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Tree Huggers

Talk about timing. Less than a minute after my last post, I found this story, Everglades Cleanup Exposes Environmentalists.

One thing’s for sure. The Everglades controversy is a great showcase for the eco-activists’ insincerity and unreasonableness.

This just goes to show you. It sounds like to me that the level of run-off and the timetables were pretty much pulled out of a hat. It also shows that the eco’s target is not to clean the water, but to unreasonably curtail the runoff in the first place.

I lost the link, but a related story said that we have to double our farm output in the next 30 years or so to take care of the world’s exploding population. That means we are going to have to accept the possibility of some environmental damage to related lands. But when there are ways like this that can handle the run-off and side effects, we ought to applaud their achievement and ingenuity, not scrap our present farming practices and lose years of progress into more efficient farming.

Wildlife areas left to themselves are not balanced. They need some kind of maintenance. Look at our great forests out west. By correctly managing them, wildlife populations are controlled, underbrush is cut back and in case of fire, the fire is easily controlled. By not managing them, animals such as deer go through periods of population explosions, followed by periods of famine and/or encroachment into suburbs and cities. Wildfires take thousands of acres and hundreds of homes.

The greatest conservators of wildlife and their habitats are hunters and fishermen. The money raised from their licenses helps maintain wetlands, rivers and wildlife preserves. Their hunting keeps the population under control and is a humane way to cull the herds. It is in the hunters best interest to keep the forest in good shape, the herds in good health, and they quietly do the job.

The eco-terrorists on the other hand, have only personal and political power as their goals. They do not see progress by Man as a good thing. Of course, they need their SUV’s, but nobody else should have them. They do not care if a tenth of the local large animal population starves to death over the winter instead of humanely culled, they want nature to be “pristine” and “unspoiled by man.” They are driven by their own neurosis to do unreasonable things and despised acts.

Read this. Read this now

Bill Whittle, owner of the blog Eject! Eject! Eject! has come out with a new essay. Here is POWER.

Consumer Spending Up

Finally! A piece that is positive on the economy and without left-handed “compliments.” Consumer spending increases.

Let’s get this straight. Spending disposable income is good for the economy. Let’s take a look at a supply chain below:

  • Raw materials manufacturer
  • Transport company #1
  • Subassembly manufacturer
  • Transport company #2
  • Product manufacturer
  • Transport company #3
  • Wholesaler
  • Transport company #4
  • Retail store

Of course, in some cases like Wal-Mart, things like the Wholesaler, TC #4 and Retail store are inside the same company, but the steps are still there. There are other exceptions as well, but this list is pretty accurate most of the time.

In the case of increased spending, everybody gets more business, everybody gets more money and everybody pays more taxes. Taxing that dollar as it moves through each step means it is taxed over and over again, both in corporate taxes and payroll taxes from the workers. This is where the increased tax revenues comes from.

The other important part is whenever a company hires an unemployed worker, that worker converts from being a tax consumer to a tax creator. Instead of consuming $300 a week in unemployment benefits, they turn into someone who pays taxes. Don’t look at just what he makes, look at the total swing in taxes, then multiply that by the thousands for everybody who made it off the rolls.

The other news is, it takes time for things to move through the supply chain. The increase in demand at the retail store won’t be felt at the manufacturing level until a couple of months from now. Companies like several months of increased business before they look at hiring. This plus the delay in the supply line will always mean that hiring will always lag the economic indicators. Considering the time of the year, things will really be jumping around Christmas, on top of the normal holiday rush. Normally, manufacturing peaks at this time of year for Christmas. Additional demand from today’s spending should extend the manufacturing sector busy time until January or so at the minimum.

Bad lawmaking

Here is another classic piece of knee-jerk legislation. Lawmakers seek ban on sniper rifle. Maryland lawmakers want to add a specific model to their list of “bad” guns. They obviously don’t know anything about firearms because if they did, their aim would be better.

In reflexive action, they want to add a specific, by brand name, rifle to a statewide and federal ban on non-existent “assault weapons.” If these lawmakers knew their ass from a hole in the ground, they should be trying to ban every kind of rifle. These attacks were all single shot attacks from relatively close range. Any rifle, bolt-action or semi-auto, of any rifle caliber would have been sufficient for the snipers.

Maybe they do know what they are doing. As in gun owners being nibbled to death by anti-gun ducks. When the law banning “assault weapons” was passed, it named 19 models specifically, by manufacturer and model. It also named a number of cosmetic features that had nothing to do with the functionality of the weapon itself. I myself at one time owned a post-ban MAK-90 rifle, a semi-automatic version of a real assault rifle, the AK-47. The only difference between mine and the pre-ban weapon was the stock was changed. Instead of a separate piece for the handle, they reformed the stock so it became a thumbhole stock. Nothing else was changed and because of that one modification, it became perfectly legal to sell. Bad lawmaking at it’s finest.

The article also mentions a list of “assault pistols.” This term was totally invented by the anti-gunners. There can be no such weapon system. To assault means to attack. Pistols are used as close-quarter defensive weapons. Even cops carry their sidearms for defensive purposes only. The cops who go looking for a fight (SWAT) use at least MP5’s, which are baby rifles that fire handgun ammunition. If there ever was a conception of an “assault pistol” the MP5 would be the closest fit. And you don’t Mexican Carry an MP5.

Absolute Power and all that

This made me smile. Questionable Programs is a story about how Greenpeace is violating it’s non-profit status in order to carry out its left-wing agenda. You know, the “we know better” crowd. The kind of crowd that will do anything to push it’s agenda. Especially when it includes property damage against whomever they call “evil.” To them, there are no lines to cross, no “isn’t this going too far?” They have only their own morality to guide them. And of course, their cause is Just, their intentions Pure.

Well, now they’re in trouble. The IRS is after them. The IRS will be on them like a pack of dogs on a three-legged cat. About time we got some good use out of the IRS.

Take Your Time

This story, Iraqis Say New Constitution in Six Months Is Unlikely give me hope. I am proud to see that the time is being taken to get the process right. To take the time now shows that you are willing to be anal about every step of the process. When you are restarting a country, there is no such thing as an insignificant detail. I am glad to see that the US and the key Iraqis are making haste slowly and ignoring the calls for a quick transfer of power. It took a long, hot summer in 1787 to draft our Constitution, let us hope that the results from this transaction will bloom and flower equally.


This article, High Court to Consider ‘One Nation, Under God’ Petition can set a rather serious precedent.

Not whether or not ‘Under God’ needs to be in the Pledge of Allegiance, but “Does one person have the leverage to change the entire country?”

The dimensions of this dilemma is many. Here’s a couple.

Is this person right? Every movement, every revolution starts with one person and a desire. But even with the best of intentions, you can do the right thing for the wrong reasons. So we must ask, is this person doing the Right Thing in doing this? If this revolution succeeds, will everybody be better than before? My answer is a resounding NO.

In the 220+ years since we proclaimed our independence, we have maintained a secular state that recognizes that the Rights of the People come from God, and it is the mission of Government is to stay out of those affairs. In that time, we have gone from a backwater colony to the greatest country on the planet. Clearly we have done something right. Our belief in God led us to a belief in the People, and we started an experiment that had never been tried before. We have been often copied, but never duplicated.

Should one person have this amount of power? The President, nominally the most powerful person on Earth, does not have the power to do this without help. For one person to affect millions of people for no particular reason does not sit well with me. His lack of a belief in God is his problem, it shouldn’t be mine. If he doesn’t like it, he has the freedom to move wherever he wants to get away from it. He should not have the power to affect 250 million people by himself.

Whether or not everybody still says “under God” if he wins is besides the point. His argument that this will lead to a government based religion has not happened in the past 50 years and the chance that it eventually will is exactly zero to 9 decimal places. The reason for this is we worship God in so many different ways that there is no chance that enough of us will get together to establish such a religion. The important fact is that you realize there is a Creator who wants you to worship Him and do your best in every area you wish to, no matter if you worship Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah or Vishnu.

In my opinion, this man is doing the wrong thing for bad reasons. He is asking for something that he has no right to ask for, and no good result is possible if he prevails.

Do Not Call

The telemarketers of today can trace their roots back to the door-to-door salesman. While this salesman did sell products that weren’t in stores of the day, they got a lot of doors slammed in their faces. Not a job for the easily discouraged.

The difference between then and now is you used to be able to see the person before you opened the door. You also didn’t get three salesmen every day either.

Today, telemarketing is big business. Despite aggravating millions of people, enough people accept the calls and partake of the product to make it profitable.

But that does not make it right. The right to swing your arm, so the old saying goes, stops at my nose. Salesmen by definition invade your space and demand your attention so they can sell you a product. TV commercials are louder than the show you are watching to get your attention. But there used to be counters to salesmen. People who didn’t want to talk to the Fuller Brush Man would post a No Salesmen sign on their doors. Salesmen that didn’t heed the signs usually ended up explaining their illiteracy to the Sheriff. And so goes our electronic list today. A great multitude of people who want to hang “No Telemarketers” signs on their telephones. They must be afforded this right.

There are no easy answers. If the list goes through, thousands of telemarketers will undoubtedly lose their jobs. A disproportionate number might very well be homebound individuals that have no other job choice. I don’t like to hear of people who are struggling to get by getting kicked in the teeth. I have no alternative for them either. But they knew the job was dangerous going in. To willingly invade another persons privacy takes a personality trait that I do not have. I know, I have tried sales at various points of my life, and I felt guilty every second of it.

Privacy is a deeply held American way of life. It isn’t in the Constitution, but it is in our hearts. We have the most personal space in the world. Americans for hundreds of years have gone into the wilderness to get privacy. Let’s respect that, for others as well as ourselves.

The right thing to do

This article, Eight killed in fire at Nashville nursing home, brings up the urgent need for what I call an Anti-Manager.

The job of an Anti-Manager is to break decisions made by the company. To analyze realistic “what if…” scenarios and the consequences thereof. My last job as an IT manager was in part to do just that. Y2K, key personnel being incapacitated, fires, hackers, systems breaking down, the whole works. Once you figure out what is likely to happen, then you draw up plans to combat such disasters.

In this case, the decision was probably consciously made that installing a sprinkler system was too expensive. The Anti-Manager was not there to say, “Is the sprinklers more or less costly than the bad press and lawsuits from the children of our clients that would die in such a fire, when not if it happens?”

The psychiatric facility that I have stayed in the last few times did the right thing the last time I was there. At no small expense, they installed a sprinkler system throughout the facility. I like this facility, not just because it is clean and nice and serves eatable food, but because of the services provided. They have hired a psychologist who provides training on how to plan out your life to take control of your illness, and how to handle the inevitable crises that occur. The other places I have been have more of a “catch and release” philosophy. They hold on to you until you stabilize, then let you go. Sometimes you have group therapy, but it seems more to pass the time than anything else.

But I digress.

Conservative thought needs to flow from reasoned planning of the consequences of planned actions, both good and bad. Don’t say, “This will never happen…”, that is wishful thinking that will blindside you when it does happen. You may choose not to go that way, but it never hurts to have a plan if you get dragged down that path anyways.


I found this article, YOU HAVEN’T ‘FAILED’ – YOU’VE ‘NEARLY PASSED’ and it upsets me.

In the US, we’re already three-quarters of the way there with being self-esteem centric in our schools and scoreless sports. The self-esteem being taught in our schools today is a false one, because it avoids failure. This is the absolutely worst thing you can do to a child. School is supposed to teach children to handle life. Sacrificing the truth about weather or not they succeed on a test or project does nothing but set them up to fail when they get out into the real world.

Out in the real world of having a job, you have very clear pass/fail standards. If you don’t consistently pass, you lose your job. The people who graduate from high school and realize that the school had stupidly easy standards feel let down because the school failed on it’s basic premise.

Making things easy and not really grading also teaches children not to try. When they realize that they pass without putting any effort into a project, they stop putting effort into anything important.

Feeling good and getting a self-esteem boost when you win is easy. You just pick on someone weaker than yourself. Earning self-esteem is when you pick on someone bigger or better and winning.

Sometimes failure is the best way to teach self-esteem. No matter where you go in life, no matter what you do, someone will always be better than you. When you are defeated, you have to ask yourself, “Did I do the absolute best I could?” If you did, then you have nothing to be ashamed of. You take that and everything you learned and make yourself better than you were before. Then go out and try again. That is the American way.

Small business owners frequently fail in their first several business attempts. NASCAR can only have one winner out of 30 or so cars racing. Even the best professional baseball players only get a hit 1 out of every 3 at bats. None of these guys give up, they keep plugging at it until they win. Or should we let them “win” first time, every time?

In MechWarrior:Dark Age, the wargame that I play, there are two prizes handed out at a sanctioned tournament. First is Champion, for the guy who had the best record of the night. The other prize is Fellowship. This goes to the player who was the best sport. This is typified by who helped out less experienced opponents, who didn’t lose their cool when getting the stuffing knocked out of them by a superior player and so on. The Fellowship prize helps foster a positive attitude among all of the players. Sometimes, not very often, the Fellowship prize is actually better than the Champion prize. That really makes things interesting.

We are doing irreparable harm to our children when we feed their self-esteem this way. We teach them to take the easy path that goes nowhere instead of the difficult path that leads to the stars. Please don’t do this to your kids.

Fat Chance

I found this article, Overweight workers say they’re often overlooked. The article is trying to make a case to add weight discrimination to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Weight is the one thing under your control. You can’t change your skin color or your age. You can change your sex, but only after a lot of work and surgery. You have the ability to manage your weight. When you abdicate control of your weight to the TV and billboards, no wonder you’re overweight in no short order.

People should be ashamed if they are overweight. The sad news is many people who are ashamed they are overweight retreat into the very food that made them fat in the first place, exacerbating the problem. To put the blame on anything but yourself is known as transference. It’s like a tennis pro blaming the racket for his losing the match. Which is why we are seeing lawsuits against McDonald’s for people being fat. The only thing Mickey is guilty of is really good advertising.

We are programmed to like fat. It gives you the highest calorie per weight ratio out there. And when you are a hunter-gatherer who might get only one substantial meal every couple of days, fat is where it’s at.

But today we are a culture who lives at McDonald’s. Every item there is high in fat and calories. Even the salad has a ton of calories if you drown it in Thousand Island dressing. It’s okay if you have a meal there once a week, that’s known as moderation. But Americans today don’t know what moderation means. We are constantly barraged with ads about food. And so we are programmed when the slightest bit of hunger surfaces, we go and have a Big Mac Meal, super size the deep fat fried potatoes and the liquid sugar soda. Extra Mayo and cheese please.

A weight problem occurs only when you eat more food than your body consumes. I know the answer isn’t as simple as that, but that is the fact. If your activity level is zero and you eat 5,000 calories a day, you are going to be huge in no time at all. The only good thing about my depression is that I frequently skip meals. I’ve lost 30 pounds and want to lose at least 10 more. I don’t recommend the “depression diet” to anybody.

I recently came into possession of some Ritz “Butter and Garlic” crackers. Someone gave them to me, I would never have bought them on my own. When you look at the nutritional information on the side of the box, it says: Calories per serving: 80 not too bad Calories from fat: 35 that’s only…Let’s see…44% FAT Serving size: 5 Crackers. 5 crackers? 5 crackers! 5 stinking crackers! Nobody eats just 5 crackers! Of course, you don’t eat just 5 crackers, you usually eat an entire sleeve, which is about 35 crackers. That comes out to be 560 calories. And that’s just a snack. 560 calories is supposed to be 25% of you’re total intake for the entire day! Put that on top of three super sized meals and no wonder this country is so overweight.

Weight control falls under the Conservative ideal of personal responsibility. If you’re overweight, it will take a lot of time, effort and sweat to get back to a healthy size. And when you achieve that goal, you also gain something else. Good, solid, deserved self-respect. Self-discipline. The ability and confidence to solve any problem ahead of you. That makes it all worthwhile.

Vote early and often

One of the items on my list today is to vote. Memphis has an election on October 9th and we have early voting for the couple of weeks before it.

Voting is one of the two obligations that every citizen should do. The other is some kind of personal service. Peace Corps, Americorps, military, take your pick. Spend some years of your youth and work in a low pay job that makes a difference around the world. I personally lucked out. I spent 13 years in the Navy and spent half of it in Hawai’i. :)

It is the job of the citizen to keep his mouth open. Let your elected officials know what you think. Vote for who you think will do the best job, even if it seems to be the lesser of two evils. If you don’t vote, you don’t have any grounds to complain when you get screwed by them.

You may think “my vote doesn’t count,” but the only way it doesn’t count is if you don’t vote.

Vote every chance you can. And thank God you have this sacred power.

To Be a Conservative

There is a difference, as the old saying goes, between good, sound ideas and ideas that sound good. I think this pretty much means the difference between Conservatives and Liberals. True Conservatives have definite, solid reasons and reasoning behind their positions on any subject they take a stand on. Liberals will, by and large, either default to “Because it’s the right thing to do.” or start spewing meaningless statistics from a left-wing group. These statistics rarely stand up to critical review.

Let’s take gun-control for an example. I have a clear bias, I am pro Second Amendment, I am a life member of the NRA, and before I got sick I had a Concealed Weapons License.

A Liberal will spew “10 children a day are killed by guns.” Of course, who wouldn’t want to save 10 children a day? That’s the emotional hook. But if you found out that most weren’t children, that they would probably die even if there weren’t any guns, would your position change then? Would that prompt you to determine the source of the problem, rather than treating a non-existent symptom? The bad news is they fail to define “children.” You are left to think 7 and 8 year-olds, while in fact, about 8.5 of those 10 are actually 15+ years old. And to round it up to 10, they had to include 18 and 19 year old ADULTS as well.

“…[T]here were just 20 fatal gun accidents among children under the age of 5 in 1998. Contrast this with phony claims you hear about “10 children a day killed by guns.” The greatest part of that factoid comes from gang-related homicides perpetrated by inner-city, 17-to-19-year-old male criminals.

(Excerpted from the article “Not-so Safe Storage Laws” by Dave Kopel, Dr. Paul Gallant & Dr. Joanne Eisen of the Independence Institute, published in National Review Online 10/18/00.)

Of course the death of a child is a tragedy. Even if the “child” is a member of a gang, capable of performing deadly violence on anybody who gets in his way. But it is by no means an accident. That young adult made a conscience choice to get involved with groups known for consistent and brutal violence. In some of these groups you actually have to commit a murder to be a member of the gang.

John Lott, in trying to show gun control actually works, decisively proved to peer review that 2.5 million (2,500,000) crimes are prevented every year by armed private citizens. Now for the sake of argument, let’s say that we were able to get rid of all guns in private hands. Would that cut down on the “10 children a day”? Probably not. They would use baseball bats, or knives, or whatever was on hand. Would that cause more crime? Absolutely. By at least 2.5 million a year.

Do you see the difference? I did a yahoo search and found a bunch of sites, more of which were promoting the “10 children a day” than were opposing it.

They are too fixated on the factiod to question it. Liberals don’t care that most of it is gang-related. If you take away the gang members, the rate drops to about 1.5 a day. Less than drowning. Less than poisoning. Liberals don’t like guns, they don’t like the common citizen having so much power and responsibility, so they are willing to quote any absurdity to justify their position. And the people who do it because “it sounds good” fall right in line behind them.

On any subject, which category do you fall under? Good, sound reasons or reasons that sound good?

I'm sorry Mr. Ashcroft

I happened across this article, Ashcroft rips 'Patriot' critics and I have to stand against the AG on this one. I think it is always a bad idea to pass 'knee-jerk' legislation. It violates a lot of freedoms and rarely actually addresses the problem it is supposed to solve.

Ashcroft's comments came after the release of a memo he wrote disclosing that the Justice Department has never used a controversial section of the Patriot Act that allows authorities in terrorism investigations to obtain records from libraries, bookstores and other businesses without notifying the subject of the probe.

Just because you haven't used provisions of a bad law doesn't mean that you won't in the future. I don't know everything about the Patriot Act, but I do know that opening doors like this make them very hard to close. I know they already do similar things in RICO and Drug related cases. I still don't like it. With today's interlinked society, your buying habits are closely scrutinized and studied. Why? So you can be targeted with personalized advertising, to get you to stay brand loyal or to jump ship. Every time you use a check or credit card, a record is made with your name and info, to be kept on file at that place of business for who knows how long. To have a barcode on your receipt means that store is tracking you by name. They can tell you what you buy, how much, how often and if you prefer store brand over brand name or not. They know which credit cards you use, and can guess how many you have in total based on statistical averages. Use a frequent shopper card? You're in it up to your eyeballs now. I could go to my local grocer, drop my FSC in the basket, and just walk the aisles, and 90% of my shopping would automatically fall into my basket, based entirely on my past shopping habits. I'm bipolar, not paranoid. I know all about the data mining being done on me every day because I used to be a data miner. Because of my financial and emotional position, I don't make impulse purchases anymore. Every dollar spent, every transaction is checked and verified internally before I actually spend the money. If it is necessary, I know where, when and how to make a "transaction free" purchase. And the answer isn't just paying cash. To allow law-enforcement access to those records for any reason without a court order is scary to me. The tools are there for police to find data that didn't exist 10 years ago. There are commercial tools that document sales that didn't exist 10 years ago. I don't mind the tools, I mind how easy it is to get permission to use them. To be able to call an investigation "Terrorism related" and get a pass on any meaningful control scares the daylights out of me. The depth that the governmental anal probes can reach get a little deeper every year. If law-enforcement on any level decided to perform a a maximum effort investigation on me, very little outside of my own thoughts are safe. Considering the content of this blog, even my thoughts can be scrutinized. Scary stuff.

And I thought I was crazy

This article, Albright Still Unqualified, rips the Clinton Secretary of State a new one. I always knew she was in over her head. I just didn't realize that she put on cement overshoes before wading in.

The Democratic Party's fixation on race and gender explains why black Supreme Court justices can't be conservative, why Hispanic parents should not want their kids to learn English, and why members of both hues should all think alike. It explains how you get Gray Davis supporters shouting "He's a for'ner!" about an immigrant candidate, and how you get the Democratic governor responding that if you can't pronounce the word "California," you shouldn't be governor. It's also how you get the Democratic Party of Minnesota discouraging black Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Alan Paige from running to fill the late Paul Wellstone's Senate seat in last November's elections.

I for one would not want to discourage Alan Paige from doing anything he wants to do. He was a fearsome linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings back in the 70's. I have no doubt he could still stick your left foot in your right ear if he wanted to.

Gotta go to work

Today is one of my work days. I did manage to get up early and make it through my blog and news list. I'm running out of time, so posting is light this morning.Right now my two Sun Conures Rocket and Corkscrew are on me, cleaning me. They're not happy unless they can spend some time on Daddy. I even have a special shirt for them to tear up. They are especially noisy when I get back from being out. They don't quiet down until I put on their shirt and let them out. I keep their visits down to about 10 minutes or so, then put them back so they can have a "poopy break" so they don't do it on me.

The one thing I wanted to comment on is this story, where Governor Davis made an interplanetary gaffe:

"My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on the earth in this state. We have the sons and daughters of every, of people from every planet, of every country on earth," he said.

As if California didn't have enough trouble with illegal Mexicans, they have to worry about illegal Venusians and Martians as well. Heh.

Something Conservative

I happened across this article, The Goose is Dying. A quote is below, but I wanted to comment on it. Half of the money the federal government collects is redistributed to other people. Since I am on SSDI, I am one of them. The last I heard, only 26 cents of every dollar collected actually makes it to the person that it’s intended for. 74 cents disappears into the bureaucracy as overhead.

If 10 percent of an economy’s national income depends on government spending and control, then its economy can be called 10 percent ‘socialistic’ and 90 percent free-market. Today, shockingly, fully 42 percent of the economy is socialistic, that is, utterly reliant on government spending. Thus only 58 percent of the economy is free, and that figure is rapidly diminishing.
Call it “creeping socialism” – it’s happening one step at a time, so it’s hardly noticeable until we wake up one morning and discover that Karl Marx has replaced George Washington as the father of our country.

There is also this article, NYC’S Latest Gun Misfires in which John Lott muses over the latest anti-gun knee-jerk measures being considered by the “Republican” mayor of NYC and the City Council. When John Lott writes about guns, you better listen. He started out as a liberal meaning to come up with the quintessential study showing that gun control works. He found out the exact opposite so strongly that he switched camps and became an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment.

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