Friday, February 10, 2012


There is no true escape
I'm watching all the time.
I'm made of metal
My circuits gleam.
I am perpetual
I keep the country clean.
-Judas Priest, Electric Eye

When you get a check book from your bank, it has like 50 checks and 4 deposit slips in the bank. In the modern era of bank cards and internet shopping, how many checks do you really write in a month? But how many deposit slips do you use? Maybe the proportion is backward, these days. If you're like me, you run out of deposit slips long before you do checks.

When asked about President Obama's policy toward contraception and the Roman Catholic Church, he responded to reporters "come on, guys!" That's not the response of someone who feels accountable to the people or believes he is a public servant but someone who believes that the press serves him. And the way they behave, why shouldn't he? As long as they keep groveling and obeying him, he'll keep treating them in the same manner.

Ovarian Cancer is a horrible killer that has had little advancement in survival rates over the years of research. But recent study suggests that is about to change. The new tests can pick up evidence of the cancer far earlier than previous versions, which means a higher survival rate.

One of President Bush's greatest contributions to the world while in office was his work to get nuclear power plants moving forward again. After years of being stalled, blocked, and sued into oblivion, finally the wheels are in motion to get more plants built. And unlike the cheap, slapped together plants built in the 50s and 60s, these newer ones are smaller, safer, and more efficient. The first new nuclear reactor in the US for over thirty years has been approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Michael S Greve at the Library of Law and Liberty points out that the Supreme Court decision to allow internment of Japanese in America during the Roosevelt administration has never been overturned or thrown out (the SCOTUS does not care to reverse its own decisions although it is the only court in the land that can). He notes that this is a court precedent for individual mandate from the federal government:
Still, Korematsu is a perfectly fine precedent: it has never been overruled. Moreover, it is the feds’ best and only precedent.

So why don’t they cite it?

Yeah, I think that's known as a "rhetorical question," meant to promote thought and understanding, not response.
Evidence that the opposition to drone strikes, Guantanamo Bay, and everything the Bush administration did in the War on Terror was just politics and lust for power is offered in a recent study:
The poll shows that 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats — and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats — support keeping Guantanamo Bay open, even though it emerged as a symbol of the post-Sept. 11 national security policies of George W. Bush, which many liberals bitterly opposed.
But fully 77 percent of liberal Democrats endorse the use of drones, meaning that Obama is unlikely to suffer any political consequences as a result of his policy in this election year.
Glenn Greenwald laments the lack of consistency among his left leaning comrades. He should have known better. It was never about the war, honor, or decency, it was about a lust for power.

Send in the drones? Both the US and Europe are looking at building and using more drones, but this time not in combat, but over their own citizens. This week congress passed legislation in the US which would pave the way for building 30,000 more unmanned drones (actually they have pilots, they just aren't sitting in the aircraft). They would be used for domestic use by law enforcement and government agencies - typically looking for compliance, especially by farms. Europe is aiming at the same sort of use particularly for environmental concerns. The eye in the sky.

Steroids were big news in baseball, called cheating and illegal although they were never banned in the game until recently. Baseball is starting to recover from that blight, even though other sports such as football use the stuff like candy without the slightest comment. But basketball has been relatively scandal-free, except for that once incident where a Ref was busted for gambling, and possibly influencing games. At the time the NBA tried really hard to convince everyone that it was an isolated event with one ref the only possible gambler, but who really believed that? Now, there's another incident involving a game between Portland and Oklahoma which calls into question whether that whole mess has been actually cleared up.

Democrats in congress continue to block any passage of a budget bill, something President Obama's press secretary shrugged at recently. And in a rare display of honesty, Time's Mark Halperin admitted that were Republicans in control of congress, they'd get "creamed" by the press for going over three years without a budget. As a reminder, the US Constitution requires congress to pass a new budget every year. Congressmen claim to fulfil this by passing a 'continuing resolution' which just says "same as last year" then tacks on riders and other bills to increase spending where they want it.

Oregon passed a state-wide socialized medicine plan in the 90s when things were rich and looked prosperous for the state, and now its bankrupting the government. Neither party even whispers the suggestion the experiment be ended, but at least they're trying to reform the legislation to save some money. However, the effort to cap lawsuits which are driving doctors out of the state is so opposed by the Democrats who control the state legislature that they vow to block the entire bill if it isn't removed.

Warm water expands, although not by much. And when water takes in more material it expands as well. As a result, some measurements have shown the ocean's surface rising by about 3mm a year in most areas - and less in others, which has caused no small amount of controversy, since the ocean is one consistent body. NASA has a graph showing what they believe to be the rate of ocean rise but there's a little discrepancy at the end:

Ocean chart
The oceans aren't rising, they're contracting lately, even by NASA's calculations. And although the article says 'warm water expands' they haven't found warming in the ocean, so there's some question about that statement's applicability to their assertion of rising oceans. One possible solution is that the ocean is absolutely absorbing more CO2, which scientists believe it does every time the planet has an increase in CO2, which would increase volume slightly.

Dependency isn't a very nice word, it suggests weakness and inability. But America is becoming more and more dependent on the federal government's money and has been for a long time. Starting in 1962, the Heritage Foundation began charting dependency as a percentage of Americans and they've given us this chart:

The lede for most bloggers and writers here is "dependency up 23% since Obama took office" which is true, but not the main story I see here. Look closely at those years. See the only dip, the only downturn in dependency in the entire 40-year history of that chart? That happened during President Bush's term in office. The population has been more or less steadily expanding, but the dependency went down while Bush was president. Yes, that spike under Obama and at the end of Bush's years is pretty steep, but that coincides with a nasty economic downturn so its not surprising people are turning to outside help. What's significant to me is how and why so many turned away from that help during the Bush years.

Last WATN I reported about how guides on Mt Kilimanjaro report that the glaciers there are growing. This time I have another glacier story, this time on the Himalayas. Damian Carrington at the Guardian reports:
The world's greatest snow-capped peaks, which run in a chain from the Himalayas to Tian Shan on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan, have lost no ice over the last decade, new research shows.

The discovery has stunned scientists, who had believed that around 50bn tonnes of meltwater were being shed each year and not being replaced by new snowfall.

The study is the first to survey all the world's icecaps and glaciers and was made possible by the use of satellite data. Overall, the contribution of melting ice outside the two largest caps – Greenland and Antarctica – is much less than previously estimated, with the lack of ice loss in the Himalayas and the other high peaks of Asia responsible for most of the discrepancy.
Why scientists would be "stunned" by this says a lot about their presumptions and quality as scientists, but that may be just editorial license by the writer. The problem here is that they had all their computer models and presuppositions and assumptions and not hard, on the ground actual facts and data. This should make these scientists at least question if not reject their previous presumptions and modeling, but will it? I'm not confident.

Sudafed: just owning too much of the stuff can get you up to ten years in prison in a state which armed robbers average 2-6 months in jail. The cold medicine is so heavily regulated you can't buy it over the shelf and can only buy a small amount at a time. The main reason is that its useful for creating methamphetamines, and states are trying hard to stop that production. The problem with this effort is that it hasn't even slightly slowed down meth labs. So the governments of some states have a cunning plan: to make the drug prescription only. Because regulation has only resulted in a 65% increase in meth labs so far.

Surprising absolutely no one, the hard left 9th federal circuit court of appeals - the most overturned federal court in the land - ruled the California marriage law proposition 8 unconstitutional. Why, you ask? Well they said the bill was said to have "humiliated gays and lesbians" and claimed that there was a prior secret hidden right to same-sex marriage somewhere in the US or California constitution, so this takes away a right, which is unconstitutional under the 14th amendment.

Tennessee's Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) is also tasked with eradicating marijana use and growing in the state. Well, it turns out that pot was found in the home of the director of the ABC and... nothing was done about it. In fact for a long time it wasn't even reported to the press or anyone else. Pot and alcohol was in the director's body when he died in an auto accident, which is why the police entered his home to begin with.

Professor Fritz Vahrenholt used to be an alarmist, he was a major proponent of the IPCC reports and warned about global warming. Now he's completely rejected the entire warming position. Why? He explains in an interview with Welt Online, courtesy the Global Warming Policy Foundation:
Vahrenholt: Yes, I was an active supporter of the CO2 theory. But then I had two pivotal moments that have inspired me to reassess my position.

First, I was invited in February 2010 as a scientific reviewer for the IPCC report on renewable energy in Washington. There, I realized that the drafting of the report was done in anything but a scientific manner. The report is littered with errors. At the end, representatives of Greenpeace edited the final version. The result was the nonsensical claim that 80 percent of total world energy needs can be met with renewable energy.

These developments shocked me. I thought, if such things can happen in this report, then they might happen in other IPCC reports too. Of the 34 members of the IPCC Secretariat, the bulk are from the global South - such as Cuba, Sudan, Madagascar, Iran or China. These countries all have an interest in transfer payments. Until then, I had thought researchers would meet and discuss. No, in fact these are delegates representing nation states – and not always democratic ones. They represent interests and exert influence.

Welt Online: And the second key experience?

Vahrenholt: At RWE Innogy, we were confronted with the fact that the wind and the corresponding power generation were dipping by an appreciable extent. I investigated this phenomenon scientifically and found that it has nothing to do with CO2 and global warming, but that natural climate processes are responsible for it. The activity of the sun plays a major role. I have been working on the subject matter and then worked a year on this book.
The warmists found a way to create an even bigger scam than the Oil for Food one that the UN built up around Saddam Hussein, and its all falling apart on them.

America has its contraceptive controversy right now, with President Obama ordering Roman Catholic institutions to hand out contraceptives in violation of their faith and conscience. England has a controversy as well; girls were given implants at schools without their parents being notified. The Telegraph has the story:
The procedure was carried out in Southampton, Hants, as part of a government initiative to drive down teenage pregnancies.

As many as nine secondary schools in the city are thought to have been involved.

But it has caused a backlash from parents who weren't aware that their daughters had been fitted with the 4cm device, which sits under the skin.

It is currently unknown exactly how many youngsters have taken part in the scheme.
The school calls this a success, citing a stat which says teenage pregnancies dropped 22%. The teenagers just had to fill out a form and talk to a health consultant. The fact that no parents were told suggests that they were at least given the option to keep this secret. Certainly the schools didn't want to tell any parents.

Jobless numbers from the Obama administration have a lot of people puzzled and asking uncomfortable questions. The first red flag was that the BLS said the labor force lost 2,500,000 jobs from December 2011 to January 2012, but the Obama administration said that almost 250,000 had instead been added. The other thing that came up was Representative Allen West (R-FL) noticed that in the data, the administration was claiming that in the black community, jobless rates dropped from over 15% to 13.6%.

What happened? Seasonal adjustments and people no longer looking for work. When you stop looking, according to the government, you stop being unemployed. You aren't' counted any longer. And seasonal adjustments are used to cover up changes. Basically the government figures that when the Christmas season is over, lots of people lose jobs anyway, so that job loss doesn't really count - it was going to happen anyway. This isn't new, Ronald Reagan had a problem with the system and wanted to change it, according to a story at Business Insider.

Mitt has Secret Service now, but Gingrich and Breitbart don’t” said an Occupy event planner recently. Why? Because Occupy DC plans to cause trouble at the CPAC events, and this ominous statement seems to be at odds with their public claim they want to do so peacefully.

Doctors can sometimes be denied a license to practice medicine for various reasons. But I've never seen one denied a license in the US for a political reason, until now. Dr Terrance Lakin is a military vet and has an 18 year spotless professional record, but he stated publicly that he doesn't think President Obama was born in the USA. Personally I think that's goofy but its his business and has nothing to do with how he'd do his job. The Kansas State Board of Healing Arts disagreed and denied him a license, based on that opinion.

Penguins, who can't love them? They are mild, cute, and unusual, with striking coloration and they're fun to watch at play. They have been a secondary global warming icon after the polar bear, with fewer teeth and claws. Andrew Bolt compares a couple of penguin news stories. The first is from The Sydney Morning Herald in 1996:
A TRAGEDY is beginning to unfold for the creatures of the zoologically rich Macquarie Island, with climate change in the Southern Ocean occurring at the fastest rate on earth. Scientists now fear that a 94 per cent crash in the population of rock hopper penguins on New Zealand’s Campbell Island is about to occur at Macquarie. Macquarie’s population of rock hoppers, which has fallen from 6000 pairs in the 1970s to 3000 pairs now, is estimated to have declined by a further 5 per cent this season.
The second is from the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife website this year:
Macquarie Island is recognised for its rich and diverse animal life. Around 3.5 million seabirds arrive on Macquarie Island each year to breed and moult. Most of these are penguins. No accurate counts of rockhopper penguins are known; estimates range from 10,000 to 500,000 breeding pairs.
So those penguins that we were told were being obliterated by warming are... thriving. The difference? Between theory and data; between speculation and truth; between estimation and reality. One narrative supported the global warming cant, the other just is fact.

Remember the story about Dearborn Michigan and the group of Christians arrested and dragged away for distributing Christian materials at a Muslim event? Well their case went to court and they won. Now the city apparently has to pay more than $100,000 in court costs for violating these people's first amendment rights. I say "apparently" because the source is World Net Daily which is an often questionable source.

When is taking money from big oil good? Apparently when you're fighting against coal. The Sierra Club received over $200 million from the gas industry to help finance their efforts to block construction of coal-fired power plants.

Democrats in Chicago reached out to groups to help them win in 2010, although the results were mixed. What were these groups? Street gangs. While politicians working closely with gangsters is not exactly unprecedented in Chicago, they tend not to do much with street punks. Until now, that is.

Huge sections of land in the western USA are owned by the federal government, and more is seized every time a Democrat is president. President Clinton, for example, signed over gigantic areas of Utah to keep it from being harvested for minerals and wood, and president Obama has done the same thing in various parts of the west. Living out here I can assure you that we're less than amused by having the government own gigantic parts of our state. And there's a push back by western states to change that. Utah, for example, is working on a bill that would demand their land back. And if things keep getting worse, states might just start taking it back without any government acquiescence.

Another green effort has gone bad. This time it was special Florida plumbing which was supposed to be "waterless" and save precious water that covers 3/4ths of the planets surface to a depth of up to almost seven miles. These new toilets worked about as well as you'd expect; michael Zennie reports at the Daily Mail:
But with no water moving through the school's copper pipes to flush the urine into the sewer system, the waste produced noxious gases that ate through the metal, leaving leaky pipes that allowed urine to drip into walls and flow onto floors.
Hoping to save $100 a year at each urinal, the school district instead has to pay at least $50,000 to repair it. And that doesn't include the cost for installing these special waterless toilets. Who could have possibly seen this coming?

India is doing quite well these days, and as a result decided that they didn't really need the aid they were getting from the UK. You would think a debt-laden country like the UK would be glad to hear this but... no. Andrew Gilligan at the Telegraph reports:
Pranab Mukherjee and other Indian ministers tried to terminate Britain’s aid to their booming country last year - but relented after the British begged them to keep taking the money, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

The disclosure will fuel the rising controversy over Britain’s aid to India.

The country is the world’s top recipient of British bilateral aid, even though its economy has been growing at up to 10 per cent a year and is projected to become bigger than Britain’s within a decade.
Money well spent! Apparently they thought this would never, ever come out. Somehow.

President Obama recently attacked banks for giving loans to people who clearly could not afford to pay them, a major source of the 2007 financial meltdown. I happen to agree with this condemnation, as should pretty much any rational person. The problem is... President Obama himself worked to pressure banks to make those exact loans. Jim Hoft writes at Gateway Pundit:
In 1994, Barack Obama was one of the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit, alleging that Citibank had engaged in practices that discriminated against minorities. The lawsuit forced the bank to ease its lending practices.
It was Democrats who fought to force banks to make these loans, Democrats who assured the banks that Fannie and Freddie would absorb bad loans if needed, and Democrats who fought to stop any reform. And now its Democrats who are complaining that all this happened.

Lance Anderson is the greatest cyclist in the history of the world. He won the Tour de France seven times, including several times after a battle with cancer. He also has been accused of cheating by lots of disgruntled bicyclists who lost to him, including one who was actually busted for cheating by "blood doping." After two years of investigations, the prosecutors admitted they are closing the investigation. Did he cheat? Well if he did, he was really good at it, but then... I suspect most of the cyclists are doing same thing.

Election fraud, it just never goes away. First, we find out that the Indiana secretary of state, responsible for overseeing elections in the state, has been found guilty of fraud. The Republican lied about his address on his election form, so he could vote in one area instead of where he was supposed to and will soon lose his job.

Then we come to West Virginia, where the Democrat Sheriff and County clerk pled guilty of trying to flood the Democratic Party primary vote with false absentee ballots, a far more serious charge.

And that's the Word Around the Net for February 10, 2012.

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