Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More Corn?

BestView has mentioned this before, but the move to corn as a replacement for oil-based gasoline is a really bad idea. Support was recently provided by the World Resources Institute which confirms that corn production will lead to ground water depletion, soil erosion, and algae blooms in our water ways. This will be caused by the wide-spread use of pesticide and fertilizer. It takes 4,000 gallons of water per acre per day to replace evaporation in a corn field.Each acre requires about 130 pounds of nitrogen and 55 pounds of phosphorus. When we get the corn, it then must be refined into a product that produces 20-30% less energy than gasoline and it must be transported around the country by truck since it doesn't do pipelines well. And, of course, our food costs are driven up by the elevated prices of corn which is fed to cattle and chickens and hogs.

The move to corn is largely due to the fact that Iowa is the first primary state and both parties are electoral whores. If we really wanted to improve our energy independence we would expand our existing oil capacity like in Alaska where the dems are obstructing and off the coast of Florida where the Republicans have a block. Not a pretty situation.

Another example of education failure

Here in my neighboring county there are 7-8 middle schools and according to the standards commonly used all are in the category of "failing" or "needs improvement" or some such. At any rate, they are so deficient that parents with a letter telling them they can move their children to any other school in the district don't really have a choice better than the one they are already in. Well, now we have good news. One of the schools has permission to convert to a charter school and the administrators say this will be fantastic in terms of performance. Kids will start school earlier, go at least one hour longer each day, wear uniforms, be subject to greater discipline, and everyone will be amazed at the improvement. Sounds good to me, but this all begs some obvious questions. Why did it take 2 years to get permission to make this change and why aren't all schools doing this? The answers would probably make you cry.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Senator in Stripes?

I just read that the FBI is closing in on Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, a Republican. They are searching his house and if we are lucky, they will get the goods on him and he will go to prison where he belongs for misappropriating our money for decades.

The Congressman reveals all

The following quote from the Washington Post by Congressman James Clyburn, who is the House Majority Whip from South Carolina, admits what many have been saying all along. For some time it has been known that the dems are politically committed to a U. S. defeat in Iraq. Here is the paragraph in the article.

Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be "a real big problem for us."

Friday, July 27, 2007

Another report from Iraq

Here is the latest Michael Yon report from the front lines of Iraq. It has an interesting description of the unmanned flight vehicles we use over there. Well worth reading as usual.

Say it ain't so

As I understand it, the latest legal sleeze is going to be class action suits on the scale of those against tobacco, pharmaceutical, and asbestos companies. The target? Well, companies who produce goods and services which emit what the lawyers claim to be excessive carbon dioxide which, of course, harms us all via an increase in global warming, will be filed. As a start, lawyers in Mississippi, where such suits find compliant judges and juries, some oil and coal companies are being sued claiming that they knew their emissions caused the climate change that generated Hurricane Katrina. Sadly, the fact that the suit is lacking in so many ways (scientifically) probably enhances its chances of success.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Kelsey Briggs

Here is a picture of Kelsey with her Father. Kelsey died on Oct. 11, 2005, at her mother and stepfather's home near Meeker, Oklahoma. Evidence indicated she suffered repeated injuries in the final months of her life, including a broken collarbone, broken legs and bruises on her face and body." Both her mother and step-father have been convicted and sent to prison. Her story is documented here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More government failure

We now have one more example of the failure of the federal government to function in even a modestly competent fashion. First FEMA could not put put some food and water on a truck and drive to the Super Dome on the same roads you could drive out of. Then the State Department could not issue passports to citizens who were forced to get them with new rules of travel, and now we learn that $1.1 billion in farm subsidies is being paid to dead farmers. These are examples of simple incompetence. Fraud is another matter and that is why we need to keep a close eye on the earmark usage by our elected officials. The latest example I have read about is an earmark put in the defense authorizing bill by Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska which would be given to a company which is wholly dependent on earmarks and which also just happens to employ Senator Nelson's son. What a mess.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Guess Who

The following quote was part of an Op-Ed published today. Guess who was the author. Some fire breathing right wing nut? No, this came from the liberal media's monster created out of Bush hatred---Cindy Sheehan. Read it all here.

The Democrats are the party of slavery and were the party that started every war in the 20th century, except the other Bush debacle. The Federal Reserve, permanent federal income taxes, not one but two World Wars, Japanese concentration camps, and not one but two atom bombs dropped on the innocent citizens of Japan -- all brought to us via the Democrats.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Today is the day that Dick Cheney gets to be President for about two hours when Bush gets his colonoscopy. It has been suggested that Cheney use that window to pardon his former Chief-of-Staff Scooter Libby. That would be delightful. He should do that and also pardon the border agents railroaded by Bush's Texas buddy, Johnny Sutton. The pardons would take about 10 minutes so he would have plenty of time to lob a few missles at Iran.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hard to take

I just ran across a blog which is really hard to read, but you have to admire the lady. She evidently devotes her life to documenting child abuse and some of her examples will literally make you cry.
You can read it here.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pit Bull Fighting

If you learn how the main news outlets obscure facts it is possible to see current news events more clearly. The indictment of Mike Vick for his role in a dog-fighting enterprise has forced the TV and newspapers to cover the illegal aspects of the activity. If you listen carefully to these reports you will hear them say dog fights and ownership of pit bulls is prevalent in certain "cultures", associated with drugs, and is glorified by some rap "artists" in the ghetto. You won't hear them come out and report that it is almost entirely a black activity. That wouldn't be politically correct even though it could be beneficial to curbing dog fighting for sport.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Who you gonna believe

Sometimes it confusing when trying to understand what is going on in Iraq. The lefty Senators like Majority Leader Reid say the war is lost and Bush's increase in troop levels which were just reached last month is a failure. Then one reads reports from the military leaders on the ground in Iraq that things are going much better in several sections with greater cooperation from the tribal leaders and their followers. Independent reporters like Mike Yon confirm the military assessment. I can understand how Reid and others might have a political stake in losing this battle in a larger war, but I it is not as clear why the military who are toiling in 125 degree heat would misrepresent the situation by 180 degrees. For this reason, I am going to side with the guys on the ground. The shame is Bush is so completely inept in describing the situation.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

And I thought U.S. education was bad

Secondary schools will strip back the traditional curriculum in favour of lessons on debt management, the environment and healthy eating, ministers revealed.

Even Winston Churchill no longer merits a mention after a drastic slimming-down of the syllabus to create more space for "modern" issues.

This is in the U.K. and you can read it here.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Well, that was last week

During the June 28th, Democrat debate, Hillary Clinton said the following: "Nonviolent offenders should not be serving hard time in our prisons. They need to be diverted from our prison system."

In a press release that went out from her camp less than four days after the June 28th debate, Mrs. Bill Clinton said this about Scooter Libby avoiding prison:

"Today's decision is yet another example that this administration simply considers itself above the law. This commutation sends the clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

More education idiocy

Teachers in public education will quickly proclaim that the added burden and disruptions imposed by the requirement that children with disabilities be put into classes with more normal students is a big factor for their failure to meet expectations. I think this is a big factor and these students should be largely excluded when they adversely impact the overall teaching effort. Parents of such students would object, but the greater good should prevail. Anyway, there are efforts afoot to give some relief in this regard. Here in Georgia, vouchers have been authorized for parents of children with disabilities to utilize private schools which might have smaller classes, better trained teachers, etc. Many of these private schools have applied to be included in the program. Even though in many cases if just one student from a classroom was removed to a private program, the improvement in the teaching atmosphere would improve exponentially. Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, not to our teachers. They are fighting it because it might be a slippery slope to a broader use of vouchers which might, of course, lead to everyone knowing how big a failure public education is in Georgia. Pathetic.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


The next time you look at your tax return think of farm subsidies. Farmers have been pocketing $20 billion a year in tax payer handouts for such things as corn which brings $4 per bushel which is double that of 2005. These farmers get 1/2 of all farm subsidies. Another travesty is the sugar program. This program keeps the price of sugar artificially high and costs us $1.9 billion per year. More than 1/2 of it goes to the wealthiest 1% of our plantation owners.
All of the recipients of farm subsidies are not farmers, per se. Among corporations which receive them are ExxonMobile, Chevron, International Paper, and Caterpillar. The farm lobby in Washington is pretty effective.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Medical Terrorists

For some reason the media seems not to be able to grasp the fact that several of the terrorists recently arrested in England for a botched bomb plot were physicians. Since I have had over 30 years of close contact with thousands of medical students it is not all that surprising to me. I have found many truly brilliant and dedicated students in our medical school and in fact most of them were as talented as the the selection process intended. However, I have also known liars, cheats, nymphomaniacs, sociopaths, and if you told me a latent terrorist was in there, I could easily believe it. A southern state medical school, however, is less likely to have a terrorist than a country with socialized medicine who can't attract enough people to the profession because of limitations placed on their income and stature in society. To satisfy their medical staffing requirements they have to recruit large numbers of foreign doctors and the fact that most are Islamic is proving unfortunate for the U.K.


I had a research project a few years ago that involved hormonal effects on an infectious disease that I established in animals. Before it was concluded I was convinced that hormones and their myriad affects are exceedingly tricky and long accepted beliefs are quite possibly wrong. What reminded me of this was an article today which reviewed other reports I have read recently which disputed the conclusions reached in 2002 with respect to risk associated with treating menopausal symptoms with estrogen. Back then we read that there was an increased risk of cardiovascular incidents in women who used estrogen. Now it is recognized that the analysis of the data was flawed to the extent that age was not taken into proper account. Now the conclusion--from the same data--is that for women in the age range of 50-59 there is a 30% lower risk of dying if estrogen is taken with progestin. Older women do in fact have a greater risk from the same drugs. This is just another example of why I question every single report of scientific research I read--especially in the lay press.

It is just outrageous

The loonies are just irate that Scooter Libby will spend the same amount of time in prison for lying under oath to a federal grand jury as Bill Clinton did for lying under oath to a federal grand jury.

Friday, July 06, 2007

A message from Zawahiri

Here is a quote from the latest message sent by Ayman Zawahiri, the number 2 man in al Qaeda. As many of us have suspected, the dems are making the terrorists happy.

"You must be patient and steadfast." "Rejoice, for victory is near, with Allah's permission, and the herds of crusaders have begun to split up and their sole concern has become searching for a way out."

Flags in Minnesota

I just read in the Wall Street Journal that Minnesota has passed a law that makes it a crime punishable by a fine of $1,000 and 90 days in jail to sell a U.S. flag made somewhere other than the U.S. Since the Supreme Court has ruled that you can't ban or at least punish flag burners, it now possible to burn a flag made in the U.S. and go to jail for selling one made in Shanghai. Ain't this a great country?

New terror worries

It seems to me the recent attempts to set off car bombs in London and Glascow may signal a move to less ambitious plots which would be easier to bring off and thereby harder to preempt. The overall consequence of a single Islamic idiot throwing a hand grenade into a crowded mall is potentially enormous. If that happened, of course, it would be protrayed gleefully by the loony leftists as a Bush failure to keep us safe.

For the record

Democrats in the new leadership of the House said they would work 5 days a week now that they were in control. Well, so far, they have done so on six of the 21 weeks. Better than I would have thought when one considers the usual promise record of politicians.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Integration Outrage

The liberals are just outraged that the Supreme Court took a tiny step toward agreeing with the law of the land that you can't discriminate on the basis of race. This is very confusing to me. The Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP and all their loony left newspapers seem to feel that little black kids can't learn anything unless they are forced into a classroom with little white kids. This is in spite of several decades of evidence that forced integration has not resulted in any great educational benefit. My gut feeling is no kid learns a whole lot in a modern day classroom vis a vis "the old days", but I am almost certain they don't learn anything riding in a bus.

What makes this situation all the more puzzling is how the races segregate themselves when given an opportunity. I saw one of those shows on prisons in the U.S. the other day and the minute prisoners get locked up they group up into racial packs. Blacks with blacks, Asians with Asians, Latinos and whites in their separate groups. Now I am reading that blacks out in California are demanding and getting separate graduation ceremonies from universities. Seems like integration is only really important in public schools. It is all very strange.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Air Safety

Reading about the terrorists activity in Europe today reminded me of a recent transatlantic flight we made on British Air. We were in a 767 seated in a cabin just behind first class. This was called something like enhanced economy and we did have larger seats and more room. There were about 12 rows of us in this cabin and our rest room was toward the rear of the plane, just behind a curtain in front of another cabin which was regular economy. Just outside the rest room was an exit door and thus a little area where you can stand and stretch or just wait for the rest room to be vacated. I get antsy on long flights, so I often like to stand and stretch and since I am an old man I probably use the facilities more than younger males. At any rate, I was standing in this area and found myself looking back over the cabin. The interior lights were dimmed and as I looked over the cabin, most people were either asleep, reading or watching their little entertainment screen. Everyone, that is, but one man sitting on an isle seat about mid-way back in the cabin. He was interested in one thing and one thing only. That was me standing by that exit door. I think he was working on that flight and I was glad to see him doing what I imagine good air marshalls do.

Spending your money

Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Mark Rey, was in Corning Wednesday morning at the Big Flats Plant Materials Center to annouce the award of nearly $20 million in Conservation Innovation Grants to fund 51 research projects across the country designed to refine new technologies helping dairy and other agricultural producers cut back on their greenhouse emissions and cash in on governmental incentives for the research.

One million dollars of those grants will come to New York State.

The U.S.D.A. is now taking applications from large dairy farms across the state who want to participate.

The agency reports that cow and hog manure produce methane, which is a greenhouse gas.

The main focus of the grant-funded research in New York State would be to tarp off areas where farmers dump cow manure, commonly called manure lagoons. Researchers would then prevent those gases from entering the atmosphere, measure how many units are produced, and farmers would receive cash incentives, called "Carbon Credits," for each unit produced. They would also receive annual payments for use of their properties.

You can read the whole article here, but it gives new meaning to the term "hog-wash".

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