January 31, 2010

What's Next for the Tea Party Movement

A nice look ahead by Glenn Reynolds

A year ago, the Tea Party movement didn't exist. Today, it is arguably the most popular political entity in America. The movement is already more popular than the Republican or Democratic parties, according to a recent NBC / WSJ poll .

Even in blue-state California, three in 10 voters identify with the Tea Party movement.

And, of course, Scott Brown's come-from-behind blowout in Massachusetts occurred in no small part because of money and volunteers from the Tea Party movement around the nation.

As Glenn would say, "Read the whole thing."  It includes a mention of "The Contract From America" which the Tea Party is developing through democratic means -- by voting on what's most important -- not by party politics in back rooms.

For what it's worth, I really like the Scott Brown methodology, where Tea Party word of mouth (word of mouth travels fast in the Internet age) about important races and needs make a huge difference in Washington.  Who needs political parties -- just pick and support the candidates who area heading in the right direction.

January 30, 2010

Obama to tackle College Football

The President is ready to investigate the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) that determines the college football National Champion... because, you know, there's nothing more important facing America today.  And, of course, because like any kid in a grocery store, he can't help poking his fingers into every shelf he can reach.

January 29, 2010

Attack Averted

I hadn't heard about this.

An update on Jarrod Parker

So how is Jarrod Parker doing after his Tommy John Surgery?

MLB TV presented their list of the top 50 prospects for 2010 and in somewhat of a surprise Parker was listed at number 21. While this is three spots lower than last year it is much higher than many predicted due to the surgery.

It is a testament of how far this surgery has come and the prognosis of full recovery. Parker will be working with the Diamondbacks training staff throughout 2010 building strength and flexibility so that he can hopefully fully recover and be ready for Spring Training in 2011.

Steve Buyer (R-Indiana) to Retire

Rep Steve Buyer is not seeking re-election... apparently, Rep Buyer, Republican, set up a scholarship fund, gathered nearly $900,000 for the fund, and instead of giving out scholarships has used it for his own slush fund -- for golfing, traveling, hiring his friends and family, etc.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Superhuman tape measure skills

January 27, 2010

Norwell 58, Luers 42

The Lady Knights move to 17-0, defeating Bishop Luers 58-42.

First Support, then a show

In a show of solidarity for injured Luers senior Shelby Gruss, both teams wore matching T-shirts brought by Norwell and the two teams posed for a picture wearing the shirts before the game.  Gruss was injured in a snowboarding accident in Ohio three weeks ago and is partially paralyzed in a rehabilitation hospital in Indianapolis. The Gruss family is from the Ossian area, and many of the players from each team know one another from AAU basketball. Shelby Gruss' brothers attended Norwell. 

Norwell's compassion also came from having gone through a similar situation last year with the graduated Haley Chaney, who was injured in an auto accident and had a serious brain injury and did return to the court.

"We don't wish that upon anybody because you know what it is like," Thornton said.

Good job on all fronts, girls.

January 25, 2010

R.I.P. Pernell Roberts

Pernell Roberts, the last surviving member of Bonanza, passes away at 81.

Bizarro Rat Pack Pic

If you're not a Superman fan (or a Seinfeld fan), then maybe you don't understand the concept of Bizarro. Bizarro is a being who is the opposite of the original. Superman is handsome, smart and is for Truth, Justice and the American Way. Bizarro Superman is strangely cracked, rather dumb, and definitely not for Truth, Justice and the American Way.

Anyway, when I saw the Flickr feed from the White House above (click on the picture to see more people comment on it at Perfunction), I had the immediate thought that it was a Bizarro version of the ultra-cool Rat Pack. It is a distinctly uncool, Bizarro version of Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Deano Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. Gibbs is the anti-Sinatra if there ever was one. Axelrod is the anti-Deano...

January 24, 2010

Prayers for Charlie Daniels

I saw online that Charlie Daniels (73) has suffered a small stroke while snowmobiling.  He has some numbness in his left hand, but can still play the fiddle better than you-know-who.

January 23, 2010

Wind Power

The Department of Energy reports that Wind could provide 20% of the power needed by the East Coast by 2024

"I think we ought to be trying to make the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy resources as rapidly as possible. That's particularly important for Delaware, since it's a coastal state that is very vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise."

Ah... dump our Fossil Fuel plants and go with wind powered generators? I wonder if our Department of Energy has noticed that during the recent cold snap in England, their wind farms produced "practically no energy" because there was no wind:

"If we had this 30 gigawatts of wind power, it wouldn't have contributed anything of any significance this winter," he said. "The current cold snap is a warning that our power generation and gas supplies are under strain and it is getting worse."

Coal stations are currently used as back-up generation when there is a surge in demand for gas and the wind does not blow – which both tend to happen during cold weather.

However, increased dependence on wind farms will coincide with a European Union directive shutting down Britain's dirtiest coal and oil fired power stations.

The UK has committed to switching off these stations by 2015, leaving it uniquely vulnerable to gas shortages and the intermittency of wind farms.

Pay attention, people of Delaware... I hear it can get pretty cold in the Northeast.

Who is Ellie Light?

Virtually identical letters to the editor appear in dozens of newspapers supporting President Obama, all by Ellie Light, all at different addresses.

I don't want to tell tails out of school, but if you are a writer, looking for money, there are many jobs available where you go out to Amazon or other retail web sites and write detailed, fawning reviews of products...

Norwell 48, New Haven 47

Norwell played most of the game without center Jessica Rupright, who was sitting out due to injury, but we still squeaked out a victory to go 16-0 on the season.

Go Knights!

January 22, 2010

True Character Revealed

There's been a bit of a kerfuffle over Sarah Palin's intent to campaign for John McCain in Arizona and Rick Perry in Texas because both hold some opinions foreign to Tea Partiers.  I thought this bit below, from a longer piece, was really well said -- something everyone interested in politics would do well to consider

... true character is revealed, not necessarily when we agree with someone, but in areas where we may disagree. The way we deal with those situations says a lot about who we really were all along. When disagreements lead to backstabbing, undermining, and trying to rally others to buy into it, I have to wonder if the knife was waiting in the back pocket all along.

Well said, by Adrienne Ross.

Judging Books

"A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read 'The Lost Symbol', by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it."

I think the above quote might explain why people continue to love James Patterson books even though their plots are increasingly ridiculous.

Rickets Returns

People need sunlight and/or Vitamin D -- everybody knows plants need sun... people, especially kids, need sun, too.

Vitamin D is produced naturally when the skin is exposed to sunlight, and is also found in a small number of foods, including oily fish, liver and egg yolks.  Children with rickets do not grow properly and can develop bow legs.  Fifty years ago many children would have been given regular doses of cod liver oil, but this practice has all but died out.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers and the weakening of bones in adults. A study of 520,000 people from ten European countries, including Britain, has suggested that vitamin D supplements could also cut the risk of developing colon cancer by 40 per cent.

You probably need from 5 to 30 minutes of exposure to the skin on your face, arms, back or legs (without sunscreen) twice every week.  Your body makes Vitamin D when you are exposed to UVB rays, so you need to be in the Sun, windows and clouds stop most of UVB rays. 

Note: The dangers of Vitamin D toxicity seem to be very overblown.  Toxicity doesn't kick in unless you take around 40,000 IU a day (about 100 Vitamin D pills a day chronically).  Current research seems to point to kids taking 1000 IU's a day and grown ups 2000 IU's a day.  5000 IU's a day are certainly safe... our skin can make far more when exposed to the sun.

"Can this week get any better"

Remember when electing Obama was "the moment when the rise of oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal" -- turns out Obama wasn't Neo, Scott Brown is. Brown's elected and the world comes to its senses about the farce of AGW, Democrats start dealing with Republicans, Air America goes off the air, suddenly every member of Congress starts to listen to his or her constituents, and suddenly every Congressional seat is up for grabs, which is as it should be.

Update: Not to mention the Supreme Court decision in support of free speech. I remember well the email I sent to President Bush, in complete disbelief that he would sign McCain-Feingold when it was so clearly, clearly unconstitutional. Finally, the Supreme Court has overturned at least some of it.

January 21, 2010

Wonders in the Earth

An amazing crystal cave... can you see the men above, in orange, crawling around on the 30 foot crystals?  The cave is also very hot with 100 percent humidity... you can drown just by breathing in this place.

Nigel and I intrepidly stepped forwards – to say that the heat hit us like a wall would be an understatement, my glasses steamed up and their metal frames almost burnt me - I had to leave them at the entrance. A slightly fuzzy view however did not perturb my sense of awe. I was dumbstruck. A torrent of sweat streamed from my head, my energy was being sucked away, and my breathing became heavy. The view was enthralling, my eyes led me forwards but my body wanted to retreat. I was dwarfed by a forest of giant gypsum crystals, some up to 12 metres long - the largest crystals ever discovered, some estimated to weigh as much as 55 tonnes. It was something that had to be seen to be believed and I was doing just that... however within just five minutes I had gone from a reasonably fit 30 year old to an asthmatic 60 year old

What other wonders lie beneath our feet?

Why the Bank Tax is Unconstitutional

A very nice history lesson in 14 short pages on why the President's proposal to tax banks that took TARP funds is unconstitutional. 

You would think, the President being a Constitutional Law Professor, that he would understand bills of attainder.  He's even the one who complained, "The Constitution only says what the Federal Government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the Federal Government just do on your behalf." --- Well one thing the Federal Government "can't do to you" is single you out for a penalty like English Kings used to do.  If there was no language in TARP that ruled out bank bonuses and if the President has no intention of preventing all companies that were bailed out from getting bonuses (like GM), it is unconstitutional to single out just bankers for penalties.

Lost Generation

What the whole thing...

January 20, 2010

Tea Parties Alter National Politics

What started as small, grass-roots protests, belittled by the democrats and the media, has suddenly altered the contour of American politics.

January 18, 2010

Not in My House

Nancy Pelosi says Health Care will not go back to the drawing board but will pass no matter who wins in Massachusetts. I guess she didn't see that whole thing about Ted Kennedy's seat not being his or the Democrats... but the peoples'. It's the People's House, Ms. Pelosi, maybe you should listen to them.

Norwell defeats Bellmont (Sweet!)

Norwell Girls 74, Bellmont Girls 51.  Norwell moves to 15-0 on the season.

Norwell Boys 71, Bellmon Boys 35.  Norwell boys move to 7-4 on the season.

January 17, 2010

IPCC Glacier Science

Where did the 2007 United Nation's International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) come up with the idea that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 due to global warming? Was there are international team of scientists investigating over years, measuring the glaciers, measuring the melt, studying the region's weather? No, no, no, there was none of that. That got the estimate by reading an article in "New Scientist" published in 1999. So New Science was reporting on the findings of a lengthy study of the glaciers? No, no no...

the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was "speculation" and was not supported by any formal research.

So this is how the IPCC does science: some politicians read blurbs in pop-science magazines and never even investigate if anyone, anywhere actually did any science. In this case, Syed Hasnain threw out a guess over the phone nearly a decade past and that was enough for the United Nations (and Al Gore) to start taxing every business in the world.

January 16, 2010

Fort Hood Politically Correct Terrorism

Ford Hood Massacre Report Gutless and Shameful

the officers who let Hasan slide, despite his well-known wackiness and hatred of America, bear plenty of blame. But this disgraceful pretense of a report never asks why they didn't stop Hasan's career in its tracks.

The answer is straightforward: Hasan's superiors feared -- correctly -- that any attempt to call attention to his radicalism or to prevent his promotion would backfire on them, destroying their careers, not his.

Hasan was a protected-species minority. Under the PC tyranny of today's armed services, no non-minority officer was going to take him on

We let this terrorist slide through our military until he murdered his brothers-in-arms and we court-martial Navy Seals for punching a most-wanted terrorist.

Norwell 108, Whitko 38

OK, so it was only 88 to 18, I added 20 to each team's score.  Norwell moves to 14-0 on the season.

January 15, 2010

The Book of Eli

Hey, it sounds as if "Book of Eli" might just be a movie to see...

"The Book of Eli" isn't just Christian, it's off-the-rails Christian … literally. Heathens might as well hit the lobby at the end of the second act because the final act is all about the faith. You're more than welcome to stick around, but I have a feeling those of you with red strings tied 'round your wrist will be checking your watch for the last twenty-minutes. Not we Bible-thumpers, though. That's when it all comes together; and it's moving and smart and best of all, not some hyper-reverent snoozer.

Obama distances himself from Coakley

The bottom has fallen out of the Coakley campaign for MA Senator

... the situation as it exists today explains Barack Obama's decision not to travel to Massachusetts to campaign for Coakley. "If the White House thinks she can win, Obama will be there," the Democrat says. "If they don't think she can win, he won't be there." For national Democrats, the task is now to insulate Obama against any suggestion that a Coakley defeat would be a judgment on the president's agenda and performance in office.

Democrats say Ms. Coakley's poll numbers are not a reflection of President Obama's policies.  I wonder if Congress will buy that line.

Coakley v. Brown

Brown Up 4 in Suffolk Univ. Poll

It will be so interesting to see what events transpire if Brown wins the Senate seat in Massachusetts.  Will the House accept the Senate version of the Health Care bill and rush it to the President's desk?  Will Massachusetts use every trick in the book to delay Brown's seating in the Senate?  Will Democrats in Congress read the writing on the wall and drop the whole bill in favor of keeping their seats?  Stay tuned.

January 14, 2010

The Head Start Boondoggle

The advantages gained from children attending Head Start classes vanish after the first grade.  So Head Start, into which America sinks tens of billions of dollars, can be seen as leveling the playing field for first grade and nothing more.  Well, perhaps there's the baby-sitting aspect, as well.

Stuck with the Bill

The patsies catch on to Obamacare by Patrick McIlheran

So people assume, correctly, that the cost [of the health care bill] will fall on those with the least political juice. That's why middle-class people were shouting at [Senator Russ] Feingold this week. They aren't poor and sympathetic. They aren't rich enough to hire sharp tax lawyers. They aren't doctors who hire lobbyists; they aren't unions, owning lawmakers. Someone's going to get milked, and they sense a bucket headed their way.

Also, note how Congress is fiddling with the bill dropping this and that, adding this and that, in order to get it passed.  Once it does pass, you can count on all future Congresses "fine-tuning" how health care is run in America.  Plan on constant changes to your coverage, to how your doctors manage the insurance mine fields, to how your yearly, April 15th IRS adventure handles health care and to how much you will be paying.

The Pipeline

The proposed 1,800 mile long pipeline, running across Indiana, north of Indy, intended to carry ethanol from all points Midwest, from South Dakota to the New Jersey, would mean 80,000 construction jobs and a more open market for our Hoosier ethanol farmers.

Race to the Top

It's been all over the radio, this little business of $4.35 billion being made available to school systems that jump through certain hoops.  This is just our own money, of course, the Federal government just has a bigger stick to take it from us, or print it as they see fit.  But when over 90% of Indiana Schools decide to jump through the same hoop, I have to wonder if anyone, anywhere is considering anything more than just having more green to lay down.  I think that Indiana is trying to get around $400 million and that amount is based somehow on the percentage of schools in Indiana that participate.

There appear to be three reforms school systems have to shoot for in order to get Race to the Top money from the Feds.
  1. Tie teacher evaluations to student achievement
  2. Distribute the best teachers identified above equally among wealthy and poor school districts
  3. Shake up any school district with failing school
I suspect the good side of this is that it gives Indiana a reason to push teacher evaluation changes through the unions.  The bad side, of course, is that anytime we take money from the Federal government, we sign on the dotted line of unspecified and ever-changing obligations to be determined in Washington D.C.  Everyone was all upset that Nebraska took a bribe to sign on to the Health Care bill.  How is this any different?  Indiana -- actually almost every state in the union -- is rolling over for under $100 per student and letting Washington decide how we should run our schools.  The obligations and changes we're signing up for are permanent, but this money dump is a one time "race to the top."

January 12, 2010

Google learns

It was a sad day when Google agreed to censor search results in China, preventing the Chinese people full access to the Internet.  I'm glad to see Google has learned its lesson.  It appears the Chinese government tried to hack into Google's email accounts to spy on human rights activists.  In response, Google will no longer censor search results and may even pull out of China altogether.

January 11, 2010

Exempting the Amish

So the House and Senate both plan on exempting the Amish from the proposed health care law.  How tiresome this becomes. 

Although the Amish consist of several branches, some more conservative than others, they generally rely upon a community ethic that disdains government assistance. Families rely upon one another, and communities pitch in to help neighbors pay health care expenses.

You know, if the government would just leave us alone and stop forcing us to pay for people we don't know, we'll rely on each other, as well.

Downtown Bluffton

The building at the corner of Market and Johnson Streets burned to a total loss yesterday.  Allen, Wells and Adams Fire Departments responded.

Picture and Link by Jerry Battiste at the Bluffton News-Banner.

January 10, 2010

One cold snap and...

The mini ice-age begins... although I think an ice-age is much more likely than global warming, and although an ice-age would be much, much worse news for Mankind than global warming, why can't somebody just report the current weather and leave the weather 50 or 100 years from now alone for awhile.

I think I predicted awhile back that after a few more cold years Al Gore would end up leaving the country because people would make fun of him wherever he goes... looks like it's already started:

As the Gore party started walking out of the room, my colleague called out, "Hey, Al, how's all that global warming working out for you?" Gore turned around and stared at us with a completely dumbfounded look on his face. He was speechless. With a smile, my colleague repeated the question, again to a hapless look of dismay.

Mr. Gore has linked himself to, and profited from, the idea that the Earth is warming.  Cold is hard.  Cold is difficult.  Cold is expensive and Gore has set himself up to be an object of derision when winter seeps under the door instead of summer breezes. 

January 9, 2010

Gumby creator Art Clokey dies at 88

Art Clokey has passed away.  Gumby and Pokey -- what great characters.

Norwell 61, Carroll 60 (Whew!)

Every great season has at least one of these games... The Lady Knights took this one down to the wire
Carroll, playing in front of a large supportive home crowd, had just taken a 60-58 lead on a lay-up by junior Megan Reader. After a Norwell timeout [and with only seconds remaining on the clock], senior guard Jenelle Wilson brought the ball up the right sideline, cut back to the middle of the floor, and found junior Caitlyn McGrew on the left wing. McGrew fired up a three that hit nothing but bottom to give Norwell (13-0) an improbable 61-60 win and leaving Carroll (5-8) stunned.
Never say never.

January 8, 2010

January 5, 2010

35 years of Earthquakes

Earthquake epicenters for 1963-1998. A Nice view of the Earth's plates.

Norway's Stand against MRSA

A fascinating article about the benefits of not using antibiotics.  Since Norway's a country of under five million people it's perhaps easier to take such a hard line stance against prescribing antibiotics... but if America would choose to, we could fight the use of antibiotics with as much strength as we do cigarettes. 

Forty years ago, a new spectrum of antibiotics enchanted public health officials, quickly quelling one infection after another. In wealthier countries that could afford them, patients and providers came to depend on antibiotics. Trouble was, the more antibiotics are consumed, the more resistant bacteria develop.

Norway responded swiftly to initial MRSA outbreaks in the 1980s by cutting antibiotic use. Thus while they got ahead of the infection, the rest of the world fell behind.

In Norway, MRSA has accounted for less than 1 percent of staph infections for years. That compares to 80 percent in Japan, the world leader in MRSA; 44 percent in Israel; and 38 percent in Greece.

In the U.S., cases have soared and MRSA cost $6 billion last year. Rates have gone up from 2 percent in 1974 to 63 percent in 2004.

 Read the whole thing and do your part by not forcing your doctor to prescribe antibiotics immediately.

Girls roll to 11-0

The Norwell Girls Basketball Team won the Plymouth Shootout over the weekend, defeating Wawasee 49-30 and Plymouth 48-26.  The #1 girls move to 11-0 on the season.

An article from Plymouth's point of view

January 3, 2010

The Colts Incentive

The NFL is considering incentives to get teams to play their starters even when the season is a lock.  One idea in the article is additional draft picks based on the team's win-loss record... but isn't the draft set up to empower weaker teams to keep balance in the league?

As far as incentives go, perhaps losing draft picks for sitting out your starters would be better for the league than gaining picks for playing your starters. But who will determine when a play is hurt enough to sit out without penalty?

January 2, 2010

Bluffton Boys edge Norwell in OT

What a sad state of affairs, Bluffton 57, Norwell 56 in overtime. Bluffton remains undefeated, Norwell falls to 5-3.

January 1, 2010

Change is coming to a telephone near you

Did the whole government takes away your analog television sit well with you? Prepare yourself for a rerun as AT&T is pushing the US Government to stop making them support analog phone lines (land lines).

I don't know about you, but I still think we-the-people lost out on the television deal... I still can't receive a digital television signal that doesn't continually break apart and I live right in Fort Wayne. We lost all those VCR tuners and all those tiny TVs we used to have. We still can't do things with TV tuners like we used to.

Do you see how it is once government gets involved in anything: everyone is pushed into the same cubby hole and change becomes a big hassle. Many people have already dropped their land lines in favor of cell phones or internet voice. I still think there's a certain security in a land line that's missing in cell phone and internet voice. I don't care if AT&T wants to drop land lines, but wonder what will happen should a solar flare, or something worse, knock out more modern communications systems. I suppose we'll find out, eventually.

Thorium: Our Optimistic Future

Start your new year out on an optimistic note: read "Uranium is So Last Century -- Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke."

It seems that back when nuclear energy was young, the United States experimented with many substances that could generate nuclear energy. We chose Uranium over Thorium because we were locked in a nuclear arms race with Russia and we could use the by-product of Uranium power for bomb-making. With Thorium, there is very little waste and the waste can't be used for bombs and the waste in only dangerous for a few hundred years. In addition, Thorium is plentiful and has no risk of China Syndrome meltdowns when used. We even built working Thorium reactors but the whole idea of using Thorium was forced out in favor of savings on bomb-making through Uranium use.

We read so many depressing articles in energy technology these days. The one linked above reads like a wonderful story... our country's answer to clean, cheap energy has been sitting in a book on a shelf at Oak Ridge, TN for decades, waiting for someone to pursue it.

Come on, let's do it! Let's not end up in 2050 looking back to 2010 wishing we had moved to Thorium. Can you imagine the global changes we'd be living with today if we had pursued this 40 years ago?

Update: Read Kirk Sorensen's Energy from Thorium blog.