Friday, November 30, 2007

Do Anti-War Democrats Root for Victory in Iraq?

I was chatting with an anti-war Democrat friend and was delighted that although very much anti-war, agreed that we all hope that the United States would prevail in Iraq, defeat Al Qaeda and Baathist insurgents and end up with a functioning democracy in Iraq.

I hope everyone saw the New York Times November 20, 2007 front page article “Baghdad’s Weary Start to Exhale as Security Improves” by Damien Cave and Alissa J. Rubin. It included:
■ “The security improvements in most neighborhoods are real. Days now pass without a car bomb, after a high of 44 in the city in February. The number of bodies appearing on Baghdad’s streets has plummeted to about 5 a day, from as many as 35 eight months ago, and suicide bombings across Iraq fell to 16 in October, half the number of last summer and down sharply from a recent peak of 59 in March”.

■ “As a result, for the first time in nearly two years, people are moving with freedom around much of this city. In more than 50 interviews across Baghdad, it became clear that while there were still no-go zones, more Iraqis now drive between Sunni and Shiite areas for work, shopping or school, a few even after dark. In the most stable neighborhoods of Baghdad, some secular women are also dressing as they wish. Wedding bands are playing in public again, and at a handful of once shuttered liquor stores customers now line up outside in a collective rebuke to religious vigilantes from the Shiite Mahdi Army.”

■ “Iraqis are clearly surprised and relieved to see commerce and movement finally increase, five months after an extra 30,000 American troops arrived in the country.”

Thanks to Major General David Petraeus’ “new Army” Counterinsurgency Field Manual tactics replacing the “old Army” tactics of Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the United States may create a functioning democracy in the Middle East and provide a devastating defeat for our Al Qaeda War on Terror enemy.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Compare Environmental Example of Leaders

■ Bush’s house in Texas as Green as they come

■ “Bali International Airport is concerned that the large number of additional private charter flights expected in Bali during the UN Conference on Climate Change Dec 3-15, 2007, will exceed the carrying capacity of apron areas.”


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2nd Amendment is an Individual Right Since All Able-Bodied Males are Part of the Militia

In a letter-to-the-editor to the Wall Street Journal November 27, 2007 by Charles Cutshaw of Florence, Alabama was noted something I have never heard of before:
Title 10 U.S. Code Chapter13 section 311

“Section 311. Militia: composition and classes

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied
males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section
313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a
declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States
and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the
National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are -
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard
and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of
the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the
Naval Militia.”

So since I am “able-bodied males at least 17 years of age”, I am part of the “the unorganized militia”.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dennis McTighe Column Positive on Gene Felder

I appreciate the Dennis McTighe column which included “Mr. Felder has a good point in that we (the human race) haven’t been around long enough to have any idea of what rainfall did hundreds of years ago!”

“Usually our first heavy pulse arrives late October or early November.
Thanksgiving Day has had a history of being dry. Since 1958, it has only rained four times out of the 49 years I’ve been keeping track, in 1965, 1967, 1981 and 1994.
1965 was our wettest November with 9.65 inches, and we’ve been skunked seven times in 49 years, with no November rain at all in 1958, 1959, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1990, and 2006.
Mr. Felder has a good point in that we (the human race) haven’t been around long enough to have any idea of what rainfall did hundreds of years ago!”

Read the entire Weather or Not” column The Santana-Gloom Cycle that appeared in the Laguna Beach Independent November 25, 2007.

Friday, November 23, 2007

How Bad Was 2001 US Economy?

Letter-to-the-Editor published in Laguna Beach Independent November 23, 2007 Fuzzy Memories

I was telling a liberal friend of mine how serious the World Trade Towers terrorist attack was to the shaky U.S. economy and what a remarkable comeback we have made. My liberal friend seemed to think it was no big deal.

Since memories are sometimes fuzzy, I would direct your readers to

“Well before September 11, 2001 the U.S. economy was showing clear signs of weakness. Industrial production peaked in September 2000 and fell every month between then and August 2001. Employment peaked in March 2001, and 495,000 jobs were lost prior to the attacks. In addition, U.S. stock markets had already taken a beating. By September 10, the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index was down 28.5 percent from its peak and the NASDAQ Composite Index was down 66.4 percent.

In September 2001, retail sales fell by $6 billion (2.1 percent); durable goods new orders fell $11.6 billion (6.8 percent); and new claims for unemployment insurance surged by 50,000, the biggest monthly jump since August 1982. Industrial production fell 1.0 percent in September.

When stocks finally opened for trading on September 17, the S&P 500 fell another 7.0 percent while the NASDAQ fell 9.9 percent, before bottoming on September 21. Major airlines immediately cut scheduled flights by 30 percent, and even with fewer flights, planes were not full. Hotels experienced a surge in vacancies and the economy shed 1.1 million jobs in the final four months of 2001.”

UCI Professor Joie Jones Criticizes Gene Felder

Letter-to-the-Editor published in Laguna Beach Independent November 23, 2007 Global warming is a hoax and the world is flat

Gene Felder, in his latest missive to the Independent (Nov 16, 2007), suggests that global warming is a hoax since extreme weather patterns fluctuate so widely and unpredictably.
As usual, Mr. Felder almost always has his facts correct but fails to include certain key elements that would invalidate his original conclusions.

Yes, local weather patterns have fluctuated chaotically throughout recorded history; however, the point is, that even with these variations, the world wide average temperature has slowly risen since such measurements were first made prior to the Industrial Revolution and such temperature increases correlate directly with the amount of carbon dioxide generated as a consequence of population growth and industrialization. The present level of population density and carbon-based industrialization is producing an exponential increase in the average world wide temperature, which, if not dramatically reduced over the next decade will lead to an environmental disaster that human-kind is unlikely to survive. Yes, Mr. Felder, global warming is real and is without question the greatest problem the world community has ever faced.

To continue to believe that global warming is a hoax is akin to believing that the world is flat, in contradiction to all available scientific data to the contrary. Mr. Felder’s views on global warming are at least consistent with his continued support of the present national administration in which facts and truth are never allowed to alter belief or faith.

Joie Jones
Laguna Beach

Friday, November 16, 2007

Weather History

Letter-to-the-Editor published in Laguna Beach Independent November 16, 2007 Weather History

Some of my environmental allies act like the weather should be static, consistent and unchanging. It is odd that those interested in the environment do no know about the great diversity in nature and that nature is dynamic given to significant changes. When there are changes, extrapolation of data and assuming an ongoing continuation of the pattern is unscientific.

For example, I have heard it stated that man caused hurricane Katrina in 2005 and heard confident predictions that the intensity of hurricanes would only get worse. However, the last two hurricane seasons have been very tame.

The rainfall in Orange County seems very unusual with over thirty inches two years ago and the last two years closer to three inches. Is it caused by man? No. From the Orange County Register; July 21, 2007: “Weather experts say ocean temperatures will influence rainfall through year-end. La Niña, the weather phenomenon that has led to drought across the western United States, is likely to return by the end of the year, says the World Meteorological Organization.”

The Associated Press, writing about Los Angeles on March 7, 2007, states: “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather models suggest an emerging La Niña pattern…in the tropical Pacific will keep the area dry.”

Is over thirty inches two years ago, and four inches last year unprecedented? No.
I have been reading the book “Reflections in Orange” by Merle & Mabel Ramsey. In it they write: “Starting on Dec 24, 1861 heavy rains hit the area of Orange. It rained almost continually for four months. The Santa Ana River overflowed its banks and water covered the entire basin from the foothills to the coast, to the Coyote Hills. Anaheim was inundated. Many of its buildings crumbled, including the new schoolhouse. Live stock not driven to the hills went down with the swirling torrents.

“In 1862 and 1863 the ‘Great Drought’ hit. There was no rain. The heat seemed constant. In the daytime the sky was like a sheet of brass - at night, a brazen roof. There was no morning dew. The grasslands became barren deserts, the earth like sandstone. Springs became patches of dry sand and bleached rocks.

“Herds of gaunt, skeleton-like cattle moved slowly over the parched land searching for water and food. One by one they became too weak to move and stood motionless until they toppled over. Dry water holes became rimmed with carcasses piled one upon the other.” [Page 31-32]

Gene Felder
Laguna Beach

Friday, November 02, 2007

Weather Is Complicated

“New data published by NASA”
■ “Hottest year: 1934”
■ “Four of the top [hottest] 10 years from the 1930s: 1934, 1931, 1938 and 1939”
■ “3 of the top 10 are from the last 10 years (1998, 2006, 1999).”

Luddites Are Simpletons