Category Archives: Environment

Resilience

Our news cycles are a constant drumbeat of alleged omens of doom.  Ebola, climate change, wars, earthquakes, urban decay and dying honeybees are only a few of dangers we face supposedly that will lead to our destruction or extinction.  I have some good news.  Homo sapiens is a tough dude.  You think things are rough in our era of the early 21st century then you have no appreciation of the history of Man.  The facts are that we have created many dangers to our existence over the millenia and Mother Nature has thrown the kitchen sink out us many times and yet here we are.

If you think ISIS is a terrible danger to our future then remember our ancestors managed to survive one way or another the Huns and Vandals destruction of the Roman Empire and what everyone would have defined as civilization at that time.   The Great Plague of the 14th century wiped out anywhere from a fourth to a third of the population and left a devastated countryside.   Many understandably believed that was the End Days of earth.   But again we trudged forward.  Each generation of Man without fail concludes that it is the most important of all ages and that if it fails significantly that all Mankind will tumble….such is vanity, all is vanity.

Was it  50 million or 100 million killed in the 20th century wars? But all was rebuilt and now we argue over the desserts on the table rather than the basic foodstuffs to sustain survival.  despite the predictions of a Sartre or Bertrand Russel or Rachel Carson even more of us are here and living better, far better than anytime in recorded history.

Even if the worst predictions of climate change are accurate if will not be something that our progeny won’t be able to handle and survive.  The coastlines have receded and waxed for a long time and our ancestors managed all those geographical difficulties; that is a truism or you and I wouldn’t be here today having a debate about climate.  In historical perspective it was only a blink of the eye when we had our last Ice Age.  Can you try to imagine what that did to our ancestors?  The seas retreated dramatically.  You could walk from Britain to the Continent on dry land.
The Ice sheets reached down to the Loire valley and to modern Manhattan and formed the Great Lakes.  All those folks dependent on the seas for mussels and other sustenance had to relocate and then in another joke of Mother Nature everything reversed and the waters of the seas rose again dramatically and what was inland become coastline again.  They had only primitive tools and their brains to survive such upheavals and yet they did.  There were no canals, bulldozers, cranes and computer projections to aid them or any type of machine tools.

Next time you see some thugs on TV trying to demonstrate their toughness and give those intimidating stares do remember that they pale in resilience and courage to all our ancestors.   Those past gene donors  over the history of Man were the true tough guys.  They figured it out whatever the challenge, improvised and fought tyranny in the end for us to enjoy the fruits of this century.  The shame is to not live up to their same standard with the determination to control our own destiny whatever the circumstances of fate put in our way.

“Theirs but to do or die”  Tennyson….www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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History And Settled Science

Most of you won’t remember or probably have never even heard of the “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson that was published in the ’60’s.  Its main focus was on the use and alleged overuse of DDT for crop protection and general application for pest control for all manner of botanical life.  She posited that DDT was deadly and had become so pervasive that our very existence was at risk or at a minimum all our children would have three legs.  It covered all manner of other woes created by a modern industrial society and predicted our doom unless we retreated to more Eden-like life.   Well, the Left took up the cause and DDT was indeed banned for decades based on her alleged science which was supposedly confirmed by the vast majority of scientists. Trouble was there wasn’t really any science behind her allegations and in recent years on the very back pages as opposed to her front page assertions of decades ago the error was acknowledged and further acknowledged that the poorest in the world suffered the most by lack of DDT to increase crop production.

Likewise it was settled science for decades from at least the ’70’s that all cholesterol was deadly.   Every food manufacturer around went to great lengths to develop butter and all manner of food stuffs that were low in cholesterol or even free of it.   We were all warned to cut out that steak and buttered potato.   Again on the back pages recently you may have noticed that now we learn that in fact that was wrong.  You can enjoy your eggs and bacon without undue worry it seems after all. The Left also adopted this theory and it was agreed by the “scientific community”.

Now its the turn of the vitamin supplements.  We’ve been taught that science tells us we need all these special diets or pills to be healthy and that only the rich or 1% get access to those supplements.  The height of the concern is very evident in the current Federal push of O to control diets in the schools. But did you notice in the last month that now research shows that too many of those supplements actually increases the risks of cancer?

The hard sciences are much more trustworthy when it comes to agreeing upon “settled science”. That would be fields such a physics or astronomy for example.  Usually they will say they are still working on an issue and the implications for the future.  They are not so prone to sweeping generalizations and projections about future human behavior.

Science and the scientific method are wonderful.  But when politicians get involved be sure you truly believe they are acting on science and not ideology.  Especially when there is an entire “industry” built around one particular view of an issue.  Are they grants, professorships and lots of bureaucratic jobs dependent on one special view of an issue?  If so be very careful.  Examine the facts and take the rhetoric cautiously.  This applies to any matter.  I can recall when we were all going to die simply because we built some nuclear power plants.   Many very famous scientists from around the globe predicted this as a scientific fact.   Check on YouTube news clips from the ’60’s.  Last I checked we are still here.   The bigger worry you should have is how many of us will there be down the road but we’ll save that for another day.

“It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible non-conformist warmly acclaimed”  Albert Einstein.  olcranky.wordpress.com

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Wonders And Amazements

We have so many wonders around us every day that we don’t notice and it is amazing the current events and historical occurrences that are ignored by our media.  It must be that old adage at work about hiding in plain sight as the best way to remain unnoticed.

Speaking of adages, the next time you are trying to learn the origin of one, start with the Bible.  There is a very good chance you’ll find it there.   Remember Hamlet  “our fate is not in the stars but within ourselves”?   Well, the Bard was paraphrasing Job.  There when facing the common lament that God caused some misfortune Job responded “why persecute Him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?”  How many times have you said something like “you are the apple of my eye”?   Well, take a gander at Psalms 17:8.   There really isn’t much new under the Sun.  Even that comes from Ecclesiastes.

We worry about global warming and all manner of natural disasters but are ignorant or choose not to face facts that the laws of physics and astronomical facts harbor  enormous changes in relatively short order.  The global warming debate is primarily forecasting conditions roughly a century from now.  A long time compared to a human life but a blink in the grand scheme.  You want to worry about something then try to understand the implications of precession.   That is a term that describes the wobble of the earth as it rotates on its  axis.  You know that the earth tilts at a 23 degree angle that gives us our seasons.  And as it does it also wobbles just like a top slowing down.   For several centuries and for a few more we have had our North Star found using the far end of the pot of the Big Dipper and taking an imaginary line four times that length to find it.  It has been very reliable for a long time.  But, but, but as the earth moves on its wobble the North Star is moving and a few short centuries down the road it will not be the “north” star any longer.  The complete precession takes 23,000 years but not that long to move quiet some distance.  What does that portend for our climate down the road?  No one knows for sure, but perhaps another ice age.   Neanderthals and Cro-magnons made it and hopefully homo sapiens will also.

These modern punters have such big averages per punt.   Not all that impressed with them.  Those punters back when had it much rougher to get a forty yard average for punts.  They changes the rule a few decades ago to make it easier.  The rule used to be that the kicking team could not down the ball inside the opponents ten yard line.  The punter had to be much more accurate to kick it out-of-bounds to achieve those really good numbers.  It was a penalty if the ball was touched or d0wned by the kicking team inside the ten and the receiving team got the ball out on the 20 yard line.  Not like now where the kick team can have guys run down quickly and down the ball near the goal line.  That change immediately pumped up the numbers for the modern kickers.  So when you see the averages from some old punter back in the ’40’s, ’50’s or ’60’s remember the rule he had to work under.

We notice that Apple  and Google and others are using new encryption methods to protect users’ privacy from government surveillance.    A great idea.  The Feds already have too much access to our everyday lives as it is.  I recognize the occasional need to track down a missing child or elderly person or similar emergency.   Fine, let those and other extraordinary circumstances be exceptions.  Require the Feds to go to a judge and lay out those facts and then get access, otherwise leave us alone.

I don’t recall any big feasts for Thanksgiving when I was small after the War.   We had very modest circumstances.  But we had as roof over our head and food on the table.  I guess we had a turkey or maybe a big chicken.  I do know we had pies and cakes.  Mostly even then I knew I had a remarkable Dad and Mom and I never doubted that Dad would take care of us.  I do remember when I was about 5 and we lived in a rented house with an ice box.  Yes, a real ice box where Dad brought home a block of ice every few days to put in the special drawer and my job was to empty out the drip pan every day.  Those were modest days but abundantly lived.   May each of you be so blessed.

“Barbarism is like the jungle; it never admits its defeat; it waits patiently for centuries to recover the territory it has lost”  Will Durant, American historian.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Coming out of a winter hibernation and a move so its time to crank up the word machine and brush off the mental cobwebs…..

Moving ain’t fun.  A fundamental truth.  Especially true if you have been in the old homestead for a long time.

The Russians call the Ukraines in Kiev Nazis.  Even some of the media has picked up on that theme and talks about the Ukrainians who fought with the Nazis during the War leaving the clear impression that the Ukrainians were true Nazis at heart.  The truth is much more complicated.  Stalin during the ’30’s literally starved to death untold millions of Ukraines.  The exact number will never be known.  In addition many of the Ukraines like the idea of owning their own piece of dirt as had been their tradition for centuries.  When the War and the Germans came it is true that many of the Ukraines joined the German army to fight against the commies and Stalin.  That did not make them fans of Hitler or the Nazis but simply people who were faced with two difficult choices but decidedly believed the Nazis were the lesser of the two evils and the Germans fostered that notion with hints of some autonomy.  They weren’t Nazis, they were Ukrainians fighting communism.

If Monica wants to be taken seriously then she should have avoided that picture spread with her lounging on the couch.  Didn’t exactly portray the image of a mature gal not trying to exploit her prior persona of the Linda Lovelace of the White House.

When will the civilized world quit pretending that Africa is a legitimate part of the world community?  The latest episode in Nigeria is only representative of their dysfunction.  There is not only Nigeria but we have Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Cameroon, the Congo, Uganda, Chad and Libya to name merely the most outrageous places.  The West needs to stop sending any kind of aid.  Those people have the resources to do quite well.  It is up to them to make the countries and world they want.  We can’t import decency or democracy.  Their militaries by turn are cowardly, incompetent, tyrannical or corrupt.   They need to live in a house they built, not one provided by the Peace Corp.  Can anyone honestly say that the generosity and sympathy of the West has made any significant difference in the last 60 years?  That is three generations.  How would letting them fend for themselves possibly be any worse than the current situation.

Remember that science is never “settled”.  The very nature of the beast is questions and then more questions after apparent answers are found.  Not my brilliant observation but from David Deutsch.  He refers to the dire predictions due to  global warming, prophecies, not science.  Just for you consideration, he is an Oxford don, world renown physicist, philosopher and member of the Royal Society, not exactly marginal thinker or denier.  He would no doubt be apoplectic being called a “denier”.  Check out his The Beginning of Infinity.  Pretty heavy going but worth it in the end.

The current rate for a 10 year Treasury note is about 2.5%.  That rate is strictly a function of the market manipulation of the Federal Reserve.  What do you think  the rate would be if the Fed was neutral and let the market alone determine what the proper rate should be?  Maybe 2% or maybe 6%.  Whatever you think it would be the difference between a true market rate and what the Fed is dictating now means that there are some serious losers in the market due directly to their policies.  Those losers aren’t so-called fat cats on Wall Street necessarily but there are some of them too.  For every trade on Wall Street remember that there is a seller for each buyer whether for stocks or bonds.   Pension plans and unions are some of the biggest investors along with endowments of major universities on Wall Street.  Current losers are the seniors for sure and the savers among us.  It makes those in their mid years to start eating their seed corn rather than save because there is no incentive or reward for saving  in the near term.  Supposedly the Fed works for our benefit but its hard to discern that benefit.  Seems more like the inmates are running the asylum or Dr. Frankenstein let loose on the financial system and sure enough he has created a monster he can’t control.

We’ve all known someone who talks too much.   They will never shut up.  Worse they think you are interested in everything they have to say;  even the stuff that is stupid,  logically inconsistent or borders on that line between outright lies and embellishment.  Why does such a thought evoke images of daily briefings or speeches from the occupant of  the White House of today?

We are approaching  the 70th anniversary of D-Day.  I wonder what the average heart rate was for those boys jumping out of a C-47 or down the ramp from a LST?   It had to be a terrifying experience and their bodies reacted accordingly.  We should be very thankful that they were able to overcome that fight or flee syndrome all men have in face of extreme danger.   I not only tip my hat to them but am grateful and worry whether this generation is worthy of the sacrifice they made.

Strange we don’t hear a peep about the antarctic ozone hole or the impending ice age that were all the rage 30 years ago based on “settled” science.  Although the Yankees might have thought they were in at least a mini ice age last winter.   But, lo, spring came again as it has since the earth began spinning and circling the Sun.

“The instinct of ownership is fundamental in man’s nature”  William James, American psychologist and philosopher. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Well, the Holidays are over and the hibernation will be interrupted long enough for the current thoughts and ramblings of the gray matter…..

Another State of the Union address and again we call for the elimination of the current method of delivery.  It is pure political theatre and propaganda.  Regardless of what party controls the White House the prevailing showmanship of the delivery should be stopped.  For well over 100 years the State of the Union was a straightforward written report to Congress from the President.   We need to really tone down this useless drama show.  It should be a business meeting between the Executive and Legislative branches of government.  Put it on C-span and no applause and distractions.  Let the President and his Cabinet present facts and figures about our economy, national security and society.  Let the Congressmen ask questions and challenge the data and assumptions and proposed policies.  It should be give and take.  The Presidents written report should be no longer than 20 pages in length, anything more and you’re getting hyperbole and fluff.

Saw a shooting star the other night.  It was the first one I’ve seen in a number of years what with all the bright lights of the city and trees and roof lines.  It was quite dramatic and very bright as it descended to earth.  So large that I actually listened for a boom.  Did see one so large and close that it produced a loud boom decades ago.  Better than any fireworks display when they are that large.

Not at all surprised that so many people were having their private insurance policies cancelled due to Obamacare.  Those reading these pages remember that I said that would happen back in ’10 when the thing was passed and I actually read the bill.  It provided that the policies being grandfathered in could only be those that never changed.   “Any” change meant they no longer met the standard of a “qualified” plan as approved by the bureaucrat in charge, the HHS Secretary.  So if your premium in the plan you liked was $300 per month and it increased by $5 per month then that change would kick you to the exchanges and you had to get the government approved plans, period.

Fighting wars half-heartedly is always a recipe for disaster. Korea and Viet Nam are probably the worst examples but Afghanistan isn’t far behind with that current guy in the White House view of the military and the mission there.   The object of any military action should always be to destroy and subdue your enemy and do so with all the resources at your command.  History teaches well the old maxim that when you go against and remove the King you better get rid of all his heirs also.   If we aren’t committed to eliminating the Taliban as a force then we might as well get out completely and go back in at our pleasure when we detect specific threats.   If our guys can’t conduct aggressive offensive operations as of now then they are merely becoming targets for the attacks of the Taliban at their pleasure.

Read another detailed and thorough article this week about the probability of our magnetic field starting another flip.  That means the magnetic poles will switch places and your compass would point south, not north.  If that is beginning to occur then it makes a mockery of the concern over alleged global warming.   The process could take thousands of years and the effects on Mother Earth would be enormous.  Weather would change for sure as would the overall climate and the effects of the increased radiation from the Sun would tear apart much of our modern infrastructure built on electrical power and electronic machines of all stripe, not the least of which would be your handy computer.   The magnetic field has flipped many times over the eons and many scientist believe we over  due for another  anytime.  The magnetic field has already weakened and some view that has the harbinger of the flip.  So another item to add to your list of worries but this one is real, the danger is only a question of time, not an if.

About two weeks before we dropped the first A bomb on Hiroshima a US sub made one of the most unusual attacks of the entire War.  The sub had already sunk several Jap ships in a harbor and was due to return to base but the captain noticed a  railroad trestle right on the shore line that was used by the Japs to transport supplies to the war making factories nearby.  They couldn’t have used a torpedo but were innovative both captain and crew.  They decided a shore party could attach a explosive device to the tracks and get the next train to pass after installation.  It took several days to figure out how to do it.  They used the explosive charges that normally are used only to scuttle the ship for the pow factor.  But then they had to devise a method to make the “bomb” explode at the right time to take out the train.  They jerry-rigged a trigger from a battery and copper wires.  The trigger was to be placed under the metal rail after they dug out a small pit for the explosives and then when the train passed over it would depress the rail a bit and that would close the electric circuit and ignite the device.  In the dark of the night a couple of nights later the landing party of 8 went ashore, dug the pit and placed the device there.  As they were heading back to the sub in a rubber dingy a train pulled into sight and then onto the trestle area embankment and sure enough it worked and everything went sky high.  The Captain was already a Medal of Honor winner when this took place.   Needless to say it was the only sub to take out a train during the War.

Even the Fed is beginning to taper.  Now if we could only get Congress to “taper” also and spend less.  I don’t feel like I get a bang for my tax bucks paid, er, extorted, to the Federal government, do you?

“Liberty alone demands for its realization the limitation of the public authority, for liberty is the only object which benefits all alike,…”  Lord Acton, British historian  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

We’ll do some politics and history to celebrate the 4th and our heritage…..

The announcement that the employer mandate in Obamacare will be delayed for at least a year raises several troubling questions, not the least of which is the legal authority of the President to take this action on his own.  The Obamacare act uses the word “shall” to implement this provision on Jan. 1, 2014.  Will this usurper ever bend to the injunctions of the rule of law?  What higher duty does any President have than to see that the laws are “faithfully executed”?  We need to remain a nation of laws, not diktats of mere men.  Regardless of the merits or demerits of the Obamacare act we must preserve our adherence to the rule of law or we are swimming in deep waters of turmoil.  Sure hope someone will challenge this delay in the courts.

In shouldn’t be surprising that the guy in the White House would ignore the laws he finds inconvenient to advancing his radical liberal agenda.  Look at his non compliance with two circuit court opinions on his alleged “recess” appointments to the Labor Board and his total failure to enforce the existing immigration laws.  He unilaterally granted special status to those illegals he deemed worthy by executive order over a year ago.  This was contrary to the existing law of the land.  Let Congress pass the laws and if he wants different laws then ask for them.  He is asking us to bow to his diktats like serfs of old.

It was with mixed emotion that I attended the 4th of July parade in my neighborhood.  I want so much to  have pride in the nation and its leaders.  But our current direction is not anything I can support.  I don’t want Big Brother or Big Sister dominating my life.   It is hard to have pride in a nation that believes me and my fellow countrymen are incapable of taking care of ourselves.  If they don’t trust us to do the sensible and moral thing then why should we trust them?   Neither condescension nor dominance is the right path for leadership of a free people.  Those work only in the totalitarian states.

Boy are all those European nations really doing the Casablanca routine with their shock and dismay that the US is spying on them.  Give me a break.  Intelligence gathering goes on all the time even among the closest allies.  During WWII our diplomats and yes, spies, gave confidential reports all the time on the intentions and actions of Great
Britain and for sure the Soviets.   Doesn’t mean we don’t like them or trust them but sometimes self-interest gets in the way of even mutual goals.  I am not offended that the British or Swiss poke around as much as they can to discern the intentions of the US.   Hell, most of the time we can’t discern the intentions of our own government.   Just like the inspector in Casablanca who was “shocked, shocked” to learn of illegal activity, nothing will come of this one and it will fade away.  After all would those feigning outrage want us to reveal everything we know about their spying on us?

You should be reminded that even before the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, that we had already fought very significant engagements against the British in open rebellion in Boston.  Bunker Hill, Washington’s appointment as commander and the withdrawal of the British from Boston had all already occurred.  The British had moved their strategic location to New York by this time.  The Declaration is a great document and rightly revered by those who love personal freedom but it was really stating the obvious.

The Summer Solstice comes about June 21 each year and is our longest day.  Intuitively one would think that would also coincide with the hottest time of the year.  The days have been lengthening for months at that point and after that date the days begin their steady shortening for the rest of the year.  Why is it that July and August are the hottest time of the year when the length of the day is already in steady decline?   Most places in the northern hemisphere by mid August are 45 minutes to an hour shorter than they were in mid June yet it is hotter.

When worrying about global warming take a peek at some history before you reach any conclusions.  First, the current drought in the US in NOT the worst in memory.  You read that false headline all the time when there is an article about global warming and it goes without challenge.  I don’t have to read or research this allegation, I lived it.  Yes, we do have a drought underway in the Southwest but so far it is peanuts compared to the drought we had from the late ’40’s to the late ’50’s.   This latest drought has only been about 3 years so far.  In the mid ’50’s if you drove thru the Southwest you could see dead cattle, horses, goats and other live stock literally lying in the pastures.  I did with my own eyes more than once.  Nothing of that sort is occurring yet at this time.  In 1939 and again in 1940, at the beginning of the War they had really hot summers in England.  Some predicted then drastic changes.  Churchill had special linen suits tailored due to the extreme heat.

Likewise during WWI there were many examples of extreme weather.  There was lots of scientific discussion of the cause and many very smart people speculated that the weather changes were due to the huge artillery barrages from the trench warfare on the Continent.  It is true that millions upon millions of tons of artillery rounds were fired by both sides throwing dust and debris into the air which was carried by winds and that included the toxins from those shells, such as cordite.   I have enormous respect for science but do like to make sure it is science unbiased by a political agenda.   Study, look at details, be sure to separate conclusions from fact and reach your own conclusion.  Don’t trust for God’s sake computer models.  Those are just computations based 0n human input with all the foibles of humanity.

“Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work”   Proverbs 24/29.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

People c0ntinue to move, speak and do things so there is always a few comments on those doings…..

Well, surprise, surprise Fisker has retained bankruptcy counsel and likely will file for Chapter 11 in a matter of days.  Another green/electric car crony capitalist experiment gone bad. They got a 529 million dollar loan/grant a couple of years ago from the beings in the White House, built a few cars in Finland and several of those caught fire an blew up in the rains from Sandy.   They are down to 50 employees and looking for a buyer.  How many of the failures will there be?   I guess many more until the Feds run out of my money and yours.

The peaches are about the size of a large marble now and we’ll have fresh peach cobbler and slices on vanilla ice cream in another month or so.

Weapons of all kinds in the hands of the mentally unstable will regrettably always be a problem in a free society.  Our freedoms do give rise to greater exposure to violent crime because of those freedoms.  The gun control advocates miss the boat on more restrictions against the law-abiding.  The fact is the liberal wing of America simply doesn’t want an armed public; that is the real truth.  They was a populace that can be and will be cowed.  The killings at Ft. Hood are the best exemplar of the weakness of their arguments and those who are so politically correct they can’t or won’t recognize the truth and reality.  I worry about the mentally ill having access to a gun or anything potentially dangerous but I worry more about an  Islamic terrorists having them.  That guy was a psychiatrist for heaven’s sake!   More importantly he was a Muslim.

At last check some 30 to 40 thousand people a year were killed in auto accidents.  A 4000 pound car is and can be a deadly weapon.  When you sell your used Chevy Volt do you do a background check on the purchaser?   What if he is a nut case and plans to use the car to run down innocents at the weekend community event?   Or he just uses the vehicle completely irresponsibly and kills or injures other?   If we are going to worry about dangerous objects in the hands of those who potentially could use them to harm others then the list is much much longer than guns.

Oh, an aside on the gun debate.   Just last week one of our major media outlets reported on its opinion page that 270 people are shot each day in America.  Hmm, let’s see that is 100,000 a year.  We are a really big country and no doubt there are some people shot by accident or criminal deed  each day.  But 270?   Come on at least use some real numbers; I sure would love to see the actual data behind that number.

Is the melting pot assumption for  the US really such a good idea?  Does an objective analysis of our history and recent history support that constant stream of rhetoric from politically correct politicians.  If diversity is such a great idea then why didn’t and hasn’t it taken root in Europe?  Look at a map and you can see that Europe is positioned even better than the US to have a diverse society ethnically and religiously. Access is easy across the Mediterranean and you can literally walk into Europe from the East.  Are we so arrogant and naive that we believe we are more socially advanced and intelligent than our brethren across the Pond?    They have had centuries. indeed millennia, to ponder the alleged virtues of a diverse society and have rejected it on the whole.  Our obsession with diversity of different ethnicities and religions is of recent vintage here.  Until a few decades ago when Americans spoke of diversity they meant diverse European nations.   But all those nations did in fact have many shared common heritages in religion and political structures.   Languages varied but the culture was not alien to one another.   Yugoslavia was the great European experiment in diversity and you see how that worked out even after centuries of trying to make it work.  You now have numerous countries there and they still don’t like each other.   More reflection might be in order.

I wonder if the couple selected for that flight to Mars in about ten years by the European company will  have a really thorough physical?  Something really simple here could be death on that trip.  Will they do a preventative appendectomy on each of them?  It is an ordinary and routine surgical procedure here but if one got an attack on that trip and antibiotics couldn’t control the outbreak then they would die.  What would the survivor do with the body?  Rather doubt the “garbage” release shoot would accommodate a body.   Just one of many, many possible health issues that could arise.  Maybe they will select a doctor.  And I guess  they will send with them the opposite of viagra whatever that is; just in case of need.  (what if they don’t like each other after a while)

Much more about the attack at Boston later.  For now use that old expression –“follow the money”.  I mean from what is known so far those guys didn’t have a regular source of income but they sure lived alright.  Right now go to any of the travel sites and check what it would cost to fly to Moscow and then Dagestan and later return home.  So far there is no mention of work and the parents allegedly had bad health and no money but they were both reportedly lawyers.   One was renowned for being a clothes buff.  They had cars and didn’t seem to want for anything and they got money to buy guns.  I mean I ain’t rich but not poor but I sure wouldn’t be booking a round trip ticket to Dagestan anytime soon how about you?   Where did they get their money?  Answer that and you’ll know a lot more about who was behind them.

As our nanny state grows exponentially under the current beings in the Administration ponder the thoughts of an old German adage–“Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.”   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Spring beckons in the near term and like the buds promise full blooms soon and ideas and ruminations sprout from the mind after the winter lull…..

As the comments over “sequester” roil the headlines it is useful to remember a fact or two.  First sequester comes from the law and means in plain English that an asset is held or frozen until a later ruling.  This sequester does not automatically result in a reduced Federal spending level.  It merely authorizes it to a certain lower level of growth.  Even that modest reduction does not occur until directed and that comes in later March with the Continuing Resolution funding bill.   If the reductions occur it will be then.   Recall also that we are already half way through this fiscal year so the immediate reductions will not be the full 120 billion (average over ten years) but cut about in half because we have  been spending this fiscal year at the old higher rates.

Speaking of spending why can’t each and every department of the Federal government take a real, honest to God 1% cut in its budget?   Just 1% lousy per cent.   That would be out of a 3.8 Trillion dollar budget.

Liberal Democrats love to look to Europe as they model for so much of our social and economic policies with one glaring omission–immigration.  We are about to allow 11 million or so illegals citizenship simply because they are here in violation of our laws.  France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and several more have much stricter immigration policies.  They usually do allow a fairly generous guest worker program and those folks have legal status in the respective countries but they are never allowed citizenship.  Look at the record for yourself.  Many Turks and others from Eastern Europe have come to work legally but they don’t get to vote or have full benefits of citizenship.

The current controversy over the use of drones to kill bad people is confusing to some of us.  Sure we all want our rights respected and protected but we’ve killed bad guys for years even in the US borders in violation of the 5th Amendment right to protection of life, liberty and property without due process of law.  Today many are concerned that the US citizens who might be killed in a drone strike are denied those rights and that is true, their rights are ignored.  Check a little history though and the actual circumstances of taking out bad guys in times past.  John Dillinger was assassinated not arrested as were many over notorious criminals over the years.  They weren’t read their Miranda rights or offered a chance to surrender.   How about those nuts in Waco twenty years ago?  Women and children were there and they were assaulted with military weapons.   A drone is just another weapon like a cannon or hand gun in the hands of our military or law enforcement.  Regrettably our leaders will always have this power and we can only hope it will be used wisely.   For political reasons it likely will never be used inside our own borders unless we spotted a pack of terrorists moving to a specific target like a nuclear power plant.

This week the politicos at the top-level of the Pentagon, the top generals and admirals, announced that the Navy will be reduced down to under 300 ships in the near future.  Yes, that level Romney talked about being lower than what we had during the WWI era.  Sure those ships are more powerful, run faster and can do more.  But they are still ships and vulnerable to attack.  Most of the modern defense systems for those ships have never been tested in real combat conditions.  They have missile defense and those automated gatling guns to bring down incoming aircraft or missile but they’ve only done test.  What if an enemy like Iran attacked a flotilla with four missiles at once?  How about if they attacked with 20 all within a couple of minutes of each other?  Even the gatling guns can’t fire straight up only at elevations of less than 90 degrees.  The most recent episode of “modern” warfare at sea was the Falkland’s War of 30 years ago.  You may recall that those relatively unsophisticated Exocet missiles (compared to today) wreaked tremendous havoc on the British fleet.   That was only a few missiles.   Just as at Pearl Harbor there should be serious concern that a significant part of our fleet in the Persian Gulf area could be eliminated in matter of minutes.   Quality is wonderful and to be sought, but a little bit of quantity even if of a lower capability could be comforting and very useful.  A large gun on ship could still inflict real damage to a potential enemy using WWII technology.

As the East gets buried in a huge snow storm this week it is noteworthy that the UN, yes, the UN, recently gave an update on global warming.  It noted in the back pages that at least 25% of recent weather changes can be attributable to the effects of the Sun and its cycles.   Hmm,  perhaps we should pass a Sun Regulation Act to make the Sun conform to our notions of friendly renewable energy standards.  Someone should make the EPA form a committee to investigate right away.

One of the major Japanese car makers is apparently seriously considering abandoning totally the lithium-ion batter or any similar battery and looking into the hydrogen powered car for the future.  Makes sense, the battery cars didn’t work 100 years ago and they aren’t the best path to the future now.  They are too heavy, to slow to recharge and too expensive to replace when the time comes as it always does because all batteries wear out.  Don’t know what the future will bring but it will happen one day–just not next year or the next decade.  Be patient, it will happen.

“When a Government takes over a people’s economic life it becomes absolute, and when it has become absolute it destroys the arts, the minds, the liberties and the meaning of the people it governs”  M. Anderson–American dramatist  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

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Altitude Bias And Conspiracy Theories

Those arguing for strong and expensive climate change legislation and action are doing so to merely mislead the hoi polloi and advance their own secret agenda of self-preservation.  We’ll assume for the moment that there is indeed climate change and that it is caused by Man and his use of fossil fuels.  But that is small beans compared to the other planetary disasters we face in the future.

Let’s start with some basic geology and geodesy.  The Earth is not a sphere.  It is slightly off and not shaped like a billiard ball.  It is larger at the equator and flattened at the Poles and squeezed so that it is a bit pear-shaped.  Furthermore the Earth’s surface is not smooth like a billiard ball.  The Earth has high and low spots all over it.  It is more like a dimpled golf ball at the surface but the ups and down aren’t uniform.  This shape is due to the forces of gravity and the varying density of the Earth itself especially the density in its interior.   Also the shape and movement of old Earth is greatly affected by the Moon and the Sun and their gravitational influence.   The Earth has a 23 degree tilt on its axis as related to its orbit around the Sun.  Remember the Earth both spins on its axis and it also moves through space in its orbit around the Sun.   The centrifugal force of the Earth’s spin combined with the influence of Sun and Moon make the Earth bulge at the equator and thus the oceans are higher there and then that water moves “downhill” like all water does toward the Poles.  Lastly we must consider that the rotation of the Earth is slowing and the same is true for the orbit around the Sun.  Both of these phenomena are occurring now without let up and will continue for perpetuity.   The effects of all these matters will be felt first at “sea level” as we commonly define it.  Those at higher altitudes will more immune to the coming disaster for a while longer.  So what you ask as to all these facts.

Well, we do really well and have for recorded history with the 24 hour day and the 365 and a quarter day orbit around the Sun.    But how will we do with a 30 hour day or an annual orbit time of 430 days?  We all have been taught that the Sun some day will die and explode going Nova on us.  But that is projected to be so many billions of years in the future that it appears more fantasy than a reality.   The extremes of a longer day and orbit will destroy all life as we know it on Earth.  Our crops and cattle will not survive is such extremes.  The seasons will not be as we have known them.  We might get something to grow but you won’t be able to have a pastrami on rye.  The cockroaches and centipedes might do quite well if they can figure out how to move in and out of the sunlight.  We might do for a while digging underground but then Lord forbid we would have to use that evil nuclear power for all our energy needs and that just wouldn’t do.    We are truly doomed and yet the world leaders ignore this coming catastrophe and offer no hope for the future.  We have been repeatedly told to heed the “science” of climate change and those who challenge it are  dupes of the energy industry or merely ignorant meatheads.  Why you ask are the world leaders silent on this vital issue of our time to preserve Mother Earth for our progeny?    The Cabal is why.

It is so obvious to the thinking man–it is the Commie, Rich Sheik, Big Oil, Jewish, Scientology, and Elite World Leader  conspiracy at work.  Why do you think we are having a world wide economic slow down?  That excess money and economic growth is being drained off for the building of a fleet of space craft to take those privileged few to a new world in our galaxy.   They are doing this at an undisclosed secret location.  Why do you think that North Korea is still so closed to the outside world.  Even the outsiders allowed to visit can only go with minders to keep them in tow.   That is the best guess for this project’s location.   Although it is conceded that many believe it to be in a remote and inaccessible valley in the Hindu Kush of Central Asia.  These people are stealing the wealth of the middle class and working man to build a luxurious intergalactic floating resort to take them to safety.   They will even have universal free health care provided by captive doctors taken for the purpose.   The whole climate change issue is merely a giant campaign to confuse us and keep our eyes of the efforts of this Cabal.  They figure they can divert us for at least a century while they complete their planned escape to a better world.  Leaving the bulk of Mankind to a Hobbesian world of despair and certain destruction.   I say to arms and the ramparts.  This conspiracy is the great issue of our time and indeed for all time if Mankind is to continue its existence.   Are we going to allow the billionaires and millionaires to put their boots on the necks of the middle class yet again?  They should be working on a solution to our slowing rotation and orbit.  Maybe we could organize a world-wide “Jump For Life” project where will all jump off the Earth at the same time and reduce the weight and offset the slowing spin.  But we can’t count on the Cabal to initiate this life saving program they will denigrate it and call it phony science so be on your guard.  Long live the Spin Speed.

*The facts cited in this tale are all true.  Verify them yourself.  There are plenty of books, remember what they are?  Even wikipedia might get it right on them.

“The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while.” Albert Einstein.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Politics and Mother Nature intrude on our peace of mind but we struggle on with thoughts of note or amusement….

Seeing all those long lines of folks trying to get gas after the hurricane Sandy remind again of the logic and sensibility of having mechanical backup systems for electrically powered devices.   One of the biggest problems facing those folks  is that there is no electricity to run the gas pumps so  stations may have gas in the underground tank but it does no good if you can’t get it pumped into your car.  We have way to many of our devices we use daily that are dependent on electricity that could be operated just fine with human muscle.  When I was a kid there were still many of the gas pumps at the service stations that were purely hand/pump operated.  The gas pump would have a handle on the side and you would pump it a few times and mechanically pump gas to a large canister on the top of the tank (many were made of extra strong glass so you could see the amount).  After the canister was filled you would take the hose and put it in your gas tank and let gravity do the work from there.  I don’t remember exactly but I think most of them only held 10 or less gallons.   You were charged by the gallon as the gas flowed into your tank.  It was slower than the electric pumps no doubt.  But ask those millions of people up East if they would be willing to hand-pump gas to a canister and then down into their tank.    I still don’t understand why they don’t have at least one of those per station as a back up.  Just like having a hand crank for your windows when the electric system goes pfft in your car.

Benghazi mess only gets worse with each passing day.   Becoming apparent now that those poor guys were asking for help and had even marked targets.  They were left twisting in the wind for political purposes purely.  Mistakes happen in war- like conflicts and that is understandable but to deliberately go out and lie to try to protect a political ideology is inexcusable.    I mean how often does and embassy or consulate send messages that it is “under attack”.  Some kind of help should have been dispatched immediately even if they couldn’t save their lives.  They should have tried.

We notice that the authorities have declared that Sandy was a “post tropical storm system” or some such in an effort to avoid calling it what it obviously was–a hurricane.  They will allow the homeowner in many instances to save substantial money because their deductible for hurricane coverage is much higher than for ordinary storm damage.  Ok, the politicians like to look good at the front end.  But, but, but….those lost deductibles will only result in even higher premiums down the road for everyone in the East.  The insurance companies can’t exist if they don’t make money.  You do want them to make money or they couldn’t pay your claim.  So as usual, the pols like a short-term feel good moment in exchange for a longer term headache.   In spite of political promises there is still no free lunch.

You can always find true North in the night sky if there are no clouds.   Here in the US just look around for the Big Dipper, it looks like a dipper!, and those two stars at the end of the dipper where you would pour out liquid are your guide.  Make a straight line from those two and measure off about 5 times the length between those two stars and you will see Polaris, the North Star.  It is not the brightest star in the sky at all but it is constant.  If you then imagined a straight line from the North Star down to the horizon that mark would be within 1 degree of true north.  It is more accurate than a magnetic compass.

BO’s recent silly remarks about bayonets calls to mind the importance of those weapons over the year and centuries.  The British army at its height during the Napoleonic war era was famous for its bayonet charge.  Those old muskets were time-consuming to load.  On many occasions the army would fire one volley and then immediately make a bayonet charge.  That charge usually struck terror in the opponent.  You can read about the fear of such tactics and their effectiveness by looking at letters and memoirs from the Revolutionary War.  Washington realized that one of his biggest challenges with the state militias was to get them to stand firm in the face of such a charge.  Even in our modern  age there is still something very intimidating about a line of troops with bayonets attached.  Such methods are still employed regularly around the world for crowed control when things really get out of hand.  Yes, they use water cannon and rubber bullets, etc. as long as they can but when push comes to shove they still line up with those bayonets and without fail they can push back almost any unruly crowd.  I sure hope the military is keeping zillions of those old M-1’s and some of the heavier and older guns for just that purpose.  Those hinky-dink plinkers that fire those .223 rounds aren’t suitable for a bayonet because they are so small.

Next time you hear another pundit talk about the benefits of a cashless society take another look at those folks after Sandy.  Without power those credit cards are worthless.   The Feds of course would love a cashless society because they could track literally everything you do.  Cash is more anonymous and it doesn’t require a lot of infrastructure to utilize.   Sometimes simpler is indeed better.

In 1876 Hayes ultimately won the Presidential election.  But if you think Bush-Gore was controversial you weren’t there.  Right after the election Tilden (the Democrat)  led in electoral votes 184 to 166 only one short of victory.  S. Carolina, La. and Fla were all highly and hotly contested.  Remember those states were still under Reconstruction by the Yankees and political corruption was rampant.  Hayes had to win every contested vote.  It went to the House where all Presidential disputes are ties are resolved.  Hayes led in So. Carolina, maybe, but Fla and La. Republicans ruled many Democrat votes invalid under murky circumstances.  A special commission was appointed to resolve the issue.  It was a 15 man panel of Senators, Representatives and even five Supreme Court Justices.  It was divided along party lines with 7 Democrats and 8 Republicans.  Guess what–Hayes won the vote and became President by an 8 to 7 vote along party lines.   Open rebellion was again in the air especially in the South but Tilden restrained them and Hayes immediately shut down Reconstruction when he go into office.  So political drama is nothing new.  Imagine reading about all this in the papers for week after week not knowing how it would turn out.

“It is our turn to guard our heritage from the Mongol, and Persian and Moor, before we become engulfed in a limitless sea.”   Charles Lindbergh, 1939.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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