Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Al Gore vs. Science

It appears Al Gore is going to persist in seeking attention, and in the anti-capitalist environmentalist movement he has found an audience willing to adore him. His desire for some absolute certainty has lead him to embraced a mythological story lacking the spatial and temporal perspective of reality.

SCIENCE: Milankovitch Cycles: Milankovitch cycles are cycles in the Earth's orbit that influence the amount of solar radiation striking different parts of the Earth at different times of year. They are named after a Serbian mathematician, Milutin Milankovitch, who explained how these orbital cycles cause the advance and retreat of the polar ice caps. Although they are named after Milankovitch, he was not the first to link orbital cycles to climate. Adhemar (1842) and Croll (1875) were two of the earliest.

AL GORE: “We must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization.”

SCIENCE: Milankovitch Cycles: Variations in the Earth's eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession comprise the three dominant cycles, .... Taken in unison, variations in these three cycles creates alterations in the seasonality of solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface. These times of increased or decreased solar radiation directly influence the Earth's climate system, thus impacting the advance and retreat of Earth's glaciers.

AL GORE: “Now, I have felt in times past that we were close to a tipping point, and I've been wrong. I don't think I am wrong this time.”

SCIENCE: The Heliosphere Isn't Spherical: As the 28-year-old Voyagers 1 and 2 spacecraft approach the edge of interstellar space, they have found that the heliosphere, the "bubble" within which the sun dominates, bulges outward in the northern hemisphere and is pressed inward in the south. Voyager 1, flying about 34 degrees north of the equator, crossed the termination shock and entered the outermost layer of the heliosphere about 9 billion miles from the sun. Meanwhile Voyager 2, about 26 degrees south of the equator, finds that the shock may be nearly a billion miles closer to the sun.

AL GORE: “The atmosphere is like a coat of varnish around the globe. When it's thin, as it should be, heat naturally escapes. But when it gets thicker, thanks to carbon dioxide emitted by us, it traps in the heat and the world gets warmer. It's cooking and wilting the most vulnerable parts of the eco-system, melting all the mountain glaciers, the north polar ice cap, parts of Antarctica, parts of Greenland.”

SCIENCE: The Trajectory of the Solar System: Another [theory] put forth by Walter Cruttenden of The Binary Research Institute is that local gases are fairly uniform and the shape derives from the trajectory of the solar system through local space – possibly in its orbit around a companion star. While this latter explanation is far more speculative, it is not unlikely that local interstellar gases are relatively homogeneous and therefore the shape of the heliosphere may be at least partially due to motion of the solar system.

AL GORE: "This could literally end civilization."

SCIENCE: Binary Companion Theory: Moreover, a binary orbit motion of our sun provides a solution to a number of solar system formation theory enigmas including angular momentum. For these reasons, BRI has concluded our sun is most likely part of a long cycle binary system.

AL GORE: “We have to act together to solve this global crisis. Our ability to live is what is at stake.”

Man made global warming is a false myth. Catastrophic global warming is a false myth. Al Gore is a mediocre child of privilege, flattered into fronting for individuals using politicized research disguised as science to promote a political agenda. By the way Al, carbon dioxide doesn’t make the atmosphere “thick”. It does, however, make life on Earth possible.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mayor Dave Reminisces

It is a pleasant night for a walk through the neighborhood. The environmentalist democrats at 1000 Friends of Wisconsin will approve of the walking but have serious reservations about the adverse impact of low density housing on the localized (non-global) biodiversity. Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz reminisces about his activist creation.
The First Year of 1000 Friends: As a science-driven organization, the Conservancy had long known that it could not save biological diversity only through its traditional work of buying and restoring land. There would never be enough resources for that. Only government had the ability to influence land use on a large enough scale. At the same time, the Conservancy’s culture of private, voluntary conservation prevented it from getting too involved with government regulation. Peter and I saw 1000 Friends as one way in which the cause of biodiversity could be more effectively lobbied before government.
Governor Jim Doyle handpicked Kathleen Falk who handpicked Dave Cieslewicz and enabled him to win the Madison Mayoral election. It’s good to remember what these individuals believe.
Wisconsin Strategic Growth Task Force: All 22 members of the Wisconsin Strategic Growth Task Force propose a shift of some land-use planning powers to the state. … In contrast to those appraisals of the report, task force member Dave Cieslewicz, director of government affairs for the Nature Conservancy, said he was disappointed. The recommendations were rushed through with little discussion, he said.
Mayor Dave’s disappointment with the task force recommendations were that they did not go far enough in calling for government approval and oversight on how private land is utilized in Wisconsin. It was this perceived need for even more government control that directly inspired him to form his lobbyist organization. If I were Ray Allen, I would keep asking Mayor Dave the question: What have you done to expand freedom in Madison?


UPDATE: Kathleen Falk re-affirms she is onboard the planning train.
Dane County Press Release: Madison – Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and 1000 Friends of Wisconsin President Steve Hiniker today announced the release of the “Great Neighborhoods” book, a collaborative effort of the county, 1000 Friends, Madison Gas & Electric and the Madison Community Foundation. … The book covers topics such as meeting the varied demand for housing in Dane County; designing streets for walking, biking and driving; mixing uses to create more active communities; environmental sustainability; and how to make great neighborhoods happen.
Doyle, Falk, and Cieslewicz: Making your life easier by planning it for you. Are you ready to be railroaded?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day 2006

Lola and I drop in on Brat Fest three times over the weekend, avoiding the Celebrity Cashiers and listening to the Bands outside in the glorious summer warmth. Even in the midst of Madison the willows near the water are majestic, with dragon flies zipping and baby geese floating in tight gatherings near their parents. $5.00 beers are selling even though this is clearly price gouging. Half way through the Phat Phunktion set, one of the performers says: “How about giving up a little love because we will give it right back.”

There are lots of people in Madison sincerely believing the environment is in danger and the economy only benefits the wealthy. A lot of them think that love is a sufficient response to evil. Moments like this, where the kids run in the sunshine and the adults relax in the shade, exist because Americans have fought for the right to live with liberty within a peace achieved through strength and justice. Some people through pride and false principle will never understand or acknowledge the sacrifice. Fortunately, most of us do.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Al Gore as Don Quixote

In my humble opinion, the persistent widespread and uncritical acceptance of the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming THEORY is the definitive indicator of the failure of public school scientific education in America. The MSM and the blogosphere are again all atwitter as The Loser runs around promoting his Chicken Little fantasy film.
Gore Warms Up: "I have become very impatient," Gore wrote in Earth in the Balance, "with my own tendency to put a finger to the political winds and proceed cautiously." But now he has no consultants telling him what to do to win an election. He is simply trying to save the world--literally--by following his own instincts.
The Loser would serve everyone better by learning some science rather than following his instincts. Lesson number one: Consensus is not Science.
NASA: Gases in the atmosphere which play an important role in the thermodynamics of the atmosphere by trapping long-wave terrestrial re-radiation and, thus, producing the greenhouse effect. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, chlorofluorocarbons and, the major one, water vapor.
A quick test to assess the validity of anything written about “unnatural” (man made) global warming is the presence or absence of discussion about the role of water vapor.
The Climatic Effects of Water Vapour: Along with other man-made gases, such as methane, carbon dioxide has received a bad press for many years and is uniformly cited as the major cause of the greenhouse effect. This is simply not correct. … it is the water vapour in the lower 10 km or so of the atmosphere, rather than man-made carbon-dioxide emissions, that contributes most to this warming effect. … Water vapour is responsible for 70% of the known absorption of incoming sunlight, particularly in the infrared region.
Both carbon dioxide and water vapor are triatomic molecules and it is the electron dispersion across this three atom geometry that allows absorption of radiant energy.
The Molecular Dynamics of Air: Triatomic molecules display a richer variety of motions. Water vapor, ozone, and carbon dioxide are examples of important triatomic molecules in the atmosphere. Each of these gases has three different rotational degrees of freedom.
Water vapor can variably comprise up to 4% of the molecular atmosphere, while carbon dioxide exists in the couple hundred parts per million range. Water vapor is the primary source of the natural green house effect that retains and moderates the warmth of the sun on this rock surrounded by cold space. CO2 activity is little more than background noise.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Lessons of California

The United States Senate passes their idea of an immigration bill and as the NRO Editorial states bluntly: “The Senate isn’t serious about enforcing the nation’s immigration laws”. The only plausible reason I can believe is that the Senate is more concerned about power than the rule of law, and both parties are trying to understand the lessons of why the Republicans lost California.
How the Republicans Lost California: Just 10 years ago, California was a GOP bastion, regarded as the cornerstone of the Republican Electoral College "lock." The 1990 elections merely confirmed this impression, with the GOP winning its third gubernatorial race in a row, its fifth of seven. Two years earlier, the 1988 presidential race had marked the sixth straight California victory for the Republicans, with only Barry Goldwater's 1964 debacle marring an otherwise unbroken chain of GOP victories stretching all the way back to Ike's 1952 landslide. In national politics, California was about as safely Republican as Wyoming or Idaho.

All this changed with California's deep recession of the early 1990s, as high unemployment and economic misery provoked an anti-immigrant backlash among California's white political majority. … For immigrants, the only means of defense was naturalization and registration, and they did both in unprecedented numbers, roughly doubling California's Latino vote between 1992 and 1998. Most of these new voters regarded both Mr. Wilson and his Republican Party as their mortal foes.
Republican Governor Pete Wilson won re-election in 1994 in large part by strongly supporting Proposition 187 which denied government services to illegal immigrants. In many minds, this was a pyrrhic victory that directly resulted in the effective Death of the California GOP.

The American Conservative makes the current argument that the loss of California has more to do with middle class white flight, and while this maybe numerically demonstrable, it does not counteract the fact that Republicans are not making any inroads into Hispanic communities.
Even Bush Cannot Lure Hispanics: Despite running the most Latino-friendly campaign in Republican history, George W. Bush still lost to Al Gore by a landslide among Hispanic voters. According to exit polls reported by CNN and ABC, Hispanics went for Gore 62% to 35% over Bush.
There has been discussion within the Wisconsin blogosphere about principled conservatism vs. the big tent approach to winning elections and this is exactly the dilemma the National Republican leadership is confronting. Handing our country back to socialists is absolutely wrong, so what needs to be done to prevent this outcome?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

William “The Mark” Jefferson

At times I am actually hoping for congress to implode in the months leading up to the fall elections. The latest hissy fit actually forces the President to step in, like the only adult at a playground brawl, and order a 45 day time out.
President Bush: Over the last several days, the House of Representatives and the Department of Justice have attempted to resolve a dispute over the execution of a search warrant on the Capitol Hill office of Congressman William Jefferson, who is under criminal investigation.
It appears the only threat with real power to unite the Republicans and Democrats is a Justice Department patiently but persistently pursuing justice.
Washington Post: But the material for which agents searched had been under subpoena for eight months; Mr. Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat, resisted complying. Under those circumstances, seeking judicial approval for a search warrant is more reasonable.

NRO Editorial: There should have been little for leaders of Congress to do but applaud. Instead, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Majority Leader John Boehner led a chorus of disgruntled legislators in crying foul, closing ranks around an apparent felon, and raving incoherently about a supposed separation-of-powers violation.
Perhaps there is an instinctual political survival reflex to hide behind the speech or debate privilege of the constitution. This historical concept exists to insure legislators are not subject to legal persecution for actions within the “legislative sphere”, but it does not provide sanctuary from criminal prosecution.
FindLaw: In other words, it is the fact of having taken a bribe, not the act the bribe is intended to influence, which is the subject of the prosecution and the speech-or-debate clause interposes no obstacle to this type of prosecution.
Poor little William “The Mark” Jefferson bought the pitch and was roped into the long con. Now the sucker is clinging to his little fiefdom with every ounce of strength and the all the other congressional fiefs completely understand.
The Pitch: While the name of the intended recipient of the US$100,000 is blacked out, other details in the affidavit indicate he is Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria's vice-president. He owns a home in Potomac, Maryland, that authorities have searched as part of the Jefferson investigation. Abubakar is widely expected to run for president in elections planned for 2007. Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer and the fifth-leading source of US oil imports.
The rationale for term limits is as reasonable now as it was in 1994.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Super-Sized Research at UW

At this moment in time, I am more afraid of the health-industrial complex than the military-industrial complex. The military is working to preserve my freedom and safety while health activists are working to place ever more stigmas, restrictions and prohibitions on society. The strategy and tactics producing victories over freedom in the tobacco wars are beginning to be implemented in the obesity battles.

UW Madison Study: Schoeller and Close were interested in how additional weight affected the amount of money spent on medical care and a vehicle's gasoline mileage, as well as the cost of the additional caloric energy required to support increased body weight. The pair anchored their study on two key assumptions: that the additional calories from upsizing a fast-food meal would be stored as excess energy - in other words, that they would lead to weight gain - and that diners would not compensate for the excess calories during subsequent meals.

The National Institutes of Health is funding a study starting with the “assumptions” that people will eat “excess energy” and won’t “compensate for the excess calories”. Maybe my logic is off base but if you can define excess you have to be able to define adequate because you can’t deviate from a standard until there is a standard.

This high quality government funded scientific research proceeds to use “studies of body mass index and medical cost, average vehicle mileage and gas prices, and caloric expenditure to calculate how the weight gained from one upsized fast-food meal translates into money out of pocket over the next year.” In other words, having defined the key premise that super-sizing absolutely correlates with weight gain, they then discover that super-sizing has negative financial impacts on the greater good. Was any other conclusion possible from the premise?

We all know whenever the greater good is threatened there must be government regulation. This is one more example of the paperwork foundation being prepared to justify obesity police. “To protect and serve … smaller portions”.


UPDATE: The University appears to have pulled their press release from their website, but not before Wispolitics and Wisbusiness and Physorg pick up and post the text.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Finley and Harris

Thank you Michael Finley and Devin Harris for passing through Madison on the way to the NBA. I hope Wisconsin Basketball fans are watching this limited time engagement as Dallas and San Antonio go to Game 7 of the second round playoffs.
Tom Oates: In 1994, Finley led the Badgers to their first NCAA tournament in 47 years. Harris was the king of crunch time when UW ended a 55-year drought by winning consecutive Big Ten Conference titles in 2002 and '03. Now, even though Finley is on the downside of his career and Harris is just starting out, one of them has a good chance to join Matthews as the only UW player to win an NBA title. The best part is that both would deserve it.
Harris has his moments.
Game 2: The latest move by the NBA's coach of the year pulled the Mavericks even with the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the playoffs. Johnson turned to Devin Harris to crank up the tempo and the speedy point guard responded, sending the Mavericks zooming to a 21-point lead before halftime on their way to a 113-91 victory over the defending champions on Tuesday night.
Finley has his moments.
Game 6: Finley scored 10 points in the third quarter to help San Antonio hang close, then made the go-ahead basket on a three-pointer from the right corner with 2:45 left - and Dallas' seven-foot star Dirk Nowitzki running at him.
Overtime: 119 – 111 and Dallas moves on. Mark Cuban will undoubtedly blog all about it.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Swedish Socialism Update

Sweden has not quite twice the population of Wisconsin, so there may be lessons in their failing attempt to maintain “a vital market economy alongside a large welfare state”.
Swedish Economics: Sweden is in a sense an ideal natural experiment in economic policies. Sweden was an impoverished nation until capitalism was introduced in the country during the 1870s. … During the 60s the socialdemocrats radicalized and a rapid expansion of taxation, the regulatory burden and government occurred. Sweden became the country with the most extensive welfare state in the world, the highest taxes, the strongest unions and the longest period of one party rule (the socialdemocrats have been in power 60 of the past 69 years).

The disadvantageous climate for business in Sweden is demonstrated by the fact that the number of employees in the private sector is today some 100 000 less than for 30 years ago, although our population has grown by more than one million during this period.

The political right in Sweden has for some time complained about the government hiding the unemployment in the above mentioned “programs”. But the question only came to the public knowledge when LO, the immensely powerful blue-collar union, had one of its own turn against them. Hans Karlsson, a leading leftwing economist, concluded that true unemployment was more in the ballpark of 20-25 percent.
Officially the Swedish government claims a 5.2% unemployment rate but they also control the official classification of worker status. This means they can categorize non-working adult individuals as “early retirement” or “sick leave” so that non-employed adults don’t count as unemployed adults. Of course, numbers don’t lie and statistics are merely numbers.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Emerging Problem of Chad

I get sucked into watching the tape of the Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett mutual love fest earlier this week. As long as the talk is focused on economic development and attracting jobs they seem like reasonable leaders, but once the question period frees them to pontificate about "energy independence" it strikes me, that in the belief there is escape from the problems of the global energy economy, they have become denial isolationists.

The problems in Sudan are spreading into neighboring Chad, where by most accounts the results of a fraudulent election retain the Presidency for Idriss Deby.
Winner Declared: Chad's embattled President Idriss Deby, who faces a surging rebellion on several fronts, has been officially certified as the winner of his country's latest presidential election with over 77 percent of the vote. Western diplomats say the vote was far from free and fair, and few Chadians appeared to take part.

The vote came as Chad, a new oil producer, also had problems with international lenders who helped pay for an oil pipeline. Chad's government watered down a law ensuring some oil profits would go to alleviate poverty, prompting the World Bank to temporarily cut aid and freeze overseas bank accounts.

Mr. Deby accuses Sudan's government of being behind several rebel movements trying to topple him. Some of the rebels are allied with Janjaweed militias fighting in Sudan's Darfur region, while other Chadian rebels are allied with Darfurian rebels. Their allies are fighting against each other in Darfur, but in Chad, the common goal is to get rid of Mr. Deby.
The election follows one of the oldest aspiring dictator tricks in the books.
Term Limit Lifted: Mr. Deby has ruled Chad since he overthrew Hissane Habre in 1990. He was voted president in 1996 and 2001. A referendum last year, which the opposition also boycotted, removed term limits.
The results have ripple effects in the region.
Diplomatic Resignation: The Chadian chargĂ© d’affaires in Khartoum, Kabaro Hussein al-Soleil, has announced his defection from the government of Idriss Deby. … He described Idriss Deby as imperious saying that he is ruling through tribalism, rape, chaos, nepotism, violation, killing, terrorism and the dominance of planned disorder.
The situation away from the oil money deteriorates and the UN … fornicates?
Breakdown: The Chad government doesn't want foreign peacekeepers, but it unable to provide security along the Sudan border. There's not exactly a war going on along the frontier. It's more like a breakdown in law and order, and dozens of groups of armed men wandering around stealing whatever they can. These guys are not interested in fighting. If they encounter security forces, or another armed group, they may exchange some fire, and if the other guy doesn't flee, just move on.
Back in Wisconsin, Mayor Dave and Mayor Tom join Mayor Daley of Chicago in trying to land the 2016 Olympic Games, while taking pot shots at President Bush for not dealing with the “real problems” facing America.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Taxpayer Trap

I am absolutely not afraid of peaceful and hardworking people. I also understand there are differing decrees of illegality which reflect the differing degrees of danger to society. John Henke raises a question. Immigration's 15 Minutes: "Why is this suddenly such a big issue right now?"

Observing the discussion about immigration grow into emotional and contentious debate these last several months has not convinced me there is a need to wall ourselves off from our neighbors or to alter our daily lives because of some widespread threat to the way we live our daily lives. There are legitimate concerns about terrorism and assimilation but at the core, this is one more political battle over the direction we want to take America.

The aspect of the problem that most concerns me is illustrated by how the U.S. Senate reacted to an amendment on the immigration bill proposed by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV). The official summary of intent is “To reduce document fraud, prevent identity theft, and preserve the integrity of the Social Security system, by ensuring that persons who receive an adjustment of status under this bill are not able to receive Social Security benefits as a result of unlawful activity.” Michelle Malkin collects links to blogger reaction.
In other words: Should ILLEGAL immigrants, once made legal by the McCain legislation, be entitled to receive the Social Security benefits they have paid into the system while ILLEGALLY using FRAUDULENT Social Security numbers STOLEN from actual, legal citizens of the United States of America.
The Senate voted to kill this amendment and the votes by both Wisconsin Senator Feingold and Senator Kohl are illustrative of exactly how inconsequential they consider non-citizen access to taxpayer benefits. In the minds of the political elite, the population is comprised of individuals who pay taxes and deserve to benefit from the taxes they pay. This, I believe, is the essence of the question we as a country need to decide. Are we citizens with citizen rights or are we taxpayers with taxpayer entitlements?

A mature global economy has enveloped the world and wealth has influence in all governments including the United States. It is increasingly apparent the Senate and Administration have loyalties to big business, and that is good as it preserves our healthy economy, but it carries the potential for danger as more and more of our leaders come to believe what is good for the economy supersedes the rights of citizenship.

This country was founded on the idea that taxation entails a right to representation and this means the right to vote for political leadership. I fully expect the Democrats are counting on this basic American principal to justify voting rights for everyone present and paying taxes, so it is important the Republicans make the case that citizenship rights are only due to rightful citizens, and that means those who demonstrate allegiance to this country by obedience to immigration law.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Graphic Negativity

EXTRA EXTRA!! Zogby poll has Bush approval at 32% and UW Madison political science professor Charles Franklin posts a pretty little graph showing the “perilous rate of decline for the White House”. The professor does not project the exact date when the trend line will pass below zero but anyone with a ruler and pencil can demonstrate that the President’s approval rating will become infinitely negative prior to the 2008 elections. This can only be interpreted as meaning that GWB’s chance of re-election is zero.

Rumors that Harry Truman is attempting to channel the message, “ignore the polls” to W via an Eleanor Roosevelt dream visit to Hillary Clinton are unverifiable.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Two Uses For Ice

Headed by UW Madison Physics Professor Francis Halzen, an international group is building a neutrino telescope at the South Pole. The telescope is essentially a cubic kilometer of transparent ice deep enough below the surface to guarantee absolute total darkness. Neutrinos are subatomic particles with no charge and almost no mass. In other words, in a world of matter and energy, neutrinos are just barely matter.

Unlike other particles, neutrinos are antisocial, difficult to trap in a detector”, so Project IceCube is designed to capture the flashes of blue light which occasionally flicker momentarily from a realm where no other light ever exists. This signature of the rare collision of a neutrino with common matter is picked up by sensors buried a mile and a half below the Antarctic surface and delivered to computers in Madison, Wisconsin. Ain’t technology wonderful!

Further north in the northern hemisphere and decidedly on top of the ice, the Cinderella season for the Oilers continues as Edmonton eliminates the Sharks and advance to the Stanley Cup Western Conference Finals. shhhhhhh - team of destiny working - don't jinx it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Madison Mandatory Paid Leave

The Madison City Council is scheduled to vote this evening on a mandatory paid sick leave ordinance for employers. I have written about this twice before.

August 10, 2005: Progressive Socialist Democrat theory requires that all individuals have a cash flow. The government can provide the cash flow if necessary, but it is preferable to have private business pay money to employees. Because individual income is the primary goal, it follows that that employer rights need to be secondary.

January 8, 2006: The Healthy Families website lists the Dane County Democratic Party as supporters and I believe Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and his mentor Kathleen Falk will support passage of this anti-business ordinance, if Progressive Dane can deliver the two or three additional votes needed for passage. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin will support this municipal level action because it is exactly what the National Democratic Party is proposing at the Federal Level.

What concerns me is that there is a basic concept in free capitalist societies that individuals are the rightful owners of their labor and wealth can purchase labor but can not own the laborer. At this moment, the only legal requirement on employers is that they compensate workers for work. It is the simple elegance of this relationship that has created our prosperity and nurtured it to the point where employers are under competitive pressure to provide benefits over and above straight wages. Ultimately, however, both parties are voluntary participants in the employment transaction.

Mandating benefits other than pay for work introduces a new obligation which alters the relationship between two free, albeit unequal, parties. This type of social justice solution requires the assumption that employers have responsibility for aspects of the employee’s private life. In this instance, mandatory paid sick leave confers employees a legal claim to employer assets, which in turn creates valid employer financial interest in off work behaviors that could potentially affect employee health.

Senator Russ Feingold is a co-sponsor of the U.S. Senate version of the policy members of the Madison City Council want to enact. Representative Tammy Baldwin is a co-sponsor of the counterpart House legislation. This is a very small step, cautious and tiny, but it is directly towards all of the Democrat goals. They want power over healthcare and understand the private sector may be willing to hand responsibility over to the government if the financial burden becomes too great. They want populations dependent upon income and services that the government either mandates or directly delivers. They want even more avenues in the courts through which to access wealth acquired by commerce.

********* UPDATE **********

10-9: In a long meeting that didn't end until after 3 am Wednesday morning, the council voted down the proposal by 9 ayes (Konkel, Olson, Palm, Verveer, Webber, Benford, Gruber, King, and Knox) to 10 nos (Sanborn, Cnare, Brandon, Skidmore, Bruer, Compton, Rosas, Van Rooy, Radomski, and Thomas).

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz missed the council meeting, however, he had made clear the considered the proposal to be at the wrong time (election year) but never said it is the wrong idea.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Miscegenation in Canada

The Horror of Global Warming* is leading to Miscegenation in Canada.

Please, before it is to late, just accept that Al Gore is a visionary scientist/leader.

* The reality of temperatures 25 degree below normal for May 12th is not predictive of future trends. Experts continue to forecast a significantly hotter climate in the next month or two.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

This is the Information Age

HEY! Everyone who is freaking out that the government has access to telephone records and is analyzing calling patterns, WELCOME TO THE COMPUTER AGE. Computers collect and store data. Computers create databases. What do you think the information age means? It means lots and lots and lots of information stored in databases. Some conservatives need to get a grip on their anxieties.
The American Mind: With a little bit of sleep my head is slightly clearer considering the NSA having a record of billions of phone calls made since Sep. 11. I'm not anymore relieved. A database containing all that information without a court order is unacceptable.
Oh Please! Don’t tell me that bloggers don’t check their links and traffic for trends and patterns. If without reading anything, the government looks at your Thursday 10-11 PM hit count by country of ISP origin is that a warrantless search of your private blog?
Reality: One thing has been strikingly absent from the public debate about the terrorist surveillance program run by the National Security Agency: Perspective. While we may not know the full scope of the use of personal information by our intelligence services, we know quite a bit about the routine use and compromise of our most personal data by another little understood and shadowy group.
The new business of business is maximizing opportunity and that means learning from the information gained in day to day transactions. All those grocery store scanners and ATM terminals and online billing payments and internet shopping transactions are not short term RAM cache memory.
Key Point: This has nothing to do with the Fourth Amendment. The case law couldn't be clearer. And those who demand judicial oversight do so not because they want or hope the courts will affirm these intelligence-gathering methods, but because they oppose them and hope some activist court will kill them.
Data analysis is not eavesdropping. Once again the democrats are simply trying to scare the public for political gain. Government can and does abuse power, which is why I believe in limited government, but data analysis of computer records to catch evil people is completely appropriate.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Star Wars Comes of Age

Independent author and journalist Mark Hertsgaard is a San Francisco liberal who does frequent work for The Nation and PBS. I stopped reading his latest alarmist screed about global warming when he claimed carbon dioxide is the most prominent greenhouse gas. That role belongs to water vapor. This is not the first time Hertsgaard is wrong.
PBS 1996 Interview: Star Wars is, I think, the perfect example of the idiocies of the Palace Court Press. You've got a situation where Bob Dole in order to get the Republican nomination has got to pass the right wing test, and they believe in Star Wars, and have ever since Ronald Reagan. And there's a problem with this, which is that all of the physicists who studied it have concluded, not only is this system utterly impossible now, but there's no reason to think that it will ever be possible. We are talking about levels of technical sophistication that are just aeons away. That's why in 1987, the American Physics Society said, "It's going to be ten years before we can even know whether this will ever be possible."
It has been 23 years since Reagan made what came to be known as his Star Wars Speech proposing antimissile missiles. Ever since then the democrats, for whatever reasons, have tried to convince the public that problems with complex physics are beyond the reach of American know how. As usual, they were wrong.
Star Wars Now: Remember the scoffing when Ronald Reagan first proposed a ballistic missile defense? A typical example: in 1985 an aide to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Les Aspin, the Wisconsin Democrat, announced, "Star Wars research is an imprudent use of taxpayers' dollars. By continuing it, we're essentially throwing money into a bottomless pit."

Hat Tip DANEgerus: This test occurred last November, and was the sixth successful missile interception out of seven attempts. Of course, American attention is currently focused on Iran, which is both building a nuclear warhead and lying about it at the same furious clip, and which has successfully tested its medium-range Shahab 3 missile. North Korea, which has fired a Taepo Dong 1 missile over Japan, is just as dangerous. Less attention is being paid to the antidote: the Pentagon's success in anti-missile tests, and its current and on-going deployment of systems that will knock out enemy missiles.
I always thought if Reagan named this an anti-asteroid missile system he would have captured the imagination of every dinosaur fascinated grade school kid.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The outpouring of conservative disappointment this spring may simply be the weary strain of the non-stop political debate in 21st century America. Half a year before the fall elections is a good time to pause and analyze the successes and failures in recent events. Three words, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, should remind the frustrated and the angry that there is much work left to be done.

Ms. Ginsburg may be sleeping on the job, but in her free time she is leading the movement for judicial superiority within the U.S. Government while simultaneously arguing the U.S. Constitution is insufficient for justice.
Ginsburg: Congress' Watchdog Plan 'Scary': Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Tuesday that a Republican proposal in Congress to set up a watchdog over the federal courts is a "really scary idea." … "It sounds to me very much like the Soviet Union was .... That's a really scary idea,"

Boot Ruth: Ginsburg summarized her views by telling the South Africans that utilizing international "natural" law in the United States is necessary because the US Constitution is "...a document frozen in time as of the date of its ratification,"
For a Supreme Court Justice to say our constitution is “frozen in time” is a statement either of great ignorance or great contempt. The Claremont Institute explains the necessity of continuing to rid our courts of those judges with allegiances to goals other than the just application of our laws.
Constitution or Tyranny: Quite simply, the Left openly disdains the Constitution when it frustrates even the most transient of their preferences. … Because the Constitution can be amended, it is perfectly flexible, though not hurriedly so. The telling difference between the liberally elastic document and the conservatively amendable one is that the latter demands the consent of the governed rather than that of a small juridical elite.
Its a very good thing that Ginsburg is scared of a congress insisting on ruling the United States using only the laws of the United States.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Soglin Economic Analysis

I never considered longtime Madison Mayor Paul Soglin unintelligent, but either he is using his blog to sharpen his partisan bitterness skills at the expense rational analysis, or there are some big gaps in his understanding of the way the world works. I read his analysis of a paper mill closing, then read the source story and find my self wondering if he actually read the source story himself.

Long story short, a paper plant in Park Falls, WI has closed because of a convergence of several factors. The global economy is growing which means that other countries are making paper and the effect of increased supply is to bring the product cost down. To make matters worse for existing manufactures, this happens at exactly the same time more and more business work is being done electronically, meaning a diminished demand for paper products. Finally the plant in question is one with only outdated and inefficient machinery.

From this factual baseline, Soglin concludes that Republican control of the Wisconsin Legislature is to blame for the plant closing because the Republicans “advocated for more international trade so that Wisconsin Paper could not compete paying decent salaries with companies that pay a few dollars a day to their workers.” Even worse the majority party "failed to protect all of us, not just the mill workers and the loggers, as the entire state must deal with the economic impact of the mill closings". The most heinous crime of the right wing may be that they “ignored the reality that for the private sector to survive, the public sector must invest in infrastructure”.

If I understand mayor emeritus correctly, he is implying that the Park Falls paper mill would still be operational if democrats controlled the legislature in addition to the governorship. This is because Wisconsin democrats work against international trade and for protectionism. Someone should forward the email to Governor Doyle about no more foreign trade travel and remind him of the Democrats commitment to infrastructure like, for example, our roads. It may also help if Soglin would call the print shop to change the party letterhead to the new slogan: Wisconsin Democrats: Protecting our Voters from the Reality of the Modern World.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Futility of Retail Gas Boycotts

A little old lady tells how she heard on talk radio that oil executives secretly hoarded millions of gallons of oil, and only when congress threatened them with felony charges did they release their reserves. I reply that a conspiracy of that magnitude would require thousands of people keeping their mouths shut. She thinks for moment and admits she wondered where they hide that much oil. The surge in gas prices has much of the population thinking and this much collective thought guarantees a lot of goofy and flawed theories. Not even Front Page Magazine is immune from questionable ideas.
Terror Free Oil: The American Center for Democracy (ACD) has developed a new program called the Terror-Free Oil Initiate (TFOI). The purpose of the program is twofold: 1. to cut off the flow of money that goes to terrorists and 2. to decrease America’s dependency on foreign oil. … “This project is dedicated to encouraging Americans to buy only gasoline that originated from countries that do not export or finance terrorism.” … Americans must, once and for all, take a stand and support companies like Sunoco and Sinclair that don’t get their crude from ‘the crude.’
This type of selective purchase protest is exactly like one proposed by the leftists.
Buy Your Gas at Citgo: Looking for an easy way to protest Bush foreign policy week after week? And an easy way to help alleviate global poverty? Buy your gasoline at Citgo stations. And tell your friends. Of the top oil producing countries in the world, only one is a democracy with a president who was elected on a platform of using his nation's oil revenue to benefit the poor. The country is Venezuela. The President is Hugo Chavez. Call him "the Anti-Bush."
The futility of retail boycotts is explained by the Department of Energy.
Where Does My Gasoline Come From? The Energy Information Administration (EIA) cannot definitively say where gasoline at a given station originated since EIA does not collect data on the source of the gasoline sold at retail outlets. The name on the service station sign does not tell the whole story. The fact that you purchase gasoline from a given company does not necessarily mean that the gasoline was actually produced by that particular company’s refineries. … This is because gasoline from different refineries is often combined for shipment by pipeline, and companies owning service stations in the same area may be purchasing gasoline at the same bulk terminal. … Even if we knew at which company’s refinery the gasoline was produced, the source of the crude oil used at that refinery may vary on a day-to-day basis. Most refiners use a mix of crude oils from various domestic and foreign sources. The mix of crude oils can change based on the relative cost and availability of crude oil from different sources.
Oil is a global commodity where price set by market demand and market supply and petty partisan gamesmanship will not change that fact.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Why Isn't Socialism Dead?

Writing for TCS Daily, Lee Harris provides his thoughts on the question that advocates for limited government and individual rights should be asking. Harris reviews the history of socialism in detail but the following two paragraphs highlight the most likely answer.
Why Isn't Socialism Dead? When Hernando de Soto asserts that capitalism is the only rational alternative left to mankind, he is maintaining that capitalism is the alternative that human beings ought to take because it is the rational thing to do. But what human beings ought to do and what they actually do are often two quite different things. For human beings frequently act quite irrationally, and without the least consideration of what economist called their "enlightened self-interest." And it is in this light that we must approach the problem, Why isn't socialism dead?

It may well be that socialism isn't dead because socialism cannot die. As Sorel argued, the revolutionary myth may, like religion, continue to thrive in "the profounder regions of our mental life," in those realms unreachable by mere reason and argument, where even a hundred proofs of failure are insufficient to wean us from those primordial illusions that we so badly wish to be true. Who doesn't want to see the wicked and the arrogant put in their place? Who among the downtrodden and the dispossessed can fail to be stirred by the promise of a world in which all men are equal, and each has what he needs?
Humans tend to behave habitually and react emotionally. The rational functions of human thought learn over time that doing this tends to produce that. Getting people to act outside of habits requires an emotional push, and the collectivists, populists, progressives, and socialists believe the way to get apolitical people to turn out and vote is to fire them up with visions of reward and revenge for differences. Failure to achieve some goals is not as bad as failure to prevent the Democrats from seizing back control of government. The Republican factions need to grieve their losses and find a really positive counter message.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Stalled Conservatism: What Next?

David Frum writes an essay for one of the CATO Institute websites. Titled Republicans and the Flight of Opportunity, he essentially declares the conservative movement towards reestablishing limited government for the United States has failed. The moment of opportunity is passed as the forces of socialism have blunted true reform of our federal institutions. He is correct and revolutionary restructuring of the welfare state is not going to happen soon.

The silver lining may be the fact that big money special interests are still the financial engines of both parties and will serve as inertial dampers to the socialist activists on the left in the same way they blunted the momentum of the Reagan revolution. Scattered within blame game criticism and wishful daydreaming in the discussion at Right Wing News, are the seeds of the debate about what to do next. Since I have my own blog I don’t have to be comment number 216 about what happened and what next.

The explanation in a nutshell is that I don’t care how much money the government spends in exactly the same way I don’t care how much Wal-Mart spends or how many dollars, yen, euros, pesos or IOUs are dispersed from ExxonMobile accounts. I care about how much of my money is taken from me without my full affirmative consent.

I cringe whenever science fiction uses the simplistic and overused clichĂ© “reverse the polarity” to fix a problem, but this is exactly what the conservative movement needs to do. Free people want services and they want the sewer systems to work as much as they want electricity to flow into big screen televisions from American TV or Best Buy or even Sears. The way to win voting majorities is to stop fighting the demand for government services and start fighting for the right of individuals to pay for government the same way they pay for everything else, by free choice.

The concept of limited government needs to realign the focus away from the shape of government and towards the role of the individual in society. There is support to be found in the idea that a person has both individual human rights and political citizenship rights. There is fertile ground for policies that affirm there is both an obligation to self and an obligation to others, and society is best served if government allows individuals to retain resources to take care of themselves before demanding they take care of strangers.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Not A News Story

The following is not a news story. It totally lacks emotional content or information with an immediate local impact. It is simply a dry report of what steady work is accomplishing and therefore by journalist standards, boring.
Taking it to the Courts: Tikrit, Iraq - Iraq has been serious in its efforts to improve the rule of law. In order to help the city provide judicial services to the 100, 000 residents of the city, the Takrit courthouse received a facelift and an addition. … The courthouse was renovated in order to provide better conditions so that the new political leaders to do their important work. The project was managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region North District.

The electrical renovation included new wiring and fixtures throughout the old building; bringing it to a standard which will support modern computer and electronic technology. A newly constructed annex building adds capacity to the facility and provides for a more efficient work flow. Included in the new annex is a reception area, restrooms and office spaces that will improve the functionality of the courthouse.
This is merely a story about the effort to “improve the rule of law”. The MSM is all over the May Day immigrant marches and any anti-war antics or pre-planned celebrity protest, because American society functions within a rule of law and we absolutely take that fact for granted. Meanwhile, the U.S. Corps of Engineers is working to make sure the court buildings in Iraq have bathrooms that work and wiring that supports computers, so the people who elected this government have ways, other than violence, to resolve their disputes. Picket signs are party toys. This bit of non-news is about effective activism for social justice.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ineffectual Posing Against Evil

The conflict in Darfur is a confined territorial war between factions of the fundamentalist Islamic movement and the instigators are now loosing badly. If wealthy western liberals are appalled at the consequences of wealth and weapons combined with a desire for power unchecked by respect for all human life, then the best thing they can do for the situation is shut up and meditate about reality.

The essay Vanity and Force is dead on accurate about the distasteful display of celebrity showmanship while evil men engage in evil actions. Read the whole thing and remember there are absolutely no good guys on either side of Sudan's barbaric power struggle.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Stanley Cup Fever Symptoms

Two years ago I happened to catch the first round of the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the sixth seed Calgary Flames defeat Northwest Division Champion Vancouver. Lead by their phenomenal Captain Jarome Iginla the underdogs proceeded to defeat top seed Detroit and Pacific Division Champs San Jose becoming the first Canadian team to reach the Finals in ten years. It was a classic feel good sports story which just kept unfolding over time right until the moment the journey ended with a game seven loss to Tampa Bay. The karmic injustice of loosing to a Florida hockey team seems to curse the NHL and the league simply refused to play any games the following year.

Tonight the Flames are again on their glide towards the Cup, looking to take the series from a California hockey team. The Cinderella story this year may be skated by the eighth seed Edmonton Oilers who just found a way to score four third period goals to come from behind to oust top seed Detroit.