Friday, March 28, 2008

Transcending Race or Follow Slavery One-Drop of Blood Rule

My letter-to-the-editor was published March 28, 2008 in the Laguna Beach Independent.
March 28, 2008
Transcending race
If we want to transcend race, to get past race, why don't we just stop talking about race?

After all, science now tells us that "There's No Such Thing as Race", the February 8, 2008 article by Jennifer Millman: "Science shows that 99.9 percent of our DNA is the same, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute, but what makes up the remaining 0.1 percent? That question has stirred much debate, and many have used the uncertainty to fuel political wars about perceived biological differences based on race. But the latest study on the subject supports previous findings that say race doesn't exist."

In the future, when someone categorizes, in our presence, a fellow human being by race, I hope your readers will join me in responding that an faux pas has occurred, a violation of acceptable behavior. In addition, if an organization or the government inquires about race, we should all refuse to answer, or at a minimum, respond with "mixed race".

Is Senator Barack Obama black? Why would anyone categorize someone who has father from Kenya, Africa and a so called "white" mother from Kansas as a black person? It comes from the slavery "one drop" of blood rule reinforced by Jim Crow laws intending on keeping the "white" race pure.

According to Professor F. James Davis the "…answer to the question 'Who is black?' has long been that a black is any person with any known African black ancestry. This definition reflectsthe long experience with slavery and later with Jim Crow segregation. In the South it became known as the 'one-drop rule'.''
"The main purpose of the one-drop rule was to prevent interracial relationships and thus keep the white race 'pure'."

It makes no sense in 2008, and we should all move on, and as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1963 that people should "not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Gene Felder Laguna Beach

Friday, March 21, 2008

Laguna Beach Price for Damaging Open Space

My letter-to-the-editor was published in the Laguna Beach Independent.
March 21, 2008
The price for damaging open space


The City claims that it does not allow developers to use the permanent open space adjacent to new construction. However, the new house being built at 3325 Alta Laguna Boulevard has extensively damaged the adjacent environmentally sensitive permanent open space, including creating a road and driving large earth moving equipment across the open space.

Despite the applicant's architect claiming before a recent Design Review Board meeting that they did not go into the open space, the DRB was provided a recent aerial photograph clearly showing the extensive damage. One of the DRB commissioners at this meeting publicly chided the applicant's architect pointing out that she had been on site that same day and had seen for herself this extensive damage to the permanent open space.

A DRB commissioner stated "We are going to hold you to that" but the motion of approval was that, if the open space was damaged, the developer would be responsible to restore it.

Is this denying the developer the use of the open space? Hardly. It is just a method of setting a very low cost for damaging the permanent open space, a price that likely would be most agreeable to this and future developers.

Gene Felder Laguna Beach

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wonder Why Moderate Palestinians Don’t Speak Out?

See New York Times front page March 2, 2008 article “Israel Takes Gaza Fight to Next Level in a Day of Strikes

Here’s a not too old story that I have not seen publicized. It has an unbelievable quote.

Wonder Why Moderate Palestinians Don’t Speak Out?

“In Gaza on Friday, Hussein Dardouna, 50, was burying his son, Omar, 14, killed while playing with his friends by an Israeli strike aimed at a rocket-launching team. ‘I couldn’t identify the body of my son,’ he said. “It was very hard until I found the head of my son. I’m against these rockets, but I am afraid. What can I do? If I protest they will hit me, they will kill me’.”

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spitzer Should Have Denied All – Worked for Clinton

My letter-to-the-editor was published in the Laguna Beach Independent.

March 14, 2008
I can't recall a proper header for this Spitzer Should Have Denied All – Worked for Clinton

I have not paid $4,300 for a prostitute, but I can still have empathy for Governor Eliot Spitzer, Democrat of New York.

Spitzer could lawyer up and deny, deny, deny. No one knows what's in his mind, when asked a question, one can always say, "I do not recall".

It has worked before:
"From The Washington Times: In the portions of President Clinton's deposition that have been made public in the Paula Jones case, his memory failed him 267 times. This is a list of his answers and how many times he gave each one. I don't remember - 71 I don't know - 62 I'm not sure - 17 I have no idea - 10 I don't believe so - 9 I don't recall - 8 I don't think so - 8 I don't have any specific recollection - 6 I have no recollection - 4 Not to my knowledge - 4 I just don't remember - 4 I don't believe - 4 I have no specific recollection - 3 I might have - 3 I don't have any recollection of that - 2 I don't have a specific memory - 2 I don't have any memory of that - 2 I just can't say - 2 I have no direct knowledge of that - 2 I don't have any idea - 2 Not that I recall - 2 I don't believe I did - 2 I can't remember - 2 I can't say - 2 I do not remember doing so - 2 Not that I remember - 2 I'm not aware - 1 I honestly don't know - 1 I don't believe that I did - 1 I'm fairly sure - 1 I have no other recollection - 1 I'm not positive - 1 I certainly don't think so - 1 I don't really remember - 1 I would have no way of remembering that - 1 That's what I believe happened - 1 To my knowledge, no - 1 To the best of my knowledge - 1 To the best of my memory - 1 I honestly don't recall - 1 I honestly don't remember - 1 That's all I know - 1 I don't have an independent recollection of that - 1 I don't actually have an independent memory of that - 1 As far as I know - 1 I don't believe I ever did that - 1 That's all I know about that - 1 I'm just not sure - 1 Nothing that I remember - 1 I simply don't know - 1 I would have no idea - 1 I don't know anything about that - 1 I don't have any direct knowledge of that - 1 I just don't know - 1 I really don't know - 1 I can't deny that, I just -- I have no memory of that at all - 1

Gene Felder Laguna Beach

Friday, March 07, 2008

Unseasonably Cold Weather Doesn’t Refute Global Warming

In Laguna Beach, we had a summery weekend February 9-10th, but I’ve been cold all during December, January, and the rest of February. Hasn’t it been cold?

Not just cold here. Take a look at recent headlines:
Unusual, but it snowed in Baghdad, Iraq. CNN reported Friday, January 11, 2008 Let it Snow.... in Baghdad

Unusual, but it snowed in Jerusalem, Israel. See Jerusalem Post January 29, 2008 article “J'lem meltdown begins after snowstorm

Unusual, but it snowed in Athens, Greece. See Associated Press February 18th, 2008 article “Heavy snow cuts off Greek villages, disrupts air traffic in Turkey, Athens

China has experienced a very cold winter. On February 4, 2008 Yahoo reported China battles "coldest winter in 100 years"

Does all this refute claims of global warming? Of course not, it’s the tiniest set of data. From such a small amount a data, it would be unscientific to draw such a conclusion.

There are some that are quite unscientific among us. See February 13, 2008 article Sen. Kerry Blames Tornadoes on Global Warming Its says “Former Democratic presidential nominee blames 'intense storms' that have killed more than 50 on climate change.” ..”Kerry appeared on MSNBC on February 6 to discuss storms that have killed at least 50 people throughout the Southeastern United States.”

Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts is quoted as saying: “[I] don’t want to sort of leap into the larger meaning of, you know, inappropriately, but on the other hand, the weather service has told us we are going to have more and more intense storms,” … “And insurance companies are beginning to look at this issue and understand this is related to the intensity of storms that is related to the warming of the earth. And so it goes to global warming and larger issues that we’re not paying attention to. The fact is the hurricanes are more intensive, the storms are more intensive and the rainfall is more intense at certain places at certain times and the weather patterns have changed.”

The article states that “meteorologist. Roger Edwards, a meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma has doubts about any global warming and tornado relationship. ‘As of this writing, no scientific studies solidly relate climatic global temperature trends to tornadoes,’ Edwards” …”wrote on the Earth & Sky Web site in April 2007. ‘I don’t expect any such results in the near future either, because tornadoes are too small, short–lived, hard to measure and count, and too dependent on day to day, even minute to minute weather conditions’.”

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Democrat Party Great Orator for President

Great Orator for President
(But with Little Experience)
William Jennings Bryan
Democratic Party Nominee
■ 1896 lost to Wm. McKinley 271 to 176
■ 1900 lost to Wm. McKinley 292 to 155
■ 1908 lost to Wm. H. Taft 321 to 162

Monday, March 03, 2008

Use Nuclear Energy to Reduce Energy Dependence and Greenhouse Emissions

I suggest reading an informative on Nuclear Energy in the recent Friday, February 29, 2008 in the Hillsdale College publication “Imprimis” The Case for Terrestrial (a.k.a. Nuclear) Energy by William Tucker.

And get your free subscription to Imprimis by signing up at

■ “The U.S. currently gets 50 percent of its electricity from coal and 20 percent from nuclear reactors. Reversing these percentages should become a goal of both global warming advocates and anyone who wants to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil”.
■ “Reactor grade uranium—which will simmer enough to produce a little heat—is three percent U-235. In order to get to bomb grade uranium—the kind that will explode—uranium must be enriched to 90 percent U-235.”
■ “at Three Mile Island. A valve stuck open and a series of mistakes led the operators to think the core was overflowing when it was actually short of cooling water. They further drained the core and about a third of the core melted from the excess heat… the melted fuel stayed within the reactor vessel.”
■ “Critics had predicted a “China syndrome” where the molten core would melt through the steel vessel, then through the concrete containment structure, then down into the earth where it would hit groundwater, causing a steam explosion that would spray radioactive material across a huge area. In fact, the only radioactive debris was a puff of steam that emitted the same radiation as a single chest x-ray. Three Mile Island was an industrial accident. It bankrupted the utility, but no one was injured.”
■ “in Chernobyl, where the Soviet designers didn’t even bother building a concrete containment structure around the reactor vessel. Then in 1986, two teams of operators became involved in a tussle over use of the reactor and ended up overheating the core, which set fire to the carbon moderator that facilitates the chain reaction. (American reactors don’t use carbon moderators.) The result was a four-day fire that spewed radioactive debris around the world. More fallout fell on Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, from Chernobyl than from Three Mile Island.

I have never heard an explanation of what France does with all their nuclear waste.
■ “France has produced 80 percent of its electricity with nuclear power for the last 25 years. It stores all its high-level “nuclear waste” in a single room at Le Havre.”
■ “A spent fuel rod is 95 percent U-238. This is the same material we can find in a shovel full of dirt from our back yards. Of the remaining five percent, most is useful, but small amounts should probably be placed in a repository such as Yucca Mountain. The useful parts—uranium-235 and plutonium (a manmade element produced from U-238)—can be recycled as fuel.”
■ “In fact, we are currently recycling plutonium from Russian nuclear missiles. Of the 20 percent of our power that comes from nuclear sources, half is produced from recycled Russian bombs.”
■ “It is only cesium-137 and strontium-90, which have half-lives of 28 and 30 years, respectively, that need to be stored in protective areas. Unfortunately, federal regulations require all radioactive byproducts of nuclear power plants to be disposed of in a nuclear waste repository. As a result, more than 98 percent of what will go into Yucca Mountain is either natural uranium or useful material.”

William Tucker claims that nuclear energy is really the same as “Terrestrial Energy” the same process that generates the favored Geothermal alternate fuel.
■ “Geothermal is produced when the natural heat of the earth comes in contact with groundwater. This can produce geysers and “fumaroles”—steam leaks that are now being harnessed to produce electricity.”
■ “Temperatures at the earth’s core reach 7,000 degrees Centigrade, hotter than the surface of the sun.”
■ “But at least half of it comes from the radioactive breakdown of thorium and uranium within the earth’s mantle. This is “terrestrial energy,” and a nuclear reactor is simply the same process carried out in a controlled environment.”
■ “E = mc2 … signifies is that a very, very small amount of matter can be converted into a very, very large amount of energy. This is good news in terms of our energy needs and the environment.”
■ “We now burn 1 billion tons of coal a year—up from 500 million tons in 1976. This coal produces 40 percent of our greenhouse gases and 20 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.”
■ “fuel rods. These rods are only mildly radio-active and can be handled with gloves. They will be loaded into the reactor, where they will remain for six years (only one-third of the rods are replaced at each refueling). The replaced rods will be removed and transferred to a storage pool inside the containment structure, where they can remain indefinitely (three feet of water blocks the radiation).
■ “There is no exhaust, no carbon emissions, no sulfur sludge to be carted away hourly and heaped into vast dumps. There is no release into the environment. The fuel rods come out looking exactly as they did going in, except that they are now more highly radioactive. There is no air pollution, no water pollution, and no ground pollution.”

Sunday, March 02, 2008

1860 Election Lincoln Beat All Three Opponents

See a very interesting letter to the editor in March 1, 2008 Wall Street Journal. See It contains information that I never realized.

Consider the Third Party 'Spoilers' in 1860 Election
"In his review of "Gaming the Vote" by William Poundstone, Daniel Casse illustrates the effect of third parties on election results by referring to the victory of Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election ("Figuring Out the Will of the People," Bookshelf, Feb. 28). Noting that the "lesser known" candidates got more than 30% of the popular vote, Mr. Casse states that, "Without them, historians believe, [Sen. Stephen A.] Douglas would have defeated [Mr.] Lincoln."

"In 1860, Mr. Lincoln carried the 15 northern states and the two Pacific coast states (California and Oregon) that represented a total of 180 electoral votes. Sen. Douglas and the other candidates carried the remaining 15 states that represented a total of 123 electoral votes. Mr. Lincoln won each of the northern states by a clear majority in the popular vote ranging from 50.7% in Illinois to 75.7% in Vermont. He won California and Oregon by pluralities of 32.2% and 36.1%, respectively. Assuming that a historical vote for Mr. Lincoln would remain a vote for Mr. Lincoln and a historical vote for Sen. Douglas would remain a vote for Mr. Douglas, and assuming further (contrary to reasonable expectations) that all the votes not cast for Mr. Lincoln were gained by Sen. Douglas, Mr. Lincoln would have lost California and Oregon, which represented a total of seven electoral votes, but he still would have carried the 15 northern states, and he would have won the election with an electoral vote of 173 to 130.

Acknowledging that a different set of historical conditions could have led to a different historical result, the historical evidence suggests that Mr. Lincoln's election victory in 1860 was robust."

Gil Hahn Wilmington, Del.

See to confirm that Gil is correct, except that Lincoln received 48.1% of New Jersey’s vote with the electoral votes split with Lincoln getting 4 and Douglas 3.

Lincoln did pretty well considering that he was not on ten state ballots, of the fifteen states that he lost. Lincoln received 39.8% of the total vote which compares pretty well to the 43.0% President Bill Clinton received being elected in 1992 (when Ross Perot ran as a third party), and to the 41.8% President Woodrow Wilson received in 1912 (when Bull Moose Teddy Roosevelt ran as a third party).

In addition to the New Jersey 3 electoral votes, Senator Stephen A. Douglas only carried Missouri with 35.5% of the votes getting their 9 electoral votes for a total of 12 electoral votes.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Nuclear Freeze Advocate Proven Wrong Dies

See New York Times article October 26, 2007 by Dennis Hevesi Randall Forsberg, 64, Nuclear Freeze Advocate, Dies. May she rest in peace.

In response to the USSR’s SS-20 intermediate missiles which could strike several targets anywhere in Western Europe in less than 10 minutes, President Ronald Reagan organized the Western Alliance to respond with putting the Pershing II missiles in a Peace Through Strength response. This action by President Reagan eventually lead to the defeat of the Soviet Union. The New York Times obituary notes: “Some historians and military experts argue that Reagan’s insistence on increasing military spending, combined with economic and political instability in the Soviet Union, led to the downfall of the Soviet bloc and to the eventual, if often tenuous, improvement in relations between the United States and Russia.”

The world according to Randall Forsberg was very different. After the provocative Soviet action, the Nuclear Freeze movement advised the United States to do nothing but rather freeze in place allowing the USSR to have our European allies under the intimidation of the SS-20s. Many people agreed with her:
■ “By 1982, nuclear freeze proposals had been approved by dozens of town, city, county and state legislatures throughout the country, and by referendums in eight states. The effort peaked on June 12, 1982, with a mass march through Manhattan and a gathering of more than 700,000 people in Central Park”.
■ “In 1982, addressing the rally, Dr. Forsberg looked out over the crowd and exulted: ‘We’ve done it! The nuclear freeze campaign has mobilized the biggest peacetime peace movement in United States history. The politicians don’t believe it yet’.”
■ “The movement lost momentum that year when a resolution urging President Ronald Reagan to negotiate a bilateral freeze with the Soviet Union failed by two votes in the House of Representatives.”
■ “In 1983, a year after the rally, Dr. Forsberg received the so-called “genius award” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Director’s Advisory Committee of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.”