Sunday, August 31, 2008

A little love from my readers

Not long ago, I posted my thoughts about a story out of Florida where a schoolteacher was shot to death in a friend's driveway as he was being robbed. Two wrinkles made this story stand out. The first wrinkle was that the teacher had a chance to pull his own gun and take his assailant, one Titus Hill, with him to the hereafter. The second wrinkle was the downright hagiographic profile of the robber/murderer in the St. Petersburg Times news story about the incident. Some of my commentors and I pulled no punches concerning our thoughts about the perpetrator, Titus Hill. Apparently, some of Mr. Hill's homies actually know how to operate a computer, and made their feelings known in my comments section. I thought the rest of my readers would get a kick out of the ignorance and misplaced rage of these comments. I have copied and pasted the comments as-is; I have made no edits whatsoever:
titus went to school with me and he was the most quite guy in the school am not a thug neither was him, he was another kid like me trying to make it in the world, bad thing is he was hanging with the wrong people and it gets me mad that people not knowing the kid would talk like that about him and he used to get on the bus rapping, lunch rapping,i think he used to dream rapping he was super intelligent and if you would talk to him he would talk with respect and diplomatic hes vocabulary was better than my principal he just made a bad decision r.i.p. titus hill homie
OK, as misguided as this is, at least he kept it civil. Let's see how the next guy does:
R.i.p Titus, every one down at south county new titus and dat he was a good person. titus would always be tellen me ta grab the door for a girl and always tellen me to get my work done. i knone titus for 2 years now and just found out like 2 or 3 days ago that he is dead. i thought he graduated like he was tryin so hard ta do dog. titus always wanted to become a rapper and he was good. he was da coolest kid in school. titus is in a better place and he wouldent purpusly hurt some one so i dont no what yall talkin bout. m.a.,Law and order teacher,chanman, NG, yall need to check yall selfs befor talk bout my boy titus.
Again, this guy also managed to keep it civil, but you can tell he is not happy about the way I and others didn't "check yall selfs" befor[e] I talked about his boy, Titus. Here is the final collection of thoughts from a concerned reader:
Fuck all you motha fucken pussys that think they no bout titus i dont giove a fuck that your friend is dead. fuck you for talkin bout titus like dat. GittMann is one of the best people u would ever meet. R.i.p dog we miss down at SCCC. We no u in a betta place man.
Oh my! I seem to have really offended this ignorant assho... ahhh, I mean, gentleman. I will say one thing... dog: I'm not so sure that Mr. Hill would have been "one of the best people u would ever meet," as he probably would have robbed and shot me. I think the world is a much better place with him not in it. Does that make you angry? Good.

Oh, and thank you for reading Buckhorn Road.

Good Day to You, Sir

Time to pay me the big bucks

In my previous post concerning my thoughts about John McCain's pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, I had this to say:
The Obama campaign apparently doesn't realize that by mocking McCain about his pick of the inexperienced Sarah Palin, they are doing nothing but acknowledging that Obama is indeed as inexperienced as the Republicans have been asserting.
Now cut to this quote that I just discovered in an opinion piece by Kristen Powers (a Democrat by the way):
The more Democrats complain about [Palin's lack of experience], the more Republicans can turn it on them and say, "If you are so concerned about the amount of experience of the vice president, what about the top of your ticket?"

Obama's argument thus far has been that experience isn't what counts; it's judgment. By attacking the Republican woman relentlessly on this issue, Democrats are undermining their own man.
OK, where's my check?

Good Day to You, Sir

McCain gets one right

You all know my lower-than-low opinion of the politics of John McCain: He has shown he is against free speech with his horrid McCain-Feingold "Campaign Finance Reform" law; he has shown he is against drilling in ANWR, comparing it to drilling in the Grand Canyon; he has shown he is all for allowing illegal aliens to be rewarded for breaking into our country.

I will however allow John McCain one mention of praise, and that is his pick of Sarah Palin for his vice-presidential running mate. The safe choice would have been Mitt Romney, but instead, McCain and his advisors recognized that his liberalishness needed to be balanced with a more traditional conservative. Palin fills this need. I was reading about this woman when she was just a very long-shot for the VP slot, and I was impressed at the time. I especially appreciate how as governor of Alaska, she stuck to the Republican principles of smaller government by not going along with that idiot senator Ted Stevens and his $200 million "Bridge to Nowhere." Ted Stevens is an institution in Alaska, yet Palin worked against his massive pork project and helped get it nixed. Palin is all for drilling in ANWR, she is pro-gun, pro-life, and pro-America. Hell, it's too bad the ticket is McCain/Palin and not Palin/McCain.

Is Palin inexperienced? Admittedly, yes. What I have found hilarious is listening to the Obama camp harp on Palin's inexperience. Now that's a case of the pot calling the kettle black... am I allowed to say that in reference to Obama? The Obama campaign apparently doesn't realize that by mocking McCain about his pick of the inexperienced Sarah Palin, they are doing nothing but acknowledging that Obama is indeed as inexperienced as the Republicans have been asserting.

Despite both Palin and Obama suffering from a lack of experience in high office, one way that Palin has an edge is that her current position is an executive one. While Obama's highest attained office has involved showing up to debate and vote on stuff, Palin has had the opportunity to be in charge; for the buck to stop with her. This is why, traditionally, the American people have been much more likely to elect state governors to higher office rather than senators.

For my wife, McCain's pick of Palin has sealed the deal for her - she will be voting for McCain in November. For me, the jury is still out because ultimately, should McCain win the election, it will be his keester in the Oval Office, and not Palin's. I will admit however that if nothing else, it was sure fun to watch the Obama campaign scurry around and try to downplay the Republicans putting a "minority" on their presidential ticket after the Democrats have been spending the last two years bragging about theirs.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, August 25, 2008

A few more random thoughts about the Olympics

A few final observations of the Beijing Games:
  • In the first half of the games, my innocent crush was on the grace and style of American gymnast Nastia Liukin. In the second half of the games - with gymnastics being finished - my innocent crush was transfered over to American sprinter Allyson Felix. She was so quiet and dignified on the track, and gracious in defeat - even after she was favored to win the 200m and got Silver - that I couldn't help but be captivated by her performances. Her dignified manner is often sorely lacking in the sprints, especially after watching the antics of that assclown Usain Bolt. Since Felix might not be as well known as Liukin, here is a picture of her:

  • Is there a point where it can just become too much? I am talking about the opening and closing ceremonies at Beijing's National Stadium, "The Birdcage". After a while, I would just observe that there was another overproduced, over-choreographed performance going on, and I would push FF on the DVR. If London has any good sense, they will scale things back in 2012.
  • That said, I must say that I though the Birdcage was the coolest Olympic stadium, evah!
  • I wasn't too enthused about all the cheating and Soviet-inspired state sports programs the Chinese committed to in these games, but there was one performance by a Chinese athlete that captured my enthusiasm, and that was the gold medal performance by the young lady who won the 10 meter platform in diving. She was in second place in the final round, and for her last dive, she need a slew of "10s" to pull out the win. Talk about pressure. Instead of faltering, she went up there and nailed the most beautiful dive I think I have ever seen. Flawless execution, and no splash upon the entry. She got four or five much-deserved 10s and won her gold medal.
  • Why am I not suprised that the Taekwondo athlete who kicked the ref in the face was from Cuba? Why am I further not surprised that Fidel Castro has come out and defended this athlete's behavior? No fear - Castro chalked it all up to racism.
  • The United States did pretty well at these games, but there were so many events that we used to own, but in some cases, didn't even have an athlete in the final - the men's Long Jump comes immediately to mind. How much of this has to do with the travesty that is the malicious misinterpretation of Title IX in college athletics?
  • I have to admit, I could just imagine the quiet rage and seething among the left-wing NBC broadcasters like Bob Costas and Jim Lampley when beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh thanked President Bush for rooting for her and her teammate. Even if you don't like GWB - and Lord knows I don't - I have to applaud anything that causes discomfort to those left-wing loonies at NBC.
  • That picture of Mao remained parked on Bob Costas' shoulder to the very last broadcast.
  • Next year, the host city of the 2016 Summer Olympics will be chosen. Please IOC, let's make it a city that is located in a free (or at least, mostly free) country.
Here's hoping I will have some observations for you when the London Olympics roll around in 2012.

Good Day to You, Sir

Proof that college can actually make you dumber

I'm sure you all remember the horrific shooting at Virginia Tech which was carried out by a murderous psychopath and resulted in the deaths of 32 people and the wounding of dozens more. Since those murders took place, some college campuses across the country have given the green light for qualified students to carry concealed firearms with them on campus. Newsweek magazine gives us the details:
Most students carry book bags and laptops to class. Weston Zentner, a 23-year-old senior in business administration at the University of Utah, also takes along a loaded Springfield .45 compact, carefully tucked into a concealed belt holster. "Our campus is pretty safe," he says, "but you never know what's going to happen. I always feel safer when I'm armed."

While most campuses are gun-free, in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois shootings in recent years some students are demanding the right to carry concealed weapons. So far, only a handful of schools in Utah and Colorado allow students to carry firearms, but in more than a dozen states, advocates are pushing for laws compelling schools to allow students with state-issued permits to wear guns. "These students are able to carry everywhere else they go, so why not on campus?" asks Katie Kasprzak, a director of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, an advocacy group that claims more than 30,000 members. "They have a right to defend themselves in the event of an attack." The group has attracted much publicity, including a 2008 protest in which thousands of students across the country wore empty holsters to class to symbolize their "defenselessness."
And now for the reason behind the title to this post. So, you have heard the pro-carry side of the argument. But your humble blogger wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't provide a dissenting argument, also featured in the article. Check out this brilliant argument:
Not all students like the idea of classmates' packing heat. Megan Meadows, a senior at Virginia Tech who lost her best friend in the 2007 shooting, says she's glad nobody in her class had a gun on the day of the tragedy. "I was in a classroom that day, and everyone's nerves were high," she says. "Someone would have gotten hurt." Meadows, a theater and communications major, says she'd refuse to attend a school that included armed students.
Yes, read that again if you have to: "Someone would have gotten hurt." I guess the carnage that actually occurred was not enough for her. My God, how does someone's brain actually operate in this manner? I subscribe to a different view of course. As the famous John Lott book so succinctly puts it, "More Guns, Less Crime."

Good Day to You, Sir

So it has come to this

Poor John Edwards - at one time, he was on top of the world, and now he had been reduced to groveling over the phone:

John Edwards calling former staffers asking for forgiveness

He has been shunned from party politics, shunned from the Democrat convention in Denver. Funny how forgiving the Democrats were of Bill Clinton when he was caught cheating on his wife, but Edwards has been thrown to the wolves. It's all about who is in power. Clinton had it, so the Dems had to save him at any cost. Edwards didn't have it, so he was sacrificed. Hypocrisy par excellence.

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, August 22, 2008

The One picks the None

Me thinks that Barack Obama has just shot himself in the foot with a machine gun. That is how terrible is his choice of Joseph Biden as his vice presidential candidate. Of course, since I am hoping with all possible hope that Obama does NOT become our next president, then I am pretty ecstatic about his choice.

I mean, really, Biden? You would have thought that the Obamessiah would have picked someone a bit more inspiring to be his running mate. Maybe Obama was simply charmed by Biden's kind words about him, uttered last year:
"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, ... I mean, that's a storybook, man."
I have always been amused by thinking about what Biden meant by "clean." Did Jesse Jackson not shower or bathe during the elections of 1984 and 1988? Of course, racially speaking, that is not the first time that Joe Biden has stuck his foot in his mouth:
"You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking."
What I find particularly amusing about Biden being picked is that it would appear by his past statements that he shouldn't be supporting the candidacy of Barack Obama in the first place. A bit of hay was recently made about one of then-presidential candidate Biden's television ad in 1988, where he spoke of a lack of experience disqualifying someone from holding the office of president because the Oval Office is not the place for "on-the-job training" in regards to foreign policy.

Additionally, in 1992, Biden, while speaking of Clarence Thomas' nomination to the Supreme Court, had this to say:
"I think that the only reason Clarence Thomas is on the Court is because he is black. I don't believe he could have won had he been white...."
Hmmm, couldn't the same thing be said about the Democrats nominating Obama? If experience is so important to Joseph Biden, how does he feel now that his running mate is a neophyte U.S. Senator with 143 days of non-campaign service under his belt whose only foreign policy experience is his college degree in international relations? Would Obama be where he is in this presidential campaign were he not black?

I was listening to Hugh Hewitt the other day on my way home from work. He was talking about the potential picks for Obama's VP candidate, and wishing, hoping that Obama would pick a sack of dead weight like Biden - even whispering, "please, please," in the hopes that Obama's final choice would be Biden. Well Hugh, it looks like Obama came through.

Good Day to You, Sir

Am I missing something?

Measles is back, but I'm not sure I agree with the reason why:
Measles—a highly contagious disease-causing virus—is making a comeback in the U.S., thanks to parents fears over vaccines. Fifteen children under 20, including four babies, have been hospitalized and 131 sickened by the red splotches since the beginning of this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

The CDC had announced in 2000 that the disease was eliminated in the U.S. thanks to a vaccine that can completely control it. But fears of autism have led some parents to forego this treatment and at least 63 of the sickened children were unvaccinated. (Chanman's emphasis)
I teach history and not math, but by my count, the article states that 146 total cases of the measles have been recorded this year, and of that 146, 63 were not vaccinated against the disease. So I assume that to mean that the other 83 were vaccinated against the disease, but caught the measles anyway. Sounds to me like your chances are better if you skip the shot.

Correct me if my numbers or logic are wrong, but the article shoots down its own thesis as soon as it cites the number of cases.

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Random thoughts about the Olympics... so far

If you have been watching the Olympics in Beijing, then perhaps you have also taken note of some of the following observations:
  • Were you at all creeped out by the opening ceremonies? I was especially disturbed by the hundreds of drummers beating in unison. I understand that during practice sessions, the performance was coming off as being so menacing, that the drummers were instructed to smile during the actual performance.
  • In the future, the International Olympic Committee should ponder their decision a bit more before handing over the Olympics to a human rights-violating, human organ-stealing, baby-killing totalitarian communist oligarchy. Off the top of my head, I can think of more deserving countries who could host the Olympics.
  • I have an innocent crush on Nastia Liukin, the American of Russian ancestry who won the Gold in the womens' gymnastics all-around competition. She was the perfect blend of athleticism, beauty, and grace. Nastia didn't just stick her landings; she stuck them with balletic beauty that seemed effortless. I actually remember watching Nastia's gymnast father compete in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where he won a couple of golds while competing for the Soviet Union.
  • Nastia's teammate, Shawn Johnson, who was actually the favorite to win the gold medal, is a waddling ball of muscle who is built like a tree stump. Johnson is so laden down with said muscle that she can't even walk normally. You know gymnasts are short when the long and lithe Nastia Liukin looks tall compared to Johnson and most of the other competitors, but Liukin is only 5' 3".
  • I was watching womens' diving and noticed a difference between the Chinese divers and the rest of the field. The ladies from the various countries looked like women - they had curves, they had hips, they had femininity. The Chinese women (girls) were thin, shapeless, and amorphous. They did their dives with technical superiority, but the dives were bereft of style or soul.
  • Speaking of Chinese women, did you check out the so-called "16 year-old" gymnasts who are more likely 13 or 14? What is it about Communist countries that possesses them to practice institutional cheating?
  • Watching Jamaica's Usain Bolt set a new world record of 9.69 in the men's 100 meter final was impressive. What I found even more impressive were his performances in the qualifying rounds where he jogged - and I mean jogged - a 9.92 in the quarter-final and a 9.85 in the semi-final. Those two times would have won gold in all but a couple Olympic finals.
  • One more thing about Usain Bolt: He is a showboating jackass. Like NBC color commentator Ato Bolden told the audience, had Bolt not started celebrating 20 meters before the end of the race, he probably would have run a time more like 9.59. I don't think I have ever seen mid-distance or distance runners celebrate in the ridiculous and embarrassing fashion that sprinters sometimes do.
  • Also in the mens' 100m final was American Walter Dix, who took the bronze medal. In one of the qualifying rounds, Dix was wearing these white, skin-tight sleeves on his forearms. Apparently, the sleeves were for aerodynamic purposes. That's all well in good, but if Dix was so worried about being aerodynamic, perhaps he should shave off his dreadlocks that flapped in the breeze in his every race!
  • It seems like quite a travesty that so many non-American medalists compete for their home country, yet attended and competed for a university in the United States. Not only that, many of these "foreign" athletes continue to live and train in the United States as well. I'm sorry, but that's a bunch of bullshit!
  • Speaking of foreigners, I noticed that all the swimmers who competed for African countries were white. Meanwhile, out at the track and field venue, many sprinters who competed for European countries were black and many had African-sounding surnames. Were you aware that the current world record-holder in the men's 800 meters (1:41.11) is Wilson Kipketer of... wait for it... Denmark? The Olympics truly are an international event!
  • I find most, if not all, post-race interviews to be awkward, useless, and unnecessary. If I were in charge, I would put a stop to them immediately.
  • I keep smiling when I watch the NBC talking head in the Beijing studio. Perched on a building right outside the big studio window is a huge portrait of Mao Tse Tung which hovers over the broadcaster's left shoulder. Hmmm, NBC... Mao... how appropriate.
  • When I see a gold medalist begin crying after realizing he or she has won, my tears start rolling down right along with the winner's.
  • I usually prefer Olympic events whose medalists are decided by time and distance (track and field, swimming), or points (basketball, volleyball), rather than scores awarded by subjective and sometimes idiotic judges (gymnastics, diving).
That's all I have for now. I'm confident that I will have accrued a new list of observations by the conclusion of the Games in Beijing. If you have any other comments about what you have seen at the Games so far, please feel free to chime in.

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, August 14, 2008

From the mouths of idiots

I don't have HBO, so I often miss out on the quality programming that they sometimes offer - Band of Brothers being a fine example; I had to wait for that one on DVD. Recently, HBO aired a documentary entitled Hard Times at Douglass High, which chronicled the goings on at a high school in inner-city Baltimore. Naturally, I have not had the opportunity to watch this documentary, but I look forward to it after reading a review of the show in an article from the Weekly Standard. The article's author included a quote that sums up quite nicely the biggest problem with our educational system in this country.

Here is what a 9th grader at Douglass High had to say about his feelings toward getting an education (bad language has been preserved):
"This is what we do. Just walkin' the halls all day, baby. Fuck class, that shit's for clowns man. [Laughter from his friends] We don't go to class 'round here. Man, fuck academics. That ain't me, dawg. Academics, we gonna leave that to them nerd-ass mahfuckers. We gon' keep shit straight hood up in here."
Apparently, this documentary was very anti-No Child Left Behind, but as the article pointed out, it is difficult to blame George W. Bush and standardized tests for toxic attitudes such as this. The widening problem is that to various degrees, the sentiments of this inner-city moron are shared by students in our nation who come from all walks of life - not just the "'hood." These self-destructive youths aspire towards a downward life trajectory, all in the name of keepin' it real. Academics just ain't them... dawg.

God help us.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What? You thought John Edwards was honorable?

Some people apparently did, seeing as how they actually worked to try to make him our next president. I don't think there is much to add that you can't figure out for yourself about this walking stereotype of a slimeball lawyer. One thing that did make me chuckle though was a quote from Edwards in his statement in which he admitted cheating on his cancer-stricken wife. You can read his entire statement here, but the money quote is this:
...In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic....
John Edwards? Narcissistic? Naaaaah!

Good Day to You, Sir

Thursday, August 07, 2008

He makes it too easy

Behold! The benevolent and most merciful Barack Obama may soon have an official salute by which to greet, and be greeted by, his faithful minions.

I know what it is supposed to represent, but appropriately enough, it looks to me like an asshole.

Good Day to You, Sir

Take an obscure step back in time

I attended high school between 1986 and 1990. Not surprisingly then, much of my favorite music is from that era. There are plenty of radio stations out there that play plenty of memorable '80s songs, but what I love is when I hear a great but obscure song that hasn't vibrated my eardrums since that actual time period. Here is a wonderful example; see if you can recall this one as I transport you back to the Spring of 1987:

Thus reinforcing for me the belief that today's "music" sucks real bad. If you have never heard that first song until now, maybe you have heard this better-known song from the same group:

This one is my son's favorite song. He asks me to play it every time we get in the car.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Obama and his lackies unleash the "Race Genie"

If you have not been following the controversies over the Paris/Britney ad or the "Dollar Bill" comment, I have a better idea than me trying to explain it to you. Instead, watch this seven-minute segment of John Stewart giving it to you straight on the Daily Show. Yes, the leftist John Stewart. The Daily Show gets things right every once in a while. This is one of those whiles:

I am having trouble embedding the video, so click here instead.

Good Day to You, Sir

Getting it wrong (seriously wrong) on the history of slavery

I am a little behind in discussing this, but on July 29th of this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (H.R. 194) whereby on behalf of the American people, the House apologized for the slavery that this country once practiced.

Gosh, and here I thought 350,000 dead Union soldiers (the majority of them white), and trillions of dollars spent on social welfare programs was atonement enough.

The author of this resolution is one Steve Cohen, a congress-critter from Tennessee who represents a district in Memphis. I have read the text of this travesty of a resolution, and the most maddening part is the second paragraph. Here it is:
Whereas slavery in America resembled no other form of involuntary servitude known in history, as Africans were captured and sold at auction like inanimate objects or animals;
Come again? Slavery in America resembled no other form of involuntary servitude known in HISTORY? I must admit that I am a bit confused. Is Cohen saying that the United States is the only country in history to practice slavery, or is he saying that the form of slavery practiced in the United States was more cruel and brutal than that practiced by any other country or civilization in history? In either case, Cohen is dead wrong. I expect to hear ignorant crap like this from my middle school students, but not from a U.S. congressman.

Slavery is, unfortunately, one of the oldest institutions known to man, and is, unfortunately, still practiced and accepted in some areas of the world today - ironically, mostly in Africa. Slavery was practiced by almost every ancient civilization, including the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Arabs. The prospect of the slavery of ancient Egypt is particularly amusing since Congressman Cohen is Jewish. Has he ever studied the story of Moses and the Hebrews?

I would love for Congressman Cohen to explain exactly how the slavery practiced in the United States was somehow unique in comparison to all the other instances of the slavery practiced since time immemorial. Heck, if you were an African slave heading to the New World, you WANTED to end up in the United States! Where you didn't want to go was to the sugar plantations of the Caribbean or Brazil. Slaves in those places were treated much more harshly by their owners, and the conditions there were horrible, due to climate and tropical diseases. In fact, of all the millions of African slaves brought across the Atlantic Ocean, only about 5% of them were brought to the English colonies that would later become the United States. This is because American slaves were healthy enough to survive and procreate. Slaves in the Caribbean and South America died in such great numbers, that new slaves had to be continually shipped in to replace the horrendous losses.

And now, the usual disclaimer: my description of the relatively benign treatment of American slaves is by no means a defense of the use of slaves in this country or any other at any time. I point out this treatment of American slaves in order to rebut Congressman Cohen's asinine assertion that slaves in the United States were treated in especially horrible ways.

Like I always tell my students: There is nothing unique about the fact that the United States practiced slavery; that had been happening throughout the world and throughout history. What is unique about the United States is that we were one of the first countries to work to end slavery and eventually outlaw it. What more must our country do for the apologies and hand-wringing to finally end?

For a much more in-depth focus on this topic, I highly suggest you read Michael Medved's essay, Six Inconvenient Truths About the U.S. and Slavery. Read it and learn.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wind power is a Boone-doggle

In a follow-up to my post on the machinations of T. Boone Pickens (a post which was featured in last Sunday's Sacramento Bee, thank you very much), I wanted to highlight the big problems with another of Pickens' solutions to our energy crisis. His primary argument is that we should be using more natural gas (in which case, he would make Billion$), but he also says in his saturation ad campaign that we should be using more wind power as well.

Frankly, I'm surprised that the enviro-wacko crowd so enthusiastically pushes wind power as an energy alternative. Aside from the bird massacres that they cause, have you ever seen what a wind farm looks like? Talk about visual blight; they're atrocious. There is a gigantic wind farm in Altamont Pass, which is one of the commuter freeway corridors that connects San Francisco and the East Bay to the Central Valley. The following image is but one small section of the entire wind farm:

Each of those turbines is hundreds of feet tall, and there are close to 5,000 of them spread across Altamont Pass. In order for turbines like these to replace all the electricity currently being produced by coal-fired power plants, you would need a wind farm like this one that would be the size of... well, let's let someone else explain this, along with some other problems with expansion of the use of wind power. In an article on the subject, Paul Driessen of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) has this to say:
...Wind power is intermittent, unreliable and expensive (even with subsidies). Many modern turbines are 400 feet tall and carry 130-foot, 7-ton, bird-slicing blades. They operate at only 20 percent 30 percent of rated efficiency - compared to 85 percent for coal, gas and nuclear plants - and provide little power during summer daytime hours, when air-conditioning demand is highest, but winds are at low ebb.

Using wind to replace all gas-fired power plants would require over 300,000 1.5-megawatt turbines, covering Midwestern "wind belt" agricultural and wildlife acreage equivalent to South Carolina.

Building and installing these turbines requires 5 to 10 times more steel and concrete than is needed to build nuclear plants to generate the same electricity more reliably, says Berkeley engineer Per Peterson. Add in steel and cement needed to build transmission lines from distant wind farms to urban consumers, and the costs multiply.

Wind thus means more quarries, mines, cement plants and steel mills to supply those materials. But greens oppose such facilities. So the Pickens proposal could mean letting existing power plants rust, and importing steel and cement, instead of oil....
So, your choice is a wind farm that would fill up the real estate of South Carolina, or an oil-drilling area in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) that would fill up the real estate of Dulles International Airport. Take your pick.

Good Day to You, Sir

For your debating pleasure: Getting the facts straight on the energy crisis

Most of the information from this crib sheet I have already read in a myriad of different articles, but that's the rub: I had to read a bunch of different articles to find the same information that is all contained in this one handy-dandy Q&A-style summary of the common Lefty talking points about our energy crisis and the rebuttals to those talking points. Here is but one example (the following is my favorite fallacy from the Lefties):
MYTH: Drilling will not provide any short-term relief in the price of oil because it will take many years before new drilling will lead to new supplies.

FACT: This same argument has been used for the past several decades to prevent us from using more of our American oil, leading to our current dependence on foreign oil and the supply crunch we are currently experiencing. Does this mean critics of greater American energy exploration were wrong 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and 30 years ago but are suddenly right today now?

Drilling more now will increase supplies in the future. And higher supplies lead to lower prices. Currently, the world is operating at or near full capacity, so there is very little slack in the system, and any disruption causes spike in price. This is partly why commodities and other investors have invested so heavily in oil, driving up prices. They recognize demand will continue to increase and that current supply has artificial limits, especially in the United States.

Opening up new oil fields in the U.S., even if new supplies won’t actually reach our gas tank for several years, would immediately impact the amount of upward speculation on long-term commodity investment in oil. Oil speculators will see a greater supply ahead and will see that the future of oil is less constrained on the supply side. Moreover, fears of Middle Eastern turmoil or South American unrest that could disrupt supply shipments will be much less of a reason to drive up the price of crude if a stable U.S. can supply millions of barrels of additional oil. Which represents a more stable source of oil, Colorado or Caracas?

Finally, nobody is suggesting that our nation’s energy strategy should be solely dependent on domestic production of oil. We all recognize that alternative energy sources – such as wind and solar - need to be developed. But more American oil must be a part of an American energy solution.
In other words, the price of oil today is based on the conditions of tomorrow. Just the prospect of a higher supply of oil a few years down the road would drive down prices today on the futures market for oil. Go ahead and read the rest of the article so you will be ready for the absurd arguments that you must one day face.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, August 04, 2008

When the murderer is painted as the victim

I came across an article from the St. Petersburg Times of Florida that made me want to ram my fist through the monitor. I have heard about the nuttiness of this particular newspaper before, but it is really quite something to view an actual example.

The article is about two men: Sean Ellenberger and Titus Hill. Two days ago, Titus Hill pointed a handgun at Mr. Ellenberger and attempted to rob him. Mr. Ellenberger - who was a teacher by the way - had a concealed-carry permit, and proceeded to pull his own handgun. Shots were exchanged, and both men ended up dying.

The article's absurdity begins with the headline: Teacher, teenager killed in shootout. Notice the subtle moral equivalence here? It gives you the impression that they were equal participants, even though one was defending his life from the other, who was threatening his life. Not to mention, notice how 19 year-old Titus Hill is reduced to a mere "teenager." While technically, he was a teenager, most people don't think of 19 year-old men when they think of a teenager; the image that comes to mind is usually more of the younger and more awkward, pimply-faced variety. Moving on to the descriptions of perp and victim, it is hard to discern which man the newspaper mourns the most. Observe how the article describes the robber/murderer, Titus Hill:
Hill, whose mom works for Hillsborough County Administrator Pat Bean, had no criminal record.

"He didn't break into homes and steal cars," said Hill's grieving mother, Yorlanda Green. "He was a son everybody would want to have."

She said Hill, who lived with his mom in Seffner, was two tests away from graduating from South County Career Center in Ruskin, and was poised to receive a college scholarship. He made a rap CD at a local studio, Green said.

"He said, 'Momma, I'm going to be a star,' " she said.

Green welcomes most visitors to Bean's office, and Bean knew Titus Hill. "You'd walk over and kind of hug him, and he'd smile," Bean said. "He was a nice young man."

Bean said Green did her best to instill values in her five children. But Bean also listened at Green's home Saturday as a deputy explained the events of Saturday night.

"Titus killed somebody?" Green asked.

"Yes," the deputy replied.

"Did he have a family?" Green asked.

"Yes," the deputy said.

Later, Green told the St. Petersburg Times, "It's just hard to believe what they're saying."
Ah, yes... an innocent life, snuffed out. The article also described Hill as "an aspiring college student who dreamed of becoming a rap star" (now that's original!). As usual, you have a clueless Mamma who defends her thug of a son to the very end with that "He was such a good boy" business: "He was a son everybody would want to have." Well, obviously not Sean Ellenberger, who was described in the article as always having wanted to marry and start a family; I don't think he would want Titus Hill as a son, seeing as how Hill killed him.

God Bless you, Mr. Ellenberger: you went down fighting, and you took the scumbag with you. I see it as your final act of kindness which you have bequeathed to your fellow citizens.

Good Day to You, Sir

Saturday, August 02, 2008

My favorite kind of campaign ad

If you are going to attack your opponent, don't tell the people why your opponent is a dumbass when you can let the dumbass speak for himself. I must give props to the Son of Cain and his people for this effective attack ad:

Good Day to You, Sir