Monthly Archives: December 2007

>REACT: The battle of Brattleboro

>Kurt Daims, of Brattleboro, Vermont, is passing a petition to require his town’s selectboard to have George Bush and Dick Cheney indicted and arrested as war criminals should either of them ever set foot in Battleboro. (Do not be overly concerned, Vermont is the only state Bush has NEVER visited. Not likely he will find any reason in the future.)

Before we address the merits of the issue in more detail, it is first important to understand that Vermont is the closest we come to a national asylum. The folks there take such pride in be different that they almost qualify as an alien culture. I sometimes use the term “left-leaning loonies” in a figurative sense. In Vermont it has literal meaning. On the other hand, I love living in a country that people are free to be … ah … shall we say … peculiar?

Peculiar? Consider this. Vermont has the most active secessionist movement in America. As far as I can tell, the only thing preventing their departure from the Union is the rest of us being unwilling to pay foreign import fees for the maple syrup – their only discernible asset.

Granted, Vermont is a beautiful state, and well worth a visit – as long as you are not under some silly indictment for your political views and can put up with their favorite pastime – self congratulations. If you find a normal person from Vermont, chances are they are too new (less than three generations) to be fully indoctrinated or they only have a vacation home there.

The Vermont Attorney General said that Daims’ law would not be legal. Daims, a retired factory worker, disagrees. Rest assured that petty issues like legality is not likely to dissuade any of those hard line left-wing “green mountain” boys. Daims likens his petition to the Declaration of Independence, no less.

Occasionally, Vermont-itis flares up in other areas. I recall my once-hometown of Evanston, Illinois passing a resolution declaring the suburban community a “nuclear free zone.” Churches and a few residents even put up signs affirming their declaration. These are the kinds of things I refer to as “civic masturbation.” They have no discernible benefit other than making the person feel good at the time.

All this has resulted in me adding another listing to “Larry’s Laws of Life.” “Never move into a town that has a national or foreign policy.” They tend to be too busy doing the business of Congress or the United Nations to deliver basic services.

At the opening of this blog item, I promised to deal in with the merits of Daims’ petition drive. There are none.

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>REACT: Ron is a-Paul-ing

>It is one thing to march to the beat of a different drummer, but quite another to have no cadence at all. GOP presidential hopeless hopeful, Ron Paul is learning that to be different is not always good. No … I stand corrected, HE is learning no such thing. WE, the people, are learning it from him — and not a minute to soon.

In his latest I-need-to-get-attention outlandish comments, Paul has said that the Civil War was unnecessary. He is right, of course. All Lincoln had to do was to politely ask the southern states to terminate slavery, and “presto!” – no Civil War. Why didn’t Old Abe ever think of that. He would have saved some 600,000 lives – including his own.

While we have wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, lack of healthcare, low quality education, energy crisis and Al Gore, it is good to know that at least one presidential candidate is focused on the issues of 1860.

If Ron Paul has presidential timber, it is balsa wood. He makes Alan Keyes look downright presidential. I think I would rather vote for Ru Paul than Ron. (You think Ru is his son. I mean, check out the shape of the head, the nose and the eye brows. Hmmmm.)

>OBSERVATION: Is the theory of global warming slipping away?

>It appears that the controversy over global warming is getting hotter than the earth.

Is it wishful thinking on my part or is the conventional mythology regarding the causes and results of any global warming starting to turn? In recent weeks, I seem to have heard a lot more from the other side – from the “deniers,” as the critics so arrogantly like to call them. Apparently, the certainty of Al Gore and the Nobel Prize industry is coming under challenge by a growing number of scientists, whose voices are beginning to penetrate the cone of silence imposed by the mostly liberal media on the critics of the hothouse theory.

Lincoln once said that “widely held beliefs, whether well or ill founded, have the impact of fact.” In a more famous quote, he also noted that you cannot “fool all the people all the time.” I think both apply to the debate surrounding global warming.

First there was the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) special featuring a bunch of leading scientists debunking the U.N. report that sent the international fire alarms off. The BBC special not only took to task the accuracy of the U.N. report, but impugned the integrity of the process and laid the blame at the foot of money and politics rather than science.

Gore’s problem with the British extends to the education community. In a previous item, I noted that schools in Great Britain have disallowed the showing of his Oscar winning docu-ganda, “An Inconvenient Truth,” because of all its inaccuracies and political propaganda.

John Stossel, ABC’s special reports guy did an American version of the rebuttal to Al Gore — suggesting that it is the former Vice President who finds truth to be an inconvenience. While the left has attacked Stossel, the have not effectively rebutted the content.

Now, I know you are saying, what about all those awards – an Oscar and a Nobel Prize, no less. Impressive as they are, they are not the judgments of science. (I know the Oscar is the product of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and SCIENCE, but remember this is the profession known for fiction, hype and Paris Hilton.) These are political awards that are handed out by liberals to liberals – and the most political recipients make political acceptance speeches.

If you do not think so, you have not seen “An Inconvenient Truth”, or are too blinded by philosophic prejudice to have noticed – it stinks. Without even considering the pseudo science, it is a sophomoric production. At times, it seems more of a shameless Al Gore public relations film than a documentary. (Oh! That is what it is … an Al Gore pr piece. And it plays well in liberal circles.) Remember, Hollywood also promoted the global warming panic with, “The Day After Tomorrow,” a god-awful movie, riddled with global warming paranoia, that shows New York freezing over between lunch and quitting time. People turn into human icicles within seconds of exposure to the cold air, but the hero walks from Pennsylvania to New York to save his son. Now come on, how stupid can this stuff get?

Recently, David Deming, whose scientific credentials (geophysicist, adjunct scholar with the National Center for Policy Analysis, and associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma) are as good as any (and a lot better than Al Gore’s), penned an article that raised the question of “global cooling.” You read it right. No typo. Global cooling!
Deming concedes earth may be experiencing some VERY MODEST global warming in the modern times. Nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly no threat to humanity. The mean temperature of earth has not increased in the past nine years. No increase in hurricane activity. In fact, he suggests we maybe on the edge of a cooling trend.

The author offers an impressive list of instances of record breaking cold snaps — snow in regions that never had snow before. Record breaking lows scattered throughout the world. While we are supposed to shudder in fear of the North Pole turning into a tropical paradise, Deming notes that the South Pole is getting colder. Good old mother earth might be getting a few hot flashes, but nothing to worry about.

So, why is there all this concern? International politics. A whole bunch of emerging and submerging nations want to gain some leverage by cooling down the high-powered U.S. and Chinese economies. The least productive countries want to go into a new business – selling us carbon credits they do not need (since much of their population lives in the gloriously green Stone Age). Rather than compete in the race called “progress,” they figure it is easier to simply trip the front runners.

A lot has to do with m-o-n-e-y. No surprise, eh? Major sectors of our society will gain major mullah from the fear mongering – everything from government grants to the providers of goods and services. Yeah, there is chunk of corporate America that stands to gain. Think of the lawyers passing rules and regulations as legislators and lobbyists, and seeing opportunity in new litigation.

Think power. The liberals see environmental fear as a wedge issue to maintain and gain power. They will save the cowering public from the mean old straw man they created — if given the power of public office. I once worked for a candidate. A voter said he was going to vote for my gal because she was a Catholic. She was not. But, the candidate did not correct the misconception and risk the vote. The Democrat strategy on global warning is ever worse, because they are not only not correcting any public misconceptions, they are among the folks spreading disinformation.

You may wonder, why has the American left embraced this issue if it is not good for our country – or the world? First, you have to keep in mind that a portion of the left is composed of visceral America haters. They are on the barricades at every opportunity to denounce their homeland. (And “yes’” there are those on the right who never see anything wrong with their America. A plague on both houses, as far as I am concerned.)

Others are monochromatic. They can only see green. Anything that appears to hint green, they are on board. Nice people, but color blind. Others are corpo-phobes. They miss no opportunity to attack the free market and the corporations that produce the enviable American standard of living. They are the central planners, and the history of doctrinal failure never dampens their enthusiasm for paternalistic government. Others see political, professional or personal advantage in the mythology. (Did I mention Al Gore?) Collectively, these folks seem to be the “some” that can be the fooled (or fooler) all the time.

The thing about science is that truth will be discovered eventually. We “all” will not be fooled all the time.

Here’s my bet. In twenty years, global warming will be a non-issue – and the polito-pseudoscience community will raise a new money and power grabbing panic issue. We will not perish from the face of the earth … and, in fact, we’ll hardly be inconvenienced by the ultimate truth. I am predicting that “global warming,’ will go by the way of the “population explosion,” the cataclysmic consequences of “nuclear bomb testing,” the depletion of all the earth’s natural gas, and the many other prognostications offered up by politico-pseudoscience community of their day.

Oh! Chuckle over this. The august scientific community of the late-1800s responded to motorized travel by warning that the human body could not sustain traveling at more than 45 mph. How about the theory that the moon is made of cheese. (Ooops! That was fairy tale. Sometimes hard to tell the difference.)

These are only the modern scientific faux pas. Let us not forget the “scientists” who proffered the once widely held belief that the earth was flat and was the center of the universe. (Personally, I like the Indian image of a halved earth resting on the backs of elephants. I ultimately rejected that theory, however, due to the absence of a place for the pachyderms to stand.) In the Middle Ages, pseudoscientific bullstuff was advanced by the all-powerful religious leaders. Today it is the politicians, but global warming is still more religion than science.

What all this means is …. relax, This latest doomsday scenario will evaporate like a dew drop on a hot day. To be that “good steward” and green as Kermit, we do not have to rerteat into the primeval forest. Let’s use our technology for to continue the kind of progress that has made us the most successful civilization in the history of the world.

Al Gore should keep in mind that that guy who carries the sign that the world will end tomorrow is going to have some explaining to do “the day after tomorrow.” That truth is neither convenient nor inconvenient. It just is.

>CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: St. Peter, the right winger

>A right wing friend of mine passed this along. I thought I would share it with all my readers. I hope you both like it.

We all know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because “a decree went forth from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.”

Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus, went there to register for the tax.

We also know that many of the early disciples were fishermen. They paid a fish tax to the Roman Empire.

St. Peter met Jesus in a town called Capernaum.

Peter was not originally from Capernaum, but we now know that the fish tax in Capernaum was only half the fish tax in his original home town of Bethsaida.

We also know that Peter operated a large fishing fleet, perhaps the largest in the area, with hired men, that he ran on behalf of his mother-in-law, who is mentioned in the Bible.

The mother-in-law owned a large house in Capernaum, where Jesus often stayed, which is only a few steps from the synagogue in Capernaum, and which is also mentioned in the Bible.

The Bible also tells us that Peter carried a sword and used it in the Garden of Gethsamane.

So there you have it:

St. Peter, the chief disciple and leader of the early Christians, and first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, was an entrepreneur, a tax refugee, a small business owner, an employer, the inheritor of a family-owned business, and a man who kept and bore arms.

Merry Christmas!

>REACT: Daley in the dark … again!

>Once again, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has issued his standard excuse. “I know nunttin’.” This time it has to do with his son’s investment in a company doing big business with the City of Chicago – well doing big business AFTER the Daley boy and his wheeler-dealer cousin bought into the company.

Hizzoner said his son had a lapse in judgment, and he (the Mayor) wishes his son had not invested in a company doing business with the city. Then the Mayor got weepy as he confessed that he loved his son – and that is about the only thing the tight-lipped Mayor was about to confess. He answered no other questions. Not sure why loving your son trumps the son’s actions. I am sure Papa Capone loved his son too. (Relax, I am not comparing Patrick Daley to Al Capone, only make a point that a father’s love does not exonerate bad behavior.)

All in all, the Mayor sounded pretty convincing, and I really want to believe the guy. However, something just does not seem right. It is also hard to believe that the Mayor’s son did not discuss it with dad, or that no city officials tip off the Mayor that his son was into some questionable deal.

First, if the Mayor’s alibi is valid then young Patrick Daley was sleazing behind his old man’s back. I mean, the kid is savvy enough to know exactly what he was doing – taking advantage of insider information and clout. If Patrick did not know it was wrong, or even wondered, he would have gone straight to his dad to talk about.

Furthermore, if the Mayor intended to do a sincere mea culpa on behalf of his son, he would laid forth the results of his investigation into the matter– even if the investigation was only asking his son, “What in the hell did you do?” That leaves three possibilities. The Mayor did not care to share the information he had garnered with the press and public. He did not inquire because he did not want to know. Or, he knew about it all along.

I think the taxpaying public has a right to know how much was invested. How much profit did Patrick make on the sale of his interest? Who did he sell it to? How did the company get the contracts? Did Daley family members do any contacting of city officials to promote the contract? Why were the Daley family names left off the legally required applications? If the Mayor does not care to get the answers, I suspect U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald might.

>OBSERVATION: Bob Cesca writes more %#@*&

>Bob Cesca, who writes regularly for Arianna Huffington’s “Huff n’ Puff” Post (as I like to think of it), is the nephew of a friend of mine. Since I am convinced that any direct communication to Bobbie will do no good whatsoever, I thought a letter to his Uncle Ray might be helpful.

Dear Uncle Ray,

I fear your nephew, Bobbie, is at it again. Unfortunately, it appears that he is the son of your brother and therefore presents a significant danger to the reputation of your good family name. Let me explain.

I am not at all sure you read his recent commentary. If public policy was not my addiction, I certainly would hit the spam button. Rather, I do skim the offerings of quite a few Internet writers. His writing is like a gory accident. I really hate to look, but I do anyway. Like an unhappy toddler, he grabs attention by throwing a tantrum — verbal.

Apparently, he has not inherited your family’s cordiality, talent for articulation and thoughtfulness. In fact, having read a number of his articles, I was surprised to learn that he was actually out of high school. His logic and language are a bit … shall we say … on the sophomoric side.

And the language? Oh my! He seems to think that a point of view is enhanced by name-calling and the use of street language. He could have used some of the training I got from the old nuns and a couple good college professors. I recall on professor saying that profanity is for morons.

There is an expression that one can disagree without being disagreeable. Apparently, your loving nephew, Boobie … ooops … Bobbie … is not familiar with the concept. Rather than counter an argument, he prefers to scorch those who do not align to his thinking with baseless labels such as liars, bigots, fear mongers, etc.

In one of his most recent tirades, he referred to his adversaries (and he seems to have lots of them) as “frightened, dickless hooples,” and then made a second reference to their “dickless status.” (What is a “hooples” any way? My friends Merriam and Webster were not familiar with that word either.)

In his article, Bobbie created a delusionary ad produced by imaginary adversaries. (I know. I Know. Cheesy, but that’s our Bobbie.) The pretend advertisers were labeled in the faux ad as “frightened dickless bigots…” He seems to view “freightened” and “dickless” almost as a hyphenated word. (Uncle Ray, I think you can now see my concern about Bobbie’s phobia-castration hang-up.)

I am not sure if it is an obsession, but he is in the habit of calling his political enemies “ratfuckers.” Judging from his favorite aforementioned description of their physiology, I wonder if he knows that you need a “dick” to fuck a rat – at least I assume so. Since I am not familiar with the status of the aforementioned “dicks,” or who (or what) they are being used on, I must yield to your nephew’s apparent superior knowledge.

You know, Uncle Ray, the lad seems to be a bit paranoid, too. I mean soooooo many people and institutions that are conniving to do him harm – and only Bobbie (and a few friends) seem to think they are smart enough to know the truth. Like others on the political fringe, he seems to think he has exceptional insight and knowledge to save us all from our own mass stupidity. I guess they just don’t trust most people. We are all either evil or duped – saved only by the mercy and wisdom of Bobbie and his few friends. When he was a child, did he play well with others? I suspect not.

I would tell you more about the article itself, but between all the name calling, straw men, specious arguments and hyperbole, I can’t quite recall what it was all about. Something about Obama being a terrorist … and Giuliani being evil incarnate … and some newspaper in Pennsylvania that he either liked, or didn’t like. I can’t recall now. His screeds tend meander like a shallow river. Has he ever been tested for Attention Deficit Syndrome?

He is more like the fireplace than the candle — preferring to produce heat rather than enlightenment. I guess that is good news. Given his distorted sense of reality, maybe it is good that his opinions get lost in all the potty-mouth prose. It is easier to not take him serious.

I notice that Bobbie seems to take some strange pride in his immature, profanity-laden writing. He boastfully invites people to read what he, himself, calls his “usual outraged, profanity-laced rants.” Reminds me of my uncle, the drunk. He was a proud drunk. Always bragged about how much he drank, and the stupid things he did when we was drunk. So, I guess if someone cannot be good, they can still be proud.

Hey! Maybe for this Christmas, you can sign him for journalsim or writing course – even better if taught by old nuns. Maybe some anger management thearpy. Maybe a haircut. That “Meathead” look (left) was a cliché when they did it on Archie Bunker – before Bobbie was even born, I assume.

Oh… and make sure he knows that dispite our differing opinions, I have a very happy outlook, am fully equipped, and harbor no speical allure for rats. Just so he can find some vulgarity other than “frightened dickless ratfucker” to describe me.

Merry Christmas, Uncle Ray. And extend my best wishes to Bobbie for a very happy whatever it is he celebrates around this time of year.

>REACT: Blagojevich should be trolling for votes?

>There has been a lot of reaction to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s attendance at a Chicago Black Hawks hockey game while the legislature was in overtime emergency session, trying to work out a deal to determine just how much of our taxpayers’ money would be wasted on the Chicago Transit Authority. None of the reactions were good. Only his hired staff defended his absence from the field of battle, and not all that well. How could they?

Go back a few days, and you will recall that some sort of “deal” was likely to pass. Optimism abounded, if only the cautious type. Mayor Daley expected a bill (legislative variety, since only taxpayers get the other kind). The four legislative leaders were in agreement, the papers reported. But, no! Once again the ineptitude of our dysfunctional state government trumped reason, common sense and progress.

So … while the legislature burned, the Governor fiddled.

What was remarkable to me was his bull shit excuse. (Pardon the expletive, but no softer euphemism sufficiently describes the Governor’s response). He said it would not have done any good for him to be there. It would not have changed the outcome.

Read that again before you go on.

Now consider this. The Governor is say he has no influence. He has no power of persuasion. He has no bully pulpit. He has no Machiavellian strategy. He has no favors to call on. No ability to twist arms. Nope! His presence is irrelevant … inconsequential.

The Governor once bragged, “This is the kind of thing that I think, frankly, separates the men from the boys in leadership. Do you have the testicular virility to make a decision like that…?” (My emphasis.) The man who once flaunted his “testicular virility” now claims impotency – no more “testicular virility” than one of those troll characers. (Gads! He kind of looks like one, too. Don’t you think?)