Tuesday, July 31, 2012

BIG BROTHER Rides Again!

Not long ago, New York City Mayor/Billionaire Bloomberg decided that people need to be told how to live longer, be healthier, be happier, probably, and be all around free from everything bad, which will, of course, make every city and town free from everything bad. The mayor has already decided that people in the Big Apple eat too much salt and has taken steps to stop that bad habit. Restaurants…look out, since even Bloomberg hasn’t yet figured out how to monitor salt intake in residential kitchens and dining rooms!

Bloomberg has come up with a plan to engage the cities by offering millions in awards to cities that come up with the best ideas regarding how to establish Utopia. Most ideas about anything are worthless, of course, because they conflict with other ideas, but maybe the mayor is on to something…a sort of Idea Commission that will settle the matter of how to make everything perfect.

Actually, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (or some such agency) has already started the ball rolling on the federal level. Probably the “idea” came from Head Czar Sunstein and involves school-lunch examiners/regulators whose job is to make spot-checks in schools and make on-the-spot corrections when it’s discovered that some mom has erred grievously in the preparation of her child’s lunch.

The recent North Carolina case comes to mind. The federal examiner pronounced a private lunch unfit (had only fruit and stuff like that) and mandated that the child eat three (count ’em) chicken fingers in order for her life not to be threatened by a lack of white meat. It happened…you can’t make up this stuff. It’s part of Obama’s CHANGE, like the skyrocketing electricity rates he promised.

This matter was taken seriously by columnist Tom Eblen of the Lexington [Ky.] Herald-Leader, who gave this as his suggestion on 27 July: “Set a goal to make Lexington the nation's healthiest city through better nutrition and more exercise.” How’s that for originality? Actually, cities usually neither eat nor do aerobics but…okay…that’s semantic nitpicking gone amok, totally unfair.

Eating salads and at least walking a proper distance every day are nothing new. As far as the health conditions of the people of Lexington are concerned, Eblen could have suggested that all trucks be kept off city streets because they fill the air with multi-carcinogens. Ditto for those diesel-fumes-emitting locomotives that thunder through town. Naw, the H-L will opt instead for a smoke-free outdoors – no tobacco fumes, never mind that all the smokers in Lexington in their entire lifetimes could not put as much carcinogens in the air as the trucks and trains do in one hour.

The Bloomberg lunacy is reflective of the “Big Brother” philosophy that drives the nation now – both political parties sharing the blame. Bloomberg’s latest dreamed-up “regulation” is that hospitals should deny formula to babies whose mothers take a dim view of breast-feeding. Okay, the experts say that breast-feeding is best, but it’s sometimes hard to do on the job. Rosie the Riveter (not to mention her baby) might find breast-feeding disconcerting. One wonders when groceries in NYC will have to sell formula on the black market.

Mayors do have responsibilities in keeping their cities safe, however, as seen in Chicago Mayor Emanuel’s assertion the other day that Chic-fil-A should have no restaurants in the Windy City because that outfit doesn’t observe Chicago’s VALUES. This is the mayor of the current U.S. murder-capital, who suggested to the gang-bangers recently that they shoot each other in the alleys and not on the streets, lest innocent children be caught in the cross-fire. Now…that’s a real VALUE! Perhaps Rahm should invite back Barack, his old boss and fellow Chicagoan, to organize the community, his specialty.

One supposes that Chic-fil-A could be dangerous in Lexington, given that, as Eblen noted, Lexingtonians are among the most sedentary, non-exercising, and therefore unhealthiest people in the country. He doubtlessly views fried chicken as a lethal force, though one suspects it might be dangerous only if one of the thousands of couch-potatoes should partake of 50 grilled-chicken sandwiches in a single sitting.

The point is moot, however, since the rap on Chik-fil-A is operative not because of its food but because its CEO claimed that marriage (actually the only possible arrangement) should be between a man and woman, as so states the laws and/or constitutions of most of the states, including the federal government. The president has stated that neither he nor the attorney general will enforce that law, an impeachable offense, but Obamessiah has declared that government by executive order trumps all else, except perhaps the directives of his chief adviser, Valerie Jarrett, who finally – after some prodding by sane people – let him “do” Osama.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, July 28, 2012

University Lunacy

The University of Louisville, a part of the tax-supported Kentucky system of higher education, is planning to build an “academic center” to serve its athletes. Located in the football stadium, it will be called the Academic Center of Excellence. The cost: a cool $8 million.

With the country in what seems now to be an irreversible recession and with tuition- and board- rates out the ceiling, the university intends to blow $8 million on a facility, which by any measure is totally unnecessary. It will have tutorial areas, labs, offices, and classrooms. These features are already on campus, just as in the case of every university.

Apparently, the facility will not have a library, so the athletes will be forced to use the existing campus library, an imposition of inordinate proportions, or simply take classes that do not require visits to the books and other resources. One might imagine a curriculum featuring volley-ball rules 101 or a top-tier course such as advanced concussion methods 501.

Meanwhile, back at the University of Kentucky, which has been busy laying off more than a hundred folks, the new basketball players dormitory is about ready for occupancy. The other one was getting old (something over 30 years). The new one cost a mere $7 million, said to be donated by a coal-mining outfit, but, of course, one always wonders about what has been said and what has been done as well as all the strings attached.

Academics have always been a problem for the schools since the athletic teams are successful or not on the basis of just the athletic ability of the players. High schools and prep schools are constantly under intensive investigation by the highly paid recruiters, euphemistically called assistant coaches of something or other, in order to attract the best physical specimens. This often means trying to wedge the athlete past the academic eligibility rules, especially since high schools are notorious for simply “grinding out” athletes, whether they can add two and two or not.

During the entire 2010-11 basketball season, the athletic director and basketball coach at the University of Kentucky tried to persuade the NCAA, governing body of all higher education sports, to approve a 6-11 basketball player from Turkey, who had played professionally (for [gasp] money) in Europe and just might help UK win out in the Final Four. This made him a professional instead of an amateur (supposedly not allowed) but that didn’t deter the UK jock-department, which, finally, was unsuccessful. The team didn’t make the Final Four.

The UL and UK things do not place these institutions in a class of slimy sports-stuff by themselves. This sleazy approach to sports is endemic throughout the country, something everyone knows. The money-under-the-table, illicit gifts, and recruiting hanky-panky goes on all the time but the trick is to not get caught.

College and university sports have never been “clean,” but the dirt is now more pronounced than ever because of the unbelievable amounts of money involved. As in the case of a lot of other corrupted things, the main culprit is television. The schools rake in huge amounts when their games are televised, the marketplace defining the action. This means that every effort, above board or not, must be made by the schools to win at all costs because TV chooses the teams/games.

Sports conferences try to even the odds for every school by establishing the distribution of the “pot,” but can do just so much. Winning is everything and this is why schools pay athletic apparatchiks, especially coaches (recruiters), millions in salaries and/or perks. For instance, the basketball coach at UK is worth close to $4 million a year, football assistants well past the $225,000 mark.

That coach’s shtick, well publicized by him and the university, is that he will prepare an incoming student for the National Basketball Association in just one year. Academics has nothing to do with it, though the players are encouraged to go to class and, perhaps with few exceptions, take courses that today’s eighth-grader could probably handle quite well. The coach does this through recruiting players that probably are already good enough for the pros, a la LeBron James, but the university experience makes them draft eligible – worth millions just in signing bonuses alone.

The UL academic center’s purpose probably is to simply keep the players eligible somehow, and how better than to isolate them from the rest of the school’s community, which is designed for the advancement of academics, something far too demanding of his time for an athlete whose future and especially that of his coaches depends on winning games, not earning grades. The modern athlete is on a 24/7 schedule at the top universities, sports-wise. It’s a rotten system that effectively forecloses scholarships for deserving students academically and awards them to athletes.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


**The president has now made it to Aurora, Colorado, to visit the wounded and bereaved in connection with the theater murders last week. At least he didn’t turn the visit into a campaign rally, as he did in January 2011 at the memorial service near Tucson, Arizona, in connection with the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords. If he had attended the “prayer vigil” in Aurora, that’s what would have happened. He is now griever-in-chief.

Obama showed great compassion for the folks in Aurora and Tucson but one wonders how he feels about visiting the families in Libya who lost loved ones in 2011 when, simply by executive order (or the equivalent) and for no discernible reason, he commanded decent U.S. GIs to drop bombs and missiles on that country in March, then went on vacation and announced his military prowess in Brazil. His assault lasted for seven months under the guise of a NATO operation. Perhaps he should consider such a visit in light of what it might do for his current campaign.

Or, he might try to further meddle in Syria, where President Assad has made it plain that WMD will be used to defend against any attacking force from outside. He’s already said that Assad has to go, thus empowering insurgents (whoever they are – no one seems to know) on the basis of U.S. weaponry help, which will not be forthcoming. Even Obama knows better than that. Meanwhile, Israel has taken responsibility for seeing that the WMD does not fall into the wrong hands. A nice new war, anyone?

**The bloodiest day this year has just happened in Iraq, where folks have chosen-up sides and are having the civil war that they wanted long ago, with the U.S. standing in the way by its very presence there. It’s not a civil war actually but more of a religious clash as the Shiites (majority) and Sunnis (minority) have at it.

It’s Ramadan-time and what better way to celebrate this religious observance than by Muslim killing Muslim? They must fast during the day but there’s nothing wrong with making mincemeat of each other day or night. Have a good meal at sunset while discussing the day’s body-count, then have a nightly crusade to equal the score. What a religion…surely something to die for (and take a few women and children in the process)!

**As usual, especially because of the weirdness of the media, Americans seem to be having a hard time facing the issue (or is it a problem) with death. Summers can be so dull without some morbid titillation. There was the summer of 1995, when the O.J. Simpson murder fiasco of a trial happened in Los Angeles, with the TV crowd as audience and the judge manipulating his hourglasses. More recently, it seemed that the accounts of the Cayley Anthony murder-trial and attendant happenings in Florida would go on forever.

Now, the Zimmerman/Martin case is front and center in Florida, with a new tidbit every day for months coming from the media. The media is playing Aurora for all it’s worth, parading everyone who wants a bit of fame before the cameras. This will go on and on, with the usual subjects emanating from the “anchors” about gun-control, mental disorders, suggestive movies and all the rest. Cable has made “news” available 24/7, so news has to be generated to fill such a time-quota. One longs for the days of Huntley/Brinkley, when news was reported in a short time-frame and the networks moved on. Now, experts without any actual knowledge of a happening are grilled continuously and speculate all over the place.

The strangest thing happened with ABC – that Stephanopoulos/Ross thing in which these two TV worthies suggested strongly that the Aurora butcher was a member of the Tea Party (he wasn’t) and therefore perfectly capable of such a heinous crime. The transparency of this political gimmick is amazing but perhaps no more so than CBS’s Dan Rather’s unsuccessful attempt through outright lies to discredit George Bush in 2004 and help John Kerry. Michael Isikoff, writing for NewsWeek reported in 2010 that Korans had been flushed at Gitmo (they weren’t), thus setting off 15 killings in Afghanistan. He reports now for NBC, as a reward, surely, and can be seen nightly, lately from Penn State environs.

**The idiocy/corruption connected with sports on any level has been seen lately in the Penn State/NCAA affair. The Penn State officials (all, including the knowledgeable trustees) involved were on about a par with the Catholic bishops/cardinals in precisely similar circumstances, but the athletes and various athletic programs, who/which had nothing to do with the lurid Sandusky- pedophilia atrocities, are paying the price. This is nothing like the SMU affair two decades or so ago, in which NCAA rules had been violated.

The whole mess is a criminal/civil matter, not an athletic one, though corruption drives the total sports-scene, anyway. This is seen in the Olympics about to start in London – athletes from everywhere, some professional, some amateur, no telling how many on drugs, and all the rest, including the judges, who can rig anything for whatever purpose.

And so it goes in the hot, hot summertime.
Jim Clark

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Governments Buried by Pensions & Perks

For some strange reason, little is said these days about union/government corruption as governments on all levels are strained for cash – some even declaring bankruptcy – and consequently engage in cutting services or raising taxes, the latter currently a distinct no-no. This is especially true for state and local governments, many if not most of which took the “glorious” stimulus money meant to create jobs and used it instead to continue the cash-flow connected to governance…writing the checks.

Warning Caveat: This writer was a member for many years of a trade-union in his job as a railroader, mostly as a locomotive engineer. In the process, he saw both management and labor at their best and worst, neither superior to the other in either case. He retired at age 62 and draws a consequently reduced pension comprised of the social security tier enhanced by a “tier-two” arrangement bought and paid for by both the railroad and the employee. The pension is modest by any measure.

No government should ever be connected in any way to trade-unions, i.e., it should hire no employees represented by a union and should never be forced to negotiate anything other than workplace conditions, and only then through a lawfully established commission with both government and employees equally represented and governed ultimately by the appropriate state and federal laws.

This may sound strange coming from a union guy. The reason it isn’t strange is that the union guy worked for an employer that had to compete for business and show a profit to stockholders in order to stay in business, while a government employee works for an organization that competes for nothing, never has to show a profit, and has pockets made deep through virtually unlimited taxation dollars, not competitive success.

The prime case in point currently is that of impending governmental bankruptcies account being unable to fund pension plans negotiated with unions and producing agreements that are outrageous by any standard. The prime example of a governor and legislature actually doing something about this problem occurred recently in Wisconsin when government-employed union workers were made to join the country, i.e., pay through the nose like everyone else for perks like medical insurance and pension benefits, not least because on average they made far more than private-sector workers and could afford paying their “fair share,” as the prez might have it.

Wisconsin, like most other states as well as the railroads and other industries, until the last 25 or so years dealt with workers on the basis of “contracts” negotiated when technology was more primitive and when unions provided an element of protection for workers, who could be mistreated upon a managerial whim. Such is not the case today.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11.8% of the work-force is unionized. Only 6.9% of workers (7.2 million) in the private sector are unionized, while 37% of public workers (7.6 million) are unionized. Therein lies the rub. Legislators and other elected officials (translated vote-seekers) have virtually given away the store to government employees, using tax dollars, while private-industry workers must negotiate settlements with the company’s bottom line as a critical issue.

According to the BLS, government workers on all levels in 2011 averaged earning $938 per week, a whopping 29% more than private-sector workers who averaged $729. This is unconscionable and the unfairness is obvious. Even more outrageous is the fact that in many if not most states, government employees can retire on full pensions in their early 50s while private-sector employees must stay in the saddle past age 65 just to get full social security benefits. Schoolteachers, for instance, who face no physical problems in their employment, can retire after 25 years while a railroader is still pounding the ballast and doing manual labor at age 65, after 44 years of service.

It’s impossible to pay people from age 50 to age 80 (average age of women at death) a full pension for doing absolutely nothing – more years doing nothing than the total number of years at work. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader of 04 July 2010, “Most state employees hired before 2008 can retire after 27 years [a teacher at age 49] and collect a pension based on an average of their best-paid years of service. For instance, a worker who earned $50,000 a year would draw an annual pension of $27,000 for the rest of her life, plus cost of living increases. Workers who perform “hazardous duties,” such as police officers, can retire after 20 years [early age-40s].” The next step is a brand-new occupation to work out another pension.

In 1981, the government-paid air-traffic controllers decided to strike, against the advice of their union leaders and even though they had signed contracts – same as the military – disallowing strikes. President Reagan fired them and hired a new bunch without a hitch. The controllers still have a union, but its members know where the line in the sand is.

Every level of government should now be in the process of completely revamping its personnel practices, with or without union cooperation, and notwithstanding all previous agreements. Government workers are not a privileged class, just as private-sector workers are not. This will do no harm to the pension-process, but will simply put it on a footing the taxpayers can afford.

The worker-unions bear much of the responsibility for the current fiasco. Their lobbyists bought the lawmakers or coerced them through threatening to withdraw support. Lawmakers and other elected officials bear most of the blame, however, because they “USED” workers to do the legwork in their campaigns and paid them with money coerced from the citizenry. Disgusting!

Of even more import is the fact that public-sector unions such as the NEA and SEIU, besides having unlimited access to the current White House, can contractually force mediocrity as the common denominator in the matter of performance. This is especially hurtful regarding the teacher unions.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Parking-Lots & Memories

My wife doesn’t drive (a car) and I despise shopping, avoiding stores – maybe just the crowds – at all costs, so I spend a good deal of time in parking lots while she does the shopping. Stores frustrate me, anyway, because no matter how many times I walk past what I’m looking for I don’t see it and ultimately have to ask for help, which I should have done in the first place. Out in the freedom of the parking-lot, I mostly read, with musical accompaniment via a CD, but sometimes go for parking-lot walks or maybe even do a bit of people-watching. Sessions in parking-lots at locations of doctors and hospitals widen the range for people-watching to include even more people-predicaments to observe…crutches, wheel-chairs, canes – lots of old codgers, like me.

Frankly, parking-lots have always been a sort of anathema. I grew up in a small town in the 1930s, when even in the cities parking-lots were unusual, at least to any great extent since there were no shopping centers or malls. There were no grocery carts, either, no check-out lines, no multitude of plastic bags (when a couple would do even then, to say nothing about now) and no waiting around. My parents simply told the clerk what was needed and the clerk did the rest, retrieving the items, totaling the cost and “charging it” or actually making change without the good services of a computer, and then bagging the purchases.

In the small nearby city, there was at least one parking garage in the middle of the business-district, and it was fun to listen to the gear-shifting and screaming (bias) tires as the attendant headed around the sharp curves toward the upper floors and, later, headed down. No driver was allowed to park his own car.

The bags in all stores were made of heavy brown paper in the 30s and in the grocery-stores (so-called then instead of just groceries) were carefully packed to full capacity. There was an art to it, with canned goods at the bottom and lighter things above them. Admittedly, a heavily loaded paper bag was harder to handle than today’s plastic bags with handles, especially for a youngster, and in even a slight rain could become quite problematic, absolutely disastrous in a heavier downpour.

The live chickens on the floor in the rear of the store, with their incessant cackling, were a constant bother and an absolute horror when purchased, even though their legs were tied together. Carrying them by their scratchy, scaly legs, with their heads dragging the floor but terrorizing with the constant threat of a good pecking, was a task to be shoved off on an unsuspecting sibling. Freezing-compartments were reserved almost exclusively for things like ice cream. Frozen food was virtually unthinkable, much less available.

Other refrigeration was mostly for dairy products and meats, although some meat products were hung from the ceiling, already preserved – at least for a time. When a parent paid the butcher, the small son expected a wiener, to be consumed on the spot, never mind if the flies had tasted it first. Meat was not removed by the customer from a freezer but sliced by a butcher and wrapped in white heavy paper, often blood-soaked by the time its contents were ready for cooking.

Parking was almost exclusively on-street, sometimes parallel, other times diagonal. There was even one time in my town when the cars were parked in the middle of Main Street. All transportation of goods was accomplished on a two-footed basis, with the distance from store to auto always a factor. Some folks would drive to town early on a Saturday morning, park the car in the best available spot for all enterprises and just leave it there, working in and out of it as the hours went by.

Without TV and the plethora of little leagues and other distractions, “going to town” was a big deal anytime but especially on Saturday. Men even wore ties and coats and ladies managed to look almost as “right” as on Sunday. For a small boy, a trip to the barbershop could take hours of fidgeting since a lot of men (especially begrimed railroaders) would go for a shampoo, straight-razor shave, haircut, shoe-shine, and all-around conversation, of which there was a great deal during the Great Depression. Besides the pleasing aroma of after-shave/shoe-polish, the air was full of tobacco smoke but nobody thought anything about it. Barbers and clients alike were careful not to swear in front of small boys.

Yeah…parking-lots trigger memories of a much simpler time, even though my birth year of 1930 was only 12 years beyond the end of the “Great War” and catastrophic flu epidemic of 1918. All of the old ways had to go if only because of the demographics. Today’s U.S. population of 314 million is 155%, more than two-and-a-half-times, that of the population of 1930. Kentucky’s has grown by 69% to 4.4 million. The average expected life span at birth in 1930 was 59 years and in 2012 is about 78 (women – 80) and counting upward.

The constant advancement of technology has made the changes between the 1930s and 2012 almost unbelievable. The result: huge big-box stores in which buyers must find the products, just swipe a card to pay for them and cart them out to acres of parking lots. Somehow, I miss the 30s, though not the grocery-store chickens of the Great Depression, a reprise of which might be just around the corner (Depression, not the chickens).

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ignorance & Officialdom

One supposes that elected officials would at least part of the time show a degree of intelligence that would qualify them for the jobs. However, it seems to be endemic to democracies that they must suffer through IQ downtimes, with no particular reference to political parties. There’s enough ignorance to go around. Nor are the voters who elect their representatives free from ignorance, though they may just be guilty of apathy, i.e., voting without attempting to vet the wannabe reps.

Take the case of State Secretary Clinton, who is rambling around – as she does 99% of the time, it seems – over in the Middle East at present, though she might take a swing through most any area later this week, if not today. Try as she might – as would be the case with most any U.S. official – she’s simply the “Ugly American.” She sounds strident, looks anything but official and makes it to the TV screen every evening mouthing platitudes or empty threats and yucking it up with foreign officials who, one surmises, laugh behind her back since nothing she says or does seems to change anything, even if it should.

In early 2011, she praised Syrian President Bashir Assad but abruptly changed her tune when he began putting down what to him was an insurrection but to her was an attack upon his own people. Right about then, Libyan strongman Qaddafi engaged in the same stuff – nothing unusual about that in the Middle East. After all, the “Arab Spring” was on, having started in Tunisia with a self-immolation and continued in Egypt’s Tahrir Square in a humongous campout.

President Obama at the time was facing terrible economic figures, and still is, maybe even worse now. So, what would anyone expect him to say to the State Secretary other than, “Do something to get the people’s minds off U.S. problems?” And, what better way to play the usual “Ugly American” thing than to publicly call for some political lynchings, in this case Assad, Qaddafi and Egypt’s Mubarak, the latter the best Arab friend in the Middle East, bought fair and square after Carter’s Camp David clambake with Israel’s Begin and Egypt’s Sadat in 1978.

Obama/Clinton wheedled a resolution out of the UN Security Council (key members abstained) for an actual attack on Libya, somehow involving NATO, which one supposes had better things to do or had nothing to do. Congress was not consulted, naturally, since Obama, the Constitutional scholar (just ask him), knew that his glorious attack on a country of 6 million citizens (2 million less than New York City) would get deep-sixed there, though senators McCain, Graham, and Lieberman would probably have been gung-ho for it.

This represented a Congressional IQ well below 50, as the solons held their collective nose and looked the other way. Impeachment is such an ordeal! Why argue about Qaddafi – bad guy anyway? After all, isn’t every president entitled to his own war, especially since Obama said it would be only a little war, over in days, not weeks?

It took seven months (Libya’s troop-strength a humongous 76,000 boots), which connoted the military IQ of both Obama and Clinton, even though it started out as a “no-fly-zone” thing (accomplished by the fourth day) and ended up with this country and NATO massacring Libyans on the ground with bombs and missiles for months, just as O&C said Qaddafi would do.

Libya is in chaos, having just elected a parliament of 200 members to represent 6 million citizens. If the same ratio obtained in this country, the Senate would have the usual 100 cowards but the House would have 10,133 representatives. How does that bode for the Libyans, the usual Arab tribal society? It most likely will be “choose up sides and fight it out” time.

The drumbeat goes on for Syria’s Assad to agree to be lynched, but, whereas Libya had no help, Syria has Russia, Iran-next-door and China for friends. Just as before, as long as Obama/Clinton keeps screaming about sanctions, genocide and whatever else, she gives aid and comfort to militants, who mistakenly believe O&C are substance (actual weapons) and not blather. The insurrectionists, as usual, are fighting among themselves and no one has a clue about even to whom humanitarian aid should go.

The “Ugly (IQ-challenged) Americans” usually suffer from hoof ’n’ mouth disease, especially in the Middle East. There’s no way to measure the harm that’s been done by their constant blathering about democracy where such is not remotely possible and where they have no intention of “getting into it.” Clinton needs to come home, stay home, shut up and, best of all – go on vacation. Otherwise, she’ll continue to be an embarrassment.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, July 12, 2012

UK Professors - Sky Is Falling!

There’ve been a few hot days this summer and it was noted on NBC-TV (Brian Williams – 10 July) that the first six months of 2012 have been the hottest on record but one of his reporters mentioned that 2011 was cooler than 2010, another warm year.  Neither one mentioned, of course, that there were 21 days in Lexington, Ky., during 1936 that topped out at 100+ degrees. 
But, the manmade-global-warming alarmists are absolutely salivating, constructing their prognostication models and otherwise screaming that the sky is falling account profligate filling of the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, notably CO2, carbon dioxide, which is what everyone exhales, at least those among the living.  It also arises from the oceans, some 73% or so of the earth’s surface about which no one can do anything.

This heat-wave jerked the chain of a gaggle of University of Kentucky professors, none of them in the field of climatology or meteorology but in such other fields as horticulture and forestry.  Yeah…trees and garden stuff, in order to survive, absorb volumes of CO2 from the atmosphere (photosynthesis – ninth-grade science), but the forestry/horticulture folks didn’t advise deep-sixing the malls and parking lots to turn them into trees and cornfields.  Anyway, these harbingers of the catastrophic killing of the earth managed an op-ed piece in the Lexington [Kentucky] Herald-Leader of 11 July, in which they had the gall to give credence to the reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Not to be outdone, the main editorial quoted these worthies in advancing the fact – yeah, FACT – that people are killing the planet, another way of claiming all of us as suicidal.  The editorialist even accused Congress of a “yawning silence” and its consequential imperiling of the planet.  You can’t make this stuff up.  Of course, everyone knows that when Congress does much else but yawn it DOES imperil the U.S., at least.
Back to the UN IPCC!  Remember Copenhagen 2009, the big manmade-planet-killing-convention at which President Obama, fresh from his Nobel Peace Prize speech, and even Speaker Pelosi (with 20 Congresspersons) flew in, as well as about 200 other government apparatchiks from throughout the world.  The expected noteworthy item was probably an apology speech by Obama for the USA’s unspeakable climate-sins, though it can’t hold a candle (no pun intended) to the volumes of crap generated into the atmosphere by the folks (billions of them) in China and India. 
The professors made it plain that only the scientific documents concerning climate that are PEER-REVIEWED are credible.  The IPCC gang comprised the top peer-group in 2009 and before, with its main once-gurus residing in England (East Anglia University) plus a once-guru in the U.S. – Michael Mann of Penn State University. 
Just prior to Copenhagen, through their own e-mails to each other these “peers” accidentally exposed the fact that they had cooked the books in their “research,” making it appear that global warming was happening and primarily a manmade thing.  In the U.S., their work eventuated in the silly cap/trade legislation passed by the House without any of its members actually reading the bill.  It was designed, as Obama promised in 2008, to finish off the fossil-fuel business – coal, gas, oil.  Actually, there has been no consistent trend in the last 12-15 years to indicate global warming, manmade or otherwise, in the first place.  The Copenhagen clambake ended in a shambles…and fourteen-carat embarrassment for Obama and his Pelosi-partners-in-crime.
This is from the Washington Post of 9 July 1971: “The world could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age, a leading atmospheric scientist predicts. Dr. S. I. Rasool of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Columbia says that… .”  Yep, the reason had to do with the burning of fossil fuels.  The fact is that the professional climatologists would probably be the first to claim that the models and theories used in their predictions are not to be trusted.  Empirically, obviously, this is quite true.
The experts claim that from roughly 1000-1500 there was global warming, with around the year 1100 being the hottest and warmer than it is now.  They claim that from about 1500-1900 there was cooling and call that period the Little Ice Age, with around the year 1650 about the coldest. The main form of transportation in both periods was four-footed – horses, camels, elephants…no steam engines, automobiles, power plants, jets or anything using fossil fuels, except maybe to eat.  It’s doubtful that animal flatulence caused either warming or cooling.
As a local matter, the experts claim that the Ohio River was carved during one of the four ice-ages very long ago by glaciers that apparently attacked the South from the North Pole most likely during global cooling that eventually turned into global warming. The point: manmade global warming is a hoax.  Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth could not be shown in British schools until the teacher had pointed out the numerous errors, making it political propaganda, not science.
If there’s even a slight warming trend currently, it’s just part of the cyclical nature of climate.  The best evidence now seems to be a modification in the sun’s relationship to earth, perhaps demonstrated by “sunspots” investigation. Another expert on the NBC News said that there’s no credible scientific evidence that the tsunamis, for instance, in Indonesia and Japan, 2004 and 2011, respectively, were caused by global warming.
The scare tactics politically derive from the effort to bankrupt the agencies producing energy.  That fits the Obama agenda.  There is no need, notwithstanding that gaggle of UK non-climatologists/meteorologists or the editorialists, innocent, ignorant or otherwise, to think people are causing the sky to fall.
And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Webster, Southern Baptists & Togetherness

Larry Webster is a columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader and can always be depended upon to provide a witty commentary on the times, often juiced-up with some poignant semantic-bombs dispatched toward a given group.  In the 8 July issue, he took dead aim at the Southern Baptists, who in their recent annual convention elected an African American (Webster didn’t give him a name) to be its president. 

On the basis of his collective writings when any of them pertain to religion (anyone’s), Webster would probably fall somewhere between being an atheist or an agnostic, though he might even be a Presbyterian just having some fun masquerading as a worldly-wise elitist, much smarter than God, of course, but humble enough to be a hillbilly, which he is.

Southern Baptists are a favorite target of the liberal establishment, mostly because they take definitive, often negative stands on subjects that liberals virtually glorify, such as homosexuality (Baptists see homosexual behavior as sin besides as loony tunes).  Also, other than the Catholic Church, the SBC is by far the largest denomination in the country, about 16 million members, with children counted only as they join, not as members because of being in member families. So, jealousy plays a part in Baptist-hating.

Webster lampooned the Baptists because of their electing the black to the highest SBC office and used the biblical (at least according to some scholars) fingering of Ham, Noah’s son, as being the “first brother,” i.e., taking over Africa.  Not to discriminate, Webster also implied that a “brother” would likely wear a huge gold cross on a chain around his neck.  Get it…a chain around his neck – liberal-think…those sinful slave-mongering Southern Baptists!  Webster says that the new black president probably is unchained, however.  Unchained…get it…those wooly Southern Baptists have set him free and even reconfigured him as Moses.

Webster then leaves that subject and devotes some paragraphs to lampooning Jesus, or at least the folks who believe he existed, perhaps appreciating him as a “kind of unisex and quasi-hippie … taller than the sheep,” at least if he should make the scene at a Theme Park, perhaps played by Turtle Man, whose water-experience would make him a likely Baptist, probably Southern, at that, with the sheep replaced by alligators or turtles or catfish.

However, Webster provokes thought, to wit, that it’s about time to stop making a huge issue out of every achievement by an African American that is considered a “first” for his race.  The Southern Baptists themselves made a huge issue of this matter, detracting from the more cogent facts accruing to the sterling qualities of New Orleans pastor Rev. Fred Luter, the new president.  This pervasive “first” designation actually belittles the person involved, implying that people of his race are not capable and are chosen only because of ethnicity.

Luter’s Franklin Ave. Baptist Church grew from a handful of people to 7,000 members by 2005, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed its building.  He led in getting his membership back and building a new church, which is now not large enough, necessitating plans for building another facility.  This is just one indication why he is more than able to handle the president’s responsibility.

Southern Baptists, perhaps in the light of the constant demand for “reparations” to current blacks for the “sins” of pre-Civil War whites, passed a resolution of apology in 1995 for pre-Civil War Baptists and presented it to leaders of the large black Baptist denominations, who scorned the apology, one even accusing the SBC of attempting to proselytize blacks from their churches, if memory serves.  One of the highest-profile leaders in the reparations movement is the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah (God damn America) Wright, President Obama’s mentor and former pastor.

This points up the fact that a person or group can’t apologize for something for which he/it was not responsible, any assumed guilt-trip notwithstanding.  It also points up the fact that trying to “orchestrate” togetherness for groups, especially those marked by a profound homogeneity, may not be a good idea. 

In the case of churches on the basis of the construct of the worship service alone, it may not even be possible in 95% of possibilities, owing to the different approaches by blacks and whites.  People should be left to simply gravitate toward the exercise or group-thing that is the most attractive or in which they have the best shot at doing good, assuming that the invitation has been extended.

As for Webster and his slamming of the Southern Baptists, the devil made him do it, of course.  The SBC supports over 10,000 missionaries, half in the Americas and half around the world, some in dangerous and hardship-driven locations.  They don’t just talk the walk, obviously, but walk the walk – and do the hands-on sometimes dirty work – healing, teaching, disaster-relief, etc.  When Webster sets up a system that large to do good…then, he can crow, and maybe even substitute for Turtle Man.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark