Archive for October, 2007

>Boo!

October 31, 2007

>It’s Halloween and what is more scary than listening to “Sean of the Dread” Hannity. On the radio yesterday he was being critical of Hillary Clinton’s postions saying she was soft on our enemies…and that he want’s our enemies to live in fear of us.

Well that is fine, except he is supporting an administration and a party that thrives on keeping the American people in fear of…everything.

Terrorism, for instance…are you really afraid that a terrorist is going to get you. Well neither are most Americans, as a story in the Birmingham News today reveals. Only 10.4 % rank a terrorist attack as their biggest fear. Losing their memory is first (21%), followed by being burned alive (19%), and snakes (11.5 %).

As for who is scary, Osama bin Laden (26.4%) barely beat out George W. Bush (24.s%). No surprise there. FearNet.com conducted the survey.

Notice that same sex marriage is not listed as something to be fearful of, but if you listen to republicans, it is the biggest threat to America since the witches in Salem way back when.

And Forbes has released the list of highest earning dead celebrities. Elvis is No. 1, after earning $49 million in the last 12 months. John Lennon is second with earnings of $44 million.

Oh, I am just glad that my daughter no longer attends Hoover High School (having graduated a few years ago) and that my son is a senior elsewhere. It’s just a crazy place, I wish the football team success in the playoffs, and lets put Suzy Baker on the scary list. Seems like the crowd at the school board meeting did not like her either, and one Hoover parent suggested they park outside her house and see what goes on in her private life. The parents point was that we don’t need to be prying in to any one’s private life, coaches included.

And hey, Jess Lanier is still undefeated (9-0) but hardly a mention on TV sports last week. Possibly because their game was on Thursday rather than Friday, but still, no respect. Lanier plays Gadsden City (8-1) this week at home. Good luck Tigers.

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Boo!

October 31, 2007

It’s Halloween and what is more scary than listening to “Sean of the Dread” Hannity. On the radio yesterday he was being critical of Hillary Clinton’s postions saying she was soft on our enemies…and that he want’s our enemies to live in fear of us.

Well that is fine, except he is supporting an administration and a party that thrives on keeping the American people in fear of…everything.

Terrorism, for instance…are you really afraid that a terrorist is going to get you. Well neither are most Americans, as a story in the Birmingham News today reveals. Only 10.4 % rank a terrorist attack as their biggest fear. Losing their memory is first (21%), followed by being burned alive (19%), and snakes (11.5 %).

As for who is scary, Osama bin Laden (26.4%) barely beat out George W. Bush (24.s%). No surprise there. FearNet.com conducted the survey.

Notice that same sex marriage is not listed as something to be fearful of, but if you listen to republicans, it is the biggest threat to America since the witches in Salem way back when.

And Forbes has released the list of highest earning dead celebrities. Elvis is No. 1, after earning $49 million in the last 12 months. John Lennon is second with earnings of $44 million.

Oh, I am just glad that my daughter no longer attends Hoover High School (having graduated a few years ago) and that my son is a senior elsewhere. It’s just a crazy place, I wish the football team success in the playoffs, and lets put Suzy Baker on the scary list. Seems like the crowd at the school board meeting did not like her either, and one Hoover parent suggested they park outside her house and see what goes on in her private life. The parents point was that we don’t need to be prying in to any one’s private life, coaches included.

And hey, Jess Lanier is still undefeated (9-0) but hardly a mention on TV sports last week. Possibly because their game was on Thursday rather than Friday, but still, no respect. Lanier plays Gadsden City (8-1) this week at home. Good luck Tigers.

>Tough Questions for Republican Candidates

October 30, 2007

>Someone at The Western Star is not happy. First they call this site a “pathetic blog” and later a “joke of a web site.” What a difference of opinion, when Bubba at The Western Tribune called me master of the blogosphere or some such title just a week or so ago.

Readers…time to vote! Joke or Master? Or somewhat in between.

Jester or master I will continue to write about progressive issues, using science and fact and truth to back me up, and will not be intimidated by threats from Fox hounds or any other right wingnuts that want to curtail scientific advancement and deny humankind’s responsibility in taking care of our enviroment. That includes the president (White House eviscerates Gerberding’s testimony ) and it includes newspaper editors.

And when I read an opinion or a news story in that or any other newspaper that is obviously plagiarized I will report it as such. Acceptance of plagiarism in a local paper brings the image of Bessemer down and we don’t need any help. I would hope higher standards would be observed. For those who do not think plagiarism is serious, and you know I am talking about you, read this from 2003 .

Now on to the issue of the day.

The other night I was watching Real Time with Bill Maher and Andrew Sullivan was a guest. One of the things that I really liked was that Bill pointed out two questions on Andrew’s blog that Andrew would like to ask the republican presidential candidates. Now for those of you who don’t know, Andrew Sullivan in a conservative blogger who happens to be gay. He admits he voted for Bush…once. He is often on as a panelist on the Chris Matthews show. His blog site is Daily Dish .

I could not find the questions on the blog…they are in the archives somewhere, but they are worth repeating here.

Question number 1. “If you could go back in time, would you abort the fetus that would become Osama Bin Laden”?

He especially was interested in how flip flopping Mitt Romney would wrap himself around that one.

Question number 2. Remember how at one of the debates all the republican candidates were trying to out macho the other by saying how they would prevent terrorism and had that “torture first ask questions later” mentality. Well, Andrew wonders…”if you as president could prevent an act of terrorism by having sex with a man, would you do it”?

Great questions for the republican youtube debate coming up soon.

Meanwhile, the democrats debate tonight. I look for Hillary Clinton to again look strong against the other candidates. If you think I am leaning more toward Clinton, you are right. More on that later.

Tough Questions for Republican Candidates

October 30, 2007

Someone at The Western Star is not happy. First they call this site a “pathetic blog” and later a “joke of a web site.” What a difference of opinion, when Bubba at The Western Tribune called me master of the blogosphere or some such title just a week or so ago.

Readers…time to vote! Joke or Master? Or somewhat in between.

Jester or master I will continue to write about progressive issues, using science and fact and truth to back me up, and will not be intimidated by threats from Fox hounds or any other right wingnuts that want to curtail scientific advancement and deny humankind’s responsibility in taking care of our enviroment. That includes the president (White House eviscerates Gerberding’s testimony ) and it includes newspaper editors.

And when I read an opinion or a news story in that or any other newspaper that is obviously plagiarized I will report it as such. Acceptance of plagiarism in a local paper brings the image of Bessemer down and we don’t need any help. I would hope higher standards would be observed. For those who do not think plagiarism is serious, and you know I am talking about you, read this from 2003 .

Now on to the issue of the day.

The other night I was watching Real Time with Bill Maher and Andrew Sullivan was a guest. One of the things that I really liked was that Bill pointed out two questions on Andrew’s blog that Andrew would like to ask the republican presidential candidates. Now for those of you who don’t know, Andrew Sullivan in a conservative blogger who happens to be gay. He admits he voted for Bush…once. He is often on as a panelist on the Chris Matthews show. His blog site is Daily Dish .

I could not find the questions on the blog…they are in the archives somewhere, but they are worth repeating here.

Question number 1. “If you could go back in time, would you abort the fetus that would become Osama Bin Laden”?

He especially was interested in how flip flopping Mitt Romney would wrap himself around that one.

Question number 2. Remember how at one of the debates all the republican candidates were trying to out macho the other by saying how they would prevent terrorism and had that “torture first ask questions later” mentality. Well, Andrew wonders…”if you as president could prevent an act of terrorism by having sex with a man, would you do it”?

Great questions for the republican youtube debate coming up soon.

Meanwhile, the democrats debate tonight. I look for Hillary Clinton to again look strong against the other candidates. If you think I am leaning more toward Clinton, you are right. More on that later.

>The Western Star and Global Warming

October 29, 2007

>Certain topics will be addressed again and again, and global warming is one of them. When I read something that is absolutely in error, in fact, that makes the writer look foolish, I will comment.

So when I read in The Western Star on Wednesday the Dale Jones editorial slamming Al Gore and the Nobel Peace Prize process I felt obligated. Here is what he writes: “There is absolutely, positively no scientific evidence to support global warming.”

I could argue against that statement, but I don’t need to. Read on.

Here are some quotes from Dale’s article:

“While ground-level temperature measurements suggest the earth has warmed between 0.3 and 0.6 degrees Celsius since 1850, global satellite data, the most reliable of climate measurements, show no evidence of warming during the past 18 years”.

A Gallup poll found that only 17 percent of the members of the Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society think that the warming of the 20th century has been a result of greenhouse gas emissions – principally CO2 from burning fossil fuels”.

“While atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by 28 percent over the past 150 years, human-generated carbon dioxide could have played only a small part in any warming, since most of the warming occurred prior to 1940 – before most human-caused carbon dioxide emissions”.

Now…here are some quotes from a brief analysis from the National Center for Policy analysis written by H. Sterling Burnett:

“While ground-level temperature measurements suggest the earth has warmed between 0.3 and 0.6 degrees Celsius since 1850, global satellite data, the most reliable of climate measurements, show no evidence of warming during the past 18 years”.

“A Gallup poll found that only 17 percent of the members of the Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society think that the warming of the 20th century has been a result of greenhouse gas emissions – principally CO2 from burning fossil fuels”.

“While atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by 28 percent over the past 150 years, human-generated carbon dioxide could have played only a small part in any warming, since most of the warming occurred prior to 1940 – before most human-caused carbon dioxide emissions”.

First, Dale, this information that you are basing your argument on is 10 years old. This was written in 1997. Ten year old data!!! Scientists and others…even Newt Gingrich (his new book A Contract with the Earth) are currently overwhelmingly supportive of climate change and man’s role in it, along with mankind’s responsibility for doing something against it. (I admit I have not read Gingrich’s book, and wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him, so I don’t how supportive he is, but that is beside the point).

Second, Dale, and more importantly, this is plagiarism. You are writing for a newspaper, and should know better than to copy someone elses work without giving them credit. If I were to do this in school, I would be severely disciplined…we are warned about it all the time. You should know better Dale. People from newspapers more prestigious than yours have lost their jobs for plagiarism. You should lose yours too, if you can’t even put the outdated material you report as fact in your own words. Have you taken any journalism courses Dale? What did they teach you?

Dale, you also plagiarized from this site , and probably others. Why should we believe anything written in your newspaper, when you take credit for the work of others as if it were your own?

Don’t write about that which you do not know about, and when you do, give credit where credit is due. If you are allowed to keep your job.

The Western Star and Global Warming

October 29, 2007

Certain topics will be addressed again and again, and global warming is one of them. When I read something that is absolutely in error, in fact, that makes the writer look foolish, I will comment.

So when I read in The Western Star on Wednesday the Dale Jones editorial slamming Al Gore and the Nobel Peace Prize process I felt obligated. Here is what he writes: “There is absolutely, positively no scientific evidence to support global warming.”

I could argue against that statement, but I don’t need to. Read on.

Here are some quotes from Dale’s article:

“While ground-level temperature measurements suggest the earth has warmed between 0.3 and 0.6 degrees Celsius since 1850, global satellite data, the most reliable of climate measurements, show no evidence of warming during the past 18 years”.

A Gallup poll found that only 17 percent of the members of the Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society think that the warming of the 20th century has been a result of greenhouse gas emissions – principally CO2 from burning fossil fuels”.

“While atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by 28 percent over the past 150 years, human-generated carbon dioxide could have played only a small part in any warming, since most of the warming occurred prior to 1940 – before most human-caused carbon dioxide emissions”.

Now…here are some quotes from a brief analysis from the National Center for Policy analysis written by H. Sterling Burnett:

“While ground-level temperature measurements suggest the earth has warmed between 0.3 and 0.6 degrees Celsius since 1850, global satellite data, the most reliable of climate measurements, show no evidence of warming during the past 18 years”.

“A Gallup poll found that only 17 percent of the members of the Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society think that the warming of the 20th century has been a result of greenhouse gas emissions – principally CO2 from burning fossil fuels”.

“While atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by 28 percent over the past 150 years, human-generated carbon dioxide could have played only a small part in any warming, since most of the warming occurred prior to 1940 – before most human-caused carbon dioxide emissions”.

First, Dale, this information that you are basing your argument on is 10 years old. This was written in 1997. Ten year old data!!! Scientists and others…even Newt Gingrich (his new book A Contract with the Earth) are currently overwhelmingly supportive of climate change and man’s role in it, along with mankind’s responsibility for doing something against it. (I admit I have not read Gingrich’s book, and wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him, so I don’t how supportive he is, but that is beside the point).

Second, Dale, and more importantly, this is plagiarism. You are writing for a newspaper, and should know better than to copy someone elses work without giving them credit. If I were to do this in school, I would be severely disciplined…we are warned about it all the time. You should know better Dale. People from newspapers more prestigious than yours have lost their jobs for plagiarism. You should lose yours too, if you can’t even put the outdated material you report as fact in your own words. Have you taken any journalism courses Dale? What did they teach you?

Dale, you also plagiarized from this site , and probably others. Why should we believe anything written in your newspaper, when you take credit for the work of others as if it were your own?

Don’t write about that which you do not know about, and when you do, give credit where credit is due. If you are allowed to keep your job.

>Arizona Nature

October 26, 2007

>There is more to nature in Arizona that geology: mountains, canyons and deserts. Flora and fauna is varied and interesting, and here is a little bit:

This prickly cactus is in the Red Rock region.

On the trail to Bell Rock there was a variety of plant life, including lots of these.


This butte is near Phoenix. Saguaro and other cacti populate the hillside. This property is part of the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.


Saguaro cactuses do not begin to grow arms until they are 50 – 100 years old. Mature cacti can hold tons of water, and are host to a variety of bird and other life. Many of the cacti have holes in them where Gila woodpeckers have made homes, and later other animals and birds use the holes to live in. Cactus wrens also make nests on the “shoulders” of the arms.


Up north near the Grand Canyon elk are common. And large. There was a male with antlers nearby, but we couldn’t get a good picture of him

These crows (I guess) were pursuing this hawk, and the hawk was not happy about it.


Butterflies are common even in the desert.

And my favorite was this little lizard. It was only about three inches long, but was not at all intimidated by me pointing my camera.

I think he was trying to sell me some insurance, but I wouldn’t listen. Next week it’s back to commentary.

Arizona Nature

October 26, 2007

There is more to nature in Arizona that geology: mountains, canyons and deserts. Flora and fauna is varied and interesting, and here is a little bit:

This prickly cactus is in the Red Rock region.

On the trail to Bell Rock there was a variety of plant life, including lots of these.


This butte is near Phoenix. Saguaro and other cacti populate the hillside. This property is part of the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.


Saguaro cactuses do not begin to grow arms until they are 50 – 100 years old. Mature cacti can hold tons of water, and are host to a variety of bird and other life. Many of the cacti have holes in them where Gila woodpeckers have made homes, and later other animals and birds use the holes to live in. Cactus wrens also make nests on the “shoulders” of the arms.


Up north near the Grand Canyon elk are common. And large. There was a male with antlers nearby, but we couldn’t get a good picture of him

These crows (I guess) were pursuing this hawk, and the hawk was not happy about it.


Butterflies are common even in the desert.

And my favorite was this little lizard. It was only about three inches long, but was not at all intimidated by me pointing my camera.

I think he was trying to sell me some insurance, but I wouldn’t listen. Next week it’s back to commentary.

>It is More than Grand

October 25, 2007

>No picture that I have seen, or that I have taken, no video footage, even the IMAX movie about the subject, compares to seeing the Grand Canyon in person.

I can imagine the first Native American, or the first European settler, coming upon it, with no idea that it was there. Because it does sort of just sneak up on you. Regular flat mountain desert turns to woodsy and then this:

If one believes in the forces of nature, that this world is a natural world formed through processes that take millions of years, then the Grand Canyon should rank as the pinnacle of all the actions that formed the earth as we know it.

Geologists tell us that the Kaibab limestone that forms the rims of the canyon was formed 270 million years ago, and the older rocks at the bottom date to 1,840 million years ago. But the canyon itself was formed over the last 5-6 million years.

It was a cloudy, windy day when we were there.

Some believe that the Grand Canyon, and all the beauty of the earth, is part of the handiwork of God. If so, this is his finest work, the colors and the breadth and depth of the canyon are almost impossible to comprehend, even when standing right there looking in to it. The sun was trying to come out when I took this picture.

Most probably believe in both God and nature, and by this I do not mean “Intelligent Design,” which to me is an attempt to take real science out of the picture.

From the South Rim you can hike down into the canyon to plateau point…you can see the trail leading out to the point right in the middle of this photo… or even further down to the floor of the canyon where there is a lodge and campground.


We started down the trail, with no intention of going to the bottom. In fact there are signs advising not to try to hike to the bottom and back in one day, that people die trying. There are emergency phones along the trail, and water, and even rest rooms.

We would like to go to the bottom, but if we ever do, we will let the mules do the work. Here, looking like ants, is a convoy of mules with riders returning from the canyon.

The trail down leads through this opening.

One other way to explore the canyon is riding on the Grand Canyon Railway.

And we were pleased to see that there are progressives in the area. This sign is along Highway 64 as you approach (or leave) the canyon.


At any rate, be glad that in 1908 Teddy Roosevelt declared the Canyon a National Monument, and that in 1919 Congress declared the area a National Park. It deserves a visit by everyone.

It is More than Grand

October 25, 2007

No picture that I have seen, or that I have taken, no video footage, even the IMAX movie about the subject, compares to seeing the Grand Canyon in person.

I can imagine the first Native American, or the first European settler, coming upon it, with no idea that it was there. Because it does sort of just sneak up on you. Regular flat mountain desert turns to woodsy and then this:

If one believes in the forces of nature, that this world is a natural world formed through processes that take millions of years, then the Grand Canyon should rank as the pinnacle of all the actions that formed the earth as we know it.

Geologists tell us that the Kaibab limestone that forms the rims of the canyon was formed 270 million years ago, and the older rocks at the bottom date to 1,840 million years ago. But the canyon itself was formed over the last 5-6 million years.

It was a cloudy, windy day when we were there.

Some believe that the Grand Canyon, and all the beauty of the earth, is part of the handiwork of God. If so, this is his finest work, the colors and the breadth and depth of the canyon are almost impossible to comprehend, even when standing right there looking in to it. The sun was trying to come out when I took this picture.

Most probably believe in both God and nature, and by this I do not mean “Intelligent Design,” which to me is an attempt to take real science out of the picture.

From the South Rim you can hike down into the canyon to plateau point…you can see the trail leading out to the point right in the middle of this photo… or even further down to the floor of the canyon where there is a lodge and campground.


We started down the trail, with no intention of going to the bottom. In fact there are signs advising not to try to hike to the bottom and back in one day, that people die trying. There are emergency phones along the trail, and water, and even rest rooms.

We would like to go to the bottom, but if we ever do, we will let the mules do the work. Here, looking like ants, is a convoy of mules with riders returning from the canyon.

The trail down leads through this opening.

One other way to explore the canyon is riding on the Grand Canyon Railway.

And we were pleased to see that there are progressives in the area. This sign is along Highway 64 as you approach (or leave) the canyon.


At any rate, be glad that in 1908 Teddy Roosevelt declared the Canyon a National Monument, and that in 1919 Congress declared the area a National Park. It deserves a visit by everyone.