Monday, April 28, 2008

The True Cost of Ethanol

One of my co-bloggers just drew my attention to a highly relevant report on a Tulsa TV station's website, "Ethanol: It Looks Cheaper, But Looks Can Be Deceiving".

Not everyone is aware that even though E85, where available, sells for less than regular gas, the apparent savings are illusory. Those who have tried it have experienced reduced gas mileage on the order of 30%. Thus, in order to break even, the price of E85 would have to be much lower than it is today.

In my area, just one station sells the stuff. The price differential is only 30 cents per gallon. Not surprisingly, that E85 pump normally sits there in solitary splendor. Drivers – even those who own the new Flex-Fuel vehicles – tend to try E85 once or twice just to see how it works. Once they see how few miles they get per fillup, they quickly learn their lesson and go back to regular gas.

Ah, the enviro-whackos say, but even if it costs us more, burning ethanol in our cars helps the environment. As the article points out, that, too, is a lie. In truth, the situation is even worse than they say. To get an accurate picture of the overall effects of ethanol upon the environment, we must look at not only the result of burning it in our gas tanks, but the effects of growing the corn, converting it to ethanol, and transporting the ethanol in expensive diesel-powered tanker trucks, since it cannot be sent through pipelines. Every report I have seen by a qualified researcher comes to the same conclusion: the burning of ethanol as motor fuel, on balance, does far more damage to the environment than the burning of equivalent amounts of gas.

As if that were not bad enough, we now see another result of the Law of Unintended Consequences as applied to ethanol: skyrocketing food prices, shortages of essential foodstuffs, and incipient mass starvation.

Thanks, Al Gore – great job!

Hat Tip: Old Camp Cook

A Bracing Dose of Realism

No doubt under the influence of our current mass hysteria, all three of our viable presidential candidates have affirmed their support for dramatic reductions in our CO2 output by 2050. Both Hillary and Barack have demanded an 80% reduction, while John McCain, in typical RINO "me-too-but-less-so" style, is willing to settle for a reduction of only 65%.

Have you stopped to think what this would mean in real-life terms? Well, Steven F. Hayward, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of the annual "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators," has run the math.

As someone – Daniel Patrick Moynihan, I believe – once said, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts." In the enviro-extremists' opinion, we can and must achieve the so-called "80-50" goal. But what are the facts? Even if such a reduction were somehow possible, what would be its effects upon our daily lives?

The answers are sobering. Take a look at Mr. Hayward's article in today's OpinionJounral.com and see for yourself: "The Real Cost of Tackling Climate Change". Here's a pullquote:

We all ought to reflect on what an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 really means. When we do, it becomes clear that the president's target has one overwhelming virtue: Assuming emissions curbs are even necessary, his goal is at least realistic.

The same cannot be said for the carbon emissions targets espoused by the three presidential candidates and environmentalists. Indeed, these targets would send us back to emissions levels last witnessed when the cotton gin was in daily use.

Read the whole thing, then decide if that's what you want for your children's future. If not, you'd better get busy and let your elected representatives know before they force the country into these suicidal programs.

My Take on Voting – and a True Stroke of Genius

You know all those get-out-the-vote drives? And, for that matter, all those so-called reforms that end up making not only voting, but vote fraud, easier, such as Motor-Voter, Early Voting, Mail-In Ballots, E-Mail Ballots, and whatever other schemes the self-identified progressives come up with? Quite simply, I'm against all of them.

In my opinion, our country was far better run back in the days when: you had to be 21 to vote; you had to make the effort to travel to a central location to register; unless you had a valid reason to obtain an absentee ballot in advance, you had just one opportunity to vote in each election – at your assigned polling station on Election Day.

I've been around long enough that the upcoming presidential election will be my 12th. I turned 21 in 1963, so my first vote for a presidential candidate was proudly cast for Barry Goldwater in 1964. Because I was serving aboard a Navy vessel in the Pacific fleet at the time, I cast that vote by absentee ballot.

Likewise, in 1968, when I was attending veterinary school at Cornell University, I had to hold my nose and vote for Richard Nixon by absentee ballot.

In 1972, after I had graduated, worked in a couple of veterinary practices in upstate New York, moved to Tennessee, and set up my own practice, I finally got to vote for a presidential candidate, both in the primary and in the general election, using a real voting machine. In the primary, I cast my ballot for the late conservative Congressman John Ashbrook, who made a gallant, but futile, attempt to wrest the nomination from Richard Nixon. Of course, in the general election, I once again had to hold my nose and cast my vote for the Nixon-Agnew ticket as the lesser of two evils.

We all know what happened shortly thereafter.

During that period, from 1964 onward, look at what has happened to the quality of our presidents. We have had only one outstanding president, Ronald Reagan. All the rest, including the present occupant of the White House and, unfortunately, all three of the viable candidates in the running to succeed him, have been mediocrities – or worse.

Who could ever have predicted that a corrupt, narcissistic, sociopathic small-state governor with a documented history of serial sexual abuse and a plausible rape accusation against him could ever have won election to the White House – and then won re-election to a second term? If that weren't bad enough, who would ever have dreamed that his megalomaniacal wife would now be in the running against a lackluster Republican candidate, and would almost certainly have succeeded in her quest – and still may – if not for a charismatic, but radically leftist and woefully naive candidate with some highly questionable friends and associates?

How did we ever get into this situation?

I think the reason is that entirely too many people, and in particular, too many of the wrong kind of people, are voting. As a result, the parties, who, after all, want their candidates to win, are selecting those who are the most likely to be able to appeal to such voters. Even worse, the Democrats and their mainstream media allies have figured out that the more ignorant, apathetic voters they can get to the polls, the better their chances for electoral success. Those who occupy their time by watching American Idol, keeping up with the latest antics of the pop tarts, betting on the Final Four, and blasting the latest obscene hip-hop at full volume from their car stereos have no business voting. Neither do those who don't bother to inform themselves about the issues of the day, but get all of their news from Jon Stewart and the Daily Show.

Ignorant, unmotivated voters are easily led by demagogues. All of these alleged electoral reforms have done nothing to draw more educated, well-informed voters to the polls; they were already voting. Instead, what they have accomplished is to swell the ranks of the voters with hordes of the ignorant – citizens in name only who, if asked, do not even have any idea who their two Senators are, but can tell you all about Brittany Spears' latest encounter with the paparazzi.

Do you really want your country's future to be determined by the votes of such people? Don't you wish there were some way to weed them out?

Well, the other day, one of Neal Boortz's listeners, a gentleman named Jerry, called in with an idea: have two different booths at the polls, and require prospective voters to choose one or the other. In one booth, they would have the opportunity to vote. In the other, they would be given free lottery tickets.

Think about it. Truly, a stroke of genius.

Henry Lamb on High Gas Prices

Henry Lamb, founder of the Environmental Conservation Organization, has written an excellent column for WorldNetDaily explaining why we are now paying such ridiculously high prices for our gas. Here's a small sample:

Blame the green environmental extremists who block every effort to expand domestic energy supply, whether in offshore oil reserves, expansion of clean coal production, or the construction of new nuclear energy facilities. It's just plain dumb to allow the shortage of readily available energy to drive prices so high that the entire economy and food supply are in jeopardy.
You can read the rest here "Blame Clinton, greens for high gas prices". He casts a bit wider net than the editorial writers at IBD, and with considerable justification. IBD points the finger at the Democratically-controlled Senate and House of Representatives. Henry Lamb blames the de facto constituency of those Senators and Representatives – not the citizens who elected them, but the loonie leftist enviro-whacko activists who provide the bulk of their campaign funds. He's right, of course, and we shouldn't be surprised. After all, they're just dancing with the ones that brung 'em – and, as we know all too well, an honest politician is one who, once he's been bought, stays bought.

My conclusion is unchanged, though. The only way we can reverse this insanity is to vote some of these weasels out of office.

Just as the traffic cop doesn't need to give every speeder a ticket in order to slow most of us down, there's no need to rid ourselves of all of them. It would be nice, but is probably unachievable within this lifetime. All we need to do is weed out enough of them to give the rest a bit of religion. Once they begin to fear the wrath of their constituents more than they fear the deep-pocketed environmentalist pressure groups, they'll come around.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

AVG Anti-Virus Upgrade Caution

When I got my first computer over 13 years ago, a Gateway 2000 60-MHz Pentium running Windows 3.11, I started out with McAfee Anti-Virus software. It didn't take me too long, though, to learn that at least at that time, McAfee was an overly intrusive, resource-hungry program. It sucked up so much of my system's scarce resources that my other programs slowed to a crawl. Even worse, it was constantly in my face about something or other, but never about anything important.

Since the main idea of getting a computer was, understandably, to use the computer, and not to spend the majority of my time dealing with a gluttonous anti-virus program with an insatiable appetite for attention, I looked around for something else, and soon settled on Norton Anti-Virus. After all, I was already a happy user of the company's flagship product, Norton Utilities.

A few years prior to that, though, Peter Norton had sold his company to Symantec. In retrospect, while that was a good move for Peter Norton, it was the kiss of death for his formerly great programs. For a time, while Norton was still actively involved, the software remained worthwhile, but gradually, Symantec's developers changed it until it finally became every bit as bloated, buggy, and intrusive as the McAfee product I had previously abandoned.

It was then that I discovered AVG Anti-Virus, the product of GriSoft, a small Czech software company. It turned out to be everything that Norton was not – quiet, unobtrusive, and efficient. The various organizations that rate anti-virus programs all gave it high marks for both sensitivity and specificity. (In other words, ideally, any anti-virus program should accurately detect any virus intrusion, and at the same time, should never signal a false alarm.) I happily adopted it, and became a paid subscriber to its Professional version, which I eventually used on three computers – my office and home machines and the laptop I acquired in 2003.

When I suddenly got sick at the end of January, 2006, I was away from computers and the internet for an entire year, until I finally got to come home at the end of January, 2007. By then, my AVG Professional subscription had expired, so since I was no longer in practice (having been forced into early retirement by illness) and was no longer running an office computer, I dropped back to the AVG Free version.

During the ensuing 15 months, I was still quite happy with AVG. It worked well with my software, remained unobtrusive, and drew modestly upon my system resources. In addition, the company did an excellent job of keeping it updated, often bringing out new virus database updates on a daily basis. Along the way, they had also come out with companion free anti-spyware and anti-rootkit programs, both of which also worked quite nicely.

Therefore, I didn't think that much about it when GriSoft rolled out an update last week, AVG Anti-Virus 8.0, incorporating the anti-spyware and anti-rootkit functions into a single program. After all, I had been using their products for years, and trusted them as well as one can ever trust any software company. So I went ahead – downloaded and installed the new program, which, of course, uninstalled and superseded the older versions.

To my dismay, the new version 8.0 turned out to be a disaster. (Certainly, your mileage may vary – I'm sure that many people, perhaps with computers newer and more powerful than my now-obsolescent model, are quite happy with AVG 8.0.)

First of all, despite repeated uninstallations, system and registry cleanups, and reinstallations, I was never able to get the GUI (graphical user interface) or the tray icon to work. All of the underlying functions of the program, including system and email scanning, were operational, but the interface would never start. Instead, every time I launched it, an alert box popped up stating that the GUI could not start because it was improperly configured, and perhaps a reinstallation might help. (No, it never did.) Even worse, the program's background services sucked up such a huge fraction of my system resources that everything else, including my email client (The Bat!) and my browser (Firefox), slowed to a snail-like crawl.

I did a little poking around online, and soon discovered that many others were experiencing similar issues with AVG 8.0. Reluctantly, I decided not to join the crowd of people in the users' forums seeking solutions to their problems from each other (truly a case of the blind leading the blind), but instead to find out what else was out there, and what sort of recommendations the alternatives were receiving.

It didn't take me long to settle upon Avast! version 4.8 Home Edition, the latest release of a very highly-rated program published by another small Czech company, ALWIL Software. This program, like the new AVG version, includes all of the "anti" functions: anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-rootkit. It includes, as does AVG, a plug-in which works seamlessly and transparently with my email client, The Bat!. Yet, with all of that, once installed, it acts much like the AVG of old – quiet, unobtrusive, and efficient in its minimal use of system resources.

I installed it yesterday, and immediately noticed a huge difference. Once again, my computer flies along. just the way it used to. Of course, the main reason is that with both my email client and my browser open, my System Resources are now running between 3 and 15%, instead of 80 to 85%, as they were when AVG 8.0 was installed. The program's icon sits there quietly in the system tray, with the only indication that it is actively scanning being its animated rotation. Updating is quick and efficient, with the nice touch of a voice announcement when it has completed. (Of course, if you find it annoying, you can disable it.) The user interface is superb – graphically beautiful; simple and uncluttered, yet fully functional – in short, light years ahead of the AVG interface (at least, the last one I was able to see, on version 7.5.)

Installation was simple and uneventful. As with all Windows anti-virus programs, a reboot is required after installation. One thing you'll want to know about in advance, though: before rebooting, the program will ask your permission to scan all of your hard drives during the reboot. This is a highly desirable thing to do, and I strongly recommend that you click "OK" and allow it to carry out the scan. However, particularly if you have a good-sized hard drive with lots of stuff on it (as I most assuredly do), that scan will take several hours. Therefore, do this at a time when you can conveniently bo off doing something else while it scans – before bedtime, before leaving for work, ar at some other time when you won't be needing to access your computer for a while. (In case of emergency, you can abort the scan at any time by pressing the Escape key.)

One other question often comes up in the discussion of how to change over from one anti-virus program to another, since it is strongly recommended not to install them together. Of course, you don't want to uninstall the old program, leaving your system unprotected while connected to the internet, until the new one is in place, so how, exactly, do you go about the task? My recommended procedure is as follows:


  • Download the new anti-virus program and have it ready in a known location, such as on your Windows Desktop
  • Disable your internet connection, either by clicking Start-Settings-Network Connections-Local Area Networks, then right-clicking and selecting Disable, by logging off your dialup connection, or, if necessary, by physically disconnecting the Ethernet, USB, or telephone cable from your computer
  • Uninstall your old anti-virus software
  • Run whatever system cleaners you have (CCleaner, Easy Cleaner, etc.) to remove every trace of your old anti-virus program
  • Reboot
  • Install your new anti-virus software, while leaving your internet connection disabled
  • Allow your new anti-virus software to reboot and run a full system scan when it's ready
  • After the scan and reboot are completed, then and only then, enable your internet connection, then carry out the steps necessary to register and update your new anti-virus software
  • Run your system cleaners one more time to clean up any detritus left behind during the installation
  • You're all done! Wasn't that easy?

Non-geeks can stop reading right here. However, for the technically-minded, here are my system specifications:
Operating System: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 (build 2600)
Processor: AMD Athlon XP Palomino 1800+
Motherboard: ABIT KG-7 Lite
BIOS: Award Software International, Inc. 6.00 PG 03/06/2003
Memory: 1024 Mb (1 Gb) DDR PC2300
Hard Drives: (2) WD drives, 200 Gb and 80 Gb, partitioned into Drives C through M, and into separate partitions for my Kubuntu Linux installation (Windows page file occupies a separate 2.5 Gb partition)
Email client: The Bat! Professional version 4.0.24
Browser: Firefox version 2.0.0.14

Who's to Blame for Skyrocketing Gas Prices?

HINT: It's not the oil companies, despite the Demagogues' – uhh, pardon me, Democrats' loud and mendacious campaign to convince us otherwise.

Investor's Business Daily has put together a most interesting graph that tells the tale at a glance.

Oh, yes, I'm well aware that correlation is not causation, otherwise the rooster's crowing would really be responsible for the sun's rising. But there's a good logical case to be made for the hypothesis that the Congressional Democrats are directly responsible for this unprecedented spike in gas prices, and IBD makes it in their insightful editorial "Back To The '70s?". Here's a morsel to whet your appetite:

Under Pelosi's "common-sense plan," Congress has achieved nothing. Actually, less than nothing, considering that what little has been done has hurt, rather than helped the U.S. to become more self-sufficient. This year alone, we'll spend $431 billion to buy 3.7 billion barrels of imported oil to run our economy. And in so doing, we are enriching some of the world's most unsavory regimes.

Ironically, we have plenty of oil — at least 10 billion barrels in Alaska's National Wildlife Reserve, 30 billion or so offshore and a whopping 1.2 trillion in Rocky Mountain oil-shale. But Democrats' extreme green ideology keeps us from drilling for it.
By all means, read all of it, then take whatever action you can to correct the situation. If enough of us do, the pols will pay attention. After all, they value one thing above all others: their jobs. If enough of us let them know that we intend to kick their sorry asses out of office, then actually do it a few times, the survivors will not only come around, they'll act like they've agreed with us right along, anyway, and it was all just a big misunderstanding – or it was all somehow George Bush's fault.

Come to think of it, there's far more evidence to support the hypothesis that the Dems are responsible for skyrocketing gas prices than to support the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming, isn't there?

Hat Tips: Mark Rose and Terry Frank.

Mark Steyn Slams Another Home Run

Mark Steyn just blasted one into the far right-field bleachers with a devastating article, "Chickenfeedhawks", tieing the developing food shortages to the biofuel insanity, and placing the blame squarely where it belongs. Here's an excerpt:

In Haiti, the Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis was removed from office on April 12. Insofar as history will recall him at all, he may have the distinction of being the first head of government to fall victim to “global warming” — or, at any rate, the “war on global warming” that Time magazine is gung-ho for. At least five people have been killed in food riots in Port-au-Prince. Prices have risen 40 percent since last summer and, as Deroy Murdock reported, some citizens are now subsisting on biscuits made from salt, vegetable oil and (mmmm) dirt. Dirt cookies: Nutritious, tasty, and affordable? Well, one out of three ain’t bad.
Later in the column, his deft characterization of The Goreacle cracked me up.

Reminder: check out Mark's great new book, just out in paperback with a revised introduction, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The View From Gate 14

Peggy Noonan is always worth reading, and I always look forward to her regular Friday column. This week's is superb – one of the finest essays I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Take a look and see if you don't agree: "The View From Gate 14"

Friday, April 25, 2008

The UN: Good news/bad news

Meryl Yourish runs one of the best blogs in the business, and has actually been at it longer than Glenn "InstaPundit" Reynolds. She's always well worth reading, but today, she really outdid herself with this post: "The UN: Good news/bad news". Go read it, and while you're there, you might want to check out some of her other superb writing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gun-Free Idiocy

Ten years ago, economist John Lott published a landmark book, More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws, which set off a firestorm of criticism among the gun-grabbers. The book reported the results of well-designed and painstakingly documented studies which affirmed our common-sense belief that the presence of firearms in the hands of responsible citizens is a powerful deterrent to crime.

Of course, the liberals were outraged. Their publications – virtually all of the mainstream media – were filled with all of the expected anti-gun canards, along with articles vilifying Lott and questioning his motives.

Time has proven Lott's thesis, as expressed so cogently in the title of his book, to be correct. Today, he has written an op-ed piece for FOXNews.com, "Gun-Free Zones Are Not Safe", which powerfully reinforces his premise. He refreshes our memories by recounting the recent tragedies that were averted or minimized by the fortuitous presence of an armed citizen, and contrasting them with the far greater tragedies that occurred when the crazed gunman's victims were reduced to frantically throwing chairs at him because none of them had a gun. Says Lott,

Most people understand that guns deter criminals. The problem is that instead of gun-free zones making it safe for potential victims, they make it safe for criminals.
Of course, "most people" in this case does not include the liberals who run most of our governments and public institutions, nor their mainstream media handmaidens.

A Coming Ice Age?

Phil Chapman, a scientist, and the first Australian to become a US astronaut, has a – literally – chilling post in The Australian, "Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh".

Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.

Just suppose The Goreacle is wrong, and Phil Chapman is right?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sheer Beauty

Among other things, I'm a big fan of classical music, and especially chamber music. My favorite group is the remarkable Claremont Trio, consisting of Donna Kwong (piano) and identical twin sisters Emily (violin) and Julia (cello) Bruskin. I've been listening to chamber music for almost all of my 66 years, beginning with the flawless performances of the Budapest String Quartet. Even so, I can truthfully say that I have never heard this music performed any better than when it is performed by the Claremont Trio.

The group has been performing and vacationing in Hawaii during the past couple of weeks, and have posted a little to their blog, Claremont on Tour, about their experiences on the trip.

If you'd like to see sheer beauty, take a look at their most recent post, "Swimming with the Sea Turtles!", and play the video.

On Earth Day, Another Point of View

Iain Murray, a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has just come out with a great new book and a short, powerful essay in today's American Spectator.

The book, The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don't Want You to Know About--Because They Helped Cause Them, is described thusly on its inside flap:

Al Gore is bad for the planet...

Talk about really inconvenient truths--that's one of the many you'll find in Iain Murray's rollicking exposé of environmental blowhards who waste more energy, endanger more species, and actually kill more people (yes, that's right) than the environmental villains they finger. Did you know that estrogen from birth control and "morning after" pills is causing male fish across America to develop female sex organs? Funny how "pro-choice" and "environmentalist" liberals never talk about that. Or how about this: the Live Earth concert to "save the planet" released more CO2 into the atmosphere than a fleet of 2,000 Humvees emit in a year? We hear a lot about AIDS in Africa, but the number one killer of children in much of Africa is malaria--and guess who was responsible for banning the pesticide that used to have malaria under control? Iain Murray, a sprightly conservative environmental analyst with a long record of skewering liberal hypocrisy, has dug up seven of the all-time great environmental catastrophes caused by the Left and exposed them in The Really Inconvenient Truths. Murray lays bare:

* How ethanol, the liberals' favorite fuel, is destroying the world's rainforests--and could cause global food shortages
* How Al Gore's hero Rachel Carson cost the lives of millions of Africans through her efforts to ban DDT
* How the environmentalists have covered up the polluting effects of contraceptive and chemical abortion drugs
* How the Endangered Species Act actually endangers species
* How Gore's vision of greater state control over the economy has already produced some of the greatest environmental disasters in history

All of us want a planet with clean air and clean water, vibrant forests, healthy animal populations, and glorious open space. But liberal environmentalists aren't the ones to deliver it. In fact, they've made the planet worse, while old-fashioned property rights, unpopular hunters, and the innovative engine of capitalism have made it better. The facts are all here, in a book that Al Gore would rather burn than read.

Today's column, "The Truths Shall Set You Free", condenses and summarizes the main premises of the book. Here's a pullquote:
About a year ago, I became convinced that the global warming debate was going the way of other environmental issues during the past 40 years. Dissenting voices were being silenced as America hurtled toward more laws, regulations, and bureaucratic control -- which, "informed" opinion makers insist, are the only solutions allowed to any problems global warming might bring.

Sadly, this pattern has repeated time and again on a wide array of environmental issues since the 1960s, when the lawyers of the nascent Environmental Defense Fund began lobbying for local, then national, and then international bans on the pesticide DDT. The results in virtually every case have been disastrous: significant losses of both liberty and prosperity and, in some cases, environmental and humanitarian catastrophe.

Murray duly notes the hypocrisy of the environmentalists when they remain silent in the face of massive pollution of our lakes and rivers by hormones – so severe in some cases that male fish are actually growing female sex organs.

And how did the hormones get into the water? Turns out the dirty little secret is that even the newest, most advanced sewage treatment plants don't remove the hormones excreted into the effluent stream by humans taking birth control and "morning after" pills. The discharge from the plant is bacteriologically clean enough to go into our rivers – but still contains the active hormones from the urine of everyone swallowing those pills.

So why don't the environmentalists raise a commotion about this intolerable situation? Could it be due to the fact that the loudest, most doctrinaire greenies are generally also the most militant proponents of sexual freedom and abortion on demand, so this particular brand of pollution is off-limits? Murray thinks that there may just be a connection.

UPDATE: National Review Online has just published another piece by Iain Murray, this one based on Chapter 3 of The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don't Want You to Know About--Because They Helped Cause Them. In "The Pill As Pollutant", he, in effect, charges the environmental movement with failing not only to act on this egregious pollutant, but also with deliberately sweeping it under the rug.
Intersex is not some new perversion or a weird combination of science fiction and pornography. It is an unfortunate condition that is affecting freshwater fish all over the developed world. It occurs when fish of one sex also exhibit sexual characteristics of the other sex.

In 2004, for example, researchers on the Potomac River, downstream from Washington, D.C., found large-mouth bass that in most respects were males, but who had eggs in their sexual organs. Quite often when this happens to fish, they find themselves unable to reproduce. When it happens primarily to male fish, the fish population in general suffers.

The cause of intersexuality among fish, scientists speculate, is pollution in the water, particularly hormones. Why don’t we have more outcries about hormones, and campaigns to save the fish populations? Why aren’t environmentalists lobbying on Capitol Hill to keep these chemicals from being dumped into our rivers?

He points out that in the UK, at least the regulators recognize the problem, although they have so far failed to act upon it.
So government bureaucrats, the enforcement wing of liberal environmentalism, officially refuse to do anything about the contraceptive pollution issue in the United States. All this is in marked contrast to the United Kingdom’s Environment Agency, which at least has the decency to label the contraceptive pill a pollutant, even though it appears powerless or unwilling to do anything about it.

More on Global Warming as Religion

Joe Farah, the feisty editor of WorldNetDaily, just posted a blistering editorial excoriating Global Warming as a new religion. Take a look:
"The false religion of global warming".

Here's a small sample:

For many of the purveyors of this psychosis, there is little reason to offer up facts to counter their delusions. There can be no debate on this matter, they contend. The hour is too late. Anyone who counters their zealotry has suspect motives and is probably on the payroll of the oil industry.

It's nice to be joined by such distinguished company.

I recall reading a long time ago that L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction author who went on to found the Church of Scientology, is reputed to have remarked to his fellow science fiction writers way back in 1948, "If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." It appears that Al Gore has taken his advice to heart and improved upon it. So far, he has parlayed his Church of Global Warmism into a fortune well north of $100 million. Even allowing for inflation, that's not bad.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Carter – As Seen By Ramirez

One of my favorite editorial cartoonists is the brilliant Michael Ramirez, formerly of the Los Angeles Times, but now of Investor's Business Daily. Here's his take on the worst president and ex-president in American history, Jimmy Carter.

Hat tip: TownHall.com

Mencken on Government

Government in America has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men.

~~~~~ H. L. Mencken (1926)

Looks like nothing much has changed in 82 years.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Future Doctors

Back in 2004, while I was still practicing veterinary medicine, my assistants were two sisters. Each of them, Tabatha and Sabrina, had two children, an older boy and a younger girl. Both of the girls, 5-year-old Brianna and 7-year-old Kristina, were so fascinated by my work that they decided to follow in my footsteps and become veterinarians themselves when they grow up.

Whenever they had a chance, the two little cousins liked to don cap and mask and observe operations. here's what they looked like – with and without their masks.

 

Brianna


 

§§§§§

 

Kristina


 
Posted by Picasa

Four years later, Kristina seems to have changed her mind, and now has decided to become a lawyer. Brianna, though, is still determined to be a veterinarian. She'll make it, too, as long as she maintains her focus and doesn't get sidetracked by distractions – such as boys. (When I mentioned that to Tabatha, her mother, the instant response was, "Oh, that's all right, I won't let her date until after she's married!") Both are exceptionally bright, capable, well-mannered children with the potential to achieve whatever goals they set for themselves.

Hat tip: Sabrina, Kristina's mother and Brianna's aunt, who took the surgery pictures.

A Definition

Gun Control: The theory that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mark Steyn's Latest

To me, one of the liberals' most annoying traits is their overweening smugness. They sincerely believe that they are the smartest, wittiest, most sophisticated people on the planet, and that all the rest of us should silently accept our inferiority and gratefully allow them to instruct us in how to live our lives.

All of us on the right side of the spectrum know instinctively that the liberals' high opinion of themselves is simply not justified by the facts. A few of us – and I fervently wish I were among them – are sufficiently articulate to puncture their balloon of self-importance regularly and consistently. Of that number, none is more deft and witty than Mark Steyn.

Check out Mark's latest column on National Review Online, in which he brilliantly skewers Barack Obama for his mocking, dismissive reference to ordinary Americans' predilection toward "God and Guns". Here's a pullquote:

I think a healthy society needs both God and guns: it benefits from a belief in some kind of higher purpose to life on earth, and it requires a self-reliant citizenry. If you lack either of those twin props, you wind up with today’s Europe — a present-tense Eutopia mired in fatalism.
By all means, read the whole thing. Also, check out Mark's latest book, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, just out in paperback with a new introduction.

Incidentally, Mark, whom you've probably had an opportunity to hear and see in radio and TV interviews, never attended college and dropped out of high school at the age of 16. I wonder where he'd be today if he had taken the BS-MS-PhD* route. Most likely, we never would have heard of him.


*(The abbreviations were once explained to me thus: We all know what BS stands for. MS is More of the Same, and PhD is Piled Higher and Deeper.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Israeli Humor

Note: If you're a PC type, stop reading right here. This joke will offend you, and we sure wouldn't want THAT, now, would we?

From the Usenet newsgroup alt.humor.jewish comes this example of Israeli humor:

Helpful

An Israeli farmer walking through his field notices a man drinking from his pond, with his hand.

The Israeli shouts: "Al tishte et hamayim! Haparot chirbenu bamayim.", which means: "Don't drink the water, the cows have pooped in it."

The man shouts back: "I'm a Muslim, I don't understand. Please speak in English."

The Israeli says: "Use two hands. You'll get more."


Hat tip: Jeff

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Herman Wang, the Washington reporter of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, was home alone working on a story when a home invader broke in, beat him, left him bound and gagged, and stole all of his phones and computers. Fortunately, the thug overlooked his wife's laptop, which was somehow buried under a pile of belongings. Here, from Politico.com, is the unusual story of how he managed to get help &ndash by emailing the press secretary of one of his home state's senators!
"Press secretary to the rescue"

Hat tips: Instapundit and Michael Silence

More from Dr. Roy Spencer

A few weeks ago, I posted a link to an outstanding essay by Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama - Huntsville (UAH), "The Sloppy Science of Global Warming". (Dr. Spencer is also the author of the important new book Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor.)

Two days ago, he posted another essay over at National Review Online, "Like Lemmings to the Sea". Here's a small sample:

Unfortunately, many businesses, including a few energy companies, are now joining in the fray. The illusion of “going green” as a way to Save the Earth might be a good marketing strategy, but it only reinforces the urban legend that Al Gore started in his movie by claiming that we can fix the global warming problem by buying compact fluorescent light bulbs, hybrid cars, and turning off the light when we leave the room.

These supposed solutions might make us feel better about ourselves, but the assumption that they will have an impact on global energy use is like assuming one plus one can equal one million. Yes, it is “doing something” about the problem, but it is doing something insignificant.

And all of this assumes that mankind is the primary cause of global warming anyway. You might be surprised to learn that there has never been a single scientific paper published which has ruled out natural climate variability for most of our current global-mean warmth. Not one.
[Emphasis mine]

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Interview with Author of The Deniers

Regular readers will remember that I recently posted twice about a major new global warming book, Lawrence Solomon's The Deniers, here and here. The American Spectator has just published an interview with the author by Shawn Macomber, "A Time to Deny". Here's a sample:

One of the things you talk about in the book is the tendency of politicians to say, as John McCain frequently does, that we should somehow regulate carbon emissions because, to paraphrase, if global warming is real action will ensure we won't all drown in boiling oceans and if it isn't we'll basically have a cleaner planet. What's wrong with that?

LS: Kyoto is not benign environmentally. It is spawning destructive policies such as carbon offsets, which lead to the conversion of farmland and forests in the Third World to carbon-intensive eucalyptus plantations. Kyoto is also promoting uneconomic nuclear plants and hydro-dams, which flood fertile river valleys upon which millions of people in the Third World depend. In McCain's case, and probably Lieberman's, a chief motivation for their support for emissions reduction is national security. They see climate change as a weapon in their arsenal. They hope climate change reforms will reduce Western dependence on potentially hostile oil exporting nations such as Russia and Iran, and at the same time weaken their despotic regimes economically.

Anyone who studies this subject objectively is struck by the quasi-religious nature of the Global Warmist doctrine. The True Believers are actively proselytizing,and concentrating their efforts on the malleable minds of our children and grandchildren. They have, in effect, declared that their belief system is the One True Belief System. Thus, it should not be surprising that they are exerting such a stupendous effort to convert heretics, and to marginalize those they cannot convert. Why else would they be launching a $300 million advertising campaign to sell their ideas?

If, as they claim, the science were truly settled, why on earth would they feel the need to spend such an enormous sum convincing people of the obvious? Wouldn't that money be better spent on any number of truly worthy projects? After all, no one is spending any money to sell us on the Law of Gravity.

Lots of influential people, particularly journalists and politicians, need to read Lawrence Solomon's excellent book. After you read this interview, I think you'll agree.

Awesome Pickin'

Check out this amazing demonstration of musical skill. Two young Canadian musicians, Antoine Dufour and Tommy Gauthier, perform Jerry Reed's technically demanding Jerry's Breakdown, but they go Jerry one better. He originally wrote it for performance by two top Nashville guitarists – Chet Atkins and himself. These two play it all on one guitar! Prepare to be impressed.

Hat tip: Kim Komando "Video of the Day"

California Highway Patrol vs Marines

California Highway Patrol vs Marines

Two California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officers were conducting speeding enforcement on Interstate-15, just north of the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar. One of the officers was using a hand held radar device to check speeding vehicles approaching the crest of a hill.

The officers were suddenly surprised when the radar gun began reading 300 miles per hour. The officer attempted to reset the radar gun, but it would not reset and then turned off. Just then a deafening roar over the treetops revealed that the radar had in fact locked on to a USMC F/A-18 Hornet that was engaged in a low flying exercise near the location.

Back at the CHP Headquarters the Patrol Captain fired off a complaint to the USMC Base Commander. The reply came back in true USMC style:

Thank you for your letter.

We can now complete the file on this incident. You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the Hornet had detected the presence of, and subsequently locked on to, your hostile radar equipment and automatically sent a jamming signal back to it, which is why it shut down. Furthermore, an Air-to-Ground missile aboard the fully armed aircraft had also automatically locked on to your equipment location.

Fortunately, the Marine Pilot flying the Hornet recognized the situation for what it was, quickly responded to the missile system alert status and was able to override the automated defense system before the missile was launched to destroy the hostile radar position.

The pilot also suggests you cover your mouths when cussing at them, since the video systems on these jets are very high tech. Sergeant Johnson, the officer holding the radar gun, should get his dentist to check his left rear molar. It appears the filling is loose. Also, the snap is broken on his holster.

Thank you for your concern.
Semper Fi.


Hat tip: The Braden Files

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Old Joke Comes True

It used to be a joke --- definitely non-PC, but so what? Maybe you remember it. It went something like this:

"Eventually, science will advance to the point that same-sex couples will be able to have children. What should such children be called?"

"Queries."

Now, according to this article in the London Telegraph,the joke is about to come true: Same-sex couples could create children.

As technology advances, we're going to run into this ethical question with increasing frequency: just because we can do something, does that mean that we should?

Those of us who have been around for a while remember when it was considered unethical for professionals to advertise. Then someone – a lawyer, needless to say – decided to do it anyway in order to gain a leg up on his competition. Next, the dentists and, I'm sorry to say, some veterinarians decided to do it, too. Then the dam burst. Now, we are deluged with ads from all sorts of professionals from hair transplant parlors to eye surgeons, and no one ever thinks twice about the underlying ethics.

At some point in the not-too-distant future, I predict that we will also be deluged with ads for IVF specialists competing for the profits to be earned by creating children for homosexuals. I fervently hope I don't live to see it happen.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Edison's Observation





There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking.
~~~~~ Thomas A. Edison

Sunday, April 13, 2008

WND: Top hurricane scientist cools to global warming

Another prop was just kicked out from under Al Gore's rickety Tower of Babble. One of his more prominent supporters, Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science at MIT, has now changed his mind about his previous prediction that man-made global warming will cause more and stronger hurricanes.

I have to admire Professor Emanuel for being man enough to admit publicly that his previous calculations were incorrect, particularly considering the reaction his admission is certain to generate among his former fellow Global Warmists. After all, Emanuel is one of the scientists that the Gore-acle cited in his infamous propaganda film An Inconvenient Truth. Somehow, I doubt that he'll be invited to any of Al and Tipper's future parties.

Click here for the whole story "Top hurricane scientist cools to global warming", which starts like this:

One of the most vocal scientists in the field of hurricane prediction has backed away from his earlier certainty of a link between global warming and stronger hurricanes after developing a new forecasting technique that suggests a moderate increase – or even decline – in storm activity over the next 200 years.


Hats off to Professor Emanuel, and a hat tip to WorldNetDaily.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Yet Another Instance of Global Warming Hypocrisy

Steven Milloy, of JunkScience.com, weighs in with "Why Isn’t Gore Hounding the Olympic Torch?"

Here's an excerpt:

But despite their melodramatic rhetoric — and the just-reported news that the Olympic torch relay will release more than 11 million pounds of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the annual emissions from more than 550 SUVs — you won’t see Al, Ted or anyone from the U.N. trying to tackle an Olympic torch bearer even though China easily — and unapologetically — wins the gold medal for carbon dioxide emissions and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Lightbulbs

From the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Cooler Heads project comes this masterful video called, simply, "Lightbulbs":

Followup on "A Major New Global Warming Book"

On March 27, I posted about A Major New Global Warming Book, The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud**And those who are too fearful to do so, by Lawrence Solomon.

A week ago, Mr. Solomon wrote an article in the Canadian National Post entitled "Why I wrote Deniers". It's a must-read for anyone interested in the man-made global warming question, which should mean any reasonably intelligent person.

His article begins like this:

Global warming has become a question for citizens, and not only scientists. Citizens must decide how serious the threat is and what to do about it, which cures make sense, and which might be worse than the disease. Alas, the answers to these questions depend on scientific issues of fierce complexity that few laymen are capable of confronting directly. So what are we to do?

Regardless of your position on the question of global warming, you'll come away from reading this article with new insights, and an appreciation for the invaluable service Mr. Solomon has performed by writing this book.

First Humor Post

I've been remiss. When I started this blog, I said that I was interested in many areas, including humor. Somehow, though, I haven't posted any yet. Been too busy with politics and global warming.

OK, here's the latest from the alt.humor.jewish Usenet newsgroup:

          One Day at Ben-Gurion International Airport

A man arrives at Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel with two large bags. A customs agent stops him, opens one bag and finds it full with money in different currencies.

The agent asks the passenger: "How did you get this money?"

The man says: "You may find this hard to believe, but I traveled all over Europe and went into all the public restrooms that I could. Each time I saw a man pee, I grabbed his organ and said, 'Donate money to Israel or I will cut off your balls."

The customs agent is stunned and mumbles: "Well...it's a very interesting story... What do you have in the other bag?"

The man says: "You would not believe how many people in Europe do not support Israel ..."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The slick trick behind global frauding

James Lewis has just posted a devastating critique of the method by which Al Gore and his Global Warmists are trying to sell the public on the idea of man-made global warming. You can find it here "The slick trick behind global frauding", and I heartily recommend that you read it. Here's a pull quote:

A healthy scientific community is extremely skeptical. It needs to see more and more evidence, over and over and over again, before it adopts some wild-eyed new idea. It takes all the time it needs; good science is very patient.

Exactly!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Reputation vs. Honor

Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.

~~~~~ Lois McMaster Bujold (1949- ), A Civil Campaign (1999)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Where's The Outrage?

By now, the fact that Hillary Clinton has, at best, a tenuous relationship with the truth is not news to anyone. However, to those who mattered most, her superiors, it was not news 34 years ago. Why, then, has it taken so long for the truth about her service as Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee to come out? To echo Bob Dole's words, "Where's the outrage?"

For all of the intervening years, Hillary has been boasting about her role in the impeachment investigation of President Nixon. In fact, though, she has nothing to boast about. In her capacity as Counsel, she knowingly and deliberately acted in such a dishonest and unethical manner that she was fired.

How do we know this? Her superior at the time, 83-year-old retired attorney – and lifelong Democrat – Jerry Zeifman, says so. In fact, he states further that had she actually presented the fraudulent brief she had written to the judge, she would have been disbarred. The only reason why that didn't happen was the fact that President Nixon resigned, thus ending the impeachment action.

Turns out that Mr. Zeifman has been trying to get this story out before the public for over 12 years, but the mainstream media has totally ignored him. He has written about it in his book Without Honor: Crimes of Camelot and the Impeachment of Richard Nixon, as did the late Barbara Olsen in her book Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton, but for whatever reason, the wire services, major networks, and newspapers have refused to touch it.

Now, the story has once again been told by reporter Dan Calabrese in this March 31, 2008 column: Watergate-Era Judiciary Chief of Staff: Hillary Clinton Fired For Lies, Unethical Behavior.

Veteran syndicated radio talk show host Neal Boortz has picked up the story, discussed it at length, and even interviewed Jerry Zeifman live on the air. You can read his program notes here Nealz Nuze April 02, 2008 and here Nealz Nuze April 03, 2008.

At some point, Neal apparently intends to make the audio of that interview available on his website, Boortz.com. If you possibly can, you need to listen to it. I was lucky enough to catch it on a nighttime rebroadcast, and in my opinion, the interview is compelling and thoroughly convincing. Jerry Zeifman comes across as a gentleman with a conscience and a highly developed sense of right and wrong. Hear him out if you have the opportunity, then draw your own conclusions. Meanwhile, you can read Dan Calabrese's column, written after a lengthy interview with Mr. Zeifman.

Apaprently, Jerry Zeifman is satisfied that Calabrese did an accurate and fair job of recording his views, because he has added the column to his own website, Jerry Zeifman.

I think that this time, there is a chance that we may be seeing this story in the mainstream media. By now, it's rather obvious that they have lined up behind Barack Obama. Therefore, it is likely that one MSM outlet will decide to run the story, since it hurts Hillary, helps Obama, and may even get Rev. Jeremiah Wright off the front pages. Once that happens, the other outlets will run the story in very short order.

Could our media really be so blatantly biased? Surely not!

What Do They Mean By "Change"?

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have often found in traveling in a stage-coach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place.

~~~~~ Washington Irving, "Tales of a Traveler"

Burke on the 2008 Election

It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.

~~~~~ Edmund Burke (1/12/1729 - 7/9/1797)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hillary's Done It Again

To illustrate the need for her brand of government-controlled health care, Hillary has been educating audiences with a health care horror story -- an uninsured pregnant woman lost her baby and died herself after twice being denied care by an Ohio hospital because she could not come up with a $100 fee. Hillary further made her point by describing the woman as a young, uninsured minimum wage worker.

She has been telling campaign rallies "It hurts me that in our country, as rich and good of a country as we are, this young woman and her baby died because she couldn’t come up with $100 to see the doctor.”

Trouble is -- it's not true.

The woman was a 35-year-old manager of a Pizza Hut with medical insurance. She was admitted to the hospital and the baby was stillborn. The mother died two weeks later while under the care of a physician.

A local Ohio newspaper tracked down the supposed incident and identified the hospital and person in question. Hillary heard the story third hand and the hospital said neither she nor any of the staff bothered to check the facts with the hospital. It obviously was too good story to pass up because of truth.

Blatant!!!

To see the true results of a government controlled health system, in this case Canadian, take a look at this five-minute video,

A Short Course in Brain Surgery,

which tells the plight of an Ontario man with a cancerous brain tumor who crossed the border to the U.S. to get the medical care that is rationed in his home country.



Inoculate128 adds: That video is outstanding --- a must-see. Let's see if we can embed it here.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Nothing's Changed

If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.

~~~~~ H. L. Mencken