Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Diplomacy at Last

U.S. may embrace Iraq diplomacy critics long demanded

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - By opening the door to a high-level dialogue with Iran and Syria, the United States appears to be embracing a diplomatic strategy that its critics have long said was essential to stabilize Iraq.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Whoops, Just Hit Some Civilians

Conflicting reports over blast in Iraqi city

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi police and a community leader said a bomb blast near a soccer field in the city of Ramadi on Tuesday killed 18 people, mostly children, but the U.S. military said it was unaware of such an attack.

Amid conflicting reports over what happened in the volatile western city, the U.S. military said its soldiers had carried out a controlled explosion in Ramadi, also near a soccer field, that slightly wounded 30 people, including nine children.

Why did they carry out a "controlled explosion" in the first place. And it injured 30 people, including 9 children? How does this happen?

-415 Points

Brutal day on Wall Street

Dow tumbles 415 points, biggest one-day point loss since 2001, as investors eye China, thwarted attack on Cheney, drop in durable orders.

Dow industrials plunge more than 500

The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 500 points today before gaining some of it back. The Dow dropped 546.02, or 4.3 percent, to 12,086.06 before recovering some ground. It was down 360.42, or 2.85 percent, at 12,271.84 with about a half hour of trading left.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Attack Plans

Pentagon Reportedly Developing Iran Attack Plan

Would be more surprised if they didn't. Hopefully, the military has a contingency plan for all cases.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Debate Continues

The debate at PoliteTalk Forums continues. Is it ever prudent to submit to blackmail? (Specifically North Korea).

There was an earlier post detailing the first response to the debate.

The rest can be read here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Father/Daughter Republican Talk

From Political Grind


A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and was very much in favor of the redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt hat her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government welfare programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, “How is your friend Audrey doing?” She replied, “Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She s so popular on campus, college for her is a blast. She’s always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn’t even show up for classes because she’s too hung over.”

Her father asked his daughter, “Why don’t you go to the Dean’s office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.”

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father’s suggestion, angrily fired back, “That wouldn’t be fair! I have worked really hard for my grades! I’ve invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!”

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, “Welcome to the Republican

Monday, February 19, 2007

Democracy or Stability?

At a speech in Egypt, Rice famously said, "For 60 years, my country, the United states, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region ... and we achieved neither." Unfortunately, the epitaph for her work in this Administration will be a perverse twist on that logic: since 9/11, our country has pursued democracy at the expense of stability--and we lost both.
New York City

--A letter to Time Magazine

Sunday, February 18, 2007

North Koreans Agree to Disarm

Here's why the deal with North Korea can only be good (in response to a thread at

There's nothing wrong with buying out North Korea's disarmament. By ending a repressive regime's tyranny through energy assistance, the free world doubly gains. The suffering peoples of North Korea can live a better life, and there is a couple less nukes (in the hands of loony toon) in the world. The governments that agreed to participate lose some oil, maybe some money, but is that really too big of a price?

In this specific case one might worry that North Korea will double cross the world (again) and not give up it's nuclear ambition. At least we tried. At least Bush stopped being such a hard-liner and gave in to talks. At least Bush almost did something right for a change.

What's to lose ?

You can read the whole thread here.

President Bush's Approval Rating

*Note: It may not be visible, but if clicked, it will go to the source and be visible.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Cross-posted with Thoughts on Global Warming.

Wondering why there's been so little posting lately? Below is a BIG factsheet about global warming, the atmosphere and other facts about Earth. This is was not made by anyone else or for anyone else. This is a Thoughts on Global Warming/Thoughts on the World exclusive.


The Troposphere, the Stratosphere, the Mesosphere, and the Thermosphere make up the atmosphere of the Earth. The Troposphere exists from the surface of the Earth to 15 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. The temperature ranges from 15 degrees Celsius at the surface to negative 60 degrees Celsius at the top of this layer. Life exists at this level. The greenhouse effect, natural and enhanced, takes place here, as does the weather. Above the Troposphere is the Stratosphere. Temperatures rise from negative 60 degrees Celsius at the bottom of the Stratosphere to zero degrees Celsius at the top of the Stratosphere. The Stratosphere occurs from 15 kilometers above the surface of the Earth to 50 kilometers above the surface. The ozone layer, which protects Earth from harmful ultra-violet radiation, exists in this layer. The layer above the Stratosphere is the Mesosphere, which ranges from 50 kilometers above the surface of the Earth to 85 kilometers above the surface. The temperature sinks from 0 degrees Celsius to negative 70 degrees. This layer protects Earth from meteoroids. This is the first layer that meteorites encounter that is dense enough to create enough friction to burn up meteoroids before they get to the surface. The layer above the Mesosphere exists from 85 kilometers above the surface to 600 kilometers, where it melts off into space. It is known as the Thermosphere. Temperatures here can reach up to 2,000 degrees Celsius, and most satellites are in the Thermosphere. Throughout all of these layers, the further one is from the planet, the less the pressure and density is.

As mentioned previously, pressure and density consistently decrease throughout the layers. Pressure is strongest closest to the Earth, in the Troposphere. This is because there are three layers above it pushing down on it. The Stratosphere has the second greatest pressure because it has two layers pushing down on it, and et cetera. Density is also greatest in the Troposphere, second greatest in the Stratosphere, third greatest in the Mesosphere, and least great in the Thermosphere. The Troposphere is densest because of gravity. Gravity is stronger closer to the Earth, and consequently more matter is pulled down closer to the Earth, making the closest layer to the surface the densest. Temperature is unlike pressure and density. It varies from layer to layer. In the Troposphere, temperature lowers when ascending. But after entering the Stratosphere, temperatures begin to rise. This is caused by the ozone layer. The ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet radiation originating from the sun. When absorbed, the ozone molecules (O3) release heat, heating the layer. But in the Mesosphere, temperatures begin to drop again as it is further from the Earth. Oppositely, the Thermosphere warms up instead of cooling down. Sun strikes nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the Thermosphere first. The oxygen and nitrogen molecules convert energy from sun into heat.

The majority of the pure dry atmosphere is nitrogen (N2), at 78.084 percent of the atmosphere. Oxygen (02) is 20.946 percent of the atmosphere, and Argon makes up 0.9340 percent. None of these gases are greenhouse gases, but carbon dioxide (CO2), which makes up 0.0383 percent of the atmosphere, is. Neon (Ne) makes up 0.00182 percent of the atmosphere; Helium (He) is 0.00053 percent; Krypton (Kr) is 0.00012 percent; Xenon (Xe) is 0.00009 percent; Hydrogen (H2) is 0.00005 percent. Neither neon, nor helium, nor krypton, nor xenon, nor hydrogen is a greenhouse gas. Nitrous oxide (N2O), which makes up 0.00005 percent of the atmosphere, is a greenhouse gas, as is methane (CH4), which is 0.00002 percent of the atmosphere.

Energy from the sun travels to Earth as electromagnetic waves. It first encounters the atmosphere. Some infrared radiation and most ultraviolet radiation are reflected by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Some of the rays are reflected by clouds, gases, or dust particles. The energy that gets past the atmosphere next encounters Earth’s surface. Some of it is reflected back into the atmosphere, while the rest is absorbed. When the surface is heated, it radiates some of the energy back into the atmosphere as infrared radiation. This radiation cannot escape back into space. Instead, much of it is absorbed by greenhouse gases. These gases, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane make life on Earth possible through this effect. This process by which gases hold heat in the air is called the greenhouse effect.

Energy from the sun enters Earth’s atmosphere, and while some is reflected, some energy gets through. Some of that energy is reflected by the surface, and some is absorbed by the surface. That heats the surface. When heated, it is reemitted back into the atmosphere, and absorbed and kept in by greenhouse gases. This is known as the greenhouse effect.

The most common greenhouse gas is water vapor (H2O). The second most common gas is carbon dioxide. Methane, another greenhouse gas, is 60 times as effective of a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide; a methane molecule absorbs 60 times as much energy as a carbon dioxide molecule. Nitrous oxide, also a greenhouse gas, is 270 times as effective as CO2. This is misleading; neither methane nor nitrous oxide is the biggest cause of the enhanced greenhouse effect. Carbon is .934% of the atmosphere. To be more effective, the gas multiplied by how many more times it is effective has to be greater than the amount of carbon dioxide in atmosphere. Methane is .00002 percent of the atmosphere, and 60 times as effective as CO2. .00002 multiplied by 60 is NOT greater than .934. Neither is .00005 multiplied by 270, how much nitrous oxide there is and how effective of a greenhouse gas it is.
The greenhouse effect is a natural effect. Respiration of plants and animals, volcanic eruptions, decomposition of organic matter, wild fires, and the passing of gas by animals, particularly cows, are all causes of the greenhouse effect. When plants and animals breathe, they release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Volcanic eruptions release methane. All organic matter contains carbon dioxide. When it decomposes, carbon seeps out. Wild fires break down plants and animals, freeing the carbon all at once. Flatulence contains methane, a greenhouse gas 60 times as effective as CO2. These natural causes all release greenhouse gases. But now, because of humans, there are more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, leading to an enhanced greenhouse effect. As human populations have spiked, so has the need for meat. Because of this, there are more and more cows being bred. Cows eat all day. By eating grass, not only are they killing plants that could be taking in carbon dioxide, but also grass makes them release more methane. Another reason for the enhanced greenhouse effect is cars. Cars release huge amounts of CO2. Clear cutting forests and burning fossil fuels like coal also contribute to the enhanced greenhouse effect.

The carbon cycle. Carbon moves along the land, oceans, atmosphere and the planet's interior. Oceans, fossils and fossil fuels, dead organisms, waste products, decaying organism, photosynthesis, respiration, and factory emissions cycle it along.
There are two parts to the carbon cycle. One operates over shorter time scales (days to years), while the other over longer time scales (thousands of years). This cycle takes place as carbon is moved along the land, oceans, atmosphere, and Earth’s interior.

Biology is an important factor in the movement of carbon into and out of the atmosphere. Through photosynthesis, green plants take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and use it to make food. Plants “burn” the food through cellular respiration. Cellular respiration releases the CO2 back into the atmosphere. Once these plants die, they return the carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Sometimes the plants get eaten instead of dieing. The carbon is then released back into the atmosphere through the animal’s respiration. Animals also play a part. During animal respiration, carbon is put in the atmosphere. When animals die, the carbon that was in them is released into the atmosphere. Another example of the short term carbon cycle is seasons.

Photosynthesis and cellular respiration also play a part in the long-term cycling of carbon. Land plants help make soil, leading to the slow removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In the oceans, certain single-celled plants and animals convert carbon into shells made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). When the shelled creatures or plants die, their shells eventually decompose, releasing CO2 back into the cycle. They can find their way out through volcanoes, mid-ocean ridges or other ways. If a plant creates more food than its cellular respiration, organic matter gradually gathers. Over millions of years, this buildup can become coal and oil. The coal and oil sits undergrounds for hundreds or thousands of years. Carbon dioxide is held in plants. Consequently, wild fires or when forests are cleared for farming, carbon is released into the atmosphere. Ocean temperature also plays a part in the carbon cycle. Cold ocean waters remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Cold, downward-moving currents—such as those found in the North Atlantic—absorb carbon and transfer it deep in the ocean. Warm waters cause the surface to release CO2. Upward moving currents—such as those in the tropics—bring carbon dioxide up from the depths and release it into the atmosphere.

Cars have radically changed the carbon cycle. Most cars run on gas, which is created from a fossil fuel, oil. When it is burned for energy, carbon dioxide is released into the air. Essentially, cars take CO2 in the ground and put it in the atmosphere. That creates more work for plants and oceans taking carbon out of the atmosphere.

A long term view: Temperature and carbon dioxide levels of the last 450,000 years worldwide. As can be seen, temperature generally follows the level of carbon. In the top right corner, the current amount of carbon dioxide can be seen. It is at unprecedented levels. The temperature is expected to follow.

A short term view: Carbon dioxide levels of Mauna Loa, Hawaii. Over the last 40 years, carbon dioxide levels have steadily increased.

Climate has changed many times throughout all of history. One cause of this is continental drift. Continents slowly move around the surface of the Earth. Not only does the position of a continent affect its own climate, it affects the whole world. On a global scale, continents can change the currents and routes of oceans and global winds. When continents collide, they sometimes create mountains. These mountains change climate by blocking winds. Another natural cause of climate change is volcanoes. When volcanoes spew out ash and carbon, they strengthen the greenhouse effect. In the early stage of Earth’s history, there were thousands of volcanoes. They had a huge impact on the climate. The sun also has a huge impact on the weather of Earth. The sun doesn’t always produce the same amount of energy, causing the amount of energy in and around the Earth to vary. The variation in solar output is primarily based on cycles of sunspot activity. Sunspots are dark areas of magnetic disturbance on the sun’s exterior. It has been proved that when there are more, bigger sunspots, the sun’s energy output is highest. This occurs about every 11 years. Bolides, such as comets or asteroids, can also have a huge impact on the atmosphere and environment. If one were to fall on land, a dust cloud would rise and possibly block out the sun. Following wildfires caused by the hot temperatures, most creatures would be killed off by the dark bolide winter. Another effect would be the nitric and nitrous acids released. The acids would destroy the ozone layer. The axis of the Earth wobbles, and wobbling can change the climate. It wobbles through a complete revolution every 26,000 years, an event known as the precession of the equinoxes. The angle of the tilt of the axis compared to the plane of orbit also makes a big difference in global weather. When the angle is smaller, sunlight strikes various points on Earth more evenly and seasonal differences are smaller. When the angle is larger, the seasons are more pronounced. Glaciers are more common when the Earth’s tilt is at a smaller angle. The orbit around the sun also is a factor in worldwide climate. When the orbit is more circular, there is less a more equal amount of the levels of solar energy received by different parts of the Earth than when the orbit is elliptical. Additionally, a more elliptical orbit means the summers and winters are longer, and springs and falls are shorter.

As mentioned previously, in the short term, seasons are part of what controls the climate. Also in the short term, photosynthesis and cellular respiration have an effect on short term climate. So does decaying organisms. When organisms decay, they free carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Fossil fuels hold CO2 in the earth. When factories or cars burn them, they release carbon back into the atmosphere. Oceans also play a part. Cold waters absorb CO2 and put it at the bottom of the ocean. Warm waters take CO2 and put it back in the atmosphere.
Climate change in the last 100 years differs from previous climate changes. There has been no asteroid, continents have barely moved, volcanoes are less active now than they were 2 billion years ago, Earth’s orbit and its axis has not varied hugely, and the sun remains in the same pattern it has been going in for billions of years. The major change has been the level of carbon. And it’s caused by humans. Ever since the industrial age, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been spiking. This can be seen on long-term carbon graph. Temperature is also rising. 1996 was the hottest year on record. If nothing is done, the level of carbon may continue increasing. Venus, Earth’s planetary neighbor, is very similar to Earth in size and other attributes. One major difference is the level of carbon. The level of carbon on Venus is 100 times the level it is on Earth. Because of this, Venus is extremely hot. If that happened on Earth, life would be eliminated.

The Industrial Revolution brought new technology to the world, with an expensive price. The machines used since the Industrial Revolution have put massive amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere. Because carbon is a greenhouse gas, when there’s more of it in the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect is stronger. More heat is trapped, and the climate is hotter. This is the enhanced greenhouse effect. Cars and factories are major causes of the enhanced effect. The enhanced greenhouse effect is a stronger, human influenced, greenhouse effect. It is causing global warming.

Global warming is the gradual rise of the temperature on Earth. Greenhouse gases have amassed in the atmosphere. These gases led to the enhanced greenhouse effect, which in turn led to global warming. The effects can already be seen. Recently, a portion of ice the size of Rhode Island broke off Antarctica and melted. Other parts of Antarctica have been melting, as has another one of the world’s biggest ice block: Greenland. 1997 was the hottest year in the world on record. 2006 was hottest year in the United States. Droughts are increasingly common around the world. Global warming is having real and serious consequences.

The Goldilocks principle is the story of three planets: Venus, Earth and Mars. Venus has massive amounts of carbon; 96.5 percent of its atmosphere is carbon dioxide. It has an atmosphere and a greenhouse effect. And because there is so much CO2, the average temperature is 477 degrees Celsius. Without the greenhouse effect, the average temperature would be -46 degrees. Then there’s the Earth. The carbon dioxide is currently .934 percent. The average temperature is 15 degrees. With an enhanced greenhouse effect, the temperature would be 33 degrees higher; a steaming 48 degrees Celsius. Mars is the opposite of Venus. Mars is 95% CO2, but has no atmosphere, therefore no greenhouse effect. Mars’s average temperature is -47 degrees. Without greenhouse gases, the temperature would be -104 degrees Celsius. Earth could end up like either of these planets, but because of global warming, the more likely candidate would be Venus.

Cars are a major contributor to the enhanced greenhouse effect. When burning fossil fuels, they release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. There are a large number of cars already, but the amount is growing. With India and China’s booming economy, additional middle and lower class are buying cars. And it’s not just India and China. Some of the cars that are being bought are less fuel efficient, and most of the less fuel efficient cars are SUVs. Not just thriving in the U.S., they are pumping out CO2 in developing countries too.

Contrary to popular belief, cars and factories are not the only origins of global warming and the enhanced greenhouse effect. Deforestation is another way humans are putting carbon in the atmosphere. When trees are cut down for farming, they slowly decompose and leak carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Sometimes farmers will burn trees to get them out of the way. This puts the CO2 out there even faster. By burning, the CO2 doesn’t seep out, but bursts. Either way a farmer does it, they still get rid of trees. Trees also take carbon dioxide out of the air. Deforestation is doubly harmful. As unlikely as it sounds, cow flatulence is a huge problem. Human population has risen rapidly in the last 100 years, and so has the demand for meat. Extra cows are being bred. The only thing cows do all day is eat. Cows eat grass, which is a green plant. Green plants take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Cows also pass gas a lot. Gas is composed of methane, which is a greenhouse gas. This methane is part of the enhanced greenhouse effect.

- The 2005 estimated U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are 6,008.6 million metric tons.
- The change in carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. since 1990 is 20.4 percent.
- The effects of global warming can already be seen:
- The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years.
- The flow of ice from glaciers in Greenland has more than doubled over the past decade.
- Malaria has spread to higher altitudes in places like the Colombian Andes, 7,000 feet above sea level.
- Most of the United States has already warmed, in some areas by as much as 4 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, no state in the lower 48 states experienced below average temperatures in 2002. The last three five-year periods are the three warmest on record.
- September 2001 to February 2002 was the second driest six-month period on record for the Northeast.
- Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts each got more than double their normal monthly rainfall in June 1998.
- In 2003, extreme heat waves caused more than 20,000 deaths in Europe and more than 1500 deaths in India.
- According to NASA, the polar ice cap is now melting at the alarming rate of nine percent per decade. Arctic ice thickness has decreased 40 percent since the 1960s.
- Global sea level has already risen by four to eight inches in the past century. Scientists' best estimate is that sea level will rise by an additional 19 inches by 2100, and perhaps by as much as 37 inches.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Email to Cafferty File

The Cafferty File, part of The Situation Room on CNN, poses a question every hour The Situation Room is on. This is today's 5:00 question, and a response.
How much do Russian President Vladimir Putin's comments about America's global role matter?

What he actually said isn't very important. It's what his comment says about American influence. Since the Iraq War, America's global influence has steadily decreased. Now even Russia's "president" is standing up to us. Look what the government has left the next generation...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Public Financing System Cap Raise

Just in 2004, George W. Bush was the only candidate (correct that if it’s wrong) that decided not to use the public financing system. In the upcoming presidential race, Mrs. Clinton has already decided to opt out of the system. Most candidates are expected to follow. This outdated system needs to be updated.

Under the current system, candidates must limit total campaign spending of private of private and public funds for all primary elections to about $45 million if they choose to follow the system. The federal government will match up to $250 of an individual’s total contributions to an eligible candidate, up to a maximum of roughly $19 million. In the general election, a campaign may become eligible for of $74 million, as long as the campaign agrees to not accept private contributions.


Most serious contenders this election plan to raise $100,000,000 for the primary, well above the $45,000,000 the Public Financing System allows. Something has to be changed.

There is no question that the $45 million limit must be raised. The question is how much. Many candidates plan to raise $100 million. To be wooed, they need more. In a new law, $125,000,000 should the spending limit for presidential candidates.

As seen with the existing arrangement, the success of a set limit degrades over time. A new limit will have to be dynamic. One possible option is a percent increase over time. Every four years, the limit raises four percent. This is a simple, effective solution. A more precise solution could be a limit based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Starting at $125 million, the cap would vary based on inflation. While more complicated, this takes in account the strength of the dollar.

Either option, one thing has to be recognized: to stop corruption and special interest groups, the cap on fundraising in the Public Financing System has to be changed.


Bad news isn't wine. It doesn't improve with age.

-Colin Powell

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Logical Solution

Another quote from Polite Talk forums:


1) Gay People are overwhelmingly in favor of their right to marry.

2) Gay People would marry other gay people.

3) Regardless of law, non-gay People would marry someone of the opposite sex.


1) Overwhelmingly, people opposed to a right to gay marriage would not choose to marry someone of the same sex.

2) No one who does not wish to marry someone of the same sex could be forced to.

3) A Legal right to gay marriage would have a positive individual effect on those who would exercise that right.

4) A Legal right to gay marriage would have no negative individual effects on those who would choose not to exercise that right.


1) Noting the absence of negative individual effects on detractors, it follows that the reasons for opposing such a right are largely abstract. Examples include varying degrees of religious opposition, and to a lesser extent, the simple desire to impose one's will on others.

2) Noting the overwhelmingbelieff in religion that humans have free will and one's final judgement is made on an individual basis, it follows that regardless of whether or not gay marriage is an abomination or a sin, the judgement of those who choose to exercise that right could in no way affect anyone who don't.

3) Noting the overwhelming belief among people that "I am entitled to equal rights," it follows that the imposition of anyone's will on another constitutes a double standard.


1) Any Religious Judgement is between the individual and his/her God, and therefore no one's business but theirs. Ergot, the validity of religious arguments is dissolved.

2) Hypocrites aside, the overwhelming majority of the people believe fairness and equality of opportunity are the cornerstones of a democracy.


There are two solutions that would make the situation both fair and equal in opportunity:

1) Make it an inalienable legal right for anyone to marry the person of their choice, regardless of gender.


2) Make it a crime for anyone to marry a person to whom he or she is sexually or physically attracted.I say, let them eat (wedding) cake.

Now, conservatives and die-hard believers, please explain why gay marriage is bad.

Monday, February 05, 2007

What Most People Don't Get

His post reminds me of something I heard a couple of months ago by former Muslim
and former PLO terrorist Walid Shoebat. He said that (and I paraphrase): For
Westerners, anything moral or good is anything that tends to enhance or promote
life. Anything immoral or bad is anything that tends to impede or diminish life.

In Islam, morality or goodness is anything that tends to enhance or
promote Islam and the spread of Islam. Anything immoral or bad is anything that
tends to impede or diminish Islam or the spread of Islam.

Very different
philosophies and I don't think too many Americans seem to understand that he is
very correct.

Politetalk Forums: Iraq: Your Solution?

Politetalk forums: Iraq: Your Solution?

The actual Iraq War is over. Much of the battle against insurgents is accomplished. Now our forces are stuck in the middle of a civil war. The insurgents need to be finished off and the civil war ended.

Diplomacy is the key to all of this. The Iraq Study Group was passed over by the "decider" as soon as it came out. Bush needed to show that he was in control, and refuses to listen. He has to learn he can't have everything he wants, especially now that Democrats are in control of Congress. Serious negotiations with Iran and Syria must be immediate and unconditional.

The civil war is mind numbing. If the Iraqis could just get along, everyones lives would be better. This is not possible. At this point, one must decide on whether or not to increase troops (pulling out is not an option). The military is stretched too thin. The troop levels should remain the same; the surge in troops already in Iraq taken out. The troops that remain there should play an advisory role. Embedded in Iraqi units, they would train and aid Iraqi soldiers.

U.S. troops should take an advisory role while the government backs down and tries diplomacy. This is not our war any more. Its the Iraqis.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Temporary Solution: Clean Coal

Cross-posted with Thoughts on Global Warming.

Via CNN: Coal, the clean energy of the future?

Coal contains anywhere from 25 to 90 percent carbon, which combines with oxygen when burned to release energy. This process emits a host of noxious chemicals, such as carbon dioxide, sulfur, nitrogen oxide and mercury. Yet carbon in coal can also be used to strip oxygen from water, producing clean-burning hydrogen gas. FutureGen will liberate hydrogen by heating finely ground coal in a high-pressure, pure-oxygen environment, a process known as gasification and a
turbine will burn the resulting hydrogen gas to produce electricity. As for emissions, the plant will pump the CO2 underground while the other pollutants are converted to an inert solid and buried.

Experts agree that the whole notion of trapping carbon is less a long-term solution and more a good stopgap. "Carbon sequestration you can do for 50 or 100 years," Friedmann says. "You do it until you have other options besides burning coal -- which we kind of don't right now."


Energy Department Teams With Consortium to Build Model 'Clean-Coal' Plant

Clean coal energy is currently the best energy alternative. As discussed previously, ethanol is less efficient than it appears. There’s nothing wrong at all with nuclear power, but much of the public opposes it because of the “danger.” Nuclear power would be and actually is the best alternative energy, but too much of the population believes it has “safety concerns”. Gasoline, obviously, doesn’t work efficiently. Right now, coal is the best energy alternative.

How clean coal works is explained in the article. If you actually read to end, you can see “Experts agree that the whole notion of trapping carbon is less a long-term solution and more a good stopgap.” Right now, humanity needs a stopgap. An experimental fusion reactor is being built. If workable, it could be the new commonly used energy. As ethanol machinery progresses, more machines will be built that use wood chips, tires and other waste instead of corn to produce ethanol. Make no mistake: coal is a temporary solution.

Coming Soon... Part 3: What’s wrong with nuclear power?

More Alternative Energy Series:

Top 5 Reasons Geothermal Energy Works
What's So Special About Hydropower / Hydroelectricity?
Another Look at Nuclear Power: Nuclear Waste
The Wind Power and Solar Power Combination

5 Reasons Solar Power Works
Nuclear Power: Energy of the Future or As Bad As Fossil Fuels
The Temporary Solution: Coal
How Corn Ethanol is Bad

Friday, February 02, 2007

How Corn Ethanol is Bad

Cross posted on Thoughts on Global Warming:

President Bush has been touting ethanol as one of the best, if not the best alternative to gasoline. It doesn’t produce as much carbon dioxide. It can be made in America, using American made\grown resources like corn. That quality is not a bonus, it’s a weakness.

For ethanol to be productive as a fuel, it MUST be made with agricultural waste. By using good corn, you’re being counterproductive. Using corn for ethanol misuses perfectly good food that could be used to feed people. Second, it increases the price of corn. Third, it ravages the soil where it is grown. Fourth, last but definitely not least, it’s not nearly as efficient as politicians would have you think. Corn is grown on farms. Farms don’t pick themselves. Gasoline powered machines fertilize, water and pick the corn plants. The gasoline used drastically lessens the effectiveness of corn ethanol. David Pimentel of Cornell and Tad Patzek of UC, Berkeley, calculate that producing a gallon of corn ethanol consumes 29% more fossil fuel energy than the ethanol saves. Adding to this waste, one has to burn 1.5 gallons of ethanol to go as far as a gallon of gasoline would go.

Coming soon… Part 2: Coal, the clean energy of the future?

More Alternative Energy Series:

Top 5 Reasons Geothermal Energy Works
What's So Special About Hydropower / Hydroelectricity?
Another Look at Nuclear Power: Nuclear Waste
The Wind Power and Solar Power Combination

5 Reasons Solar Power Works
Nuclear Power: Energy of the Future or As Bad As Fossil Fuels
The Temporary Solution: Coal
How Corn Ethanol is Bad

Sister Blog

Thoughts on the World now has a baby sister blog! Some Thoughts on Global Warming posts will also be featured on this blog.