Monday, December 31, 2007

A Marine Needs Help

A lawyer in Chicago, Jay R. Grodner, appears to have been caught in the act of keying a Marine's car and it looks like he is going to get away with it. Black Five has the details.

Marine Sgt Mike McNulty is on activation orders to Iraq (second tour). On December 1st, 2007, Mike went to visit a friend in Chicago before deploying to say goodbye. In order to get to his friend's residence, and keep in mind that Chicago is a myriad of diagonal and one-way streets, the front entrance (right way) to the one-way street was blocked. Mike, being a Marine, overcame and adapted by driving around the block to the other end of the street and backing up all the way to his friend's place.

While saying goodbye, at about 11am, he noticed a man leaning up against his car. Mike left his friend's apartment and caught the man keying his car on multiple sides.
That is bad. However, the police were called and arrested the lawyer.

However the weasely lawyer looks like he is going to skate on the charges.
As it turns out, the man is Chicago lawyer Jay R. Grodner, who owns a law firm in the city and has offices in the suburbs.

After sending the car to the body shop, it was determined there is $2400 in damage, making this a felony. Mike went to court Friday morning to collect the damages against Mr. Grodner and file felony charges. Though the damages are over $300 (the amount which determines felony or misdemeanor) Grodner offered Mike to pay his deductible, $100, and have Mike's insurance pay for it.

The Illinois States Attorneys tried to coerce Mike into accepting the offer. Appalled, Mike said he wanted this to be a felony. The state told Mike that it was not worth pursuing felony damage against Grodner because they don't have the time. In addition, the state prosecutors told him that he would never it 'would be difficult to recover the damages' from Grodner because he is a lawyer.

Instead, the State asked Mike if he would accept probation for Grodner. Mike accepted, probation was offered to Grodner, and Grodner declined the offer, saying within ear shot of Mike, "I'm not going to make it easy on this kid". Mike's next court date is tomorrow, Monday, December 31st, to pursue misdemeanor charges against Grodner.

Mike's leave is over on January 2nd when he reports to Camp Pendleton before heading to Iraq.

Jay Grodner knows this and is going to file for a continuance until Mike is gone and cannot appear in court.

By account of the Illinois State's Attorneys, Grodner is likely to get away with defacing Mike's car with no penalty because, 1) Mike is about to deploy to Iraq and will not be available to appear in court, and 2) Grodner is a lawyer and can get out of this very easily.

So, does anyone have any ideas about how to proceed? All peaceful and rational ideas are welcomed. We are contacting the media about this, too.
If you have any ideas on how this can be resolved (yeah I know - but the Marine wants to do it legal like) contact Black Five at his blog or send him an e-mail


A commenter at Black Five suggested contacting Mr. Grodner who appears to be a paternity lawyer:

Law Offices of Jay R. Grodner

Principal Office-Deerfield
625 Deerfield Road –Suite 406
Deerfield, IL 60015
Phone: (847) 444-1500
Fax: (847) 444-0663

Downtown Chicago
30 N. LaSalle St. - Suite 1210
Chicago, IL 60602
Phone: (312) 236-1142
Fax: (312) 236-6036

Be as nice as you can. After all he is a lawyer.

Might I also suggest having a look at what other Black Five commenters have recommended?

Search Google for Jay R. Grodner. It appears that Jay is getting a lot of - shall we say - interesting press.

Update 01 Jan 008 0944z:

It appears that Mr. Grodner is in a bit of legal trouble with the Illinois State's Attorney. A Black Five reader provides this eye witness account of yesterdays court proceedings.
I am writing to produce an update of the results of Sgt McNulty's case against Jay R Grodner. I was present in support of Mike and thought you may be interested in an update for this story.

Sgt McNulty was called forward by the State's Attorney in order to discuss the case. I am not sure what transpired behind the closed doors, however, I overheard the State's Attorney expressing her intent to prosecute this guy to the fullest extent. It seems as if BlackFive is the sole catalyst to this story getting out and I am sure Sgt McNulty has probably heard the effect of yours and other blogs from the results of today's proceedings to include several Marines and civilians who showed up in his support.

Jay R Grodner was called before court and in his absence, the Judge issued a warrant for his arrest effective immediately. Sgt McNulty was departing the court when Grodner rolled in to the courtroom more pathetic than anyone I had ever seen. The Judge had questioned him on his tardiness and he explained that traffic had been busy and he 'made a wrong turn'. The Judge chastised him for his tardiness, pathetic excuses, and that he was lucky the warrant had not been executed prior to his arrival.

It seems the blogosphere has put the ball in Sgt McNulty's court. Furthermore, it is also apparent that the State's Attorney's Office has decided to take this matter on a much more serious level. A new and very aggressive State's Attorney seems to have a genuine interest in pursuing this case to the extent that it warrants.
It seems that all the heat bloggers brought to bear on the situation is going to create some light. Way to go guys. Kudos to Black Five and Instapundit for helping to get the word out.

Update: 03 Jan 008 0629z

The Chicago Tribune has more details on the story.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

H/T Instapundit


Some entities are on thermodynamic kicks. They invented thermodynamics… Wouldn't you?

And some of us are on Different Kicks and that's a thing out in the open the way I like to see what I eat and visa versa mutates as the case may be. Bill's Naked Lunch Room… Step right up… Good for young and old, man and bestial. Nothing like a little snake oil to grease the wheels and get a show on the track Jack. Which side are you on? Fro-Zen Hydraulic? Or you want to take a look around with Honest Bill?

So that's the World Health Problem I was talking about back in The Article. The Prospect Before Us Friends of MINE. Do I hear muttering about a personal razor and some bush league short con artist who is known to have invented The Bill? Wouldn't You? The razor belonged to a man named Ockham and he was not a scar collector. Ludwig Wittgenstein Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: "If a proposition is NOT NECESSARY it is MEANINGLESS and approaching MEANING ZERO."



When I say I have no memory of writing Naked Lunch, this is of course an exaggeration, and it is to be kept in mind that there are various areas of memory. Junk is a pain-killer, it also kills the pain an pleasure implicit in awareness. While the factual memory of an addict may be quite accurate and extensive, his emotional memory may be scanty and, in the case of heavy addiction, approaching affective zero.

When I say "the junk virus is public health problem number one of the world today," I refer not just to the actual ill effects of opiates upon the individual's health (which, in cases of controlled dosage may be minimal), but also to the hysteria that drug use often occasions in populaces who are prepared by the media and narcotics officials for a hysterical reaction.

The junk problem, in its present form, began with the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 in the United States. Anti-drug hysteria is now worldwide, and it poses a deadly threat to personal freedoms and due- process protections of the law everywhere.

--- William Burroughs October 1991

From Naked Lunch By William Burroughs

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fred Is Moving Up

The American Thinker is reporting that a McClatchy-MSNBC poll shows Fred in third place.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney has 27 percent;
Former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee has 23 percent;
Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson has 14 percent;
Sen. John McCain of Arizona has 13 percent;
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has 5 percent;
Rep. Ron Paul of Texas has 5 percent;
Rep. Duncan Hunter of California has 1 percent.
Undecided: 12 percent.
This compares quite favorably to several weeks ago when Fred was in the low single digits.

One thing I can report is that the Thompson campaign raised over $250,000 by Friday evening giving him the money needed to air the TV spots his campaign hopes will keep him in the running. Politically Fred has been known to be a slow starter and a strong closer. We shall see.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Gypsy Curse

I like the New Al Gore's current persona.

"The sky is falling. The sky is falling. However, do not fear. This is your lucky day. I'm selling indulgences".

This is a great step up from the "your money has the gypsy curse" scam. After all there is no scientific proof that the gypsy curse works (well except for the gypsy).

Prompted by a discussion at Althouse

Finding Islam

If you have lost Islam and need to find it, Finding Islam can help.

Schools. Colleges. The local Muslim Student Association. Islamic Centers. The Koran. Hadith. Fiqh and Fatawa. It is all there. Be nice. There is plenty to learn.

If you meet any Muslims during your researches you might want to ask them what they think of Muslims Against Sharia. Just to get an idea of the lay of the land so to speak.

Up And Down

The Drug Czar says that the current cocaine price spike shows progress in the War On Druggies. NPR reports on the story.

For the past few months, the federal government has been celebrating the fact that U.S. cities are experiencing "an unprecedented cocaine shortage" due to increased law enforcement in the southwestern United States and Mexico.
Great news for prohibitionists. They are finally starting to defeat the drug market. Something I said they would never do. I guess I'll have a big dish of crow.

But wait. NPR did some fact checking. What did they find?
But fact-checking by NPR reveals that while there are indeed spot shortages of cocaine, they are neither nationwide nor unprecedented. And the scarcity may have unintended consequences.

The price of cocaine is one of the main ways the government tallies the score in its war on drugs. The reasoning is that if prices go up, it means that agents are winning — they're squeezing the supply. For the past three months, the federal government has been reporting that its counter-drug strategy has created an unprecedented nationwide cocaine shortage.
I think we are going to need some details before we buy into some anecdotes by NPR.
Walters said reports indicate that these interdictions have choked the cocaine supply in 37 cities across the country. The list included 15 major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Grand Rapids, Mich., Walters said.

NPR contacted the police departments in each of those 37 cities to find out what narcotics commanders had to say about the reported cocaine shortage.

The results suggest how difficult it is for law enforcement to create any long-term disruption in retail sales in America, which is the largest cocaine market in the world.

And they tend to confirm long-established trends: that price spikes are transitory, and that over time, dealers find other distribution routes, while users may find other drugs.

Ten of the 37 cities confirmed that the cocaine scarcity is real. Among them were the largest cocaine markets in the nation, such as New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and San Francisco.

Lt. Daniel Simfer, commander of the vice/narcotics unit in the St. Louis Police Department, said, "In the last six months it has become less available than it was at the beginning of the year. The price has increased accordingly probably by about a third."

Four cities declined to respond to questions about the local cocaine supply; five said there was simply no shortage.

The question brought laughter from Sgt. Roger Johnson of the Detroit Police Department.

"No, we don't have a problem finding it at all," Johnson said.

In Pittsburgh, Commander Sheryl Doubt of the Pittsburgh Police Department said, "I spoke to my detectives out there in the streets making buys, and we all kind of agreed that if there's a shortage here in Pittsburgh, we are not aware of it and don't find that necessarily to be true."
The Drug Czar lying to us? How can that be? He is an honorable man and a public servant. I mean if you can't trust public servants what is he world coming to? A former budget control director in the Czar's office tells us.
John Carnevale is a former budget director in the drug-control office who served under four former drug czars. He says the office had the Rand Corporation analyze long-term cocaine price trends.

Of the findings, Carnevale said, "One, the long-term trend adjusted for purity has been one of decline. It just keeps coming down and coming down. Two, there's been occasional moments where we've seen spikes in cocaine prices, and they may last three months, four months, five months — but eventually the trend continues to decline."

And fleeting price spikes, Carnevale said, did not meaningfully affect demand — another point where he differs with the drug czar.
So we have a short term upward spike in a long term downward trend.

Well the Drug Czar tells us that after examining the bodily fluids of hundreds of thousands of Americans he has proof of progress that can't be denied.
Further proof of the cocaine shortage, Walters says, is that the nation's largest workplace drug-testing company has observed a 16 percent decline in positive cocaine drug tests during the first half of 2007.

But in an interview, a scientist from that company, Quest Diagnostics, said that during the same period, the company also noticed a nearly 7 percent uptick in methamphetamine detection.

That phenomenon shows the nature of addiction, several police officials said. To the extent there is, or was, a cocaine shortage, they have seen regular users turn to meth, heroin, prescription drugs, and high-potency marijuana. In other words, enforcement had not appeared to curtail demand — one of the chief aims of the war on drugs.

"The truth is, we see addicts getting drugs even in the worst times," said Sgt. Sutherland of the Washington, D.C., police. "When it's really hard to get it, they'll do just about anything to get some kind of drugs."
So drug users are switching from coke to meth and heroin. I'd call that real progress. For sure.

The USA Today has noted another positive aspect of the crackdown.
In Cleveland, police noted a contraction in drug markets in January. Homicides are up as local drug organizations vie for the shrinking cocaine supply, says Mayor Frank Jackson, who lauds a six-city, federally led task force for cracking down on local traffickers.
Isn't that special. Fewer drugs more murders. I'm sure that city life has improved because of it.

Mayor Jackson had some further comments on the effectiveness of the crack down.
"Interdiction isn't the cure-all. The police cannot solve this problem. It's one leg on the stool."
There is more than enough evidence that the stool is beginning to stink. It is well past flushing time. The unfortunate thing is that there is a lot of money supporting this stool. In other words the toilet is backed up and the overflow is making the whole house stink. Of course this is America and we are getting all the house we paid for.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

New Hope For Eradicating Drugs

ABC Television has aired a major special on the drug war in Bolivia which, according to the Bush Administration, is our "best hope" for winning the drug war in South America.

Glad to hear that.

What was the ABC editorial comment on the Bush plan?

ABC has decisively concluded that there is no hope and that the war on drug production has already been lost.

You missed that report? No wonder. It was broadcast on December 28, 1992.

LEAPing on McCain

Working New Hampshire police officer Bradley Jardis confronted Senator John McCain on November 25, 2007, at a Presidential Campaign stop at Franklin Pierce College in Ringe, New Hampshire, about Senator McCains’s support for The War On Drugs.

Here is the transcript:

Bradley Jardis: I have served here in my state as a law enforcement officer for going on nine years now. And after nine years of working the street, I have come to the conclusion that the war on drugs is a terrible failure. I saw first hand that the war on drugs causes crime. It causes children to have access to drugs easier and it does nothing to curb the problem of drug trafficking or use—just as alcohol prohibition after the 18th amendment passed. Then we wised up and passed the 21st amendment, which curbed the violence problem within this country greatly. What is it going to take for powerful politicians, such as yourself, to realize that the war on drugs is a failure and we need to get smart about drugs? Not tough, we need to be smart about drugs.

John McCain: “Thank you sir. It is going to take a lot before I adopt your viewpoint, although I must say, (Applause) express my respect and appreciation for keeping our families and our neighborhoods in the state of New Hampshire safe and I am grateful for your service. But I’ve heard your comparison between drugs and alcohol. I think most experts would say in moderation one or two drinks of alcohol does not have the affect on one’s judgment or manual acuity or physical abilities. I think most experts will say that the first ingestion of drugs leads to mind-altering and other experiences and effects that can lead over time to serious problems. Now I will agree with you to this extent, that too often we put first time drug users in prison. (Applause) In my home state of Arizona we a program that puts first time drug offenders, not dealers but first time drug offenders, that they have the eligibility on rehab program that is associated with very significant testing procedures. And if they successfully complete that rehabilitation course, then they are allowed to move forward with their lives. We have too many first time drug offenders in prison. I think we all know that. But I will do everything I can to help you with your work. I will do whatever I can do to help you combat these drug dealers, these terrible people that prey on America but there have been experiments in Europe; some places there where basically the use of drugs is freely and openly used and some of those places they have had to shut down those places because of the terrible effects of not restricting the use of drugs from those places. So I would like to refer you to those places where they have done that. And I don’t in any way diminish the magnitude of your job and terrible affect that drugs have on Americans. And a lot of it, as you know, comes across our southern borders. And I’m happy to tell you that we seem to have a president of Mexico now who is very serious about enforcing the border and cooperating with us against drug dealers. Now I think in full disclosure, with drug cartels there is such problems that I don’t think he is going to be able to do it. But my friends, I want to help him and I want to help him clean it up but that also is a big problem. Now I just want to ask one other thing, do you think methamphetamine ought to be legal?

Bradley Jardis: I think what we need to look at is the drug policy.

John McCain: Yea but you know it’s one thing to talk about policy; it’s another thing to talk about specific comments. With all due respect, do you think methamphetamine should be made legal?

Bradley Jardis: I don't think if someone is caught with methamphetamine we should put them in prison, period. We should be helping them. We should help people who are addicted to drugs (Applause) and not spend 69 billion dollars a year to imprison them. (Continuing applause) If you arrest somebody, it does not solve the problem. You just said there are drug cartels. There would not be drug cartels if we were to regulate drugs. In Switzerland they have public heroin clinics where people can come and get help with clean needles and to get off drugs. There is no doubt that drugs are dangerous but our policy does not do anything to help people who are addicted. If you arrest a sixteen year old for marijuana and they get a criminal conviction, you can get over an addiction but you will never get over a conviction. They loose their funding to go to college and no one can ever say, that keeping a kid from going to college because of prohibition sounds good. Not at all. Thank you very much. (Applause)

John McCain: “I’m sorry he didn’t have a position on methamphetamine but I do agree with you. I do agree with you strongly. As I said, we have this program in Arizona which I would like to see adopted nation wide: the first time offender is given an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves and to have clean record. I thank you for your service and I appreciate the discussion and I look forward to continuing this dialogue because I in no way mean to diminish the magnitude of this problem and the terrible tragedies it inflicts on America everyday. Thank you and thank you for your service.
You can see the video at Classical Values.

LEAP is asking for donations in order to keep confronting politicians with people they can't easily dismiss. Working police officers. Do what you can.

Friday, December 28, 2007

No Doubt, Not Science

The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn't know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty damn sure of what the result is going to be, he is still in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress, we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty--some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain. Now, we scientists are used to this, and we take it for granted that it is perfectly consistent to be unsure, that it is possible to live and not know. But I don't know whether everyone realizes this is true. Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question--to doubt--to not be sure. I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained. - Richard P. Feynman * "The Value of Science," address to the National Academy of Sciences (Autumn 1955)

Let me add that of all the scientific disciplines engineers are the most doubtful. Murphy is a constant companion.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Support Fred

Fred08 - Contribute Now

A great story and why you should support Fred

Please Help Fred

I'm shamelessly lifting a post from my friend Eric at Classical Values. So what he said:

I'm glad to join Rick Moran's blogburst for Fred Thompson, which Glenn Reynolds linked yesterday.

Analogizing to Washington's perilous crossing, here's what Rick said this morning:

To be brutally frank in appraising the situation realistically, Fred Thompson's chances of winning the nomination are not good. I will not attempt to snow you, gentle readers, with the idea that the Thompson campaign is anything but a hope and a prayer at this point. But where there is a will to fight, so there is a will to win. It doesn't matter how many pundits, pollsters, and assorted "experts" have written off Fred Thompson. What matters is that there is still a chance, still life in the campaign, and still a belief that the race can be won. Your support is absolutely crucial to propel the campaign forward, to build on the momentum generated by Thompson's bus tour through Iowa by giving as much as you possibly can.
I've been partial to Fred Thompson's candidacy since before he was running, and I've already made a modest donation. I plan to donate more, because he's by far the best the GOP has to offer right now, and now is an especially important time. Because, if Huckabee gets it, we'll see eight years of Hillary.

That last statement is of course a Machiavellian argument for Fred Thompson -- intended for those who consider themselves in the ABC (Anyone But Clinton) category. But Fred Thompson is the most experienced candidate the GOP has, he goes way back, and I think he has integrity. Moreover, he dares to be a Federalist -- someone who actually publicly supports the Constitution as it was written. As a strong constitutionalist who believes the Constitution has been disregarded for far too long, few things could appeal to me more. It's music to my ears. Sure, the cynic in me could argue that he's "just saying that" and "doesn't really mean it," but this is where his years of experience and political wisdom tend to kick in. Simply for being the only vocal federalist of the bunch, he deserves support.

Any readers who feel the same way, I hope you'll join in the blogburst. I say this as someone who does not usually join things or participate in blogbursts.

I also remind readers that I do not have a tip jar. Instead, I occasionally ask people to donate to one worthy cause or another.

So please, any of you who aren't into having Hillary as president and who like this blog, I hope you'll consider clicking on this link and donating to Fred Thompson.

Faking Sock Puppets

I hate it when people imitate sock puppets.

How can you tell the real sock puppets from the fake ones when that happens?

Inspired by the discussion about Glenn Greenwald at Protein Wisdom.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Money at one time had two functions.

1. A store of value
2. A medium of exchange

for various reasons (one of which is to keep money invested in order to increase an economies' productive capacity as opposed to keeping it stuffed in a mattress where it produces nothing) money is no longer a store of value. The only way to maintain the value of your money is to invest it.

So at this point in time money is no longer a store of value. This may be good. This may be bad. However, it is what it is.

Invest accordingly.

Ron Paul.

Why Science Is Not Religion

Science is based on doubt.

Religion is based on faith.

Prompted by the discussion at The Volokh Conspiracy.

Then there is scientism which amounts to faith in science. We know scientism is not a scientific position, because science never knows anything. All science can say is "this is the best answer we have so far".

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ethernet Cable Help

I need to get a 100ft Ethernet indoor (non-plenum) cable with connectors on both ends.

I have seen such cables on the net for around $10 or much more.

Are the $10 cables any good? If so where is a good place to buy?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Political Lexicon

A. Jacksonian has put up a political lexicon for this election season. My favorite?

A fresh face from Illinois - An individual with Chicago Mob connections running for high office before their Mob connections come to light.

Go read the whole thing.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Merry Christmas To All

Thank you all for reading, commenting, and supporting this blog.

And to my friend Paul for making it all possible.

May this time next year see us all , healthier, wealthier, and wiser.

Bless you,


FEC Shutdown?

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has been shut down. And how did I find this out? I was over at DKOS looking for a Bussard Fusion Post by Roger Fox and came across this one on the FEC. It links to a Washington Post story.

The federal agency in charge of policing the torrent of political spending during the upcoming presidential primaries will, for all practical purposes, shut its doors on New Year's Eve.

The Federal Election Commission will effectively go dark on Jan. 1 because Congress remains locked in a standoff over the confirmation of President Bush's nominees to the panel. As a consequence, the FEC will enter 2008 with just two of six members -- short of the four votes needed for the commission to take any official action.

"There is, in effect, nobody to answer the phone," said Robert F. Bauer, a leading Democratic campaign finance lawyer.

Although the 375 auditors, lawyers and investigators at the FEC will continue to process work already before them, a variety of matters that fall to the commissioners will be placed on hold indefinitely. Chief among them are deciding whether to launch investigations into possible campaign finance violations and determining the penalties.

Seven presidential candidates have applied to receive public matching funds for their campaigns, but they may not be able to access the money until the FEC certifies their requests. That takes four votes.

The national political parties each anticipate an infusion of about $1 million from the U.S. Treasury to help pay for their national conventions. Releasing that money takes four votes.
So who exactly is behind these shenainans? (Actually I approve of shutting down the FEC. What I object to is changing the rules in the middle of the campaign.) Let's have a look.
he FEC is composed of three appointees from each party, all nominated by the president. There is already one vacancy, and three recess appointments will expire on Dec. 31.

The potential for an FEC shutdown has been looming for weeks, as a handful of Democratic senators voiced opposition to one of Bush's nominees to the commission, Hans A. von Spakovsky. Their concern stemmed not from von Spakovsky's work on the FEC but from his tenure in the Justice Department's civil rights division.

His critics contend that von Spakovsky advocated a controversial Texas redistricting plan and fought to institute a requirement in Georgia that voters show photo identification before being permitted to cast ballots.

"I am particularly concerned with his efforts to undermine voting rights," Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said in a statement released in September after he placed a hold on von Spakovsky's nomination. Obama and others gathered more opposition to von Spakovsky's nomination by drawing civil rights advocates into a lobbying effort for its rejection. They attracted the involvement of a number of groups, including the NAACP and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, that typically would not be engaged in a battle over an FEC nomination.

The blockade worked, but Republican leaders in the Senate countered with one of their own. If von Spakovsky were rejected, they would not allow the two Democratic nominees to be appointed, either.

"The Democrats have picked their nominees, and we've picked ours," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said as the Senate prepared to recess for the holidays. "What we have here," he said, is "the Democrats trying to veto one of our nominees. That isn't going to happen. They're all four going to go together, or none of them will be approved."
Ah. Mr Clean Barrack Hussein Obama is at the center of this. Now why would he do something like that? I may have an answer.
When it comes to federal matching funds, Democrat John Edwards has the most to lose. The FEC certified the payment of the first installment of funds this week, including $8.8 million for Edwards. But matching payments for money he has raised this month, or will receive in subsequent months, may have to wait until the FEC has four members.

There is debate among campaign finance lawyers about whether matching funds could be released without a formal commission vote, one Edwards campaign official said. Because the next installment of funds would not arrive until after the early primaries, strategists inside the Edwards campaign said they are not worried.

"We have the necessary resources to wage an aggressive campaign with the funds we currently have on hand," said Eric Schultz, a spokesman for the campaign. "We fully expect the FEC to meet their obligations under the public financing system."

As senators left town this week, the small community of lawyers and advocates who monitor campaign finance law tried to take stock of the new reality. There will not be total lawlessness, they said. The statute of limitations on most campaign finance violations does not run out for five years, so when the commission is at full strength, it will be able to pursue complaints.

But the notion of a decapitated agency is not sitting well with many of the nation's top election lawyers.

"For all of the complaints about the FEC, when it comes to campaign finance law, it is the enforcement agency," said Lawrence Noble, a former FEC general counsel. "We're in the middle of one of the most hotly contested elections in recent years -- where you have a campaign that started so early, where they're raising more money than ever before, where there are new concerns about fundraising and about the bundling of contributions. I think the public would like to know that someone is keeping an eye on all this."
So, Obama is working to block his rival in the name of "honest government". Right.

Which made me think of Simon's Law:

The politician who campaigns hardest on cleaning up corruption is the biggest crook.

This will not sit well with Edwards supporters. Not well at all.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

OPEC Strategy

If OPEC is restricting supply all the peak oil hysteria may be unfounded.

What if their strategy is to keep production restricted encouraging alternatives and then open the valve wide to cause the alternatives to fail economically?

I wouldn't put it past them.

Prompted by the discussion at Top Ten Oil Stories Of 2007.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Small Fission Reactors

There has been a rather interesting discussion in the comment section of a recent post here about the advent of small fission reactors for local power generation.

Lets start with this link to Next Energy News. First thing let me say that Next Energy news has had false reports from time to time and it is also heavily involved in fringe science such as zero point energy. Here is what they have to say:

Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.

The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy.

Toshiba expects to install the first reactor in Japan in 2008 and to begin marketing the new system in Europe and America in 2009.
No control rods OK. Good from a safety standpoint to avoid control rods in nukes. They can be a hazard as I will discuss below. However the question you have to ask is: how do they keep the reactor from running during shipment? There must be some method. What it is Next Energy doesn't say. Another important question is about the liquid lithium. It is highly reactive and corrosion will be a problem. The US Navy quit using liquid metal cooled reactors for that very reason. A third question is: is this just a heat producer or is electrical generation also part of the package? If there is electrical generation there is no mention of how it is done. If it is just a heat generator then it is most likely that water is used as the coolant. This is where the liquid lithium causes real problems. If the water is heated above the boiling point it will have to be pressurized. That means a heat exchanger. If the lithium comes in contact with the water in the heat exchanger (or any where else) there will be at minimum corrosion and possibly a chemical explosion. Not good.

So let us see if we can find out more. Instapundit is also covering this story and provides some links.

Discarded Lies has some stuff on it and a link to a story from 2005. 2005? Yep. It must be a hot story. Latest news. etc. Well, what do they have to say?
The small town of Galena, Alaska, is tired to pay 28 cents/kwh for its electricity, three times the national average. Today, Galena "is powered by generators burning diesel that is barged in during the Yukon River's ice-free months," according to Reuters. But Toshiba, which designs a small nuclear reactor named 4S (for "Super Safe, Small, & Simple"), is offering a free reactor to the 700-person village, reports the New York Times (no reg. needed). Galena will only pay for operating costs, driving down the price of electricity to less than 10 cents/kwh. The 4S is a sodium-cooled fast spectrum reactor -- a low-pressure, self-cooling reactor. It will generate power for 30 years before refueling and should be installed before 2010 providing an approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Well there is some very interesting stuff there. Like sodium cooling. As I said. Next Energy is not very reliable when it comes to news stories. That fast spectrum stuff is a point against it as well. It means no moderator in the reactor. Which is good. It also means that it is harder to control due to the fact that a fast spectrum reactor produces fewer delayed neutrons. Delayed neutrons are what make a reactor controllable. Maybe I can find more about this with further effort.

Here is another link from Instapundit Alaska Village Moves from Diesel to 'Micro-Nuke'. Note this story is from 2005.
The design is described as inherently safe, but it does have one riskier feature: It uses liquid sodium, not water, to draw heat away from the core, so the heat can be used to make steam and then electricity.

Designers chose sodium so they could run the reactor about 200 degrees hotter than most power reactors, but still keep the coolant depressurized. (Water at that temperature would make steam at thousands of pounds of pressure a square inch.) The problem is that if sodium leaks, it burns.
So it does have a steam generator and a steam powered electrical plant. And they are going to keep all this sealed for 30 years with no maintenance? I don't believe it.
Toshiba calls its design the 4S reactor, for "super-safe, small and simple." It would be installed underground, and in case of cooling system failure, heat would be dissipated through the earth. There are no complicated control rods to move through the core to control the flow of neutrons that sustain the chain reaction; instead, the reactor uses reflector panels around the edge of the core. If the panels are removed, the density of neutrons becomes too low to sustain the chain reaction.
Ah. So they do have to control the sucker. What do you use to reflect fast spectrum neutrons? Uranium is traditional. Peachy. Neutrons absorbed in the uranium will tend to produce Plutonium. This is a feature not a bug. However, the use of Uranium as a reflector is just speculation. Maybe we can find out how it is really done. BTW this reactor seems to have a lot in common with an early American reactor (don't you just love the finish on the wood?) called Clementine which dropped a reflector to shut down the reactor in an emergency.

The Alaska Journal from Dec. 2004 has a few words.
The analysis showed that, presuming the nuclear battery went into operation in 2010, by 2020 it could supply electricity to Galena for 5 to 14 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh), assuming the reactor is a gift from Toshiba and the community pays only operating costs.

In comparison, improved diesel generation could provide Galena power for 25 cents to 35 cents per kWh. Coal-fired power comes in as a serious alternative in the study, at 21 cents to 26 cents per kWh, Chaney told the mining group. A small coal-powered plant could use coal extracted from a thick coal seam about 12 miles from the community.

The nuclear option looks good even if Galena were to pay for the reactor. In that case the power costs were estimated at 15 cents to 25 cents per kWh in the study, Chaney said. Toshiba has estimated the cost of the 4S reactor at $25 million. Galena's power is now 28 cents per kWh.

However, the nuclear costs vary so much because of uncertainty over the number of security guards the federal NRC may require at the site, Chaney said. Toshiba told SAIC that if the NRC's current regulations are followed, 34 security guards would be needed at the Galena site.

Chaney said a terrorist attack in a small, isolated rural community like Galena is unlikely because an unknown outsider would quickly be recognized. The 4S unit would be encased under several feet of concrete, "and if people show up with jackhammers, everyone in town will be aware of it."

A more appropriate staffing for security might be 4 guards, augmented by a state trooper and Galena city police who are nearby, Chaney said. If the NRC accepts that, the operating costs will be low enough to deliver electricity for 5 cents, according to the study.
They must be getting those guards for minimum wage. i.e. 5¢ a KWh for a 200 KW reactor is $10 an hour fully burdened. A real confidence builder that. I wonder if they get vacation pay?

I looked around and couldn't find a thing on this from Toshiba. None of the sites have a link to the Toshiba so I can get actual detailed technical explanations. I wonder why?

So let us go back in history and look at one of the first small nukes. It was a different design from the Toshiba nuke, but its history is very interesting. The small Army nukes didn't work out so well. The rods were manually operated. Which led to America's first nuclear accident with fatalities. There were three guys in the reactor bldg. One of them was banging one of the other guy's wife. The guy whose wife was getting it from his "friend" yanked a rod from the SL-1 reactor and caused a melt down. Murder/suicide. The rod itself was propelled by the steam explosion through the yanker's stomach and pinned him to the ceiling. I saw the pictures. Ugly. The other guys were killed as well. Clean up was a real mess. I was in Idaho in winter of '65/'66 at Naval Nuke Power School when the story was still fresh. None of the sites I have visited mentions the social situation. Except for the suicide explanation without details. Well any way, an object lesson to be careful around nukes.

You can look up the SL-1 accident. A site called Brain Candy casts doubt on the social situation theory.

Now a days we have terrorists. How do you protect 10,000 of these suckers from terrorism?

The proliferation of small nukes is the stupidest idea I have ever heard. I want big nukes with lots of armed guards and heavy material barriers.

The Navy quit using sodium cooled reactors because they were prone to corrosion leaks in the steam generator. The gas cooled ML-1 didn't work out well either.

The problem with nukes is that they have many years worth of energy stored in them. Not so with fusion plants. Let us hope we get working fusion before too many of these jobs get built and distributed. Like this possibility: Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion.

I could see such nukes used in a guarded industrial processes. Sitting unguarded in your local neighborhood? Too risky. Once you add guards the cost of electricity goes way up because of the low capacity. Not enough KWhs to spread the cost sufficiently. You are back in the price range of oil plus you have all the problems of nukes. Plus the Alaskans are getting the reactor for the cost of the fuel. Suppose they had to pay for everything? Not much left over advantage.

It makes no sense.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

More Than One

Small Times is reporting the development of a solar cell that can deliver more than one electron for each photon absorbed.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), collaborating with Innovalight, Inc., say they have shown that a new and important effect called Multiple Exciton Generation (MEG) occurs efficiently in silicon nanocrystals. MEG results in the formation of more than one electron per absorbed photon.

Silicon is the dominant semiconductor material used in present day solar cells, representing more than 93% of the photovoltaic cell market. Until this discovery, MEG had been reported over the past two years to occur only in nanocrystals (also called quantum dots) of semiconductor materials that are not presently used in commercial solar cells, and which contained environmentally harmful materials (such as lead). The new result opens the door to the potential application of MEG for greatly enhancing the conversion efficiency of solar cells based on silicon because more of the sun's energy is converted to electricity. This is a key step toward making solar energy more cost-competitive with conventional power sources.
This is very helpful except for one minor point. The wavelength of the absorbed light is required to be 420 nm or less. This is in the ultraviolet. There is not a lot of ultraviolet at the earth's surface. The atmosphere absorbs most of it. However, it is a step in the right direction and it will definitely help with solar satellite arrays. There is a lot of ultraviolet available in space.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bussard Fusion Update

The New Mexican has some interesting news about the progress on Bussard Fusion Reactor.

Last August, as Bussard was losing his battle with cancer, the funds were restored with the support of Alan Roberts, EMC2's longtime Navy contract monitor. The company now has $1.8 million to pursue his work. If it is successful verifying the 2005 results, it would seek funding for a full-scale model, big enough to make net power, Nebel said. Bussard has estimated that such a demonstration model would cost about $200 million to build.

"Unless somebody can repeat and show other people that it's operating, it's really not scientifically acceptable," Hirsch said. But "if the idea works the way he thinks it could, and there's a good chance he's right, it will not take very big machine to show net energy."

The latest device, WB-7 (the WB refers to the children's toy Wiffle Ball), is currently under construction at a machine shop in San Diego and will be shipped to Santa Fe, where a small group of scientists is setting up a testing facility in an office park off Rufina Street. The device, like previous ones, was designed by engineer Mike Skillercorn.

"These are garage-scale experiments," said Nebel, pointing to the stock tank purchased at a local feed store. "We shop at interesting places," he added, mentioning both Home Depot and the Black Hole in Los Alamos.

Although Europeans are building a huge device to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power, the U.S. has spent relatively little — about $300 million a year — on fusion research. Much of that has been focused on a competing idea called Tokamak, a program that Bussard and Hirsch started at the Atomic Energy Commission in the 1970s, which uses deuterium and tritium as fuel. Later both determined that the concept, which produces a lot of radioactivity, was impractical from an engineering standpoint.

With his own device, Hirsch said, Bussard was "swimming upstream as far as fusion community was concerned." Still, he was able to get about $14 million in funding from the Navy for his work.

Bussard felt enormous pressure to solve the fusion problems. In a letter to an Internet forum on his 2005 results, Bussard wrote that he believed that "the survival of our high-tech civilizations depends on getting off of fossil fuels ASAP, and — if we do not — we will descend into a growing series of 'oil wars' and energy confrontations that can lead only to a huge cataclysm. Which CAN be circumvented if only we build the clean fusion machines in our time."
That is one of the reasons I support this research. Civilization depends on it.
Nearly a year after shutting down the lab, Bussard presented his work — for the first time in more than a decade — to the International Astronautical Congress. He later discussed his results with Google, the online search engine company in a talk titled, "Should Google Go Nuclear?" that is widely available on the Internet. Before his death, he also set up a nonprofit organization to solicit donations to restart the work. Information is at

Bussard's wife, Dolly Gray, who co-founded EMC2 with him in 1985 and served as its president and CEO, has helped assemble the small team of scientists in Santa Fe. Besides Nebel, 54, the group includes Jaeyoung Park, a 37-year-old physicist who is also on leave from LANL; Mike Wray, the physicist who ran the key 2005 tests, and Wray's brother, Kevin, who is the computer guru for the operation.

"If this works, it's going to be a big deal. It could take the entire energy market," Nebel said. "And drag the oil companies into the 21st century," Gray added.

Someday, they said, if they're right, a machine just 20 times bigger than the one sitting in the corner on Parkway Drive could run the city of Santa Fe.
Park and Nebel [pdf] are the researchers who discovered the POPS effect which was corroborated in part by computer simulations done at MIT by McGuire[pdf] and Dietrich[pdf].

I estimate we will see the results of these experiments some time between March and May of the coming year. I have my fingers crossed.

The New Mexican article has a great review of Dr. Bussard's life. You should go and read the whole thing.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Running On Empty

Fourmilog: None Dare Call It Reason has a review up of the book Energy Victory. It is all about how making our vehicles easier to use with various liquid fuels would get us off our dependence on imported oil. Here is the money quote:

Here we have an optimistic, pragmatic, and open-ended view of the human prospect. The post-petroleum era could be launched on a global scale by a single act of the U.S. Congress which would cost U.S. taxpayers nothing and have negligible drag on the domestic or world economy. The technologies required date mostly from the 19th century and are entirely mature today, and the global future advocated has already been prototyped in a large, economically and socially diverse country, with stunning success. Perhaps people in the second half of the 21st century will regard present-day prophets of “peak oil” and “global warming” as quaint as the doomsayers who foresaw the end of civilisation when firewood supplies were exhausted, just years before coal mines began to fuel the industrial revolution.
We are very far from running out of energy resources. And if this can be made to work: Bussard Fusion Reactor we will be good for the next 10,000 years at least.

H/T Instapundit.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Top Energy Stories of 2007

R-Squared Energy Blog has a list of his top ten energy stories of 2007. Interestingly none of his top ten includes wind.

Here is his list:

1. Oil price soars as media becomes Peak Oil aware
2. Criticism of biofuels mounts
3. The Chevy Volt is announced
4. Nanosolar begins to deliver
5. LS9 starts up
6. Range Fuels breaks ground
7. First application for US nuclear plant in 30 years
8. Carbon capture & sequestration moves forward
9. Progress on next generation biofuels
10. US Navy funds Bussard Fusion

Go read the whole thing for more details. Of course if Bussard Fusion interests you I have focused my attention on that here:

Bussard Fusion Reactor
Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion
Bussard Fusion Reactor Funded

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Look For The Union Label

Michael van der Galiën is reporting on the latest news from Amsterdam's red light district.

The Red Light District is a neighborhood in Amsterdam where women sit, barely dressed, behind windows, while trying to persuade passersby to come inside to have some good ol’ fun. Most of these women are from Eastern Europe, and, contrary to prejudice, beautiful. They wear incredibly revealing clothes; their beautiful, long legs are spread out as if they want to welcome you… OK, sorry about that, what I mean to say is: it’s the prostitute district.

Sadly for those of us who like to look at beautiful women – and even sadder for those who actually want to use their services – Amsterdam has decided to clean up the neighborhood. This week, Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen said that prostitution and drugs shouldn’t be made illegal, but that he nonetheless wants to shut down the “shops” where prostitutes are sitting behind windows. This, of course, is exactly what made the Red Light District so famous.

The reason for the decision to clean up the city is that the approach taken back in 2000 isn’t working. Back then the city (and government) decided to legalize prostitution. They hoped that this would improve the conditions under which prostitutes worked and that criminals would make less money off these women.

Sadly, the plan didn’t quite work out so well.

Cohen himself explains: “We want in part to reverse it, especially with regard to the exploitation of women in the sex industry.” He added that “[w]e have seen in the last years that women trafficking has been becoming more [prevalent], so in this respect the legalizing of the prostitution didn’t work out.”
It has been my belief for quite some time that making prostitution legal would reduce the trade to those women who actually wanted to work in it. I thought that the illegality was keeping some prostitutes from coming forward to the police about their personal situation. Sadly I was mistaken.
“The city will force escort services and ‘security’ firms for prostitutes, which usually are not registered businesses, to obtain a license, a fixed address and telephone line, and subject them to financial auditing,” Cohen told reporters.

Such a move would result in a decrease in sex tourism, however, which means that the city will earn less money, at least in the short run. As a result, some citizens oppose the plans. Prostitute unions (yes, they’ve got their own unions down here) are especially unhappy.

Red Thread (one such union) spokeswoman, Metje Blaak, told the AFP, that “[s]ome 200 jobs are threatened.” She went on to say: “The situation will not get better for the women.”

Sadly for Mrs. Blaak, cracking down on prostitution won’t make life as such more difficult for the prostitutes themselves, but for their pimps and other criminals who get rich by exploiting these women.
This is so sad. However, reality is what it is. As Michael points out.
But other cities aren’t following in Amsterdam’s footsteps. This means that sex tourists can come to one of the other cities mentioned in this article if their wives aren’t enough for them and if they are willing to spend money to have sex with a woman who had sex with approximately 500 other men.

In the end, no matter what the government does, the oldest profession will never disappear. We can push it back into the shadows, and we can limit the damage it does - directly and indirectly - to society, but we will never succeed in completely erasing it from our cities.
If only Americans could see it that way. It is difficult to help people forced to live in the shadows. They are hard to find.

And as long as I'm at it. What about the War On Drugs? The same applies.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ron Paul - Covert Tool Of Zionists

Because he makes anti-Zionists look really bad with his Storm Front Support.

Ron is either a tool of the black ops folks or secretly one himself.

Hey. I need the traffic.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Insulting Comments

I have been receiving some particularly insulting comments lately from a certain commenter so here is a preempt:

Some of what I'm about to say regarding M Simon's publicity stunts is so childishly simple, I fear it may be patronizing to explain; I apologize in advance. Permit me this forum to rant. Will someone please explain to me what it is in our lives that can possibly make someone acquire public acceptance of Simon's putrid invectives? Because I certainly have no idea. Superficial pseudo-intellectuals create an ideological climate that will enable Simon to intensify or perpetuate blackguardism. That said, we mustn't lose sight of who the real enemy is: M Simon and his debauched minions.

Simon has -- not once, but several times -- been able to impose theological straightjackets on scriptural interpretation without anyone stopping him. How long can that go on? As long as his eccentric quips are kept on life support. That's why we have to pull the plug on them and free people from the spell of cameralism that he has cast over them.

You don't have to say anything specifically about Simon for him to start attacking you. All you have to do is dare to imply that we should lend a helping hand. What does Simon have to say about all of this? The answer, as expected, is nothing. One thing is certain: I can easily see him performing the following virulent acts. First, Simon will descend to character assassination and name calling. Then, he will permit simple-minded caitiffs to rise to positions of leadership and authority. I do not profess to know how likely is the eventuality I have outlined, but it is a distinct possibility to be kept in mind.

Should you need help with an insulting rant here is the rant generator. A real time saver.

South Africa

The New York Times says South Africa is growing up.

Mr. Zuma found common cause with those on the party’s left flank, who felt shut out by the president’s policies of fiscal conservatism and his aloof style.

The leaders of the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party are now the primary architects of Mr. Zuma’s campaign. They believe that as a canny but uneducated son of the soil, he is more in touch with the aspirations of South Africa’s masses, whose lives have barely changed since apartheid. Mr. Mbeki’s supporters, for their part, worry that a Zuma presidency might undo the meticulous stitching of the country into the global economy undertaken over the past 15 years.

That a majority of A.N.C. members have put their faith in Mr. Zuma is an indictment of Mr. Mbeki’s abilities to bridge the widening class divide. There is no guarantee that Mr. Zuma could do any better, but he is renowned as a consensus-building politician, and at least he would be required to try.
Ah, yes. Communism to the rescue. Led by an uneducated populist. All the hall marks of future success.

Had mister Zuma been educated he might have heard the following:

"Concentration of wealth is a natural result of concentration of ability, and recurs in history. The rate of concentration varies (other factors being equal) with the economic freedom permitted by morals and the law... democracy, allowing the most liberty, accelerates it." -- Will and Ariel Durant

Concentrated wealth of course furthers investment and builds up capital for further advances. Now if Zuma was a real Marxist he would know what Marx said about building capital. It is best done by capitalists.

I fear South Africa is headed the way of Zimbabwe with its economy destroyed and a politically induced famine. Of course Zimbabwe's leader Robert Mugabe was well educated. Maybe education is no inoculation from stupidity. Or else it made Mr. Mugabe too clever by half.

Democrats Against Hillary

I was perusing some Democrat blogs that are looking at the Rielle Hunter/John Edwards story.

I found that Democrats Against Hillary is also covering the story. Here is a bit on why Democrats Against Hillary is a believer.

Why do I believe this? Well, aside from having a bit of my own inside information that I can't release, I've been burnt too many times by idealistic politicians who cheat on their wives...
You know Republicans are not exactly happy about some of their candidates. However, the Democrats are absolutely vicious.

Party unity is going to be tougher for the Democrats than it will be for the Republicans. It will be an interesting election season.

Update: The story is breaking out in the main stream media. The Cleveland Leader is covering it. Also the National Enquirer story is now on line. You don't have to read the jpg.

Yesterday Google had about 5,000 hits for "Rielle Hunter Edwards" as of now it is up to 13,000 plus. The story is starting to get legs.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Surface Air Temperature

The Goddard Institute For Space Studies explains the meaning of surface air temperatures.

Q. What exactly do we mean by SAT [Surface Air Temperature - ed.]?

A. I doubt that there is a general agreement how to answer this question. Even at the same location, the temperature near the ground may be very different from the temperature 5 ft above the ground and different again from 10 ft or 50 ft above the ground. Particularly in the presence of vegetation (say in a rain forest), the temperature above the vegetation may be very different from the temperature below the top of the vegetation. A reasonable suggestion might be to use the average temperature of the first 50 ft of air either above ground or above the top of the vegetation. To measure SAT we have to agree on what it is and, as far as I know, no such standard has been suggested or generally adopted. Even if the 50 ft standard were adopted, I cannot imagine that a weather station would build a 50 ft stack of thermometers to be able to find the true SAT at its location.
So. We do not know the real surface air temperature, but we can use the number we get from weather stations to determine climate. OK.

It gets better.
Q. What do we mean by daily mean SAT?

A. Again, there is no universally accepted correct answer. Should we note the temperature every 6 hours and report the mean, should we do it every 2 hours, hourly, have a machine record it every second, or simply take the average of the highest and lowest temperature of the day ? On some days the various methods may lead to drastically different results.
So there is no no standard of measurement, but we can use the non-standard numbers we have to determine climate. OK.
Q. What SAT do the local media report?

A. The media report the reading of 1 particular thermometer of a nearby weather station. This temperature may be very different from the true SAT even at that location and has certainly nothing to do with the true regional SAT. To measure the true regional SAT, we would have to use many 50 ft stacks of thermometers distributed evenly over the whole region, an obvious practical impossibility.
So. It is practically impossible to measure surface air temperatures and from this number we get from the weather stations can derive local and regional and global climate? OK.
Q. If the reported SATs are not the true SATs, why are they still useful?

A. The reported temperature is truly meaningful only to a person who happens to visit the weather station at the precise moment when the reported temperature is measured, in other words, to nobody. However, in addition to the SAT the reports usually also mention whether the current temperature is unusually high or unusually low, how much it differs from the normal temperature, and that information (the anomaly) is meaningful for the whole region. Also, if we hear a temperature (say 70F), we instinctively translate it into hot or cold, but our translation key depends on the season and region, the same temperature may be 'hot' in winter and 'cold' in July, since by 'hot' we always mean 'hotter than normal', i.e. we all translate absolute temperatures automatically into anomalies whether we are aware of it or not.
Ah. So the temperature really has no meaning except as a rough guide as to whether you can go out in a T shirt or need a heavy overcoat. Or should you take a jacket with you on a warm afternoon. And from this meaningless temperature we can derive climate. OK.
Q. If SATs cannot be measured, how are SAT maps created?

A. This can only be done with the help of computer models, the same models that are used to create the daily weather forecasts. We may start out the model with the few observed data that are available and fill in the rest with guesses (also called extrapolations) and then let the model run long enough so that the initial guesses no longer matter, but not too long in order to avoid that the inaccuracies of the model become relevant. This may be done starting from conditions from many years, so that the average (called a 'climatology') hopefully represents a typical map for the particular month or day of the year.
Well at least he is hopeful about climate guesses. That is something. If I were placing trillion dollar bets with people's lives at stake (lack of energy leads to premature death) I'd want to be hopeful too. If aircraft were designed with hope, I think very few people would fly.

Now what NASA Official was responsible for the above text? None other than James "coal trains are death trains" E. Hansen.

ITER Budget Cut

Science Magazine reports that the Federal Science budget has cut ITER funds to zero.

The bill set the budget at DOE's Office of Science at $4.055 billion--$342 million short of the requested amount--and the shortfall comes mainly out of two programs: fusion sciences and high-energy physics. Congress realized some savings by allotting nothing for U.S. participation in the international fusion reactor experiment, ITER, which is set to begin construction next year in Cadarache, France (ScienceNOW, 21 November 2006). Although appropriators expressly forbid DOE to shuffle money from other programs to satisfy its planned $149 million contribution in 2008, Marburger predicts that the prohibition will not stand. "I can't see DOE not living up to its obligations," he says. "The department will have to use its money to stay in the project, so [the language] really just amounts to another earmark."
I have heard rumors that Congress is interested in the Bussard Fusion Reactor. If it works out (Bussard Fusion Reactor Funded) ITER (a tokamak design) would be a waste. Or as Plasma Physicist Dr. Nicholas Krall said, "We spent $15 billion dollars studying tokamaks and what we learned about them is that they are no damn good."

We will know the answer in 3 to 6 months. At that point in time if Bussard IEC Fusion Reactors look like a dead end the budget for ITER can always be restored. Or the money could be put into other IEC devices. The advantage of IEC is that the budgets required for confirming experiments are small and the time frame for proof or disproof is short. Years, not decades or centuries.

The Life Of Rielle

Kaus Files has a story on John Edwards. It seems the National Enquirer is flogging a story that claims Rielle Hunter is having John Edwards' love child.

The Enquirer posts the gist..... One initial point: There's no reason to conclude this story was planted by one campaign or another. I'm familiar with how the initial Rielle Hunter/Edwards rumors, true or not, got to at least one news outlet--and no campaigns, Dem or GOP, were involved. It was a story going around--I'd been hearing it for months. Not all rumors are plants. And some are true. Even in the Enquirer.
I liked the Hillary is gay rumor better. Lesbians. Yum. Except you know, Hillary is really not that appetizing. Even if she is gay. Wnokette's Nooky Report has this to say:
Last month’s National Enquirer story on John Edwards and his alleged affair with campaign staffer Rielle Hunter may or may not be total bullshit. One insider said “there’s a lot of smoke… no smoking gun,”
If they do find the smoking gun on that one I don't want to see it. Lesbians. Yum. Wonkette had the story in mid October.
Rielle Hunter, wannabe actress/producer (aspiring double threat!), was paid $114,461 by Edwards’ One America Committee to produce a series of “webisodes” introducing people to the casual, “authentic” John Edwards. Why they picked this lady to make these videos is unclear — she really didn’t have much experience doing anything beyond being, in the words of Jay McInerney, “an ostensibly jaded, cocaine-addled, sexually voracious 20-year old.” That was a couple years ago, though. Now she’s a 44-year-old former all of those things, and a weirdo new agey spiritualist flake, according to her website.

But why is the HuffPo so obsessed with her and these totally boring videos?

Because they mysteriously disappeared of course! Conveniently right around the time Edwards officially announced his candidacy! Why would he delete these harmless clips at that particular moment? Because he was having a tumultuous affair with the producer?
Who could believe this stuff? Death by 1,000 Papercuts for one.
John Edwards has a love child, the National Enquirer has photos and the Edwards' campaign has a mega-headache.

Pass the aspirin.

Shades of the Monkey Business.

The National Enquirer has once again made a foray into the political arena.

It has returned with the blow-dried head of John Edwards.
I think if when the baby is born its first words are not "Wahhhhhhhhh" but "I'm gonna sue" that would be good evidence of Edwards' involvement.

Speaking of lawyers, Overlawyered has some thoughts.
Who is the "formerly hard-partying girl who claims that she found enlightenment" who met John Edwards in a bar and was paid six digits by the campaign to make videos of him that "lingers over the former senator's behind as he tucks a starched white shirt into his pants," and why is the campaign suddenly hiding the webvideos she made of Edwards on questionable legal grounds?
I think the cover up is more damaging than the original offense. What does Edwards have to hide?

This scandal is just so wrong for Edwards the uber devoted husband to his ailing wife. A scandal like this would really help Thompson. There would be headlines galore about Thompson's fire down below. Thompson is not too old, he can still hit it.

Of course Thompson already has that one covered. Just look at this picture of Thompson's wife. A real hottie. She really fills that dress. What there is of it. And she is better looking than Rielle. Plus, she married the guy. After he divorced his first wife.

For those of you who want original source material, such as it is, here is a jpg of the Enquirer article.

A comment on the story at the Democrat Underground is priceless.
1corona4u Tue Dec-18-07 10:33 PM

I care... if we are going to elect a duplicitous person, I'd like to know in advance.
There is absolutely nothing I can add to that. Nothing at all.

H/T Instapundit

She's No Richard Nixon

She's worse.

From the trailer for Hillary The Movie.

Side note: if any one recognizes the guy who said that in the trailer I'd like to give him credit.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Update: 20 Dec 007 0755z

Reader Vince P - Chicago at Classical Values says the guy with the Nixon bit is Peter F. Paul. You can learn a bit more about him at Paul vs Clinton.


Yeah. We can stop the flow of drugs. For sure.

Take heroin. It was outlawed Federally in 1914 and now you never see or hear of it in America. A great success story. From my study of the statistics it seems that about 1.8% of all Americans used varying amounts of heroin in 1914. Due to our astounding success in the war on heroin we have reduced that number to 1.8% in '007.

Pot prohibition has only been in force since 1937 so it will be another few decades until it is as successful as our heroin policy.


Drug prohibition is a price support mechanism for criminals and terrorists. A socialist policy with unprecedented success, because of its inherent pragmatism.

No wonder Republicans love it.

Inspired by the discussion at Gay Patriot.

H/T Instapundit

Ron Paul Is Not My Candidate

Prof. Bainbridge explains why Ron Paul is not his candidate.

Let me explain why he is not mine.

It is my belief we are in a 1936 type situation.

We can either smack down the Islamofascists now or let the whole situation deteriorate into a nuclear world war. Yes. They are pipsqueaks. Do we wish to do nothing while they gather strength?

BTW I voted for Paul in ‘88 so I am not unaware of his charms.

I was a hard core Libertarian until 9/11 (Secty/Treas.of the local club for 3 years). My study of history and military science/art in the previous 15 years and the attacks changed my world view.

So I guess the Islamic nutters got their blow back in my case.

Ron thinks if we left the rest of the world to its own devices we would have less trouble in the world. It would reduce blowback.

Blowback is a fact of life because there is no way to know what the perfect policy is in any situation. All you can do is to do what seems to be a good idea at the time. i.e. solve the current problem. It is called muddling through.

The fall of the USSR has lead to the rise of Islamism. Just as the fall of Germany in ‘45 lead to the rise of the USSR.

There is no perfect policy. There is only the best policy for now.


Ron Paul wants some other country protecting our lines of supply and trade. He wants some other country stationing troops around the world maintaining the peace. I wonder who he has in mind? China? An Islamic caliphate?

No mater what age, the reigning world power always is reviled and always attracts rivals.

Egypt, Rome, The English, and many others. It is part of the job.

The successful power always guards the lines of communication, maintains peace among rival smaller powers, and promotes trade. When it stops doing that it falls.

Decline and Fall
Desolation Row

H/T Instapundit

Pirelli Calendar 2008

For those of you who like female eye candy may I suggest the Prelli Calendar for 2008. Nudes and semi-nudes. Definitely NSFW.

The photography is excellent, the women delectable.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Great Climate Debate

Commenter Papertiger has given me a heads up about a Climate Debate on Blog Talk Radio.

By popular request, I present the Great Climate Debate.

The participants in the debate are Dr. Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric science at Texas A&M University, and Dr. Timothy Ball, a retired professor from the University of Winnipeg. They will conduct their debate online next Monday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m. Central Time
[19:00 GMT ed.].

You will be able to listen online through BlogTalkRadio's service. You will also be able to participate by:

• Calling in during the show.

• Leaving a question for Dr. Dessler or Dr. Ball in the comments below.

• Leaving comments during the show.
Here is a chance to grill some scientists on the question.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, December 16, 2007

So You Don't Have To

I was reading Michelle Malkin on the recent vote by the Senate to authorize funds for the war with no strings attached. The vote was something like 90 to 3. I thought to myself, certainly there will be outrage at the DU, probably fodder for a blog post. So I'll go have a look and see if I can find something. So I'm looking. And looking. And looking some more (so you don't have to). Nada. Zip. Zilch. Bupkiss.

If I was to tender some kind of meaning for this I'd say that outrage has given way to denial and will soon be followed by depression.

I did find some dissension in the ranks though. It seems Hillary supporters are not too fond of Obama supporters. And vice versa. So there is a good fight to watch. I got no dog in that one. Here they are attacking Obama over his cocaine use. Here is the purge wing of the party attacking Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the Blue Dog Democrats who made their majority in the House . Still no direct mention of the appropriations bill.

Here is an uplifting post - why none of the Dem contenders for President have a chance in '008. If only it were true. It does give some hints for attacking the Dem candidates so it may not be entirely useless.

This one is really good. In a post titled "As usual, #1 post blames Pelosi for years of repuke's crimes" they rip each other to shreds. The tone is much like the Socons (social conservatives) and fiscal conservatives ripping of the Republicans in '006. It looks like the Democrats are a united party. United in their hatred of each other.

Not all Democrats are depressed about their prospects. This one explains what they have to do to win 2008. These suggestions are so good (for Republicans) I'm going to repeat them.

1. Impeach them all

2. End the funding

3. Ban handguns

And the best thing is
you can get it all with
one candidate.
The poster claims that this is all snark. I'm not so sure. In any case, which candidate is the poster referring to? Doesn't say. Not to worry. The post (which has been up for a couple of days) has gotten exactly zero comments so far.

Here is a choice one attacking Hillary's campaign operatives. One commenter is really disgusted because Hillary wants the nomination and will do anything to get it. Isn't that a Republican complaint?

This one is about Jewish support for various candidates and what it all means. It gets ugly.

Obama is a stalking horse for the Republicans according to the commenters. It could be.

The Progressive (Communist Wing) of the Democrat Party is not happy. They feel taken for granted. Sounds a lot like the Socons in the Republican Party in '006.

Well I have had enough time in the pit. My conclusion? The Republicans are a lot more unified and may have the advantage in '008 despite fielding (on the Presidential level) a really motley band of candidates.

The Democrats? I predict listlessness and depression followed by grief.

No matter what this will be fun to watch.

The war? I was unable to find even one article referring to the war funding vote in the Senate.

I blame Bush. He has outmaneuvered the Dems at every turn despite his party being in the minority in Congress. Sun Tzu had a word or two on the subject:
To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
Bush is helping the Democrats defeat themselves. The stupid evil genius strikes again.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tough On Crime

Ilya Somin at The Volokh Conspiracy is discussing how the war on drugs impedes progress in the War On Islamic Fascism. So I ask a question:

Which is more important - using prohibition to subsidize criminals or winning the war against the fascist?

Americans repeatedly choose to subsidize criminals.

The common complaint is "too many criminals". The common answer is "raise the subsidies for the criminals" (tougher laws). We call this "tough on crime".

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My Friend Triticale Has Died

My friend Triticale has died.

Tom and I were friends since the mid 70s (Chicago CACHE Club). We were among a number of hackers who made the computer revolution happen.

On the off chance any one in his family reads this: your loss is my loss, my deepest condolences.

The last I heard from him - a few months ago - I invited him to visit the next time he got near Rockford. He never let on to me that he had a problem.

Damn. I'm going to have a good cry. I'll miss him.

He sent me a message when he found me on the 'net telling me details about my personal life that only some one close to me would know. I asked - "who are you?" When he told me, I was very happy to hear from him since we had been out of touch for quite a few years. We just picked up where we left off.

And now I'm never going to see him in this life again. God Speed Tom.

More on CACHE History

Other blogs posting on Tom's passing:

Dispatches From Bloglivion
Old Grouch
The World According to St. Nick

Nick Schweitzer has a picture

H/T Instapundit


In the last month or so I have posted a couple of pieces on government interference with industry. One post contained this quote from Thomas Edison:

"Any extension of the Government into business affairs -- no matter what the pretense and no matter how the extension is labeled -- will be bound to promote waste and put a curb on our prosperity and progress." --Thomas Alva Edison
The other post (Its Taxing To Make A Buck) was about GE and other companies trying to get coal fired electrical plants banned in order to profit from the ban. Now what is so ironic about all this is that Edison founded General Electric. What is even more ironic about all this is that Edison was at war with Westinghouse to determine if AC or DC distribution of electricity was to be the favored standard.
Edison carried out a campaign to discourage the use of alternating current, including spreading information on fatal AC accidents, killing animals, and lobbying against the use of AC in state legislatures. Edison directed his technicians, primarily Arthur Kennelly and Harold P. Brown, to preside over several AC-driven executions of animals, primarily stray cats and dogs but also unwanted cattle and horses. Acting on these directives, they were to demonstrate to the press that alternating current was more dangerous than Edison's system of direct current. Edison's series of animal executions peaked with the electrocution of Topsy the Elephant. He also tried to popularize the term for being electrocuted as being "Westinghoused".

Edison opposed capital punishment, but his desire to disparage the system of alternating current led to the invention of the electric chair. Harold P. Brown, who was at this time being secretly paid by Edison, constructed the first electric chair for the state of New York in order to promote the idea that alternating current was deadlier than DC.

When the chair was first used, on August 6, 1890, the technicians on hand misjudged the voltage needed to kill the condemned prisoner, William Kemmler. The first jolt of electricity was not enough to kill Kemmler, and left him only badly injured. The procedure had to be repeated and a reporter on hand described it as "an awful spectacle, far worse than hanging." George Westinghouse commented: "They would have done better using an axe."
So despite Edison's great rhetoric, I think he really meant that he was against government interference in his business. He was not against using it against his competitors.

You have to keep an eye on these boys.

We are lucky Westinghouse won the battle because the AC system was technically better. Just think of how much it would have delayed progress if Edison had been able to get a national ban on AC electrical transmission.

In a way we are faced with the same prospect. GE wants to get its cheaper competitors banned (fossil fuels) so it can profit from the sales of its higher cost production methods. They aren't doing anything unusual here. Just reverting to their roots.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Friday, December 14, 2007

Normal Climate

Normal climate is at right angles to climate. It is useful therefor to consider normal climate to be an imaginary number.

Inspired by comment #8 at Climate Audit

It Was So Much Warmer Then

It looks like the polar bears will survive the current warming.

"We have this specimen that confirms the polar bear was a morphologically distinct species at least 100,000 years ago, and this basically means that the polar bear has already survived one interglacial period," explained Professor Ingolfsson.

"And what's interesting about that is that the Eeemian - the last interglacial - was much warmer than the Holocene (the present).

"This is telling us that despite the ongoing warming in the Arctic today, maybe we don't have to be quite so worried about the polar bear. That would be very encouraging."
So what do we know about the Eeemian?
The Eemian interglacial era (known as the Sangamon interglacial in North America, the Ipswichian interglacial in the UK, and the Riss-Würm interglacial in the Alps) is the second-to-latest interglacial era of the Ice Age. It began about 131,000 years ago. Changes in orbital parameters from today (greater obliquity and eccentricity, and perihelion), known as the Milankovitch cycle, probably led to greater seasonal temperature variations in the Northern Hemisphere, although global annual means temperatures were probably similar to those of the Holocene. The Eemian climate is believed to have been about as stable as, but probably warmer than that of, the Holocene (see ice core). The warmest peak of the Eemian was around 125,000 years ago, when forests reached as far north as North Cape (which is now tundra) in northern Norway well above the Arctic Circle at [show location on an interactive map] 71°10′21″N, 25°47′40″E. Hardwood trees like hazel and oak grew as far north as Oulu, Finland. Sea levels at that time were 4-6 meters higher than they are now, indicating greater deglaciation than today (mostly from partial melting of the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica). One study published in July 2007 found evidence that Dye 3 was glaciated during the Eemian, which implies that Greenland could have contributed at most 2m to sea level rise. Scandinavia was an island due to the inundation of vast areas of northern Europe and the West Siberian Plain.

At the peak of the Eemian, the northern hemisphere winters were generally warmer and wetter than now, though some areas were actually slightly cooler than today. Trees grew as far north as southern Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago instead of only as far north as Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec, and the prairie-forest boundary in the Great Plains of the United States lay further west — near Lubbock, Texas, instead of near Dallas, Texas, where the boundary now exists. The era closed as temperatures steadily fell to conditions cooler and drier than the present, and by 114,000 years ago, a glacial era had returned.
Did any one notice the bit in the first paragraph about Earth being in an Ice Age? And the fact that the interglacial periods are only temporary respites. We really need to worry more about a return of an ice age. Very few crops do well under ice.