NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Community food fight, protect the children

Protect All Children of Nevada County, A Community Coalition Supporting the, Nevada Joint Union High School District has established a website.
[D]istrict superintendent Maggie Deetz says no employee currently at the district has reported ever receiving a parent complaint as a result of having excused the student during school hours for confidential medical care.
Anyone see a problem with this statement? If the student’s visit was a secret, and never told the parent, how would the school ever receive a complaint? They would not!
The policy is working fine. And, it is not used very frequently. Deetz says that in the vast majority of cases, counselors and nurses are able to talk the student into a joint parent-student meeting facilitated by the counselor or nurse.
The web site claims the student have no other option than a secret doctor visit. The above statement shows that school counselors are an avenue for redress, and for bring the parents into the decision making process. This seems to me to be the right approach.

I still want to know, if something happens to ingure the child during a secret doctor visit, who is responsible for the long term care for the injured child? The doctor? The school? The parents? The answer is -- parents. Thus, the parent must be involved in the decision to attend the doctor. If you answer doctor or school, how will this long term care be funded? How will we keep this care a secret from the parents? Right!

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Things are a changin

Two technologies have changed how we get our entertainment, and news, at the Steele household. We bought a GMC pickup in January with a XM Satellite radio installed. This new technology has changed our radio listening habits. We now listen to the music of our choice, light jazz, blues or bluegrass without commercial interruption. The range of selection is awesome, including the voice side of many satellite TV channels, including CNN, FOX NEWS, MSNBC, CNBC. News any time, any where.

Broadband access has also changed our home listening habits. We now can log on to the XM Radio on the Internet, or iTunes radio channel using the broadband connection. Again we are not listening to ad sponsored entertainment, but free, or subscription entertainment. I can listen to the Internet radio on my computer while writing on this web log, writing freelance columns, or surfing the Internet. All free, or for a small fee on the XM Internet channels. A space enthusiast, I can down load the latest from NASA on my iPod, and listen while walking the dog. Sorry Rush, you are no longer that interesting. It is called podcasting. My Mac downloads the audio files from NASA, which it automatically puts the audio files on my iPod. I can pick up the iPod on the way out the door with the dog.

If more listeners adopt these listening patterns, then local radio is in trouble. I have a pocket XM radio on my Christmas list. Then they should less expensive by Xmas. Right now $350.00 is a little steep for my gift givers budget.

UPDATE: Volvo and Mercedes-Benz are planning an iPod interface for the 2006 models, to provide iPod control functions while driving. Apple is also in talks with Nissan, BMW and Cooper Mini. (WSJ)

New listening habits are going to challenge local radio.

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Beale AFB Update

Will Beale escape?
Only weeks away from a Pentagon proposal for shutdowns, Rumsfeld said that fewer than 20% of base facilities in the United States were likely to be mothballed this year. That prediction contrasted with a Pentagon report to Congress earlier this year that said 24% of domestic bases were not needed.
What kind of returning troops would find Beale an appealing site?

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

BEALE Update, It is all politics

Leon E. Panetta, California is key to transformation of nation's defense, in Monday’s San Francisco Chronicle
As a former chairman of the House Budget Committee and director of the federal Office of Management and Budget, I do not question the need to streamline and transform our military infrastructure. But for that process to work fairly and effectively, the military and the national BRAC Commission have an obligation to consider all of the facts relating to military readiness.

Unfortunately, that has not always been the case. In the last base closure rounds in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995, of the total bases closed or realigned in the nation, 30 percent were in California -- more than any other state. California lost fully 50 percent of the jobs associated with these BRAC closures and realignments and more than $10 billion in economic losses. This does not include the huge costs of lost economic development due to the delays in transferring the bases to local communities.

But the real tragedy was that California did a lousy job in defending the important assets that it brings to our national defense. There was little if any help or support provided by the state, the governor, the Legislature or the congressional delegation.

Each community affected by a base closure was left to fight its own battle, and the Defense Department picked the state apart. Too few communities had the financial resources or military expertise necessary to ensure that any wrong information or perceptions were corrected.

In the absence of a strong coordinated effort by this state to make the arguments on behalf of these bases, former Defense Department officials familiar with the base-closure process have confirmed that many of the closures were based more on the politics of California than on future defense needs.
Right, it was and is all politics. Read it all here.

Remember the Air Force has ordered a Global Hawk ground station for Langley AFB in VA, and Senator John Warner. Republican from VA, is Chariman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. An who are our Democratic Senators, and where do they stand with the military? Where were they during the last round of base closings? Right!

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More Thoughts on Parents Consent

Sadie Hartmann is mad, and the school board better watch out.

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BEALE UPDATE: Encroachment could hurt Beale

Appeal-Democrat story by Harold Kruger

Beale Air Force Base "may be seriously jeopardized" by future residential projects, according to documents prepared by the state's Office of Military and Aerospace Support.

The state agency is proposing that Yuba County agree to have a Regional Compatibility Plan prepared for land surrounding Beale.

"I think this will make a favorable impression on the Pentagon that here in Yuba County we want to discuss and negotiate with Beale and the Pentagon about these issues," Supervisor Hal Stocker said Monday.

Read full story here

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Still waiting for the real budget analysis

Jackie Mason writes about Budget mortgages future, March 29, 2005
The Bush Administration is trying to ram the budget through Congress with little scrutiny or study. Why? Because if any reasonable person does study it, they would be horrified to learn that their future and their children's future are being mortgaged to the military industrial complex, corporate interests and millionaires.

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How are we losing? The budget proposes $18 billion cuts in domestic programs that include education, environment, health, Medicaid and veterans' benefits. Check out this Web site for a better understanding of the budget proposals and their impact www.cbpp.org/2-22-05bud.htm.

Another report read through a liberal mind filter. First the libs complain that Republican spending is out of control, then they complain when budgets are brought under control. In a previous post, we frisked another letter about education budget cuts. Cuts related only to program that have proven ineffective. Why continue to fund progams that clearly do not work? For example, the Head Start Program. Studies have shown that attendes do no better in school than children that do not attend. The money spent produces no results, it is a failed program. The writer mentions the loss of veterans benefits and provides a reference document, which is quite large, filled with paragraph after paragraph of “we assume.” Using a search function, I could only find one graph for veteran benefits projected for 2010. There was no analyis or justification for the graph in the text, nor even a liteney of “we assume” found in the analysis of other programs. This letter is not about the Presidents budget, it is about a liberal fantasy.

UPDATE: More on Presidents budget at Grown Ups

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Lost Letters to Editor

I sent the letter below to the Union on March 20th, addressed to letters@theunion.com. Called today to check on why nothing published, or a call to confirm it was really my letter. Janet Lee said, "we are having problems with our e-mail." This is the third time I have lost a letter in the Union’s e-mail black hole. I suggest you send your letters directly to the editor, and do not use the web based e-mail box. Ask for a reply that the letter has been received. You can also send a copy to janetl@theunion.com
Dear Editor:

This is a tip for letter writers who replicate MoveOn.org and other left wing talking points in their letters. It’s easy for Internet users to identify you by Googling a phrase from your letter, and see if it appears in other letters across the nation. For example, this letter on March 19th. “This administration is pushing through the budget this week before critics and the media can point out huge program cuts and corporate giveaways,” is almost a direct quote from the talking points on MoveOn.org’s web page. This same phrase appeared in multiple newspapers across the nation.

Another example, “I find it hard to believe, but last week I heard a group of "Republicans" chanting.” This same phrase appeared in papers in Maine, Virginia, Pennsylvania and two letters in Nevada County.

Wise up letter writers. Put your own thoughts in letters. It is a bigger challenge to comment on an original thought, rather than just identify you as just another robot letter writer, at NC Media Watch: http://ncwatch.blogspot.com/

Russ Steele

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Something for our local anti-Iraq war crowd to consider

Albania stands with U.S. in Iraq

By Fatos Tarifa (In Washington Post)

The announcement several days ago Albania -- a small country with limited resources -- was sending an additional 50 well-trained troops to Iraq came as a surprise to some observers. But it really should not have surprised anyone.
Albania was one of only four countries to send combat troops during the operation "Iraqi Freedom." Albania is probably the most pro-American country on Earth. It showed its support of the United States early, when it initially sent 70 commandos to join the Coalition of the Willing's effort to bring peace, stability and free elections to Iraq. These new troops bring to a total of 120 Albanian soldiers serving in Iraq.

From a country with only 3.5 million people, the troops -- the flower of Albania's youth -- represent the best Albania has to offer. Why does Albania do this when it could have avoided President Bush's call for support, or when it could have dropped out as others have done when the going got tough? The answer is not difficult to find. If you believe in freedom, you believe in fighting for it. If you believe in fighting for freedom, you believe in America.

Unlike people in other countries in Europe and elsewhere, the Albanian people have not forgotten what it is like to live under tyranny and repression. The Albanians for more than 40 years were held in thrall by the repressive forces of the communists, living like prisoners without rights in their own country. It was to the United States that freedom-loving Albanians looked for inspiration during those dark years, and the Americans have not let us down.

"We Albanians are a nation of freedom fighters who know something about living under oppression," Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano wrote in a letter to President Bush. "That is why we wholeheartedly support the American-led effort to free the people of Iraq. And though we are a small country with a small military, we are proud to stand side by side with our allies in the fight to end the reign of terror in Baghdad."

Europe is a small place and it is hard not to run into history there. It is also hard to avoid the historic contributions of the United States in the defense of freedom and liberty on the Continent. There are cemeteries throughout Europe -- in France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg -- containing the remains of American soldiers who died in battle to free Europe in two world wars.

Although it is not fashionable to talk about it, the face of Europe would indeed be much different today were it not for the Americans who died storming the Normandy beaches.

Were it not for the Americans, there is a good chance there would be no France, nor a United Kingdom nor a Belgium, as we know them today. Were it not for the United States it also is very possible no Balkan countries would be free.

Upon committing Albania to the Coalition of the Willing, Prime Minister Nano urged his fellow European leaders to visit Normandy "to see for themselves what the United States has been willing to undertake in the name of freedom. We should all visit Normandy. We should pay homage to those brave Americans who stormed ashore at Omaha Beach and gave their lives for the freedom of others. The wonder of it is that the Americans are willing to do it again," Mr. Nano said.

And of course, it was the U.S.-led effort of NATO to rein in Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic and his ethnic cleansing campaign in Kosovo that proved to the world that, in the name of freedom, the United States was willing to fight for the freedom of the oppressed, regardless of religious belief.

So it is with Iraq. The importance of the American-led effort to liberate Iraq and establish a democratic government for the first time in this country's history cannot be underestimated. It is not the first time the United States has faced suicide bombers trapped in a cult of death. The Japanese kamikazes sought to do to the Americans toward the end of World War II what the terrorists are attempting in Iraq today. The kamikazes failed then, the terrorists will fail now. Japan became a democracy and so will Iraq.

The difference between the United States and the Islamic terrorists is this: The terrorists export death. The Americans export freedom.

The surprise is not in Albania's decision to send more troops to fight for freedom in Iraq. The surprise would have been if Albania did not.

Fatos Tarifa is the ambassador of Albania to the United States.

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Friday, March 25, 2005

Global Warming Update: Ice Cores.

Which came first? The CO2 or rising tempertures?
The ice cores from Vostock Antarctica have provided a recored of atmospheric gases and temperature proxies for over 400,000 years, extending over four intergalical periods.
There is a close correlation between Antarctic temperature and atmospheric concentrations of CO2 The extension of the Vostok CO2 record shows that the main trends of CO2 are similar for each glacial cycle. Major transitions from the lowest to the highest values are associated with glacial-interglacial transitions. During these transitions, the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 rises from 180 to 280-300 ppmv The extension of the Vostok CO2 record shows the present-day levels of CO2 are unprecedented during the past 420 kyr. Pre-industrial Holocene levels (~280 ppmv) are found during all interglacials, with the highest values (~300 ppmv) found approximately 323 kyr BP. When the Vostok ice core data were compared with other ice core data for the past 30,000 - 40,000 years, good agreement was found between the records: all show low CO2 values [~200 parts per million by volume (ppmv)] during the Last Glacial Maximum and increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations associated with the glacial-Holocene transition. These measurements indicate that, at the beginning of the deglaciations, the CO2 increase either was in phase or lagged by less than ~1000 years with respect to the Antarctic temperature, whereas it clearly lagged behind the temperature at the onset of the glaciations
Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute

vostock.jpg


If you look at the chart, it appear the highest concentrations of CO2 lagged the temperatrue rise by 400 to 600 years. What does that tell us about CO2 being the cause of rising global temperatures today?

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When the children are gone

The New York Times reports that Oregon's biggest city, Portland and many other large American metropolises, are facing a shortage of children:
It is a problem unlike the urban woes of cities like Detroit and Baltimore, where families have fled decaying neighborhoods, business areas and schools. Portland is one of the nation's top draws for the kind of educated, self-starting urbanites that midsize cities are competing to attract. But as these cities are remodeled to match the tastes of people living well in neighborhoods that were nearly abandoned a generation ago, they are struggling to hold on to enough children to keep schools running and parks alive with young voices.

San Francisco, where the median house price is now about $700,000, had the lowest percentage of people under 18 of any large city in the nation, 14.5 percent, compared with 25.7 percent nationwide, the 2000 census reported. Seattle, where there are more dogs than children, was a close second. Boston, Honolulu, Portland, Miami, Denver, Minneapolis, Austin and Atlanta, all considered, healthy, vibrant urban areas, were not far behind. The problem is not just that American women are having fewer children, reflected in the lowest birth rate ever recorded in the country.

Officials say that the very things that attract people who revitalize a city--dense vertical housing, fashionable restaurants and shops and mass transit that makes a car unnecessary--are driving out children by making the neighborhoods too expensive for young families.
With a declining population of young people in Nevada County, are we about to become a regional version of a mid sized city, full of retired folks who are demanding we make over the place to meet their needs. Will we all end up walking our parks, trails, Mill and Broad Streets straining to hear the voice of a child. A voice to refresh our memory of youthful days, brimming with life and carefree happy times.

Will Nevada County be where we want to live, if all the children are gone?

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More globalization is best terror weapon

"Nimitz lecturer Thomas Barnett says our best weapon against terrorism is increased globalization." Check it out at the Berkeleyan

Tom approves of the article's content: “As captures of my brief go, this one is pretty good.”

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

All about Bush and Oil?

Gary Bramstedt makes more claims that Iraq is about oil, March 24, 2005.
From the beginning of Bush's first term and earlier, the invasion of Iraq was a major goal with oil as a main ingredient. Meetings with mapping of Iraq's oil fields and exploration areas listing companies that might be interested. Documents like "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts." Plans for how the world's second largest oil reserve might be divided among the world's contractors.

Don't take my word for it, do a Google search on "Paul O'Neill." Then you decide.
Mr Bramstedt should have spent a little more time searching on the web. O'Neill took back his Iraq allegations in a 01.12.04 Reuters story: Link to story, no longer availalbe, but found info at Daniel Drenzners web log archives.
"People are trying to say that I said the president was planning war in Iraq early in the administration. Actually there was a continuation of work that had been going on in the Clinton administration with the notion that there needed to be a regime change in Iraq." [Emphasis added]

Asked about his comment that during Cabinet meetings Bush was like "a blind man in a room full of deaf people," O'Neill said he regretted some of the language he used to describe his former boss.
O’Neill was a loose cannon, that never learned his job as the Treasury Secretary, or he would still be in office. He spend more time traveling around the world with Bono than he did learning his job as a Cabinet Member.

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A brighter world

The world is much brighter this afternoon, sharper colors, and distant vista have more depth. Yesterday afternoon Dr. Michele Lim and the UC Davis surgical staff removed my last cataract. Vision went from 20/80, to 20/15. If you have a cataract, I can highly recommend Dr. Lim and UC Davis Ophthalmology Department.

I am on ten days of light duty, no lifting, no leaning over to tie my shoes. Driving is OK, but no straining. I plan to spend time napping, writing on book projects, upgrading my web site, and posting more information here and at my NC Transportation web log. However, napping has priority.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

More details please, a fact or two would help

Lee Traupel is concerned about the The spin machine, March 23, 2005, but provides few facts to back up his claims, like these:
This administration spends hundreds of millions of tax dollars spinning the news for an American public so it can hide behind the complexity of today's events while driving its own agenda of greed and slash-and-burn politics.

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Is this any way to run a country - lowering taxes for the rich, using our military power to ride rough shod over whoever we please and cutting benefits for millions of hard-working Americans?

I guess all the poor hard working Americans who are incapable of understanding complex events, like the tax code, are Democrats. Did Mr Trampel note those rich Democrats that donated more money for the Kerry election than those rich Republicans did to Bush. Did he note that the rich Kerry family keeps their wealth in tax free investments. By the way, what is rich? Are familes that make over $100,000 a year in salary rich? Or is it $200,000. Making $200,000 a year in salary is not wealth, it is just a big salary. Help us out Mr. Trample, who are these "rich"?

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Building Vehicles in the U.S.

Jim Williams' is confused in Mixed messages, March 23, 2005
Recently I pulled into the car wash to get my car washed. I noticed in front of me a car with a Bush/Cheney sticker on it. On the other side another sticker said "Keep America Strong, Buy American Products." Then I watched her drive away in her Toyota.
I guess Mr. Williams' is unaware that Toyota has been manufacturing vehicles in the U.S. since 1986. Their first plant was in Fremont, California. Currently, eight Toyota cars and trucks are built in the U.S. including Avalon, Camry, Camry Solara, Corolla, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma and Tundra.

From the Toyota web site:
“From California to West Virginia, our more than 21,000 team members and 500 suppliers work together to build the quality vehicles you see on the road today. Last year alone, Toyota U.S. manufacturing plants built more than one million vehicles and purchased over $22 billion worth of parts, materials and goods and services from North American businesses - including vehicle parts and components from 35 U.S. states.”
Perhaps Mr. William's needs to do a little research before casting aspersions on the Bush administration and Japanese car manufactures.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Changing listening habits

In the late edition George Boardman writes about, Keeping it local - KNCO and STAR stay vibrant 'the old-fashioned way',March 22, 2005
Naysayers have been writing and rewriting the obituary notice for the radio industry since television became popular in the 1950s.

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The emphasis on local programming also fortifies the stations against inroads from satellite radio services and the increasing popularity of digital music players.

Breck points out the two satellite radio services - XM and Sirius - currently have about 5 million subscribers between them.

"In their wildest dreams they'll get up to 20 million to 25 million subscribers nationwide. That means they'd have about 150 subscribers in this particular area," he said, "so it's not a real threat as far as numbers of people."

The iPod may be a bigger problem, but Breck believes its more of a concern for major market stations with little local programming and a cookie-cutter approach to music.
We bought a new GMC Pickup with XM Radio. It has changed our listening habits. Far less local radio, more ad free listening, without static or boring ads we have heard a thousand times. We still listen to some local talk, but with Fox News audio available on satellite or CNN if we want to see what the libs are thinking, it is hard to stay tuned to the local stations when static free options are available.

We are thinking about getting an XM receiver at home, but we already use the Sirius music channels on the satellite TV, which when feed into the Hi Fi fills the house with a great sound. Now that we have broadband, we use the radio feature of iTunes, or tune into XM Radio on the Internet while we are working at the computer. Again a change in listening habits. We have been early technology adopters, as early computer, cellphone, satellite TV, pre-internet network, and then Internet users. We tried some podding, but did not find any compelling content yet. Our changing listening habits maybe a harbinger for local radio. I listened to iTunes radio on the model broadband while typing this web log entry. Humm... more early web log adopting.

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The Peace Protest

Bo Salisbury has an interesting take on the peaceful protest in Nevada City at the Piety Hill Press

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Beale AFB Update

Fred Levien wants to Protect America by saving Beale, March 22, 2005

Fred makes a strong case for keeping Beale AFB open, based on two key weapons systems located on the base: Global Hawk and Pave Paws.
A recent article in The Union ("Rumsfeld says downsizing would save $7B annually," Feb. 21) points out that "lawmakers want to make sure they are spending resources wisely" and with extra military base capacity at nearly 25 percent, all domestic bases are under consideration for closure. It also states this is especially true if there are "aging facilities" or if the base is "used by only one of the four Services."

Beale actually fits both of these defined limitations. But, that is only half of the story. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., highlights another crucial side of this story. He suggests the U.S. needs those bases "that are on the very edge of what we [the USA] need to defend ourselves." Applying that criteria, Beale jumps to the top of the "essential" list.
I would like to add another perspective to Fred’s analysis. The PAVE PAWS was developed to identify sea launched ballistic missiles in the 1970s, with four sites located around the nation, Otis AFB, MA; Robins AFB, GA; Eldorado, TX; and Beale AFB, CA. Otis AFB was closed and is now Otis AF Station, just the radar site. The Robins AFB site was closed when the soviet sub launched threat was reduced, the subs rotting in port. The Texas site was moved to Clear Alaska, upgraded and became part of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. PAVE PAWS is 1970s technology, that became operation in the 1980s. I am not sure it’s cost can be justified since North Korea does not have any nuclear ballistic missile launching subs. The land based ballistic missile threat from N. Korean is being handled by sites in Alaska.

I found it interesting that Lockheed Martin, the Global Hawk developer, was given a contract to develop a Global Hawk ground station for Largely AFB, VA. Virgina is Sen. John Warner’s home state. I believe Sen. Warner, a Republican, has far more clout that Sen. Boxer or Sen. Feinstein, Democrats. One of Rumsfeld's goals is to move critical assets closer to potential battle zones. Beale AFB is a long way from the Middle East. Global Hawk is a mobile asset, and PAVE PAWS is old technology. I hope they stay at Beale AFB, but I am not as optomistic as Fred.

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Beale AFB Update

Fred Levien wants to Protect America by saving Beale, March 22, 2005

Fred makes a strong case for keeping Beale AFB open, based on two weapons systems located on the base, the Global Hawk and Pave Paws.

A recent article in The Union ("Rumsfeld says downsizing would save $7B annually," Feb. 21) points out that "lawmakers want to make sure they are spending resources wisely" and with extra military base capacity at nearly 25 percent, all domestic bases are under consideration for closure. It also states this is especially true if there are "aging facilities" or if the base is "used by only one of the four Services."

Beale actually fits both of these defined limitations. But, that is only half of the story. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., highlights another crucial side of this story. He suggests the U.S. needs those bases "that are on the very edge of what we [the USA] need to defend ourselves." Applying that criteria, Beale jumps to the top of the "essential" list.
I would like to add another perspective to Fred’s analysis. The PAVE PAWS was developed to identify sea launched ballistic missiles in the 1970s, with four sites located around the nation, Otis AFB, MA; Robins AFB, GA; Eldorado, TX; and Beale AFB, CA. Otis AFB was closed and is now Otis AF Station, just the radar site. The Robins AFB site was closed when the soviet sub launched threat was reduced, the subs rotting in port. The Texas site was moved to Clear Alaska, upgraded and became part of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. PAVE PAWS is 1970s technology, that became operation in the 1980s. I am not sure it’s cost can be justified since North Korea does not have any nuclear ballistic missile launching subs. The land based ballistic missile threat from N. Korean is being handled by sites in Alaska.

Lockheed Marti, the Global Hawk developer, was given a contract to develop a Global Hawk ground station for Largely AFB, VA. Virgina is Sen. John Warner’s home state. I believe Sen. Warner, a Republican, has far more clout that Sen. Boxer or Sen. Feinstein, Democrats. One of Rumsfeld's goals is to move critical assets closer to potential battle zones. Beale AFB is a long way from the Middle East. Global Hawk is a mobile asset, and PAVE PAWS is old technology. I hope they stay at Beale AFB, but I am not as optomistic as Fred.

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Monday, March 21, 2005

GLOBAL WARMING UPDATE From BBC

This is one reason that the US refused to sign the Kyoto protocol.
Across northern China, coal seams burn in un-stoppable fires. Some have been burning naturally for thousands of years, but others are being set alight by small-scale mining operations seeking to cash in on soaring coal prices. Together, these perpetual fires are letting off a total amount of carbon dioxide each year equal to all the cars in the USA.
China is not bound by Kyoto. Hummm...

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Beale AFB Update

New York Times on Base Closing
In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed a California Council on Base Support and Retention, whose co-chairman is Leon Panetta, the former Democratic congressman and White House chief of staff. Mr. Schwarzenegger has also hired Clark & Weinstock, a Washington consulting firm headed by the former congressmen Vic Fazio and Vin Weber, to help protect California's military installations. Of California's 91 major bases in operation when the base closings began in 1988, 29 have been closed or realigned.
More here.

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

MoveOn.org letter writing robots in the Union

Rianne Lovett writes the National budget imploding, March 19, 2005
This administration is pushing through the budget this week before critics and the media can point out huge program cuts and corporate giveaways.
She is a MoveOn.org robot, writing letters to the editor, using the talking points from their web site.

Compare these Talking Points with her whole letter. The first point:
* Republicans are pushing through the budget this week before critics and the media can point out huge program cuts and corporate giveaways.
When I logged on to The Union web page this morning, I found two letters with the same opening paragraph. The second letter disappeared, before I could get the details, it was almost verbatim from the MoveOn.org talking points. I guess an Editor at the Union saw the same opening paragraph in the second letter. Let’s see if the dead tree edition has both letters.

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Friday, March 18, 2005

Broadband is finally installed

The Comcast installer showed at 9:00 and was done by 11:00, very personable fellow. This was his second Mac install, but first without a few gltches. We now have download speeds from 1.9 to 3.3 Megabits per second. Faster than a 1.5 megabit T-1. Wow!

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Letter needs more editing

Dorothy G. Leighton, I object to message from Sue Horne, March 18, 2005

The letters appears to be extensively edited, perhaps by The Union Editor.
As I was sitting down for dinner (recently),

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I am a proud member of the NCCC, and object strongly to the phone message. I am only sorry that I (couldn't) be at the meeting on the 16th, but I (was) there in my thoughts.

If any of you feel the same as I do, please (make your thoughts known to Horne).

Even with all the edits, I am left wondering who or what the is the NCCC? I checked Google and came up with some options:

National Council of Corvette Clubs
National Cervical Cancer Center
Northern California Cancer Center
Northern California Contest Club
National Chronic Care Consortium
Nevada County Chronic Complainers

That last one was a joke. Help me out, who is the NCCC. Should we worry?

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

GLOBAL WARMING UPDATE

Comstock's Business looks into the new California Air Resources Board greenhouse gas regulations. Link here.

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Welcome CABPRO readers.

Below is the graphic for my Global Warming article in the March Newsletter.

Warming_graphic.jpg


For non-CABPRO Newsletter readers, California’s Air Resources Board used the U. N. Third Assessment Report, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to justify more restrictive greenhouse gas regulations for California. Regulation that were approved in September 2004, which after 2009, will cost new car buys from $1,500 to $3,000 per new vehicle. The IPCC report states humans are responsible for runaway global warming. They claim the last century was the warmest in a 1000 years, based on a climate model developed by geo-scientist Michael Mann. See the blue line in the above graphic. Note the hockey stick blade starting about 1900.

Mann’s computer model is under fire by Canadian scientists McIntyre and McKitrick. They found gaps in Mann’s data and a mathematical error in the computer program used to produce the “hockey stick.” Once the data gaps were filled by McIntyre and McKitrick and the program error fixed, Mann’s model shows higher temperatures were present 1400 - 1500. See red line in the graphic. The 20th century was not the warmest in a 1000 years! And this global warming was not caused by humans driving SUVs.

Are you ready to pay thousands more for a new car, because regulators are using a faulty computer model?

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You are an Influential

Congratulations readers, you are community leaders who have a strong influence on other members of our community.
Now you can tell your pajama-bashing friends that the data from last week's blog reader survey indicates that 70% of blog readers are influentials, those articulate, networked 10% of Americans who set the agenda for the other 90%. (RoperASW, the folks who wrote the book on Influentials, have more information on the definition on influentials here.)
More here.

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Thoughts on Parent-Consent

DAVID MIRHADI, writes about Parental-consent conflict, School trustees don't change policy after debate, in an article, March 17, 2005.
The debate over consent between high school students and their parents wasn't settled Wednesday night, but an overflow crowd at Bear River High School ensured that both sides of the debate were well represented.
We got a call from Sue Horne, but did not attend the meeting as our four daughters are grown up, three are married, two raising a family. Ellen and I worked hard to maintain communication with our daughters as they transitioned from little girls to women. Once they reached 18, we were confident they could make independent health decisions. We encouraged them to confide in us, but were willing to accept their need for personal privacy.

My question, had I attended the meeting. Who is responsible for my high school daughter under 18, once she left school on a secret medical appointment? If something happened to her, is the school liable, or is the parent still responsible, while she in on this secret school sponsored trip to the doctor? In my mind, if the school makes the decision, without letting the parent know, they are responsible. Are the schools will to step up to this responsibility?

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Beale AFB Update- BRAC Members

The President's BRAC Nominees are:

Former Nevada Rep. James H. Bilbray, who was a member of committees on foreign affairs, armed services and intelligence. He served in the Army Reserve from 1955 to 1963.

Philip Coyle of California, a senior adviser to the Center for Defense Information. He has served at DoD as an assistant secretary of defense and as director of operational test and evaluation.

Retired Navy Adm. Harold W. Gehman Jr. of Virginia. He served more than 35 years on active duty, and his last assignment was as NATO's supreme allied commander, Atlantic, and as commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command.

Former Utah Rep. James V. Hansen, who served on the House Armed Services Committee. He served in the Navy from 1951 to 1955.

Retired Army Gen. James T. Hill of Florida. He served 36 years, and his last
assignment was as commander of U.S. Southern Command.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Claude M. Kicklighter, assistant secretary for policy and planning at the Veterans Affairs Department. He served in the Army for nearly 36 years.

Samuel Knox Skinner of Illinois, who served as President George H.W. Bush's chief of staff and as secretary of transportation. He served in the Army Reserve from 1960 to 1968.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Sue Ellen Turner of Texas, a member of the American Battle Monuments Commission. She served for 30 years, most recently as the director of nursing services in the Office of the Air Force Surgeon General.

The names now go to Capitol Hill for Senate confirmation.

The BRAC process includes a statutory requirement that the military value of an installation be a primary element of the criteria used in deciding whether an installation needs to be closed or realigned. Local economic impact is not a main criteria.

Military value includes criteria such as bases' mission capabilities now and in the future, and space available for force maneuver. The review will also consider the bases' ability to accommodate contingency and future force requirements and will look at the bases' operations costs and manpower implications.

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A candidate letter for Union fact checking?

Donna Cobb wants to know Where is the truth?, in March 16, 2005 Letters to the Editor.

Well I can tell you, her letter has some major problems with the truth.
According to a recent United Press International report, a U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein says the public version of the capture was staged. According to him, Saddam was actually captured Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army. They captured him after fierce resistance, he said, Saddam himself fired at them with a gun from the window of a room on the second floor. Then they shouted at him in Arabic: "You have to surrender. ... There is no point in resisting."

"Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well," he said. This was shown over and over as fact on most news programs. When will the supporters of Bush wake up and smell the lies?

First, the Pentagon flatly denys the report claiming the U.S. military fabricated the details of how the deposed Iraqi dictator was captured, allegedly staging the "spider hole" scenario. Why would an abandond well have a flat floor and an exhaust fan?

Second, this story was first reported in a Saudi Arabian newspaper who interviewed “a former U.S. Marine,” now living in Lebanon. According to Marine Capt. Gabrielle Chapin at the Pentagon, as quoted in WorldNetDaily, "We do not have anyone [ Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh] in the system by the name reported."

So, this non-story, which is circulating in the lefty web sites and blogs, including a Democratic newsletter, is not true. Maybe this is one of the letters that the Union Editor should have applied his truth checker, and send it back for a re-write.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A Short Course in Numeracy

Many letter writers in The Union seem to have problems with logic, and the quantitative skills necessary for dealing with numbers. For those challenged by Chance, Uncertainty, and Risk in Everyday Life -- help is on the way. The County Library and Nevada City Rotary is sponsoring a short course in Numeracy, presented by Dr. George Rebane and other professional community lecturers. Four separate sessions are scheduled at the Madelyn Helling Library Community Room in Nevada City on:
March 24th
April 21st
May 19th
June 16th
No sign up is necessary. Just come and learn how to deal with the numbers that drive our lives, that business depends on, and the government uses to scares us. With these new numeracy skills you may even win an argument, or two, with your know it all in-laws or co-workers. See you at the Library.

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An Oil Facts Update

In The Union Letters to the Editor we often hear the world is running out of oil, “we must switch to alternative sources.” What they really meant to say is the world supply of cheap oil is declining. Once the price of a barrel of oil increases to meet the recovery costs, new supplies enter the inventory.

Oil reserves in Canada increased by 35 times once the price increased high enough to pay for the recovery of oil from their Alberta "tar sands.” Adding the tar sands to the previous oil reserve estimate of 5 million barrels, the Canadian reserves increased by 180 billion barrels. As oil recovery technologies improve all the available oil from the sands could reach more than 1 trillion barrels, according to some experts.

But by far the largest potential reservoir of future oil is held in oil shale in the United States. Similar to the Canadian tar sand, the oil is held captive in soft rock. The U.S. Department of Energy, in a March 2004 study, reports oil shale reserves in the United States alone of over 2,000 billion barrels. The U.S. oil-shale reserves alone would be sufficient to provide 100 percent of U.S. crude oil consumed at current usage for over 200 years.

It is time for our local scaremongers and doom merchants to start dealing in the facts. Their is no rapidly approaching oil famine, just increases in the price, as we tap the U.S. and Canadian reserves.

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Monday, March 14, 2005

No Vision, No future worth having

Chris Crain, Patty Parks, Carol Wong and Rose Asquith write about Our county's vexing issue: How to grow?
The Union's front page Feb. 9 featured an article on the general plan's 150,000 population estimate for Nevada County vs. 96,000 today. That's a huge amount of growth, though our area's trends and attractiveness make it plausible.

Left unanswered is the nature of that population growth:

Will we be a retirement community?

What kinds of jobs can we reasonably expect to create locally?
How do we avoid losing the unique community character and balance which we cherish.
It appears that we are growing with out a plan, with out a vision of what we want to be, when the population reaches 150,000, or 200,000.

According to the front page , County population nears 100,000
The state's most recent population estimates show that newcomers are continuing to fuel Nevada County's steady growth.
The NCCLI Students asked the vexing question: "How to grow?"

It appears we are growing at a rather rapid clip, adding about 1726 citizens a year, answering the nature of the growth question.

The real vexing issue is what kind of community do we want to be? The numbers tell us that most of the new residence are older, more mature and retired. What does a large influx of seniors do to our community, it drives up housing prices.

Let’s assume that two thirds of the 1726 new residence are retired, making the senior population grow by 1140, producing 570 new senior family units. Looks like a retirement community to me.

The remaining new residence produces the need for 147 more homes, if we assume that they are typical families with 2 children. This raise the question, how may houses were build in 2004 for these 717 new families? The average number of houses build over the last four years was 408, that is about 308 short of the need in 2004.

What kind of jobs can expect? I would guess, lower paying service jobs. Jobs that can support a growing population of seniors. But, were are these lower paid service folks going to live? It takes a salary of $80,000 a year to afford a $400,000 home, which is the current median price, how can they live in Nevada County?

The hardest question to answer is: “How do we avoid losing the unique community character and balance which we cherish?”

My plan:

Step one: A vision for the kind community we want to be.

Step two: A plan on now to make the vision real.

Step three: Community leaders willing to implement the plan.

Step four: Citizens willing to support the leadership and work on specific projects.

Step five: Enjoy a future worth creating

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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Editorial advice from The Union

Pat Butler, the new Union Editor, has A few guidelines for our contributors, March 12, 2005

Pat provides some good advice to current and future letter, and other voices writers. In the process he still leaves some work for us bloggers.
If there is a minor factual error that doesn't affect the message, we'll fix it.
What about the big errors, or the faulty logic?
If we do want to cut or edit something, we will contact you and discuss options that will include removing the material or rewriting it.
If The Union is going to review more of this wacko stuff, will they also take time to insist letter writers check their facts. Maybe check to see if the writers are just regurgitating some political talking points. All it takes is to select a phrase, copy it, and paste into Goggle. If the same phrase appears in other letters to the editor across the nation, it was just talking points. I suggest they return these letters, requesting the writes thoughts, not those of some political hack on a mission.

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WiFi Your Business

Glenn Renolds law school professor and nationally recognized uber blogger, is always looking for convenient broadband connection for some quick web logging. This morning he was at the car wash.
I'M AT THE CAR WASH (FREE WI-FI!) watching Henry Kissinger and Richard Holbrooke talk about Syria and Lebanon on CNN. Kissinger expects Syria to play "cheat and retreat," while Holbrooke seems a bit more hopeful.
posted at 01:40 PM.
Many Grass Valley Bed & Breakfasts and hotels are adding free WiFi, and the two Flower Gardens both have free access. I see 4-5 users in the Glenbrook Flower Garden everyday with their laptops open. On the other hand, Starbucks, which charges six dollars and hour, rarely has anyone with a laptop open. More local businesses, where people have to wait or gather, should consider adding free WiFi as a business attraction. For example, the 10 Minute lub shops that always take 30 to 40 minutes of your time, the barbershops where the wait can be an hour or more, and car washes that do detailing. I am sure you can think of even more places that could benefit from this new technology. How about your local pub?

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Bo Salisbury on UC McCarthysim

Bo writes:
Lets face it... diversity and free inquiry are dead at the University of Colorado.
Be sure to read the whole thing

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Band-Aiding Postal Traffic Solutions

Gerard Tassone, Grass Valley Mayor, applies more Band-Aids in the Post office poses traffic challenges, March 12, 2005
The location of the post office has long compounded traffic on adjacent streets and the enhancements to the parking lot several years ago did not increase the amount of parking, nor did it help the traffic flow on city streets.
The Union editorial board get’s it right in the Time to address Post Office issue, March 12, 2005 issue.
If we had a say-so, we'd try to convince the Postal Service officials to move it to another part of town, where customers could access it without tying up traffic on an already-congested East Main Street.
If the City Council in Grass Valley were true leaders, capable of thinking seriously about the future, they would strike a deal with the Post Office and move it to a more appropriate location. Traffic in East Main Street is not going to get any better, until it is four lanes from Idaho Maryland intersect to down town. It is time to stop hoping the problem with be fixed with a few Band-Aid fixes. Move the Post Office is the first step to an effective solution, widening East Main is the second step to solving East Main traffic congestion.

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Friday, March 11, 2005

Bush was looking beyond bin Laden

Victor Davis Hanson’s latest insight on Iraq is up at NRO.

However dire were the threats of the autocracies of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, and despite their long-proven record of harboring terrorists of all sorts, the administration always talked in a larger strategic context of freedom and democracy in the Middle East. Thus rather than seeing the events that led to September 11 in a narrow frame of bin Laden alone, strategists rightly diagnosed the pathology of something far more insidious and of a much longer pedigree: a deep-seated anti-Americanism that transcended September 11 and was explicable in terms of who were, rather than what we did. We ignored, in other words, Bill Clinton's post 9/11 apologies for everything from slavery to General Sherman and his most recent praise of the murderous Iranian mullahcracy, as well as cheap shots like "taking our eye off bin Laden."

We also rejected the communis opinio of the CIA and "experts" such as "Anonymous" or Richard Clarke. Instead, the administration rightly listened to a much deeper wisdom promulgated by the likes of Fouad Ajami, Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, and Amir Taheri. Their correct view was that failed autocrats deflected popular outrage onto Americans in state-censored media, often through a devil's bargain with Islamicists. The latter were given subsidies or freedom of action to whip up hatred of us — in exchange for keeping their terrorists distant from a royal family, Saddam Hussein, Assad dynasty, Iranian theocracy, or their kindred spirits in the other Arab dictatorships. This larger American embrace of a radical and systematic political solution was the most debated of all the decisions of this war — and the most critical — since democratic reform alone led to the only antidote to the entire Arab cycle of failure.
Terror is the enemy, freedom is the solution.

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Power of Community Based Planning

D.K. Swickard writes the South Yuba River plan a product of compromise, in a March 11, 2005 Other Voices.
The planners of the South Yuba River Comprehensive Management Plan should receive high praise. The planners, however, were not government employees; they were the citizens of Nevada County. Agency staff played a critical role in organizing and facilitating the project, but the real job of planning was the work of the people.


Possibly the most important lesson to come out of this effort is that the toxic political climate that resulted from the wild and scenic river debates and the NH2020 calamity doesn't have to be repeated. Those efforts don't have to be the model for dealing with sensitive environmental issues in Nevada County. There is an alternative, and the citizens of Nevada County who participated in river planning clearly showed how it works.

The writer points out that local elected officials did not participate in the process, which made it more citizen oriented. I was not involved in this citizens committee, but I did play a role in trying to get the NH2020 program to be a balanced process, where all stake holders could be heard. Izzy Martin and her environmentalist fellow travelers on the Board of Supervisors insisted on controlling the process, by stacking theNH2020 Citizens Review Council with individuals that reflected their views.

It sounds like the South Yuba River Comprehensive Management Plan committee reflected the opinion of all stake holders. Kudos to the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management Folsom Field Office for producing a plan that truly reflects a community vison for the South fork of the Yuba River.

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

No Broadband until week from Friday

When Comcast finally answered the phone last Monday and took my order for High Speed Internet, I was over the top with joy. I could finally stop calling every week, asking , “when can I sign up?” Customer Service and I agreed Saturday morning on the 12th was good time, as I would not be home on Friday the 11th, only our Rottie would be home guarding the door. So, they called this morning to confirm my Friday morning appointment. Agggrag. I told Customer Service, Friday was a bad day. “I am sorry sir, but the next available appointment in on Thursday afternoon the 17th. Whoops, another doctor appointment in Roseville. “OK, then Friday morning the 18th,” said Customer Service. So, if you are signing up for Comcast’s Broadband, get the appointment in writing.

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Keeping facts straight on local problem

Bob Rogers writes this Problem is disturbing, March 10, 2005
I am taking a course about domestic violence and sexual assault and what I am learning is very disturbing. This problem is escalating at an alarming rate in our county. It can be spousal, parent/child, sibling/sibling, boyfriend/girlfriend or any other familial or intimate relationship combination.
Domestic violence is an important issue, but so is keeping our facts straight. I can not find any statistics that show the problem is “escalating at an alarming rate in our county." The 2004 stats are not in, but only 60 cases were reported in 2003, down from 175 in 2002, according to the SEDD Nevada County Indicators Report. Is this an escalating problem? In the state of California we have seen an 18.7 percent drop in reported domestic violence cases from 1993 to 2003, according to the Attorney General’s web site. Where does Mr. Rogers get his statistics?

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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The cost of freedom

Susanna Wilson writes the War's costs too high, March 9, 2005
Dear President:

When you started this war, did you even think about all the grief you would cause? All of our young men and women who would be killed or maimed for life? All of the women, children and innocent men who would be killed in a country we invaded? In a country that doesn't even want us there?
Madam what proof do you offer that we are not wanted in Iraq? The terrorits who are killing their own people? Our presence in Iraq is changing the whole rule set in the Middle East. Freedom is winning. From the New York Times, not known to be a Bush supporter:

He has gone out of his way not to crow, or even to take direct credit. But not quite two years after he began the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, and not quite two months after a second Inaugural Address in which he spoke of "ending tyranny," President Bush seems entitled to claim as he did on Tuesday that a "thaw has begun" in the broader Middle East.



At the very least, Mr. Bush is feeling the glow of the recent flurry of impulses toward democracy in Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and even Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where events have put him on a bit of a roll and some of his sharpest critics on the defensive. It now seems just possible that Mr. Bush and aides like Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz were not wrong to argue that the "status quo of despotism cannot be ignored or appeased, kept in a box or cut off," as the president put it in a speech at the National Defense University here.

Now for the education budget. You write:
And now that you've caused this horrendous action, and calling yourself a Christian, you now want to cut money from our educational system, further harming our youth. And cut from our health care to the elderly, children and the poorest of our citizens because of the expense of this unjust war.
The two Education programs to be cut are:

The Women, Infants and Children nutrition program was funded at $4.7 billion for the fiscal year beginning in October. In 2006, the program would be cut by $122 million, or 2.5 percent.. Head Start, the early-childhood education program for the poor, would lose $177 million, or 2.5 percent of its budget, in fiscal 2006.

The performance of these progams and their impact on children's education has been questioned by recent research. Head Start children did not perform any better then those children that did not participate in the program. Total Education reduction is about $299 million, for programs that have not show any impact on children's education. One half of one percent of the total Education budget. Far short of the funding needed to provide freedom to the citizens of Iraq

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Rule-Set Reset Journal

The global economy, politics and diplomacy function on a set of rules. Over time the rules change as perturbations force changes in the rule sets. The Bush Doctrine is changing the rule sets in the Middle East for example.

Our local economy also functions on a rule set. The rapid rise in housing prices are a perturbation that is changing the local economic rule set. Manufacturing is leaving, or has left due to to rising costs. Before long our design centers will leave, when companies can no longer convince engineers, with special skills or knowledge, to move here due to the high cost of housing. The loss of Beale AFB would be another major perturbation.

Thomas Barnett and his colleagues have started the Rule-Set Reset Journal. The first two issues are free. Follow on issues will be just under $300 a year for a subscription. I encourage you to download the two free issues here. We live in a world of global connectivity. Our local economy is connected to the global economy. It is vital as community leaders you understand these connections. The Rule-Set Reset Journal will help everyone understand where Nevada County fits in the larger economic rule sets, and the impact perturbation will, or can, have on our future quality of life.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Broadband is coming on Saturday

After years of slow Internet connections we have signed up for Comcast Broadband. In the process we found out the article in The Union today is a little misleading.
The service will be offered at an introductory rate of $24.95 a month for three months. After the introductory offer, the price goes up to $42.95 a month.
This price schedule only applies if you already have Comcast TV service. If you just want the Internet, the price is equal to the cost of basic service at $13.95 a month, plus the broadband Internet. Thus the real introductory price is $38.90, after three months, $59.90. Installation, $49.00.

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The Intenet and Campaign 2004

The Pew Internet and American Life Project found:
The internet was a key force in politics last year as 75 million Americans used it to get news, discuss candidates, send emails, and participate directly in the political process.
The full report here. Commentary on the significance by Michael Cornfield here.

Today is CBS News Anchor Dan Rathers last day, forced out after 24 years of political bias in the news. I bet, Dan wishes the Internet bloggers did not have access to those 75 million Americans who are using the Internet to get their political news, or at least check on the value and validity of main stream media news sources. The Internet will have more significance in the coming years, that is why the politican in Warshington are trying to find ways to control this new found freedom of speach, available to every citizen with a computer and a broadband connection.

The full report has a nice summary of findings check it out here

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Monday, March 07, 2005

Understanding our rising housing prices

I mentioned a Harvard Study on Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up? in a 20 Feb 2005 post. See Archive. I now have a link to the whole Harvard Institute of Economic Research study by Edward L. Glaeser, Joseph Gyourko, Raven E. Saks.
In sum, the evidence points toward a man-made scarcity of housing in the sense that the housing supply has been constrained by government regulation as opposed to fundamental geographic limitations.8 The growing dispersion of housing prices relative to construction costs suggests that these regulations have spread into a larger number of local markets over time. Moreover, they appear to have become particularly severe in the past 2-3 decades.
The study can be down loaded free here,

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More Democratic talking paper trash

Jonathan Hill in Hey, ho, Social Security must go? March 7, 2005, is writing off a Democratic talking paper again....
I find it hard to believe, but last week I heard a group of "Republicans" chanting, "Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Social Security has got to go" on CNN. But that is what they did, outside Sen. Rick Santorum's Social Security town hall meeting in Philadelphia.
Is it possible that the local Democrats can be so dumb, they take a student prank as Republican policy, See my Saturday post, Chanting Students, Not Republican Policy.

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Sunday, March 06, 2005

The vanishing Middle Class leads decline

Joel Kotkin writes about Revenge of the rubes -- high-tech marches on in the hinterland in the Sunday, March 6, 2005, San Francisco Chronical. A must read for our local politicians, economic developers and planners.
What is to be done? Some argue the Bay Area should not even try to retain its middle class and should instead fancy itself as an exclusive area for the "creative" elite, and their requisite legions of service workers.
Is this were Nevada County is headed?
Perhaps, too, there is not the room to build enough new housing to bring down prices, or the political will to reform government so that young entrepreneurs and expanding companies may choose to locate there.
We have the same problem in Nevada County
Yet if that is the case, the region's future will probably be much less promising than it appeared just a few years ago. Having emerged in the late 20th century as one of the world's great magnets of opportunity, the Bay Area may now only look forward to a long, leisurely and graceful decline.
Writers and political leaders have often drawn parallels between the high tech industry in the Bay Area with the our little high tech, more applied tech, industry cluster. Now we might look at what is causing the Bay Area business decline and draw some more parallels.

Kotkin writes:
Under these circumstances, we can expect the continued migration of middle-class people and jobs to places where the cost of living, and often the business climate, is far more favorable to those less than extraordinarily well-heeled.

If we can not come to grips with our growing housing costs, by increasing the supply of affordable housing, then our middle class will move else where and we will become a County of "wealth" elites and a multitude as service people who can not live in the community. This is a recipe for a declining community. Here is the foothills we are not immune to the forces that are causing the Bay Area decline.

It is time for leadership. It is a time for action. Who is up to the challenge?

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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Just an Observation

Ellen and I have been going to the Flower Garden in Glembrook for Sunday morning coffee, and some people watching, since our last daughter went off to CalPoly in the spring of 1996. Recently we started visiting more often with our laptops to down load software updates, and audio books for Ellen’s iPod. We have ISDN at home, but the wireless connection at the Flower Garden, a French roast coffee and latte with extra foam, make the process go much faster.

Early on we often saw a friend, or some one we knew, come in and we would exchange greetings and chat, but now it is a different crowd. Hardly see anyone we know. It has been the long time custom at Flower Garden to buss your dishes, and wipe any crumbs off the table before leaving. Today we see more and more people just get up a walk away, leaving their mess for the staff . Its a different crowd today. I kind of miss those days when we could chat with our neighbors, and people picked up after themselves.

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Student chant, not Republican policy

Velva J Harris in Save Social Security, March 5, 2005, takes a student chant as Republican policy, with some help from a Democratic talking paper.
The "Social Security has got to go" chants of Republicans show that for them, privatization is just the first step toward getting rid of Social Security. The Bush administration is using scare tactics again.
Not policy but some students having some fun.
Last week, my colleagues and I in the Drexel Republicans drew fire for trying to get students to realize how very important politicians need to reform social security in a bipartisan fashion or else it would collapse. Sadly, the Democrats are not giving any indication that they'll help.

Drexel Democrats President Brad Levinson may make fun of us for chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, social security has got to go," when Senator Rick Santorum came to Drexel, but he overlooks a large embarrassment on his side of the fence.
It did not take the Democratic spin machine long to start a nation letter writing campaign to suggest the students were setting policy:

Sun-Sentinal South Florida, a Lake Worth writer:
The other night on CNN, I was shocked to hear a group of Republicans outside a town hall meeting hosted by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., chanting, "Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Social Security has got to go."

That chant, more than President Bush's public pronouncements, reflect the true hopes and intentions of the Republican Party's dominant right wing.
Another letter writer in the York Daily Record in PA
America, be warned: The president and his party would like to get rid of Social Security. That’s what Rick Santorum’s supporters were chanting recently as CNN filmed him entering a town hall meeting in Philadelphia. “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Social Security’s got to go,” went their joyous little rhyme.

While Santorum said “it is time for a Republican solution to Social Security,” I think that chorus outside the meeting was more honest about where this plan will lead. The Republican Party has been trying to get rid of Social Security ever since it started.
Similar in the Central Maine Morning Sentinel, ME, and Fauquier Times-Democrat, VA

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Friday, March 04, 2005

Money Management for Idiots

DJ Drummond does the Social Security Math at the PoliPundt
Since 1900, the Dow Jones Average has risen from 66.61 (January 3, 1900) to 10815.3 (June 5, 2000) . Even with the Great Depression, it’s impossible to miss the fact that simply investing in an Index Fund produces historically strong returns.

The Social Security Administration has a calculator for people who want to figure out what they’ll be getting from SSA, assuming it exists when the time comes. As an example, let’s run the numbers for an average guy. The results for someone making $50,000 who is now 45 and retiring at age 75, projects $1,392.00 a month in SSA benefits. Contributions from age 22 to retirement, assuming $40,000 in average salary means (at 6.2%) an average of $2,480.00 contributed a year for 53 years, or $131,440.00 put in.

Taking the numbers then and plugging them in as a Stock Market investment, let’s say our guy averages that $2,480.00 each year over the years from 1982 to now. By 1997, my stock portfolio is worth all the money I will have invested by 2035. By 2009, I will have $576,376.05 in the portfolio, enough to pay me 1,440 a month to live on, better than Social Security can promise 26 years later. If I keep putting in that money, at that average rate, I will have $1.6 million saved by the time I am 60 years old. I could retire fifteen years earlier than with Social Security, and give myself $83,000 a year to live off (never touching the principal, by the way, which I can give to my children), against waiting another fifteen years in hopes the government will grant me $16,704 a year.
It pays to invest your pennys for retirement.

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Meat eaters cause global warming?

Gerold Lawson wants you to Support the Kyoto Treaty March 4, 2005, by stop eating meat.
This week, U.S. government scientists confirmed a definite rise in the temperature of ocean waters, the driving force behind global climate changes.
Yes, the ocean is warming as we come out of the Little Ice Age, which ended in the mid 1800s. Yes, the glaciers are melting, and they have in the past, but their is no scientific evidence that it is caused by CO2. In fact the ice cores show that in past warming cycles following glaciation, the warming peaked 400 years before CO2 concentrations peaked. It would appear that warming preceded the CO2. So, what was the cause of the warming?
Yes, our diets. According to Cornell University Professor David Pimentel, production of animal-based foods accounts for 8 percent of the national consumption of fossil fuels - nearly as much as driving our cars. It requires nearly 10 times as much fuel as production of plant-based foods. The additional fuel is used to grow animal feed, to operate factory farms and slaughterhouses, and to process and refrigerate meat and dairy products.

Wow and other fuzzy headed global warming theory, all you meat eaters are causing global warming. Do you buy this argument?

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Thursday, March 03, 2005

We need a broader look at the results

Shane Valdez take a very narrow view of the world in Need to look at Bush's Doctrine for Democracy in his March 3, 2005, Other Voices.
There is no doubt that the sight of Iraqi citizens voting brought happiness to every American that values democracy. There is also no doubt that President Bush and his administration will seek to persuade the public that because Iraq has voted, their decision to go to war has been vindicated.
The rest to his article goes on to demostrate his hate for Bush and the Bush Doctrine. He has let his hate, cloud his vision. Thomas Barmett, a critic of Pentagon policy and author of the Pentagon's New Map, and Kerry Voter, has a much broader view worth considering:
None of this would happen, we would told by regional experts galore. The Big Bang was fantasy. There would be no ripple effect, just blowback and another Vietnam/Afghanistan. Bush and his neocons were reckless and unmindful of history. Imperial hubris, we were told.

Tell me those troops die in vain when you watch what's happened in the Middle East since the start of the year: elections in Palestine, elections in Iraq, elections in Saudi Arabia, the pullouts beginning by Israel, a cabinet half full of PhDs for Palestine, negotiations between a duly elected Iraqi government and Sunni insurgents, Syria promising to pull out of Lebanon, Syria handing over Saddam's half-brother, Mubarek calling for multiparty elections in Egypt this year, Lebanon's pro-Syria government shouted out of power.
It ia clear that the Bush doctrine went far beyond just Iraq. Even the liberal anti Bush New York times conceeds in an editorial:
Promoting democracy is America's proper vocation, and not just in fair weather.
The Bush doctrine is changing the Middle East. It is time for out local liberals slip free of their hate for President Bush and see the larger picture.

UPDATE: From Max Boot's LA Times column:
"It's strange for me to say it," says Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who would never be mistaken for a Bush backer, "but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq."

"Now with the new Bush administration," confirms former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel, "we feel a stronger determination in liberating Lebanon and in promoting democracy in the Middle East."
Tell me what you think

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Insight to lawyer jokes

John Simpson found the Reason [lawyer] jokes popular in his March 2, 2005, letter to the editor.
If I understood what this writer said, it seems to me that he just doesn't like America. I wondered why anyone who has this hatred for our country is still here. Then the answer came when I read that he was a retired lawyer. That explains quite a bit about where he is coming from. I wonder ... doesn't he realize that it is people like him who make the lawyer jokes so popular?
It looks like John agrees with my Monday, February 21, 2005 analysis, Through a Liberals Eyes.
Here we go, looking at the world through the lens of a liberal brain, American is BAD.
(Scrowl down for full Feb 21 post)

Tell me what you think

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Global Warming Data Sources for SIR

Today I gave a talk on global warming to Seniors in Retirement, and several members ask for some of my sources. Listed below are some of the sources used in preparing my talk, plus other interesting sites: [Click on highlighted links]

JunkScience has some great charts, including many of those used in my presentation. Check out the JunkScience.com Warming Features on the right hand side of the web page. The main page is a global warming news aggregator site, check daily.

CO2 Science
was the source of the Colfax Global Warming chart. This is a pay site, $12.00 a year, to gain access to all the data bases, but they do have a free newsletter with a temperature record of the week. The searchable database is most interesting, you can check temperature trends across the nation, including your old home town.

Tech Central Station’s Climate Change has interesting global warming news and editorials. I check this page once a day.

The Pew Center for Global Climate Change publishes some interesting papers, they follow the Kyoto meetings.

If you want to participate in Global Warming discussions, check out Climate Audit. They have links to McIntyre's and McKitrick's web pages and hockey stick discussions.

Alternative global warming views can be found at RealClimate, which was established to counter the global warming skeptics.

Tell me what you think

Tell me again it was just for oil

From TPM Barnetts web log today:
None of this would happen, we would told by regional experts galore. The Big Bang was fantasy. There would be no ripple effect, just blowback and another Vietnam/Afghanistan. Bush and his neocons were reckless and unmindful of history. Imperial hubris, we were told.

Tell me those troops die in vain when you watch what's happened in the Middle East since the start of the year: elections in Palestine, elections in Iraq, elections in Saudi Arabia, the pullouts beginning by Israel, a cabinet half full of PhDs for Palestine, negotiations between a duly elected Iraqi government and Sunni insurgents, Syria promising to pull out of Lebanon, Syria handing over Saddam's half-brother, Mubarek calling for multiparty elections in Egypt this year, Lebanon's pro-Syria government shouted out of power.
Tell me what you think

Link to answer SIR Ozone Question

I gave a Global Warming presentation to Seniors in Retriment at Lake Wild Wood today, and several SIR members asked about the ozone and the sun. I could not answer the question, and promised more information on the blog. I will post more links later.

Sun's Temper Blamed for Arctic Ozone Loss, By Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Senior Writer, 01 March 2005
A dramatic thinning of Earth's protective ozone layer above the Arctic last year was the result of intense upper-level winds and an extra dose of space weather, scientists said Tuesday.

Ozone, which screens out some of the Sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation, declined by up to 60 percent in the stratosphere over high northern latitudes in the spring of 2004. Officials issued a health warning earlier this year for residents of the far North.

In a new study, scientists conclude that an intense round of solar storms around Halloween in 2003 was at the root of the problem.
Real the whole article here.

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More Bad Oil Facts by Schwalm

Michael Schwalm is concerned about Howard's history problem, March 1, 2005, but has some factual problems of his own.
If you believe that extremist Islam (Bush's oil buddies in Saudi Arabia) is now a threat to the existence of the U.S., then attack al-Qaida, not Iraq. Iraq was a weak, secular, mean dictatorship that had no WMDs or connections with 9/11. Saddam was well contained and we were protecting the Kurds. We could have easily reformed the "oil for food" program and slowly built an ever-increasing world consensus against him. There was no hurry except the world's second largest oil supply, sitting there unexploited.
Really?

According to the USGS World Oil Assesment:
* The Middle East does not have two thirds of the world's oil -- it has 54 percent of identified reserves, or, if you look at ultimately recoverable reserves, 39 percent.

* Kuwait -- not Iraq -- has the second largest identified oil reserves in the world with 99.4 billion barrels, compared to 96.5 for Iraq, according to USGS.

* Saudi Arabia may have one quarter of the world's identified oil reserves, as the oil industry claims, but it has only about 16 percent of all ultimately recoverable reserves, according to the USGS.
The USGS did not include "unconventional" oil such as Venezuelan heavy crudes, but the agency did say that these unconventional sources "are approximately equal to the Identified Reserves of conventional crude oil accredited to the Middle East."

In other words the Middle East probably has anywhere from 29 to 35 percent of ultimately recoverable world oil reserves -- not two thirds, as is commonly claimed. And Iraq has less than half of the oil in the Middle East, about 16 percent.

I was also wondering how we were going to easly reform the UN? Mr, Schwalm failed to provide any details.

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