Tuesday, August 30, 2005

In One Ear, Out the Other

I know I said I wasn't going to post this week unless something lit a fire under my butt. Well call me smokey cuz my ass is burning.

Hurricane Katrina has devestated New Orleans. The images you see on television and the internet are horrible. I shutter to think of what the loss of property and life is going to be before this is all done. The emotions I feel are similar to those I felt when the tsunami hit a few months ago. Just total sadness and confusion over how God could let something like this happen.

Remember what that was like? The international community and Americans in particular rallied to send money, food, and medical supplies. Now that New Orleans is a city in ruins, where is the flood (no pun intended) of international support? So far I can't find any country being on record as promising to help our citizens in their time of need. A google search of "Hurricane Katrina" and "International support" gives no credible links.

I can deal with that. I'm used to it. They've never helped us before. When you add up hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, forest fires, floods, mudslides, and heat waves I would bet Americans suffer more casualties than any other nation on earth due to natural disasters. Yet nobody ever offers to help us. That's fine. But what burns me up is when snobby Europeans wag their finger at us after something like Katrina and say, "We told you so."

Today German Newspapers couldn't resist saying "We told you so" by linking Katrina to global warming. They offer no scientific proof other than some guy who charted hurricane strength against his bogus global warming numbers. Their point is Americans have to learn the lessons of global warming, and if that means a few million Americans lose everything they own and a few more have to die, so be it.

The lesson to learn from Katrina is to not build a city on the coast below sea level. The people we have to thank for that blunder are the French who founded the city. Will they help us rebuild it now to make up for their mistake? I doubt it. But now is not the time to be pointing fingers. Now is the time for action. Not surprisingly, when it's time for action we get no support from the Europeans. All we get is the wagging finger and a nice view of their nostrils as they point their noses in the air. One guy points out that Americans make up 4% of the world's population and generate 25% of the Earth's greenhouse gasses. I guess he would have us just turn off the factories. Let's see how he likes it when 4% of the Earth's population turns off 25% of the global GDP. I suppose then we will be called selfish for that.

That's fine. We are America. Even though New Orleans is destroyed, we will rebuild it because that is what America does. When America is down we pick ourself up, brush off the dirt, and get to work. Had a catastrophy of this magnitude happened in Europe they would sit and cry and ask for us to help. And we would help because we are Americans. We build things. We help people. And after we gave Europe billions of dollars I have no doubt they would say we should have done more. But we wouldn't complain. That is what makes America so great and Europe not worth listening to.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Out of Town

Hate to stop the momentum, but I'm afraid I will be out of town on business and then vacation this week. If I get some time and something really lights a fire under my butt I will post while I'm on the road. Otherwise, don't expect to hear from me until after laborday. Please check back then.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Power Vacuum

The law of Entropy says that everything in the universe migrates toward a state of disorder. In other words, everything seeks a state of equilibrium. For instance, when you have a vacuum adjacent to a pressurized space you have system of order. It took work to pressurize the one space and work to create the vacuum. When you break the seal between the two, the law of Entropy says gas from the pressurized chamber will flow to the vacuum chamber until the two pressures are equalized. Thermodynamics aside, the same is true in politics sometimes. When one party moves too far to the left or right it creates a vacuum on the other side that fills in with people of a more moderate nature. This in turn pulls the more radical party back toward the center to move closer to equilibrium.

Recently since the Republicans managed to take the House, Senate, and the Presidency I have seen liberals desperately looking for a chink in the armor. Every time a Chuck Hagel, John McCain or Arlen Spectar goes against the President they dance with glee as if the Republican hold on power is about to crumble. The problem is if these men had truly broken the seal, the rush of energy to achieve equilibrium would be noticeable. But there is no rush. There is no large rush of Republicans jumping ship to support them.

What's ironic is, within the Democratic party right now there is a rush to fill a vacuum and most liberals can't see it happening. Pat Buchanan pointed it out in his article this week. Several people in the Democratic party feel disenfranchised by their party leaders. John Kerry voted for the Iraq war. All through the campaign he said we need to stay the course. This angered many on the far left who felt we should not have gone to war in the first place and now the best course of action is to pull out immediately. Hillary Clinton also voted for the war. Now as the heir apparent to the 2008 nomination, she is trying to look like a hawk and refuses to call for withdraw in order to play to the pro-war moderates she will need in the general election. The position of these and other party leaders has created a large mass of people on the left looking for a candidate that will fill the void of political leaders who oppose the war.

Evidence of this void can be seen in Crawford Texas right now. Cindy Sheehan has become a rallying point for those disenfranchised anti-war liberals on the left. These people have been looking for a home for three years now. They had one briefly in Howard Dean, but they chickened out and decided to gamble that John Kerry would go against his vote and against his word to get us out of Iraq. Now with these large demonstrations going on and getting favorable press, politicians are beginning to flirt with this radical left wing agenda. On Meet the Press last weekend Senator Russ Feingold flirted with it. Last night on the radio I heard Arianna Huffington say Hillary Clinton doesn't represent Cindy Sheehan and her followers. Most liberals see the demonstration in Crawford and all the favorable press and think their strength is growing. In fact, their party is dividing.

Time will tell how this plays out. I suspect if we still have a significant troop level in Iraq in the 2008 primaries we will see a similar battle on the left as we saw in 2004. Expect to see an anti-war candidate get much of the early support all through 2007. But the test will be Iowa in 2008. Will the democrats have the guts to stick with an anti-war candidate through the election or will they hitch their wagon to another John Kerry? Either way the liberals are in a catch 22. Do they go with an anti-war candidate and instantly write off those who support the war but just have issues about how it is being handled? Or do they go with a candidate that has to talk out of both sides of their mouth to please the rabid anti-war crowd while also appealing to the moderate pro-war type? Either way it doesn't look good for the Democrats.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Milestone Passes

According to Blogger, this is 100th post on The Deep Freeze. The Deep Freeze has come a long way since my original post. I wasn't sure what I wanted this blog to be. I wasn't sure I was going to make it this far. In the beginning I struggled to find my voice. I didn't know what I wanted to talk about so the early posts were a mix of current events and the stupid crap that makes up my personal life. I quickly realized I didn't want this blog to become a diary of my daily events. I wanted to get into the issues affecting us today and discuss them with others who may have different opinions. Now I find I have so many thoughts it is tough to contain them to one post per day which has always been my own kind of unwritten rule.

I have used this space to promote the conservative agenda and the Christian Faith. Going forward I would like to continue promoting the Christian faith, but I want to move away from being labeled a conservative. Ideally I would like this blog to be the voice of a man above politics. It is a struggle for me because I identify with the Republican party on the majority of the issues. I tend to disagree with the Democrats because I fail to see the truth in their arguments. Going forward I would like this blog to focus on more philisophical issues, like faith, economics, and society.

The best part of this whole blogging experience has been the people I have met who think the things I write are worth reading every day. To Bookworm, Alisa, Simple American, and Fitch I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for making me feel like I'm not wasting my time. If not for the comments of you and others letting me know people are actually reading what I write, I probably would have given this up a long time ago.

The only regrets I have are the fallouts I had with Bill and Scott. (I know you guys still read this.) I have always prided myself in my ability to defuse heated situations. When debates start turning into fights I'm always able to step back and calm things down to save the relationship. With these two guys I was not able to do that, though I tried. I'm not sure where I failed and that bothers me. The best I can figure is neither of them could handle it when I brought God into my arguments. But I have resigned to the fact that not everybody you meet is going to like you. Life goes on.

For those that joined The Deep Freeze community late, I thought I would give you a special treat and link to some of my all time favorite posts. A collective Greatest Hits if you will. I hope you will go back and take the time to read them for the first time or read them again if you enjoyed them before. Feel free to comment if you feel so inspired. So with out further delay in no particular order:

1. My third post was my first confession.
2. I am a Moral Values Voter.
3. Be sure to check out my two part series on the Baby Boomers and Generation X.
4. Read my first attempt at political humor.
5. Then read my second attempt, George and the Termites. I spend weeks working on this post in my mind.
6. My Born Again post was a very personal post.
7. I think my post on Multiculturalism was one of my best written and all time favorites.
8. The History Lesson was another personal favorite. The idea came to me as I was reading the biography of Alexander Hamilton. (Yes, Bookworm, I'm still working on it 2 months after you tagged me and I still have 180 pages to go.)
9. My recent post on Patriotism is also one of my favorites. I think it demonstrates that I am capable of being critical of both sides of the political aisle.
10. Finally, my post on Intelligent Design brought out some of the most diverse intelligent debate I have seen so far. It led me to follow up with Philosophical Discussion.

If you have a particular favorite I left off the list, please let me know. I'm hoping Alisa will get a job as a magazine editor so she can publish these for me someday like she says they should be.

Global Warming Lawsuit

There was a significant advance for the global warming crowd today. A federal judge has decided to allow the first ever civil suit against a company accused of contributing to global warming. I have given my thoughts on global warming and the Kyoto Treaty, so I will not rehash that again. But there are some things I want to point out.

This is phase three of the liberal attack machine. This is how they get things done. First they tried to put pressure on our government to comply with "international law" by signing the Kyoto Treaty. It was denied. In phase two, they tried to pass legislation which was thoroughly rejected. Now they have turned to phase three, their Old Faithful, the federal courts. Since they can't convince the American people they will try to convince a small collection of liberal activist judges to tell us we don't know what's good for us and they do.

This is just a civil case, so it cannot dictate to corporations on a broad scale. But if this case is successful, look for more civil cases. Any money won in this case will go to organizations like Greenpeace to fund more cases. If they cannot get companies shut down by democratically passing laws, they will make it too expensive for companies to operate. This is the model that was used to milk the tobacco companies and it is the model they are applying here.

Time to Trade in the Hummer

Yesterday while I was driving home from work I heard on ABC News Radio that Hawaii had passed legislation capping gasoline wholesale prices. Interesting they decided to cap the wholesale price rather than reduce the $0.56/gallon tax they impose on gas. I think it is worth noting that Hawaii is a blue state. Even though they have a Republican governor, their two Senators and two Representatives are all Democrats. In the State Legislature the House is dominated by Democrats by a 41-10 margin and the Senate is dominated at 20-5. Hawaii couldn't be more blue if it were inhabited by Smurfs. So I think it is safe to say this is a policy of the political left.

Setting price caps on energy is a bad idea. In fact, any tampering with the markets is a bad idea. Setting the price to the consumers will not reduce the costs to make the gasoline. If gasoline refiners cannot recover their costs, they will stop producing gasoline which will lead to a shortage. I guess liberals didn't learn their lesson from the California Energy Crisis from a few years ago.

I used to manage a manufacturing facility that had a monthly power bill of a quarter million dollars. When you use that much electricity, you have to study and learn a little bit about how the electric companies operate. My company had a guy we called the "Energy Guru." It was his job to study the electric companies and figure out how they operated. Then he negotiated the contracts for all our plants nationwide. At the time of the California energy crisis, I asked him what was causing it. This is what he told me.

Back in the 80's California decided to reduce their power production in order to clean up their environment. The article I linked to above says they reduced power generation by 31% from 1988 to 1998. During this time the population of California exploded. Since 1970 the population of California has risen 70% with no increased power generation. As such, California created a large demand for power that had to be supplied from out of state.

Now, the United States is split up into 3 major power grids. One zone east of the Rocky Mountains, one zone west of the Rocky Mountains, and Texas which has its own independent grid. California relies heavily on coal generated power from the southwest part of the country and hydropower which is generated in the northwest. So picture California using huge amounts of power that it has to import from out of state.

Out of state generators started raising the price of power they supplied to California after deregulation. To combat this, California decided to tamper with the market and set a price cap on electricity somewhere around $0.06/kw. But they put a provision in the law that said in the event of an emergency, the governor could lift the cap and buy energy at market price. It was just a matter of time before the energy companies took advantage.

This gave the power companies the choice between selling power to California at 6 cents a kilowatt or sell it to the guy in Arizona for 8 cents a kilowatt. What would you do? So other states got priority over California. Soon power companies like Enron started getting greedy. They realized they could deliberately starve California of power and cause rolling brownouts. The governor caved under pressure and lifted the price cap. That allowed the power companies to sell power at $1/kw. It lasted for a month or two until people started catching on to what was happening and the power companies stopped doing it. Did you notice how that crisis seemed to almost instantly go away? Did you think we just reduced power consumption or threw up power plants overnight?

The whole crisis started when the government decided to tamper with the markets and greedy corporations took advantage. It is a lesson Hawaii obviously didn't learn. I expect the two refineries in Hawaii will soon shut down forcing Hawaii to import all their gasoline. Then they will be paying $5/gallon. Good thing the weather is nice all year round there, because everyone is going to be driving mopeds.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

When Talking Heads Go Wild

This week Pat Robertson made comments calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The left is just dancing with glee over these comments. The Main Stream Media loves juicy stories like this because it helps with their agenda in portraying right wing conservatives as total nutjobs.

I'm not defending what Robertson said. In fact I think it is despicable. He has done a disservice to his country and the Christian faith. Any liberal or non-christian believer should understand his statement does not represent those of the Christian faith or its teachings. Today Mr. Robertson tried to "clarify" his remarks by saying he was "misinterpreted". The Dick Durbin/Howard Dean approach doesn't fly with the conservative wing, Mr. Robertson. You should apologize and retract your statement.

Those on the left need to stop treating Pat Robertson as a talking head for the Christian faith and the Republican Party. This man has stuck his foot in his mouth so many times even Christians and conservatives don't listen to him any more when he talks about politics. He blamed 9/11 on America's acceptance of homosexuals. He has publicly said muslims and hindu's aren't fit to serve in government. Trust me, nobody on the right listens to him anymore. The political right in this country is not supporting him on this one. So stop pointing the finger at us and hold him personally responsible.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Meaning of Patriotism

Patriotism: (noun) Love of and devotion to one's country.

Isn't it funny how words can mean different things to different people.

For some, patriotism means sacrificing yourself for the greater good of your country. John F. Kennedy once said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what can you do for your country."

For others, patriotism is just loving your home land. George Bernard Shaw once said, "Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it."

For others, patriotism is a propoganda tool used to lead people like the pied piper leading rats from the village. Mark Twain said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

Others equate patriotism with warmongers. Oscar Wilde said, "Patriotism is a virtue of the vicious."

Today there is a struggle going on between the two political parties in our country to define patriotism. Those on the political right accuse the political left of being unpatriotic because of their opposition to the Iraq war. Their claim is not supporting the war is equal to wanting America to lose. Therefore one who does not support their country in war is not patriotic. Meanwhile, on the political left, they claim patriotism is wanting your country to do the right thing. They claim the Iraq war is unjust. By wanting their country to participate in righteous activities, they claim to be the true patriots.

I have some issues with the political right and their use of the word "patriotism" ever since 9/11. Patriotism has been used as a political tool. It plays on the emotions of the electorate. Being a patriot is perceived to be a good thing. So they cloak things in the name of patriotism, like the Patriot Act. It isn't hard to see why something called the Patriot Act would get a lot of support during a time of war. Mind you, I support the Patriot Act, but I do wish they had given it a different name. Why not call it was it is? It was an act to protect the homeland from radical islamic terrorists who want to blow it up. So why not just call it the Homeland Protection Act or the Radical Islam Suppression Act? Calling it the Patriot Act was meant only to play on people's emotions of national pride to gain support. I do not support that.

Of course you didn't think I was going to let the liberals off for free, did you? I have many issues with their definition of patriotism. Since the war started I have heard numerous rants about the yellow ribbon magnets people put on their cars. The left claims they support the troops but not the war. They say the best way to keep Americans out of harms way is to not engage Americans in war. They claim true patriotism is standing up to the president and speaking one's opinion. They claim that by going against the United Nations we have isolated America from the international community. By doing so we have weakened America. In saying this they are claiming we are citizens of the world first, Americans second. I do not support that.

I don't know what patriotism means anymore. Everyone has their own definition. As much as I hate Hitler analogies, I'm going to use one here because I think it is appropriate. When Hitler invaded the Netherlands in 1940, the Dutch fought viciously to defend their homeland even though they were seriously outmanned and outgunned. Many said they were insane, yet they fought in the name of patriotism. On the other hand, the german soldiers who attacked the Netherlands were also pumped up in the name of patriotism. So both sides were acting in a patriotic manner, but both sides could not have been on the side of good. Do you see my point? Patriotism does not necessarily equal good. As a result I have become suspicious anytime someone calls something "patriotic" or calls others "unpatriotic". I think we all want to see America do well and prosper. I think we just have different ideas about what that means.

I think patriotism is not an allegience to the soil you live on, rather it is allegience to your government. We are all a group of people who have decided to pool our power under one nation we call The United States of America. As such we have agreed to disagree on some issues, but when one American is threatened by an outsider, we all must swear to defend that American. In order to protect ourselves we have instituted a government that is by the people and for the people. We must support that government if we are to protect ourselves. There can be disagreements as to what the best course of action is, but when the majority of America makes up their mind and elects the candidate that agrees with them, the minority has to suck it up and sacrifice (you know, ask not what your country can do for you...) to support that government, or at least not undermine it. So Patriotism can mean volunteering to go to the other side of the globe to get shot at in the name of freedom, but it can also mean putting aside your personal views in order to put forward a united front to the world.

This is why I have such a problem with anti-war protesters. Publicly protesting the war is equal to publicly saying you don't support our government which was elected by the people for the people. To say your government is wrong is to say your government's enemy is right. You are telling the majority of America we cannot count on you to help us achieve victory. So when you give the finger to the majority of America, don't get upset when the majority of America gives you the finger right back in the election. And especially don't be surprised when the majority of America calls you unpatriotic.

Back from Vacation

I'm back from my vacation. My wife and I went to Boston for the weekend to visit her Grandparents. If you have never been to Boston I highly recommend going sometime. It is an area rich in history with so much to learn about our nation's beginnings.

My wife's grandparents are quite old and don't get around very well, so we didn't get out to see as much as I would like. On Saturday we managed to go see Minute Man National Historical Park which serves to remember the historical battles of Lexington and Concord. They play an excellent movie every half hour that discribes the battles. On Sunday we took a driving tour of some beach towns. Nice scenery, but not my cup of tea. After driving 350 miles on Friday to get there, three hours in the car on Saturday, and knowing I had to drive another 350 miles to get home on Monday, spending three hours in the car on Sunday wasn't exactly my idea of a good time. All told we logged 1000 miles behind the wheel this weekend.

But I have seen Boston before, and it is a town rich in fascinating stories that you can almost see playing out on the streets today. There is the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall, Bunker Hill, Paul Revere's house, the Old North Church (ya know, one if by land, two if by sea), the USS Constitution, and of course the battle sites of Lexington and Concord. If you have never been to Boston, go. Make sure you walk The Freedom Trail. I guarantee you will come away with a greater appreciation for the sacrifices that were made so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have in this great country.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Who Brought the Smores?

Up until now I have avoided commenting on Cindy Sheehan, the mother camped outside George Bush's ranch in Crawford Texas, out of respect for her. I can only imagine what it must be like to lose a son in a war, especially one you do not support. My heartfelt condolences go out to her and her family. Up until now I have felt it would be in bad taste to criticize her actions. Even when it first surfaced on Drudge that she had changed her story from when she met with Bush last year, I still didn't comment. I'm glad I didn't because it turned out she actually didn't change her story and has been consistently against the war since it began.

Over dinner the other night someone asked me if I thought the President should meet with her as she requests. I said no. If the president were to meet with her personally it would set a precedent where thousands of people would be showing up on the porch of the White House asking for personal meetings with the president. We can't have that. The president has to be somewhat removed from the people. He can't be bothered taking time to listen to every person's personal agenda. So I do support George Bush refusing to meet with Cindy in this instance.

At first I thought Cindy just wanted to meet with the president to ask him why we went to war. At least that was her claim. Even though President Bush has given numerous explanations through press conferences and speeches, I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt as a grieving mother. I figured if that was what she needed to give herself closure I could understand that. But something happened along the way. After Cindy started her demonstration, she instantly became a media darling. The Moveon.org's of the world rallied around her. Even Michael Moore has joined the cause. I think the attention got to her head. She has now turned from a grieving mother into a political activist. And that makes it fair game for me to comment on her.

In her latest comments Ms. Sheehan says we need to get Israel out of Palestine. She claims she isn't going to pay taxes anymore as payment for her dead son. She has begun calling for President Bush's impeachment.

You had me, Ms. Sheehan, but you crossed the line. I think when she started this her intension was to draw attention to her belief that Iraq is an unjust war. I was willing to give her some slack and leave her alone. But now she has morphed into a political pundit. She has been corrupted by the radical left in this country. She has been turned into the poster girl for the anti-war movement. It's easy to see why. Nobody will speak out against her. Anyone who attacks her will be instantly branded as a cold-hearted jerk. I'm anticipating a comment or two to that effect myself. But I refuse to see this woman as a grieving mother any longer. She is now a self proclaimed anti-semite (Israel comment), a law breaker (not paying taxes), and a political talking head (calling for impeachment). I can't side with sympathize with someone who puts themself above the law like that.

You had me, Cindy, as I'm sure you had a lot of fellow conservatives. But you blew it. You lost us by revealing your true agenda, which is to draw attention to yourself and get in a political jab. The Mainstream Media's "All Cindy All the Time" mentality is getting old fast. You're the new Natalie Halloway. Enjoy the book deal that is sure to come. Maybe you can get Susan Sarandan to play you in the movie. Just remember money won't buy you happiness, a new president, or bring back your son. At the end of your life when you look back on this time I hope you can do so with pride, if you have any left.

Side Note: Don't you just love this guy? He's just out on his on property on a Sunday afternoon shooting his gun in the air to scare away the vermin. There's no harm in that when you live in Texas.

Journalistic Obligations

Hat Tip to Michael Smerconish for bringing this up on his radio show this morning.

Today's post is going to require a little homework on your part. First I want you to read this article about a group of teenagers terrorizing the small community of Chesnut Hill, PA. It will require registration, but it is free. Now read this article in the Chestnut Hill Local newspaper and contrast the two. Notice any difference in how the articles are worded?

The first article from the Philadelphia Daily News just describes the suspects as a pack of teenagers. It isn't until you read the Chesnut Hill Local article that you read the perpetrators are black. I'm sure the Philadelphia Daily News left this fact out of their article under the banner of tolerance and political correctness. I'm sure they felt that if they identified the thugs as black teenagers they would be hurting the feelings of all black people by making them feel inferior to whites. The Chesnut Hill Local says to hell with your feelings, we want these thugs off our streets and we're going to tell you what they look like.

One caller to Mike's show this morning relayed a story about when he called the police about some kids he saw throwing rocks at a house. I'm guessing from his dialect and accent that the man was black. He said when the police arrived one of the first questions they asked him was the race of the teenagers he saw throwing the rocks. He responded to the police, "What does that matter?" Of course it matters! How are the police going to find them if they don't know what they look like?

Mike Smerconish compared this to the Phillies beating the Nationals in baseball one night and the newspaper not reporting it the next day because they didn't want to hurt the feelings of any Nationals fans who might read it. It's ridiculous.

My question is: Do reporters have an obligation to tell you the race of a crime suspect? Should reporters carry the burden of deciding what is important to us? As a caller pointed out on Smerconish's show this morning, the Daily News is basically saying you as a reader can't handle the truth. Is it their right to decide that? Or are they obligated to give us all of the facts regardless of whose feelings might get hurt?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Junk Science

Well, another heat wave has hit Europe so you know what that means. The global warming drum is beating again. Check out this article about the heat wave in Europe. Beware of articles like this. They are preaching junk science. They are twisting statistics to meet their agenda. This is what the global warming crowd has to do because there isn't enough scientific data to back up their claims.

The article notes that between 2000 and 2004 the average temperature in 16 cities went up one degree celcius over the average temperatures in 1970 through 1974. This is a horrible scientific study. You're only taking 16 data points out of the entire planet. Then you are comparing five years worth of data to another arbitrarily picked five years of data from a planet that is billions of years old. Using their logic I could say at lunch time today the temperature has risen 10 degrees since I woke up this morning. At this rate we will all be fried to a crisp by tomorrow afternoon. The end is near. We're all doomed.

Here in Philadelphia, 1998 was the hottest year on record. Since we haven't had a year as hot as that I guess 1998 was the peak and now the planet is cooling. See how statistics can be morphed and manipulated to make one's point?

The major bone I have to pick with this article is the following statement:

Global warming, also called the greenhouse effect, is caused by carbon gases mostly discharged by burning oil, gas and coal, that trap the sun's heat.

The article just lays that out there as if it were undisputed fact. It makes no mention that global warming is merely a theory. There are other explainations that don't seem to get equal air time. For instance, we know that the sun goes through periods of extreme solar flare activity followed by periods of relative calm. Since our primary source of heat for our planet is the sun, wouldn't it be worth while to study the effect these solar flares have on our planet? Doesn't it seem logical that if the sun started putting out more heat the temperature on earth would go up? But that doesn't seem to get much attention in the media.

As a chemical engineer I can tell you in fact water vapor is much more abundant in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide only makes up about 300 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere. Moisture can range into the thousands of ppm. If anything we should be focusing on getting the moisture out of the air, not carbon dioxide. But on a planet that is 75% covered in water, that would be a hard thing to do.

Of course for the global warming crowd the answer is the Kyoto Treaty. I have already given my opinion on that.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I DON'T LIKE SPAM!!!

A few days ago I turned anonymous comments back on. That lasted a few days until I got tired of deleting the spam, so I turned them off again. Sorry to those who wish to comment without being named. Make up a new profile is all I can say. Hopefully Blogger will clean up their act and put a stop to the spamming.

For those who may remember the old Monty Python Show, the title is from the famous Spam skit.

spam spam spam spam Lovely Spam!!! Wonderful Spam!!!

Philisophical Discussion

In response to yesterday's post, Fitch made an interesting comment I thought I would open up for discussion. I decided to do a new post rather than keep it going in the comment thread. In talking about intelligent design, Fitch said:

"I think that there is a greater form of life, which I do not call God. I call it the Universe. From life comes life."

The comment perked my interest. I don't really understand what he is saying. I hope Fitch feels comfortable enough to elaborate. If you don't want to discuss it, buddy, that's cool. I hope you don't mind me running with it. I have heard similar things from people in the past who worship nature. They talk of mother earth and this all encompassing spirit energy almost like "The Force" in Star Wars. I don't understand it. I'm not knocking it, I just don't get it. It is hard for me because in the context of my thinking, God created the Universe, so how can the Universe be God?

I would like to know what everyone thinks about this comment. What do you think about God? What do you think about the Universe? Why are we here? Where do we go when we die?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Intelligent Debate

When you're the President of the United States, you really have to watch what you say. Many politicians have become experts at ducking questions. When caught off guard they deflect the question and go right into their talking points that have nothing to do with the question that was asked. But once in awhile a politician answers an off hand question honestly. When they do so it is refreshing, but it always sparks controversy.

Last week President Bush was asked what he thought about schools teaching Intelligent Design. I'm sure he was caught off guard by the question. I'm sure he wasn't planning on taking a question on Texas school electives. He could have diverted the conversation to talk about education funding or No Child Left Behind. But he didn't do that. He decided to stand up for what he believes and he gave an honest answer. He said he thought it was a good idea.

His exact words were, “You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.” Note he didn't say Congress should pass a law teaching our kids creationism. Note he did not say anyone teaching Evolution would be thrown in jail. Yet the firestorm this little comment made rivals The Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Immediately after his statement, the science community took to the microphones to denounce Intelligent Design as a religious fantasy. They claim that Evolution is grounded in fact and that we have no proof of an intelligent creator. Therefore we cannot teach Intelligent Design as science. The seculars were equally as outraged. They cried that this violates the sacred separation of church and state. To teach Intelligent Design would be indoctrinating our children with state sponsored religion. All of this is bull***t.

Evolution is a theory. Nothing more. And it is a theory with holes in it at that. For instance, if man derived from the caveman, why aren't there cavemen walking around today? Did man eat all the cavemen? If the only difference between man and caveman is a small genetic mutation, why did the caveman not survive? This is something Evolution cannot explain.

Intelligent design should not be confused with religion, especially creationism. Intelligent design simply looks at the complexity of the universe, our planet, and life and says there must be some form of intelligence behind it all. Look at how complicated the cycle of life is. We breathe air and use the oxygen to turn our food into energy. We discharge carbon dioxide which is taken in by plants. The plants produce oxygen and sugar. The oxygen we breathe. The sugar is eaten by animals for nurishment. Those animals are eaten by other animals. When we die our bodies decay as they are eaten by tiny micro-organisms. It is all so complicated. Take out one link in the chain and everything collapses. I find it hard to believe all of this started by chance 5 billion years ago when a meteor hit the planet sparking a little puddle of proteins and aminoacids to produce an amoeba that would grow and split to populate our planet into the complex environment we see today. I can't believe this is all luck.

With the seculars it isn't so much about separating church and state as it is about just keeping God locked behind closed doors on Sunday mornings. Note that the schools in Texas want to offer Intelligent Design as an elective. Not required teaching. If a student or their parent doesn't want to be exposed to Intelligent Design, they are not required to. So what are the seculars afraid of? Isn't this America where we are free to exchange ideas? What they fear is people believing in God. But Intelligent Design is not an endorsement of Christianity. It is not a religion. It is a philosophy. It is a theory just like evolution. It deserves to at least be heard and discussed. Science is the exploration of the unknown to find the truth. I think we can all agree that God is one big question mark.

Personally, I believe in Intelligent Design. I don't think that surprises any of the regulars here. I think there is an intelligent being, who I call God, that created this earth. The preponderance of evidence leads me to believe the earth was created billions of years ago. Did we evolve from amoebas? Perhaps. I don't know. But I'm not ruling it out. Truthfully I don't care. It would be interesting to know for sure, but we can't until somebody can turn an amoeba into a sheep in a petridish. But it's important to note, if someone does manage to turn a monkey into a man some day, that does not automatically exclude the existance of God.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Tossed Salad

America used to be called "The Melting Pot." This country used to be a place where people from all different cultures came together to form a new culture. They came here to become Americans. They were eager to learn English. They studied hard to become citizens. They tried hard to fit in with our culture and learn the ways of American society. Those days are over. America has become a tossed salad. Different types of people have come together to contribute to one dish, but each retains its own distinct flavor. People no longer come to this country and call themselves "American" anymore. They are "Mexicans living in America" or "Native Americans" or "African-Americans", etc. We are all tomatoes, and cucumbers, and lettuce, and onions living in a big bowl called America. This theory is called Multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism is why the planet seems to be going to hell in a handbasket. The fundamental assumption behind multiculturalism is that all cultures are equal and as such each culture deserves equal respect. But as Michale Barone points out, all cultures are not equal. Take for instance the American Indian (yes, I didn't say Native American. So sue me!). The image portrayed of the American Indian today is of a peaceful agricultural society in touch with the earth and at peace with the spirits before the big bad white man came and destroyed them as part of an aggressive land grab. I would suggest anyone who has this image of the American Indian should read Undaunted Courage by Steven Ambrose. I hesitate to use the word, but the American Indians were savages. They were constantly at war with one another for sometimes no apparent reason. When the white man moved west Indian males pimped out their wives to the settlers thinking the white man had magical powers. They thought by having their wives sleep with white men and then sleeping with their wives they could obtain the white man's powers. STD's were rampant. They walked around mostly naked. They stole anything from Lewis and Clark they could get their hands on. They were a primitive society. How can we possibly say their society and culture was on equal footing with the Europeans?

The African-American community today is destroying itself. They have become almost completely isolated in the urban cities. Children are being raised without fathers. That's not an American problem, that's an African-Amercian problem. Bill Cosby said he couldn't believe the language coming out of a kid's mouth until he heard that language coming out of the parent's mouth. So what we have is one culture completely broken living only miles from people living in luxury. This gives the impression of injustice. This breeds hate. This is what multiculturalism brings to the table.

In his article, Barone points out that multiculturalism is what allows terrorist cells to grow and thrive in western nations. They can blend into society without sticking out. They can still speak their native language, still maintain their customs, and speak their anti-western speech without being noticed.

Barone also points out that multiculturalism eventually gives way to the mentality that all cultures are morally equal except ours, which is worse. America becomes the evil empire. The emphasis on the founding fathers becomes their ownership of slaves. Dropping the bomb on Hiroshima is described as killing innocent people. People say we invaded Iraq for the oil. But maybe Barone has it backwards. Maybe instead of multiculturalism breeding a hate of America, maybe it was a hate of America that bred multiculturalism. It makes sense that an evil image of America is what causes people to not become part of America, but rather maintain their own native culture. Perhaps our rapid growth over the past 200 years bred resentment in other countries where resources are thin and markets are not free.

But I believe America is the beacon of hope and light on top of the mountain. I believe this is the greatest country on earth and I thank God every day for the opportunity I have to live in a country where I'm free. Free to chose the path I want to take and pursue it. Maybe I fall short sometimes, but if I do it is most likely my own fault because I wasn't willing to make a sacrifice needed to achieve my goal. But our government never tells people they can't pursue their dreams. And that is what makes America great.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Crossing the Line

News came out this week that the New York Times was investigating the adoption records of John Roberts two children. This is just dispictable. It's an obvious fishing expedition to dig up some dirt. My guess is the NYT was hoping to find some evidence that Roberts pulled used his position to pull some favors thus painting him as a corrupt public official. Congress needs to act in the future to draw the line between what is fair game and what is not when it comes to researching judicial nominees.

I'm especially surprised I haven't heard any Democratic polititians come forward to rebuke this investigation by the New York Times. For all the crying they did about Ken Starr looking into President Clinton's personal life, you would think if they were at all consistent they would be equally as outraged with the New York Times investigation. So far the silence is deafening. It is clear that when it comes to personal attacks, all is fair against Republicans. This is just another example of how pathetic the political landscape has become.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Give me a Break

This just in from the "Give me a break" department: Astronauts shouldn't pose as environmental experts. The Space Shuttle Discovery Commander, Eileen Collins has weighed in and said it is evident to her that there has been widespread environmental damage to our planet. She points to spots where she can see erosion and deforestation to draw her conclusion.

I want to know who made this woman an expert on environmental issues? This is her fourth mission to space since 1995 which I guess in her mind makes her an expert on the state of the planet. I would be interested in seeing her scientific research that drew her to this conclusion.

Now I don't deny that some parts of this planet have been pretty much destroyed by man. But I think they are very small parts. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to do a lot of travelling and seen many different parts of this planet. I can remember getting caught in a rain storm in Italy in 1999. When we ran inside from the rain, our clothes sopping wet, I noticed a brown sooty deposit was left on our skin and clothes after the rain drops evaporated. It really felt quite disgusting and it was disturbing to consider this crap was falling out of the sky. But on the other hand, I have been to parts of this country and Canada where nature was untouched and it felt like I was the only person within a hundred miles. Just yesterday I was travelling home from St. Marys, PA on I-80 through upstate Pennsylvania. For much of the 60 mile stretch I drove on the road there was nothing but trees and mountains from one horizon to the other. So much of this country is untouched I have a tough time getting worked up when someone says we're destroying our planet.

Collins also made a remark about us not having much air to breathe. I think she was clearly pushing the Kyoto treaty considering she was talking with the Japanese Prime Minister via radio when she made these comments. Let me dispell that myth. There is plenty of air. I hesitate to disclose this, but let me just say I work for an industrial gas company. We build plants all over the planet that suck air out of the atmosphere and separate it into its components of oxygen, nitrogen, and argon. We probably have thousands all over the world, and we're just one company. There are literally tens of thousands of these plants all over the world. Most of them take millions of cubic feet of air out of the atmosphere every HOUR. I go to these plants all the time and they never seem to run out of air. Fitch may not realize it, but he has one in his home town. He probably doesn't even know.

So I don't put much faith into it when celebrites, or astronauts, lecture us about preserving the planet. I have a theory that it is somehow connected with big cities being demographically dominated by liberal environmentalists. These people live in their cities looking at nothing but steel and concrete all day. The can't go outside without smelling car exhaust or smog. When they do leave the city all they see is whatever is outside their plane window before they get to the other big city destination. It's no wonder they think we're destroying the planet. Look where they live. The people out in "fly over land", as they like to call it, understand how valuable the environment is. That's why they take care of it. That's why "fly over land" looks so much nicer than New York and Los Angeles. Think about it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

They Weren't Always Appeasers

The President of the United States, George W., sat in his office wondering how to overcome this threat to his country. He had just begun his second term and it was obvious that foreign affairs were going to dominate his administration. The enemy had created cells dangerously close to America. It terrorized America's ships preventing a smooth flow of trade. The enemy made unreasonable demands and swore if those demands were not met that America would be destroyed. George decided to make one last attempt to reason with the enemy. He send a special envoy to meet the enemy and avert war. The man George appointed met the enemy and brokered a peace deal. He brought the treaty home for George to see and the Senate to ratify.

George liked the deal. It conceded everything for nothing. But it ended the threat of war which is what George wanted. The Republicans were outraged. They accused George of selling America to the enemy. They insisted we ally with the French and fight the enemy. But George signed the peace deal anyway.

Does any of this sound familiar? Are you asking yourself if this is fact or fiction? It is indeed fact, but maybe not in the terms you are thinking. George W. is George Washington. The year was 1795 and the enemy was Great Britain. Bitter over the Revolutionary War and American independence, Great Britain tried to undermine the United States. They maintained armed forts in the Great Lakes region. They harassed our merchant ships to disrupt our trade routes with Europe and the West Indies. The British taxed American goods heavily. On top of it all the British still held the dream that the United States could once again become British colonies. The two countries were on the brink of falling back into war.

Also at the heart of the situation was the ongoing war between Great Britain and France. The Federalists, and Washington, wanted to remain neutral in the European war between France and Great Britain. The Republicans (not to be confused with today's Republican Party) wanted the United States to align itself as an ally of France. Britain wanted to discourage American trade with Europe to keep them from allying with the French.

As a last ditch effort, Washington sent John Jay to try to negotiate a peace and trade agreement. John Jay was one of the most influencial and respected Americans prior to this event. With Alexander Hamilton and James Madison he co-authored the Federalist Papers. He was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was on a sure path to one day be President, until this fateful trip to Great Britain. Jay returned with what would forever be known as the Jay Treaty.

The Jay Treaty gave in to almost all of Great Britains demands. The British refused to compensate Americans for property the British had siezed during the Revolution. They refused to allow America to trade with the West Indies. The British retained the right to confiscate American ships, but promised to compensate the merchant. However any French goods would be confiscated without compensation. The one concession Jay got was the evacuation of Western British forts from North America. In return, the treaty granted Great Britain "Most Favored Nation" trade status with the United States.

John Jay instantly became the most hated man in America. The Republicans (today's modern Democratic Party) denounced the treaty as appeasement. Years after the treaty was signed Jay commented he could have traveled from Boston to Philadelphia soley by the light of his burning effigies.

But Washington conferred with Alexander Hamilton and decided to sign the treaty on the grounds that it averted war. He foresaw correctly that in a few years America would grow into an economic superpower that would rival and possibly surpass Great Britain. The treaty was narrowly passed by the Senate.

I just thought I would throw that history lesson out there today since it kind of relates to some things we are currently going through. Notice that the modern Democratic party wasn't always the party of appeasement. Sometimes I guess appeasement is a good idea when you aren't in a position to fight.

Monday, August 01, 2005

May the Best Man Continue to Struggle Forever

This weekend I got up and mowed the grass. I find mowing my yard to be quite therapeutic sometimes. I have a third of an acre with a few hills and a 22" non-propelled push mower I got from Sears. It takes me a couple of hours. But during that time I get to be alone in my thoughts and sort out a lot of stuff.

This morning I was thinking about the difficulty I have communicating with liberals. I've been thinking about this a lot lately wondering if the problem is me. I think I have come to the conclusion the problem is not me. I try to be courteous to people. I allow them to speak their minds and I try to never let my retorts get personal. But I have found that many liberals aren't capable of doing the same thing. Usually they start off trying to argue the facts, but their argument quickly declines into the "Bush lied kids died" mentality. Then after that they personally attack me calling me an idiot, an asshole, a bigot, a racist...well, you get the idea. I suppose maybe some conservatives are the same way, but I never get into arguments with conservatives.

As I was thinking about this my mind wandered into thinking about the big picture. The political landscape in our country, and even the world, today is much like the experience I have had here in the blogging world. I don't have much to compare it to, but I get the impression the political rhetoric today is more venomous than it has ever been in this country. There has always been difference of opinion, but it has never sank to a personal level like it has today.

As I was walking the yard, breaking a sweat and elevating my heartrate, I tried to think what happened to cause the political landscape in our country to take this nasty turn. I was thinking about the 2000 election when it occurred to me that nobody wants to admit defeat anymore. As a society we have lost the ability to be the bigger man (or woman) and admit when we have lost the argument. When this epiphany struck me a lot of things started making sense. The major villian behind this mentalilty is moral relativism. I will explain.

Moral relativism is the believe that no one point of view is either right or wrong. All points of view are equaly valid and one's perception of right and wrong, good and evil, is subject purely to their own point of view. To take on moral relativism as the philosophy on which one bases all of their decisions in life, one must be willing to admit there are no winners or losers in human interaction. Every event affects people differently, but because both sides are looking out for their best interest, neither side is right or wrong. For people who believe in moral relativism, to admit you are wrong is to admit there is a wrong. And for them, to admit there is a wrong brings down the very fabric that holds their life together like a proverbial house of cards.

For this reason, moral relativists can never admit they are wrong. The effect of this refusal to admit defeat is that every debate becomes an endless struggle between different perspectives. Nothing ever gets finalized because the argument never dies. Life to moral relativists becomes an endless struggle between two points of view. As such they will never back down. Never give up. They shift the debate to point to some circumstance that led to their (temporary) defeat, but they will never admit that their principles are wrong. The 2000 election was a classical example of this. To some extent, even the 2004 election illustrated it. Many people wanted Kerry to fight the election results. Instead of conceding, they fight the results. Now you hear democrats say they just didn't package their message right, the voters are dumb, or there was election fraud.

This is frustrating for Christian conservatives like myself who believe in moral absolutes. I'm capable of knowing when I've been beaten in a debate. I am willing to accept it when my party loses an election. (It wasn't easy seeing Bill Clinton get re-elected, but I didn't hate the man.) When I lose I always try to lose graciously and "be the bigger man". But after a while it gets frustrating when the other side is never willing to concede anything. We cannot reach common ground when one party says "You're wrong," and the other party says, "There is no wrong."