Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Climate Control - The Earth Spins

Global warming is just a theory, not a fact. In fact, it is officially incorrect. Now when something is officially incorrect, a lie if you will, should the Bush administration be putting out reports and stuff implying that global warming is real? Of course not, but you have to be vigilant, because all these scientists are always trying to run their theories through the government presses. And that is why you have to have the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Now the House Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform has released documents showing that the WHCEQ chief of staff, Philip A. Cooney, made hundreds of changes to government climate reports to, as the NYT put it, “play up uncertainty of a human role in global warming or play down evidence of such a role.” Big deal. Mr. Cooney said that the editing was just part of the normal White House review process.

Mr. Cooney has a strong background in climate control. Before joining the White House he was the “climate team leader” for the American Petroleum Institute, the main industry lobby. He also has no scientific background, so he was unbiased, basing his editing and recommendations on the “most authoritative and current views of the state of scientific knowledge”. During the March 2007 congressional hearing, Cooney conceded his role in altering reports to downplay the adverse effects of man-made emissions on the planet's climate, but said his past work opposing restrictions on heat-trapping gases for the oil industry had no influence on his work for the administration. "My sole loyalty was to the President and advancing the policies of his administration."

Mr. Cooney left the Bush administration in 2005 and went to work for Exxon Mobil, two days after the first reports on his editing came out in the NYT, but the White House made it clear that his resignation had nothing to do with the disclosures.

Wikipedia Note: In March 2002, Myron Ebell, director of global warming at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote a memo to Mr. Cooney, that was later obtained by Greenpeace, explaining how they were going to deal with the publication of the Climate Action Report 2002 by attacking Christine Todd Whitman, adding that he was helping to "drive a wedge between the President and those in the Administration who think they are serving the president's best interests by publishing this rubbish."

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Booster Boo Ban Boo Hoo

Last fall a committee of 15 high school administrators from across Washington State met to discuss sportsmanship. The upshot is that the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has prepared guidelines for fan behavior which will ban booing, along with other unsportsmanlike conduct like pompoms with things printed on them. Those foam fingers are also out.

"I don't know why people think it's acceptable to boo in the first place," WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said. "It's a pretty novel concept to me." He added that "this is still in the draft stages; We want ...all of our nine districts (to) have the same policies. I think there are a lot more positive ways to generate school spirit than by being negative." The association already prohibits any negative commentary about officiating before, during or after any interscholastic activity or athletic event. "Constructive criticism or comments are always welcomed," the organization's handbook states, "and should be made available through the proper channels (verbally or in writing) directly to the person(s) involved and/or their immediate supervisors." Booing the ref’s call is not, however, considered “constructive criticism”, at least when not through proper channels.

Not everyone thinks the boo ban is a good idea. "They're kidding, right?" asked Rainier Beach High School boys basketball coach Mike Bethea. “If they won't let people boo at a basketball game, what's next?" Fortunately, The Seattle P.I. has a feature with the on line story called “Sound Off” where readers can offer their opinions. Unfortunately, not all have been within the proposed rules. Fortunately, there is also a button following each comment labeled “Report Violations”. Among the 179 comments: “boo”; and particularly grievous- “BOOOO-OOOOOO-OOOOOOO!!!!
-Editor's Note: The association is proposing to give a technical foul to the team whose boosters boo. Highschoolers have a sense of humor, and fairness, beyond what these admin types appreciate. Prediction: Award a foul and the opposite team boosters will boo to even it up. Who says it isn't great to be in high school?

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Principals of Target Selection

Shortly after President Bush began his second term, his close associate, fellow Texan, and White House counsel Harriet Miers conveyed an idea, source unknown, to D. Kyle Sampson, former Deputy White House counsel and then Chief of Staff to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, the president’s close associate, fellow Texan, and former White House counsel. The idea was to fire and replace all 93 of the U.S. Attorneys. While everyone was just wild about Harry (she was to have her 3 ½ weeks of fame as a Supreme Court nominee that fall), some were not wild about Harry’s idea, or conveyance thereof.

You see, under the political spoils system every new president fires all the U.S. Attorneys and appoints his own supporters, generally choosing among recommendations from big contributors. The term is four years, and, customarily, if your guy gets reelected, the ride is for eight. The “idea” would therefore involve firing 93 supporters in midstream and replacing them with 93 other supporters. You know about horses and streams.

D. Kyle replied in March 2005, suggesting that they instead just “target” a limited number of U.S. Attorneys to “mitigate the shock to the system that would result from an across-the-board firing” and provided a proposed “strikeout” list. In a continuous stream of email messages between the White House and the Justice Department over the next two years, the list evolved, with targets added and deleted. A list of seven was finally approved, along with a five step blueprint for carrying out the executive action. The targets were advised in December 2006, while Alberto Gonzales and the White House communications office called the senators in the affected states. While Al thereby gained knowledge of who the targets were, he made it clear in his press conference Tuesday that he had no direct knowledge of how the targets were selected. Al also acknowledged “that mistakes were made here”, but no one knows what he meant, exactly. Dan Bartlett, President Bush’s counselor, also made it clear that “the White House did not play a role in the seven U.S. attorneys.”

The next day President Bush took time out of his busy schedule in Mexico to say he was “frankly not happy about” the way it was handled, but defended the removals as “customary practice”, adding “I’ve heard those allegations about political decision making. It’s just not true.”

Monday, March 12, 2007


Hunting Blind in the Texas Legislature

There is no vision test to get a hunting license in Texas, and no rule against a blind person hunting. But it is still awkward, for obvious reasons. Currently a sighted person has to look over the shoulder of the blind person and tell him there is an animal out there, and which way to point the gun. Sort of “up a little, nope, too high, a little to the left” and so on. The blind person gets to pull the trigger, but the joy of actually killing something is elusive, as it is very difficult to hit anything that way.

State Rep. Edmund Kuempel to the rescue. He has introduced a bill that will exempt blind people from the usual prohibition on hunting with laser sights. "This opens up the fun of hunting to additional people, and I think that's great," Kuempel said. A laser sight projects a visible dot on the spot where a bullet will hit, allowing the sighted person to give more accurate instructions about which way to move the muzzle (and without standing right in the way of the recoil). As an added benefit, the bill also allows blind hunters to use an otherwise prohibited spotlight. That tends to freeze the deer in place, allowing time to respond to the verbal instructions.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has until January 1, 2008, to come up with rules defining “legally blind” and what kind of proof the hunter will have to carry to justify his laser sight. It is tricky. You could end up with an awful lot of “visually impaired” hunters. You also don’t want to create a cottage industry of blind people hiring themselves out as gun bearers.
"No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session" -Judge Gideon J. Tucker

Friday, March 09, 2007


Have a Beer, Save a Bear

The Fish and Wildlife Service is sending two employees to international meetings on the Arctic. One, Janet Hohn, will attend a meeting in Norway on conserving Arctic animals and plants. The other, Craig Perham, an expert on polar bears, will go to the Siberian coast to advise villagers on how to avoid polar bears. The bears have shifted their migrations closer to inhabited areas as warming trends have altered the sea ice.

The Service has provided guidance regarding what the two should discuss while in Norway and Russia. One memo from agency director H. Dale Hall says they “will not be speaking on or responding to questions about climate change, polar bears and sea ice….” A second memo from Mr. Hall says Mr. Perham “understands the administration’s position on climate change, polar bears and sea ice and will not be speaking on or responding to those issues.”

Mr. Hall stressed that it has been a longstanding practice to require strict adherence to a set agenda. While no agenda has yet been established for the polar bear meeting, it presumably will focus on humans avoiding being eaten by polar bears rather than polar bears per se or other no-nos like sea ice or climate change. If a polar bear is after you, you really don’t care why.

The meeting in Norway apparently does have an agenda, as Tina Kreisher, spokeswoman for the Interior Department, parent of the Service, said that climate was “not the subject of the agenda”. She did note that Mrs. Hahn would be free to talk about climate change “over a beer”. There are polar bears in Norway, and they could apparently also be discussed over a beer, but the meeting is about conserving Arctic animals in general, so there will be no reason to get hung up on just one animal.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Don't Touch That Remote

Are you using your DVR to shirk your responsibilities in the war on terror?

Asked in an interview why he had asked no sacrifice from the American people, President Bush responded: “Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night.”

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Challenge to Evolution as Jewish Religion

State officials have discovered that the so-called “science” of evolution is actually a religion, and a Jewish one to boot. As such, they maintain that it is illegal for the government to finance research involving evolution (separation of church and state).

Warren Chisum, R. Panhandle, chairman of the Texas House Appropriations Committee, circulated a memo to all 149 other Texas Representatives, pointing out that “indisputable evidence – long hidden but now available to everyone – demonstrates conclusively that the so-called secular evolution science is the Big Bang 15 billion-year alternate ‘creation scenario’ of the Pharisee Religion…. This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings on the mystic ‘holy book’ kabbala dating back at least two millennia.”

The memo directed inquiries to the “non-moving Earth and anti-evolution web page” of the Fair Education Foundation website. That site notes that the earth is stationary, as per the bible, and contrary theories are due to thinkers such as “Kabbalist physicist Albert Einstein”.

The memo was sent to Mr. Chisum by the president of FEF, at the request of a Georgia legislator, Ben Bridges, a “long time friend and supporter” of FEF, who had distributed the memo to the Georgia legislature. In his cover letter on the memo, Mr. Chisum said he greatly appreciated Mr. Bridges “information on this important topic.”

Well, there was a big fuss, as the Jews don’t want to be held responsible for evolution, and the memo was condemned by the Anti-Defamation League. Mr. Chisum apologized, and noted that while he had read the memo, nobody asked him to edit it. Apparently some of his best friends are Jewish, and he said he had “engaged” one Mr. Wolens to intercede on his behalf. Mr. Wolens, a lawyer whose wife is the mayor of Dallas, noted that he had always found Mr. Chisum to be respectful to people of the Jewish faith.

There has been no reaction from the Bush administration regarding funding of the evolution religion, but it is possible that in the future it may have to be handled through the White House Office of Faith Based Initiatives.

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