September 30, 2006

My Mother

I don't usually post personal issues here, but I thought it would be good (perhaps for me) to post about the last days of my mother, Mary. She has been living with us since October 1998 and will be 96 on October 1, 2006 (10/1/10 as she is fond of saying). She has congestive heart failure and is now in hospice care via the Vermont Visiting Nurse Association (VNA).

She was in hospice care for 3 months June-August 2006 and then moved to palliative care because she had 'plateaued' at a reasonably stable condition. Now her condition has deteriorated with shortness of breath more pronounced with difficulty moving very far because it causes shortness of breath.

We have decided to keep her at home with us for as long as possible, but when an opening is available at Vermont Respite House in Williston, about 12 miles from us, we will move her there. Carol and I visited there in July and were favorably impressed with the staff and the facility.

Today we went for a long walk in the sunny, crisp fall air. It was a beautiful day and I pushed Mary in her wheelchair around the block for about a mile on nice level ground embraced by a mixture of shade and sun with a nice breeze.

She had a nice supper and PJ was here having brought a homemade quiche and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Mary also received a bouquet from Dick, (her nephew) and Joyce. Winnie and Edie sent a birthday card, too.

Yesterday, we brought in a hospital bed, but she seems to do better sleeping in the very comfortable reclining chair.

Last night her grandsons and family came to celebrate her birthday with pizza and a birthday cake.

All in all, Mary had a reasonably good day.

Islam and the Pope - New York Times

Islam and the Pope - New York Times

Friedman is correct in this assessment that Muslims need to speak honestly and critically among themselves. Otherwise , the RATs will succeed in creating the clash of civilizations that they sponsor and for ours to be destroyed.

He is right to expose the Western elitist proclivity to say/do nothing that might rile the Muslims. That's a foolish approach that will accomplish nothing.

Better Mood at the Gas Pump. What About the Voting Booth? - New York Times

Better Mood at the Gas Pump. What About the Voting Booth? - New York Times:

People are economically ignorant and the left-wingers attempt to exploit that for their political advantage. Apparently, few people think clearly anymore. All is spin for political advantage. Humbug!
"The sudden decline has also ignited suspicions that the Republican administration and giant oil companies conspired to cut gasoline prices for electoral gains.

“I think prices are going down now because it’s election time but I feel they will go back up again right after,” said Roberta Mays, a school bus driver in Knox, Pa.

Her opinion was reflected in a Sept. 15-17 Gallup poll, which found that 42 percent of respondents said that they believed the Bush administration was manipulating the price of gasoline in advance of the fall elections.

And the accusation has provoked a vigorous debate on the Web. On, a left-wing blog, someone commented: “Anybody with any brains KNOWS this government manipulates almost everything here in the States.”"

September 29, 2006

Rural Areas Left in Slow Lane of High-Speed Data Highway - New York Times

Rural Areas Left in Slow Lane of High-Speed Data Highway - New York Times

A reasonably fair and balanced piece by Ken Belson that describes the realities of the telecom dilemma in Vermont. While the local subsidy (high cost support) issue is discussed, there is no explanantion why Verizon receives only a tenth the subsidy of Vermont Telecom. That question deserves at least a simple direct answer in a piece like this

The other missing piece is comment from Vermont's Public Service Board or the Department of Public Service.

The question implicitly raised, but left unanswered, is whether broadband access to very rural areas should be subsidized.

Lot's of grist for the telecom mill in Vermont!

The reality is that customer density supports investment of limited capital for companies to make a reasonable return in a competitive environment. If social policy dictates more widespread deployment of technology, then subsidies are required. It really is that simple. The complexity comes when writing the rules.

September 27, 2006

September 25, 2006

Closing of a Nation - New York Times

Closing of a Nation - New York Times

Another insightful article from David Brooks on the values of Iraqis. The raw material, the people, from which to build a nation has characteristics that make the task nearly impossible, although Brooks does not reach this conclusion.

"The people of Iraq have endured decades of dictatorship, war, insurgency and civil strife, and the psychological costs have been ruinous. Iraq is the most xenophobic, sexist and reactionary society on earth."

September 24, 2006

Fractals of Change: Global Warming – Too Important for Junk Science

Fractals of Change: Global Warming Â? Too Important for Junk Science

I missed this post by Tom Evslin because I was on the road in the Rockies, but it's worth reading along with the comments that follow.

I tend to agree with Tom's basic premise: The earth is warming because the last Ice Age is ending. Warming may be accelerated because of recent and current human activity, but the forces at work in our earth and atmosphere are too vast and chaotic to be knowable well enough to enable any significant action to reverse the cycles of the earth.

Despite any actions that we have taken in the last 250 years (Industrial Revolution) or may take now or in the future, it's unlikely we can effect any significant change. The scale and scope of the forces at work are just too massive to be managed by mere humans. The fate of the earth is God's business.

I do not intend to embrace the hysteria of some with political and economic agendas that would have me take unusual personal actions that in my estimation will have little effect on the outcome. I also refuse to be infused with any guilt that some wish to apply.

For example, if the following is correct or even wrong by an order of magnitude, we have little hope of reversing global warming:

"...thawing of the Siberian tundra is thought to produce 100 times the greenhouse gas emissions of all burning of fossil fuels." And methane, the dominant greenhouse gas released by the melting tundra is about 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, according to some scientists (Sorry, I don't know the source of these statements, but here's some data about greenhouse gases) from Wikipedia, quoting another source. I won't try to provide references for the various views of scientists. Anyone interested can find them online.

Living on higher ground perhaps makes the most sense for people if they believe the 'fast disaster' scenario proposed by James Lovelock. In America, for example, 50% of the population lives in the the coastal counties of the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes. Meanwhile, there are tens of thousand square miles of the U.S. abve 3,500 feet in the West that are relatively unpopulated.

Here's some of what Lovelock believes (from the link above, an interview of Lovelock by a Washington Post writer earlier this year:

"He measured atmospheric gases and ocean temperatures, and examined forests tropical and arboreal (last year a forest the size of Italy burned in rapidly heating Siberia, releasing from the permafrost a vast sink of methane, which contributes to global warming). (Note: I find the previous statement a bit strange. Permafrost does not support forest growth, as far as I know, only tundra is supported where the thin top layer melts in summer. However, that thawing of the permafrost is releasing methane, is undisputed.) He found Gaia trapped in a vicious cycle of positive-feedback loops -- from air to water, everything is getting warmer at once. The nature of Earth's biosphere is that, under pressure from industrialization, it resists such heating, and then it resists some more.

Then, he says, it adjusts.

Within the next decade or two, Lovelock forecasts, Gaia will hike her thermostat by at least 10 degrees. Earth, he predicts, will be hotter than at any time since the Eocene Age 55 million years ago, when crocodiles swam in the Arctic Ocean.

"There's no realization of how quickly and irreversibly the planet is changing," Lovelock says. "Maybe 200 million people will migrate close to the Arctic and survive this. Even if we took extraordinary steps, it would take the world 1,000 years to recover."

Brain Teaser

Count every " F" in the following text:


Why 6, of course! Fascinating. on the first pass, our brains don't process the 'fs' in of.

Officials Wary of Electronic Voting Machines - New York Times

Officials Wary of Electronic Voting Machines - New York Times:

Deb Markowitz has it right. The problem is not wth the technology, per se. It's with the poll workers and the users who may not be comfortable or properly trained to use the technology. This is a generational problem, but that does not make it any less important. We do need to assure poll workers are trained and as comfortable as possible.

"Deborah L. Markowitz, the Vermont secretary of state and the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, said that while there might be some problems in November, she expected them to be limited and isolated.

“The real story of the recent primary races was how few problems there were, considering how new this technology is,” said Ms. Markowitz, a Democrat. “The failures we did see, like in Maryland, Ohio and Missouri, were small and most often from poll workers not being prepared.”"

September 23, 2006

The Riches of Lucca - New York Times

The Riches of Lucca - New York Times

While spending a week in Lucca in 2005, we did not get to try all the restaurants listed, but we did eat at Trattoria da Leo. I'm already hungry just thinking about all the great meals Carol and I had in Lucca and elsewhere in Italy with friends David and Gayle.

Pickers Are Few, and Growers Blame Congress - New York Times

Pickers Are Few, and Growers Blame Congress - New York Times

A story of the pain of illegal immigration ton an economy that grew up depending on it. Congress does not have the cohones to fix the problem.

Painful though it may be, the immigration problem must begin with securing the borders. When that step is taken, the economic fall-out will surface big time, perhaps making a solution more obvious.

A look at the new world ahead - MarketWatch

A look at the new world ahead - MarketWatch

If this Robert Dilenschneider has any credibility and his assessment of the future is accurate, it's time to go live in a wilderness cave with enough rations to last a lifetime.

Whether correct or not in the details, We do live in very perilous times and according to this Dilenschneider analysis, we in the West are doomed.

Oh, while I think of it, have a great day!

Detainee Deal Comes With Contradictions - New York Times

Detainee Deal Comes With Contradictions - New York Times

In keeping with its tradition of bias against the Bush Administration, this Times reporting is heavily negative on the compromise reached by the Bushies and the three Republican veterans who challenged the earlier version of the 'detainee bill.'

Today's editorials (4 of the five) collectively make a statement that shows the bias they have toward the Bush initiatives and responses in trying to protect the nation from the RATs and their railing against big business, generally. My view that this newspaper lives in left field editorially is continually reinforced. They deserve the criticism they receive and their dwindling financial health is a deserved consequence.

Of course, they believe they're right and performing a public service. In reality they are the voice of a liberal elite who fancy themselves erudite, but are blinded by their arrogance.

Turning Back the Clock on Rape

The bill on jailing, interrogating and trying terror suspects contains narrow definitions of rape and sexual assault that must be fixed before Congress can responsibly pass the legislation.

A Bad Court-Splitting Plan

Congress should not allow conservative, anti-environmental ideologues to tamper with the federal courts under a false mantle of reform.

The Ultimate Agricultural Efficiency

A deal between the nation'?s top two pork packing companies signals the future of American agriculture - do away with the farmer by doing away with competitive markets.

Punishing Refugees Twice

The Patriot Act and its sister Real ID provision have inadvertently damaged America'?s excellent record of giving refuge to the persecuted.

September 22, 2006

Taking passwords to the grave | CNET

Taking passwords to the grave | CNET

We all need to consider how to deal with this issue. It's important for planning that information online or password protected in PCs be available to heirs.

Much of what's online may be junk, but financial information should be available to executors. A hard copy password list should be in a safe deposit box or other secure location.

"The older generation is just getting in the habit of using computers," Blacksburg said. This problem will become more acute in coming years as more and more people become computer savvy, he added.

The situation poses a dilemma for e-mail providers that are pilloried by privacy rights advocates at the mere suggestion of sensitive data being exposed, at the same time they are expected to hand over the digital keys to family members when a customer dies."

September 21, 2006

Lessons From U.N. Week - New York Times

Lessons From U.N. Week - New York Times:

I was thinking of canceling my TimesSelect subscription earlier this month because I disagree so frequently with the editorial positions of the paper. At the last minute I decided to keep it. Now I know why.

David Brooks has such a keen intellect and insight with the talent to express reality and truth (some would call it opinion), that I find myself almost always agreeing with him. Just reading his column twice a week is almost worth the 50 bucks for the subscription.

Please read his full column today. In it he clearly and rationally explains the dilemma we face in dealing with the Islamic nutcases. (I suffer no symptoms of that debilitating disease that afflicts so many...political correctness).

"What these Americans see is fanatical violence, a rampant culture of victimology and grievance, a tendency by many Arabs to blame anyone other than themselves for the problems they create. These Americans donÂ?t believe they should lower their standards of tolerable behavior merely for the sake of multicultural politeness, and they are growing ever more disgusted with commentators and leaders who are totally divorced from the reality they see on TV every night."

Kudos to Mr. Brooks. He may be the Times' token conservative, but he outshines the leftwingers like Dowd, Rich and Krugman whose columns I don't waste time reading any longer. Friedman is still worth a read because he understands the Mid-east dilemma, too.

Wal - Mart to Sell Generic Drugs for $4 - New York Times

Wal - Mart to Sell Generic Drugs for $4 - New York Times

OK, AP, clarify this story. Is Wal-Mart selling generic drugs only to its employees or its customers also?

September 20, 2006

Cardboard Box Design Technology

When I shop at Costco I usually lug home my stuff in the second hand cardboard boxes they furnish at checkout. After I've stashed my goods in their proper place at home, I dutifully break down the boxes for the blue recycle bin.

Whenever I do this, I am absolutely fascinated by the ingenuity that underlies the design of some of these boxes. While most are pasted or glued together at critical points, some of the vegetable and fruit boxes are works of cardboard origami functionality. Last week, one in particular stood out. It was made of a single piece of cardboard about 8 feet long and 2.5 feet wide, folded, creased, and held together by tabs inserted into slots placed in all the right places.

I wondered whether the design was done by human or machine. In any case (no pun intended), it was one mighty clever piece of engineering probably little noticed by the folks who filled, emptied and carried it. I failed to note where the produce originated.

Only when it was broken down flat could its intricate artistry and design be appreciated.

Israel Calls Iran Its Greatest Threat -

Israel Calls Iran Its Greatest Threat -

Foreign Minister Livni tells it like it is. Iran's leaders are a threat to the Middle East and to the world. The question remains: When will Israel or/and the West decide to forcefully prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. I hope we are devoting the all intelligence resources necessary to know when to strike while the world's leaders supply their rhetoric.

BBC NEWS | Business | Top car firms sued over emissions

BBC NEWS | Business | Top car firms sued over emissions

Where's Arnold in all of this? Talk about frivolous lawsuits. This one takes the cake. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all those companies sued decided to stop selling cars in CA? Too big a market, I suppose. Can't wait to read their responses.

Fractals of Change: How Broad Is Your Band?

Fractals of Change: How Broad Is Your Band?

Tom Evslin's discussion of badnwidt and data speeds. More to come from him in future posts.

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | AP Headlines

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | AP Headlines:

If you don't believe we are in a real war where Western civilization's existence is threatened, wake up, smell the evil and read below:

"The Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of Sunni Arab extremist groups that includes al-Qaida in Iraq, issued a statement on a Web forum about the pope's remarks last week on Islam. The authenticity of the statement could not be immediately independently verified.

'You infidels and despotic, we will continue our jihad (holy war) and never stop until God avails us to chop your necks and raise the fluttering banner of monotheism when God's rule is established governing all people and nations,' the statement said.

The group said Muslims will be victorious and addressed the pope as 'the worshipper of the cross' saying 'you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere ... We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (killed by) the sword.'

Islam forbids drinking alcohol and requires non-Muslims to pay a head tax to safeguard their lives if conquered by Muslims. They are exempt if they convert to Islam.

The statement said that the Quran tells Muslims in many occasions that 'jihad continues and should never stop until dooms day where this religion ends victorious.'"

September 19, 2006

How the Presidency Regained Its Balance - New York Times

How the Presidency Regained Its Balance - New York Times

John Yoo's OP-ED is well worth the read and provides an insight into the President's actions, particularly in the war on terror(ists). Congress is usually slow to act when faced with serious policy questions, thus the presidency carries the ball when action is necessary. Thankfully, he recognizes the threat and is bold to take action agaianst the dismay of the New York Times regime.

"...But 535 members of Congress cannot manage day-to-day policy. A legislature’s function is to draft the laws of the land, set broad goals and spend taxpayer revenues in the national interest, not to micromanage..."

"Today many pundits and political scientists seem to want the president’s power to be the sum of his communication and political skills, his organizational ability, his cognitive style and emotional intelligence. It is almost as if any president who uses the constitutional powers allocated to his office to effect policy has failed, not succeeded.

But the presidency, unlike Congress, is the only office elected by and accountable to the nation as a whole. The president has better access to expertise from the unified executive branch — including its top secret data — than the more ad hoc information Congress develops through hearings and investigations.

That is why, while jealous of its prerogatives, Congress usually goes along with a president’s policy decisions. A strong executive can accept responsibility for difficult choices that Congress wants to avoid."

September 17, 2006

Text of Pope Benedict XVI's Remarks - New York Times

Text of Pope Benedict XVI's Remarks - New York Times
An appropriate statement and apology by Pope Benedict. It explains the situation and is correctly stated. Now, let's see if it satisfies those Islamists who groaned in the last couple of days about this address at the University of Regensberg . It's unlikely to satisfy the Muslim 'street' that only hears what the rabble rousers want them to hear and believe.

Is Chemistry Destiny? - New York Times

Is Chemistry Destiny? - New York Times

Brooks reviews a new book, The Female Brain, surely to raise awareness ...and controversy of the differences in males and females and the underlying genetic/chemical reasons for them.

What the author suggests, as reported by Brooks, makes sense to me. Our brains are awash in chemical changes from the time we are conceived to our death. Knowing these differences helps to explain common traits and tendencies, but our consciouness and free will endowed by God explain the specific choices we make as unique individuals.

September 16, 2006

Renewal Money for New Orleans Bypasses Renters - New York Times

Renewal Money for New Orleans Bypasses Renters - New York Times

Why should renters receive federal aid beyond any assistance to replace their personal property?

People who own real estate property lost to Katrina should receive the aid. If N.O. is concerned about rent prices, they should get their act together and encourage building of rental property. It's frustrating to watch the political leadership in New Orleans continue to prove itself inept.

Canon's G7 Camera Press Release

What an incredible technology march we're seeing in digital cameras from Canon, now with the G7 announcement, and others since I bought my original Canon G2!

Verizon Wireless takes the road less traveled | Newsmakers | CNET

Verizon Wireless takes the road less traveled | Newsmakers | CNET

Well worth reading for a take on what's inside the head of Verizon Wireless' Chief Technical Officer these days.

Pope Faces Crisis as Muslim Outcry Grows - New York Times

Pope Faces Crisis as Muslim Outcry Grows - New York Times:

When the truth is spoken, it seems Muslims rebel. If this report is correct about the Pope's words, Muslims are overreacting, as they usually do when their jihadist reality is called into question...7 centuries ago. The pope has merely quoted a historical (Christian) figure as part of a speech. Whether Benedict endorses the 14th century statement is unclear. He has since apologized, but done so in the correct way by implying that his words were taken out of context. The fact that they weren't his words at all will be lost in the uproar inflamed by the radical enemies (RATs and their sympathizers) we face in Islam.

That Muslim leaders who should know better continue to erupt and mouth-off demonstrates the irrational conflict Western civilization faces. Until and unless we and the 'moderate Muslims' recognize that we are at war with the radical Islamists, we can expect all of this to escalate. Americans and others in the West should be very careful not to go on the defense here. If we're smart, we'll stand and say what we mean ( spreading Islam by war/jihad is unacceptable, as is spreading any religion by the sword) as Germany's leader has done in defending the context of the pope's remarks. Other Western leaders would be well advised to do the same.

The media, always ripe to report the antics of the Muslim mob, cannot be relied upon to get this story right. They much prefer to play up the emotionalism of the Muslim 'street,' thus playing into the hands of the PR-savvy jihadists. For example, why hasn't the media begun an honest, continuing dialogue about whether Mohammed endorsed the spread of Islam by war? Certainly Jesus never promoted this.

History is replete with the problems of politicians and secular leaders acting incorrectly in the name of religion. Out problem today is that Islamic radicals believe that the words of Mohammed mean exactly that violence is a proper means to spread Islam. We must fight that notion with utmost vehemence on all fronts.

Muslim energies would be better spent resisting and neutralizing the jihadists within their ranks...unless, of course they sympathize with the radical Islamic jihadists.

"In a major speech at Regensburg University, where Benedict had taught theology, the pope delivered a long, scholarly address on reason and faith in the West. But he began his speech by recounting a conversation between the 14th century Byzantine Christian emperor, Manuel Paleologos II, and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war,'' the pope said. 'He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached. '"

September 10, 2006

Ex-Clinton Officials Slam 9/11 Mini-Series - New York Times

Ex-Clinton Officials Slam 9/11 Mini-Series - New York Times

The squealing and yelping from the Democrats, including Berger, the thief of classified documents, and Albright, the inept Clinton Secretary of State, is to be expected.

I am not a fan of docu-dramas as entertainment, whatever the subject, because many people, particularly the impressionable, will not separate fact from fiction. Historical fiction novels also need to be read with care and filtering.

Why Genocide Matters - New York Times

Why Genocide Matters - New York Times

Kristof is right to continue sounding the alarm against genocide in Darfur. The world should never tolerate genocide and if the U.N means anything, its record should be judged by its response to this evil around the world.

I hope that nations do not use the U.N. as 'cover' to avoid speaking out on their own. A nation's sovereignty should never trump genocide.

The problem comes when intervention to prevent genocide then turns to managing the power structure that is prevented from killing its people.

Keep the heat on, Nicholas!

September 9, 2006

Waiting for Al Qaeda - New York Times

Waiting for Al Qaeda - New York Times

Well, we'd best be careful in understating the terror threat because terror is only a tool for the real issue which is the expansion of radical Islam. The clash of civilizations is real and the cost of fighting terror is de minimus compared to only one use of a nuke by the RATs.

Mr Mueller, as reported by Tierney, should be considered a voice crying in the wilderness. The threat is real and cannot be accommodated simply by risk statistics. The stakes are too high.

September 8, 2006

France rejects "war on terror" | International News |

France rejects "war on terror" | International News |

France's continued expressions that they are somehow 'superior' in thinking and actions, usually directly opposing the U.S., reinforce my disdain for that country's leadership.

To avoid the reality that Western Civilization is at war with radical Islam is foolish. They likely take this stance because they are deathly afraid of the growing Islamic population in their country. Either that or they are blinded by their arrogance, or fools.

My disdain for the French began when they refused to allow American troops and logistical bases on their soil in the 1960s during the Cold War.

September 7, 2006

Local Campaign Flyer

I received a campaign flyer today and I thought I'd take the time to portray what the candidate's positions should be if I were to vote for her. I have kept the original headings and the basic content under those headings

Fair Taxes

  • School and town costs must be controlled within the annual cost of living; school and town funding should continue to be based on property taxes, not income taxes. 'Ability to pay' is an unrealistic, unmeasurable and unfair standard inconsistent with our heritage.

Quality Medical Care for All

  • All receive quality health care today when they seek it, thanks to our dedicated providers. The costs of this care should reward an individual's taking responsibility for his/her own health, where possible, with reduced costs for insurance available in a competitive market.
  • Eliminate Community Rating.
  • Trained caregivers should be compensated based on their performance and demonstrated skills.

Equal Access to Education

  • Parents should have the choice of sending their kids to K-12 schools where they can receive the best education, irrespective of where they live. Higher education should be paid for by parents, students and scholarships for those who have demonstrated the ability to succeed but do not have the means to pay for college.
  • Education and training that prepares students for the jobs of the future; this education must be provided by teachers and professors that understand future needs, are knowledgable in the subjects they teach, and meet clear performance standards.
  • Funding education is primarily a state and local responsibility. If federal agencies dictate requirements that are not within present budgets, they should fund them.
  • Support the high standards of the No Child Left Behind Act; insist on legislation that prohibits teacher strikes.

New Job Creation

  • Nurturing startup and small business that have a viable business model, a solid business plan and seek competent advice.
  • Creating an environment that encourages people to invest in businesses that produce well-paying jobs; reducing the costs of permitting and other well-intentioned (perhaps), but senseless hurdles that thwart business growth.
  • Supporting local agriculture that is profitable by buying local produce and products. Discontinue long term taxpayer support for the dying commodity dairy sector. Instead, encourage profitable use of agricultural land and capitalize on the 'Vermont brand.'

Improving the Environment

  • Safeguarding Mallett's Bay, the jewel of Colchester, by encouraging the construction of a local sewer system near the lake and penalizing farm and household run-off.
  • Ignore the 'feel-good' temptation to think that mankind is responsible for or can remediate increases of fractions of a degree Fahrenheit in the earth's average temperature. Warming and cooling have happened before and will happen again in future millennia. (Note: thawing of the Siberian tundra is thought to produce 100 times the greenhouse gas emissions of all burning of fossil fuels; on the more humorous side: "Artificial" methane emissions come from various sources, such as power stations, coal mining, etc.,but nearly 50% of methane comes from agriculture. Rice agriculture is a contributor, but anywhere from 20% to 60% of 'man-made' emissions originate from livestock (Adam, 2000; Major, 2000).)
  • Move toward energy self-sufficiency, but ignore the temptation to think that wind power offers a realistic baseline energy source for Vermont. Instead, support continuation and an increase in nuclear energy as a clean, safe alternative to fossil fuels to generate electricity. Encourage conservation to slow the inevitable increase in demand.

Update 11/8/06: This candidate was elected without my vote and not on my platform!

Ed Koch on Americans Assailing President in Wartime

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch Speaks Out

Ed Koch always was a voice of common sense and still is. Click above to read his complete commentary.

"There is something terribly wrong with people seeking to demean and weaken the president in wartime, thereby strengthening our country’s enemies. As a result of the language and tactics of those opposed to our presence in Iraq, our enemies have been emboldened, believing the American public to be sharply divided on the war, and in fact at war with itself. To other countries, Americans appear pitted against one another not in an election, but in a verbal bloodbath, convincing the world we are impotent—a paper tiger."

"In a recent poll of British Muslims by NOP Research, broadcast by British Channel 4-TV on August 7, “45 percent say 9/11 was a conspiracy by the American and Israeli governments. This figure is more than twice as high as those who say it was not a conspiracy. Tragically, almost one in four British Muslims believe that last year's 7/7 attacks on London were justified because of British support for the U.S.-led war on terror.”

I know of no comparable poll taken in the American Muslim community, which numbers 2 to 6 million. There are certainly enough Muslims here to poll. Are we afraid to learn the results?

When the government engages in racial and ethnic profiling at our airports, there is an outcry among those who call themselves civil libertarians. They seek to shame us, citing the actions taken in World War II against Japanese-American citizens. The difference is that no Japanese-American engaged in a single hostile act against the United States in World War II.

We know today that the 19 terrorists who brought the World Trade Center towers down were Muslims. We know that Muslims planned and implemented the attacks on our embassies in Africa, the USS Cole in Yemen and the army barracks in Saudi Arabia. So when our counterintelligence investigates alleged terrorist groups, shouldn’t suspected Muslim groups be first on the list? "

September 6, 2006

Time for Answers - New York Times

Time for Answers - New York Times

Will the Times itself 'fess up to its jumping to conclusions and foaming at the mouth in hopes that Karl Rove would be indicted, thus neutralized?

The Times has been a culprit in this whole affair and should have known better, but was blinded by its bias against this Administration. This 'come clean' advice for Fitzgerald might be better applied to itself.

Iran to rid universities of liberalism | Jerusalem Post

Iran to rid universities of liberalism | Jerusalem Post:

Not a good sign. The radical Islamists are taking Iran into a swamp that may ultimately trap them. The West will not long stand for this country to become a terror sponsor with nukes.

"...Dozens of liberal university professors and teachers were sent into retirement this year after Ahmadinejad's administration, sparking strong protests from students, named the first cleric to head Teheran University.

The country's oldest institution of higher education remains home to dozens more professors and instructors who outspokenly oppose policies that restrict freedom of expression.

'Today, students should shout at the president and ask why liberal and secular university lecturers are present in the universities,' the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying during a meeting with students.

The president complained that reforms in the country's universities were difficult to accomplish and that the educational system had been affected by secularism for the last 150 years. But, he added: 'Such a change has begun.'
It was not clear if Ahmadinejad intended to take immediate specific measures, or if he was just urging the students to rally..."

Overview - National Strategy for Combating Terrorism

Overview of America’s National Strategy for Combating Terrorism

America is at war with a transnational terrorist movement fueled by a radical ideology of hatred, oppression, and murder. Our National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, first published in February 2003, recognizes that we are at war and that protecting and defending the Homeland, the American people, and their livelihoods remains our first and most solemn obligation.

Our strategy also recognizes that the War on Terror is a different kind of war. From the beginning, it has been both a battle of arms and a battle of ideas. Not only do we fight our terrorist enemies on the battlefield, we promote freedom and human dignity as alternatives to the terrorists’ perverse vision of oppression and totalitarian rule. The paradigm for combating terrorism now involves the application of all elements of our national power and influence. Not only do we employ military power, we use diplomatic, financial, intelligence, and law enforcement activities to protect the Homeland and extend our defenses, disrupt terrorist operations, and deprive our enemies of what they need to operate and survive. We have broken old orthodoxies that once confined our counterterrorism efforts primarily to the criminal justice domain.

This updated strategy sets the course for winning the War on Terror. It builds directly from the National Security Strategy issued in March 2006 as well as the February 2003 National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, and incorporates our increased understanding of the enemy. From the beginning, we understood that the War on Terror involved more than simply finding and bringing to justice those who had planned and executed the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Our strategy involved destroying the larger al-Qaida network and also confronting the radical ideology that inspired others to join or support the terrorist movement. Since 9/11, we have made substantial progress in degrading the al-Qaida network, killing or capturing key lieutenants, eliminating safehavens, and disrupting existing lines of support. Through the freedom agenda, we also have promoted the best long-term answer to al-Qaida's agenda: the freedom and dignity that comes when human liberty is protected by effective democratic institutions.

In response to our efforts, the terrorists have adjusted, and so we must continue to refine our strategy to meet the evolving threat. Today, we face a global terrorist movement and must confront the radical ideology that justifies the use of violence against innocents in the name of religion. As laid out in this strategy, to win the War on Terror, we will:

• Advance effective democracies as the long-term antidote to the ideology of terrorism;
• Prevent attacks by terrorist networks;
• Deny weapons of mass destruction to rogue states and terrorist allies who seek to use them;
• Deny terrorists the support and sanctuary of rogue states;
• Deny terrorists control of any nation they would use as a base and launching pad for terror; and
• Lay the foundations and build the institutions and structures we need to carry the fight forward against terror and help ensure our ultimate success.

...For our terrorist enemies, violence is not only justified, it is necessary and even glorified – judged the only means to achieve a world vision darkened by hate, fear, and oppression. They use suicide bombings, beheadings, and other atrocities against innocent people as a means to promote their creed. Our enemy’s demonstrated indifference to human life and desire to inflict catastrophic damage on the United States and its friends and allies around the world have fueled their desire for weapons of mass destruction. We cannot permit the world’s most dangerous terrorists and their regime sponsors to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.

For the enemy, there is no peaceful coexistence with those who do not subscribe to their distorted and violent view of the world. They accept no dissent and tolerate no alternative points of view.

Ultimately, the terrorist enemy we face threatens global peace, international security and prosperity, the rising tide of democracy, and the right of all people to live without fear of indiscriminate violence.

How would the left write this, I wonder?

September 5, 2006

New Oil Field in Gulf May Yield Billions of Barrels - New York Times

New Oil Field in Gulf May Yield Billions of Barrels - New York Times:

Many years ago, in 1979 I think, I was at Stanford and attended a lecture by Edward Teller, the famed H-Bomb physicist. His lecture, like his personality, was wide-ranging and eclectic.

One point that I remember he made concerning the availability of petroleum in the world (Remember, we had just come through the gas crisis a few years earlier.). He said there was an abundance of oil in the ground, much of it deeper than was technically or economically feasible to extract with '70s technology. Someday people would find and get this oil, he said, expressing little concern for the supply for the next 150 years, or so.

Seems he may have been right given today's announcement of the find in the Gulf of Mexico. Imagine drilling holes from ships deeper than Mount Everest is high! Here's an update from a a new article in Business Week that gives some realistic basic information about drilling deep. The author surmises that 'Peak Oil' theory may be incorrect. Read it.

Some will argue this is not good news because they would prefer that we wean ourselves off oil for a host of reasons. I'm glad they found it and that it's under U.S. control and that it's light and sweet.

Naysayers will probably argue that we should leave it there as a 'strategic reserve' for future generations.

For every billion barrels that can be extracted from this new field, we gain a couple of months supply, assuming we import nothing, at today's U.S. consumption rates (~21 million bbls/day). If billions of barrels truly are available, the U.S. petroleum import equation could be altered dramatically, particularly if the momentum increases for reduced foreign dependence on energy supplies.

"It will take more than a year of drilling to confirm the value of the find, and the depth of the water will make extraction extremely expensive — profitable only if oil prices remain at least $40 a barrel, according to oil industry analysts."(NY Times)

My cynical side says the timing of the discovery's announcement was keyed to the 2006 Congressional elections.

While the Democrats run their negative campaign against Wal-Mart, the Republicans can crow about the value of American business and their contributions to the health of our economy.

"Chevron said the well, known as Jack #2, and located 270 miles southwest of New Orleans, produced a Â?sustained flow rate of more than 6,000 barrels of crude oil per dayÂ? in a production test. The company said it found the oil producing formation about 20,000 feet below the bottom of the Gulf, with the well drilled to a total depth of 28,175 feet."

Fractals of Change: Weakness Invites Attack

Fractals of Change: Weakness Invites Attack

Evslin is basically right.

Continued smart use of force is/will be necessary in this war to prevent the Radical Islamic Terrorists (RATs) from gaining control of nuclear weapons and for the reasons he cites. This war is not against nation-states. It's against a religious belief system, waged by RATs who want us dead or Islamic. Neither is an acceptable choice.

Critics such as Anon E. Mous (commenting at Evslin's site) fail to offer any realistic alternative. "Understanding" is not a policy or a strategy. We do understand the RATs. What actions to take is legitimately open to debate.

The leftist propaganda machine fails to generate anything but smoke and criticism. I'll listen attentively when they offer realistic alternatives to the PMO.

The best policy we have, The National Security Policy of the United States, is described here:

Let's hear from those who disagree how they would change it. Criticism without proposing a different policy is abdicating responsibility.

September 3, 2006

The Last Stand of the 6-Percenters? - New York Times

The Last Stand of the 6-Percenters? - New York Times

An incisive story about how the Internet is changing consumer real estate transactions in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere. Disintermediation is the name of this game and the traditional 6% commission model will fall. As people sell their homes themselves or use an alternative Internet broker system, the traditional real estate model is done for.

September 2, 2006

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Al-Qaida calls on US to convert

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Al-Qaida calls on US to convert

Repent or die is the RATs' mantra. These absurdities and their desire to kill us and/or die trying set's them apart as people who cannot be reasoned with. They must be resisted at all costs.

Personal Technology -- Personal Technology from The Wall Street Journal.

Personal Technology -- Personal Technology from The Wall Street Journal.

A head-to-head comparison of Verizon and Cingular cellular broadband service speeds in the New York - Washington corridor by Walt Mossberg at the WSJ.

Verizon wins hands down. I love their BroadbandAccess Service!

Online Extra: General Electric, the Immelt Way

Online Extra: General Electric, the Immelt Way:

Some interesting information about General Electric from an interview of Jeff Immelt by Business Week.

"How do you get investors excited about the stock again?

My job is to figure out how to grow and manage risk and volatility at the same time. We're in better shape than we were in 2001. GE is 65% bigger, and earnings have doubled. We're going to outperform the S&P 500 in revenues, earnings, and return on total capital. I'll keep drumming that home. "