Monday, April 23, 2007
She's got a point.
Ever notice how quick the media elites are to jump on us common folk? The VT shootings are a prime example. Even before the ambulances have finished moving the injured and killed, they start the arm waiving on how the 2nd Amendment is the root of all evil and that the rights and responsibilities if affords us as citizens are ones we can't be trusted with.
Megan McArdle gets it about right in sub'ing for Andrew Sullivan.
"[Megan] In the wake of the Virginia tech murders, there has been a lot of editorialising about gun control and mental health interventions. But I haven't found a single editorial addressing one factor we know creates these mass murders: reporting on the mass murders."
I couldn't agree more. What the shooter wanted was the media infamy and NBC gave it to him on a silver platter. NBC's quest for ratings trumped any responsibility to the public they may have under the first amendment, and just a few days later we get another shooter in Houston. So we get a lenghty discussion on curbing my and millions of others liberty without any discussion on how NBC's self restrain could help prevent future shooting sprees.
She's Joking Right?
This has not been a good weekend for the so-called environmental movement. First I had to wade through the Forest killing, wild-eyed irony of the Vanity Fair Green Issue (see below) and now all sorts of crazy reports in the Post on some of the grand plans of the new green dynamic duo of Sheryl (read Cherl) Crow and Laurie David.
Here's some highlights on from the Post from their blog:
Crow: I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required.
(Elephant: I'll do this one better. In South East Asia they don't use toilet paper, but rather have a bucket of water near the squat-hole. You use your hand and the water to clean you behind. This is why you NEVER offer out your left hand in South East Asia...it's your poop hand.)
Crow: I also like the idea of not using paper napkins, which happen to be made from virgin wood and represent the height of wastefulness. I have designed a clothing line that has what's called a "dining sleeve." The sleeve is detachable and can be replaced with another "dining sleeve," after usage. The design will offer the "diner" the convenience of wiping his mouth on his sleeve rather than throwing out yet another barely used paper product. I think this idea could also translate quite well to those suffering with an annoying head cold.
I'm pretty sure that last one is a joke right? The Napkin sleeve? I mean surely she jests? And one square?! Lord!
This weekend I saw a commercial from Walmart encouraging all of their customers to buy just one compact fluorescent bulb. If we all did (I currently have 10 installed at home) it would be as if we took 1,000,000 cars off the road. In the end, the evil Walmart will likely do more to cut emissions this year than all of the environmental organizations combined.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Vanity Fair's Green Excressence..
Preparing for my flight yesterday, I decided to pick up a copy of Vanity Fair's 2nd Annual Green Issue. I confess that the main attraction was a picture of Knute the polar bear (photo-shopped onto the cover and gazing hopefully at his environmental savior Leonardo DiCaprio). I admit I do, from time to time, enjoy indulging in the self-absorbed excesses of Graydon Carter's megalomania...if only to look for faint echoes Spy Magazine irrelevance. But the depth of self-absorption, corporate bashing and loppsided hysteria found in this Green Issue left me enranged enough to finish off torching the amazon by myself.
Keep in my that I'm no SUV driving, electricity burning, chemical spewing denailist. I take mass transit to work daily. I installed a programable variable thermostat, and have begun replacing my incandesant bulbs with more efficient compact flourscent ones (while closely watching developments in the LED areana). I'm contemplating upgrading my furnace to gain a few more percentage points of efficiency and I'm now buying free-range, humane raised meats and looking at participating in buying a share of a local farmers co-op for fresh summer vegetables. You'd think I'd have less of a tin ear for the claptrap filling the pages of VF.
Let's start with an article titled A Convenient Truth. It's a "scathing" profile of climate change denialist and corporate man-whore Myron Ebell. Best as I can tell, Myron is a professional skeptic who works for the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The think tank that brought us those laughable commercials on CO2 (They call it pollution, We call it Life!). The article informs me that Mr. Ebell's employer CEI has taken money from Exxon-Mobile. A fact the author reminds me of that more than 22 times. Granted, Mr Ebell sounds like a total tool. But is his interest any less bought and sold than the environmental groups that offer me the chance to buy my carbon offset indulgences to fund their hysteria machines?
And this group of some thousand experts at the UN? I'd like some more information there please? After all this is the same UN the puts Iran, Lybia, Sudan and other countries into leadership positions on UN Human Rights councils. The experts pronouncements ushering in a new age of neo-malthusian panic akin the righteous certainty Erlich's The Population Bomb or the fears of a coming Ice Age just some 30 years ago.
What is it about the obnoxious questions put forward by Ebell and CEI that so ruffle the feathers of the Climate Change Elite that, despite there "near certainty" of the data and the "wide spread" concensus among 1,000s of unamed experts that requires his containment?
Could it be that underlying Ebell's fingers to the eye is a subtext of doubt?
An attempt at humbling the malthusian tendencies and perhaps suggesting that, while we should take some actions, it's not yet time for the hair shirts and self flagellation?
Who knows. But the author's understanding of Ebell's sins is only matched by the fervor of the minister in A Scarlett Letter. And I'm sure that he offsets his Volvo V8 driving, the house in Mantuak and those dinners at Nobu by funding green interships for RFK Jr. And other Kennedy prodgeny.
Needing something a little lighter to read, I decided to skip the article on Leonardo Di Caorio's upcoming environmental documentary. Although the article is peppered with photos of Leo draped over varios hunks of ice (in Iceland!) courtesy of Annie Leibotwitz. (I'm sure that they've both "offset" the carbon emmissions from that trip) Again, celebrities who own multiple mansions, dozens of gas guzzilng luxury cars and have carbon footprints the size of Texas really don't have anything to teach me on planetary stewardship or moderation.
Unfortunately, that left me to thumb through the beautifully shot, but entirely too serious photo spread of "Global Citizens". I learn that Julia Louis Dreyfuss drives a hybrid car and is committed to turn her beach house in Santa Barbara into a show case of green technology. Good for her! (wouldn't it be nice to hear about celebrities who downsized their beach mansions and lived simply by...I don't know...having one house?!) There pages and pages of serious looking, important IMPORTANT! People who have a host of ideas on how best I should live. I'm sure a few of them may actually even take their own advice.
Of course the coup de grace is the article on Prince Charles and his efforts to help educate the masses on how to live in harmony with the environment. You know the advice on simple living that one achieves through the ownwership of several castles. By the way what is the carbon footprint of Buckingham Palace? Highgrove? And Windsor Castle?
Then there is this paragraph from an article titled An Ecosoystem of One's Own:
More than half of this (electric) grid is powered by coal-fired plants, which account for 40 percent of our national output of greenhouse gases. With their emmissions regulations gutted by the current administration, power plants belch carbon dioxide, mercury, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide, an active ingredient of both acid rain ans smog. Some of this pollution is drifting all the way up to the Arctic and poisoning fish, ringed seals, polar bears, and pregnant Inuit Women.
What's lost among the carcasses of sooty polar bears and inuit women is the fact emissions from coal fall each year even as the electricy geberated by coal continues to grow. By some accounts emissions have fallen by close to 36 percent. And of course not a mention of how the air we breath today is cleaner than anytime since the 1600s. And the rules the Bush administration "gutted"? They were never inforce.
There's a lot we can and should be doing about C02. But it somehow seems both obscene and ironic that I can read of this coming appoloypse while enjoying titilating photos of celebrities with baby polar bears and puruse ads to $50,000 watches, $100,000 cars and the lost photos of the VF Oscar party.
Seriously, can't we have a rational discussion on climate change and mitigation without having to deal with delusional celebrities or oil company man whores? When we do, give me a call. Until then I'll be making small sustainable changes for more efficient living. If I read any more of this compost, I may just go out and buy a Hummer SUV.
My first sacrifice will be to drop my copy of the VF Green issue in the nearest recycling bin rather than the nearest toilet where it belongs.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
The Fog Lifts
So as the fog lifts and more facts are uncovered about the VT shooter. It seems the root cause of the tragedy is a story of mental illness and our failure to see multiple warning signs than it is a story of gun control. I hope it sparks a debate on how best to address how to protect the freedoms of those suffering from mental illness and the balance of that freedom against the need to protect the public at large. It seems in this case, we all failed.
Gonzales v. Carhart
Seems the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a limited ban on certain kind of mid-to-late term abortion procedure. Is this the beginning of the end of abortion rights or merely the debate entering a new phase of debate.
Ultimately I think the court will over turn Roe. Without commenting on whether or not they should, the imposition of Roe and its absolute sway for more than forty years has served to radicalize both sides of the reproductive rights debate and suppressed the possibility of finding a consensus. The pro-choicers cry is for "Free Abortion on Demand!" and the pro-lifers call is for a ban on all abortions (and probably all contraception too). Most of us don't fall into either of those camps.
That being said, if I were I women, I certainly would rather have a person in a white robe make decisions on the appropriate procedure related to my pregnancy than say a judge or worse yet, a Congressman.
Roe allows for restrictions on abortion access in the later stages of pregnancy, so a quick read of this decision does not put in at odds with Roe precedent nor does it chip away at Roe. It has only been in application that the rights granted by Roe have been made absolute. But clearly a shift in tenor of the court. So the pendulum begins its reverse arc. It will be interesting to see where it stops.
I'll read the case on the plane today, back with more thoughts later....
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
It's travel time for work again. I'll be on the road tomorrow through the end of the month. I'm heading out to SLC for a meeting with a commission that drafts uniform model laws on a variety of topics. (How fun does that sound?! SLC and discussions of model laws?!) Then it's off to Las Vegas for my organization's annual meeting. So, blogging may be intermitent.
Back in graduate school* I wrote a rather lengthy treatise on using congestion pricing and other economic tools as a traffic management scheme. My paper focused on several theoretical studies done at the time and a pilot program then in effect in Singapore. This was back in 1993 or so.
Today we see these schemes popping up all over. Now Virginia is looking at such toll lanes. I think it is a great idea and one that could also help curb C02 emissions by capturing the external costs of rush hour traffic. You want to fly down I-395 during the morning rush hour? Be prepared to pay for it.
Oh, my professor gave me a C on the paper, her main beef was that such systems would never work and would never be implemented.
*One would think that after attending some graduate school and law school I'd be a better writer and proofer. But this a blog so I'll just call it poetic license.
Jane Galt is filling in at AndrewSullivan.com and pretty much sums up m feelings on all of this.
And a shout out to Governor Kane.
Monday, April 16, 2007
I'm speechless. I feel like someone has knocked the wind out of me. The cold and dreary weather here in DC embodies the dark, cold evil that visited the students of Virginia Tech. Let's reflect, grieve and let the facts reveal themselves. When we've had time to wrap our minds around this, then it will be the right time to discuss the why, and how..
It's too much to watch the talking heads breathlessly report on the carnage (with a gleam in their eye) then frivolously shift to uniformed and trite ‘analysis’. I'm reserving my energy, my thoughts and my prayers for the victims and their families.
Rather than spend all this money on putting on simultaneous concerts around the world to promote awareness of global warming, and all the electricity and transport they will require, why not just spend all those millions on buying folks around the world one or two compact florescent lights for their home?
My bet is that that would have a bigger impact on carbon emissions than all that celebrity hot air. And who isn't aware of global warming?
The Corner Office
Hey wait! I have a corner office and a phat VP title, but I don't get any of this. In fact, it seems many bus drivers here in DC make more money than I do.
Frankly the "Big Nor'Easter" that rolled up the coast this weeked was sort of a dissapointment. It did bring some much needed rain (3 inches or so), but it failed to live up to the apocolyptic hype of the local media. But doesn't it always?...
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Great Moments in Marketing
On sale now!
Saw this new product on the self at my local grocery store. Cock Flavoured Soup (Spicy!).
$0.47 a "package".
Labels: Processed Food
Passenger Bill of Rights
Wow, it's sort of like choosing between Imus and Sharton. Two undesirable outcomes.
Passenger advocates are pushing for a so-called "Passenger Bill of Rights" getting the government more involved in airline business decisions. U.S. based airlines, with their horrendous service are on the other side. Can't say I sympathize with the generally poor service you get on airlines these days (but flying is so inexpensive) and I really think it is unexcuseable for an airline to keep passengers on the runway for 9 hours.
The only thing worse than the status quo would be greater government intervention. As a consumer I have the ultimate "Bill of Rights", I can choose not to fly Jetblue or whom ever has the worst service...that is the best way to get things turned around.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Global Climate Change
If you want me to be concerned about global climate change, then please stop having carbon spewing celebrities lecture me about it and put on sham concerts to 'raise awareness' of this issue.
A Very Small Tent
A great article about the current crop of GOP Presidential contenders, Bush's reverse Midas Touch and the social conservatives. Bottom line the litmus tests are so many, the orthodoxy so prevalent that Ronald Reagan himself couldn't get the nomination. Ann Coulter would probably call him a "Hollywood F@g" anyway.
Money Quote: "Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, said the party’s presidential candidates were being whipsawed as they tried to appeal to conservative voters who have a history of strong views on issues like abortion and gay rights. “These tests are destroying the Republican Party,” Mr. Simpson said.
Of course we can't underestimate the GOP's secret weapon for retaining power...Democrats inability to nominate an electable candidate.
Labels: The New GOP
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
The Ten Commandments
The Easter/Passover Season means one important television event. Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments. Probably one of the best movies ever! Like a fine wine, it gets better and better each year. Some of my favorite scenes are 1) Mosses comes down from seeing God on the mountain and has frosted hair. 2) Three words..."Moses! Moses! Moses!", 3) Lilly Munster as Mosses's wife Sephora and so much more!
Now this classic has been re-imagined as an 80s teen drama! Enjoy!
Oh Brave New World!
Some one has invented teen repellent! Can my hover car be far behind?
I hope they've planned for the insurgency.
Iconic Product of the 00's
Wow, more than 100,000,000 iPods sold. And of course I'm a sucker for any new flavor they put out. Better yet, Apple's deal with EMI will allow me to purchase DRM free music...hurray!
But of course we're not listening to him anymore. You're doing a heck of a job Pedro.
Monday, April 09, 2007
That Sinking Feeling
Much has been made of how rising sea levels will inundate many islands in the South Pacific. Seems the Solomon Islands decided to fight back!
Three Trees for Jesus
Woke up to a dusting of snow, SNOW! on Saturday. Bummer as I also had three trees delivered from the very awesome Merrifield Garden Center. Got two Dogwoods and an Elm for the back yard. Ended up planting them on Sunday, which being the ultimate day of renewal and rebirth, seemed appropriate. Pics when the leaves pop!
Good Friday on Capitol Hill
On Friday, I had to make a quick run to the House and Senate Offices to drop off some information for some key members. No appointments, rather the "Pop In" to leave some information to counter some particularly interesting critics of my industry. Anyway, while I was up there I noticed something I found interesting.
There appeared to be more GOP offices open than Democratic ones.
Just sort of odd that the party the claims to be the party of traditional Judeo-Christian values would force their employees to work on the most somber day of the Christian calendar. Anyway, nothing scientific, but something that struck me as odd.
A couple of reports out of Michigan aren't doing much to lift my spirits on the future of my home state. First is this report that, although struggling with a nearly $1 billion dollar budget deficit, the state Dems are proposing to buy each and every kid in the public schools an iPod. Of course a tax increase will be needed to accomplish this 'visionary' plan.
Next comes news that yet another jewel of Michigan's economy may be bought out. Drudge reports that Dow is the subject of a hostel take over. That follows the loss of K-Mart, Home Depot, Chrysler and the ongoing struggles of GM and Ford. Just how bad are things in Michigan? Bad enough that my eldest brother and his family are actively considering moving to the Carolinas. I left more than 14 years ago, my folks are only part year residents and my younger brother and his wife (both nurses) could leave at any time. My family has been in Michigan since it was a territory. Within the next year or so, all of them could easily be living in other states.
Too bad. The public school system is world class. That and the public universities in the state gave me an education that allows me to compete with the best and brightest. No opportunities to stay in the state however and it looks like there will be even fewer.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Some info about my 'hood - Brookland!
Televions news has been the equivalent of dogs F'cking for quite a few years now. Putting on anything that gets the basest of a rise out of people. Nacy Grace, Lou Dobbs, Tucker Carlson and Bill O'Reilly. But perhaps things have devolved to the point where they are now interesting again.
I know, I know, it's no Sanjaya, but a good indicia of the state of American Journalism.
Mixed Message Defined
Part of the reason I haven't been blogging too much of late is that the world has gotten so complicated. Take this week for example. Nancy Pelosi makes a stop in Damascus to talk to the local thugocracy. She is accues of sending "mixed messages" and perhaps committing a felony.
George Bush makes it a policy of the United States to abduct Canadians and put them on private jets to Syria to be tourtured. No mixed message there! No felony either I suppose.
This is why every day I am so thankful that George Bush is my President and don't for a minute miss the 'moral relativism' of the Clinton years.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
It Must Be Train Week
Sometimes they get it right.
FCC says 'no' to cellphones on planes. Of couse when the plane lands we still get to hear a chorus of, "Hi Carol, we've landed but we aren't at the gate yet."
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
All Systems Go!
I can't believe I haven't posted anything since February. But perhaps that's because I've been knee deep in wrestling with all the new and positive developments here in DC.
Unfortunately those developments aren't political. DC is still the same old swamp that it has been for close to eight years. It boggles my mind that the GOP can impeach Clinton for perjury and turns a blind eye to a host of actionable constitutional mischief by Bush and his cronies. But that too shall pass.
Perhaps part of why I haven't been on the blog bandwagon for a while is that I'm just too tired of all the dogma on the left and right. I've been trying to focus on what I have in common with others rather than what divides us. My positive approach seems to be paying some Karmic dividends as must of the corners of my life seem to be firing on all cylinders. My new job is amazingly challenging and fun (I may even get to go on a delegation to China!). My personal life and friends are enriching (and challenging too!)
What a nice salve after 2006 which seemed to be a year of change for me and many of my friends and colleagues. But we all seem to have found new direction in 2007