Review of 2009

Can’t sum it up any better than this:

 

Please note that there has been a semi-catastrophic crash in the Matrix – some pages and functions are not working correctly.  Will get these working as soon as possible.  Please sent your comments (with reference to post title) to toms.place.blog {at} gmail.com, and I will post them accordingly when things get working again.

New Email & Template For Tom’s Place

emailimage

Tom’s Place now has a new email address (shown at the right and on the “About” page.  Hopefully, I won’t miss emails – the other service wasn’t very easy to use.

I’m also working on a template based on the previous template that will change colors and headers based upon dates (part of which has already been rolled out).  Of course, the thoughts for the day will also continue, although I’m hoping to tie those quotes based upon specific dates as well.

A question:  Does anyone use “tags” to find posts?

Yeah, I know, I’m a bit-head…but only as a hobby, and between searching for jobs and studies.

50 Years of Global …

Cooling…  That’s right, cooling.

From Investors.com:

A peer-reviewed study by a respected Canadian physicist blames the interplay of cosmic rays and chlorofluorocarbons for 20th-century warming. The CFCs are now gone, and so is warming — perhaps for the next 50 years.

Qing Bin-Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy at Canada’s University of Waterloo, is a believer in the value of drawing conclusions from observable data and not from selective data fed into computer models that are based on false assumptions and include "fudge factors."

In a peer-reviewed paper published in the prestigious online journal Physics Reports, Lu, who holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Newcastle, reports that CFCs, the compounds once widely used as refrigerants, and cosmic rays, which are energy particles originating in outer space, are mostly to blame for climate change, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Lu puts the start of the cooling trend at 2002 and writes that "the observed data show that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays most likely caused both the Antarctic ozone hole and global warming. These findings are totally unexpected and striking, as I was focused on studying the mechanism for the formation of the ozone hole, rather than global warming."

From 1850 to 1950, Lu notes, the recorded CO2 level increased significantly because of the Industrial Revolution; the global temperature stayed constant or rose only 0.1 degree Celsius.

"Most remarkably, the total amount of CFCs, ozone-depleting molecules that are well-known greenhouse gases … decreased around 2000," Lu said. "Correspondingly, the global surface temperature has also dropped. In striking contrast, the CO2 level has kept rising since 1850 and now is at its largest growth rate."

And what about those pesky computer models with the doom and gloom predictions?

Other reputable scientists have also predicted decades of cooling ahead to, er, varying degrees and for varying reasons. Earth’s climate is affected by many things and is more complicated than the CRU computer models.

In a speech in September at the U.N.’s World Climate Conference in Geneva, Mojib Latif of Germany’s Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University, one of the world’s foremost climate modelers and a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, acknowledged that the Earth has been cooling and is likely to continue to do so the next couple of decades.

According to research conducted by Don Easterbrook from Western Washington University, the oceans and global temperatures are closely related and have a natural cycle of warming and cooling that affects the planet.

The most important ocean cycle is the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO). Professor Easterbrook notes that in the 1980s and 1990s it was in a warming cycle, as was the earth. The global cooling from 1940 to 1975, which had some warning of an ice age, coincided with a Pacific cooling cycle.

"The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of three decades of global cooling," said Easterbrook.

So much for Global Warming…Just break out the snow shovels…Oh wait, we are…

The Gift That Will Keep On Taking

On the morning of Christmas Eve, the Senate voted along party lines to approve its version of health care reform.  The Senate’s version is now roughly 2,700 pages long, and contains language that many would consider kickbacks, payoffs, and outright bribes.  If the healthcare bill were absolutely the best thing for the American people, then why did the Senate leadership resort to this type of behavior instead of allowing the bill to pass on its own merits?  The answer is that it cannot.

I believe that most of the readers of this blog (all 7 of them) will agree that 2,700 pages of legislation will not provide a viable solution to any problem, either real or perceived.  And regardless of your position on healthcare reform, the legislation passed by both the House and the Senate does not address the issue of healthcare reform in a practical and cost efficient manner.  Instead, the costs for the programs outlined in the legislation will grow like the 800-lb. gorilla that will beat us to death unless we keep feeding it our hard-earned tax dollars.

Back on December 18, Tom@StayAWhile made some comments in response to the post “Healthcare Taxes” that I would like to respond to.

Lots of complaints. Where are Republican solutions to the problem? Or do Republicans think there is no problem? Or maybe they think tort reform will solve all our medical problems?

People are already dying. They either have no health care, or their insurance company refuses to pay for their expensive care after all the years they paid their premiums, or people are denied care because of a pre existing condition. High unemployment due to our upside down economics isn’t helping either.

I don’t believe that there is any one problem.  Tort reform is just one item that needs to be addressed.  Insurance companies not paying off on coverage if premiums have been paid is another (although I do wonder if these people exceeded their expenditures outlined by their policies).  Pre-existing conditions is sometimes a shaky argument because of the possibility of fraud on the part of the patient (that’s not saying that the insurance companies aren’t guilty of malfeasance either).

Lets get real. Anyone who believes a politicians promises when they are trying to get your vote, is lacking in common sense.

Can we ever agree on this!  From a post way back in 2005:

In case any of you didn’t know, a typical politician’s primary job is not to serve the people who elected him. His primary job is to get himself (or herself) elected or re-elected. Second is to reward all those contributors that gave $$ to help him get elected. Third is to get as many perks & benefits as he can while he is in office. Last on the list is the common person like you & I.

What happens is that anything that the politician has promised, said they would do, or otherwise look into during the campaign is promptly forgotten, …

Next set of comments:

Republicans have been saying for decades they will cut taxes, cut government, less regulations, etc. Is that what we got? We got a 12 trillion dollar national debt, larger government, high unemployment, and a financial crisis.

Republicans are politicians too.  The “Contract to America” was a great talking point in the short run, but went bust because they still spent and spent and spent.  Politicians and taxpayer money are never a good mix.

If anyone thinks Obama can pay for a new program from the savings of waste from another program, is diluted. If he can do that, then he should do it for every federal department, and send a big check to pay off our national debt.

I could only roll my eyes when I heard this whopper.  There is no possible way that the waste from another program can pay for another program.  Instead, the waste and corruption should be stopped before any other program is started that would supposedly use these funds.

If we think we can run this country without paying for it, we are diluted, selfish, greedy, and lazy.

The next time a politician tells you he won’t raise your taxes, ask him why he wants to bankrupt America.

I am against this bill, because it is bad law.

If it were good law, I would be willing to pay higher taxes to help solve a national problem.

Social programs do not lead to Socialist (Stalinist) government. They are a tool to help a large number of people, voted for, by the people.

Since when are Americans no longer willing to pay, to remain the best country in the World? If we add no other programs, or stop growing, we still go bankrupt.

The selfish, spoiled living of the last 30 years of trying to have a free lunch, has come home to roost, and it’s our selfish selves that have to clean up our own mess, and pay it off.

What right do we have to pass our greedy habits and debts onto future Americans. We will be the first generation to pass on a country worse off, then it was given to us.

This multi-trillion dollar debt started growing in 1983. The same year Reagan’s tax cuts went into effect. This is our debt. It was not passed onto us from our parents generation.

Who by the way, built the greatest middle class and living standards the World has ever seen. Paid off the WW II war debt, and rebuilt Europe and Japan, all at the same time.

At tax rates that were twice as high as we pay now.

Tax cuts do no generate enough income to pay our bills, or employ all our people. High tax rates do not inhibit economic growth. That’s proven economic History.

I do not believe that I have ever stated that I would want to pay no taxes (although that does have a nice ring to it!!).  Rather, I would like to see my tax dollars spent wisely and without waste before raising my tax rate.  Because of that waste and the spending habits of our government which have lead them to borrow money (i.e., the national debt & deficit), and now the country is essentially bankrupt if our debts are called in by the creditors.

There will be economic growth, with or without high taxes.  The question is how fast or slow will that growth proceed, and how many people will become wealthy (or remain poor).  And I do have problems with a progressive tax system – there are arguments for a flat tax system that treats everyone fairly and without exception (but that is a post for a different time).

Reagan’s tax cuts were only part of the problem.  Congress continued on its spending binge regardless of the corresponding drops in tax revenue.  The idea was that government live within its means – a pipe dream if there ever was one.  And we are still stuck with the aforementioned 800-lb. gorilla…only bigger and badder than before.

But where I start having a problem is that now, amid the economic problems of the country, Congress wants to add another program that will cost taxpayers and add to the debt (this is a fact, no matter what the spin).  I am opposed to this legislation because it is bad legislation on so many different levels, but the biggest one is the following question:

Does Congress have the legal right to force the citizens of the United States to buy health insurance?

The short answer is “no,” and the long answer can be found in the Constitution of the United States, Section 8, which outlines the powers of Congress.  All other powers not found in the Constitution are left to the States to decide with the consent of their citizens.  This is why Massachusetts, for example, can enact their own provisions for mandatory health insurance.  Also stated in that section are the words, “…all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;” which renders all the deal making provisions in the Senate legislation illegal, and thus null & void.

Now I realize that under the same Constitutional argument, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other Federally-funded social programs can be declared un-Constitutional.  And guess what – they are.  And I’m waiting to hear someone raise that point.  (By the way, the phrase “…provide for the … general Welfare of the United States;” stands for the welfare of the country as a whole, i.e., care of the United States’ national sovereignty, and not of its individual citizens.)

The point is that tort reform, social services, and a whole host of other issues raised by the legislation just approved by Congress is not the provision or responsibility of Congress to address, but squarely belongs to the States themselves.  Our Congress, by proceeding down this path, is trampling on the founding document of the United States.

Where this legislation goes from here is anyone’s guess.  The Congresscritters are back home, hopefully getting an earful from their constituents.  And I can only hope that this 2,700-page monstrosity dies a very public and horrible death.

Christmas Terror

From the Detroit Free Press:

A terror suspect who claimed to have al-Qaida connections could face charges as soon as today for attempting to blow up a Delta-Northwest flight as it was landing at Detroit Metro Airport on Friday, law enforcement officials said.

Officials identified the suspect as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, 23, a Nigerian national. It was unclear Friday why he allegedly wanted to attack the flight, arriving from Amsterdam. Passengers subdued him as he allegedly tried to detonate an explosive device that failed.

…the flight began in Nigeria and went through Amsterdam en route to Detroit.

There was nothing out of the ordinary until Northwest Flight 253 was on final approach to Detroit, said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory. That is when the pilot declared an emergency and landed shortly thereafter, Cory said in an e-mail message.

There were 278 passengers aboard the Airbus 330, and the flight was about 20 minutes from the airport when there was a sound like a firecracker exploded, witnesses said. One passenger jumped over others and tried to subdue the man. Shortly afterward, the suspect was taken to a front row seat with his pants cut off and his legs burned.

Some of the facts reported late Friday:

  • One U.S. intelligence official said the explosive device was a mix of powder and liquid and failed when the passenger tried to detonate it.
  • A law enforcement source said the explosives may have been strapped to the man’s body but investigators weren’t immediately certain, partly because of the struggle with other passengers.
  • One law enforcement source said the man claimed to have been instructed by al-Qaida to detonate the plane over U.S. soil.
  • The official said a determination of a terrorist act would have to come from the attorney general.
  • The official added that additional security measures were being taken without raising the airline threat level.

The last two bullet points concern me. 

  • Of course it’s a terrorist act!  A person tried to blow himself up to take a planeload of passengers with him.
  • The flight originated in Nigeria – who knows what security measures they have, and this is definitely a threat.

Note to the President:  Just because you make speeches and promise to close Guantanamo Bay, terrorists will keep coming!  No matter how it’s spun, closing that prison will not stop people from joining a terrorist group.  An excerpt from an earlier post:

…there are people in the world that want to kill you just for the reason that you exist!! And we still seem to pursue the idiotic mantra of appeasement to those who wish nothing more than to destroy our country and subjugate us to their religion.

Just the mere fact that this latest attempt was performed over the United States and on Christmas Day should give even the most Liberal apologists pause to consider that there is no appeasement or compromise with these people.  No, this is a war, period, but it is with a well funded religious ideology instead of a country.  The sooner that our leaders realize this instead of treating it as a bunch of criminal acts will mean that a greater focus will be brought to bear upon these organizations.