Friday, May 30, 2008

You've Got To Be Kidding Me

I just finished reading an article in NewsMax, concerning Al Franken's run for Senate in Minnesota. Apparently, including amongst democrats and according to Representative Betty McCollum, a huge number of constituents have shown very grave concern over an interview Franken did with Playboy 8 years ago, over the internet and porn. While I do not politically agree with Al Franken, and I find some of his humor to be crude, I also find him funny. (mostly as a comedian and satirist, but sometimes politically as well)

"Al understands, and the people of Minnesota understand, the difference between what a satirist does and what a senator does," Franken campaign spokesman Andy Barr said. "It's unfortunate that she's trying to create divisions in our party rather than working with other DFLers (Minnesota Democrats) to take on the special-interest senator."

I have to agree with Mr. Barr on this issue. Was Jack Kennedy's supposed lovelife brought up as the issue of the day when he ran for office? Was Eisenhower excoriated for his involvement in the persuading then President Truman over the issue of using Atomic weapons against Japan? Was Ronald Reagan vetted over some lines he used in a movie?

The Democrats of the 90s wished to make little issue of Clinton's in-office rendevouz, AS IT HAPPENED! But now they want to make issue of something a COMEDIAN said 8 years ago, for his job and livelihood, when it has nothing to do with his current occupational aspirations?

I just can't wrap my head around this. It's okay to condone a very real act, plaster it all over tv, radio, the INTERNET, where any kid could access all the information on it at any time of day, but apparently it is off limits for a guy to joke about it:

At one point in the Playboy piece titled "Porn-O-Rama!" Franken called the Internet a "terrific learning tool," writing that his 12-year-old son was able to use it for a sixth-grade report on bestiality.

Sure it's crude and lacks a bit in taste depending on your personal preference, but to be akin to ruining your political career for life....I just don't understand these democrats who are suddenly taking issue with it. And to be fair, I don't really get why NewsMax, a conservative corporation, is bothering to publish this useless news. I mean I DO get it, 24/7 opportunities to find anything to help the conservative political cause, but the entire basis is ludicrous from the get go.

When I was a teenager, I listened to hardcore Rap music, pretended to live teh lifestyle I knew nothing about, glorifying it to boot. I guess I'd better not ever try to seek office of any kind...this might all come back to bite me, via concerned current members of public office and all of their VERY concerned constituents who just can't believe it. Oh, and I stole Graham Crackers after not eating my supper on more than one occasion. Label me a homegrown terrorist, and use my deeds to discredit anyone who ever knew me while you're at it.....give me a break.

If that's all they have on Al Franken, as a party I say drop it and move on to the truly important issues.

To read the entire article:

Global Raining Will Kill Us All

With the debate about the supposedly undebatable Global Warming issue,heating up, allow me to present to you another undebatable subject: Global Raining!

All over the globe, rain has been falling in massive amounts. Where it isn't coming down like the Noahic Flood, it is still coming down, only in lesser amounts. Gobal Warming's effect which caused one of the coldest years in history since 1900 (due to the fact that global warming apparently includes global cooling...who knew?), giving us an extended winter, especially within the Midwestern United States, Spring is finally arriving over a month late. Rain having fallen locally in Iowa area 75% of the days since March 20th, the official start of Spring.

With so much rain falling, causing flooding that has not subsided along the Mississippi River near Burlington since the ice melt, and intermittent flooding in other areas, Global raining has shown its ugly face, destroying immediately property, cropland, as well as businesses and housing, occasionally causing death as well.

Crop planting is under 50% of where it should be in Iowa as of today. Without full crop sewing, the reaping will also be less and/or delayed greatly. This will increase the price of an already questionable Ethanol product, which has gained popularity in the Midwestern states and amongst the "Greenies". Also, the effects on food corn, and other crops such as soybeans will cause dramatic effects on prices, and supply. In order to maintain fuel crops to be competitive, more and more subsidies will have to be lent by state and federal governments, and thusly, American taxpayers.
With fuel costs rising, mass violence is predicted int eh form of riots with at least 1438478 billion participants in Iowa alone, nevermind the remainder of the country. We would include the world in these riots, but they would have been food based riots, however, would-be rioters have already been predicted to starve to death prior to rioting.
Now, before you all jump on the bandwagon that this is merely localized, notice the rainfall causing mudslides in the Phillipines, Cyclones in Myanmar that have rain associated with them. Yes that's right...rain including groundswell based rain in the form of rising tides due to storms.
Rain filled up massive resevoirs in China. Resevoirs who's dams have been damaged not only by time and increased water pressure, but the recent earthquake as well. My team of researchers is still working on how rain caused the earthquake, but be not alarmed, we will make the connection no matter how ludicrous.
Also, we have determined that this is your fault. If you hadn't run so much water, and sweated so much during the hot times, evaporation would've picked up less water to drop down on the world's population in the form of this deadly rain.
But..WE DO HAVE A SOLUTION! First off, it includes sending cash to Mookie (future President in 2016! and former pale superhero). Sorry no checks or credit cards, just plain old cold hard cash. WE (my other personalities and myself) have set up a special account to deal with issues as we see fit. We can't surrently release teh details for reasons of, um...national security? But we assure you we will do all we can to make sure you are not taken out by this deadly and undeniable global phenomenon. In the meantime, while we await your voluntary contributions (do NOT make us involve the U.N. to impose this upon you), we'll be out filling up our new pool and watering our lawn with no less than 3 billion cubic meters of water....recycled from the recent downpours of course..because we care we wont use NEW water. That, and with an hour's break from the toreential downpours, we don't want the grass to die. Thank you in advance for your support!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Voter ID Laws Help, Not Hinder

Here is a recent article regarding Voter ID laws, specifically that of Indiana. It is written and was submitted to Human Events Publishing by Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita. I looked into this after reading a posting by Sherry Chandler, which included note of Missouri's Voter ID law being struck down. You can find the link to her blog on the right hand side along with other blogs to consider. Feel free to leave your point of view, or questions.

Indiana Photo ID Law Works
by Todd Rokita
Posted: 05/29/2008

As the Indiana polls opened at 6:00 am on May 6, opponents of Indiana’s Photo ID law eagerly anticipated word from our more than 5,500 precincts that the state’s requirement that all voters show a photo ID at the polls was causing havoc. It’s what they told the United States Supreme Court would happen. To them, it was time to watch Indiana’s most highly anticipated presidential primary in generations collapse under the weight of the requirement.

In Indiana, our election officials and voters are fully committed to increasing confidence in and the integrity of our elections. We have invested a great deal of time, money, and energy over the last few years in needed improvements to our election processes. The central component to this effort is the preservation of the fundamental right of each citizen over the age of 18 to have ONE vote, and to have that vote count.

In recent years, sweeping reforms and improvements to the way we administer elections have included new voting systems in all 92 counties, improved accessibility of polling places, educational outreach and training, and absentee ballot reform. One of the most significant and important reforms has been our photo identification law, which requires voters to prove their identity by presenting a photo ID before casting a ballot.

One week prior to Indiana’s primary elections, the United States Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s photo ID law. The Justices agreed that, with our law, Indiana is paving the road to better voter confidence for states by preventing in-person voter fraud.

Jeffrey Milyo, a professor of economics and public affairs at the University of Missouri, had noted in a recent study that overall voter turnout in Indiana has actually increased since the implementation of the photo ID law. I attribute this directly to voters having better confidence in the process, and therefore, being more willing to invest their time in it.
Several other studies by organizations like the Universities of Nebraska and Delaware and the Heritage Foundation tell us requiring ID at the polls does not reduce voter turnout.
On May 6th, opponents to the law were left disappointed. Indiana experienced one of its highest turnouts ever for a primary election. Turnout increased from 21 percent in the 2004 primary to around 40 percent for the 2008 primary. Presumably, the hotly contested Democratic presidential primary brought scores of new voters to the polls. Nearly 76 percent of the participants took part in the Democratic primary. By comparison, in 2004, only 40 percent of those who participated voted in the Democratic primary.

Simply put, Indiana voters showed up by the hundreds of thousands to fulfill their civic duty with a photo ID in hand. According to our figures, the number showing up to vote without ID continues to be miniscule, dropping slightly even from previous elections when the rate has been two-tenths of a percentile. In fact, opponents of the concept of having a voter identify his or herself still cannot produce one voter who has experienced a violation of his or her rights.

The deadline to file recounts with the state recount commission has passed. Despite close contests in both the Democratic presidential race as well as that party's gubernatorial primary, no one has filed for a recount. No one has found reason to question the results our closely watched, closely contested statewide election.

With the Supreme Court’s decision, election leaders across the country can now confidently move forward with their efforts to protect voters and improve the integrity of the election process. Mississippi, Missouri, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas are all states where photo ID requirements were debated and voted on in legislatures this year, and scores of other states have called my office wanting details on the law.

Sure, my staff was in place before sunrise on primary day, ready to ensure a smooth election by helping voters find their polling places, answering questions, and looking into any polling place issues that would come up. But of the more than 1,300 calls we took that day from voters, only two even related to enforcement of Indiana’s photo ID law -- neither demonstrating that someone was shut out from voting.

And even if they were, photo ID opponents fail to point out one very important Federalist notion – that states have the right to put parameters on, and therefore, introduce order into their electoral processes. To not do so would allow chaos to ensnarl the process, rendering it useless. Results would be in doubt and voter confidence shredded. The likelihood of increased participation would dwindle.

Indiana has now conducted eight successful elections since the passage of the photo ID law. There has not been one proven instance of a voter who was unable to exercise his or her right to vote due to the law. The law itself helps prevent this, including provisions to allow voting by those who forget their ID, can’t make it to the polls on Election Day, or who have religious objections to being photographed. The well-publicized nuns in South Bend, who were reportedly unable to vote during this year’s primary election due to not having proper photo ID indeed had the opportunity under the law to cast a provisional ballot and have their votes count by producing ID within ten days. This is eight days longer than Jimmy Carter even suggested when the Carter-Baker Commission suggested photo ID was needed in the polling to boost election integrity and participation. Sadly, they all waived this right to participate in the election process.

Indiana’s photo ID law is our state’s means of protecting the integrity of elections in a manner that creates the least burden for citizens. Furthermore, it’s a right and duty given to us by the 10th Amendment. It is about ensuring accuracy through increased integrity. It’s a 21st century way to manage our election process that gives us confidence again in exercising our franchise -- our most sacred civic transaction. I look forward to an exhilarating 2008 general election with this issue finally settled.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

An excerpt from my hopefully upcoming book

City Confidential: Criminal Idiocy (also titled: Not As Slick As We Thought)

For adults, like I am now, there is a saying out there that “nothing good ever happens after 2am”. Well, after attaining the age in which our parents let us stay out past the streetlights coming on, that time might as well have been “after 8pm”.

During the summertime, we would spend our time looking for the town cop, and then running away from him like we were guilty of something. It relieved us of our boredom and gave him something to do, when the local kids driving the loop weren’t speeding and driving recklessly all over the place. And sometimes we were guilty of being out after curfew, which really gave us some exercise. We would walk out on Main Street, wait for the cop to drive up on us and begin to turn around. And suddenly we would bolt like our lives depended on it. Sometimes we just dodged through yards and behind people’s houses. Other times you could find us running from the old Corner Store all the way downtown, and hiding in the big spools of wire behind the telephone company building. Lucky for us, the cops weren’t too keen on getting out of their patrol cars for something as dumb as a couple kids running around. This activity only lasted so long, as I think the cop finally caught on to what we were doing, and left us alone on purpose. It kind of took the fun out of staying out late.

The wintertime was a whole different ballgame. My best friend, Jed, and I had a little rivalry going on with who we thought was an unsuspecting ex-school teacher. Every winter around Christmas we stole a light out of the decorated trees in his yard. He had the strands that if one light went out the whole strand went dark. So we took great pride in putting a dark spot in those lighted trees. And every day he would go and replace them. It was a nightly game of back and forth. We even took extra care to approach the yard from behind the trees and out of view of his windows. After a while of him replacing the lights successfully every single time, we thought we could outsmart him. Instead of taking the bulb out altogether, we began to take a little extra time to loosen a bulb, thinking that it would make it harder for him to get them replaced. And every night, to our dismay, we would find that he thwarted the previous night’s plans. My buddy and I always thought we were anonymous in our after dark activities. It wasn’t until we were in our mid teens that we found out this just wasn’t so. I was working at the Carlson House restaurant in the kitchen, and Jed also worked there as a busboy. One night, Mr. Harklau, his wife and another couple came in to dine at our establishment. As Jed was pouring them all some water, Mr. Harklau looked up at him and proclaimed, “Well, good to see you have a job. Now you and that Lovell kid can afford to buy your own damn Christmas lights instead of stealing mine!”

This statement goes to show the common sense approach of small town folks and that of an older generation. Harmless fun doesn’t warrant calling the cops, or lining up a lawyer to sue the pants off a kid’s parents. He’d just bide his time and deal with it on his own. Although I’m sure, had he caught us in the act, rather than finding us in a highly public setting of a restaurant, he may very well have throttled us to within an inch of our lives. To save face, we would’ve left the cops out of it, and if our parents inquired, out of pride we would concoct a story about being jumped by a big group of, oh, say a dozen kids we didn’t recognize.

Anyways, Jed came back to the kitchen to relay what had just happened. Both of us were in shock. Again, our sneaky factor was far below where we thought it was supposed to be. But then again, I guess everyone thinks they’re more mysterious than they truly are. Of course this didn’t stop us from our little shenanigans. We still went out confiscating decorations from time to time. We just chose different targets, in other areas of town, occasionally returning to the Harklau’s for old time’s sake. Eventually our collection of lights and lighted ornaments became the decorations for us. Pretty stupid thing to do, but that’s the life of bored children in a small town. It was enough entertainment for us to avoid going beyond petty crime. Of course nowadays, as an adult with kids of my own, I settle for merely looking at other people’s decorations. Somehow stealing with my kids in tow doesn’t seem to be the example to set. But as we’re out admiring the decorations, I sometimes find myself smiling about the old days when I wouldn’t have thought twice about doing a little collection work! The kid is still alive and well in me. I just have a better moral compass now, when it comes to the action part anyways.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lopsided Political Outrage

These days it seems, the political scene is as divisive as ever. When it comes to elections, many people seem to vote one way or the other across the board. To Republicans, all democrats have become super liberal socialists. To Democrats, all republicans are vast right wing warmongers. If you're a democratic representative at any level it is expected by the party that you support the party despite your own ideals, and the same goes for republican lawmakers as well.
Especially the republican party....If you go too far towards the middle you are labeled as a liberal hiding in the Republican party, or a RINO (republican in name only).
On the individual level, and granted this is the bias of an independent conservative, it seems that democratic voters will defend their party to the death. Obama, for example, despite early on his campaign was nothing but positive sounding rhetoric, without substance in any way shape or form, people were ecstatic about having him as the next President of the United States. And yet, despite any positive things Bush has actually managed to accomplish, they would rather dismiss it witha comment about all the things he has done wrong (admittedly, this is many, but not worthy of cancelling out anything good).
Another example of lopsided political outrage has come in the form of corruption and scandals. (Former)Republican Representative Duke Cunningham of California gets caught accepting bribes....HUGE OUTCRY. Large Media coverage, including lots of mention among late night talk show hosts. Same with Tom Delay
Former Democratic Representative William Jefferson of Louisiana faces charges of corruption, after being videotaped accepting 10s of thousands of dollars,a nd subsequently raided by the FBI. HUGE OUTCRY....not about what he did, but that his offices (that of a sitting representative) were raided by federal authorities. Less media coverage.
Take also note of the contrasting statements about DeLay's situation with that of Jefferson, by Nancy Pelosi (democrat representative from California):

After Tom DeLay was indicted on September 28, 2005, Nancy Pelosi had some very harsh words: “The criminal indictment of Majority Leader Tom DeLay is the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people.”

But, if you forward to yesterday, she's got a very different tone about the indictment of Rep. William Jefferson, of her own party:
“The charges in the indictment against Congressman Jefferson are extremely serious. While Mr. Jefferson, just as any other citizen, must be considered innocent until proven guilty, if these charges are proven true, they constitute an egregious and unacceptable abuse of public trust and power.

I have no problem with what she says about Mr. DeLay (it is rather true), but I disagree with the softening middle section she gives to her own party's member she won't give to Mr. DeLay.

I find it rather odd the similarity between both situations: In the face of idiocy by a republican, it is often the republicans who put more pressure on their party's member than anyone. In the face of idiocy by a democrat, it is still up to the republican party to press for action on the matter.

Now, obviously I take my vantage point from what I see within the mainstream and talk radio medias, and I don't see as many of the activities that occur on a more frequently than we know basis. But it seems to me that to attack a democrat is akin to murder, while attacking a republican is as everyday normal to people as flipping a light switch. Maybe I'm wrong, but then again this is only a somewhat informed opinion that I make. Feel free to correct me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Detaining Youths In The War On Terror

An AP article by Peter James Spielmann I found in today's issue of the Des Moines Register:

NEW YORK (AP) -- The U.S. military is holding about 500 juveniles in detention centers in Iraq, and has about 10 detained at the U.S. base at Bagram, Afghanistan, the United States has told the United Nations.

A total of 2,500 youths under the age of 18 have been detained, almost all in Iraq, for periods up to a year or more in President Bush's anti-terrorism campaign since 2002, the United States reported last week to the U.N.'s Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Civil liberties groups such as the International Justice Network and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) denounced the detentions as abhorrent, and a violation of U.S. treaty obligations.

In the periodic report to the United Nations on U.S. compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United States confirmed that "as of April 2008, the United States held about 500 juveniles in Iraq."

"The juveniles that the United States has detained have been captured engaging in anti-coalition activity, such as planting Improvised Explosive Devices, operating as lookouts for insurgents, or actively engaged in fighting against U.S. and Coalition forces," the U.S. report said.

The majority are believed to be 16 or 17 years old. In the United States a 17-year-old can enlist in the U.S. army, with parental consent.

The report said that of the total of 2,500 juveniles jailed since 2002, all but 100 had been picked up in Iraq. Of the remainder, most were swept up in Afghanistan.

The U.S. military says it has held eight juveniles, ages 13-17, at Guantanamo since the detention center opened in 2002.

"It remains uncertain the exact age of these individuals, as most of them did not know their date of birth or even the year they were born," the report says. But U.S. military doctors who evaluated them believed that three were under age 16.

Six were released and two are now adults facing war-crimes charges.

Canadian Omar Khadr, now 21, was captured in July 2002 and is charged with murder for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. special forces soldier. Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who the military says is about 23, faces charges of attempted murder for a 2002 grenade attack that wounded two U.S. soldiers.

In Afghanistan, "as of April 2008, there are approximately 10 juveniles being held at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility as unlawful enemy combatants," the report said.

In Bagram, a U.S. military spokesman, Marine 1st Lt. Richard K. Ulsh, told the AP on Sunday: "At any time there are up to 625 detainees being held at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility. There are no detainees being held under the age of 16 and, without getting into specifics due to the frequent fluctuation in the number of detainees being held, we can tell you that there are currently less than 10 detainees being held under the age of 18."

Civil liberties groups were outraged.

"It's shocking to me that the U.S. government has not figured out a way to keep children out of adult prisons. It's outrageous, and it is not making us any safer, I can say that about Afghanistan from personal experience," Tina M. Foster, the executive director of the International Justice Network, said Sunday.

Her group brought lawsuits on behalf of the Guantanamo detainees in 2006, and has taken on the cases of adult detainees in Bagram. She said the U.S. military does not release the names of juveniles it is holding in Bagram, so her group is trying to learn who they are by finding Afghan relatives.

"It is shocking to know that the U.S. is holding hundreds of juveniles in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even more disturbing that there is no comprehensive policy in place that will protect their rights as children," Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Human Rights Program, said in a statement. "Juveniles and former child soldiers should be treated first and foremost as candidates for rehabilitation and reintegration into society, not subjected to further victimization."

"Although age is not a determining factor in whether or not we detain an individual under the law of armed conflict, we go to great lengths to attend to the special needs of juveniles while they are in detention," the U.S. report said.

According to the ACLU, the lack of protections and consideration for the juvenile status of detainees violates the obligations of the U.S. under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict that the U.S. ratified in 2002, as well as universally accepted international norms.

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child is scheduled to question the U.S. delegation on its compliance with its obligations on May 22 in Geneva.

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the General Assembly in 1989, with backing at the time from the U.S. government of President Bill Clinton, and with strong lobbying from then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who now is competing for the Democratic Party presidential nomination with Barack Obama.


Associated Press writer Fisnik Abrashi contributed to this report from Kabul, Afghanistan.

My personal opinion is that if a teenager wants to participate in war or terrorism, he should be treated as any adult soldier or terrorist would. Would those from the ACLU and other leftist groups presume that we release kids who threw a grenade into a group of our soldiers, just because they are kids and shouldn't have to face consequences? They have argued that Bush is over there to impose Americanization upon Iraqis...given the state of how people raise their kids to operate without consequences until they are adults over here, maybe their opinions actually support this transfer of Americanized "values". Your thoughts?

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Change In Priority

So I have spent the last few years doing nothing more than chasing the dollar bill. Instead of spending time with my family and guiding them through life, I have left the family activities mostly to my wife.

This year, I have actively taken extra time off to do things with and for my family. My wife, Dani, and I spent time alone Saturday night, walking around downtown int he evening before attending an event at the Civic Center with Bill Cosby. It was a great time to get out, just the two of us and no kids! We NEVER get that!!

Then yesterday, I took the whole family out for ice cream, and then down to a park that sits alongside a local walk/bike trail. We spent a little time walking down the trail until we hit an offshoot that leads to a completely different neighborhood in town. It bridges out over Walnut Creek, which cuts right through the middle of our little suburb. On the opposite side of the bridge, which is directly over some artificially made rapids (concrete chunks spread across the creek), there is a sandy side of the creek's bank. You could sit here in relative peace, save the occasional biker/jogger/walker on the trail across the expansive creek. My wife had a little time to sit there and refresh her mind, while I took my two boys down to the sandbar on the bend to be near the water.

Flashback almost 20 years. (cue the Wayne's World freaky music) In Sac City, the Ahrens Street bridge crosses over the Raccoon River on the southside of town. Under this bridge is a shallow pass of water before reaching an island of good size to play on the river. My friend Jay, his younger brother, my sister and I, would toy around on the island for awhile before deciding we had to explore the river. Soon we would find ourselves a quarter to half-mile downriver, having waded every inch of it.

Back to the present, the boys and I decided to lose the shoes and socks, and step into the creek. Wide, but shallow, it was easy to manage for me as well as the two boys, Corwyn (age 4) and Josh (age 9). In fact the water was clear enough that you could see to the bottom. Well, until you disturbed the silt laying on top the sandy bottom anyways. There were some sections where the current moved much faster through channeled areas. Josh pretty much followed my words to the "T", while Corwyn, the ever adventurous one, was determined to get caught up in the current, and slip into the drop offs. Josh and I, both managed to keep our clothes relatively dry, with just the bottom of our rolled up pants getting splashed. Corwyn on the other hand, managed to completely soak his shorts and undies. Not that he cared, once he saw that I wasn't bothered by him getting his clothes wet. We spent about 15 or 20 minutes moving downstream, and we were rewarded with the sight of a Mallard Duck couple. The boys really thought that was great, and enjoyed their time wading through the creek with me, that they didn't even object when I told them it was time to turn around (something very rare to happen if they are at the park!).

I felt in my natural element while wading through the cold water of Walnut Creek, despite my loud opinion against submersing myself in cold water, or swimming. I think God opened up first my heart, to show me that I needed to spend more time with my family. Then yesterday, He opened up my eyes to show me how much the boys relish this rare time with Dad, just being boys, and exploring nature, just as I did as a young boy. I plan on, and look forward to spending more time with the boys doing the "manly" boy activities. Partly because it is just plain fun, and partly because I think I need the time with my boys just as much as they need the time with me, instead of seeing me on occasional outside the house. I am so very grateful that God moved me to go to the trail instead of home after our ice cream outing. He truly knows me and what's good for me much more so than I.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A list of what global warming is responsible for

Over the years many things have happened that have been credited to the effects of global warming. Here’s a list below. You’ll notice in places that global warming has caused one thing, and then turned around and blamed for the opposite result as well....Your thoughts?

A complete list of things caused by global warming

Acne, agricultural land increase, Afghan poppies destroyed, Africa devastated, African aid threatened, Africa in conflict, aggressive weeds, air pressure changes, Alaska reshaped, allergies increase, Alps melting, Amazon a desert, American dream end, amphibians breeding earlier (or not), anaphylactic reactions to bee stings, ancient forests dramatically changed, animals head for the hills, Antarctic grass flourishes, Antarctic ice grows, Antarctic ice shrinks, Antarctic sea life at risk, anxiety treatment, algal blooms, archaeological sites threatened, Arctic bogs melt, Arctic in bloom, Arctic ice free, Arctic lakes disappear, Arctic tundra to burn, Atlantic less salty, Atlantic more salty, atmospheric circulation modified, attack of the killer jellyfish, avalanches reduced, avalanches increased, Baghdad snow, Bahrain under water, bananas grow, beer shortage, beetle infestation, bet for $10,000, better beer, big melt faster, billion dollar research projects, billions face risk, billions of deaths, bird distributions change, bird visitors drop, birds confused, birds return early, birds driven north, bittern boom ends, blackbirds stop singing, blizzards, blue mussels return, bluetongue, brains shrink, bridge collapse (Minneapolis), Britain Siberian, British gardens change, brothels struggle, brown Ireland, bubonic plague, budget increases, Buddhist temple threatened, building collapse, building season extension, bushfires, business opportunities, business risks, butterflies move north, camel deaths, cancer deaths in England, cannibalism, cataracts, caterpillar biomass shift, cave paintings threatened, childhood insomnia, Cholera, circumcision in decline, cirrus disappearance, civil unrest, cloud increase, cloud stripping, cockroach migration, coffee threatened, cold climate creatures survive, cold spells (Australia), cold wave (India), computer models, conferences, conflict, conflict with Russia, consumers foot the bill, coral bleaching, coral reefs dying, coral reefs grow, coral reefs shrink , cost of trillions, cougar attacks, cradle of civilisation threatened, crime increase, crocodile sex, crops devastated, crumbling roads, buildings and sewage systems, curriculum change, cyclones (Australia), danger to kid’s health, Darfur, Dartford Warbler plague, death rate increase (US), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, depression, desert advance, desert retreat, destruction of the environment, disappearance of coastal cities, diseases move north, Dolomites collapse, drought, ducks and geese decline, dust bowl in the corn belt, early marriages, early spring, earlier pollen season, Earth biodiversity crisis, Earth dying, Earth even hotter, Earth light dimming, Earth lopsided, Earth melting, Earth morbid fever, Earth on fast track, Earth past point of no return, Earth slowing down, Earth spins faster, Earth to explode, earth upside down, Earth wobbling, earthquakes, El Niño intensification, end of the world as we know it, erosion, emerging infections, encephalitis, English villages lost, equality threatened, Europe simultaneously baking and freezing, eutrophication, evolution accelerating, expansion of university climate groups, extinctions (human, civilisation, logic, Inuit, smallest butterfly, cod, ladybirds, pikas, polar bears, gorillas, walrus, whales, frogs, toads, plants, salmon, trout, wild flowers, woodlice, penguins, a million species, half of all animal and plant species, mountain species, not polar bears, barrier reef, leaches), experts muzzled, extreme changes to California, fading fall foliage, fainting, famine, farmers go under, fashion disaster, fever,figurehead sacked, fir cone bonanza, fish catches drop, fish downsize, fish catches rise, fish deaf, fish get lost, fish stocks at risk, fish stocks decline, five million illnesses, flesh eating disease, flood patterns change, floods, floods of beaches and cities, flood of migrants, flood preparation for crisis, Florida economic decline, flowers in peril, food poisoning, food prices rise, food prices soar, food security threat (SA), footpath erosion, forest decline, forest expansion, frog with extra heads, frostbite, frost damage increased, frosts, fungi fruitful, fungi invasion, games change, Garden of Eden wilts, genetic diversity decline, gene pools slashed, giant oysters invade, giant pythons invade, giant squid migrate, gingerbread houses collapse, glacial earthquakes, glacial retreat, glacial growth, glacier wrapped, global cooling, global dimming, glowing clouds, god melts, golf Masters wrecked, Gore omnipresence, grandstanding, grasslands wetter, Great Barrier Reef 95% dead, Great Lakes drop, greening of the North, Grey whales lose weight, Gulf Stream failure, habitat loss, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, harmful algae, harvest increase, harvest shrinkage, hay fever epidemic, health affected, health of children harmed, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes (Australia), heat waves, hibernation affected, hibernation ends too soon, hibernation ends too late, homeless 50 million, hornets, high court debates, human development faces unprecedented reversal, human fertility reduced, human health improvement, human health risk, human race oblivion, hurricanes, hurricane reduction, hydropower problems, hyperthermia deaths, ice sheet growth, ice sheet shrinkage, ice shelf collapse, illness and death, inclement weather, India drowning, infrastructure failure (Canada), industry threatened, infectious diseases, inflation in China, insect explosion, insurance premium rises, Inuit displacement, Inuit poisoned, Inuit suing, invasion of cats, invasion of herons, invasion of jellyfish, invasion of midges, island disappears, islands sinking, itchier poison ivy, jellyfish explosion, jets fall from sky, jet stream drifts north, Kew Gardens taxed, killing us, kitten boom, krill decline, lake and stream productivity decline, lake empties, lake shrinking and growing, landslides, landslides of ice at 140 mph, lawsuits increase, lawsuit successful, lawyers’ income increased (surprise surprise!), lives saved, Loch Ness monster dead, lush growth in rain forests, Malaria, mammoth dung melt, Maple production advanced, Maple syrup shortage, marine diseases, marine food chain decimated, Meaching (end of the world), Mediterranean rises, megacryometeors, Melanoma, methane emissions from plants, methane burps, methane runaway, melting permafrost, Middle Kingdom convulses, migration, migration difficult (birds), migratory birds huge losses, microbes to decompose soil carbon more rapidly, minorities hit, monkeys on the move, Mont Blanc grows, monuments imperiled, moose dying, more bad air days, more research needed, mortality increased, mountain (Everest) shrinking, mountains break up, mountains melting, mountains taller, mortality lower, narwhals at risk, National security implications, natural disasters quadruple, new islands, next ice age, NFL threatened, Nile delta damaged, noctilucent clouds, no effect in India, Northwest Passage opened, nuclear plants bloom, oaks dying, oaks move north, ocean acidification, ocean deserts expand, ocean waves speed up, opera house to be destroyed, outdoor hockey threatened, ozone repair slowed, ozone rise, Pacific dead zone, personal carbon rationing, pest outbreaks, pests increase, phenology shifts, plankton blooms, plankton destabilised, plankton loss, plant viruses, plants march north, polar bears aggressive, polar bears cannibalistic, polar bears drowning, polar bears starve, polar tours scrapped, popcorn rise, porpoise astray, profits collapse, psychiatric illness, puffin decline, railroad tracks deformed, rainfall increase, rape wave, refugees, release of ancient frozen viruses, resorts disappear, rice threatened, rice yields crash, rift on Capitol Hill, rioting and nuclear war, river flow impacted, rivers raised, roads wear out, robins rampant, rocky peaks crack apart, roof of the world a desert, rooftop bars, Ross river disease, ruins ruined, salinity reduction, salinity increase, Salmonella, satellites accelerate, school closures, sea level rise, sea level rise faster, seals mating more, sewer bills rise, severe thunderstorms, sex change, sharks booming, sharks moving north, sheep shrink, shop closures, short-nosed dogs endangered, shrinking ponds, shrinking shrine, ski resorts threatened, skin cancer, slow death, smaller brains, smog, snowfall increase, snowfall heavy, snowfall reduction, soaring food prices, societal collapse, songbirds change eating habits, sour grapes, space problem, spectacular orchids, spiders invade Scotland, squid aggressive giants, squid population explosion, squirrels reproduce earlier, storms wetter, stormwater drains stressed, street crime to increase, subsidence, suicide, swordfish in the Baltic, Tabasco tragedy, taxes, tectonic plate movement, teenage drinking, terrorism, threat to peace, ticks move northward (Sweden), tides rise, tornado outbreak, tourism increase, trade barriers, trade winds weakened, transportation threatened, tree foliage increase (UK), tree growth slowed,, trees could return to Antarctic, trees in trouble, trees less colourful, trees more colourful, trees lush, tropics expansion, tropopause raised, truffle shortage, turtles crash, turtles lay earlier, UK coastal impact, UK Katrina, Vampire moths, Venice flooded, volcanic eruptions, walrus pups orphaned, walrus stampede, war, wars over water, wars sparked, wars threaten billions, water bills double, water supply unreliability, water scarcity (20% of increase), water stress, weather out of its mind, weather patterns awry, weeds, Western aid cancelled out, West Nile fever, whales move north, wheat yields crushed in Australia, wildfires, wind shift, wind reduced, wine - harm to Australian industry, wine industry damage (California), wine industry disaster (US), wine - more English, wine -German boon, wine - no more French , wine passé (Napa), winters in Britain colder, winter in Britain dead, witchcraft executions, wolves eat more moose, wolves eat less, workers laid off, World at war, World bankruptcy, World in crisis, World in flames, Yellow fever.

and all on 0.006 deg C per year!

I've been tagged (also titled: should I be flattered or irritated?)

Ok, The Godfather just tagged me so now I must mention 10 Random Things That Make Me Happy. 
*Just a note; I don’t have to further explained any of them!

1. My wife and kids
2. A day off from work
3. People actually commenting on my blogs
4. Having more money than month
5. Playing sports with anybody
6. Hot Chocolate, Coffee, Sweet Tea (depending on the day and time of day)
7. Cross country road trips
8. Exploring nature
9. Writing
10. Seeing old friends

Since I have a small blog roll, I won't be tagging anyone it, i'll just retire here. That way, I don't hit up people already tagged, and make it more of a chain letter like annoyance!

Another thought on Responsibility

Something that just popped into my head while writing an email. Why is it that we look to the next set of politicians to fix everyhting for us? Isn’t the whole point of us being free Americans, to make the choice ourselves to change things? Wouldn’t one hope to take care of his/her own self/family/business? Must we wait and see who can give us the most for nothing,and when we get the deal we want, THEN we’ll change on that day? And then on that day, when "our guy" wins, we look for the next excuse as to why we will have to wait until tomorrow to change, and we only hope tomorrow we can justify the same excuses. That way we arent forced out of our comfort zone, and let someone else go do it, instead. For more thoughts, go to my blog reference section to "The Slow Bleed" and look into his page!

A Democrat Governor that made me smile

While an independent, most who know me know I lean to the right and am more apt to vote republican than democrat, depending on the candidates in question. Our last gubernatorial election in Iowa, I voted for the republican candidate, but somehow the democrat who ran the voter/elections record keeping office somehow took me off the voter registration between 2004 and 2006. Nothing about me changed except maybe my weight and my income. My address and place of employment were all the same. Now in 2004, I voted for our current President. Maybe this irritated Mr. Mauro, who knows? I showed up with my voter ID card, my driver's license, 3 credit cards, an insurance card, and my state ID for security officers. But, somehow in 2 years I lost my ability to vote. My wife was on their list, but not me. Inevitably my little "consolation voting form" didn't count because they had no record of me. But I got a NEW voter ID card with all the same information. So hopefully in November I'l be able to vote. Luckily I couldn't really contest my vote not counting, since my guy lost by a landslide, rather than say, by my vote alone.
So anyways, we have a tax and spend Democrat governor, Chet Culver. Now, this guy once proposed an increase in our redemption deposits from 5 cents to 10 cents, with only a return of 8 cents. The other 2 cents would be used to provide more funding for the recyclers and some other thing, maybe the environment, I don't remember. Basically he was proposing a new 2 cent tax on sodas, beers, energy drnks, etc. That was shot down, so he proposed our current deposit be expanded to water bottles, milk containers, and other such things. I could get behind that because it would expand our recycling efforts, and I would have more options for collecting money like the bum I am. Now that's all past issues, the deposit law bill dying in legislative limbo.
Today's article is what made me smile. We recently had a bill that expanded the power of public employee unions pass through the legislature. The bill HF 2645, would have allowed public employees to negotiate a wider range of issues including work shifts, leaves of absence and early retirement. With vague language, this could have led to millions of dollars in taxpayer funded unintended consequences. Unreasonable perks and benefits for these employees at a cost to the average joe's wallet through substantial new public expenditures. Governor Culver said he would veto this bill, straying from the party lines, and union alliances normally found in the democratic party.
Also up for debate and passed was an increase in pay for legislative members, including a $12,600 raise for the governor, putting total compensation at over $140,000 annually for him alone. After receiving massive input from the public, he has decided to veto this measure as well stating, "I believe it is wrong to say to the people of Iowa that you have to tighten your belts, but elected officials don't"

And so today, governor Culver, you made me smile. You looked out for the people of this state rather than your party and your lobbyist supporters.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Stephen King's Comments

King was trying to make a point about the importance of reading in one's life when he said:
"I don't want to sound like an ad, a public service ad on TV, but the fact is if you can read, you can walk into a job later on. If you don't, then you've got, the Army, Iraq, I don't know, something like that. It's, it's not as bright. So, that's my little commercial for that."

This has been compared to a statement made by John Kerry back in 2006 in which he said, "You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don’t you get stuck in Iraq.”

While I can understand people being against the war, either on total principle of an anti-war stance, or our current conflict in Iraq alone, I cannot understand how these two standout personalities can say such things and sleep at night.
It's one thing to insult our government and its way of operating, but to insinuate that the men and women of our country, whose demographic has one of the highest education rates in our country (average 13 1/2 years education), are either stupid, illiterate, or otherwise mentally deficient is an outrage. You find most conservative bloggers jumping all over this issue (present company included), while liberal bloggers and pundits scramble to find a reason as to why these statements are not insulting opinions, but indisputable facts, and that their statements could not possibly be offensive. So, politically speaking this has become a left-right issue. It really shouldn't be an issue of left vs. right.
You have the left who seem to be against anything relating to war or the military. This is evident in Berkley, where the city council moved to push recruiting stations out of the community, likening its offensiveness to that of less than moral establishments like porn shops and gentelmen's clubs. Protests and outright harassment of recruiting staff merely trying to show up to work. Shift to New York, where they literally bombed a recruiting depot. And across the country, barring recruiters from coming into schools to inform students of potential military options, while insisting on passing out birth control to kids as early as age 11, and stating a minor's right to get abortions with or without parental knowledge or consent. The left...the liberals that advocate for being open minded to ALL ideas, yet do their best to suppress anything that goes against the grain of their ideology.

Not only the war is being protested and spoken against en mass, but now we have politicians and novel-writers publicly smearing the likes of those who are brave enough to serve our country in time of peace or war? And by the majority, from people who aren't civic minded enough, nor brave enough to be willing to defend our freedoms themselves. Now Kerry served his country, and despite the rumors surrounding his service, he still served and I applaud that. I applaud King, arguably the greatest novel writer of our time, for his efforts to promote reading and education. But to publicize their political views in connection with this method is outright stupid. It merely shows that being educated doesn't necessarily make you smart, or cause you to possess common sense. It also doesn't provide you with a certain set of principles, that have obviously been instilled in our soldiers.
The likes of King and Kerry, and many others surely take advantage of all that the American Dream offer, as they should. Our soldiers however feel a responsibility to uphold the ability for everyone here to do the same.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

An Atheists' Holiday

Whether or not this is true, it's still good!

In Florida, an atheist became incensed over the preparation of Easter and Passover holidays. He decided to contact his lawyer about the discrimination inflicted on atheists by the constant celebrations afforded to Christians and Jews with all their holidays while atheists had no holiday to celebrate.

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the long passionate presentation by the lawyer, the Judge banged his gavel and declared, 'Case dismissed!'

The lawyer immediately stood and objected to the ruling and said, 'Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and many other observances. Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah...yet my client and all other atheists have no such holiday!'

The judge leaned forward in his chair and simply said, 'Obviously your client is too confused to even know about, much less celebrate his own atheists' holiday!' The lawyer pompously said, 'Your Honor, we are unaware of any such holiday for atheists. Just when might that holiday be, your Honor?'

The judge said, 'Well it comes every year on exactly the same date---April 1st! Since our calendar sets April 1st as 'April Fool's Day,' consider that Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, in my opinion, if your client says there is no God, then by Scripture, he is a fool, and April 1st is his holiday! Now have a good day and get out of my courtroom!!

A Look at the Books of Kings

(Also titled: I could be wrong, so Jay, if you feel the need to address me or correct me in my estimations I would appreciate it. Also, if you could, maybe pass it on to some of your other Pastoral or spiritual friends, so that I might receive as much help as I can get.)

After far too long away from personal reflection and study of the Bible, I have re-entered my studies. Under the guidance of my longtime friend Jay, I began my reading from the Book of I Kings, and continued as well onto II Kings. The introduction stated that they were once written as one single document, but did not go on to say why (which was one of my wonderments) it was separated into two. I stated to Jay my difficulties in discerning between messages and what I perceive to be mere historical accounts. He brought up the following points and questions:

1. It is a bit of a historical lesson. When we see how God reacted to things in history we can get an idea of how he might feel about similar circumstances today.
2. Each story has individual players. It isn't like proverbs or the gospels where we are simply told one liners on how to improve our lives. So, Who are you in the story, and what does the story say about the Charactor of God?

Number one is just plain confusing to me here. I see certain similarities between the time of Solomon and the four centuries or so after (I'll go out on a limb and say it didn't stop there either) described in these books, and the time of now. Israel to this day denies God, as do many of us Gentiles. We put forth many idols of worship in the form of many things such as money, cars, and power as our gods. We may acknowledge the existence of the Lord our God, but we often push him to the side, focusing on the tangible materials of our world. The more we concentrate on that which is worldly, the more we separate ourselves from God. He is both saddened and angered by this, as we break the commandment to put no other god before him, he has no choice but to allow ourselves to be subjected to his punishment set forth. And that punishment being that we selfishly sacrifice for the now, our souls to be reunited with Him in Heaven. Just as with in the time of the Book of Kings, the Israelites took their status as "God's Chosen People" for granted, and busied themselves with worshipping the gods of their worldly neighbors. And as we read toward the end, God has to exile all of Israel into the hands of their enemies. And while God remains, he has chosen to let us make the decision to come back to serving him.

As for part two, Who am I in this story?
I would surmise that I fit many of the people. We'll start first with the son of the Shummanite. Not that I was an extraordinary miracle baby born to an old lady or anything like that, but that somewhere in my life I had died spiritually, and God shown his power by breathing life back into my soul, that I might have another chance to live again in His glory.
I also think that I am like many of the Kings of Judah. I try my best to do good in my life and for those around me, but like many of these kings, I let others live as they wish. I don't go out of my way to speak against the evils they commit against our Lord, be it worshipping false gods, actively engaging in lust, leading others including their kids down a path away from the Lord. I fail to speak out against, or dissociate myself from the sinners. So while I may do good, I do not actively show my courage for or fight for my God, and allow evil to dwell in my life.
And while God looks down on us and blesses us, he remains true to His character and sees me as just a big of a sinner for allowing the sinful people in my life and exposed to my family. And without repentance and a striving for righteousness through His son Jesus Christ, I can guarantee myself exiled from his kingdom along with the sinners whom I do not rebuke from my life.

Well, that's about what I got out of it. How am I doing so far in my analysis?