Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Position on Man-Made Global Warming

With some of the debate happening on this site, and with my promises to review a global warming book and Mr. Gore’s movie, I thought a little explanation of my own thoughts on global warming may help for the coming articles. I don’t claim to be a climatologist. It seems like every news agency has a complete staff of those, so we don’t need any more. I have read a few books on global warming, I have studied geophysics a little, and I enjoy reading articles that appear in the news about global warming. I am not paid by any oil company, research institute, or President (current or former). However, if anyone out there knows how I could get paid by these groups for my opinion, please let me know.

First, there is no consensus about man-made global warming. If you don’t believe me, check out my global warming tag and see how many comments I get on my global warming posts. Most of them are quiet heated (on both sides). Even if there was consensus, science has nothing to do with consensus. Political policy involves consensus, but not science.

Secondly, there is a lot about the Earth’s climate we don’t know. Scientists don’t understand how clouds form or their exact effect on climate. They know clouds effect the environment, but they are not sure to what degree. Global computer models that are constantly sited are only as good as the assumptions the programmer puts into them. The data we do have is very small and incomplete (accurate hurricane measuring didn’t really start until 1944) when compared to the age of the planet. For every study citing ice cores or tree rings as evidence for global warming, I can show you another study that says the exact opposite.

Third, there is no proof that global warming is a bad thing. If the planet was to increase its temperature by 1 degree over the next 100 years, that might be beneficial. It could cause an increase in plant life and human life. Hot weather kills less than cold weather. If we knew a 1 degree increase might cause an additional 1000 deaths in the summer, but save 10,000 lives in the winter, would that be bad?

I believe that the Earth is getting warmer. I am just not sure how much of that is man’s fault. The Earth’s climate is constantly changing. It has been since before man got here and will be for a long time after we are gone. Just by existing on the planet, man has some impact on his environment, as do all other creatures that inhabit the Earth. The question is: what component of the Earth’s warming is our fault? Various sources claim the Earth has gotten warmer over the last century. The amount varies from less than 0.4 degrees Celsius to about 1.0 degree. I don’t believe all of that is man made, but how much of it is?

I also believe that most “solutions” currently offered by environmentalist are unrealistic. Many of them would cost a tremendous amount of money for very little real benefit. The more extreme solutions even wish to implement a population control with no settlement having more than 20,000 people. Think of that the next time you are in New York, London, or San Francisco.

We need real research to solve what component of the current climate is a result of man. Then we need to decide if there is anything we can actually do to change the Earth’s climate. We need to figure out if we should change the environment, and if the change is worth the cost. If the best we could do is to lower the temperature by 0.01 degree at a cost of $100 billion would that be a good investment?

I hope I haven’t rambled too long. I also hope this helps clarify my views on global warming and gives my readers a base line for the upcoming book and movie reviews. As always, I welcome comments about this or any other post.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another Muslim Cartoon Scare

American newspapers have entered into a new phase of self censorship today. The “Opus” comic that runs in many major newspapers was pulled from most papers this weekend, and won’t appear next weekend. What could cause the Washington Post and other papers to pull the comic? It has dared to, “… [take] a humorous swipe at Muslim fundamentalists.”

Fox News has a complete rundown of the story. While I don’t like, they are running the comic in its entirety. Salon deserves credit for this. You can view the comic at Salon and make your own decisions about just how scandalous this comic is. Apparently a running joke has been one of the Opus characters trying different religions. Last week, the comic poked fun at the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. I don’t remember hearing any outcry from conservative Christians, and I don’t believe I remember reading on Drudge that the newspapers were worried about the reactions of Christians to that comic.

The Washington Post had some initial concerns with the new installment of Opus. Being the responsible editors that they are, they decided to show the comic to some of the Muslim staffers to “gauge their reaction.” Fox News said that these staffers reacted “emotionally” so the Washington Post decided to pull the comic, and send a warning out to the other papers that feature the comic. When asked why the previous strip that poked at the late Reverend Falwell wasn’t also flagged, Writers Group comic editor Amy Lago said she didn’t think the readers would misunderstand the humor in it. Apparently, there are fears that Muslims might misunderstand the humor in the current Opus comic.

I believe this is a perfect example of the true nature of Islam in today’s world. While Islam may have once been the religion of peace, it is no longer viewed that way, and with good reason. Anyone who doesn’t remember the fiasco over the Dutch cartoons or The Satanic Verses can do a quick Google search for it. There are no other religions in the world cause this sort of reaction in Western papers . The very same papers that are nervous about “the Muslim reaction” didn’t even think about a Christian reaction to a comic. I would argue the editors wouldn’t bat an eye at a comic poking fun at any other religion out there (with the possible exception of man made global warming).

If Islam is going to exist with the Western world, it is going to need to coexist with it. This comic is very, very tame by Western standards. If Islam truly is the religion of peace, then people should be allowed to discuss it, or criticize it without fear for their lives. And if the Western media is still a place where ideas and news can be discussed, then it must stand up to cowards and tyrants who would bully the media from covering topics the bullies don’t like.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My Ramblings....

This post is a little different from my usual post. I am just updating my normal readers on the goings on and what is coming up. If you aren't interested in a few ramblings, it would be a good idea to stop here and check back sometime tomorrow. Otherwise, don't say I didn't warn you....

My Schedule: I am traveling off and on over the next week and a half. I hope to update this site tomorrow, Wednesday, and sometime over the weekend. Be forewarned that I am traveling and because of that, I won't make any promises. Next week I will be back home and my schedule should be back to normal.

Global Warming: I haven't written much about global warming lately. That hasn't stopped those who believe passionately in global warming from attacking me lately. For the latest on that discussion, check out my last post. I am currently reading the Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism. This has been a very thought provoking and entertaining book so far. Look for a Book Review on it in the coming weeks. On that same note, I have a promise to Familyman that I still intend to keep. I promised him I would watch Al Gore's "documentary" on global warming. I have a copy of An Inconvenient Truth. Since I am traveling so much, I am going to put the movie on my iPod and watch it on a plane or two. As with the P.I.G. book, look for a review on Mr. Gore's movie in the coming weeks as well.

The Newark Executions: Michelle Malkin is continuing to follow this story even though the main stream media doesn't seem to know it exists. I can't find much information on it from CNN or Fox News. However, Mrs. Malkin is doing a very good job of keeping attention focused on it. She has pointed out that more details are surfacing in this case that point to the gang MS-13. An additional adult was arrested and, as with the other adults, his immigration status is also "questionable". It is questionable in that he didn't have a valid drivers license or social security card, but was arrested with a U.S. Passport that authorties weren't able to say was a valid passport. This is an appaling story that needs to be followed. I encourage everyone to check out Michelle Malkin's website for the latest on this story.

I hope you enjoyed these tidbits. I am also asking for a few book recommendations. I am constantly writing book reviews and I always write book reviews about books I like. I am asking for recommendations from my readers with a different political belief system than my own. So, for those of you who believe that bigger government is better, or that we should have a national healthcare system, or that man-made global warming is going to kill us all, let me know what you think. Now is your chance to give me the titles of the books that you are sure will change my mind.

Thanks for reading, and check back in the next couple of days when I will return to my regular format.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Book Review: America the Last Best Hope

In 1921, the English writer G.K. Chesterton came to America to travel and speak. He, like other foreigners I mention in Volume I …saw us better, in many ways, than we saw ourselves. What he saw here, what he found here, is a reaffirmation of what I attempt to recapture about our country – describing it as Abraham Lincoln did: “the last best hope on earth.”

This passage is how Dr. William “Bill” Bennett opens America, the Last Best Hope Volume II. This volume covers U.S. History from 1914 to 1989 (or from a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom as the book is subtitled.) I think Dr. Bennett does a good job of capturing that essence Chesterton saw in America and that Lincoln described.

I chose to start in the middle of Dr. Bennett’s series because it covers a time period that I wasn’t taught much about in high school or college. Most of what I know about our own history since World War I is because of my own reading. I thought this would be a great way to expand on that knowledge. What I found was Dr. Bennett covered such a wealth of material that calling it “expanding my knowledge” probably doesn’t do it justice.

Dr. Bennett devotes a lot of time to the different Presidents and their policies from WW I to the Cold War. One would expect that in a history book, but Dr. Bennett does a good job of examining each President critically. He points out the success of each President, and also illustrates their failures. However, far from dwelling on our countries failures (of which we have our share) he spends an equal amount of time on those things our country should celebrate (of which there are many).

Dr. Bennett has argued in other venues that we must build up our history program in our school system. He states in this book, “It is sad but true that American students know less about American history than any other subject they study.” Dr. Bennett describes American history as the “glory and romance” of our nations story. The quote comes from the National Archives: The glory and romance of our history are here preserved in the chronicles of those who conceived and built the structure of our nation. Dr. Bennett’s book is the type of patriotic examination of our history that should be used in schools to teach American history. His book lends a romantic feel to our history.

I would recommend America the Last Best Hope to schools but also to anyone who is curious about our history. Dr. Bennett breaks the topics in his book along major time periods in our history and provides a good overview to each chapter. I enjoyed reading it from cover to cover, but it would also serve as a useful reference book to someone who was writing about prohibition, FDR, World War II, Vietnam, or the Cold War. Finally, anyone who wants to know more about America would benefit from reading America, the Last Best Hope.

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Details in the Newark Executions

Last week I posted on politics.wikia about the executions of three teenagers in Newark, New Jersey. For the most part, details have been very sketchy in the main stream media, while the blogosphere has been hoping mad. The more information that comes out, the more outraged I am about this.

Iofemi Hightower, Dashon Harvey, Terrance Aeriel, and Natasha Aeriel were ordered to kneel down in front of a wall and were then each shot in the head. Natasha Aeriel is the only one who has survived the attack. There are some conflicting reports, but it appears authorities have arrested five individuals, two adults and three minors. The two adults, Jose Carranza and Rodolfo Godinez, are both foreign nationals with criminal records. Carranza has been confirmed as an illegal immigrate, there is some question as to whether Godinez was in the country legally or not.

Carranza has been indicted twice this year. He was indicted in April on aggravated assault charges. In July he was indicted, "…on 31 counts which included aggravated sexual assault of a child under 13 years old and endangering the welfare of a child he had a duty to supervise" [emphasis mine]. The sexual assault began when the girl was five years old and continued over the next four years. He should never have been allowed back on the streets as a normal citizen with these kinds of charges. However, being an illegal immigrant, with no ties to this country, he shouldn't have been given the chance to shoot four kids in the back of the head.

Authorities believe Godinez was preparing to flee to Mexico and then El Salvador in order to avoid being arrested for the murders in Newark. Records indicate that he may have been in the country illegally as well. Godinez was ordered deported in 1993 and there is no record he ever left the country. Two of the youth's arrested in the case, one of which was Godinez's brother, had recently started bragging that they were members of the gang MS-13. The house Godinez was arrested in also netted 10 other illegal immigrants during the arrest.

While the media doesn't seem to be covering this story, it is an outrage that Carranza and Godinez were even on the streets able to carry out this crime. Newark's status as a "sanctuary city" has contributed to this crime as well. When a city stops enforcing certain laws, people like Carranza, Godinez, and the members of MS-13 will start ignoring all of the laws. If illegal immigrants are arrested for violent crimes, they should be held without bail until their court date. In addition, "Sanctuary Cities" should be held accountable for violating the law. In addition to loosing federal funds, the city officials that decide on the "sanctuary" status should be tried the same as the criminals. In the murders of Iofemi Hightower, Dashon Harvey, and Terrance Aeriel, Newark officials helped put Carranza and Godinez there that night. The failure of Newark and other officials to deport illegal immigrants that break the law contributed to the death of these three teenagers.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Unity '08

This is going to be a little bit of a different post. I am not going to try and convince you of anything. Instead, I am asking my readers to investigate something, and give me their feedback.

A few days ago I got an email from a group called Unity 08. This group is working to get a third party ticket nominated and on the 2008 Presidential ballot. At this point they don’t have any specific issues or solutions they are running on. Instead, they are hoping to nominate a Republican and a Democrat to run (one for President and one for Vice-President).

They have decided that the two party system no longer provides us with the best candidates. Unity 08 believes that the Republican and Democratic ticket will be dominated by the extreme right and left. By nominating one member of each ticket, they hope to have a very center ticket.

The email provided me with a link to fill out an online survey. If you don’t visit the site, I do recommend the survey. I thought it was very interesting, and made me look at a few things in a different light. However, be warned. The survey says it takes about 10 minutes. I believe I spent closer to 25 or 30 minutes on it.

In addition to the two party ticket, they are accepting nominations for delegates. If you think this is the ticket for you, you can submit your information online to be one of their delegates. The delegates will discuss what issues will be critical to the Unity 08 ticket in the spring of 08. This “nominating convention” will be held online. After the convention, they are doing a secure sign in that will allow you to vote on the ticket. Again, this is done online. One thing I do like is how they are taking this to the 21st century. They say on their site that they have hired a legal team, and are complying with all Federal Election laws.

My knee jerk reaction is to be against this. I believe you create a ticket, or a movement. by having some driving ideal or solution. I think leaving the entire definition of the “party” up to random voters will make it hard for many people to become passionate about the ticket. The only way to defeat a Republican or a Democratic ticket is by being passionate about what you believe in.

I think this is a very interesting idea. It would be very hard to vote for a ticket I didn’t believe in. However, I am interested in how the debate of the issues might go. I would encourage everyone to check this group out. They seem to be serious. Of course, this could be a clever ruse by a third party candidate to try to build momentum. Anyway, if you check it out, let me know what you think of the group or the survey. And I promise my next post will be back to arguing one side or another of an important point.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Time to Ban Chinese Products?

In what seems to be a daily happening, there has been another major safety warning issued for a product made in China. As of this writing, there hasn't been a recall on the product. The new recall involves vinyl baby bibs that have been found to contain three times the amount of lead that is allowed in paint. While there hasn't been a true recall, parents have been warned that if they have these bibs and they are damaged or torn, they should be thrown away.

This "non-recall" comes on the heel of a number of other recent recalls on items and products from China. Recently an assortment of toys have been recalled because of the lead in their paint and toothpaste and dog food have been recalled because of toxic ingredients that have been found in them. Whether this list of recalls is directly because of the Chinese government or not, the government does have its share of blame in this. Just as our government passes standards for products made in the U.S.A, the Chinese government has a responsibility to provide an assurance that the products from it's country won't kill consumers in other countries.

When the recalls started, many news agencies wrote of the "open secret" in China. It seems it was well known that certain industries were replacing ingredients with ingredients that could hurt the consumer. While I have never been to China, if this is true, then the Chinese government is as much at fault as those businesses that made the products that are now being recalled.

It is time to discuss a possible ban on Chinese imports. A government's role is to protect its constituents first and foremost. It is time for the United States to consider what it needs to do to guarantee citizens can buy products without fear they may kill them. China has been preparing itself for an eventual war with the United States for some time. Many argue that China has already started this war on the economic front. It was a travesty for the United Nations to award this communist nation with an Olympics. We shouldn't be worried about hurting the feelings of the Chinese regime. We should be concerned with the well being of our citizens. If China can't promise their products are safe, maybe the United States should ensure no one here will die from those same products.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Should New Jersey Stand Trial?

I have a new piece up at Politics.wikia. I wrote a piece for them about the illegal alien who executed three college students in Newark. He had been indicted twice before for violent crimes and was out on bond.

Drop by Politics.wikia and let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Romney in ‘08

I am finally ready to declare my support and the support of Political Friends. We are endorsing Mitt Romney for President in 2008. A friend told me when Mitt first declared that I should watch him and I would be impressed. Months later, I have to say that he was right. My friend originally said I would want to support him because he was a Republican that got elected Governor of Massachusetts. While that is an impressive feat, there are other things I like about Gov. Romney as well.

First, I think a critical factor for any candidate this season is how they view Iraq and the war on terror. Governor Romney's site has "Defeating the Jihadists" as one of its prominent issues. I have been impressed by some of his public statements and his support for President Bush's troop surge. Governor Romney has called for a surge of support for the troops. On his official website, he says, "An effective strategy will involve both military and diplomatic actions to support modern Muslim nations." He calls for America to lead a "broad-based international coalition" to defeat the jihadists. Both of these points seem to be ideas that Democrats can support as well. He also calls for something many have called for in the war against jihadist, "…the rejection of violence by moderate, modern, mainstream Muslims."

Secondly, I am pro-life. Much like Governor Romney, I had a different belief before I truly had to confront what abortion meant. Governor Romney says that once he had to look at legislation involving abortion, he came to believe that abortion was wrong. I agree with that. When my wife got pregnant, I was confronted on an almost daily basis with the fact that another human life was growing within her. This life deserved to be protected and have a voice in what happened to it.

Governor Romney also has executive leadership. Many Republican and almost all Democratic candidates can't claim that. Romney was President of the Mormon Church, and Governor of Massachusetts. As Governor, he looked at running his state as he would run a business. Because of that, he lowered taxes in Massachusetts and increased revenue to the state. He believes in keeping taxes low and in simplifying our incredibly large tax code. I too believe in both of these points.

Finally, I believe it is a good thing to have someone in office that believes in God and has a core faith. Romney is quoted in the Boston Globe and on his site as saying that our love of liberty, love of country and love of God are what make us a successful nation and society. Romney believes that Americans look for a, "…purpose greater than ourselves in life." That kind of belief in the people of our nation is critical for a President of this great nation. I don't see that in other candidates. Because of that, I am supporting Mitt Romney for President.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Iraqi Parliament takes a Vacation

In a recent editorial, Cynthia Tucker, of the Atlanta Journal – Constitution, argues that since the Iraqi parliament is taking a month vacation, it is time to pull our troops out. Her column spends no time discussing any of the military or political strategies that might argue for or against a withdrawal from Iraq. She argues that the very fact that the parliament is vacationing doesn’t really matter. In her opinion, since, “[s]ome block of Shites or Summies is always stalking out,” we shouldn’t expect the Iraqi parliament to get anything accomplished anyway. If our troops can fight in 130 degree weather, then the Iraqis can hold parliament in session. If the parliament won’t convene, then we should go.

Mrs. Tucker isn’t alone in her opinion. I am sure there are many people who would agree with her. I also believe the Iraqi parliament should be doing everything they can to provide for the security of their country. The parliament probably has plenty of work to keep them busy. However, if the democracy that is forming in Iraq is going to work, then the Iraqi voters need to hold the parliament to task. I don’t believe we should threaten our ally. It is in our best interest to have a democratic Iraq. That democracy is going to make decisions we aren’t going to like, and threatening to withdraw our help isn’t the knee jerk reaction we should be looking for.

My criticism of Mrs. Tucker is that she doesn’t acknowledge what might happen if we pull out. While I agree that the parliament should probably be criticized for taking a month off, I disagree with her lack of concern for what the aftermath of a United States troop withdrawal might look like. When the U.S. left Vietnam, millions died in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and in the surrounding waters. No one is arguing that anything less might happen if we leave Iraq.

Mrs. Tucker also fails to consider an additional key point in this discussion. If the parliament of a fledgling democracy like Iraq is going to take pointers on behavior and what is expected of them, where might they look? What lessons would they take from the behavior that our own congress has shown over the last seven months? If the Iraqi parliament has studied the political theatrics of the U.S. House and Senate, we should be thankful all they are doing is taking a month off.

And finally, is there any chance we can convince our congress to take a month off?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Thoughts and Prayers for victims of 35 W Bridge

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims of the bridge collapse in Minnesota.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Democratic Leadership betting against America?

There seems to be more and more people who believe the surge in Iraq is working. On Monday, I wrote how the New York Times and Newt Gingrich are both saying we need to stay the course. I have written numerous times on here about the cost of America leaving our allies in Iraq on their own.

Since Monday, there are more and more articles appearing on the web discussing both the New York Times comments on the Iraq war, and the reaction by Democrats. Before I question the motives of some of the Democrats, I want to point out that I don’t believe all Democrats, and certainly not all Democratic voters think like Pelosi, Reid, Clinton, et al. For example, the House Majority Whip, James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) says that success in Iraq is a real problem for the Democrats. The more good news out of Iraq, the less likely the “Blue Dog Caucus” of Democrats are to vote to leave Iraq. If the Republicans and the Blue Dogs are both willing to wait on the September report from Petraeus, Pelosi and Reid won’t be able to get the votes to require our troops to leave Iraq. Hence the “real big problem” as Rep Clyburn put it.

There have also been many comments and articles on the Junior Representative from Kansas and her comments. While the House Armed Services Committee was being briefed by General Jack Keane, Rep. Nancy Boyda (D- Kansas) walked out of the briefing distressed. When she returned, she said, “There is only so much you can take until we in fact had to leave the room for a while. So I think I am back and maybe can articulate some things -- after so much frustration of having to listen to what we listened too.” Rep. Boyda went on to say, “Those kinds of comments will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country instead of saying, here’s the reality of the problem.” What did General Keane say that upset her so much? While noting that there are still problems in Iraq, the General was explaining some of the success we are currently having in Iraq. How can the United States succeeding in Iraq be so offensive?

The New York Times did a poll recently to gauge the American support for the war in Iraq. When they found that people who supported the United States going to war in Iraq had risen from 35 percent to 42 percent, they were confused and bewildered, and immediately redid the poll. The problem is that the second version of the poll showed the same result: American support for the war in Iraq is increasing, not decreasing.

And finally, for those of you keeping score at home, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) is also supporting the surge. In addition to being a Democrat, Rep. Ellison is also the only Muslim in Congress. The AP quotes him recently as saying, “The success in Ramadi is not just because of bombs and bullets, but because the U.S. and Iraqi military and the Iraqi police are partnering with the tribal leadership and the religious leadership.”

While we are a long way from leaving Iraq, there is a lot of good news coming out of Iraq. Many believe the surge is working. However, the Democratic leadership doesn’t want to hear it. While Boyda is a junior member, it is not that hard to imagine Reid, Pelosi, or Murtha trying to follow her example at the next military briefing they get. The Democratic leadership is actively pulling against any success by the American military in Iraq. Many politicians before them have tried to bet against America with their political careers. What happened to those politicians? They find themselves on the ash heap of history. Pelosi, Reid, and the rest better learn to support the country they claim to represent, or start brushing off those resumes.

American Congress for Truth Blog

I have written about Bridgette Gabriel on this site before. She is a Christian who grew up in Lebanon as the country was invaded by Muslim fanatics. I reviewed her book, Because They Hate, and I still believe it is a very important book that everyone should read.

Mrs. Gabriel now heads up the American Congress for Truth. This group is dedicated to warning the West about the growing threat of radical Islam. After I read her book, I went to the site and signed up for email notifications. These notifications are typically quick articles about radical Islam.

I received an email in the last couple of days that announced a new blog for American Congress for Truth. I have added it to my link list and encourage everyone to visit the blog. Already, they have a wealth of information on the site.