Archive for April, 2008

Need a Laugh . . . Or At Least a Smile

April 28, 2008

Earth Day 2008

April 22, 2008

I remember the first Earth Day. It was 1970. I was an idealistic high schooler who had always been concerned about the environment, even before it was a popular thing. I even got permission to put an Ecology Flag decal on the family’s station wagon.

Earth Day seemed like a great idea. A day to raise awareness about our stewardship of the Earth. I went to a rally at UCLA on the first Earth Day. Hundreds of people (maybe thousands) gathered to celebrate the Earth and to listen to “important” people saying “important” things. The one thing that impressed me (impressive enough that I still remember it 38 years later) was the lack of wisdom of most of the people that spoke. I can’t remember what was said, but I do remember how disappointed I was with the collective group. It was a case of all heat and no light. I think this might have been the beginning of my education in the school of “Good Ideas/Causes Hijacked by Fanatics,” with fanatics being “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion.”

With a little age came a little wisdom. When I was able to combine knowledge, insight, and good judgment, I was able to better understand my personal commitment and stewardship of the Earth. I have a responsibility to make good choices. I need to act in a caring way that will minimize my impact on the environment. For example, in Scouting, we teach “Leave No Trace” methods of camping. The principles are really just based on being courteous–considerate of others and respectful of our surroundings. Summarized, Leave No Trace is behaving in a way so after you leave, no one knew you were there.

There is a big difference between caring for the Earth and worshiping the Earth. In many ways, I think was one of the big problems I saw at that first Earth Day celebration at UCLA in 1970 and a problem that continues today. The idea that God created the Earth for the use of man has been replaced with a large collection of ideas that basically center around man worshiping the Earth. Instead of looking at the Earth as a man’s gift from God with all the inherent responsibilities of taking good care of the gift, many today have reduced man’s position to just another creature that lives on the Earth–and one that is destroying its home.

The current headlines on global warning, climate change, or whatever the name-of-the-week it is called is another example of a good idea gone haywire. If wisdom is the correct application of knowledge, insight, and good judgment, there is very little wisdom being shown in the current preoccupation with climate change. The “inconvenient truth” is that, in spite of what Al Gore says, there is no scientific consensus that global warming will cause damaging climate change. It’s a fact that the Earth is warming. However, man’s role in that warming is only speculation. There is a big rush to use extremely questionable “facts” to make even worse decisions and public policy. It’s a case of bad “facts” leading to poor insights and questionable judgment.

Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist, writes that “the typical cost of cutting a ton of CO2 is currently about $20. Yet, according to a wealth of scientific literature, the damage from a ton of carbon in the atmosphere is about $2. Spending $20 to do $2 worth of good is not smart policy. It may make you feel good, but it’s not going to stop global warming.” See this article in the Washington Post. Lomborg thinks that the proper public policy focus should be on reducing the impact AIDS, malaria, and famine—all greater killers than the threat of a warmer climate.

Let’s celebrate Earth Day + 38 by correctly applying knowledge, insight and judgment in all the decisions that we make relating to caring for this beautiful planet for which that God has given us a stewardship.

Happy Birthday, Steve

April 20, 2008

Earthquakes

April 18, 2008

102 years ago day, San Francisco was shook by a major earthquake. The quake, and the fires that followed it, destroyed much of the city.  It was the worst natural disaster in California.

This morning at 4:36 AM (CT), a 5.2 earthquake struck southern Illinois.  It was the strongest earthquake in the area in over 40 years.  The earthquake was felt for hundreds of miles.

Some minor damage has been reported.  The photo above is of a fallen cornice on the brick building used by CNN in Louisville, Kentucky.

No Wisdom at Yale–Update

April 17, 2008

Apparently the truthfulness of the art student, Aliza Shvarts, has been seriously questioned.  People much brighter than I have concluded that what she has told the press probably could not have happened the way she has described.

I still come to the same conclusion.  This woman has no wisdom and neither does anyone who allowed her “art project” to be exhibited at the university.

No Wisdom at Yale University

April 17, 2008

I assume that you need some smarts to get into Yale University. Apparently, you don’t need any wisdom to get out. Or any good sense to serve on the Art Department faculty.

From the Yale Daily News, we learn that art major Aliza Shvarts artificially inseminated herself “‘as often as possible while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood…” The link might not work. I have a feeling that the band-width has been stretched to the breaking point.

Clearly this woman’s education didn’t endow her with even a speck of wisdom. But what about the Yale faculty and staff? Why didn’t anyone tell Shvarts that her senior project was at least inappropriate, if not immoral? Has the idea of academic freedom or freedom of expression in art become so warped that no one is willing to speak up for decency?

Romney’s Top 10 reasons why he dropped out

April 17, 2008

From the Boston Globe: Link

Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor April 16, 2008 11:46 PM

By Joseph Williams, Globe Staff

WASHINGTON — Three months after suspending his Republican presidential bid, Mitt Romney returned to the scene of his political Waterloo and delivered a scoop to the Capitol Hill reporters gathered at an annual awards dinner tonight: The real reasons he dropped out.

The former Massachusetts governor, not particularly known for his sense of humor, made a surprise appearance at the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association dinner and delivered a Top Ten list poking fun at himself and his image — and threw a few barbs at Hillary Clinton and Al Gore in the bargain.

Romney, who has been rumored to be on presumptive GOP nominee John McCain’s short list for vice president, said the reasons he dropped out, in reverse order, were:

No. 10: There weren’t as many Osmonds as he thought.
No. 9: Got tired of the corkscrew landings of his campaign plane while under fire
No. 8: As a lifelong hunter, I didn’t want to miss the start of varmint season.
No. 7: There wasn’t room for two Christian leaders in the presidential race
No. 6: I was upset that no one bothered to search my passport files.
No. 5: I’d rather get fat, grow a beard and try for the Nobel prize.
No. 4: I took a bad fall at a campaign rally and broke my hair.
No. 3: Got tired of wearing a dark suit and tie, and I wanted to kick back in a light colored suit and tie.
No. 2: When my wife realized I couldn’t win the GOP nomination, my fundraising dried up.
And the No. 1 reason Romney dropped out: His campaign relied on a flawed campaign strategy that as Utah goes, so goes the nation.

Check it out here.

Jimmy Carter Meets with Terrorists

April 16, 2008

Even though he had been asked by many people not to do it, former president Jimmy Carter is going ahead with his plans to meet with Hamas.

There has been a long tradition of former presidents staying out of the way of the current president.  This has included voluntarily not criticizing a sitting president–especially in foreign affairs.  Jimmy Carter has had a long history of being critical, speaking out, and taking it upon himself to conduct his own foreign policy even if (or maybe especially when) it contradicts current American policies.  Carter even ignored a bipartisan request from members of Congress to say home.  Clearly, he is going to do what he thinks is best–everyone else be damned.

According to Fox News,

“Carter reportedly hugged — and kissed — a Hamas leader Tuesday in the West Bank town of Ramallah on a Mideast visit that is to culminate in a meeting Friday with the group’s exiled leader in Damascus, Syria.

“Carter’s embrace of Nasser Shaer, a senior Hamas politician, at a closed-door reception organized by Carter’s office was reported by several news outlets Tuesday. Carter has been widely criticized over the trip by both U.S. and Israeli officials, who have listed Hamas as a terror organization.

“Carter also laid a wreath at the grave of Yasser Arafat, whom he praised as a man who fought for “just causes” in the world. The Bush administration and many Israelis blame Arafat for the breakdown of peace talks seven years ago and the violence that followed.”

Jimmy Carter just doesn’t get it.  He hasn’t gotten it for a long, long time.  Hamas doesn’t want peace.  It will never accept peace with Israel.  We, that includes former presidents, shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists.  Carter’s action could easily lead to more deaths, including deaths of Americans.

Jimmy Carter was a lousy president.  His current actions show that he is trying to top his bad performance as president with a increasingly worse performance as an ex-president.

Tax Day

April 15, 2008

April 15th. Tax Day.

There really has to be a better way than the income tax in its present form.

The FAIR tax. A national sales or consumption tax. A flat tax.

We are in an election year. The scary thing about this is the tax impact of many of the proposals being discussed as possible solutions to our “problems.” How about the problem of a crazy tax plan?

Enforcing the Law Really Works

April 11, 2008

Here is an interesting article in the LA Times regarding what is happening in Arizona with illegal aliens.

Arizona has passed a set of very strict laws.  A quote from the article:

“In recent years it has barred illegal immigrants from receiving government services, from winning punitive damages in lawsuits and from posting bail for serious crimes. A new state law shuts down businesses that hire illegal workers. And the sheriff of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and three-fifths of the state’s population, dispatches his deputies and volunteer “posses” to search for illegal street vendors or immigrants being smuggled through the county.”

The result—Illegal aliens can’t find work and are leaving the state.  So many, that the neighboring Mexican state of Sonora has complained of number of Mexican immigrants returning to Mexico.

Again, I’m not against immigration.   Controlled, legal immigration is fine.  It’s one of the things had has made America a great country.  It’s the uncontrolled, illegal immigration that needs to be addressed.