, 2010

Whooping Cough in Indiana

Whooping Cough (pertussis) is on the increase in Indiana.  What the article linked doesn't tell you is that your pertussis booster is included in your Diptheria Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP) vaccine (your Tetanus shot) that you're supposed to get at least every 10 years.  If you don't remember your last Tetanus shot, you should go get one to protect yourself from not only Tetanus, but Whooping Cough.  I had a nagging cough last year that drug on for more than half a year before my doc finally diagnosed pertussis and gave me a shot... even then it took quite some time before the cough ended. 

Prevention is the always the best cure.

Indiana loses Whirlpool to Mexico

After 54 years in Evansville, the Whirlpool manufacturing plant is headed to Mexico.

June 21, 2010

Carroll wins 4A baseball crown

Congratulations to Fort Wayne's Carroll Chargers for winning the 4A State Baseball tournament on Saturday.

And it was Tom Neuenschwander behind the plate, calling the balls and strikes.

Why not waive the Jones Act?

Why hasn't Obama waived the Jones Act, even to this day, to signal our allies that their ships and help are wanted.

Art Online

Whether you're a collector, an artist, a student studying art or just want a decent image for your desktop, here are the 100 best online sites for art appreciation.  I'd also throw in DailyPainters.com, 1x.com and RedBubble.com.

June 16, 2010

Where are Americans Moving?

This is really cool.  The red lines represent people leaving a county and the black lines show people moving to a county (all data is from 2008)... the darker the line, the more people it represents.  As you can see, people are fleeing (for the most part) Allen county, Indiana.  For the most part, people appear happy to stay where they are in Wells County.  If you click on the link below, you can pick other counties across the country. Some areas are quite black (lots of people moving there) -- like Dallas, Texas and Orlando, Fl.  Other areas are really red (people fleeing) -- like Queens and the Bronx, New York.

Click here to pick any county in the USA.

June 15, 2010

Obama: Americans stay out of Southern Arizona

The movie Escape from New York is a classic I've enjoyed watching many times over the years.  In the movie, America has walled off Manhattan Island, using it as a place to which prisoners and the unwanted can be banished.  The island wasn't like a prison, though, where people pay a price for their crimes and then return to society... it was a place of anarchy, where the only law was the strongest get what they want and from which no one ever escapes.

Little did I ever think that the American government would give up part of our country in real life like the President is giving up on Southern Arizona.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised... this is the type of solution the President wants for Israel as well -- some other country encroaches upon yours with guns and bombs and crime?  Don't fight back... just get out and let them have it.

A Nightmare Well

Internal Documents Uncover BP Negligence

It appears as though BP let accountants overrule engineers -- let's hope the take the opposite view during the cleanup.

June 14, 2010

The Things That Carried Him

A really wonderful read, regarding the road home to Scottsburg, IN for Sergeant Robert Joe Montgomery Jr. who was born in 1977 and killed in Jabour, Iraq in 2007.  Take the time to read it and remember there are similar stories for so many others who have died in the service of our country.

Now they pulled onto the I-65, this great long string of mourners and their memories. They were surprised to see every overpass — U. S. 31, Commiskey Pike, the 250 to Uniontown, 600 South — lined with flags and signs welcoming Joey home. Volunteer fire departments, dressed in full uniform, stood at attention in front of their shining trucks. Farmers drove across their fields of baby corn and soy to reach the shoulder and stood in the beds of their old pickup trucks. As reports of the procession spread — traffic helicopters joined in, flying overhead — and long-haul truckers shared the news over their radios, they pulled over and climbed out of their rigs, and cars filled with families did, too, all of them standing and saluting from across the grassy median, the northbound lanes stopped nearly as completely as the southbound.

Read the whole thing at the link above.

The Kessler Syndrome

The more dependent upon satellites we become (think GPS, think weather, think communications) the more our satellites are threatened by space junkhttp://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/05/ff_space_junk/...

[In 1978, Donald] Kessler painted a nightmare scenario: Spent satellites and other space trash would accumulate until crashes became inevitable. Colliding objects would shatter into countless equally dangerous fragments, setting off a chain reaction of additional crashes. "The result would be an exponential increase in the number of objects with time," he wrote, "creating a belt of debris around the Earth."

Fascinating article.

June 9, 2010

Top to Bottom

A remarkable graphic at the link. It shows the highest and deepest points on earth and all in between, the highest cities, the oil spill, the deepest ocean trenches. 

Top to Bottom / Land and Sea

Scott Woodward drafted by the A's

Congratulations to former Norwell baseball standout Scott Woodward, drafted in the 15th round by the Oakland A's:

Round 15, Scott Woodward, 3B, Coastal Carolina University: Woodward is a left-handed-hitting third baseman who has major speed. He stole 54 bases in 61 attempts over 62 games this season, batting .330 with five home runs and 35 RBIs. He walked 47 times, raising his on-base percentage to .500, while striking out 48 times in 2010.

Nice stats!

Newlyweds crossed paths as children

Some newlyweds were looking through their childhood pictures and discovered a picture of the wife as a little girl at Disney World and her new husband can be seen in a stroller going by in the background.... the husband's family lived in Canada and the wife's family lived in Florida.... amazingly, they were a few feet apart as children and later met at work and fell in love.

Pretty cool!

June 3, 2010

Obama's Global Test

Turkey, long a friend and stable ally in the Middle East, is turning to the dark side... will Obama stand with Israel?  Will he lay down the law to Turkey?

It is insipid of the media to continue to refer to Turkey as one of Israel's last allies in the Middle East. An ally does not publicly rebuke fellow heads of state. An ally does not run TV programs on state television that depict Israeli soldiers as baby-killers. And an ally certainly does not do its best to facilitate the running of a legitimate embargo, over the repeated requests of its ally not to do so.

The flotilla was a deliberate set up. Turkey knowingly put Israel into an untenable position. Like other Islamist leaders, Erdogan knowingly put his citizens' lives at risk to strengthen his position domestically, and his image internationally.

Past decisions of our government with respect to military sales to Turkey and going to haunt us before this is over.

June 2, 2010

Junior fades back

Ken Griffey Junior fades back, hits the dirt of the warning track, and enters the books with other past greats of the game.

I happened to watch the movie, "61," the other day, about the year Roger Maris hit 61 home runs... and I wondered about those steroid-fueled few who have erased Maris' record (and made it meaningless).  Griffey played the game honestly:  he put up numbers in his youth and faded through the years due to age and injury.   Junior was perhaps the last, great player of a game that seems to be fading away year-by-year just as old players do.

A Gun for Grandpa

An 80-year-old vet is on the hot seat for protecting his family in Chicago.

The vet obtained the gun in violation of the city's handgun ban after a prior incident in which the couple was robbed at gunpoint by three armed intruders. So when Anthony Nelson — a parolee with a record of drug and gun arrests — tried breaking into their East Garfield Park home, they were ready.

Nelson fired twice at the as-yet-unnamed homeowner, who walks with a cane but retained enough of his military marksmanship to drop the intruder with a single gunshot to the chest. Yet in some quarters, instead of being hailed as a hero, it's the homeowner who's being considered a threat and the armed predator a victim of gun violence.

Chicago needs a political makeover.


May 28, 2010

Here comes Katla

I mentioned awhile back that the Katla volcano in Iceland almost always erupts along with the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which has been erupting for quite some time.  Well, Katla is starting to rumble...

Icelandic President Ólafur Grímsson has warned governments around Europe that a significant eruption at the volcano is close. "We [Iceland] have prepared ... it is high time for European governments and airline authorities all over Europe and the world to start planning for the eventual Katla eruption," he said.

Katla's quiet a bit bigger than the unpronounceable Eyjafjallajökul... so travelers beware...