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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Issues with the Union

Anna at NCFocus has more issues with the Union. I am not sure if she is patting them on the back, or putting a brick up the side of their collective head. We need to know Anna's politics to get the full message. Maybe she intended to be obtuse.

For a private comment to Russ or George, for public comment select comments below.

More liberal revisionist history

Jack L. Sanchez in another socialist liberal rant Conservative policy failing, November 30, 2005
That conservative belief at work is what we all saw on television during the Katrina disaster. We saw conservative government paralyzed, incapable of acting. We saw the grinding poverty which is the result of conservative policy that benefits only the rich.
Really? I thought that Mayor Nagin was a liberal Democrat, who had hundreds of buses at his disposal and refused to take citizens to safety. I though that Governor Blanco was a Democrat liberal. She took 24 hours to decide if she would accept the President's offer of federal aid. During the 1990s under President Clinton, the environmentalists blocked improvements to the levees for ten years, and the Corps of Engineers finally gave up. The money for levee improvement went to other projects.
Conservative policy refuses to acknowledge something as basic as global warming.
Really? This from a Canadian blogger who attended a recent US Climate change conference:
One of the really nice things about this workshop is that it outlined the institutional structure of U.S. climate change research in a way that is difficult to appreciate otherwise. The Climate Change Science Program is a formal initiative that crosscuts agencies. It has a budget of about $2 billion per annum, with the major players being NSF, NOAA and NASA. All conference participants received a 200 page glossy report entitled “Our Changing Planet: The U.S. Climate Change Science Program for Fiscal Year 2006”, which included well-laid out financial tables showing expenditures across agency and other cross-classifications. No one can accuse the U.S. of not doing its share for climate research.
Scientists had predicted several category 5 hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, but conservative policy weakened FEMA, refused to fund levee improvement and used the money to give tax breaks to the wealthy and fund the fraudulent and illegal Iraq War.
I suggest that Mr. Sanchez read the series article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune in the 1990s decrying that President Clinton and his administration reduced levee funding. They also document local corruption that siphoned money from the levee projects for casinos, airport and airplanes for the use by the levee boards, that managed the levees. All appointed by liberal Democrats.

Now we find out that the levee design was flawed? It must have been designed by conservative engineers if we swallow Mr. Sanchez’s rant, it must have been a conservative plot against the poor in New Orleans.

Has anyone noticed that under a Republican Governor in Mississippi the state was better prepared and did not have the criminal looting that took place in New Orleans.

UPDATE: Here is what those bad news conservative did for the economy: Over the past four years, the economy has posted the following real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) growth rates:

4.3 - Q3 2005
3.3 - Q2 2005
3.8 - Q1 2005
3.3 - Q4 2004
4.0 - Q3 2004
3.5 - Q2 2004
4.3 - Q1 2004
3.6 - Q4 2003
7.2 - Q3 2003
3.7 - Q2 2003
1.7 - Q1 2003
0.2 - Q4 2002
2.4 - Q3 2002
2.2 - Q2 2002
2.7 - Q1 2002
1.6 - Q4 2001

For a private comment to Russ or George, for public comment select comments below.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Blogging the Town Hall Meeting on Comcast Channel 14.

Rather than go down to GV Town Hall meeting to night, I chose to watch the proceeding from my wife’s sewing room, the only room in the house we have Comcast Channel 14. Just prior to the meeting break, Ellen brought me a bowl of ice cream. You do you not get that kind of service in City Hall Chambers.

The meeting opened with a series of reports including The Traffic Safety Plan, NCTC Regional Transportation Improvement Plan, How Traffic analysis is done, and why GV needs it’s own traffic model.

This segment was followed by updates on Regional and City Traffic Congestion reduction projects, including GV Traffic Congestion Relief Program. Eight projects focused on turn pockets at busy intersections. The County projects on Brunswick, Idaho Maryland and East Main were also reviewed.

Updates on Mitigation Fees for the City and the Regional were reviewed. Dan Landon NCTC Executive Director, included a pitch for a local option transportation sales tax.

The Wolf Creek Trail preferred concept with it’s six phases was presented by the City.

Questions and Comments from the audience:

The focus was on quality of life issues if the City widens streets, increasing traffic. In fact several comment were made about traffic calming and narrowing the streets to retain the small city charm. Many comments and questions focused on walking, biking and riding mass transit. The Downtown Association and Chamber of Commerce are starting a program to encourage business owners and their staff to ride the Gold County Stage.

Other challenged the Council to try walking from Riebes to Staples. Others noted that the bus stops did not have schedules or places to sit while waiting. Another wanted higher mitigation fees for the home, or business, the farther they were from down town, forcing development closer to the city center.

One lady had a idea, develop a community vision to guide development and infrastructure decisions, rather than dealing with projects one at a time. One of our local contractors want to know why are spending so much money to solve traffic problem that do not exist 23 hours a day. He thought we should lower our expectations. “Slower traffic is part of the charm of our city.”

There were a number of submitted questions. The CCAT questions demonstrated once again they lack understanding of how the mitigation fee systems works. Some of these questions also focused on biking, walking and transit. Other's on how to deal with accumulative impacts.

I may have found a good use for public television, watching Town Hall Meetings from the comfort of my home.

UPDATE: Brittany Retherford has an excelent summary in the morning Union. Not sure about the headline: "Traffic workshop happens bar"

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Kyoto RIP

Canada is hosting a conference on the future of the Kyoto Protocol in Montreal. The United Nations Climate Change Conference is set to be the largest intergovernmental climate conference since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997. It is interesting that Canada is the host, as Canada's record on meeting its Kyoto emission-reduction targets is currently 30% over target. The same can said of eleven EU countries which are over their Kyoto targets, some by over 30%.

On the other hand, as the BBC notes:
Although the US and Australia have pulled out of the Kyoto process, their emissions have risen less than some nations which remain within the treaty.
EnviroSpin Watch, Dr Philip Snott weights in with this:
Unfortunately, at Montreal, there will be an enormous amount of cynical hot air expended in 'praising' the long-moribund Kyoto corpse. Nevertheless, the Kyoto Protocol will be buried as surely as Caesar - "See what a rent the envious Canada [Australia, China, India, etc.] made" - and it is most unlikely that a Son of Kyoto will rise, ghost-like from the chilly grave. Indeed, the sooner we put a stone cap over this coffin, the better (now that's what I call 'capping' emissions).
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Monday, November 28, 2005

City Councilman caught in a dream world

Dean Williams’ Other Voices: It’s time to look for a new kind of neighborhood, November 26, 2005
Butler was reporting on a presentation by Richard Heinberg about the supply and demand for oil. I also attended the talk, and I agree with Butler that Heinberg is not a kook. His lecture was clear and his statements were well supported.
But, did Heinberg present all the facts? Did he outline the capacity of Canadian oil sands and US oil share to provide another 200 plus years of gasoline. How can Heinberg know how much oil is controlled by state owned oil companies, in Mexico, Venezuela, Niger, Iraq, etc., that do not report this data. Lets take Iraq for example:
Of Iraq’s 74 discovered and evaluated oil fields, only 15 have been developed. Iraq’s western desert is considered to be highly prolific but has yet to be explored. There are 526 known structures that have been discovered, delineated, mapped and classified as potential prospects in Iraq of which only 125 have been drilled. Six of the 74 known fields are deemed giant, containing more than 5 billion barrels, while some 23 are classified as large (between 500 million-5 billion barrels) and the remaining 45 labeled as medium (50-500 million barrels) to small (less than 50 million barrels)
Was this in Heinberg’s "clear well supported" report?
Of course, the lack of interior roads is not a problem for households that do not own an automobile. According to the U.S. Census, that is 14 percent of households in Grass Valley (9 percent in California and 10 percent in the nation). For those who do own a car, but intend to drive less frequently, the extra walking distance from parking space to home is not a significant inconvenience.
Dean should have looked a little deeper in to the Census report and its companion report 2001 National House Hold Travel Survey. The survey found that if rural citizens own a car, 5.3 percent walk, 0.6 cycle, and 0.1 take transit. Of the non car owners, 20.9 percent walk, 3.5 percent cycle, and 1.0 percent take transit. The remaining 74.6 catch rides with friends who have cars. Changing the housing design will not get people out of their cars.
We can avoid unnecessarily aggravating traffic congestion by designing new neighborhoods to be truly pedestrian-oriented and building them near existing schools, stores and job centers.
Really! Lets take the Co-Housing case. If the Bonanza Market were to close, where would these walkers get their food? SPD is a long walk lugging four bags of groceries How do they get hardware, the nearest hardware store in in Glenbrook. Woman cloths, not in Nevada City unless it is at high priced boutiques

It is time for Dean William get real on the housing issues. He is living in a dream world.

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Iraq civilian casualty fable debunked

The Logic Times takes on the liberal myth that 100,ooo civilians were killed in Iraq. Iraq has a civilian survival rate of 99.97%, about the same a people who drive cars in the US. Humm . . .

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1-800 Useful Information

Some times you run across really useful information on the web.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

More on the Offical who will not talk

Anna at NCFocus has some advice for local officials who do not want to talk to the Union.

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Cindy Sheehan is done, its over!

I wrote this on September 5th, 2005 in my response to a Union letter writer praising the work of Cindy Sheehan. “A Lonely footnote in liberal political history
Cindy Sheehan is not a global thinker, she will soon become a lonely footnote, on a nearly blank page, in the history of liberal politics.
It looks like her 15 minutes of fame has come and gone. Here is the evidence.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

More on George's China Report

Bob wrote in responce to George’s China Report:
My first and primary thought is that I hope when George states "China as America's co-equal" I hope that it doesn't result in America becoming more socialistic than China becoming more capitalistic.
George Reponded:
I’m afraid that’s exactly what I meant. In our lifetime America has already embarked on a journey toward socialism from which it is hard to turn back, especially with an electorate almost one half of which can no longer sell their labor on the open market, but must be hired into state-protected jobs or be hired by the state itself as the employer of last resort. On the tracks the two nations are now on, we will be fortunate to remain co-equals.
Bob continues:
And I still don't believe in the possibility of democratic communist capitalism.
George responds:
Neither do I as a long term solution. The autocracy in Beijing today is communist by name and continuity only. Their goal is market capitalism in a unified China that itself wants to balkanize (of which the US is not supposed to speak publicly). Perhaps they will become a confederacy within their current geography.
In a second e-mail Bob follows up:
Your response is refreshing in that you are the only person I consider possibly not biased in favor of socialism that has made the comment to me, in earnest, that America is defiantly heading into eventual full blown socialism. Not that I am enthused about that . In fact, I believe that if there were another nation that offered democratic capitalism it would defiantly dominate the globe regardless of its size. I can't help thinking that someday in the future, long after I am gone, another democracy will emerge out of some global socialist hell. I too agree that we will be fortunate to be even close to a co-egual with China economically and thus militarily. Sadly this will only eventuate through our capitulation.
Let’s hear your point of view with a comment.

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Iraq War Urban Legends

Every week one or more Union letter writers present us with an Iraq War Urban Legend. Rather than answer each one, here is a list, with the facts attached.

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Do we want foreign nations funding local non-profits?

On the front page of the 25 November 05 Wall Street Journal:
"Putin backed a bill restricting the right of civil groups in Russia to get funding from abroad, vowing it would not damage civil liberties.”
Those following this latest blast across the bow of the Russian ship of state are aware of the outrage shown by many groups and countries worldwide. Before you and I join the barricades of the affected Russian civil rights groups, let’s consider the issue from the other side.

To what extent would we want civil rights groups in America to be enabled by foreign cash the source of which is either hidden to us or known to be unfriendly. Our country’s civil rights groups should represent the will and wealth of our citizens, especially if their agendas involve bringing about fundamental changes in our way of life. The power of such franchises in a democracy should derive from internal sources and not be the conduit for a foreign fifth column. (BTW, for decades we have funded such groups in other countries. The CIA and other government departments have often been the money sources. You can bet that each such dollar went overseas with its ‘owner’s manual’ firmly enclosed.)

What if the Inter-galactic Brotherhood of Muslims, headquartered in some Islamic country, started supporting the newly organized American Wahabis for Justice. As IBM money - gathered from diverse mid-eastern sources - poured in, the country would begin to see all kinds of ads, talk shows, news reports, high school programs, demonstrations, law suits, … all designed to promote the ideals and goals for our country of Wahabi Islamists. We all know that money draws followers and shapes their attitudes. After a witnessing the early successes of the AWJ civil rights group and, say, noting the growth of Islamist ‘universities’ across the country drawing a large number of pre-educated young people, and seeing the money continue to pour in, what kind of response would we non-Wahabis have?

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Private comments expanded

I have added George's email to the private comments. His China article is worth your time to read and comment.

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Some thoughts on Plato

Quoted in a letter to Editor in the 25nov05 Union:
"Just as it would be madness to settle on medical treatment for the body of a person by taking an opinion poll of the neighbors, so it is irrational to prescribe for the body politic by polling the opinions of the people at large." — Plato
I don’t know exactly where the writer was going with this quote since that was the sum total of his submission. But here are a couple of takes worthy of our consideration.

1. Our main stream media (MSM), both left and right, like to pillory or praise a politician for going with or against the latest poll of the people depending on which axe they’re currently grinding. That’s OK, but the report is almost always cast as the politician either correctly doing what the people want on a given day, or acting counter to the people’s will du jour. The message is always the same - the good politician should be going with the will of the people, the bad guys go against the people. But that’s not what we elected the politician to do else we could write a computer program that would automatically follow the latest poll and cast its vote accordingly. This would save us a lot of grief and money. What we have forgotten (is it even taught in the schools today?) is that we elect a politician with a set of values, beliefs, and reasoning powers and turn him/her loose for the duration. In doing so we express our belief that this individual will do the closest (according to our lights) to the right thing when any future situation rises. And that’s all; we don’t get to micro manage them issue by issue. If we don’t like them, we get to vote their fanny out of there when they again stand before us. This is the way our system is supposed to work no matter what the poll-reading MSM professional journalists tell us in the interval.

2. On the other hand. Recent research in the halls of academia has shown that there is something very real called group wisdom. In short, one can show that the opinions of the individuals can be cooked up in certain ways to yield single prescription that is better than picking the brains of some random individual from the group. Marketing people have been doing something like this for years for designing and positioning products. But now it appears that it even for medical treatments there might be less “madness” in the aggregate opinion of a group. Professor Charles Plott of Caltech is one the pioneers in this area (also very possibly a future Nobel laureate) and today lots of companies are distilling much wisdom from such groups. Of course, it also pays to constitute your group with some care. The electorate today is composed with no care at all. Very little beyond fogging a mirror is a prerequisite for casting a vote, and we frequently hear of elections where even the mirror has been abandoned. So since we can’t carefully compose the group on a per issue basis, maybe Plato’s observation should stand – vote them in, cringe while they ‘serve’, vote them out, and repeat.

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A big welcome to George Rebane, his first post is on China

I hope that two writers with different views will increase the value of the blog for current and future readers. Two approaches to problem solving are always better than one. It will be also be nice to have some vacation coverage. Watch for more posts by George.

UPDATE: Bob writes about George China Report:
I wanted to thank George and you for this report and tell both of you how well I thought it was put together. It probably raises more questions with me than it answers but I do appreciate it and because it comes from someone a little more intimate than a TV talking head it carries much more weight with me. My first and primary thought is that I hope when George states "China as America's co-equal" I hope that it doesn't result in America becoming more socialistic than China becoming more capitalistic. And I still don't believe in the possibility of democratic communist capitalism.
Be sure to read George's report and let us know your thoughts.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Just Enough in China - 2005

The emergence of China as America’s co-equal and its role in our future is one of the themes I will be returning to from time to time on this blog. We just got back from our first visit to China and it was a mighty experience. By way of background, my own model for how people organize new knowledge about something is like decorating a Christmas tree. The branches and how they are configured define the kinds of knowledge and their relationships in a way that lets one get their arms around the topic. Each decoration hanging on specific branch represents a piece of data, information, or knowledge that one has gathered about the subject. Without at least the beginnings of such a tree, it is difficult to acquire and/or retain anything new. Well, the trip to China demonstrated that I needed to do some work on my China tree before I could add the new stuff that we learned.

Our trip to the Middle Kingdom was on a tour sponsored by the Chinese government that departed from Vancouver. I took a bunch of pictures and kept a journal. On our way back I decided that the best way to summarize what I had learned was to write a little article and include some relevant pictures. The result is ‘Just Enough in China – 2005’ and its title becomes clear from the reading. You can download the 350KB PDF file here.

My wife Jo Ann wanted me to include more of the human experiences and impressions, but the piece started getting long and so I invited her to handle that end in a future contribution – there are some important insights from that quarter also. My attempt is to communicate the high hard ones on what’s happening in China and let the reader conclude how it will affect all of us during the next couple of decades. Some call this the geo-strategic viewpoint. Well, whatever it is, I am still too gentle and don’t think I match the mettle of the message that we need to hear. But there will be future opportunities for me to measure up. Enjoy and let me know your take on the subject.

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Happy Thanksgiving

The whole family is here except one daughter who lives in Somerville MA, just outside of Boston. Three oldest daughters, their husbands and the grandkids came up from Roseville. We are all busy playing games, cooking, and looking forward to a great traditional Thanksgiving Dinner.

We all hope you and your family are having a great Thanksgiving too.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

How the Union corrects errors?

Anna at NCfocus has an interesting post on her attempt to correct a Union reporter's misstatement. She got the run around, but no correction.

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The lack of commitment blame game

Brittany Retherford writes the Berg Heights project denied, November 23, 2005
A Grass Valley housing subdivision that promised 100 percent affordability was denied by the City Council Tuesday evening, raising the ire of the many Nevada County residents who packed City Hall to hear the decision.

The project, Berg Heights, was appealed after a Planning Commission refusal over concerns about traffic along Ridge Road. That decision was upheld by the City Council in a 3-2 vote Tuesday.
I was not going to comment on this decision by the Grass Valley City Council. But then I read the the article several more times. It occurs to me that we do not have local affordable housing because our government leaders are incapable of making decisions that promote the development of affordable housing, and then blame some one else for their failures.

Both Swathout and Johnson put the blame on the developer for their no vote. Williams would never have voted for it regardless of it’s merits, as it promoted growth.
Swarthout also said she was bothered by the position the applicants put the City Council in by making them appear as if they were against affordable housing.
Duh! It was the developers fault!

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Who thinks we can win in Iraq?

Ask the troops on the ground. They know the real stroy. Max Boot in the LA Times:
American soldiers are also much more optimistic than American civilians. The Pew Research Center and the Council on Foreign Relations just released a survey of American elites that found that 64% of military officers are confident that we will succeed in establishing a stable democracy in Iraq. The comparable figures for journalists and academics are 33% and 27%, respectively. Even more impressive than the Pew poll is the evidence of how our service members are voting with their feet. Although both the Army and the Marine Corps are having trouble attracting fresh recruits — no surprise, given the state of public opinion regarding Iraq — reenlistment rates continue to exceed expectations. Veterans are expressing their confidence in the war effort by signing up to continue fighting.
Not supprizing results given all the crap we get from the MSM. What I read on military blogs just does not match up with the MSM position, or the letter writers in the Union.

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No link between global warming and hurricanes

A team of researchers conducted a survey of the peer-reviewed literature to assess the relationship between global, hurricanes and hurricane impacts. Results published by the American Meteorological Society.

CONCLUSIONS. To summarize, claims of linkages
between global warming and hurricane impacts
are premature for three reasons. First, no connection
has been established between greenhouse gas
emissions and the observed behavior of hurricanes
(Houghton et al. 2001; Walsh 2004). Emanuel (2005)
is suggestive of such a connection, but is by no means
definitive. In the future, such a connection may be
established [e.g., in the case of the observations
of Emanuel (2005) or the projections of Knutson
and Tuleya (2004)] or made in the context of other
metrics of tropical cyclone intensity and duration
that remain to be closely examined. Second, the
peer-reviewed literature reflects that a scientific
consensus exists that any future changes in hurricane
intensities will likely be small in the context
of observed variability (Knutson and Tuleya 2004;
Henderson-Sellers et al. 1998), while the scientific
problem of tropical cyclogenesis is so far from being
solved that little can be said about possible changes
in frequency. And third, under the assumptions of
the IPCC, expected future damages to society of its
projected changes in the behavior of hurricanes are
dwarfed by the influence of its own projections of
growing wealth and population (Pielke et al. 2000).
While future research or experience may yet overturn
these conclusions, the state of the peer-reviewed
knowledge today is such that there are good reasons
to expect that any conclusive connection between
global warming and hurricanes or their impacts will
not be made in the near term.
Yet, claims of such connections persist (cf. Epstein
and McCarthy 2004; Eilperin 2005), particularly in
support of a political agenda focused on greenhouse
gas emissions reduction (e.g., Harvard Medical
School 2004). But a great irony here is that invoking
the modulation of future hurricanes to justify
energy policies to mitigate climate change may prove
counterproductive. Not only does this provide a great
opening for criticism of the underlying scientific
reasoning, it leads to advocacy of policies that simply
will not be effective with respect to addressing future
hurricane impacts. There are much, much better ways
to deal with the threat of hurricanes than with energy
policies (e.g., Pielke and Pielke 1997). There are also
much, much better ways to justify climate mitigation
policies than with hurricanes (e.g., Rayner 2004).

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Politics is driving the agenda

Terry Gerson wants a Change the course, November 23, 2005
It also shows how despicable and foolish the behavior of Republican politicians was the week before when they insulted Representative Jack Murtha, a true American hero and decorated Vietnam veteran.
Yes, this true American Rep Jack Murtha called for our troops to “cut and run” in Iraq. He put a poll up on his web site asking how his constituents how they felt about his decision. Of 12,000 who responded, only 12% agreed, 88% disagreed. So, he pulled the poll. Also, when given the opportunity to support his convictions we should “cut and run,” he voted Nay. Go figure.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The official who won't talk

Pat Butler is worried about a public official who will not respond to verbal interviews, demanding questions in writing. I have responded on Pat's blog.

Short answer:
Bottom line, this is about trust. It is clear to me this public official has lost trust in your reporter and the Union editorial staff. Maybe written questions and written answers are in order. Think about it!
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Hotest recorded temps not in the last decade

Christine Newsom has Energy concerns, November 22, 2005
A recent article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine about all the health changes that have occurred in the last decade directly as a result of climate changes brought on by burning fossil fuels. These include quadrupling of asthma rates, thousands dying in record heat waves in the U.S. and Europe, and unprecedented spread of certain infectious diseases.
Humm. . . Thousands die in U.S. Heat Waves. In 1995, Chicago had a heat wave, and maybe 700 folks died, from the heat, not thousands. In Europe, the heat wave came in August 2003, when most of Paris was on vacation, abandoning thousands of old folks to fend for themselves. Over 15,000 died of government neglect as the whole government was on vacation and did not return until the heat wave was over. It was no hotter in Chicago or Paris than it had been in the 30s, 40s and 50s.


Jan 78 1986 Cahokia
Feb 83 2000 Kaskaska Rvr*
Mar 94 1929 Harrisburg
Apr 99 1989 Kaskaskia
May 107 1934 Sycamore*
Jun 108 1954 Palestine
Jul 117 1954 East St. Louis
Aug 113 1934 La Harpe
Sep 109 1925 Harrisburg
Oct 98 1953 Harrisburg*
Nov 89 1987 Waterloo
Dec 79 1982 Cairo

Note, that 1995 was not the hotest year.

Let's look at Paris:

The hotest temperature ever recorded in Paris since meteorological records started in 1873 was recorded on July 28, 1947 when the temperature in the city proper (Parc Montsouris) reached 40.4 °C (104.7 °F). During the deadly European heat wave of 2003, the temperature in central Paris (Parc Montsouris) "only" reached 38.1 °C (100.6 °F) during the day, while reaching 40.2 °C (104.4 °F) at Le Bourget Airport in the northern suburbs.

So, was it global warming in 1947 that heated up Paris? We had global cooling in 1947. Yes, the hand wringers were worried about the next coming ice age, not global warming. Was it global warming in Illinois in the 1930s and 1950s that caused the heat wave? Think about it!

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Who watches NCTV? At what cost?

Dave Moller writes the Deal close with Comcast for NCTV local broadcasts, 22 November 2005.
The agreement calls for Comcast to give NCTV $50,000 per year for operations. It also has a grant provision where Comcast will give $30,000 to NCTV every two years if the station can raise the same amount.

Those monies coupled with the $50,000 per year brought in by show underwriting will add up to $130,000 annually, enough for NCTV to operate
Interesting, I hope part of the money is used to find out how may people really watch NCTV? What is the community getting for our money. Yes, our money! Comcast will just increase the cost of service to cover these investments.

So, how many people watch NCTV?

How much will the Comcast fees go up per month?

Is the programing worth the cost if you do not watch NCTV?

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Kuwait's declining oil production reality check

Marston Schultz went to the Peak Oil meeting a sees A looming energy crisis, 21 Novermber 2005
If readers feel this is a case of "chicken little" check out energy I quote from an article. "Kuwait oil production from the worlds second-largest field is "exhausted" and falling after almost six decades of pumping." In other words the field has peaked. I hope that in the future The Union will look into the issue of peak oil and will help A.P.P.L.E. to inform the community on how we can prepare for the oncoming inflation of oil prices.
OK, one oil field that has been pumping since 1938 peaked, dropped from 2.0 million barrels per day, to 1.7 million barrels. What about the other Kuwait oil fields, including the new ones. Here are some facts from the US Department of Energy, perhaps a more reliable source:

Kuwait contains 99.0 billion barrels of proven oil reserves (including its share of the Neutral Zone), or roughly 8 percent of the world's total oil reserves as of June 2005.

Current Oil Production
Kuwaiti oil output is divided about equally between shallow wells and high-pressure wells producing up to 10,000 bbl/d each from the deep, "Marrat" structure which runs north-south through the country and contains an estimated 20 billion barrels of oil in place. The bulk of Kuwait's oil production capacity is located in the southeastern onshore Greater Burgan field, whose Burgan, Magwa, and Ahmadi structures have production capacity of around 1.6 million bbl/d. Kuwait's other main producing fields include the northern fields of Raudhatain (220,000 bbl/d of production capacity, with higher "surge" capacity) and Sabriya (95,000 bbl/d of production capacity, with plans to raise this to 200,000 bbl/d); the southwestern fields of Minagish and Umm Qudayr (200,000 bbl/d); Abdali, Bahra and Ratqa (50,000 bbl/d) in the north; and Kuwait's share of the Saudi-Kuwaiti Neutral Zone (270,000 bbl/d). Overall, around two-thirds of Kuwaiti oil production comes from the southeast of the country, with about one-fifth from northern Kuwait and about one-tenth from the west.

Is Kuwait's production declining, you tell me:
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Sunday, November 20, 2005

CCAT spreading misinformation

The Citizens Concerned about Traffic (CCAT) is circulating a November 2005 memo that makes it clear they do not understand the Regional Mitigation Fee Program and how it works. Here are some examples for their memo:
Additionally, the amount of mitigation fees collected should address the issues of on-going increases of construction costs and future maintenance.
It is against the law to use mitigation fees for maintenance.
If one simply adds up the estimated project costs for all the traffic improvements necessary to address existing and projected stressed roadways and intersections it is easy to quickly come to a figure in excess of $100 million.
You cannot require development pay for existing deficiencies.
The formula for developing traffic mitigation fees consists of determining: the cost of needed capital projects associated with new developments (and the maintenance after traffic projects are completed);
You cannot use mitigation fees for maintenance, it is against the law.
Then there are the improvements necessary to support the SDAs, such as the proposed Crestview Interchange and its associated linking roads to Allison Ranch and Freeman Lane areas ($70+M)
Again, the memo implies that mitigation fees will pay for the Crestview Interchange and the connecting roads. Not so, The developers must pay 100 percent. It is true the Dorsey Drive will be 47 percent funded by the mitigation fees, as development will impact this interchange, but 53 percent is to fix existing traffic problems. This 53 percent must come from the Federal and State highway budgets, which has been programmed.

It is clear from the memo, the CCAT is misleading the public with their ignorance of the AB-1600 and mitigation fee program. Disregard this flawed memo.

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Slum builders at work

A friend pointed me to this comment, following a Union article on the Wildwood debt by the mauimaiden on Thursday, November 17 @ 08:56:38 PST
Use your imagination, Supervisors. Condemn the property [Widlwood] for back taxes, draw up 30-year "leases" for each lot, allow builders to build and sell mid- to low-income houses with a 20 percent profit cap, and sell these homes to qualified buyers who must occupy these homes or sell them back to a county-administered "affordable housing trust fund." This trust fund can also collect a small "real estate sales tax" attached to the sale of every piece of property in Nevada County to build up additional funds to buy other property with "collection" problems.
Goverment housing has a long history of creating slums. Home owners in the above program will never be able to sell and profit from rising property values, and then move up to a bigger home when the kids become teenagers, or when a sick mother-in-law needs care. Capping values produces slums. No one will invest in property, when they cannot gain from the investment. Would you?

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Another must read by VDH

War & Reconstruction By Victor Davis Hansen
For Bush’s critics, even hindsight is cloudy.

This is the mantra of the extreme Left: "Bush lied, thousands died." A softer version from politicians now often follows: "If I knew then what I know now, I would never have supported the war."

These sentiments are intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible for a variety of reasons beyond the obvious consideration that you do not hang out to dry some 150,000 brave Americans on the field of battle while you in-fight over whether they should have ever been sent there in the first place.

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It worked fine the first time!

It is rare that one of my electronic gadgets work on power up the first time. This project was an exception, so I took pictures with my cellphone camera. Not great pictures.


Why did I build this contraption? We seek out RV Parks with WiFi wireless Internet when we travel. This is a new feature in many RV Parks and the wireless systems are not robust. Since we have an aluminum trailer and my Powerbook has a titanium case, the WiFi signals are often weak or not visible, depending on the site we are assigned. Ellen’s iBook, with it’s plastic case, gets a better signal. I get a bad case of signal strength envy when she can sit on the couch in the trailer answering her e-mail, while I have to wander the RV park in the dark looking for a strong signal near a picnic table.

So, I decided to build an outside directional antenna, called a can-tenna and mount it on a tripod.


This antenna is connected to a Linksys Ethernet Bridge, then to the Powerbook with an eithernet cable in this photo.


In the final configuration it will be connected to a wireless router, creating a wireless network inside our trailer. No more weak signals. No more explaining to strangers why I am sitting at their picnic table in the dark.

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Good question, no good choices

The Union’s question of the week is:

When should the U.S. remove its troops from Iraq?
The choices are:
1) Immediately
2) Three months
3) Six months
4) One Year
5) Never
6) Couldn’t say
The right answer is when the job is done. But, this was not one of the choices.

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Union hand wringing over peak oil (edited)

Pat Butler: Oil usage + declining supply = real concerns, November 19, 2005

Pat Butler went to the Peak Oil Presentation, then wrote about it, regurgitation much of the speakers points with out checking out some of the facts. Lets look at some of his statements and see if they stand up to reason.
PG&E, meanwhile, has informed its captive clientele that energy bills will skyrocket this winter, no doubt fueled by the laws of supply and demand as they apply in this case to natural gas, once considered an abundant and inexpensive fuel.
Natural gas is still abundant in Alaska and the Canadian Mcckenzie Delta, but the native tribes which control the land over which the pipeline will pass, aided by environmental groups, have delayed this pipe line for more than a decade. With approval to build the pipeline it can be completed in just three years. Venezuela, Siberia, and Southeast Asia have huge gas fields with no markets. Efforts to build Liquid Natural Gas terminals in the US have been blocked by NIMBYs and environmentalist, to bring this gas to the US market. LNG ships are available to move the gas, but no US receiving terminals. So, Mexico is building terminals in Baja, just south of the US border. We have created our own shortage, and now we will pay for this all winter long.
The bottom line is that we are using fossil fuels at a far faster rate than we are finding new energy sources, which are getting increasingly expensive to develop or extract.
Really, Pat should check out the December issue of Wired, which gives the global reserves, including the Tar Sands-4.3 trillion barrels and US oil shale-2.5 trillion barrels, over 212 years of gasoline at the current rate of consumption. We are using easy to use light sweet crude at a faster rate then were are finding it, not "fossil fuels." Where is the peak with 212 years of gas available from oil shale?
Tuesday’s speaker on the topic of peak oil did not appear to be a granola-munching vegan.
If it talks like a duck, walks like duck, it must be duck. In this case the duck was wearing a jacket, tie and had a pile of power point slides. It had to be those power point slides that made it all real and factual for the audience. Pound for pound I have seen more horse puckey on power point slides than in a barn yard. Check out Richard Heinberg at his web site and let me know if you think he is granola crunching anti-capitalist.
And don’t be reassured that Big Oil, Big Business or Big Politicians are even at this moment tackling the problem. They’re all too worried about the next election or quarterly profits statement
Really, Shell (Big Oil) has invested billions in tackling the shale oil problem, even after the billions of government subsidies were withdrawn in 1982. Now they have a process for extracting shale oil at $20-30 per barrel, 1 million barrels per surface acre, see the December issue of Wired page 246-7 for details. I am taking a copy of Wired to Pat on Monday, for reference the next time he gets a peak oil story on his desk.
They should have started looking at the problem years ago.
Well the Canadian’s have been working on the oil sands problems since 1969, they are now producing 1 million barrels/day, with plan for 4 million per day. Shell has been working on the shale oil problem for over 20 years. Big Oil has been developing deep water technology since 1976, which has gone from 15,000 feet, to 35,000 feet next year. I guess none of this counts?
According to Heinberg, the U.S. reached its peak oil production in 1970. Now, the most powerful nation in the world gets 65 percent of its oil from other countries.
Yes, and you have to ask why? The environmental movement came on the scene in the 1970s and we stopped drilling off our coasts and in Alaska. Democrats complain about being held hostage by foreign oil, while blocking exploration at home? Where in the hell do they think domestic oil is going to come from?
Future potential sources of oil include the arctic refuge, the tar sands of Canada and offshore sites, all sources that will take a considerable investment in time and energy before any substantial benefits are realized.
Investments that are being made! Canada is in the process of increasing tar sands productions to 4 million barrels per day, but they cannot ship it to the US, as our northern state refineries are at capacity. So they are building a pipeline to the Pacific coast, with a terminal at Kitimat, to ship the oil to China. They could send 100,000 barrels / day to Oklahoma refineries by reversing an existing pipeline. They want to build a pipline to California, but guess who is blocking this new source of oil. Big Enviros? Why build the pipeline, we have no excess refining capacity. But, I guess Canada's production does not count as a "substantial benefit." It does not fit the peak oiler's agenda.
Heinberg even suggested that nations might go to war over oil. And before you say that’s liberal fear-mongering, think about what would happen if Bin Laden and his grisly band of terrorists were able to overthrow the Saudi royal family and cut off those oil supplies to the United States.
Yea, think about it. The Democrats want us immediatly to withdraw from Iraq, and turn the Middle East over to Bin Laden. How long do you think Saudi Arabia will last with Bin Laden in control of Iraq? Want peak oil real fast, get out of Iraq without leaving behind a stable goverment.
But if we all decide to ignore this problem or turn it into a left versus right issue, we can probably look forward to a day when we won’t be able to afford to drive very often and that will take care of our local traffic headaches.
Yea, the lack of oil will take care of the global warming problem too, no driving, no CO2, no global warming. The flu pandemic will kill one quarter to one half of us, and our oil needs will drop significantly. If hand wring would solve the problem we are half way there. Where ever there is?

Read the December issue of Wired, "Why @!#% High Oil Prices, it is the cover story. Data also came from the November 8 Financial Times, "Canada's oil sands can give much of the world a fresh energy source." They give some perspective to all this peak oil hand wringing.

UPDATE: A reader suggested this RAND Report on shale oil production.

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Pat Butler buys in to the peak oil scare

I do not have time this morning to give some context to Pat butler's editorial this morning, I am off to Rosville for oldest grandsons last soccer game of the season. We will tackle this issue later today.

UPDATE: Grandson's team lost 4-0, but they played hard.

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Friday, November 18, 2005

More Peak Oil from NCFocus

I have been interest in this interesting juxtaposition for some time, which put me on to Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum, by William Ruddman.
. . . also curious, from a sociological standpoint - my general impression is that the "global warming's coming, we're doomed" crowd doesn't talk to the "peak oil's coming, we're doomed" crowd which doesn't talk to the "bird flu's coming, we're doomed" crowd.
Details here.

Ruddman show that plagues, especially those in in the 1900s, which killed almost one quarter of the worlds population, which was a bird flu, significantly reducing CO2, when fallow fields returned to forests, and the dead stopped burning wood and coal.

If we are running out of carbon fuels and the peak oiler claim, and will soon return to the sustainable living of the late 1800s and early 1900s, why are we concerned about global warming?

If one third of us are going to die of bird flu, the remaining oil will go alot farther. Humm. . . Even dark clouds can have a silver lining.

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Peak Oil debate continues at NCFocus

Anna at NCFocus has an active discussion on the Peak Oil issues. She asked me the following question:
Russ Steele, a question: what consequences might you face if you were to change your mind, shift gears, and argue publicly that peak oil is a serious problem facing our community, country and world, and that we need to prepare for it?
First off, I do not accept the notion of a near term peak, as we really do not know how much oil we have in the world now. To have a peak we need to know the parameters. We have national oil companies that are not part of the capacity discussion, from Saudi Arabia to Venezuela and Mexico. We really do not know how much is in ANWAR, and the shallow Arctic sea to the North that global warming will provide us better access. We do not know how much is off the Coast of California or Florida. According the Oil Drum discussion, we do not know how much Brazil has off shore. Yes, some day we will have to address an oil in decline, but it will be most likely be a plateau, followed by a slow decline.

The price of oil will increase, and it will become economical to harvest the oil sands and oil shale, which combined has a 500 year supply of carbon fuel. More than enough time to develop alternatives. I just finished The End of Oil, and it is clear that alternative energy sources will be hard pressed to meet industry needs. While solar offers a huge potential, the efficiency of capture technology must be greater than 10 percent, and an effective over night storage method must be developed. Huge challenges. Using current technology, we would need three times the area of all roof tops in the nation covered with solar cells, according to a Cal Tech Professor. Hummm...

What consequences would I face. None! I will be long gone before we reach a peak in a 100 to 200 years, plenty of time to prepare. Starting survival gardens now reminds me of the Y2K panic, which never happened. If the earth continues to warm, the ski season will be bit shorter, but then again my knees are complaining the season is too long now. My water comes from a well that was charged several hundred, if not thousands of years ago. As natural gas prices go up, I may return to burning wood from our three acres like we did for ten years from 1982 to 1992. Right now we have turned down the thermostat, installing low energy neon bulbs, and have installed an on demand hot water heater. But, I still need my GMC 2500 HD diesel to pull our travel trailer. Oh, by the way, when traveling I carry a clip on light and 75 watt bulb, so I can read in the motel bed. The low energy lights, give out less light, and my old eyes need a bright light to focus on small text.

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Jeff's asking for our help

On the Publishers Blog at the Union web site, Jeff Ackerman is asking for our help in defining how the Union Web Site can better serve it's customers. So far no one has take up the challenge. He asks if we want video clips as part of our online news. Let him know what you think, by clicking here.

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Those "evil corporations" are us

Writers often damn those “evil corporation” in letters to the editor. This caught my eye this morning while reading Larry Kudlow’s Town Hall column:
The investor class continues to expand, according a recent survey, with nearly 57 million U.S. families now invested in stocks. This is an incredibly powerful force for capital formation, economic growth, and pro-capitalism politics. Twenty years ago only one-fifth of families owned shares. Now it’s three-fifths.
Remember, if not you, your neighbor could be benefiting from those “evil corporations.” I know we are enjoying the dividends and interest from our corporate investments. How about you?

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

It this the Sun

Regional sun–climate interaction
A. Kilcik, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Akdeniz University, 07058 Antalya, Turkey
"Our results indicate marked influence of solar-activity variations on the earth’s climate,” the researchers reported in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics.
The abstract is here.

It looks like this research team found solar activity has a larger impact on our climate than the CO2 “warmers are willing to admit.” Check it out.

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Kick the MSM habit -- join the OSM!

The OSM is now in business, a place where blogger are the source, where you will get unfiltered access to information, though it may contain an open opinion or two. No hidden agenda here.

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Trashing our County


Who throws this trash in front of our newspaper boxes? Is it the newspaper delivery person? Can the distributors be sued for littering? Where do I lodge a compliant? Send me an e-mail.

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Peak Oill Debate: When will oil run out?

The December issue of Prospect has an interesting debate on when oil production will peak and what it will mean. It covers both sides of the issue. Online version here.

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Myth busting in the San Francisco Chronicle

Debra Saunders, a regular San Francisco Chronicle columnist, writes about the Independent Institute's look at Global Warming Tuesday night in San Francisco. Best-selling author Michael Crichton was one of the panelist.
There is a myth in the American media. It goes like this: The good scientists agree that global warming is human-induced and would be addressed if America ratified the Kyoto global warming pact, while bad,articlel scientists question climate models that predict Armageddon because they are venal and corrupted by oil money.
Full article here.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cheney on the hunt for linguni spined history rewriters

Ok, listen up all you "Bush Lied" letter writers. Vice-President Cheney is giving a peach tonight in honor of Senator Malcolm Wallop. The best line from the whole speech:
"The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history."
More details on the speechh at Powerline here.

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Peak Oil Meeting Update

Anna at NCFocus has a summary of the Peak Oil meeting. She thought this was the most interesting question of the evening:

Best question: "How many County Supervisors, City Council members and Planners are in the audience?

Answer: No supervisors, 3 city council members (out of 15?)
My question is which city, or cities, was/were represented? Anyone want to guess the names of the council members who were present? I know two who were not!

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Comparing Gas Prices

Jon Heinrich is wondering about Fair gas prices?, I am wondering about his data, November 16, 2005
Once again the regional gas pricing structure leaves Nevada County out. Gas in Sacramento is $2.53 and in Reno is $2.58. The cheapest is $2.72 in Nevada County.
Really, On average Nevada’s gas prices are higher than California, they have risen faster and fallen slower than California’s. You can get the details here. Create your own comparision chart. On a trip this summer we waited to top off our tank in Reno, and were surprised the diesel prices were higher than in Nevada City.

By the way, the cheapest local gas yesterday was in Yuba City at $2.17 a gallon. Reno gas was $2.69 yesterday. Local regular gas was $2.67 a gallon at most stations according to the price tracking widget on my Mac laptop. You can compare gas prices across the nation at the GasBuddy.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Nevada County’s fall color

I was listening to Tom Sullivan on KFBK this afternoon while editing an article due next week. Tom was discussing the brilliant fall colors in the valley with Kitty O’Neal. He remarked how much brighter the local color was than the fall colors in Washington DC that he observed in a recent trip east. Ellen and I were Boston in October and did some leaf peeping in Maine. We also thought that the Eastern fall colors were a bit duller this year, compared to previous years. I guess the 15 inches of rain and some high winds they had in October could be a factor. Nevada County colors are stunning in comparison to New England this year. Get out, take a walk, and enjoy the bounty of fall color as it is some of the best in the nation.

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Why does the IPCC Climate Change "hockey stick" matter?

It matters in California as our legislators and air quality organizations have used the UN IPCC climate change report (TAR) repeately to justify draconian greenhouse gas regulations, starting in 2009. Regulation that will cost California families and business millions if we are forced to implement air quality remediation based on flawed science. Now Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre, who discovered the flaws in the science that created the “hockey stick,” have accepted Roger Pielke Jr.challenge to themselves and Michael Mann, the primary hockey stick author, to explain why the ongoing hockey stick debate matters.

Full details here.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Welcoming home our troops

I have written about the Friends of Nevada County Military in past posts and their program to meet home coming troops. Here is another inspiring story about meeting the troops and how important this simple act can be to the troops.
"Welcome Stop for Warriors," Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times, April 20 (available only through LA Times archives)

"Tired and bleary-eyed, Marines of the 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment, based at Twentynine Palms, Calif., were finally back on US soil after seven months on the front lines in Iraq. But they were still many miles and hours from their families and the homecoming they longed for. Their officers told them they would be on the ground for 60 to 90 minutes while their chartered plane was refueled. So they disembarked and began walking through the airport terminal corridor to a small waiting room. That's when they heard the applause.

"Lining the hall and clapping were dozens of Bangor residents who have set a daunting task for themselves: they want every Marine, soldier, sailor, and airman returning through the tiny international airport here to get a hero's welcome. Even if the planes arrive in the middle of the night or a blizzard, they are there. Composed mostly from the generation that served in World War II and Korea, they call themselves the Maine Troop Greeters. They have met every flight bringing troops home from Iraq for nearly two years--more than 1,000 flights and nearly 200,000 troops.

" 'Here they come. Everybody get ready,' said Joyce Goodwin, 71, her voice full of excitement, undiminished by the hundreds of times she has shown up to embrace the returning troops. As dozens more Marines came down the corridor, the applause grew louder and was accompanied by handshakes, hugs, and a stream of well wishes: 'Welcome home.' 'Thank you for your service.' 'God bless you.' 'Thank you for everything.' Faces brightened. Grouchiness disappeared. Greeters and Marines alike began taking photographs. The Marines were directed down a corridor decorated with American flags and red, white and blue posters to cell phones for free calls to family members….

"Most of the greeters support the US mission in Iraq, but their goal is historic, not political. Discussion of politics is banned. The greeters don't want America to repeat what they consider a shameful episode in history: the indifference, even hostility, that the public displayed to troops returning from Vietnam. 'I think there's a lot of collective guilt about the '60s,' said greeter Dusty Fisher, 63, a retired high school history teacher now serving in the state Legislature."

Tip of the hat to the TIA Daily Report
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Peak Oil Update: Meeting Scheduled

Brittany Retherford writes, Author speaks on impact of 'peak oil', November 14, 2005
Event will offer options to relying on oil
I wonder what those options might be? I am reading The End of Oil, by and Paul Roberts has some insight into alternative energy sources that the peak oil folks might have over looked.

1) If we include tar sands as resources, the peak is multiple generations away. Long after most folks in Nevada County are history.

2) Does Nevada County have enough wind for wind farms. What do we do when the wind doses not blow?

3) Do we have enough space for solar farms? It takes thousands of acres of solar panels that are only 10 percent efficiency for a small city, requiring a huge over build.

4) How do we store wind and solar energy for days when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow?

I am not willing to invest $15.00 to be scared by bad science. If you go to the Peak Oil Meeting please ask why the Peak Oiler refuse to consider the tar sands in Canada and Venezuela, and the shale oil in the Western US as oil resources? I would really like to know the answer. At current rates global oil use rates we have enough for over 500 years.

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Wearing aluminum foil helmets.

Several writers have suggestions that some of our local nut cases should be buying and using more Reynolds warp. Before this action becomes a trend, here is an interesting analysis of the effectiveness of four styles of aluminum foil helmets.

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We are back and regular posting begins today

Ellen and I spent the last five days here, being lazy, reading by the pool and visiting with our number three daughter and husband. We had a great time! Take the photo tour.

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Friday, November 11, 2005

I warned about the nutcases following Libby's indictment

Reading the Union Online at a cybercafe, I came across this by William J. Sydeman, November 10, 2005:

The indictment of "Scooter" Libby is just one more indication of a web of deceit sold to the American public as justification for a war that has cost 2,000 American lives and over 100,000 Iraqis.

As we have discussed in other posts, Libby is innocent until proven guilty. The special prosecutor, said the indictment has nothing to do with the Iraq war, only the obstruction of justice. This writer has already convicted Libby. Is his hatred for President Bush so great that we are tossing aside one of the foundations of our democracy?

In other posts we have also shown that the 100,000 figure is bogus, details here.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Cabo Weather Report

The weather is a warm 90s, with partly cloudy sky, making for some of the most stunning sunsets. Equal to those in Mendocino, but perhaps a little behind Hawaii.

My reading is proceeding, but not quite as planned. I have added The End of Oil. This paper back is a better choice at the pool. Finished Plows, Plagues & Petroleum, on the plane, except for the final chapter. First draft of the review is in my notes to finish when we return. This book has changed my thinking about global warming. You "warmers" do not get too excited, the changes are not that big, just more global.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Off to a family wedding

I will be Internet deprived from Wednesday to Sunday, with limited opportunities to post comments. As a reward for your patience, I will post two book reviews on my return.

I am currently reading Plows, Plagues & Petroleum, by William Ruddiman. In his view, humans have been influenced climate change for the last 8,000 years. He has some strong arguments for human caused global warming.

My next read is Blue Print for Action by Thomas P.M. Barnett. This is his follow up action plan to the Pentagon’s New Map, which examines strategic issues the military must address in the transition from a Cold War focus to the War on Terror. Barnett is quite popular with the mid level military planners, less so with the Cold Warrior Generals and Admirals.

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The American Thinker

I have added The American Thinker to the We Read list. You will find some thoughtful comments on the news of the day. Warning, it is on the conservative side.
The American Thinker is devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans. Contributors are accomplished in fields beyond journalism, and animated to write for the general public out of concern for the complex and morally significant questions on the national agenda.

There is no limit to the topics appearing on The American Thinker. National security in all its dimensions, strategic, economic, diplomatic, and military is emphasized. The right to exist, and the survival of the State of Israel are of great importance to us. Business, science, technology, medicine, management, and economics in their practical and ethical dimensions are also emphasized, as is the state of American culture.
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Call the Governor, Kyoto is bad for our economy

Kyoto to 'reduce Europe's growth'
By Richard Black Environment Correspondent, BBC News website:
Meeting Kyoto Protocol targets on greenhouse gas emissions will reduce European economic growth significantly. That is the finding of a new study from the International Council for Capital Formation, a market-based think tank. It projects that by 2010, Spain's growth will have fallen by 3%, and that Italy's will shrink by 2%.
A number of states have decided to implement the Kyoto Protocol in piecemeal legislation including California. It might be wise for our Legislature and the Governor to pay attention to at this report.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

Do we trust California regulators to choose our destiny?

The folks in Pennsylvania are not so sure:
Never in the history of this commonwealth has Pennsylvania ceded its governmental authority to another state, let alone the most eccentric state in the union. Yet that is exactly what Pennsylvania would be doing if it adopted the “California standard” for automobile emissions.
(emphasis added)

The emissions they are discussing are California’s Greenhouse gas regulations. Full detail here.

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Joseph Wilson self promoting liar

Susan Murphy buys in to Joseph Wilson lies is a An awful price, November 7, 2005
Please read Mr. Wilson's piece, "What I Didn't Find in Africa" (July 6, 2003, N.Y. Times) and decide for yourself if this is the kind of leadership you are willing to live with, and if so, then please ask yourself why? Sometimes the people you believe in really are not what you may have hoped.
And it certainly is not as Mr. Wilson wrote in the NY Times
When he returned from Niger, Mr. Wilson was not required to write a report, but rather merely to provide an oral briefing. That information was not sent to the White House. If this mission to Niger were so important, wouldn't a competent intelligence agency want a thoughtful written assessment from the "missionary," if for no other reason than to establish a record to refute any subsequent misrepresentation of that assessment? Because it was the vice president who initially inquired about Niger and the yellow cake (although he had nothing to do with Mr. Wilson being sent), it is curious that neither his office nor the president's were privy to the fruits of Mr. Wilson's oral report.
You can find the rest of the story in this Wall Street Journal Article by Victoria Toensing, who wrote the original legislation over outing CIA agents here.

UPDATE: The American Thinker has some great insight in the Wilson French Connection.

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The Moonbats are out.

Hattie Guy wants to Clean (the White) House, November 7, 2005

I warned you that we would soon see the moonbats coming out to distort the Special Councils findings on the Plame Affair, especially since the Special Council failed to “get” Carl Rove. Here is the latest:
The recent indictment of Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on obstructing an investigation into the White House coverup of the lies that led our nation to war in Iraq, clearly shows that we cannot trust our government until every one of the White House officials who conspired to lead the American public into the war with Iraq are out of the administration.
Poor Hattie is so consumed with anger she has forgotten that indictment is not proof of guilt. We are all innocent until proven guilty, but apparently not if you are a member of the white house staff.

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Rumors running rampant

Tom Lambie thinks the Media ignores major story, I think with just cause, November 7, 2005
It can be clearly shown that neither Flight 77 nor any other large commercial airliner hit the Pentagon.
Tom, how did all those 767 parts get stuck in the Pentagon. What about the cellphone reports from the people who were on Flight 77. Where are those people who were on the flight, including the wife of the US Solicitor General who called him from the flight? What about the security camera pictures? Can you give us a reference to when Sec Def. “Rumsfeld admitted” it was a missile.

The Union must be hard up to fill the letters page, to have published this contribution to misinformation.

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

On the Death of Newspapers

Jeff Acerman, the Union Publisher, has some interesting comments on his blog on this issue, as does the Buzz Machine. If you follow the comments you will find that small community newspapers, that listen to their readers, are flourishing. This supports Jeff's focus on local issues. The main stream papers, mostly liberal in editorial philosophy, are in decline.

To be fair, the main revenue decline is the loss of classified ads to the Internet. Why buy an ad for an audience of a few thousand, when you can get ad on the Internet with an audience of millions at a lower price? The market rules! What happens when we get a local craigslist? Is KNCO swap shop our own version of craigslist, with out the personals?

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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Hockey Stick issue summary

If you have been following the global warming "hockey stick" issues, Steve M at Climate Audit has a nice summary of the issues and explains his role in debunking the Climate Change hockey stick graphic which has driven so much greenhouse gas legislation. Check it out, this is great site.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

APPLE and the Moonbats at the Arts Center

I was listening to KNCO’s On the Town today, and leaned the Alliance for a Post-Petroleum Local Economy (APPLE) will be holding a meeting on November 14th at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley. I was amazed to learn, once demand for oil surpasses supply by 5 percent, the economy will start to shut down. In preparation for this shut down, attendees will learn about developing a sustainable locally economy, growing their own grain, securing a local dairy, harvesting fallen apples, and preparing for life with out oil. Back to the 1800s.

On the other hand, we learned that now one knows the time scale for this disaster, but we better be prepared by laying down a foundation for local survival. We can start by not buying from Wal-Mart, as they will not be their when we need them. The do not sell crosscut saws, only gas burning chain saws. It is better to buy local, as the mom and pop stores will be there when we run out of oil. Anyone know of a mom and pop store that sells crosscut saws?

I went on the APPLE and the Post Carbon Institute (who is providing the APPLE speaker) web sites, but could find no mention of oil sands or oil shale reserves, some 500 billion barrels in the US, 300 billion in Canada alone. Maybe this is why the time scale for this peak oil crisis is just a little hazy.

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The unintended consequences of homeless shelters

Brittany Retherford writes County's first homeless shelter to open, November 4, 2005
Churches work together to help during tough, cold winter months
I applaud the Churches and the people donating their time to help the homeless. However at the same time, I hope this warm hearted program does not encourage more homeless people to come to Grass Valley. This has been the experience in other communities with open arms to the homless. San Francisco let the world know it was a homeless friendly for a while, and the City became flooded with homeless, who use the streets and door ways for toilets. Soom the aggressive panhandlers were driving away the tourist.

We used to like going to the theater in San Francisco, but the streets are no longer safe. The last time we were there, the hotel recommend we take a cab to the therater even though it was only three blocks from the hotel. Going to breakfast the next morning, we had to step over homeless sleeping on the street, and the smell was overwhelming.

Let’s hope this program just helps the local folks, and does not attract homeless from across the region. We will soon know, once the word goes out that Grass Valley is a warm dry place to winter.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Should we cut and run in Iraq?

Harold Blickenstaff wants to Stop the war now, November 3, 2005

He thinks our young men and women have died in vain for a war he considers illegal, thus we should cut and run. He thinks none of these noble objectives have been achieved, nor are they achievable. Let’s do a progress check.
Think about it. The stated objectives of the war include:

1. To get rid of weapons of mass destruction
Out troops captured and remove 500 tons of uranium, that could be process for nuclear weapons. They collected thousands of gallons of cyclosarin (bug killer) stored in bunkers with shells and rockets capable of delivering the WMD. The only remaining step was to process the bug killer into sarin gas. Upon discovery the troops, and reporters with them, showed symptoms of sarin gas poisoning. No WMD here, it was just bug killer according to press reports. Satellite photos showed truck convoys to Syria as the war got started, we do not know what those truck carried, but some evidence points to WMDs. Had Turkey allow a northern front we might know what was in those trucks.
2. To end or reduce the threat of terrorism
The world is a bit safer with Libya turning in its nuclear weapons, including the work his scientist were doing for other nations, maybe even Iraq. I would say that this is a reduction in the global threat. The terrorist money sources has been disrupted, by their own admission. I would say these actions reduced the global threat. Also, bin Laden's lieutenants responsible for bombings around the world are being captured and jailed, farther reducing the threat. I wonder what the writers vision of success might be. Being called to prayer five times a day?
3. To spread democracy
Has anyone noted the increased number of elections in the Mid East, including in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Iraq citizens braved gunners and bombers to vote at a higher rate than most US citizens, over 70 percent. I would say that democracy is catching on in the Mid East. Democracy is not instant potatoes, it must grow and be nurtured from a seed. We have planted the seed, but now this writer wants us to cut and run.
4. To stop the torture of political prisoners.
And what proof does the writer have that the US Military is torturing political prisoners as a matter of policy? Is it the newspapers? Some rogue solders in one cell block? I would want a little more proof than liberal newspapers, given their reputation for twisting the facts.
5. To make us feel more secure
I feel more secure because we are taking action. Look what happened in the 1990s under the Clinton Administration. Our troops cut and run in Somalia, we failed to act strongly when our ships and embassies were bombed. Thus Bin laden saw the US as weak, not strong enough to stand up to his ambitions. Now he knows better, and he is hiding under a rock in Afghanistan, short of money and recruits, according to recent letters by his lieutenants.

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An unhinged letter writer

Richard Stockton thinks Revealing indictment, is sign of guilt. November 3, 2005
Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff has been indicted for obstructing the investigation into the cover-up of the lies that led us into war. The only weapon of mass destruction used in the Iraq War is now exploding.
What happened to the concept of innocent until proven guilty? Indictment is not proof of guilt. Are you so angry with the administration that the foundation of our justice systems does not count? Really?

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More CIA Covert action?

Many of the Union letter writers have discussed the Plame/Libby dustup and in the following weeks we can expect some more letters from the unhinged. Please read this by Ms. Toensing, a Washington lawyer, a former chief counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee, and former deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration writes:
"CIA, either purposely or with gross negligence, made a series of decisions that led to Ms. Plame becoming a household name:

• First: The CIA sent her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, to Niger on a sensitive mission regarding WMD. He was to determine whether Iraq had attempted to purchase yellowcake, an essential ingredient for nonconventional weapons. However, it was Ms. Plame, not Mr. Wilson, who was the WMD expert. Moreover, Mr. Wilson had no intelligence background, was never a senior person in Niger when he was in the State Department, and was opposed to the administration's Iraq policy. The assignment was given, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee, at Ms. Plame's suggestion.

• Second: Mr. Wilson was not required to sign a confidentiality agreement, a mandatory act for the rest of us who either carry out any similar CIA assignment or who represent CIA clients.

• Third: When he returned from Niger, Mr. Wilson was not required to write a report, but rather merely to provide an oral briefing. That information was not sent to the White House. If this mission to Niger were so important, wouldn't a competent intelligence agency want a thoughtful written assessment from the "missionary," if for no other reason than to establish a record to refute any subsequent misrepresentation of that assessment? Because it was the vice president who initially inquired about Niger and the yellowcake (although he had nothing to do with Mr. Wilson being sent), it is curious that neither his office nor the president's were privy to the fruits of Mr. Wilson's oral report.

• Fourth: Although Mr. Wilson did not have to write even one word for the agency that sent him on the mission at taxpayer's expense, over a year later he was permitted to tell all about this sensitive assignment in the New York Times. For the rest of us, writing about such an assignment would mean we'd have to bring our proposed op-ed before the CIA's Prepublication Review Board and spend countless hours arguing over every word to be published. Congressional oversight committees should want to know who at the CIA permitted the publication of the article, which, it has been reported, did not jibe with the thrust of Mr. Wilson's oral briefing. For starters, if the piece had been properly vetted at the CIA, someone should have known that the agency never briefed the vice president on the trip, as claimed by Mr. Wilson in his op-ed.

• Fifth: More important than the inaccuracies is the fact that, if the CIA truly, truly, truly had wanted Ms. Plame's identity to be secret, it never would have permitted her spouse to write the op-ed. Did no one at Langley think that her identity could be compromised if her spouse wrote a piece discussing a foreign mission about a volatile political issue that focused on her expertise? The obvious question a sophisticated journalist such as Mr. Novak asked after "Why did the CIA send Wilson?" was "Who is Wilson?" After being told by a still-unnamed administration source that Mr. Wilson's "wife" suggested him for the assignment, Mr. Novak went to Who's Who, which reveals "Valerie Plame" as Mr. Wilson's spouse.

• Sixth: CIA incompetence did not end there. When Mr. Novak called the agency to verify Ms. Plame's employment, it not only did so, but failed to go beyond the perfunctory request not to publish. Every experienced Washington journalist knows that when the CIA really does not want something public, there are serious requests from the top, usually the director. Only the press office talked to Mr. Novak.

• Seventh: Although high-ranking Justice Department officials are prohibited from political activity, the CIA had no problem permitting its deep cover or classified employee from making political contributions under the name "Wilson, Valerie E.," information publicly available at the FEC.

The CIA conduct in this matter is either a brilliant covert action against the White House or inept intelligence tradecraft. It is up to Congress to decide which.
I would love to see the CIA answers in a Congresional investigation.

UPDATE: The Amercian Thinker has some more questions for Congresional investigators here.

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