Friday, October 27, 2006

Letter-to-the-editor from Kelly Boyd’s Unhappy Neighbor

Letter-to-the-editor from Laguna Beach Independent Friday, October 27, 2006.

page A9
Neighbors and Neighborhoods
Should we vote the fox in to guard the henhouse?
There have been a few concerns voiced in these pages regarding the potential election of one local bar owner, Kelly Boyd, into our city council. Here are just a couple of additional items to consider when heading to the polls on November 7th.

Mr. Boyd has been quoted as saying “Neighborhoods have to work together” and “no view should be lost”. Wouldn’t that also mean that actual neighbors have to work together to make certain that no view is lost, hindered, or compromised? Shouldn’t that apply to Mr. Boyd as well?

When Mr. Boyd purchased and began the remodel of his current residence immediately below my house almost nine years ago, his current statements were in complete contrast to his actions toward me.

I came home from work one day to find all of the trees and shrubs in my backyard completely removed – down to the root ball. Years of

See Letters, page A10...
nurturing a privacy landscape was destroyed with total disregard. Mr. Boyd simply did not like the way my property looked, so he had it cleared! He wasn’t a shining example of ‘neighbors working together’ then.

During his remodel, he required approval from our Design Review Board. Mr. Boyd received an approval, and then added elements on his own that were not approved by the Board. He returned to Design Review for approval of the new features. His request was denied and he was required to comply with the prior approvals.

Then a mysterious thing happened. Mr. Boyd did not appeal to the City Council. Former Council Member Paul Freeman contacted the City Clerk, claimed he had been listening to tapes of the Design Review Board hearing of Mr. Boyd’s project, and concluded that Mr. Boyd had been treated unfairly. Mr. Freeman asked for a Council hearing.

Prior to the hearing at City Council, I reached an agreement with Mr. Boyd that he cover the illegal windows he added, and that he tone down the lighting. Mr. Boyd agreed, and the Council adopted the agreement.

Then again, Mr. Boyd really didn’t want to adhere. He seems to like his home lit up like a shopping center, to the destruction of beautiful city lights views from my house.
I have sought Mr. Boyd’s cooperation on many occasions, but he refuses my efforts.
So, as a long-time member of the ‘good ole boys’ he garnered the help of the former City Council to close up the case and make it go away.

Why would you invite these types of dealings to our City Council?

Brett Daly
Laguna Beach

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

North Korea Timeline to Nuclear Bomb

From Wall Street Journal October 10, 2006

Scare Tactics
In its pursuit of nuclear weapons

1993: Drops out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

1994: Agrees to dismantle its weapons program to comply with treaty in exchange for help building two nuclear power plants

1998: Fires missile over Japan

January 2003: Drops out of treaty again

August: Begins talks with U.S. and others

February 2005: Suspends talks and declares it possesses nuclear weapons

September: Agrees to end building nuclear weapons and allow inspections in exchange for aid and security assurances

January 2006: Says it won’t hold talks unless U.S. lifts financial restrictions imposed due to counterfeiting U.S. dollars

July: Tests long-range missiles

October 9: Claims it successfully tested a nuclear weapon

So the Clinton administration held one-on-one talks with North Korea and got them in 1994 to “Agrees to dismantle its weapons program to comply with treaty in exchange for help building two nuclear power plants”

Unfortunately, North Korea promptly cheated and did not keep their word.

And the Bush administration through the six-party talks (including China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea) also got an agreement. In September 2005, North Korea “Agrees to end building nuclear weapons and allow inspections in exchange for aid and security assurances”.

However, North Korea had a very large and sophisticated counterfeiting operation of United States currency. So the North Koreans, once again, reneged on their agreement. In January 2006: “Says it won’t hold talks unless U.S. lifts financial restrictions imposed due to counterfeiting U.S. dollars”.

From my analysis, the problem is not whether we talk one-on-one or along with four allies. The problem is that North Korea will not keep their agreements, which, by the way, includes the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty which does not allow withdrawal.

Democrats Opposed Missile Defense Every Step of the Way

Nuclear weapon testing by North Korea would indicate to most sensible people that the United States needs an effective missile defense system to protect Americans and our allies. It certainly would be better to have Japan go missile defense than have Japan go nuclear.

Senator Ted Kennedy isn’t too bright, but he was a genius in opposing President Ronald Reagan missile defense program by always referring to it as “Star Wars”. Kennedy effectively got the press to always refer to this serious and important non-offensive military program with this most disparaging and misleading term.

How did the Democrats view missile defense later on after India and Pakistan had joined the nuclear arms club? See September 11, 2001 Washington Post article Sen. Biden Attacks Missile Defense Plans as Costly, Risky by Steven Mufson. It includes:

■ “In a spirited attack on President Bush's plans for national missile defense, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) said yesterday the administration was risking a new arms race … that would never add to U.S. security.”

■ Quoting Senator Biden as saying "in truth, our real security needs are much more earthbound and far less costly than national missile defense."

■ The article notes “Biden's speech was the latest effort by Democrats in Congress to undermine Bush's missile defense plans, as well as his image on foreign policy matters among American voters.”

■ “Moreover, congressional Democrats have been trying to use their legislative clout to scale back Bush's missile defense proposal” “Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee succeeded Friday in cutting $1.3 billion from the administration's $8.3 billion request for missile defense.”

■ “Democrats on the panel also fenced off missile defense funds for tests in the next fiscal year that would violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.”

■ “Biden said yesterday that the United States should be a country ‘that doesn't abandon arms control treaties with the excuse that they are relics of the Cold War,’ paraphrasing a Bush speech that criticized the ABM Treaty.”

■ “He said Bush had shown ‘almost theological allegiance to missile defense,’ despite the possibility that systems under consideration would not be reliable. Biden noted that Rumsfeld said in May that if the system worked 70 percent of the time, that would be ‘plenty’ to justify deployment. ‘Folks, 30 percent failure for any national defense system could be called plenty of things, but plenty successful is not one of them,’ Biden said.”

■ “Biden said U.S. deterrence during the Persian Gulf War a decade ago prevented Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from using weapons of mass destruction… ‘He had chemical weapons. He had biological weapons. Why did he not use them if deterrence does not work?’ "

US Military Meets Enlistment & Re-Enlistment Goals

See Wall Street Journal October 11, 2006 Editorial “Enlistment Success Story

Did you hear about the success the US military, including the ARMY, has had filling their ranks? The press seems to only want to publicize difficulties. Not to be helpful, but apparently wishing for our defeat. The worst fear of liberals and the press is the United States winning in Iraq, as that would be a Bush victory. They root for a US defeat in Iraq so it will be a defeat for Bush and lead to greater political power for liberals.

The editorial included:
■ “in fiscal 2006 the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines all met or exceeded active-duty recruitment goals”.

■ “More impressive, the number of active duty servicemen who re-enlisted exceeded the DoD's goals in every area. Looks like many troops believe in the mission enough to willingly return to a difficult battlefield.”

■ “Many of those young people, despite the luxury of choice, have decided to ship off to boot camp and join the world's finest all-volunteer military force. It'd be nice if a few more politicians and pundits respected their decision.”

Monday, October 09, 2006

New York Times Gas Prices Editorial Concludes We Should Drill in ANWAR

Could you believe the New York Times October 8, 2006 Editorial Roller Coaster at the Pump on unstable gasoline prices. It’s going down now before the election, but, just wait, gas prices will go up again. They really stuck their necks out with that prediction. The editorial included:

■ “42percent of respondents to a Gallup poll saying that they believed the Bush administration was manipulating prices ahead of the election”

■ However “no one can control the 85-million-barrel-a-day global market in petroleum products”

■ “consumers’ gut feeling that something is not right with the gasoline market is a recognition of fundamental changes in supply and demand that have made prices more volatile and attracted ever more speculation. Average Americans find themselves at the whim of an increasingly capricious market, one that strikes hard in the pocketbook. And it might become worse.”

■ “Now, with little additional capacity, rising prices are necessary to balance out supply and demand. Each bump can feel like an earthquake. But to speculators, volatility means the potential for big profits, so hedge funds and investment banks pile in to make bets, bidding oil futures up to unnatural highs and making the market even more unstable.”

■ “Predictions of another dire hurricane season this summer had the speculators salivating as they envisioned big storms headed for those oil rigs and refineries along the Gulf Coast. When the hurricanes failed to materialize and the driving season came to an unimpressive ending, the shouts of ‘Buy!’ turned to cries of ‘Sell!’ ”

■ “As long as the demand for oil and gasoline grows faster than the ability to produce and refine them, the slightest shocks to supply will keep sending prices rocketing higher. The only way to get a stable market back is to cut back consumption, through greater efficiency and alternative fuels.”

If the New York Times editorial board read their own editorial they might figure out the even small additional sources of supply could help stabilize gas prices. Anybody for drilling in ANWAR in Alaska?

Iraq Moves to Disarm the Militias – Fights Sadr Militia

See Washington Post October 9, 2006 article U.S. and Iraqi Forces Clash With Sadr Militia in South by Amit R. Paley.

The key to ending the sectarian violence in Iraq is for the central government to have a monopoly on violence, having the only army and police force, and disarming the militias. The article includes:
■ “U.S. troops engaged in ferocious clashes with militiamen loyal to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in southern Iraq on Sunday”

■ “American and Iraqi forces killed 30 fighters”

■ “In Baghdad, police reported the discovery of at least 53 bodies dumped across the capital over the past 24 hours. All of the victims had been shot and tortured, and their hands were bound. Militias have been blamed for similar killings thought to be driving the sectarian bloodshed.”

■ “Sadr officials expressed concern that the U.S. military would soon launch a strike on Sadr City or other Sadr strongholds”

Sunday, October 08, 2006

New York Times Headline – Iraq Government Changes Course Some Improvement

Not really the Sunday October 8, 2006 New York Times was actually was Suicide Bomber Kills 14 in Northern Iraq City by Sabrina Tavernise included:

■ “In Baghdad on Saturday, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki continued efforts at dialogue with Sunni Arab tribes of the western province of Anbar.

■ “Meeting with leaders in the Green Zone, Mr. Maliki called for a three-point plan to improve security in the war-torn province. The plan included broadening participation in local governments to include tribal leaders, financing a reconstruction effort, and assembling strong police and army forces quickly.”

■ “Iraqi authorities in the northern city of Kirkuk began a broad security crackdown, after an unusual curfew was imposed Friday night. Maj. Gen. Jamal Tahir said Iraqi and American troops were searching neighborhoods for weapons and militants, and that the curfew, imposed 6 p.m. on Friday, would be in place until further notice.”

■ “In the southern city of Najaf on Saturday, Iraq’s oil minister, Hussein al-Shahristani, opened a new refinery with the capacity to process about 10,000 barrels of oil a day. Mr. Shahristani said the government planned to open another refinery in the south of Iraq, in Karbala, with a daily capacity of about 200,000 barrels.”

Solutions to Reducing CO2 Emissions

Since the risks are so high, let’s assume the problem of global warming as depicted in the former Vice-President Al Gore movie “An Inconvenient Truth” is correct.

The Clinton-Gore did not make much progress on this issue as their approach is regulation, command and control. How about working together with conservatives, who believe in incentives and the law of supply and demand, to actually enact measures that would be effective?

- Expand nuclear power in the United States which is zero greenhouse gas emitting
- Assist expansion of nuclear power in China and India
- Discourage fossil fuel consumption in the US by adding a $1 per gallon gas and BTU tax,
but be revenue neutral simultaneously reducing other taxes
- Discourage beef consumption and methane production in the US by adding a meat tax,
but be revenue neutral simultaneously reducing other taxes
- Discourage resource consumption in the US by doubling property taxes and utilities for a
2nd home, triple for property taxes and utilities for a 3rd home, etc., but be revenue
neutral simultaneously reducing other taxes

Folks could consume as much gasoline, electricity, beef, and own as many home as they’d like, but they would substantially pay the taxes funding the government, and as costs of these items go up, demand will go down.

If liberals and conservatives worked together, these solutions could be enacted promptly and start reducing CO2 emissions.

The Al Gore movie states that 30% of CO2 emissions come from burning wood. The populations of China and India (whose emissions are exempt from the proposed Kyoto Treaty) totaled 2.4 billion in 2006 or 37% of the world’s population. They have a tremendous amount of people living in dire poverty. As they prosper, burning wood, deforestation, and population growth should decline.

New York Times Headline "Republicans Tolerant of Gays"

Not really the front page New York Times October 8, 2006 article headline is Foley Case Upsets Balance of Gay Republicans, but in the article it says in paragraphs 19, 20, and 21:

■ “In contrast to what many view as the right’s increasingly antigay rhetoric, members of both parties say there has been a growing tolerance for gay men and lesbians within the Republican ranks.”

■ “ ‘There’s been a change from 20 years ago when people used to be hyperconscious of staying in the closet,’ said Steve Elmendorf, an openly gay Democratic strategist who was the chief aide to former Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri”

■ “Robert Traynham, the top communications aide to Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, [who] had been openly gay for years, but that was not widely known in his professional life — until a gay rights advocate revealed his sexual orientation last year. Mr. Traynham confirmed the report, and Mr. Santorum issued a statement in support of his aide.”

It’s the Economy Stupid - Not in the New York Times

With the elections about a month ago, will pocketbook issues impact how voters will vote? How is the economy doing?

In the Sunday, October 8, 2006 New York Times you will not find out. There is not a single article about the US economy in the 30 page front section.

This week’s news included unemployment falling to 4.6%, the 2006 deficit down to $250 billion form $318 last year despite spending on hurricane relief, gasoline prices continuing to fall. Any worth an article? Not in Sunday’s New York Times

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Red Flag Necessary to Investigate Men Interfacing with Boys

All want to work diligently to keep pedophiles from harming children. But is the new standard that any suspicious act should be seen as a red flag? Is that enough for a full and thorough investigation to then be conducted including reading personal emails?

I think that any investigation should require some evidence of wrong doing.

What about when a man who spends a lot of time with boys? I am a stepfather who coached many Little Leagues teams and umpired many games. Also, I was involved with boys in AYSO, Pop Warner, and Indian Guides. Is it suspicious that none of these boys were my real sons?

I am sure I was seen hugging boys and patting them on their butts. Many times there was no other coach, so I was alone on the practice field with the boys. Is that suspicious enough for a full investigation?

I mention being a stepparent as I resent the way stepparents are depicted in movies, etc. However, I am more concerned for my gay friends. What’s the threshold required to conduct an investigation of a single man who volunteers to spend time working with boys? I hope it’s some evidence of wrong doing.

Congressman Mark Foley’s instant messages were the “smoking gun” proving improper behavior, but in the initial emails according to ABC News “Foley asks the young man how old he is, what he wants for his birthday and requests a photo of him” and not close to any evidence of wrong doing.

A parent responding with a demand for no future contact is fine, but not for the government to conduct an investigation.

Poor Burn Wood – Health & Global Warming Problem

How about a big push using nuclear power plants to generate electricity and solar box cooking for rural developing countries to improve the quality of life for many of ther world’s inhabitants, better manage the world’s forests, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to address global warming concerns?

See Solar Box Cookers, it includes:
■ “Half the inhabitants of Earth cook over woodfires. Nearly half the world's wood supply is used as fuel. But there's not enough of it to go round -- more than 2 billion people now face shortages of fuelwood.”

■ “Forests in the developing countries are shrinking by more than 15 million hectares a year. The critical forest-to-people ratio has never been lower -- worldwide, it is now less than half what it was in 1960.”

■ “Deforestation leads to soil erosion, floods and climate change, severe environmental degradation, and increasing poverty and hunger.”

■ “Solar box cookers produce no smoke and no pollution”

■ “Woodsmoke from cooking fires causes respiratory infections which kill at least 5 million young children each year.”

■ “Indoor smoke pollution now ranks 8th in health burden worldwide (lost years of healthy life)”

■ “Independent research indicates that indoor air pollution is a contributory cause of around two million deaths in developing countries. Acute respiratory infections, ear and eye problems, breathlessness, chest pains, headaches and giddiness are just some of the symptoms that poor woman and children suffer in their rural homes. And the cause? Smoke from cooking.”

■ “The WHO [World Health Organization] says diseases spread through contaminated water cause 80% of the world's illnesses. Solar box cookers can pasteurize drinking water: UNICEF estimates that 60% of rural families and 23% of urban families in developing countries are without safe water”

■ “too often it [wood] isn't properly burnt: cooking fires are often inefficient, wasting energy, failing to combust the wood properly, contributing to greenhouse gas release and creating severe indoor smoke pollution.”

See Prior Post: Nuclear Power Resurgence

Federal Deficit Down to $250 Billion

“Have you heard the news about the Federal deficit?” I asked a liberal who hadn’t care about the Federal deficit any time prior to the Bush administration. But who, in recent years, considers it a most important issue. However, the answer was “No, haven’t heard a thing”. This liberal should read Budget Deficit Drops to $250 Billion Washington Post article by Andrew Taylor (Associated Press) Saturday, October 7, 2006.

It includes:
■ “The federal budget deficit estimate for the fiscal year just completed has dropped to $250 billion”
■ “Tax receipts are up $253 billion, a whopping 12 percent over last year. That's the thirds consecutive year of strong revenue growth”
■ “comes despite soaring war costs and $50 billion in emergency spending for hurricane relief”
■ “The 2005 deficit registered $318 billion; the record $413 billion deficit was posted in 2004.”
■ “At 1.9 percent of gross domestic product, the 2006 deficit registers far below those seen in the 1980s and early 1990s”

Thinking it the worst economy since the 1930s great depression, my liberal friend laughed when President George W. Bush ran for re-election and pledge to cut the deficit in half in five years. So far, it’s down 39%, the unemployment rate is down to 4.6 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has hit record highs.

I guess we can all agree Bush is doing a pretty good job. Yes?

2004 Deficit $412 Billion
2005 Deficit $318 Billion

Friday, October 06, 2006

Democrats Reelect Congressman Who Has Sex with Underage Page

I was chatting with a liberal about Congressmen sending sexual emails to a former congressional page, and noted that it was worse for a Congressman to have sex with a page. I noted that when this happens Republicans abandon the politician while Democrats reelect the ephebophiliac. The liberal looked at me like I was making it all up.


Democratic Congressman Gerry Studds and Republican Congressman Daniel Crane were investigated by the House Ethics Committee and both plead guilty to having sex with minors, pages which were under the protection of the Congress. The Ethics Committee recommended reprimanding them.

“However, Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) demanded their expulsion. The House voted for censure, the first time that censure had been imposed for sexual misconduct. Republican Congressman Crane, who tearfully apologized for his transgression, lost his bid for reelection.”

“Democratic Congressman Studds, however, stood by the facts of the case and refused to apologize for his ephebophiliac behavior, and even turned his back and ignored the censure being read to him. He called a press conference with the former page, in which both stated that the child, who was 17, consented. Studds had taken the child to Morocco to engage in sexual activity, and therefore did not break any U.S. laws in what he called a ‘private relationship’. Democratic Congressman Studds continued to be reelected [another five terms] until his retirement.”

Not a Dime Worth of Difference Between Republicans and Democrats

HR 4844: Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006
Passed House
98% of Republicans supporting, 98% of Democrats opposing

House Approves 700-mile US-Mexico Border Fence
Passed House on a vote of 283-138
219 or 97% of Republicans supporting
132 or 67% of Democrats opposing

You might note that Bush has said he will sign the fence bill. It’s very unlikely that Gore or Kerry would do so.

Gasoline Prices Could Fall More

Did you see this article in the Wall Street Journal [subscription required] October 5, 2006
Gasoline Prices Could Fall More by STEVE LEVINE and CHRISTOPHER CONKEY
Natural Gas, Related Markets, Also Drop as Speculators Flee; Turnaround May Buoy

■ Gasoline prices have dropped more than 20% in the past two months, providing relief to consumers and potentially propping up an economy that is showing signs of slowing. Industry experts say further price declines are likely.
■ Industry analysts say pump prices could dip as much as 25 cents in the next week or two as lower wholesale gasoline and oil prices work their way through the system.