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Monday, December 20, 2010

An All-Consuming Mystery

Did you ever wonder where Jimmy Hoffa spends his time these days?  Did you ever dream of solving the mystery surrounding his disappearance?  Did it consume your every waking moment?  Not to mention your entire worldly wealth?

I sure hope not.

So take your attitude toward the Jimmy Hoffa saga, magnify it by a factor of one million, and you have become one of those poor souls who flies halfway around the world, digs up a bone fragment, and thinks it might be Amelia Earhart.

For the love of God:
Amelia Earhart's final resting place?
By Alan Boyle, MSNBC

Newly reported evidence adds support to the claim that famed aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, spent the last days of their lives on Nikumaroro Island in the southwest Pacific Ocean, seen here from more than 400 miles up.

Since the 1980s, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, or TIGHAR, has been engaged in a search effort called The Earhart Project. TIGHAR focused on Nikumaroro Island and commissioned the satellite photo in 2001. The uninhabited coral atoll, part of the Pacific island republic of Kiribati, is about 300 miles southeast of Howland Island, the place Earhart was trying to get to when she and Noonan disappeared.

Now TIGHAR says it has recovered bone fragments from a remote area of Nikumaroro that may have come from a human. DNA tests to be conducted in Oklahoma could confirm whether the bones were indeed of human origin or instead came from a sea turtle. There's even a chance the bones could be genetically linked to Earhart. Other artifacts found on the island — including bits of rouge, a broken mirror from a woman's compact and bottles with melted bottoms — support the view that Earhart and Noonan could have lived there for a while as castaways. [link]
I'm thinking it's probably a bone from Bigfoot's big foot.

So these archaeologists (?) find a bone and some trash and they leap to the conclusion that the bone might be human and that, therefore, it might belong to Amelia Earhart, and that the trash might very well have been hers.

I feel sorry for these poor researchers.  How pathetic their lives must be.  I hope for their sakes that the bone fragment is hers.  May they then rest in peace.

The odds, however ...

Ah, Yes. Global Warming.

Winter starts tomorrow.  And I haven't seen my lawn in two weeks.  Because of all the snow that's on the ground.  Snow that came down in autumn.  And won't go away because temperatures here just refuse to go above freezing.  In autumn.  And more snow is predicted to fall here tomorrow.  The first day of winter.  Snow that won't go away, if this year is anything like last year, for another three months.

It's enough to make one look longingly at a noose.

So let's look back on predictions made by the world's most intelligent human beings - the environmentalists - and try to brighten our day.  Charles Onians, March, 2000:
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
UK Independent

Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said. [link]
Of course, no sooner was that prediction made than the entire British Isles were blanketed with snow.  God's way of demonstrating the fact that environmentalists are boobs.  And to go along with that, He has seen to it that Britain has been setting record low temperatures in recent weeks.

Kinda makes a good Brit wish those environmentalists knew what they were talking about, no?  (And to not defy God, I'm thinking.)

So here in Bland, Virginia, where the temperature never got above 20° F. yesterday (with the same predicted for today), we're looking at the prospect of another long, harsh, bitterly cold winter.  Oh, if only we were as smart as those environmentalists, we'd know how to make this bad dream go away.

Alternative Energy? Only In Their Dreams

As much as we'd all like to see some renewable, sustainable - and cheap - alternative to petroleum and coal, they're just not out there.  None that can stand on their own without massive government support anyway.  And with the government being flat broke, what to do?

Well, if you're a Democrat, you keep throwing billions at losing propositions and ignore the pending bankruptcy of the United States of America:
The Wind Subsidy Bubble
Wall Street Journal editorial

Ethanol isn't the only heavily subsidized energy source that won a multibillion dollar jackpot in last week's tax deal. The other big winner was the wind industry, which received a one year extension of a $3 billion grant program for renewable energy projects.

Talk about throwing good money after bad. Despite more than $30 billion in subsidies for "clean energy" in the 2009 stimulus bill, Big Wind still can't make it in the marketplace. Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, had warned that without last week's extension of the federal 1603 investment credit, the outlook for the wind industry would be "flatline or down." Some 20,000 wind energy jobs, about one-quarter of the industry's total, could have been lost, the wind lobby concedes. For most industries that would be an admission of failure, but in Washington this kind of forecast is used to justify more subsidies.

But what have these subsidies bought taxpayers? According to AWEA, in the first half of 2010 wind power installations "dropped by 57% and 71% from 2008 and 2009 levels." In the third quarter, the industry says it "added just 395 megawatts (MW) of wind-powered electric generating capacity," making it the lowest quarter since 2007. New wind installations are down 72% from last year to their lowest level since 2006. And this is supposed to be the miracle electricity source of the future?

The coal industry, which Mr. Obama's Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department have done everything possible to curtail, added almost three times more to the nation's electric power capacity in the first nine months of 2010 (39%) than did wind (14%), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

According to an analysis by Chris Horner, an energy expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the stimulus bill's subsidies for renewable energy cost taxpayers about $475,000 for every job generated. That's at least four times what it costs a nonsubsidized private firm to create a job—a lousy return on investment even for government.

The wind industry claims to employ 85,000 Americans. That's almost certainly an exaggeration, but if it is true it compares with roughly 140,000 miners and others directly employed by the coal industry. Wind accounts for a little more than 1% of electricity generation and coal almost 50%. So it takes at least 25 times more workers to produce a kilowatt of electricity from wind as from coal.

Given this level of inefficiency, it's no wonder that wind and solar energy require at least 20 times more in government subsidies per unit of electricity generated than the average for coal and natural gas, according to a 2007 study by the Energy Information Administration. [link] [emphasis mine]
I'm reminded of a letter to the Roanoke Times that appeared yesterday from a political science major at Virginia Tech (what ever happened to that old adage - children should be seen and not heard?) who decried the state of the economy here in the U.S. and then proceeded to tell us that we needed to get behind "green" energy in order to turn things around (remember: he's majoring in political science and not economics).  Because coal and oil are smelly, dirty and damaging to the environment and, therefore, bad for the economy.  The rationale was so stupid that I didn't even bother to bring it to the weblog.  I just flushed it and moved on.

Which goes for wind (and solar) energy too.  If they aren't going to be legitimate competitors to coal, then we need to flush them and move on.  We can no longer afford to play games that exist only to make us feel good about ourselves.  WE'RE BROKE.

My Sentiments Exactly

Former Governor George Allen on illegal immigration and James Webb's support of it:
If the government rewards illegal behavior, we will encourage more illegal behavior. The so-called “Dream Act” being pushed by Washington liberals like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Leader Harry Reid, and Senators Durbin and Kerry is a flawed piece of legislation that rewards illegal behavior with benefits paid for by taxpayers. It is unfortunate that Senator Jim Webb chose to put the political interests of his liberal colleagues before the valid concerns of Virginians.

As the son of a legal immigrant, I believe in the American dream where immigrants legally come to these shores to seek religious, economic and political freedom. I strongly oppose rewarding illegal behavior through amnesty and believe our first priority needs to be securing our borders.

As Senator, I supported numerous measures to enhance border security, to ensure that felons and criminals are not given citizenship, to protect the integrity of Social Security, to establish English as the official language of the United States, while also working to encourage legal immigration to attract the best and brightest to the United States. We need to be serious in addressing illegal immigration, and once again, Congress is choosing politics over sound policy. [received via email]
Regardless what Reid and Webb might think about illegals being future voters, illegals are here defying our laws and mocking our way of life. They need to be sent home. And those in the Democratic Party who support their illegal activity need to be driven from office.