Monday, May 30, 2011

Germany to Shut Down Nukes Permanently

An enlightened Germany has decided to cut itself off at the knees--it has determined that the wealth, and the modern conveniences it produces, are not worth the risk of a tsunami creating a nuclear accident on its soil. Or something.

Germany's coalition government has announced a reversal of policy that will see all the country's nuclear power plants phased out by 2022.

The decision makes Germany the biggest industrial power to announce plans to give up nuclear energy.
One has to wonder how the German populace will feel about such a decision in the next decade or so as substantially less efficient energy sources become exponentially more expensive and herald in the economic stagnation, poorer living conditions, and poverty that such a change in policy will surely cause.

This is not to say that nuclear energy is cheap energy. It is more expensive than is energy driven by fossil fuels, but it is substantially less expensive than the "green technologies" that are being praised as the answer to the world's growing energy crisis. Which all seems to fit the German psyche just fine as German environmentalists and bureaucrats also seek a world where the use of coal and oil are largely discontinued.

At this point in our history, we simply possess neither the technologies nor the wealth necessary to adequately replace fossil fuels and nuclear energy as drivers to our modern economies. We are slowly creeping toward these goals, but we are far from finding the solutions.

There are only two possible short term answers then, despite any shallow protestations to the contrary. One is to merely accept lower living standards on a par with those portions of the world that today riot over the suffering created by their poor current living standards. A second is to merely, and intentionally, motivate a vast reduction of human life on planet Earth.

Many environmentalists and bureaucrats believe that they can simply leverage great advancements in our energy future by shoving absconded (or borrowed) money at solutions they perceive might work.

Corn ethanol is just such a disaster--where bureaucrats decided outside the free market that burning a renewable fuel would be a great solution to an energy shortage. Now that corn and other agricultural products' prices have risen dramatically, after millions of people around the world have starved, after Iowa has turned itself into a net importer of corn rather than an exporter, and after numerous ethanol producers are operating via government subsidy and under the protection of bankruptcy, we are discovering that the production of corn ethanol for energy is a net energy loser.

Studies have shown that more energy is used in the planting, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, and transporting of corn and ethanol than energy it can produce. (Not to mention that it takes 1,700 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol.) Oh, and if that doesn't rot your socks off, ethanol is significantly less efficient per gallon than is gasoline.

Similar discoveries are being made in the wind and solar realms--though I suppose we can be thankful that tens of thousands aren't starving over the installation of massive and hideous bird-killing whirligigs that many refuse to even have built in their own neighborhoods.

These emerging and government driven technologies produce energy that is vastly more expensive to produce, vastly less efficient, and vastly less reliable than is either fossil or nuclear energy.

Manufacturing costs are huge, and transporting the energy from areas that are sufficiently sunny or windy enough to provide ample production make the expense of the energy ridiculously high--all this for a product that is likely not to work when the need is greatest.

Which will leave Germany exactly where?

Tomorrow's ultimate energy solutions will only come to fruition with the investment of wealth that today's inexpensive energy helps to create. Germany feels it can get there, instead, by destroying its country's short term wealth, and then by forcing contrived and undiscovered government solutions onto a gullible and helpless public.

The US, while not quite so addled, has within its borders a substantial number of politicians willing to ransom the livelihoods of their subjects to do the exact same thing.

The human experience on Earth, that is, up until the wealth generated by the industrial revolution and a previously untried economic experiment called "capitalism," was misery. It was disease, blight, starvation, endless labor, and poverty. It is still the way that many people on this Earth live.

If German leaders have their way, it is the way that future generations of Germans will be living too.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Regulate the Internet!

There have been many movements designed to wrest control of the internet away from private interests.

Visions of usage fees, desires to stamp out ideologies, and a simple hankering to control all things human are the chief forces behind these movements.

The UN, Congress, and now the G8 are huddling in their palaces devising strategies in which to control, further regulate, and curb our human thoughts in this newest of human frontiers.

This quote in the New York Times got my attention, spoken by one who is considered one of Europe's most conservative statesmen:

[...] Mr. Sarkozy, who convened a special gathering of the global digerati in Paris on the eve of the G-8 meeting. Calling the rise of the Internet a “revolution,” Mr. Sarkozy compared its impact to that of two previous transforming episodes in global history: the age of exploration and the industrial revolution.

The Internet revolution “doesn’t have a flag, it doesn’t have a slogan, it belongs to everyone,” he said, citing the recent uprisings in the Arab world as examples of its positive effects.

Before an audience that included top executives of some of the world’s largest Internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon and eBay, he added, however: “The universe you represent is not a parallel universe. Nobody should forget that governments are the only legitimate representatives of the will of the people in our democracies. To forget this is to risk democratic chaos and anarchy.”
No, it doesn't have a flag and it doesn't have a slogan. And yet, Nicolas Sarkozy sees the internet, while being unowned by anyone, as a conduit for government control because government is the only legitimate representative of the people.

So much for the electronic economies that have burgeoned because of the internet outside of government control, the millions of jobs they have helped create, the efficiencies that have grown, the new sciences that have been expanded because of it, and the expansive personal freedoms that have exploded as a result of switches, routers, and the home computer.

All completely illegitimate.

Pipe it through the government and those geniuses in charge of it (such as Mr. Sarkozy himself,) and you might get his blessing. Otherwise, get bent.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Words and Actions

This is exactly what we need...good old fashioned conservative thought.

"We need to encourage this kind of change all across America. We need to reward the reforms that are driven not by Washington, but by principals and teachers and parents. That's how we'll make progress in education — not from the top down, but from the bottom up."
Such flowing truth.

Who is the genius that spoke these words?
Obama promoted his Race to the Top initiative, which has states compete for education money. But the program has drawn criticism and Republicans on Capitol Hill are unwilling to devote new money to it. He also renewed his call for Congress to send him a rewrite of No Child Left Behind, the nation's governing education law.

"We need to promote reform that gets results while encouraging communities to figure out what's best for their kids. That why it's so important that Congress replace No Child Left Behind this year — so schools have that flexibility," Obama said. "Reform just can't wait."
One has to wonder how a system that purposefully removes parents, teachers, and local school boards from the educational decision process will somehow miraculously allow parents, teachers, and local school boards to "make progress in education — not from the top down, but from the bottom up."

Or, am I assuming too much when I believe that Obama knows up from down?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Know He's Exciting Because The Media Tells Me So

I was surprised to find out the other day that Jon Huntsman was taking the GOP presidential campaign by storm. I was so surprised because I only vaguely remember hearing his name, and that vague recollection had him pegged as the brave rescuer of Little Red Riding Hood.

Such mental ambiguity is odd for a guy like me who spends too much of his time worrying about the sad state of all things political and particularly worrying about the state of the saddest of all political parties, the Republican. (It's actually a tie between the GOP and Dems, but I'm rounding up.)

As a former student of journalism I am always skeptical of mass media when they tell me what I am thinking. Bias in journalism is not always so obvious as to be read within the articles posted above the fold on page 1A. No, where most of journalism's bias is manifest is in what it chooses to put on 1A versus what it buries on page 12 or doesn't write about at all.

In other words, a person has to investigate for himself what has been omitted entirely or pooh-poohed (a word I learned from the AP Handbook) sufficiently to land face first opposite Aunt Mildred's recipe for sweet onion and artichoke pie.

Jon Huntsman has become a favored candidate of the media. One could debate the reasons behind this, but I believe it is because of Huntsman's track record of political moderation and his propensity to "reach across the aisle."

When newspapers across the country were choosing their endorsements for the GOP presidential nomination during the last cycle, paper after paper opted for the moderate John McCain. And, why not? John McCain's politics were of the type that most editorial boards across this land would be thrilled to put up with if they had to choose among GOP conservatives. They weren't choosing what candidate best reflected the ideas and desires of conservatives, they were choosing which GOP candidate best reflected the liberal viewpoints harbored within the editorial board.

Herman Cain is a candidate who also has low name recognition. He is much more conservative than is Huntsman and is also a guy who rose to the top of corporate America rather than being born on the top rung. As a conservative person myself, and after researching a lot on the candidates that are currently crisscrossing America, I think Herman Cain, as well as any other candidate, reflects the conservative political values that I hold most important to me. (There are two or three others on par with Cain.)

Perhaps Jon Huntsman is the next John McCain; a man who the progressive media has christened as the best possible candidate to satisfy the political bent of liberal newspapers around the country. We can expect Huntsman to fill the editorial pages of more and more newspapers as they promote him in an attempt to raise his name recognition and tout his experience.

Then, should Huntsman ever get the nomination, the editorialists can turn on him as viciously as they did the Maverick--which, from my point of view, is the way they should have ravaged him from the get-go.

Herman Cain, on the other hand, will have his face pasted to a black and white ink portrait of a smiling Aunt Mildred located somewhere between the obits and the free pet classifieds. If anywhere.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tomato, Tomahto

Certainly we could all use the wisdom of Whoopi Goldberg at a time like this--a woman so aware of the life forces around her that she can pronounce unerringly whether a sexual assault is either of the non-rape variety, or, you know, of the rape-rape species.

Such pronouncements can prove invaluable when the accused is of a particular political or artistic bent. We saw this in the case of Roman Polanski, an admitted pedophile whose actions of drugging an underage girl and then sodomizing her against her will were, according to Whoopi, of the previously undefined non rape-rape variety.

Roman's defense? All men like teenagers which, apparently, was enough for Ms. Goldberg. If Ms. Goldberg was in charge, all such universal and unassailable sexual impulses would carry with them immediate absolution, regardless as to whether the sinner actually asked for forgiveness or instead fled the shackles of his plea deal and lived out the rest of his free days gleefully enjoying the sweet memories of a drug addled minor decades his junior.

It was, however, Polanski's sensitive devotion to the arts that helped salve the rather casual objections of Polanski's transgression to artists such as Goldberg, Harrison Ford, Harvey Weinstein, Anne Applebaum, and the sadly aging Debra Winger. Who were we, after all, to stand between a man of the arts and his libido?

Another sex crime is rocking the world today, that of IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Now, certainly the Strauss-Kahn situation varies with the Polanski situation in that Strauss-Kahn is innocent until proven guilty and has admitted no guilt. Polanski admitted guilt but then fled.

What does remain the same is the inability for leftists to accept the potential evil of persons housed within their own ideological circle.

Seventy percent of French socialist party members believe that Strauss-Kahn is the victim of a conspiracy to ruin his political aspirations which include the potential presidency of France. That the uber socialist Strauss-Kahn was staying in a $3,000 per night hotel room is just nit-picking minutia and not indicative of any hypocrisy.

One thing that I like about conservatives. While our standards are not rigidly upheld by every member on every occasion, when a supposed member strays from his ideological foundation he is lambasted for it by those on the right. When Mark Foley is smitten with a house page, he is rousted from office. When Gary Studds does that and even more, he is elevated to a position of power within the Democrat Party.

We will have to see how all of this turns out in a court of law as Strauss-Kahn is not deserving of any diplomatic protections and he will be tried.

Perhaps we could get Whoopi to tell us what's up and save us all a lot of time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

No Guilt Here!

"If you're going to ... try to make me feel bad, you aren't going to do it."
So says a man who just last year won a multi-million dollar lottery prize when confronted with the fact that he still uses food stamps.

So much for the old Kennedy quote..."ask not what your country can do for you...blah, blah, blah."

Entitlement is a disease.

Friday, May 06, 2011

On the road again...

I'm on the road again and, as Mom and my other reader has probably noted, I don't get an opportunity to write very often while I'm out of town.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy to be holding down a job of today, but I just wish it wasn't in lieu of one of the yet to be created Michigan jobs of tomorrow favored by our former Governor Jennifer Granholm.

I'll try to do better next week but there are no promises.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

California Finds Something Else to Regulate

On a hat tip from Overlawyered, a bill has been introduced in California to help provide for a safer lodging workplace.

Section 6714 is added to the Labor Code, to read:
6714. (a) The standards board shall, no later than September 1, 2012, adopt an occupational safety and health standard for lodging establishment housekeeping. The standard shall apply to all hotels, motels, and other lodging establishments in California. The standard shall require all of the following:
(1) The use of a fitted sheet, instead of a flat sheet, as the bottom sheet on all beds within the lodging establishment. For the purpose of this section, a "fitted sheet" means a bed sheet containing elastic or similar material sewn into each of the four corners that allows the sheet to stay in place over the mattress.
(2) The use of long-handled tools such as mops or similar devices in order to eliminate the practice by housekeepers of working in a stooped, kneeling, or squatting position in order to clean bathroom floors, walls, tubs, toilets, and other bathroom surfaces.
Is there no portion of the American business landscape that some unfortunately elected fop hasn't decided that he can run more efficiently and more effectively himself?

I've got news for California State Senator De León, if you show me a toilet that has been cleaned without effort of "stooping, kneeling, or squatting" I will show you a toilet that is teeming with bacteria and unfit for Mr. De León's backside to utilize.

Realistically, how are housekeepers even supposed to clean underneath the toilet seat if they cannot even stoop to lift the lid?

When a state believes it has the wisdom and wherewithal to regulate even the proper cleaning of toilets down at the local Super8, it is clearly engaged in systematic overreach.

California is billions of dollars in debt, pining for another federal bailout, driving thousands of employers out of the state every year over the high cost of doing business, and abjectly delusional when it comes to getting its expenses or revenues in line.

If this is any indication, it hasn't even started trying to figure it out.

Having it Both Ways

Either Usama bin Laden was a Muslim or he was not.

He would have told you, prior to his head being blown apart like a misguided suicide bomber, that he was a Muslim. His followers, both during and after the blowing up of schools, weddings, hotels, subways, trains, airplanes, and city squares would tell you the same thing.

And yet, most of those within the western politic would describe Usama and his bloodthirsty minions as "misunderstanders of Islam." Western governments have undergone painstaking effort in separating the images of the jihadist bin Laden and the peaceful followers of Islam who are the "vast majority" of Muslim believers.

Our own government has fallen into this trap as well. George W. Bush has called Islam "a religion of peace." He also said "Islam is a vibrant faith. Millions of our fellow citizens are Muslim. We respect the faith. We honor its traditions. Our enemy does not. Our enemy doesn't follow the great traditions of Islam. They've hijacked a great religion." He also said: "All Americans must recognize that the face of terror is not the true faith -- face of Islam."

Current President Barack Obama has had a few things to say about Islam himself: “That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

Both men have taken great care in addressing Muslim masses so as to be sure not to offend or to paint America's War on Terror as a War on Islam. Both men have made it known that they do not believe that terrorism is a part of true Islam. They both made it clear that they believed that Usama bin Laden, as a purveyor of terror, was not a true follower of the Islamic faith.

So, why is it, after the US heroically carried out a raid deep into Pakistan that lead to the timely death of Usama bin Laden, that US authorities felt it necessary to carefully treat Usama's carcass as if it were an esteemed vessel of Islam? Why would we, after our last two presidents have adamantly noted, and indeed, after moderate Muslims the world over have demanded, that terrorism has no part in Islam and that those who engage in terrorism are not true Muslims, even attempt to do anything other than unceremoniously dump Obama's body in a nameless garbage pit?

Either bin Laden was a Muslim or he was not. Perhaps the US isn't as clear on this concept as it has tried to convince us that it is.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Talk Nice to My Volt!

Does anyone else think this is as funny as I do?

BMW CEO Jim O'Donnell has apparently experienced great criticism for his comments about electrical vehicles. So much so that he has had to issue an apology. Yes, he has finally crossed the line--he has insulted a blessed technology.

His horrible mistake in judgment? He announced that he believed in a "free economy," that tax credits should be ended, and that electric vehicles would not work for most people.

One only hopes he also engaged in a little flagellation and that hate crime legislation can soon be introduced that includes insensitivity toward techno groupies.

"I sincerely apologize if I have offended the strong network of electric vehicle advocates whose support has been deeply meaningful to us at BMW."
It is accepted by most of us that we should not insult overly sensitive people for their race, religion, weight, social status, or disability, but now we cannot even insult a technology for fear of offending its followers.

Between Him and His Maker

Most of the world celebrates today the demise of one Usama bin Laden at the hand of American Navy Seals. Certainly those that took to the streets at Ground Zero, in Times Square, in Annapolis, and at the White House had celebration on their minds.

There are deeply rooted political consequences of such an action, an action that our President deserves credit for. Some international political truths are also, now, becoming crystal clear. But somehow, on this day at least, I find myself largely being able to ignore such trivialities.

Those who do not celebrate are generally making threats upon the celebrators. This morning, already, the jihad continues. Already, in planning rooms across the planet, forces for freedom continue to plot the death or capture of those who will find promotion in the vacuum left by Usama's sodden corpse.

And yet today I find myself singing this verse over and over...

hey, hey, hey, goodbye...

For the more reflective today, let us not forget, meeting one's maker is no different than meeting one's final judge. We did what we had to do and took him out. Now God will decide.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A Non-Fiction Windmill Story

Over at Watts Up With That:

Consider the Oldbury wind turbine, which reveals was installed a couple of years ago at a primary school in the Midlands at a cost of £5000 sterling plus Vicious Additional Taxation at 17.5% (US $9694 in all).

In the first full year of the Oldbury White Elephant’s 20-year life it generated a gratifying 209 kilowatt-hours of electricity – enough to power a single 100-Watt reading-lamp for less than three months. The rest of the year you’ll have to find something else to do in bed.
This is one of the technologies the very wise in the US are favoring over pumping oil or burning coal. The government favored technology actually sucks wealth out of our economy while those chosen by the free market shower our country with wealth producing efficient energy.

For centuries the human condition on Earth was misery. It was famine, disease, abject poverty, starvation, disco. Cheap energy's infusion into free market capitalism has changed all of that. The vast majority of today's poverty stricken own cell phones, have cable television, access to transportation, education, housing, and food.

Yet, this is what the elite in America are willing to sacrifice in their skirt chasing of green energy solutions. It is both a mathematical and economic certainty that future generations of Americans will be much poorer, sicker, hungrier and more desperate than they are now if our leaders' continue to chart a course toward the purposeful destruction of American wealth.

It is certainly a price they are willing to have the rest of us pay.