Sunday, April 24, 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Predictions from the Original Earth Day

This is something to think seriously about when today's scientists warn us of a rapidly approaching calamity if we don't do something this year quick about global warming — or is it climate change now. Here are 13 predictions that were made on the original Earth Day in 1970.

  1. "Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." — Harvard biologist George Wald
  2. "We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation." — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner
  3. "Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction." — New York Times editorial
  4. "Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years." — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich
  5. "Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s." — Paul Ehrlich
  6. "It is already too late to avoid mass starvation," — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day
  7. "Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine." — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter
  8. "In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half." — Life magazine
  9. "At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it's only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable." — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
  10. "Air pollution...is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone." — Paul Ehrlich
  11. "By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won't be any more crude oil. You'll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill 'er up, buddy,' and he'll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn't any.'" — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
  12. "[One] theory assumes that the earth's cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun's heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born." — Newsweek magazine
  13. "The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age." — Kenneth Watt

Kinda makes you think about the predictions being made so confidently today, doesn't it?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The State of U.S. Politics Today

In the past few days, I've run across a number of cartoons pertaining to the state of politics in the United States today. These few cartoons vary across existing programs and the presidential campaign. There is also an image of much more general applicability.

One cartoon has to do with our president and the economy he and his regulators run.

This one is an historical comparison of current events to events from long, long ago. Why can't some people follow the rules?

Here's another variation on the question of why can't some people follow the rules?

Of course, all of this makes us think (or at least makes me think), along with Mark Twain, that

Sunday, April 10, 2016

When Words Don't Mean What They Say

An article published on page 3 of the Business Outlook section of the Albuquerque Journal last week sheds light on the current state of the law and the legal profession. The article, written by Joel Jacobsen and headlined Court puts quirky spin on burglary statute, discussed two recent decisions by the New Mexico Supreme Court. But it seems the disease these decisions exemplify is spread much more broadly than just this state.

At issue was whether entering a business for a criminal purpose in a manner that was not authorized, by deception or in violation of an express prohibition, is "unauthorized" as part of the definition of burglary (a felony) as opposed to shoplifting (a misdemeanor). As Jacobsen wrote,

'Unauthorized' doesn't always mean what it seems to say when would-be thieves enter a commercial enterprise with crime in mind. . . . Because entry into Costco without a valid membership doesn't implicate such highly wrought feelings, therefor it's not unauthorized. Even though it's not authorized. . . . Again, as a matter of statutory construction, the court held that the entry into the store wasn't "unauthorized," even though it was prohibited.
What can make sense out of that sort of self-contradictory verbiage? How can English words be made to say things that are so completely at odds with their normal meanings? The answer to these questions is what is called "statutory construction".
Professor Daniel A. Farber [apparently now at the School of Law of the University of California at Berkeley] once explained how statutory construction works. If a person at the table asks you to pass the salt, obviously he or she wants you to pass a common flavor enhancing condiment.

But it would be unreasonable to assume the person is asking to be given a substance that raises blood pressure and shortens lifespan. Therefore, he or she means for you to pass the pepper.

Why is this important? Jacobsen explains at the end of his article.
In constitutional theory, as expressed in Article III of the New Mexico Constitution, courts have no power to rewrite statutes. But, in judicial theory, interpreting a simple word like "unauthorized" to refer to a complex of emotions that "we" supposedly feel doesn't count as rewriting. And that's why New Mexico now has two burglary statutes, one found in the statute books that covers all businesses equally and one existing only in the opinions of judges that carves out an exception for retail stores. Here's your pepper.
In other words, while judges are not allowed to write or rewrite laws, they do it anyway by changing the meanings of words. As I suggested above, that's not something that's limited to the judges in this state. It seems to be a communicable disease — a communicable mental disease. But a remaining question is whether it is communicated judge to judge (or senior judge to senior judge), or whether that occurs in their initial law school training.

A Primer On Socialism

Yes, socialism — in all flavors — is something that sounds great, especially to youngsters. That's because the young haven't yet learned enough knowledge and logic to see that it's a chimera, a mirage. It has never worked and never will, because it violates human nature.

The problem with this, of course, is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money. And then the system (1) backs away from socialism, (2) completely breaks down, or (3) goes full totalitarian.

Despite what President Obama said on his trip to Cuba and Argentina, there is a HUGE difference between capitalism and socialism.

Socialist illogic has showed up multiple times in the current presidential campaign. Here's an outstanding example.

I find it shocking that that people can reach such heights with no concept of either basic economics or human nature.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

About President Obama & Cuba

For those who have been paying attention — for those who give a damn — the allegiance of President Barack Obama is plain to see.

If we are charitable, we may describe this as as President Obama's blind spot. Which is to say that Barack Obama just can't see the problem — his ideology gets in the way.

Here's another way to look at this.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Never Felt Safer

I got this from a friend. I'm not sure it's really a joke.

Never felt safer in my life!

I took down my Rebel flag (which you can't buy on ebay any more) tossed the "Don't Tread on Me" flag and peeled the NRA sticker off the front door. I gave the pit bull to my mother in law and stored my A K. 47.

I disconnected my home alarm system and quit the candy-ass Neighborhood Watch.

I bought two Pakistani flags and put them in my front yard.

I purchased the black flag of ISIS (which you CAN buy on ebay) and ran it up the flag pole

Now, the local police, sheriff, FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, Secret Service and other agencies are all watching my house 24/7. I've NEVER felt safer and I'm saving $69.95 a month that ADT used to charge me.

Plus, I bought burkas for my family. when we shop or travel everyone moves out of the way and security can't pat us down.

Safe at last — Is America getting greater every day or what?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Dose of Reality About Socialism

We have been hearing A LOT about Socialism — and praise of Socialism — in the current political campaign. A lot has been from Hillary Clinton, and a lot more from Bernie Sanders, and their supporters. A significant amount of the discussion has been lecturing by our Moral Betters of the Younger Generation, who mostly support Sanders.

This has produced a response on Facebook from former chess champion and current freedom activist Garry Kasparov, which has been repeated by Thomas Lifson:

I'm enjoying the irony of American Sanders supporters lecturing me, a former Soviet citizen, on the glories of Socialism and what it really means! Socialism sounds great in speech soundbites and on Facebook, but please keep it there. In practice, it corrodes not only the economy but the human spirit itself, and the ambition and achievement that made modern capitalism possible and brought billions of people out of poverty. Talking about Socialism is a huge luxury, a luxury that was paid for by the successes of capitalism. Income inequality is a huge problem, absolutely. But the idea that the solution is more government, more regulation, more debt, and less risk is dangerously absurd.
Lifson goes on to note that
Socialism rewards laggards and penalizes strivers, so naturally you get more of the former and fewer of the latter. It isn’t terribly complicated.

Young people, full of energy, idealistic, and inexperienced in human nature, are seduced by the vision of an egalitarian paradise with less suffering. What they don’t see is the decline in wealth, and the focus on gaming the system and winning political approval (instead of actually producing wealth) that inevitably produce decline and corruption.

How has this happened to so many of our young people? I think, as Lifson suggests, that it's because

The virtually complete takeover of public and higher education by the left has resulted in a vast cohort of the American public completely ignorant of the failure of socialism everywhere it has been applied. Thus we have public opjnion polls indicating that younger voters are not averse to socialism and younger Democrats supporting Sanders.
To me, the most important truism in all of this is one short line:"Talking about Socialism is a huge luxury, a luxury that was paid for by the successes of capitalism." That's a line from Kasparov's original Facebook post, speaking from experience.

Socialism kills, in all its forms from Democratic Socialism to Fascism and Communism. It's just that some forms of Socialism kill more quickly and efficiently than others.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The $50 Lesson

Recently, while I was working in the flower beds in the front yard, my neighbors stopped to chat as they returned home from walking their dog.

During our friendly conversation, I asked their little girl what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said she wanted to be President someday.

Both of her parents, Democratic Party members, were standing there so I asked her, "If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?" She replied... "I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people."

Her parents beamed with pride! "Wow...what a worthy goal!" I said..."But you don't have to wait until you're President to do that!" "What do you mean?" she replied.

So I told her, "You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and trim my hedge, and I'll pay you $50. Then you can go over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house."

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, "Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?"

I said, "Welcome to the Republican Party."

Her parents aren't speaking to me anymore.

"The truth is like a lion.
You don't have to defend it.
Let it loose. It will defend itself."

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

Wishing all a Very Happy Easter!

But remember also what made it possible.

If you don't believe it, or are on the fence, there are a few historical facts you must account for. To help you, consider this.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Hillary on Libya

p>Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is claiming the U.S. "didn't lose a single person" in Libya during her time in office. Of course, it's true she didn't lose a single person in Libya — she lost four. Or maybe she means it the way cartoonist Michael Ramirez interprets her statement.

UPDATE: See this as well.


End update.

It's hard to know if Hillary is so divorced from reality that she actually believes no one was lost in Libya or if she's continuing to lie about this for her personal benefit. Either option would make her unfit to hold any position of trust in the U.S. government.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Phoenix Aurora

The Astronomy Picture of the Day site has an absolutely spectacular picture today. It's an aurora in the shape of the mythical phoenix, captured digitally over Iceland. It's so spectacular I had to share it.

This NASA site changes its picture each day. After today you can find this image, with identified constellations and a description, here. And the picture on the NASA site is bigger and in higher resolution. Superb.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Lesson on Motivation — and Irony

This makes sense to the bureaucrats. It's part of the reason the voters are so angry this year, explaining the success of both Trump and Sanders. And for that, see this.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Michelle Makes an Endorsement

Michelle Obama has decided to make an endorsement in the race for the Republican presidential nomination — expressed, as usual, in a hashtag.

There's also a much more detailed statement from Michelle, explaining her endorsement.

OK, they're obviously both photoshopped. But I still like them, especially because there is now so much mess to clean up.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Our National Problem -- 1

“Europe, the soil on which Fascism took root, is watching the rise of Donald Trump with dismay. Contempt for the excesses of America is a European reflex, but when the United States seems tempted by a latter-day Mussolini, smugness in London, Paris and Berlin gives way to alarm. . . . It’s not just that [Donald Trump] could become Silvio Berlusconi with nukes. . . . America’s Weimar-lite democratic dysfunction is plain to see.”

Wall Street Journal, Best of the Web
quoting Roger Cohen, New York Times, March 1

Our National Problem -- 2

There's been a lot running around about our problems if Donald Trump is either nominated or elected to the presidency. And all that is true. But there's another side to this problem, and it is shown in the bumper sticker below.

I'd say this is absolutely the best bumper sticker of this election cycle. And I think it is highly unlikely to be improved upon.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Argentina — A History Lesson

This link was received by e-mail. The video it links to is worth watching and thinking about.

        Don't Cry for Me Argentina America

This echoes some of the concerns I (and others I know) have had for a long time. I'd seen some of these figures and comparisons before, but this is a more striking and elegant presentation.

A friend I forwarded the e-mail to agreed with me and said this:

Simply an elegant presentation. I've been screaming in the wilderness about the propensities of governments to over-promise benefits for three decades. As far as I can tell, my screaming has done absolutely no good, because politicians are still mortgaging our future beyond any ability to every pay off the debt. Argentina conveys the message, but much more elegantly than I ever did.

I have forwarded to many friends. Regrettably, all of my friends are in the same camp. Those people who most need to get this message are those who are the least likely to watch the video (much less heed its conclusions).

There is still time for us to avoid sliding into Argentina's fate, I think. But this country is a very large ship and slow to turn — as Argentina once was. It will take a lot of effort to get us back onto a positive slope. But we must try.