Sunday, December 31, 2006

Global Warming: Reality or Myth?

One of the foremost political issues in the past few years has been the environment, and with it, the topic of global warming. A recent survey showed that 85% of Americans believe there is global warming, and 66% of respondents believe the government should be doing more to alter the current situation (Time/ABC). However, before we take action as a nation, it would be prudent to look at the issue from another angle. Is global warming really happening, is it man made, and can we fix it? If the answers are no, why is there such a panic over the situation?

The common answers to these questions are found most readily in surveys, studies, and news reports. According to the Time/ABC survey, not only does the vast majority believe global warming is a problem, but 88% believe that it threatens future generations. In addition to this, most people blame local weather irregularities on global warming, and nationwide weather services blame hurricanes and tropical storms on the global warm up. The dangers we are warned of are devastating, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, and a plague of malaria infested mosquitoes spreading throughout the earth. Going hand in hand with this is the accusation that you and I, the automobile drivers of America, are the source of the greenhouse emissions that are ruining the planet. In addition to the evils of the internal combustion engine, we burn coal and more oil to generate electricity for our computers, light bulbs and refrigerators. Because of our life of luxury, those in the third world are suffering mightily. Time sums up the situation nicely, saying “No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth.” But, because we are creating this situation, we also have the power to return the ailing earth to full health, if we sharply curb the use of fossil fuels, return to a world without airplanes, limit the use of automobiles, and replant the forest. Long lost in this entire process are the real questions, considering the situation, and the pros and cons of changing our situation.

With this topic in mind I conducted a survey amongst high school students in my area. When asked if they believed the earth was undergoing a warming trend, 50% stated yes, and 50% stated they did not. 85% of the students did not believe that rising temperatures were the fault of mankind, with 15% saying they believed man was at fault. This survey contrasts sharply with the national survey conducted by Time/ABC, perhaps indicating the varying opinions between age groups. However, the common perception the global warming is happening is prevalent in both groups. This perception itself may be false. In reality, even in the scientific community, there is much debate over our climate situation.
A group of 60 scientists in Canada expressed their concern on the issue, writing to the prime minister (Mark Morano):
Observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future…Significant [scientific] advances have been made since the [Kyoto] protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases.

From the other point of view, we look at the hurricanes, with there increasing strength and frequency, and along with high heat levels across the world, its easy to blame it on global warming. However, looking at the actual weather statistics presents a different picture. In the summer of 2006, we heard persistently about high temperatures and lack of rain, yet the data published by the National Climate Data Center shows differently.
December 2005 - February 2006 temperatures were above average in North America, Scandinavia and parts of India. Colder-than-average conditions occurred in Europe, Russia and the western coast of Australia.

In addition to this, scientists have not been observing the temperature of the earth in detail for any longer then 100 years, which is hardly long enough to detect significant trends, when man has been on earth for 6000 years. Just in the last century, we have seen fluctuations in the average temperature. In fact, in the 1970’s, people were warned of the impending ice age, that would turn most of North America, Europe, and Asia in to frozen tundra. Another knock to the global warming theory is the declining ocean temperatures, despite the climate models predicting otherwise.
The former climatologist for the state of Colorado, Roger Pielke, Sr., noted that the sudden cooling of the oceans “certainly indicates that the multi-decadal global climate models have serious issues with their ability to accurately simulate the response of the climate system to human- and natural-climate forcings.

Even in the past several decades, computer models have been proven wrong. If we can’t predict weather 2 weeks out, why would we place our trust in faulty computer models covering the next century? Covering the record of false predictions, US Senator Inhofe says it best.
The history of the modern environmental movement is chock-full of predictions of doom that never came true. We have all heard the dire predictions about the threat of overpopulation, resource scarcity, mass starvation, and the projected death of our oceans. None of these predictions came true, yet it never stopped the doomsayers from continuing to predict a dire environmental future. The more the eco-doomsayers’ predictions fail, the more the eco-doomsayers predict,”

Our next question assumes the earth is in a warming trend, and may continue to be in one for a while. So, is it possible for mankind to be responsible for this trend? The most common scoundrel is the automobile, which is incessantly harassed by environmental groups, some going as far as to graffiti car dealerships in retaliation. While this is the extreme, fringe reaction, it still exists. The main reason for this hated is the green house gas emissions that cars produce, which it is theorized may drift into the atmosphere, and reflect back more heat into the earth then is needed. And yet, with the wide spread use of automobiles dating back to the 1950s, we have yet to see a large, devastating bump in temperatures. French scientist Claude Allegre states “By burning fossil fuels, man enhanced the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which has raised the global mean temperature by half a degree in the last century,” This raises the question, how much does man really contribute to green house gas emissions? The volcanoes world wide produce (Rowland, Scott)
5X10^11 kg of CO2 per year; that production, along with oceanic and terrestrial biomass cycling maintained a carbon dioxide reservoir in the atmosphere of about 2.2X10^15 kg…Current fossil fuel and land use practices now…has resulted in a progressively increasing atmospheric reservoir of 2.69X10^15 kg of CO2” Despite the common conception of manmade greenhouse emissions ruining the planet, Natural sources are a very large contributor to the greenhouse effect. Today, the impending disaster of man made global warming is just as far away as it was 30 years ago.

So, if man is not causing global warming, could we then alter the course of the climate if we needed to? Looking at it from this angle presents a variety of problems, such as ‘how would we melt the polar ice caps?’ or ‘could we make a hole in the ozone layer?’ If we used nuclear weapons on the polar caps, each nuke would melt a circle with a 100 mile diameter. And yet, the polar regions of the earth cover thousands of square miles, and would refreeze to their former condition in a few short weeks. The ozone layer is in a constant state of flux, alternating between persistent coverage of the earth and a spotty, Swiss cheese blanket over mankind. If we took a bunch of cargo jets loaded with Chlorofluorocarbons, dumped them into the ozone layer, and watched from below (presumably with sunglasses on), we would see the ozone layer separate, and return in a few weeks to its former state of coverage. This is because ozone is made when the sunlight breaks apart water molecules in the upper atmosphere, separating the hydrogen from the oxygen. In some cases, the free floating oxygen molecules will bond together, creating O3, which is ozone.

If man couldn’t destroy the environment if we tried, how can we fix it or improve it? Well, the environment in the advanced nations of the world, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, are thriving. People who own their land take care of it, both for better resale value and general good stewardship of their property. Besides, no one wishes to put the environment into the rubbish heap. Where we find the worst environments in the world are places with very limited personal ownership of property, such as China, many African nations, and the Middle East. In addition, there are two forms of industry in the world, socialism and capitalism. The socialist economies, such as China, and formerly Russia, are home to some of the least clean industries in the world. In the United States and Japan however, the corporations realize people like to buy from clean companies, and leaving a negative impact on the environment creates bad publicity, alienating consumers. Because of this, capitalistic economies generally run much cleaner then comparable socialist economies.

Comparing the two surveys, the one conducted on the adults of the United States by Time/ABC and my own survey of high school students, we have a marked difference. The older generations, who for most of their life have received news from the large media outlets on TV and in the newspapers, believe global warming exists. This may be explained by ABC news reporter, Bill Blakemore
The deep professional shame that I discovered two years ago,” regarding how he believes the media had been manipulated by skeptics of manmade catastrophic global warming. “Of course [skeptics] play on the idea that we have to be ‘balanced,’” he noted. “It was very lazy of us for 10 years when we were asked for balance from the [climate skeptic] spinners. We just gave up and said ‘Okay, okay – I will put the other side on, okay are you happy now?’” he said. “And it saves us from the trouble of having to check out the fact that these other sides were the proverbial flat earth society.
The younger generation is more in tune with the internet and alternative news sources, which will make a more balanced view on the issue. In fact, the survey results were split 50-50 on the issue of global warming, and yet when it came to whether man was responsible or not, it was the exact opposite of the older generation, with 85% of respondents stating man was not responsible. This difference is even more interesting when looked in the light of who will be around to see the world 50 years down the road.

So, we have the answers to our initial questions. Global warming is not happening, or is happening in such a small amount as to not affect our lives, in this generation or the ones to follow. Mankind is not responsible for this situation, the earth is far to large for us to affect the equilibrium of. But this brings us to the last question, why is there such a panic over this? It boils down to money, and the amount that naive, concerned people will donate to the ‘cause’. Claude says it best, noting “the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people.

The preceding was a paper I wrote for my english class this semester. I appoligize for the lack of pictures or other interesting visual stimulation, as Blogger and IE7 are not cooporating to put in pictures.

If you skipped reading it, no biggie. Its a reference to refer to if your in an arguement, or I'm in a fierce boarding action with the Pirate Armada, and need some heavy weapons to push back the moonbats of the left regarding 'Global Warming'. Happy new year, and I hope to see ya'll throughout the year.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam's Death - Immoral?

PARIS: While Saddam Hussein faced death with a letter of farewell, the former Iraqi dictator's death sentence exposed a deep divide between the United States and Europe, with opposition building in the Continent's major capitals.

Prime Minister Romano Prodi of Italy deplored the decision to execute Saddam, and Renato Martino, the cardinal who heads the Roman Catholic Church's council for justice and peace, warned that "nobody can give death, not even the state." Opposition had also come from the governments of Britain, Denmark, France, Portugal, Spain and Germany.

But in most cases the criticism is qualified opposition directed at the morality of capital punishment rather than sympathy for Saddam or doubts about the fairness of his trial, an issue raised by groups like Human Rights Watch.

Saddam's chief lawyer on Thursday implored world leaders to prevent the United States from handing him over to the Iraqi authorities for execution, saying he should enjoy protection from his enemies as a "prisoner of war," The Associated Press reported from Baghdad.

Incredible, is it not? Here we have this fellow that not only defied the United States and Israel but also "[was] ready to sacrifice his country, just so long as he [could] remain on his throne in Baghdad." (quote from former Iraqi diplomat) And now, we seem to come back to the supposed immorality of capital punishment. Not only does that appear to be a red herring dragged through the trail to lessen the focus of attention on Saddam himself, but it also ignores Iraqi law. Why should we pay to feed and protect an aggressor against us and our fellow nations? He was convicted legally. Where is the problem? To address capital punishment, not only is it ordained by God, but is has been shown to decrease the amount of murders nationwide. Many, many people I know are glad and relieved that the terrorist will no longer trouble us - his followers will, but not him. If he were permitted to live, his followers would only persist in trying to aid his escape. I don't take pleasure in another person's death. But neither do I support letting murderers run loose or living off the state. Capital punishment was instituted for a reason.
Saddam was executed by hanging at 10:05 PM yesterday. Now we can let the topic rest.

DDL is a staff writer for Pushing Back the Frontiers of Ignorance.
Article source:

Note: Palm boy, you beat me to it.

Saddam executed

Story: ""Now, he is in the garbage of history," said Jawad Abdul-Aziz, who lost his father, three brothers and 22 cousins in the reprisal killings that followed a botched 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam in the Shiite town of Dujail.

In Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City, hundreds of people danced in the streets while others fired guns in the air to celebrate. The government did not impose a round-the-clock curfew as it did last month when Saddam was convicted to thwart any surge in retaliatory violence.

It was a grim end for the 69-year-old leader who had vexed three U.S. presidents.
Saddam was executed at a former military intelligence headquarters in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah, al-Askari said. During his regime, Saddam had numerous dissidents executed in the facility, located in a neighborhood that is home to the Iraqi capital's most important Shiite shrine - the Imam Kazim shrine.

Al-Askari said the government had not decided what to do with Saddam's body.

The Iraqi prime minister's office released a statement that said Saddam's execution was a "strong lesson" to ruthless leaders who commit crimes against their own people.

"We strongly reject considering Saddam as a representative of any sect in Iraq because the tyrant only represented his evil soul," the statement said. "The door is still open for those whose hands are not tainted with the blood of innocent people to take part in the political process and work on rebuilding Iraq."

The execution came 56 days after a court convicted Saddam and sentenced him to death for his role in the killings of 148 Shiite Muslims from Dujail. Iraq's highest court rejected Saddam's appeal Monday and ordered him executed within 30 days.

Saddam Huisen is no longer walking the face of the earth, and a great deal of scum has been taken away with one stroke of justice. A man who tortured, maimed, raped, murduered and gassed his own citizens could not meet a more fitting end.
One of the best parts about this is the amount of time from trial to execution, only 56 days, or a mere two months. Here, we take 15-20 years before executing a murduer.

In any event, justice has been served, and Iraqs future is a bit brighter.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Inca ruins or Ford Funeral?

Story: "Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will miss the state funeral for former President Gerald Ford at the Capitol Rotunda on Saturday night, opting instead to lead a delegation to South America with an expected stop at the Machu Picchu Inca ruins.

Reid, D-Nev., left Wednesday afternoon from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland with a bipartisan group of five other senators, including Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the incoming assistant majority leader, for what has been described as a weeklong visit to Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.

The highlight of the trip is said to be separate meetings with the presidents of the three nations, with the last one scheduled in Peru on Tuesday afternoon.

"They would be difficult to cancel," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said via mobile phone as the congressional delegation took off in a U.S. military plane.

The senators are also scheduled to be in Cuzco, Peru, on Sunday, which would give them an opportunity to view the nearby Inca ruins and anything else in advance of New Year's Eve.

Other senators making the trip are Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Judd Gregg, R-N.H., Robert Bennett, R-Utah, and Ken Salazar, D-Colo."

Disgraceful, arrogant, uncareing, disrespectful...ect.
This group of senators won't even honor a dead president by attending his funeral? Excuse me, but a trip to visit ancient inca ruins doesn't seem to hard to reschedule. they've only survived the last 500 years, I'm sure they're capable of surviving another few months.
I'm not the biggest fan of Ford, but this is enough to make me angry.

On the flip side, I wouldn't like them at my funeral, so Ford may be getting the last laugh.

Euro overtakes the dollar

Story: "“After the launch, we expected growth to stabilise – but it has continued over five years,” Antti Heinonen, head of the European Central Bank’s bank notes directorate, told the Financial Times.

Although the ECB does not deliberately promote the international use of the euro, it has become popular in official foreign exchange reserves – even if it is far from challenging the dollar’s lead as the most popular reserve currency.

News that euro notes are challenging the dollar may cheer eurozone politicians – even if it partly reflects the currency’s strength – but it may have a dark side too. Fast growth in the highest denomination notes, especially the €500 note, has raised suspicions that they are popular among criminals, although the ECB plays down this factor.

By the end of October the $759bn-worth of US dollar notes in circulation was only a fraction ahead of the value of euro notes, converted at exchange rates at that time.

But since October the euro has risen strongly against the dollar and this month the value of euro notes has risen to more than €610bn, or in excess of $800bn at the latest exchange rates.

Coupled with a falling US Dollar, this doesn't suprise me. And I don't want to hear any skreeds about the end times with this, because there are 13 nations directly supporting the Euro.
Still, the strength of the two currencies could easily reverse themselves in a few years, we'll just have to watch and see, and in my case learn, because this is a field I'm unfamilar with.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Death of a President- Gerald Ford

Story: "Former President Gerald R. Ford, who declared "Our long national nightmare is over" as he replaced Richard Nixon but may have doomed his own chances of election by pardoning his disgraced predecessor, has died. He was 93.

The nation's 38th president, and the only one not elected to the office or the vice presidency, died at his desert home at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday.

"His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country," his wife, Betty, said in a statement.

Ford was the longest living former president, surpassing Ronald Reagan, who died in June 2004, by more than a month.

May God bless his soul.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Time to Seek "Hide and Seek"

“Chasing games,” such as tag, have been banned in a Massachusetts school due to collision-related injuries such as cuts and contusions. A few parents disagree with the school’s actions because they believe that it will limit socialization and would prefer that the children in attendance have the freedom to choose what games they will play at recess. Several other schools have made tag taboo as well.

I disagree with the school’s decision to police recess games. We’ve all gotten knocked around in some game or another, but what did it matter? We picked ourselves up and went right back to the game. Not only is the school micromanaging the kids to an extreme, but also now some of the children may even become more timid in their bearing and become weak adults, avoiding any confrontation at all costs. What’s next? No more Hide-and-Seek? Banning recess completely? It’s dangerous giving any school the power to dictate a student’s life to the letter, and yet we get closer to it every day.

DDL is a staff writer for Pushing Back the Frontiers of Ignorance.

Article source: WORLD Magazine, November 4, 2006, “Quick Takes”.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

UN says 'no' as Iran drives past

Story: "The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Saturday to impose sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, increasing international pressure on the government to prove that it is not trying to make nuclear weapons. Iran immediately rejected the resolution.
The result of two months of tough negotiation, the resolution orders all countries to stop supplying Iran with materials and technology that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs. It also freezes Iranian assets of 10 key companies and 12 individuals related to those programs.
If Iran refuses to comply, the council warned it would adopt further nonmilitary sanctions, but the resolution emphasized the importance of diplomacy in seeking guarantees "that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.

Well, at least the vote was unanmous, and they realize that we've got a problem. Unfortunatly, the reaction is wimpy. Really wimpy. More extensive non-military sanctions??? We did that with Hussain's Iraq 11 times!!!

A step in the right direction, at least.

Merry Christmas!!!

Terrorists say 'parley'

CNN: "The leader of an umbrella organization for Iraqi insurgent groups is offering the United States a one-month truce to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq and turn over its military bases "to the mujahedeen of the Islamic state."

In an audiotape posted on Islamic Web sites Friday, a speaker identified as Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Mujahideen Shura Council, said that if U.S. forces begin withdrawing from Iraq immediately and leave their heavy weaponry behind, "we will allow your withdrawal to complete without anyone targeting you with any explosive or anything else."

"We say to Bush not to waste this historic opportunity that will guarantee you a safe withdrawal," al-Baghdadi said on the audiotape

Hat tip to Faithful Servant.
Yegads... So we're supposed to trust one guy who claims to have authority over the region, and then withdraw from a developing democracy? Incedentally, this is also the same guy that randomly beheads journalists and civilian contractors.
I say we kill them all, essentally stay the course.
As for leaving our heavy weps behind, over this countries dead body.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Outrage over critzism of Muslim

Story: "A Republican congressman from Virginia said most people in his district would support the letter he wrote warning that a newly elected representative's decision to use the Koran in taking the oath of office poses a danger to the traditional "values and beliefs" of Americans.

"I believe that the overwhelming majority of voters in my district would prefer the use of the Bible," said Rep. Virgil Goode Jr. in an exclusive interview on FOX News.

Goode responded to constituents who had written to him about Rep.-elect Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Democrat and the first Muslim in Congress, who plans to use the Koran at his swearing-in ceremony.
"We got several hundred e-mails regarding Congressman Ellison and his plan to use the Koran. They are concerned about it and I was responding to it," Goode said, adding that he doesn't know Ellison personally.

Goode's letter drew immediate fire from Islamic groups and House colleagues, including a charge that the letter "promotes misconceptions."

Mukit Hossain, president of the Virginia Muslim Political Action Committee, called Goode’s letter an “overt attack” on the Muslim community.

“I couldn’t really believe that a U.S. representative would stoop to that level,” Hossain said. “That he would actually say something not only mean, but outright stupid.”

Ok, so its been a while since I've done a washington orriented news item, and the Hat tip goes to Seth Jackson for sending me this.
Ok, so lets look at the big picture here. Ellison is a muslim, and has filed suit to be sworn into congress, not on a bible, but on the Koran.
Couple of problems:
1. He's trying to defect from almost 300 years of american history, being sworn in on the bible.
2. No one else has had a problem with swearing in on the bible, Mormons, Jews, Hindus, Athiests, Conservatives, Liberals, and Christians have all cheerfully sworn into office with the bible, as well as countless jury members.
3. This letter does call for immigration reform, but calls for cut backs on legal immigration as well.
Illigal immigration = criminal, bad.
Legal immigration = Glad your here, good.
Otherwise, this letter is written only to the constituents of Goode, and he does represent these people, so this letter is probably what the majority of them agree with.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rocky Balboa

Rocky Theme Music

Last night, I went with my family to see the movie Rocky Balboa, aka Rocky 6. Thats the trailer below, thats the theme music playing. Bill Conti makes an awsome soundtrack, one thats understated through most of the movie, but makes an impact throughout. Then open up with the training sequences, and the adreneline starts pumping, and doesn't stop for the rest of the movie.

I loved the first four Rockys, but I want the two hours of my life back from watching Rocky 5, because it was awful. So, I entered this movie with some anticipation, but also some dread in the back of my mind.
Rocky Balboa was spectacular, because it felt so real, like it was something that really happened. The characters are human, the storyline is great, and the fight was done very well. The greatest strength of this movie is it's humbleness. It doesn't take itself to seriously, but still manages to carry a lot of gravity from the previous movies.
I highly recomend it, and we'll be buying the DVD.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Don't negotiate with evil, rd. II

Round I is here, with North Korea.

Dog wedding halted, rights abused?

Story: "A Hindu wedding ceremony of 18 dogs has been called off in India after hardline religious groups and animal rights activists said it was a mockery of the religion and cruel to the canines, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

The marriage of nine dogs to nine [female dogs] to promote canine culture was expected to take place on Sunday in the northwestern town of Jaipur, the Times of India reported.

But the wedding which, according to Hindu rituals involves sitting in front of a sacred fire and exchanging flower garlands, was canceled after groups including People for Animals (PFA) criticized the event.

The marriage would also have included a procession and a huge feast with a special dance party. Event management company B Positive and the Pink City Canine Club were organizing the spectacle.

"In my opinion, marriage of dogs is cruelty on animals," the newspaper quoted the PFA's chairman Naresh Kadyan as saying.

Perhaps I'm choosing to post this because I've got two extra dogs trying to get on the sofa right now, but this is just strange.
Who on earth would try to promote Dog culture? And how do you expect these dogs to know they're married? I think they would like the reception though...
In any event, I don't think its cruelty. Unless they make the guys wear ties and the ladies wear heels.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Time: Person of the Year

You & me...

Yep. Story: "The annual honor for 2006 went to each and every one of us, as Time cited the shift from institutions to individuals - citizens of the new digital democracy, as the magazine put it. The winners this year were anyone using or creating content on the World Wide Web.
"If you choose an individual, you have to justify how that person affected millions of people," said Richard Stengel, who took over as Time's managing editor earlier this year. "But if you choose millions of people, you don't have to justify it to anyone."

Right. So, essentally time took the easy way out, and rather then acctually naming a person of the year, they just picked everyone.
Despite that, I'm honored. I can now claim to be the Time co-person of the year for 2006. :D

But its the runner up that is even more interesting, and it goes nicely with a previous post, The Rise and Fall of America haters, where I thought it was interesting Time has interviewed Ahmadinejad, the dictator of Iran, twice in 3 months. This is even more interesting in the light of this:
"Stengel said if the magazine had decided to go with an individual, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the likely choice. "It just felt to me a little off selecting him," Stengel said."

I stand vindicated. Why on earth would a man who wishes to destroy isreal, the United States, oppresses his people with a violent quasi-religious system, and denies the Holocaust even be considered for person of the year???
In the end, I applaud, albeit rather quitetly, their choice not to run Ahmadinejad as the person of the year.

In honor of the new award to myself and ya'll, I took the time to create a side image for everyone.
Right click here to copy the HTML for your sidebar.

And this is what it looks like:

Its about time!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas goat fights fire

Story: "Vandals tried to set fire to a giant straw goat in central Sweden but failed to burn down the traditional Christmas monument, which has been soaked with flame-resistant chemicals, officials said Friday.

The overnight raid was the season's first attack on the 13-meter-high (43-foot-high) Christmas goat in the city of Gavle, 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Stockholm. The goat has been burned down more than 20 times in the last 40 years in what has become a yule tradition.

"Somebody tried to set fire to the right front leg, but the flame-resistant chemical worked 100 percent," said Kurt Lagerholm, chairman of the goat committee.

"There's smell of gasoline and the ribbon is a bit smutty, but otherwise it's unhurt," he said."

Merry Christmas, have a great weekend.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The rise and fall of America haters

Story: ""Cuban President Fidel Castro is very ill and close to death, Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte said yesterday.
Everything we see indicates it will not be much longer . . . months, not years," Negroponte told a meeting of Washington Post editors and reporters.

Castro relinquished power for the first time in 47 years after surgery July 31 for an undisclosed intestinal disorder. His brother, Raul, has assumed Castro's duties, but Cuban authorities have repeatedly insisted that he is recovering and eventually will return to office. He was last seen in an Oct. 28 video, shown on Cuban national television, in which he appeared gaunt and weak and warned that his convalescence would be lengthy.

Castro has been around for a long long time. With his death, the people of cuba may have a shot at freedom. I think the US should give them aide.

As for another Enemy of the West, Ahmadinejad of Iran:
"The behavior of the American government has severely damaged the position of the United States in the world. No country in the world looks upon America as a friend. When the U.S. name is mentioned, usually people are reminded of war, aggression and bloodshed, and that's not a good thing. In other words, the American people are paying for something they don't believe in."

It's curious how Time has managed to talk with this guy twice in 3 months... Birds of the same feather?
In any event, Ahmadinejad regards the US government and the US people as two separate entities. I don't know if he realizes how the US works, but we have a government for the people, elected by the people.
This is also the man that held a confrence, asking if the holocaust really happened, and "Because for the past 60 years, the Palestinian people have been suppressed using the Holocaust as the pretext."
He's a bigoted anti-semite, who because of his fanatical religion, has issues with freedom.

And this is the guy we're watching make a nuclear weapon, and doing almost nothing to stop.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Historical Response to Terrorism and its effects

Since September 11th woke America up to the reality of Islamic terrorism, most Americans assumed we have entered a new era, and that the threat of terrorism we face is a new one. In the days and weeks following September 11th, I thought the same. But as time has passed, I discovered that the US has faced terrorism before, even in the decade leading up to September 11th.

What I didn’t know was the United States response to this terrorism, and so I have decided to look at the United States historical response to terrorism. When I started my research, I decided to start in chronological order, going all the way back to the time of the founders, and to move forward from that point.

I vaguely remembered a story about Thomas Jefferson and his war on the pirates, and so I searched the EBSCO database, and found the account of the Tripoli War in an article by Dave Bartruff, a writer for World & I. In the year 1801,

“the Barbary states of Tunis, Morocco, Algeria, and Tripolitania (today's Libya) had all built their economies around the piracy of foreign merchant ships at sea and the selling of their crews into slavery. On his inauguration as president, Jefferson rebuffed the $225,000 ransom demand of the pasha of Tripoli, Yusuf Karamanli, who promptly declared war on the United States on May 10, 1801. The other Barbary States soon joined their ally as belligerents.”

What astonished me more then international ransom was the response in the years leading up to Jefferson’s presidency. “For fifteen consecutive years, the U.S. paid nearly $1 million annually to Algiers alone for the safe passage of its ships and the return of American crews held hostage. By 1800, all Barbary extortion payments accounted for 20 percent of the government's national budget.” Apparently, this appeasement did nothing but encourage the pirates and their criminal ways. Jefferson; however, took a different tact, and refused to pay the Barbary States, and was soon at war. Almost immediately, Jefferson dispatched the US Navy to deal a blow to the pirates. After months of confrontation with little success, Jefferson increase the military strength in the region, and as Lewis (US News) explains

“In 1805 in Egypt, Eaton assembled a ragtag army …the men crossed 400 miles of desert to reach, in the words of the hymn, "the shores of Tripoli." There the handful of marines led a charge that took the pirate state's second-largest city. The war soon would end."

Looking at the success of Jefferson’s response, I noticed a few things. Most notably, that the empires of France and Britain stayed out of the fray, both while the US was fighting, and during the escalation of pirate attacks in the years before. So, I began to wonder how this could be applied to our modern war on terror, and how to prevent future terrorism.

In the 20th century, the both the United States and the United Soviet Socialist Republics were the victims of terrorist attacks numerous times. Because of the restrictive controls placed on information by the Soviet Union, little is known about their response to terrorism, although from outward signs, little was done to combat it, and indeed, much of the arms used in Afghanistan were later used by terrorist groups. As for the United States, I discovered the record of President Jimmy Carter, who carries a record of a peacemaker and bearer of goodwill. David Landrith (Insight) writes a scathing summation of Carter’s policies,

“Carter's vision of "constant decency" effected astonishingly inhumane results. Carter sought to redress the wrongs done by allies in Latin America and the Caribbean in three ways: 1) cutting off or scaling back arms sales and economic aid; 2) legitimizing Soviet-backed insurgents by publicly commending their cause and denying their connections to communism; and 3) forcing host governments to concede to the insurgents' demands. This threefold policy engineered the victory of communist guerrillas in Nicaragua and Grenada. It destabilized friendly governments in Guyana, El Salvador, Martinique and Guadeloupe. Carter achieved similar results in Iran, although the shah's enemies were Islamic extremists. The shah's fall brought Ayatollah Khomeini into power and created a key sponsor of international terrorism. … The culmination of Carter's "constant decency" was seen on Nov. 4, 1979, when Iranian radicals took 90 Americans hostage.”

This surprised me, but I did not find any evidence to contradict the summation. By ceding to the demands of evil in negotiations with the Soviet Union, displaying a weak US, and his indecisiveness in dealing with the Iran situation, Carter furthered the cause of terrorism, and would greatly increase the mess we are in today.

After September 11th, President Bush reacted swiftly and decisively. Recognizing the majority of the terrorists had been trained in Afghanistan, with either active or passive assistance from the Taliban, Bush issued an ultimatum. On September 20th, 2001, he stood in front of the nation and the world, and said “The Taliban must act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate.” The Taliban did not comply, and on October 7, 2001, the US military began systematically eliminating the Taliban and its terrorist brethren. That evening, Bush spoke before the nation, saying “Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader. Every nation has a choice to make. In this c onflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocents, they have become outlaws and murderers, themselves.” The war in Afghanistan continues today, but the days of terrorists freely coming and going are long gone.

After the success in Afghanistan, American turned her attention to Iraq, and the threat posed by the renegade dictator, Saddam Hussein. The most prominent reason given to invade was the weapons of mass destruction program, which had been in violation of numerous United Nations resolutions. Other reasons not often stated, but equally valid, include the violation of the cease fire for the past 10 years, disgusting and rampant violations of human rights, and terrorist training. Although the initial strike and invasion in 2003 was one of the greatest military successes in history, the war has continued for 3 years. While there is an impression that the war is going badly, Andrew Apostolou (Knight-Ridder) disagrees,

“in just over a year Iraq introduced a new currency; adopted a progressive and tolerant interim constitution, the Transitional Administrative Law; and held indirect elections for a national council. Much remains to be done against an enemy unlike any other that the United States has faced. … This war is not law enforcement, nor low-level warfare, nor counter-insurgency, nor a conventional war, but a shifting mixture of them all. Vanquishing the terrorists globally and the insurgents in Iraq will be a slow process.”

Only history will be able to judge the failure or success of today’s policies, as it has the past reactions to terrorism. The best measure of its success may be this; we have not had another major attack on US soil since the pre-emptive strikes have taken place. The threat is still real, as the subway bombings in London and Spain have shown, yet we are fighting back and apparently with success.

The preceding was a paper I wrote for my english class this semester. I appoligize for the lack of pictures or other interesting visual stimulation, as Blogger and IE7 are not cooporating to put in pictures.

If you haven't read the paper, I don't mind, I'm putting it up as a reference, and to further Push Back the Frontiers of Ignorance regarding terrorism.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Immigration crackdown

Story: "Federal agents raided meat processing plants in six states Tuesday and arrested an unknown number of suspected illegal immigrants in an identity theft investigation, temporarily suspending operations at all six plants.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the workers were being arrested on administrative immigration violations and, in some cases, criminal arrest warrants stemming from a nearly yearlong investigation.

ICE chief Julie L. Myers told reporters in Washington that agents had uncovered a scheme in which illegal immigrants and others had stolen or bought the identities and Social Security numbers of possibly hundreds of U.S. citizens and lawful residents to get jobs with Greeley-based meat processor Swift & Co.

Six Swift processing facilities were raided Tuesday, in Greeley; Grand Island, Neb.; Cactus, Texas; Hyrum, Utah; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Worthington, Minn., representing all of Swift's domestic beef processing capacity and 77 percent of its pork processing capacity.

This should satisfy quite a few people. The anti-illegal immigration crowd, a large number of illegals have been busted, and potientally deported. The union crowd, because a non-union workforce is now gone. The food security people, because criminals are no longer processing as much meat. And the general American, because justice is being served, and IDs that have been stolen are being exposed.

The democrats are strong on National Security

Story: "Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, who incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped to head the Intelligence Committee when the Democrats take over in January, failed a quiz of basic questions about al Qaeda and Hezbollah, two of the key terrorist organizations the intelligence community has focused on since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

When asked by CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein whether al Qaeda is one or the other of the two major branches of Islam -- Sunni or Shiite -- Reyes answered "they are probably both," then ventured "Predominantly -- probably Shiite."

That is wrong. Al Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden as a Sunni organization and views Shiites as heretics.

Reyes could also not answer questions put by Stein about Hezbollah, a Shiite group on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations that is based in Southern Lebanon
. "

I am ashamed. He is from Texas, after all.
I see two things that have happened here. Either this is the best canidate, the champion that the Democrats have put forward to fill the seat of Intel chair, or this is just croniezim at its worst, putting the security of the country far behind the political expediancy.
And both of those are truly frightening.

On another note, I would like to applaud ABC News for their coverage on this, the radio reports about it could hardly have been more scathing.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Border patrol, Vigilante style

Story: "A stolen car was recovered, and 12 undocumented immigrants were detained on separate occasions at different places along the border

In the biggest case, 432 pounds of marijuana was seized in a pickup after a high-speed chase into Del Rio. The incident began around 3 a.m. Nov. 28 after a woman watching a camera posted along U.S. 277 in rural Val Verde County saw the truck and someone signaling it.

She reported it by e-mail, and the chase ensued after U.S. Border Patrol agents confronted the driver. The sheriff's office said the driver escaped on foot.

The system is set up so anyone seeing criminal activity can report it via e-mail. The message is routed to the state's operations center in Austin and local law enforcement officers.

Webcams are to be placed at 13 "primary-threat" border crossing points with a history of drug-running and human smuggling. Others will be in 16 border transit zones with lesser criminal activity. Cameras also will operate along highways, at rest stops or near inspection stations.

About 30 cameras will remain in one place, while most will be mobile, shifting to areas where illegal activity has been reported.

I like this border watch that Rick Perry set up. Hopefully, they will continue the program, as the few weeks it has existed has exhibited results.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Jihad strike thwarted

Story: "A Muslim convert who talked about his desire to wage jihad against civilians was charged Friday in a plot to set off hand grenades at a shopping mall during the Christmas rush, authorities said.
Investigators said Derrick Shareef, 22, of Rockford, was acting alone and never actually obtained any grenades.

"He fixed on a day of December 22nd on Friday ... because it was the Friday before Christmas and thought that would be the highest concentration of shoppers that he could kill and injure," said Robert Grant, the agent in charge of the Chicago FBI office.

Authorities said Shareef had been under investigation since September, when he told an acquaintance that "he wanted to commit acts of violent jihad against targets in the United States as well as commit other crimes."

Well, glad the FBI has brought this muslim terrorist in. 4 grenades in a mall would do some damage, but it would be rather difficult to set, time, and escape. Although, his being an muslim would take the fear out of sucide.
The key to this story is his friend telling the FBI, a regular citizen warning of a friend on Jihad.
Works for me.

Dems to block pay raise

Story: "Members of Congress are in line for a $3,300 pay raise effective Jan. 1 unless they block it, and Democrats said Thursday they intend to try.

Officials said Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the party's leaders, had notified Republicans they will try to add the anti-pay-raise provision to a bill that provides funds for most government agencies through Feb. 15.

Congress must pass the funding bill before it adjourns for the year, and the target for that is Friday.

Democrats won control of Congress in last month's elections after a campaign in which they frequently criticized majority Republicans for taking pay raises while blocking numerous attempts to raise the minimum wage.
"It is unconscionable that members of congress would get yet another pay raise while the minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 an hour for the last 10 years. Senator Reid intends to do all he can to ensure that Congress won't get a raise until working families do," said his spokesman, Jim Manley.

While their reasoning is flawled, I support the result.
Weird that the republicans are the ones pegging for a pay raise here, considering they did a lousy job while in control of the house and senate.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

14% of Mexican workforce, Employed in the US

Story: "One in seven Mexican workers have left their country and are working in the United States, an immigration study said on Tuesday.

There were more than 7 million workers from Mexico in the U.S. labor force this year, 2 million more than six years ago, said the report's author, Jeanne Batalova of the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank.

Batalova said the increase in numbers had to do with economic reasons, with more immigrants looking for a better life in the United States, but also with the increased enforcement at the U.S.-Mexican border.
"It became more dangerous to cross the border, and that caused a 'lock in' effect," Batalova told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Up to 9.4 percent of the all persons born in Mexico were living in the United States in 2005, according to the report. In the same year, 14 percent of Mexican workers had jobs on U.S. soil, compared to 2.5 percent of Canadians."

Yikes... Thats a very large number of people.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Senator Inhofe

Story: "Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, will hold a full committee hearing tomorrow on "Climate Change and the Media." The hearing will look at how the media has presented scientific evidence regarding predictions of human-caused catastrophic global warming, the senator's office said. "Senator Inhofe believes that poorly conceived policy decisions will result from the media's nonstop hyping of 'extreme scenarios' and dire climate predictions," said committee Communications Director Marc Morano. "This hearing will serve to advance the interests of sound science and encourage rational policy decisions." "

Finally, some good news out of Congress. While the republicans still have control of the comitees, now is the time to do this.
Inhofe, I'm starting to like. Even if he is from Oklahoma. :D

I've got several papers I wrote for english class that I think I'll post in the near future, dealing with Terrorism, Global Warming, and the War in Iraq.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Immigration circus

Story: "Congress will approve an immigration bill that will grant citizenship rights to most of the 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens in the U.S. after Democrats take control next month, predict both sides on Capitol Hill. While Republicans have been largely splintered on the issue of immigration reform, Democrats have been fairly unified behind the principle that the illegals currently in the country should get citizenship rights without having to first leave the country. "Years of dawdling have worsened our border security and made it harder to fix this broken system," said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who will lead the Judiciary Committee next year. "We should not let partisan politics and intolerance continue to delay and derail effective reform." Democrats in both chambers say they will start with some form of legislation first drafted by Sens. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, which was the basis for the bill that was approved earlier this year by the Senate. "

I wish this didn't concern me nearly as much as it does. However, I have almost no faith in either the Senate, or the President, to block this bill. Those that commit crimes should be punished according to their actions, not allowed to walk free of their crimes.


Got back in last night, had an interesting trip. My team didn't win anything, but we had a ton of fun nonetheless.