Wednesday, May 02, 2007
"Norfolk Southern's proposed intermodal shipping yard has been a steaming bowl of lima beans in Southwest Virginia's meager economic development buffet. People should know it's good for them, but they cannot bring themselves to spoon the beans onto their plate. For all the benefits the yard would bring, the side effects leave a bad taste."
"The freight yard no one wanted," May 2, 2007
Their intimidation tactics, Al Sharpton (and Joe McCarthy) would be proud, seem to be working. Buried in a story in the Roanoke Times this morning that informs us of the fact that most of the listening public is accepting of Neil Boortz's right to speak his mind (see "Radio stations report little outcry about Boortz") is this troubling bit of foreboding:
Scott Stevens, operations manager for Cumulus NRV, said his company's management may drop the show after getting a letter Tuesday from three members of the House of Delegates.Memo to Mr. Stevens: A right to free speech protections isn't needed until instances like this come up.
Stevens noted that he was so involved in his radio group's own response to the shootings that he hadn't followed Boortz's comments, which are carried on the Radford-based Cumulus station WFNR. A letter from Dels. Jim Shuler, D-Blacksburg; Steve Shannon, D-Fairfax County; and Chuck Caputo, also D-Fairfax County, prompted him to look into what the libertarian radio host said.
"While we do support free speech ... this just went too far," Stevens said.
Of all the people in this country to abandon support for the right to speak freely - without threat of intimidation or censorship - the last person should be a manager of a radio network. But government threats will do that to the weakest amongst us.
All these guys who tell us with straight faces that they support free speech, but ..., Stevens, Shuler, Shannon, and Caputo, should be ashamed of themselves. They do our democracy great harm.
It was long ago. It will never return. Those halcyon days of Woodward and Bernstein garnering praise from around the globe for their development of and reporting on a breathtaking story of White House scandal and intrigue have ended.
Watergate this just ain't never gonna be, try though you might:
Residency Clause Adds Fuel To Dispute Over U.S. AttorneysLet's see a show of hands. How many of you in the newspaper reading public give two squirts about this story?
One Prosecutor Gets an Exemption, Another Gets Fired
By Dan Eggen, Washington Post Staff Writer
On Nov. 10, 2005, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales sent a letter to a federal judge in Montana, assuring him that the U.S. attorney there, William W. Mercer, was not violating federal law by spending most of his time in Washington as a senior Justice Department official.
That same day, Mercer had a GOP Senate staffer insert into a bill a provision that would change the rules so that federal prosecutors could live outside their districts to serve in other jobs, according to documents and interviews. (link)
Back to that memo:
Give it up, fellas. Unless you can bring Richard Nixon and G. Gordon Liddy into it, oh and John Dean's wife who was really hot, this isn't going anywhere.
Warming and Doubt"... never does."
If the skeptics were correct, then over time the evidence would accumulate in their favor. The anthropogenic thesis would collapse under the weight of newly discovered contradictory facts. But where is the new evidence to support the skeptics' side of the argument?
Doubt is essential to science: A theory holds up only so long as the empirical evidence supports it, and scientists must be open to the possibility that someday the evidence could prove any particular theory wrong. At that moment, out the window it goes. In recent years apparent breakthroughs in cold fusion and stem-cell research quickly proved to be hoaxes, for instance.
But that openness, that doubt, is not itself evidence that a theory is false. If the contradictory evidence never turns up, then science accepts the theory as at least provisionally true.
In the debate over global warming, one side keeps cranking out more data and studies while the other side never does. (link)
These guys have seen no new data to the contrary. Therefore there is no new data.
If only they'd pick up a newspaper every now and then.
From National Geographic News just three months ago:
Then there's this from the Times of London that came out at about the same time:
Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming, Scientist Says
Kate Ravilious, for National Geographic News
February 28, 2007
Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet's recent climate changes have a natural—and not a human-induced—cause, according to one scientist's controversial theory.
Earth is currently experiencing rapid warming, which the vast majority of climate scientists says is due to humans pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.
In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row. (source)
‘Blame cosmic rays not CO2 for warming up the planet’Then there's the study brought out in March in a British documentary that had previously been released by University of Ottawa paleontologist Ian Clark. His research shows there to be linkage between global warming and activity taking place on the Sun.
Lewis Smith, Times Environment Reporter
The impact of cosmic rays on the climate could be greater than scientists suspect after experiments showed they may have a pivotal role in cloud formation.
Researchers have managed to replicate the effect of cosmic rays on the aerosols in the atmosphere that help to create clouds. Henrik Svensmark, a weather scientist in Denmark, said the experiments suggested that man’s influence on global warming might be rather less than was supposed by the bulk of scientific opinion.
Cosmic rays — radiation, or particles of energy, from stars, which bombard the Earth — can create electrically charged ions in the atmosphere that act as a magnet for water vapour, causing clouds to form.
Dr Svensmark suggests that the Sun, at a historically high level of activity, is deflecting many of the cosmic rays away from Earth and thus reducing the cloud cover. (source)
I could go on. The studies that show warming periods that took place in the past here on Earth to have regularly preceded CO2 increases in the atmosphere. And the studies that show most of the current warming trend to have occurred before 1940. On and on.
So. Guys. Because you don't know it (intentionally?) doesn't mean the studies aren't out there. Pick up a paper. Enlighten yourselves.
The same Syria that loves Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi. How shameful is this:
Syrians bolstered by visit of 'good American' PelosiNancy Pelosi warmed the hearts of those who are assassinating our loved ones in Baghdad.
By Betsy Pisik, The Washington Times
Damascus, Syria -- The second most popular politician in Syria these days may be an American: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The California Democrat warmed Syrian hearts with her trip last month to Damascus, an event that people still share with visiting Americans as conversational currency. (link)
There was a time not long ago that she would have been shot as a traitor to her country. Today she is revered by her Democratic Party following.
Says a lot about who our enemies are.
Pet Food Chemical Unlikely to Pose Threat to Humans, Experts Say, as U.S. Continues InquiryUnlikely to pose a threat to humans? You obviously haven't talked to the right people.
By Donald G. McNeil, Jr., The New York Times
Toxicologists monitoring the American food supply for traces of melamine after it was found in imported ingredients in the contaminated pet food that has killed at least 16 dogs and cats and sickened thousands of others said yesterday that even if there were small amounts of it in the American food supply, it would be unlikely to pose much of a threat to humans.
Sampling thus far by the Food and Drug Administration for melamine, which has also been detected in chicken feed on some farms in Indiana, has not turned up the chemical in food meant for humans, and the trace amounts found in some poultry feed — and hog feed — would presumably be excreted or broken down by the animals before they were slaughtered, scientists and federal officials said. (link)
I was watching a news segment on some local TV channel the other day on this subject, with the piece having been put together by a reporter for their parent network (CBS, NBC ... I don't know, they're all the same). I turned to Paula and said: Watch, they'll interview someone from the group, Center for Science in the Public Interest. They, you may recall, are the whackjobs who always crawl out of the woodwork to provide interviews whenever our food delivery system is to be attacked by the mainstream press.
Most memorably, this was the group that did their best to doom those fat-free potato chips several years ago (remember olestra?), convincing millions that the artificial fat substitute in the chips caused everything from diarrhea and cramps to cancer and heart disease. Potato chips.
This is the same bunch that has been warning us of the dangers of genetically engineered foods for years now, even though hundreds of millions of people have been eating millions of tons of them and not one person has sufffered for having done it.
Anyway, sure enough, there appeared on the TV some gal (probably a "doctor") representing the CSPI talking about the dangers of melamine, the additive found in the pet food, to humans and what this pet food problem might mean to the future of mankind.
How predictable. How pathetic.
16 cats have died of kidney failure. We are witnessing the end of life as we know it.
True to form, the Washington Post fans the flames of fear this morning as well.
Giuliani’s Tie to Texas Law Firm May Pose RiskOh woe. What to do? This means Rudy is in peril of losing the support of all those liberal Democrats who were lining up behind him. All six of them.
By Russ Buettner, The New York Times
Mr. Giuliani has drawn support from Texans who were notable donors to President Bush, including a former Enron president, Richard D. Kinder, and business executives who direct many of the nation’s oil, gas and energy producers.
And a good part of this success, analysts say, stems from his affiliation with a well-established and politically connected law firm that is based in Houston and bears his name, Bracewell & Giuliani.
That affiliation adds to Mr. Giuliani’s personal wealth but also could pose political risks for him. The firm is perhaps the nation’s most aggressive lobbyist for coal-fired power plants, heavy emitters of air pollutants and carbon dioxide, a gas associated with global warming. Environmentalists say the firm played a significant role in persuading the Bush administration to roll back major provisions of the Clean Air Act. (link)
The fully anticipated (non)news:
Bush Vetoes Bill Tying Iraq Funds to ExitTo show just how irresponsible this gang is, their leadership took the time yesterday to hold a signing ceremony of their own. The signing of a conference report. What?
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Washington, May 1 — President Bush vetoed a $124 billion war spending bill on Tuesday, setting up a second round in his long battle with Congressional Democrats who are determined to use the financing measure to force the White House to shift course in Iraq.
The veto was only the second of Mr. Bush’s presidency. In a six-minute televised speech from the White House, the president called the measure a “prescription for chaos and confusion,” and said, as he has for weeks, that he could not sign it because it contained timetables for troop withdrawal.
“Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible,” Mr. Bush said. (link)
Photo courtesy of Yuri Gripas/Reuters