Mother Nature Sued: God Named Co-Defendant

Smog As I read the headline "Quake Lifts Solomons Island Out of the Sea", I was reminded of the incomprehensible power of the earth to create new...and destroy old.  In an instant, a 20 mile x 5 mile coral reef was lifted up 10 feet exposing it and obviously destroying all of the life on it.  Now it remains a rotting heap of rock and sea death. (Conspiracy theorists have already pointed to the magic George Bush Tsunami generator project headed by the NSA and Haliburton from their Dubai offices)

After I get over the shock and awe of what happened, I inevitably begin thinking about Al Gore, Global Warming, and Mother Nature.  I'm sorry, I just can't help it.  You think I like that this happens???

This is not a political blog nor will it ever be...but here's a few points that I'd like to throw up to the defense attorneys when Mother Nature (aka "The Weather aka "Old Man Winter") and God (aka "The Maker" aka "Dear God" aka "Oh My God" aka "Big Daddy") finally take the stand.

  1. I'm not a scientist and don't have access to the data, but I'm unguardedly certain that there are hundreds of countries, including the world's most voracious producers of goods that belch out more billions of tons of filth and pollutants that we here in the US could produce if we wanted to (China, India). Let's shift the focus onto them OK.  I drive a Honda man...and I use those ridiculous fluorescent bulbs that look like corkscrews.  Heck I even compost.  Am I cool?
  2. When a natural event like a volcanic eruption spews more CO2 and methane into the atmosphere that we can ever create here on earth over a few week period...ummmm...."Can I get some carbon offsets here!"  Pass a resolution that makes volcanoes illegal.  Did I mention the methane produced by cows?  We must immediately ban all forms of meat because those suckers provide enough gases via their own ozone holes to melt a glacier.  I'll just have a salad please.
  3. When it's 14.5 degrees when I wake up to a beautiful Des Moines April morn' and there's snow on the cherry blossoms in DC, warming is a tough sell.  I realize that global warming is actually the cause of both warming and cooling and that no matter how cold it may be...that it's actually warming that is the sole culprit)
  4. If the weather turns certain areas into less desirable places to live and others into more desirable places to live, and this transition happens over time( as it has throughout history) is that bad?  No one wants folks to suffer pain and suffering.  But since it seems that much of what we call "recreation" now was caused by receded glaciers ripping canyons into otherwise cruddy areas, I'm gonna go with it.  "There are new lakes forming daily from glacial melt" and I can't help but think that some enterprising folks with poor lives up til now are thinking "Lake front developments - cheap - inquire at shanty camp #2". 
  5. When I was a kid growing up in Southern CA in the San Gabriel Valley (east of LA by about 45 miles), 2nd stage smog alerts occurred often during the summer.  That means "Don't go outside unless it's absolutely necessary"  As kids we used to rid bikes everywhere and all summer long, our lungs would BURN and deep breaths were impossible.  This hasn't happened in SoCal for a long long time.  In fact the last stage 3 smog alert was in 1974.  (Ah ha! Governor Ronald Reagan single handedly stopped smog) See we all figured out that new cars put out a puff of bad emissions compared to a 70's belcher.  When those were gone, the junk in the air subsided greatly.  Sure there's a haze of YUCK over the valley's in SoCal.  But it has been that way for as long as we've had reporters in the field (aka "Indians").  They called it "Valley of the Smoke" because the heat traps in the moisture and dust from the windy conditions blah blah blah. 

Now I realize that everything I've just said circles back to my lack of education and understanding.  I do what I can to make the earth a sustainable place but I realize that's not enough.  I need to freak out, preach about our impending doom, and ride my bike more.  But what's my next step?

I'm really not sure.  If we've caused all of this and can't really do much about it, and it has nothing to do with the cyclical nature of our earth, then I guess I need a bit more indoctrination. 

Is the true goal of the Global Warming crowd to fund a fixing of the problem?  If so, we'd need to literally take everyone's money and stop the economy from producing so much goop.  Don't forget to shut down the coal fired plants and don't drive anywhere, then send all of that money you made at your home job that doesn't use electricity or paper or water or anything organic to the government to fund research.  We have a 10 year window according to Gore right before calamity brings the beach front to Nevada and Arkansas?

As we approach an era of hydrogen power (have you seen the 12 cylinder BMW hydrogen car?  Wow.), wind power, ethanol, biodiesel, and (shhhhh...nuclear power), I'm encouraged by our progress as humans and will not simply accept the role of global whipping boy for whatever problems seem to exist out there.  You see, this country and its people are a shining example of what ingenuity and the spirit of innovation breeds.  We're blamed for everything and expected to pay for everything that happens around the globe (protection, wars, humanitarian missions, environmental disasters, financial aide, natural disasters, and more).  We also do it here at home (however inefficiently) when things run amuck. 

If we are the world's bad guys and we're the root of much of the world's evil, perhaps the globe would do well to boycott us and all that we are.  Then, after the rest of the world's collapse due to lack of food, no pesticides from our research to prevent blight and plague, and the free reign of dictatorial regimes that enslave millions, we'll move in and ruin those new places too.  (By ruin I mean make prosperous and provide all citizens with their best darn shot at living out their God given rights to a great life).

Personally, I think I'll homestead a piece of land in Bordeaux when it becomes available and replant with some California grapes. (Wait, haven't we done that already?)

DSM Patnership in Tights

The group has called for an additional 1-cent sales tax to help make the area more attractive to workers and businesses. The $75 million raised annually from the proposed sales tax would be used to provide property tax relief, make money available for local projects, and expand the metro area's cultural and recreational opportunities.

So if I'm getting this straight, the Partnership is advocating that we tax to bring tax relief.  Who among you believes that when given 3 options of what to do with $75 million, that politicians will "give it back" in the form of property tax relief?  Even the most liberal of spenders should be offended that the Landed Gentry would possibly get a break on the back of those average citizens purchasing basics from HyVee or Kohls.  Even Robin Hood would be confused by this one.

The piece is actually on Lance Armstrong speaking at the Des Monies partnership annual dinner...but reading that paragraph stopped me cold. 

Blog Wars: The Sundance Channel Documentary

I just watched the movie Blog Wars, a 2006 documentary chronicling the power of bloggers in the Lieberman - Lamont Senate race in Connecticut.  After watching it, I'm pretty sure that any outsider could easily dismiss bloggers as digital vigilantes exacting mob lynchings of their enemies. 

The bloggers, toting video cameras, would hound Lieberman asking tough and some might say volatile questions hoping to fluster him into saying something improper knowing that minutes later...the VLOG (video blog) would be up and linked to by thousands of supporters of the cause.

Revolution No matter the color of the sword you fall on: red or blue, the power of blogs in elections is undeniable.  Some accredit Bush's Ohio victory in 2004 to evangelical right bloggers getting people out to vote.  In the Lieberman/Lamont race, the bloggers got behind Lamont (even though they admittedly didn't care for him all that much) to prove a point, and they did.  Lamont emerged victorious from the primary that was targeted. 

2008 may prove to be the most digitally influenced election yet.  I'm not so sure this kind of blogging is undesirable really.  If you feel like many (especially twenty and thirty-somethings) do that politicians from both parties aren't even listening anymore, blogging may be the flintlock of the digital revolutionary militia.

People Drought

Today, the Des Moines Register posted an editorial piece entitled:  The Issue:  The People Drought.  The piece highlights the major challenge that Iowa (like most of the non-coastal cities) will face in the coming decades.  According to demographers and other experts, we'll face a massive shortfall of workers here.  It's estimated that by 2012 (only 6 years from now mind you) that we'll have 150k more jobs than workers to fill them. 

It’s estimated that Iowa will have 150,000 more jobs than workers by 2012, and it could get much worse thereafter. Rather than new businesses coming to Iowa, the specter is of businesses leaving Iowa because they won’t be able to hire enough workers.

Living in California all of my life until 2005...I never had to face an issue like this...nor do I think we'll have to face it here.

Here's why.  These dire predictions of worker shortage seem to rarely if ever come true.   The statistics assume that at "retirement age", baby boomers will perform a mass exodus from the work force.  Wrong.  Using the same statistics, I'm sure we'd find that a majority of those boomers have under capitalized their retirements..and thus will be changing careers, filling in at mall jobs part time, and the uber professionals will be called in to perform their acts of gray haired wisdom at companies around the state. 

No one here is throwing illegal immigration into the mix either.  You can continue to put off the inevitable by allowing unfettered immigration to "fill the jobs"...but what job deficits are we really talking about here?  Are we facing a lack of 150k skilled workers, burger flippers, or doctors?  No one ever really makes that clear when they speak expertly.

The core of this insane political football remains:

  1. If education was the priority of this state above all else...we'd have the best starting point of ANY state from which to build our foundation.  End of discussion.
  2. If Iowa and the Midwest puts its full force behind becoming the scientific and ag/biofuel technology leader...we'd have no trouble attracting smart people and entrepreneurs and venture capital after the initial ethanol hangover wears off.
  3. Stopping illegal immigration will force the economy to realign itself with the proper market forces at play...this will throw all formulae off by an order of magnitude.

Potent Advice on Anti-Teamwork

A great piece showed up on Tom Evslin's blog Fractals of Change titled, "When NOT to be a team player".

Evslin shares how teamwork in the wrong context ultimately leads to appeasement, lack of progress, and potential disaster.  One of my favorite quotes appears too,

Winston Churchill wrote: “Why, you may take the most gallant sailor, the most intrepid airman or the most audacious soldier, put them at a table together – what do you get? The sum of all their fears.”

The First Plane To Cuba

I hold a great hope that Raul Castro secretly likes Levi's and Netflix.   If Fidel's reign is over and Raul steps up permanently, will he take Cuba down the path of global market participation?  Or, will he maintain the ridiculous shame of communism and oppression...buoyed by fellow fascist regimes.

My hope is that there will be a beautiful new resort economy and cigar trade with the U.S. that will provide jobs and economic prosperity to Cuba's people who've lived in agony for a very long time. 

As we've seen in the past, it's not a bad gig to be a benevolent dictator who's friendly with the U.S.  (at least for a while).  I'm watching this with eager anticipation.

If Cuba and the U.S. become buddies, I'm going to be on the first plane I can get out of Des Moines to the Marriott Bay of Pigs, and engage in a cigar smoking expedition that will affect Cuba's GNP figures.

I keep having visions of Castro in a hospital bed made of gold repeating that famous Python-Holy Grail line in a Spanish accent, "I'm not dead!"  "I feel happy...I feel happpppppyyyyyyy"

Beating a Dead Horse

A great little post appeared on Cornwall's Entrepreneurial Mind blog today called Business As Usual.  Cornwall highlights the fact that our politicians keep negotiating deals as in early twentieth century terms.

So true.  You're not alone when you listen to the left and right leadership drone on in front of a few hundred thousand people via your favorite cable news channel...and feel like they've missed the boat.  Someone should get an official congressional "Do we know what's happening out there" survey commissioned.  The questions:

1.  Do you know what a blog or wiki is?
2.  Do you prefer web based or client server architecture?
3.  By what means do you collaborate with your constituents?
4.  How much is a gallon of gas in your district/state and how much of that price is tax?
5.  How much is a gallon of milk?

Cornwall says, "Our economy is becoming more and more dependent on entrepreneurs for growth. And yet, our politicians keep dancing the same dance that they have since the beginning of the big government era that started in the middle of the last century. This is no longer a time to horse trade between unions and corporate America. If we don't wake up, we face economic atrophy that will assure that the US will be a second rate economic power within the next 20 - 30 years, if not sooner."

Amen.  Right now, America is acting like the lethargic old economy company who doesn't believe that the competition could ever penetrate its shields...and its has so much money (or ability to incur so much debt at its population's expense), that it can in nothing for a very long time...and live to die another day.  At some point, the U.S. government will go into panic mode and spend more of our money trying to catch up and deal with the fact that its populous has passed it up.  Or, we'll take the AT&T approach that manifested itself after 25 years of head-in-sand management...we'll simply sell our country to another who's very nimble and tecno exchange for the use of our name and our "customer base".

The irony is that we've elected...and will continue to elect slick attorneys with nice suits to represent us folks.  Cornwall's time frame of 20-30 years is about right since my generation, Gen X (I'm 34), will be the first generation of retirees in our country to not be under the thumb of the government for our well being.  Ask anyone in my age class if they believe social security will be there when they retire and they'll scoff.  It's going to take a new class of self-employed and SMB business owners to set this ship right.  We'll do it over the next 20 years by voting for people in the U.S that are like US.


When you read the headline "Military Revises al-Zarqawi Account", you are left with a clear picture that you will now be reading how things changed and what was revised.  Oh the simplicity.

However, the first sentence of the article discusses how an unnamed, unseen, totally anonymous, and completely unverified man saw the military, "Wrap the man's head in an Arab robe and began beating him," speaking of al-Zarqawi.  This is the kind of non-reporting reporting that inflames the right side of the media and completely discredits the left.  Come on.  Basically we're hearing that, "Some guy, who may have been there or not, we really don't know, said the U.S. did bad things to the guy.  There's some solid stuff.

Later in the article as General William Caldwell lays out the revised details of what happened as reported by the military, this reporter mentions that Cadwell's "Recounting of the aftermath of the air strike could not be independently verified." But included that, "The Iraqi government confirmed only that Iraqi forces were first on the scene, followed by the Americans." 

Let me translate this article for you. 

The U.S. is bad and probably killed al-Zarqawi after he survived our brutal attack.  After all, somebody said they kind of saw that, and besides, we can't trust what the military says about anything.  Obviously, since we're getting reports now that the immediate first reports were incorrect, the U.S. is covering this up since we shouldn't be there anyway and....(cue the Dixie Chicks). 

Come on.  How many of the first reports out of New Orleans were correct?  Recall the rapes and murders that were seemingly happening every minute at the Super Dome?

Should we go back and examine the reports of when Sadaam was captured?  He's alive and facing trail.  Details changed for weeks after the initial reports came out...largely because in American Military, we take the time to explore, investigate, and fact find. 

My main point here is that this is NOT a news piece.  It's drivel and it's main goal is to leave the reader with the impression that the U.S. did not tell the whole truth and that it can't be trusted.  While there have been military missteps with regard to the truth, on the whole, I believe that we do our best every day to provide justice and proper behavior.  Every group of people has bad elements, but I'm going to tip the good scale to the U.S., versus giving that award to the guys who cut off heads.