Political Angst In America

Location: Pantego, Texas, United States

Monday, July 24, 2006

I was reading about Islam the other day and ran across the reason that there is a moon on the Muslim flag. It turns out that Mohammed more or less co-opted the pagan Moon-God. Allah was the name of the Moon-God.

When I was a boy I used to talk to my maternal grandfather about politics and world affairs a lot. He was well informed. He was only 42 when I was born, so he was still relatively young while I was a teen-ager. He still rode his horse and roped calves. (He could ride a horse a lot better than he ever learned to drive a car or truck.) He was pretty talkative; not at all the silent type of cowboy. He told a lot of stories, and they were long and drawn out. He didn't drink, smoke, chew, or cuss much. Not the stereotype Texan, but actually fairly typical. But, he was often quiet around people listening and watching, telling an occasional story, but not venturing many opinions. I figured out that he was pretty shrewd at evaluating people; he would tell me what people were thinking and what their agenda was when we were alone. He made it a practice not to say anything bad about anyone, with the exception of Franklin Roosevelt, whom he considered to be a socialist and seriously didn't like. He explained to me that socialism and communism were bound to fail because they didn't take into account human nature. He thought that people would always end up acting in their own self interest. He was telling me about enlightened self-interest as a government concept before I ever heard of Ayn Rand. He was very independent, and mostly wanted the government to leave him alone. In fact, he was pretty much a loner. I guess I'm a lot like him in that respect at least. And also in political philosophy.

Here is an email I sent Bill O'Reilly regarding his discussion about ethanol tonight.

You don’t seem to understand the ethanol situation based on your exchange with Michelle Malkin tonight, and I can’t tell if she does. I’m an engineer so it is hard for me to be pithy; I’ll try to keep it short.

Brazil makes ethanol from sugar cane. That is reasonably efficient. They burn the bagasse (the residue after the juice is extracted) to distill the alcohol. (It is even possible to generate excess electricity from the steam produced by burning of the bagasse.)

Making ethanol from corn is a loser from an energy standpoint. And, it would take 600 million acres of farmland (most of what is available in the US) to make enough ethanol to fuel all of our vehicles with E85. We will still want to eat, so there is simply not enough arable land.

I still like ethanol as a partial solution. We can grow sugarcane in the South, and we could import ethanol from the tropical countries that can grow sugarcane. It would help us and them; a win-win situation. But, the corn and oil lobbies may not agree. I don’t think the corn guys want us to start importing ethanol.

I saw today that John Kerry has pronounced that if he were President now there would be no fighting in Lebanon. I wonder if he really thinks he could control a bunch of terrorists who are willing to die to kill us. Apparently his ego is even bigger than I had thought previously. We are most fortunate that he was not elected President. There seems to be a problem in the Democratic Party when the best they can select to run for President are men with serious personality and character defects like Clinton, Gore, and Kerry.

It is no surprise that today the Liberals and Democrats have declared that the fighting in Lebanon is George Bush's fault. I wonder if they realize the Israel and the Arabs have been fighting for longer than Bush has been alive. In fact Muslims have been fighting everyone else in the world since the 7th century. I read the other day that four million people have died in fighting in Africa, but since they can't figure out how to pin it on Bush, no one cares. I think the Democrat's blame Bush strategy is becoming a joke. (It is true that Clinton got them to peace talks, but, since the Arabs don't negotiate in good faith because their religion doesn't permit it, those talks were a waste of time in which the Arabs were re-arming.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I haven't been blogging for the past week. I went on vacation to New Braunfels, and came down with some sort of flu that put me in bed for two days. I'm better now with just some stiffness in my muscles. I think I'll be able to eat today.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I'm always amused when Democrat's claim to be the party of the working man when in reality most of the Democrats are multi-millionaires, and most of their campaign contributions come from a few wealthy people. The Democrats have been successful at spreading the image that they are the party of the poor with much help from the media, the leading members of which are now themselves quite wealthy; if you don't beleive that, check out the salary of Katie Couric and other anchors. It is not surprising that the rich are Democrats. Historically the rich want more government regulation. They want to freeze society so they remain on top. This is why Ted Kennedy and John Kerry favor a European style socialism which freezes everyone's economic status. They then don't have to work to remain on top of the heap. No "upstarts" will be able to displace them. Such limiting of economic opportunity will not be good for the economy as a whole, but it will make them more secure. If the United States had had in force the policies of France, which Democrats like, then, for example, IBM would still be king of the computer world, and would still be as staid and inert as they were before Microsoft. But, the American economy would be stalled like that of France. Below is an intersting article from Dissecting Leftism about Democrat's actually being the party of the wealthy:

Political fallacies: "The grand political fallacy of the age is that the Republicans are the party of wealth, while the Democrats are the party of compassion for the little guy. This is something that has been assumed and repeated so often that it has become a "well-known fact" without any hard evidence being asked for or given. In the 2000 elections, the counties that voted for Bush had a smaller percentage of their population with annual incomes over $100,000 than the counties that voted for Gore. The Bush counties also had a higher percentage of their population earning under $30,000 a year. It has become axiomatic in the liberal media that big-money donors give most of that big money to the Republicans. But the hard data show that the top ten donors to political campaigns gave far more to the Democrats, with the lone exception being the National Association of Realtors, who gave 50 percent to the Democrats and 49 percent to the Republicans."

There is an assault on Property rights in America by those on the left including many Democrats. Here is one interesting case from California that I got from thr blog Dissect left:

Coastal craziness

In a 1997 speech at a conference in Monterey, a radical environmentalist named Peter Douglas called for the U.S. Constitution to be amended to make courts the "arbiters" in what he called the "debate" over property owners' rights.

It was just another day at the green pulpit for Douglas, who thinks government powers should be used to coerce individuals to "care with mind and heart for Gaia and all life she sustains." Unfortunately, Douglas is in a position to use coercive powers in pursuit of his extremism. He is the longtime executive director of the California Coastal Commission, an institution whose hostility toward property rights makes the typical eminent domain-abusing redevelopment agency seem like pikers.

Consider the case of San Luis Obispo engineer Dennis Schneider, who hoped to build his dream home on a cliff above the ocean in a remote area north of Cayucos. Incredibly by normal cognitive standards, typically by Coastal Commission standards, the agency blocked his plans on the grounds that the home would be such an aesthetic affront to passing kayakers, boaters and surfers that it would violate their rights. We are not making this up. Thankfully, on June 28, the 2nd District Court of Appeal said this was nonsense in a brisk 12-page decision that seemed perplexed at where the Coastal Commission comes up with stuff like this. The answer, of course: from the untethered imagination of its executive director. Schneider's ordeal isn't over yet.

After pondering Gaian case law and the need for kayaker empowerment, Douglas is pushing for an appeal. But of course he would - if the Coastal Commission doesn't feel obligated to take the U.S. Constitution seriously, why should it take a state court seriously?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Betsy's Page by Betsy Newmark is one the best blogs. She posted this bit on bad writing. I agree with her that the runner-up entry was the best.

The Bulwer-Lytton contest for the best bad opening sentence has chosen a winner. The winner of the parody contest was a retired mechanical designer, Jim Guigli. His winning entry:

"Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."

Actually, I like the second place winner better.

I know what you're thinking, punk," hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor, "you're thinking, 'Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?' -- and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel loquacious?' -- well do you, punk?"

I've always thought that it would be a fun English class writing assignment to have the kids write entries for the contest. If they can recognize what bad writing is, it might be the first step towards editing it out of their own writing. It sure would be fun to grade. You could send the kids back for rewrite because their writing just wasn't bad enough.

It has been widely charged that Bush and Cheney were trying to get approval to drill for oil on the Alaskan North Slope and off the coast of the US to help their oil company buddies. I think this reveals fuzzy thinking since it seems unlikely that their oil buddies want to drill more. Oil demand is inelastic so a few percent increase in the supply could significantly reduce the price of oil. I think the oil companies would much rather sell the reserves they currently have for $75 per barrel than spend huge amounts of money to develop more oil supply to drop the price of oil to perhaps $30 per barrel. That will clearly give them a better return on investment. In addition, they will eventually get to exploit the North Slope and off-shore oil, and probably sell it for over $100 per barrel. Because of the consolidation in the oil industry and the enormous amounts of money it takes to develop oil fields in Alaska and off-shore it is unlikey that any entrepreneurs will develop the oil so it will eventually go to the major oil companies by default. This is illustrated by the development of the Barnett Shale natural gas field in Fort Worth which was developed by small independent companies. The Barnett Shale field is now the leading natural gas producer in Texas, and that supply is part of the reason that natural gas price has fallen from $15 per thousand cubic feet to under $6. (It should be noted that Texas is about the only state in which regulations don't make it difficult to drill for petroleum, but after 100 years of exploration there is probably not much undiscoved petroleum in Texas.) And now the major companies are moving in to buy the reserves of the smaller companies in the Barnett Shale. My guess is that the majors are not happy about all of this.

My opinion is that Bush and Cheney were trying to help American consumers by drilling on the North Slope and off-shore to increase the oil supply. I suspect their oil field buddies have been making campaign contrributions to Democrats who block efforts to drill more to increase the oil supply.

Fox News headline says that Novak has revealed that Karl Rove was his source for Valerie Plame as the one who suggested Joe Wilson as the one to go to Africa to check out claims that Saddam had tried to buy uranium from Niger. Later in the story we learn that Novak got the information from someone else. He called Rove and asked him about it. Rove either said "I've heard that too" or "So you know about that." This is not news since it has been known for many months. One question I have is, is this what reporters call sourcing? Rove apparently treated the story as a rumor. How culd that make him a source for Novak. And, Novak did do more research by calling the CIA, where it was confirmed that Valerie Plame did work there. The next question: why did Fox News treat this as news. And why the misleading headline that seems to accuse Rove. A more important question: it is revealed in the story that the prosecutor Fitzgerald has known all along who first gave the story to Novak, and it wasn't Rove nor, apparently Libby. Why then did Fitzgerald say in his press conference after indicting Libby that Libby was the one who had revealed Plame? He was apparently lying. Do prosecutors get to lie? Since it now appears that Plame was no longer a covert agent (since the person who revealed her has not been identified much less charged) why was there a leak investigation? It appears to have been a boondoggle; a total waste of time and money. Why hasn't the person in the CIA who made the criminal referral been fired. Who was that person?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

It appears that the only country that has any influence on North Korea is China. China's military says that they are conducting unrestricted warfare against the US, so it is unlikely that they will help us with North Korea. We are currently selling air defense missiles to Japan, but I think we have not agreed to sell them to Taiwan. I wonder what China's reaction would be if we said that if North Korea's nuclear missile programs are not stopped we will sell both air defense missiles and offensive missiles with nuclear warheads to both Japan and Tiawan. That might get China's attention and give them some incentive to help kill the North Korean weapons programs. It would probably get some reaction from South Korea, which also hasn't been helping us much.

The latest situation with Tom Delay is interesting. A (Democrat) judge has ruled that Republicans cannot replace Delay on the ballot for this coming November even though he wants to withdraw his name due to his legal problems. This brings to mind the situation a few years ago when it was revealed a few days before the election that Senator Torricelli of New Jersey had some serious ethical issues, and seemed certain to lose the election. A (Democrat) judge allowed the Democrats to replace Torricelli even though New Jersey law clearly did not allow it. We are supposed to be a nation ruled by laws rather than by whim of men. It seems to me that Democrats want us to be ruled by whim of Judges rather than by laws.

Here is an interesting article about shale oil. There is an enormous amount of shale oil in the United States. Back in the 1970's some companies lost a lot of money in developing shale oil production facilities when the price of oil fell back to a level that made shale oil uneconomical. I think that could happen again if large scale production of shale oil were to come on line. It seems to me that it might be wise of the government to subsidize shale oil with a subsidy that would kick in to allow shale oil producers to show a profit if the price of oil fell a lot. The US would be wise to do that. Think of the advantage to us if the pice of oil were to fall down to $15 per barrel. If we were producing 2 or 3 million barrels of shale oil per day, the price of oil would fall dramatically. It would be cheap for us if we had to pay the producers an extra $5 per barrel. Think of the advantage to us if the oil producing countries that don't like us, like Venezuala, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and so forth had less money with which to cause mischief for us.

This is also an argument for why we should drill for oil in Alaska and in coastal waters. Increasing our secure supply of oil by one or two million barrels per day would dramatically reduce the price of oil. Democrats don't seem to believe that increasing the supply by 5% or 10% would significantly reduce the price of oil. They seem to not believe in the most elemental aspects of economics.

The article on shale oil is here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13737475

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I watched Wesley Clark on TV today discussing the situation with North Korea and Iran. I guess he is speaking for Democrats. He thinks Bush should be having one-on-one talks with both North Korea and Iran, but should have gotten more countries involved in negotiations prior to invading Iraq. I think I've figured out the Democrats approach: whatever Bush did is wrong, and we should be doing the opposite. I have reached a general conclusion that Democrats don't understand that systems are dynamic, but rather they assume that all systems are static. This applies to Global Warming, where there is no appreciation that climate has always been changing, sometimes rapidly, like 20 degrees in 10 years. And to the economy where it is assumed that raising taxes will generate more money for the government and cutting taxes will reduce government revenue despite experience over the last 50 years that shows the opposite is true. Then there is war. They seem to not understand that the enemy reacts to what you do, and that what opponents to the war proposed at the start of the Iraq war may not have worked as well as what we actually did. I also conclude that we can't afford to turn defense of the country over to Democrats until they come to their senses, and find some leaders like Truman and John Kennedy instead of Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi.

The latest Rush Limbaugh is interesting. It is hard to avoid the impression that he is being persecuted by Democratic prosecutors. I get about 10 or 20 emails per day offering to sell me viagra without a perscription. If that is illegal, it seems like to me that it would be more important to go after the dealers than a individual who actually had the drug legally. I guess I had better be careful if I travel by air because I usually put my medicine (all non-narcotic for my heart condition) into those plastic containers that contain each days medication. I don't carry any perscriptions with me. It seems to me, that as usual, we have too many laws.

It is odd that Democrats seem to prosecute their enemies, but Republicans usully don't. Consider Kennedy's. They never get arrested for driving under the influence even though they seem to do it a lot. Consider the Plame case. There doesn't seem to have been any law broken, and Fitzgerald says it wasn't his job to determine if a law had been broken, but rather to get all the facts. It appears his charter was to ndict someone in the Bush Administration for something. At any rate, the case against Libby seems to be falling apart rapidly, and seems to have been totally unjustified. I would sooner believe a bunch of journalists are lying than a guy who had no reason to lie. The Delay case in Texas is looking worse all the time. Ronnie Earle seems to be a loose cannon. The judge pointed out that he charged Delay with something that wasn't illegal. Ronnie said if it wasn't, it should be. The Democrat in the Duke Lacrosse team rape case is not looking very good now.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The global warming issue has introduced politics into science. Science is supposed to be about finding truth, something sadly lacking in politics. It is becoming obvious that "political correctness" is now excluding publication of scientific research that does not support the popular view of global warming. It is interesting that communists and other assorted collectivists such as Al Gore and Hillar Clinton have latched onto alarmism over global warming to advance their agenda to destroy capitalism. Here is an interesting article discussing this issue.


Here is an interesting article summarizing the situation with regards to Global Warming by Richard Lindzen, a climate prof at MIT. (Hint; He doesn't agree with Al Gore.)


Here is an interesting article about how companies cheat their customers. I thought the one about adding charges to customers credit cards at the end of the quarter to increase quarterly sales was interesting. I guess that could happen, but a cursory investigation by accountants should reveal that scam.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

The IPCC recently released a new report which the newspaper identified as saying the Earth is now warmer than at any time in the last 400 years. That should be no surprise since the Earth was in the "little ice age" 400 years ago. The actual news in the report was that there was reason to doubt the Mann "hockestick," the work on which the previous IPCC report said showed that it is now warmer than at any time in the last 2000 years. Mann was trying to disprove the so-called Medival Warm Period from about 800 to 1200 AD. Mann used tree ring data for the past periods, but switched to actual temperature measurements for the last 100 years or so. (The modern tree ring data do not reflect the temperature increase indicated by the measurement data, a minor inconvenience.) Most, but not all, studies of past temperatures using a variety of techniques show that there was a Medieval Warm Period when temperatures were 1.5 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than now. (The fact that measured temperatures since 1998 is also inconvenient.) This link summarizes studies of temperatures in different parts of the globe.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Based on his latest tape, Osama thinks that Bagdad is the center of his war against the US. The Democrats such as Kerry and Murtha need to set him straight on this, since he is obviously confused.