Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Liz Klimas Welcomes Snoring Animal Videos

Beginning with the dormouse, and including a hummingbird and other cute little creatures, Liz Klimas invites everyone to add our snoring pets to The Blaze's video collection:

Mogwai used to snore, sometimes. I didn't have a digital video camera when she was living with me, and don't know whether her new humans have one, but I don't think my Clown Cat would mind being on the Internet. (After all, terrorists aren't stealing cats' identities...yet.)

Nuclear Energy Industry Uses Blogspot Too

Somewhat surprised to find myself in such august company...I still have to there such a thing as safe nuclear energy?

They're trying to make it safer. I have very little faith that nuclear energy can ever be made safe enough to be relied on. Maybe if Newt Gingrich's predictions come true, and we start travelling to the Moon and to Other Planets, we can build a space base on which it'll be semi-safe to muck about with nuclear energy.

Meanwhile, we've coexisted with "peacetime uses" of nuclear energy about as long as we've coexisted with nuclear bombs, and we're all still here...for how much longer?

Grizzly Charges Tourists

Why we do not want bears in places where humans live...

Chevron Gives Up Fracking in Colorado

I almost wish President Obama hadn't been the top government official encouraging this.

What, Steve Milloy rhetorically asks, happened to the President's "all-of-the-above" energy strategy? I suspect the President just noticed that he was in Washington, D.C., which is located at the confluence of two large rivers, fairly close to sea level, and might go underwater fast in the event of an earthquake. Simple self-preservation. Of which I'd like to see more in the state governments of Virginia, New York, Ohio, and especially Pennsylvania.

Admitted: Statins Cause Diabetes

About four years ago, while waiting for a computer, I picked up a copy of the Philadelphia Trumpet (an obscure church-sponsored news magazine) and noticed an article that mentioned that statin drugs had been linked to diabetes. I noticed this because a friend who'd survived open-heart surgery had just been ordered to take a statin drug, although he'd complained of no new symptoms since the surgery and although he'd been keeping just outside the borderline of diabetes for years.

Sure enough, he's been handicapped by diabetes ever since. And I've not been able to track down that issue of the Philadelphia Trumpet--it's a free handout, so nobody keeps track of copies. And when I looked for the information on the Internet, search engines didn't find it. Maybe the Philadelphia Trumpet reporters were mistaken.

And my friend seemed to adjust to the idea that he'd become diabetic and "old." And handicapped. I don't think he'll ever be disabled. One day on a job he'll take a break and be found dead in the bathroom, and his family will be sad but not surprised. But he's become handicapped. Older, slower, vulnerable to infections, one might say fragile...he's even repeated a few conversations that he'd had with the same person, only five or ten years ago. I catch myself thinking of him as part of the older generation rather than mine.

Well, finally...Newsmax got the report from Reuters: the FDA just admitted that statin drugs cause diabetes and other symptoms. "'We have known for three or four years,' [Dr. Steven] Nissen said," but apparently the AMA has been suppressing this information as long as it was possible to market these pills. Doctors who ignore and suppress key information like this, or like the risk of violent insanity associated with antidepressants, or even like the risk of stomach ulcers associated with frequent use of aspirin, really tick me off. I think the side effects need to be well publicized by anyone who sells pharmaceuticals.

If you are over age seventy, and had open-heart surgery even while you were a thin, at least half-time vegetarian who exercised regularly, the benefits of statins may arguably outweigh the risks of Crestor, Lipitor, and other popular one-a-day pills. If you are younger and can do more to control your weight and blood pressure, the benefits of taking control of your own risk of a heart attack definitely outweigh the risks of these medications.

Tornado Season Opens: Missouri to Kentucky

Liz Klimas has collected photos of damage done by the tornados that have been blowing through Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, and now western Kentucky...

Blaze readers have pledged cash to some of these towns. Hmm. Last year, when a tornado was directly involved in my subsequent e-killing by Yahoo, I mentioned that I was waiting in line for any disaster relief behind the residents of places in the direct line of fire. (A visible wind spiral did pass over the Cat Sanctuary, loosening parts of the roof and zapping electrical wiring in the older part of the house, but the house is located in a hollow and didn't get a full-blown funnel cloud.) It's been ten months. No disaster relief has reached us; very few actual wages for work have reached us, although obviously nobody's starved or frozen to death yet. Support this blog, Gentle Readers. That gold-toned "Donate" button on the greeting page should be working, but if it's not, you may e-mail here. Five dollars, the cost of a printed magazine, is the standard suggested contribution to a blog you enjoy reading. If you have more than five e-dollars, please send the excess to the current tornado survivors.

I'm feeling oddly touched by a comment from Americanstrega, in view of the fact that this news makes me want to burden Maria Roth with e-mail, and the fact that Grandma Bonnie was born in Kansas (and actually lived there for several hours). We have threads for news from other states. Do we need a thread for Kansas?

Houston Astros Can't Wear Vintage Jerseys

The Houston Astros used to be called the Colt 45's, and Madeleine Morgenstern is outraged that Major League Baseball has banned the Astros from wearing a retro-theme jersey with the original Colt 45 logo:

Canny comment below: "Think what it would do to the self-esteem of the numbers 3 and 6."

Book News: Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie

Incredibly, Norton Juster is still writing. (I had a primary school teacher who used his best known story, The Phantom Tollbooth, as a TEXTBOOK!)

Book Title: Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie

Author: Norton Juster

Publisher: Scholastic

Date: 2008

Illustrations: finger-paint-like paintings by Chris Raschka

Length: pages not numbered, but it's short

ISBN: 0439929431

When I saw this picture book on a library book cart, I couldn't believe my eyes. A new book by Norton Juster? Maybe a family member inherited the pen name? No...Scholastic says this really is a new book by the author of The Phantom Tollbooth.

Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie doesn't take long to read, and for adults it doesn't really offer any new insights. Sometimes a little girl behaves like a "Sourpuss" and sometimes like a "Sweetie Pie." Her clothes change to match her moods (Sweetie Pie wears warm colors in swirly prints, and Sourpuss wears clashing or cool colors in stripes or angular prints).

Juster shares lots of samples of things children say in each mood, including a few that can be read either way ("You're my best friend, Nanna. Except for Sara..."). Parents can read through the book with children, giving due consideration to the intonation that could give each line an "angry" or "whiny tone" and the behavior that's likely to make each line even more annoying.

It's not as clever as The Phantom Tollbooth, and it's aimed at much, much younger readers (or pre-readers), but I'm so delighted to find this writer still writing that I had to share the good news. I'm even tempted to add this to the ever-expanding "Child Safety" theme here, because, in certain situations too dire to contemplate, having practiced basic Verbal Self-Defense just might protect your child's safety.

Can "Biomass" Be Worse than Coal?

In Massachusetts, Chris Materia and associates complain that a "biomass"-burning plant is burning wood, wasting trees, and polluting more than a coal-burning plant.

Can Seniors Have Social Security Without Medicare?

Should retirees be able to cash in their Social Security pensions without participating in Medicare? Some members of Congress think so. Matt Kibbe reports:

"Introduced in the Senate by Sen. DeMint of South Carolina and in the House by Congressman Sam Johnson of Texas, the Retirement Freedom Act would allow individuals to choose to opt out of Medicare. (The bill numbers are S. 1317 in the Senate and H.R. 2435 in the House.)"

Kibbe hosts a discussion and poll:

Virginia Vs. the Environmental Protection Agency

Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is suing the Environmental Protection Agency for relying on U.N. allegations rather than actually studying the issues at hand. Caroline May reports:

Other states joining the lawsuit are Texas, Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah...and as noted on the Daily Caller page, I'm proud of Ken Cuccinelli.

Further comments by Hans von Spakovsky:

Bring On the Potassium

I've heard "Bring on the potassium" used as an elaborate way to refer to a banana. Juniper Russo shares six more food sources of potassium...

...and I find myself recalling Jethro Kloss's "Potassium Broth," a green vegetable juice drink that used to be served at the Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, Maryland. I've drunk it. It's juice, not broth, but it's not bad. Raw greens like spinach and kale were the main ingredients.

Michigan Mayor Rejects Federal Grant

Mayor Janice Daniels of Troy rejects a federal grant that would create a future liability:

This web site officially salutes Mayor Daniels.

The Limerick About Denzel Washington

As promised:

After "St. Elsewhere" elsewhere he's gone,
Played Biko, Malcolm X, on and on,
Won two Oscars, one for Glory,
Quite an impressive story,
The actor Denzel Washington.

Bugs in the System (LIS): Where Is This Web Site Going?

I did come to the computer center, this morning, with the intention of reading and commenting on a few more Senate Bills. However, the General Assembly session is winding down, and it appears that the is shutting down too. It's taking quite a long time to scroll through to the Senate Bills and, the last three times I've tried, the system has failed before I've got past SB444.

Well, it's certainly been interesting, and instructive, and as the legislative session closes I'll have a few hundred more e-mails to share with you. Meanwhile, please use the comments section to share your suggestions on what our focus should be in the next few months...

  • Which bills have become law, and what should we be doing about them?
  • What's going on in the U.S. Congress?
  • Inevitably, this web site will discuss the presidential election, but I don't want it to become just another source of presidential election propaganda. There will be plenty of those.
  • More book reviews
  • More recipes
  • A lot of lurkers out there would like to read more from Grandma Bonnie. So would I. However, as a home health aide she's been spending almost every day with a patient. I can't even visit her at home and get her to talk a blog post to us every week. This will change when the patient becomes either healthier or sicker. No need to waste a vote.
  • More about "Agenda 21" and the difference between True Green and Poison Green
  • More about Grandma Bonnie's Seventh-Day Adventist perspective on "Signs Of The Times" and which recent news items may indicate the end of the world, or of the world we know
  • More knitting? (The Silver Toddler Jacket is certainly attracting a lot of readers. I'd like to know, myself, why this specific project is so interesting. Because it's an easy way to find this site via search engines? Because you want to know how to make it? I'm sure we can find the relevant copy of Family Circle Easy Knitting if knitters really want it.)
  • More comedy? (Lent jokes and limericks are also attracting a lot of readers. I hate to disappoint those who've been searching for "a limerick about Denzel Washington." We've featured links to limericks, and a link to Denzel Washington...I'll try to compose a limerick about him, just because so many people have been looking for one, but can't promise to do this about every movie star everybody out there likes.)
  • More from Karen Bracken and/or Catherine Turner and/or Patricia Evans?
  • More about Stanley Shura? (He writes for money, needs it, and deserves it. I'd love to enlist him as a contributing author here, but wouldn't have the gall to ask him to do it without PAYMENT.)
  • Your choice (use the comment box). Please do not include live links to commercial web sites; if you want to advertise a commercial site here, please do the decent thing and pay for an advertorial.

Jobs Through Growth Act?

The folks at are supporting something called the "Jobs Through Growth Act." They've launched a web page that doesn't generate e-mails to your Congressman, but will provide his or her phone number, if you want to call in with a message in support of this act:

Ted Turner Grows Old Energetically

Do you love Ted Turner? Do you hate him? Do you think he's certainly had a lively career, and should now get a mostly free pass because he's so old?

In any case, aren't you glad nobody thought of putting him on Ritalin?

Polish Immigrant Neo-Nazis?

What in the name of Kosciusko is going on with these mixed-up kids?

The photographs are a bunch of surly-looking young men in Nazi-inspired clothes, but the guys seriously seem to be spewing hate and anger. One must ask what they are doing in the United States. Poland didn't end up with Nazional-Socialism, but it got Socialism, didn't it? If that's what you want, guys, go home and finish the job!

(This web site will now officially apologize to the sane and peaceable people of Poland. We're sorry.)

How Many Jobs Does Fracking Really Create?

Sorry, guys. No matter how many jobs fracking may offer, the question we really need to ask is how much good those paychecks will do if you're killed by the earthquakes.

HPV Vaccine for Boys

Juniper Russo reports on the Gardasil vaccine being offered to boys:

Parents who worry about "telling boys it's okay to be 'gay'" need to wake up and smell the coffee. Most young men aren't going to be "gay," whether they're told it's okay or not; protecting them from HPV would be a way to protect their wives, and thus their children--their parents' grandchildren.

I have mixed feelings, though, about the idea of urging yet another vaccine on the parents of the very young. All vaccinations carry some risk. Having yourself vaccinated, when you are in fact at risk of having or carrying a life-threatening disease, is a responsible, ethical decision to make. Having someone else vaccinated, when that person is not necessarily at risk for the disease or when the hazards of the vaccination may be more life-threatening than those of the disease, is ethically unacceptable to me.

For boys as for girls, the position of this web site has to remain: HPV is not transmitted by anything that can legally be done at school, so the HPV vaccine should not even be mentioned (much less required) at public schools.

Bringing Back the U.S. Auto Industry?

President Obama takes credit for having revived the U.S. auto industry. How well, and for how long?

Blaming Global Warming for Earthquakes?

Well, you knew the greedheads would have to blame something besides fracking for the increased incidence of earthquakes, in places that have and have not been earthquake zones before fracking. Jonathan DuHamel reports, from the U.S. Geological Survey, to an Arizona newspaper, whose local readers are more or less accustomed to earthquakes...

Georgetown Law Student Wants You to Keep Her on "The Pill"

The twerp's name is Sandra Fluke, and Billy Hallowell shares the video of her plea for tax-funded contraceptive pills here:

Hallowell, a proud member of Team Beck, approvingly cites Glenn Beck's calling Miss Fluke's rant "insane."

I think that's giving her too much credit. If she were my daughter, which thank goodness she's not, I'd turn her over my knee while telling her: You're old enough to know which one form of birth control works reliably enough for Tightwad Aunt Pris to consider it cost-effective...namely, keeping your legs crossed. You're also old enough to know what to do to keep your dates interested while you keep your legs crossed. Even if you weren't old enough to know, Washington, of all cities on Earth, would be the place where young men would have explained it all to you. If you've not figured that out by now, you're not intelligent enough to be in Georgetown, and not only am I unwilling to pay for your contraceptive pills, I'm unwilling to pay for your tuition at any college anywhere.

I'm not Catholic. I wouldn't have a problem with paying for contraceptive pills if they'd been prescribed by a doctor, if you'd discovered a real medical need for them, after marriage or even (as the result of some unfortunate medical conditions) at puberty. But if you're already going to college at the expense of taxpayers, why not use that flippin' brain we're supposed to be helping you develop, already. Creativity is the contraceptive you need. The words "I don't take 'The Pill'" should be part of your creative contraceptive plan.

Global Warming, Local Warming, or a Mild Winter? Phenology for 2/29/12

It's February, and Hell isn't frozen it should be. The Portland (Maine) Press-Herald's feature photo comes from the banks of Lake Michigan, a long drive from the town of Hell, but clearly shows a lack of the usual ice and snow. The kid's wearing a windbreaker, for pity's sake. In Michigan, in February, nobody should want to step outside without at least a quilted coat...

The United States has had a mild winter. Most of us have expected snow and got rain, several times; for many of us that's been the way the whole winter's gone.

My yard is full of crocuses. Further down the mountain, in Gate City, somebody's yard is full of daffodils. Spring peepers are peeping in every stream, including at least one stream that doesn't normally have frogs. Robins are flocking on grassy lawns. Finches and bluebirds are warbling in the hedge at the Cat Sanctuary, greatly annoying the cardinals, who are quintessentially cute when they're mad. Annoyed cardinals fluff out their bright red feathers and shout, "Cheer! Cheer! Cheer!"

No, of course the cats don't bother them, although when the jays get here they'll probably tease the cats. The cats have learned by now that they can't catch a bird unless it's grounded by illness. Bisquit will still catch and eat birds when she can. I can tell it's Bisquit because none of the cats ever keeps a bird down for long.

But, anyway: is this "global warming"? Not necessarily. When I mention this winter's unusual mildness I like to compare it with the mild winters we had in the early 1970s. In 1972 there was ice on a puddle only one of the mornings when I waited in the dark for the school bus. In 1974 we didn't get a single "snow day." We have seen weather like this before. It comes and it goes. Later in the 1970s we had long, cold, snowy winters; in 1977 schools were open on January 4, and then again on February 6, with snow on the ground every day in between.

And what's the rest of the globe experiencing in the way of winter weather? If you don't get the Kingsport Daily News (or its satellites, with front-page headlines and "masthead" titles for Scott County, Jonesborough, and other communities--inside it's still the same Daily News) you can find most of the news stories our local free paper features at Reuters is global, and has reported that Europe's been getting all the cold weather we've missed (or not). Although Reuters accepts the theory of global warming and has featured articles that headline weather news as evidence of global warming, here are a few of this winter's highlights:

Heavy snow closes waterways in Turkey:

Icy weather in subtropical Greece:

Frozen canals in sunny Italy:

It's important to distinguish between genuine "global warming," genuine "local warming" effects caused by local conditions (such as urbanization), and the usual variations in weather from one year to the next. Although the United States has definitely had a mild winter, this winter's weather has been within the normal range of variation. Reading the temperature statistics for different parts of the U.S. shows solid evidence of local warming, not global warming.

If you're not accustomed to comparing temperature statistics, here's an easy way to start: If you provide an address for e-mail purposes, it shouldn't be an address where you actually live, so why should it be in the same neighborhood? If you use a public-access computer in a city, choose an "address" in a rural area. If you use a computer in a small town or remote suburb, choose an "address" in the nearest big city. This means that every time you log into your e-mail service, you'll be able to compare the temperature for the neighborhood where the computer is, versus a more or less urban neighborhood fifty or a hundred miles away. This will soon convince you that temperatures are consistently higher in a city than they are in the country...and the bigger the city, the stronger the effect is.

People in southwestern Virginia usually imagine that, because D.C. and Maryland are further north, the weather up there would be colder than it is here. They're always surprised to see that, in fact, D.C. temperatures tend to run almost ten degrees higher than ours. Often the same weather patterns pass over Northern and Southwestern Virginia, and sometimes the same snowstorms dump more snow on Northern Virginia (and sometimes the opposite)...but, while those weather patterns are passing, our temperatures are consistently in the "rural" range, comparable with those from Manassas (Virginia) or Clarksville (Maryland), never in the "urban" range with D.C.

If you like it warm, you might want to move to the inner city. If you like cool, brisk, energizing weather, you might prefer to live in the country...and fight urbanization tooth and nail.

Historic Rehabilitation: SB444

Virginia Senate Bill #444, which has been enacted into law, is short but complicated. Basically, it provides that, if you get your home declared "historic" and make it a tourist attraction, then some of the income you might theoretically make will be tax-free. Full text:

Everybody in the General Assembly seems to like this one. I don't have a problem with its existence, but I, personally, don't like it.

My home, which is known to cyberspace as the Cat Sanctuary, is in fact an historic site. Virginians love history, especially family history, and most of us have inherited masses of it. Before the "planners" had goaded large numbers of Virginians to register their homes as historic shrines, it had occurred to me that the Cat Sanctuary has an excellent claim to be one. At least two chapters of the history of this corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains could, I thought, be made into books.

And the relatives who share this corner of the mountains with the cats and me said things like: "Write books with our names in them? Even the names of our great-great-grandfather and the people he knew? Bring tourists in? To our home? Are you out of your everlovin' mind?!"

And I said, "What could possibly be the matter with bringing in the occasional congenial, well supervised paying guest? Have I ever brought in any friends from the city whom you've had any reason to dislike, other than the idea of a young man being in our house after Dad moved into the retirement project?"

And they said, "But have you seen all the regulations that are cluttering up the books these days? It couldn't be just the occasional congenial paying guest. We'd have to open our homes to everybody, including professional lobbyists against everything any of us has ever stood for. And take out insurance policies to cover suicidal idiots who want to throw themselves off steep banks. And probably flatten out the road so that it would be 'accessible' to people who aren't physically fit to be can you even think about such a thing? Are you out of your everlovin' mind?"

And they had a point. This is the way regulation destroys legitimate enterprise in the United States today.

The micromanagers want to turn every independent business and profession into a government job, with enough hour-counting, paperwork, and supervision to destroy any possible pleasure in any possible form of employment...enough to make people give up oldfashioned ideas about independence, initiative, reputation, and just settle into being a welfare cheat, since if you're going to feel like a slave in any case you might as well at least have the satisfaction of being a lazy slave.

Would I register my home as "historic" as an alternative to having it commandeered as a bear and coyote preserve? Maybe. But only that. I don't want to make my home the property of the state. I don't want to be a state employee. I want to be a private owner of my own home.

I don't see anything in SB444 guaranteeing that the "historic property" is its owners' castle, that what they do in it is sacred, free from any form of intrusion not based on a valid warrant for police interference with a crime against an actual victim.

I don't see any guarantees that the "historic property" can be opened to the public at the convenience and discretion of its owners, or that any behavior on the part of visitors that is not something the owners want to have in their homes may result in the immediate eviction of the visitors. (Most specifically, before opening my home to any visitors, I want a guarantee that any behavior that resembles an attempt to regulate or micromanage anything private people do in their own homes will result in the immediate eviction of the visitors.)

For fellow Virginians who want to exploit the historic value of your homes, I offer this warning: Learn from members of the professions who formed "professional associations" with the goal of "maintaining quality standards" for our professional practices, only to find ourselves competing unequally with colleagues who either started out with bigger bank accounts or, more often operated with lower ethical standards, to "maintain quality standards" defined as "spending lots and lots of money on 'continuing education' and ever-increasing numbers of licensing fees."

My advice: Don't fall for it. Don't subscribe to "minimal regulations" that will start to grow as soon as a critical mass of people tolerate them. Ban the regulations. Demand legislation that makes it a crime for anyone else to try to regulate what you decide to do with your home, whether your home is an "historic property" or not.

You don't have to go on using an outhouse forever because one was built on your historic property in 1812. You don't have to go on using a water-flush toilet, if you can afford to dispense with one, because your grandparents installed one in 1912. Your property may be the scene where an historic invention was built, an historic work of art was created, an historic change in the law was effected, an historic figure lived, or an historic battle was fought--and you may have a natural, hereditary right to show what you choose to preserve of the historic sight to other people--but it's still your home. Don't buy into any "preservation" schemes that don't specifically spell that out.

Can Quadriplegics Steer Wheelchairs with Their Tongues?

Can quadriplegics buy a device that will allow them to steer wheelchairs with their tongues? The device is still in an experimental stage...

Judith Curry Discusses Climate Change

Fair disclosure: Dr. Curry is promoting her blog in this interview. We have no problem with that.

New York Judge Sells Out to Monsanto

The corporation you love to hate won a victory in a U.S. District Court in New York:

If we can't rely on the courts to protect us from the evil gene splicers and poisoners in the Monsanto Chemical Corporation, we'll just have to educate the public. Hit Monsanto where they really the pocketbook.

How Dangerous Are Body Scans?

Yet another reason not to buy airline tickets...

Gas from Algae?

I'm confused, Gentle Readers. I love the idea of making gas from algae. Check out the sidebar to this Washington Times editorial, which illustrates exactly how much gas is in pond scum...

What I want to know is, why are experiments in using algae and the Keystone Pipeline being presented as either-or alternatives? Given that commercial interests would gladly fund both, why must we choose only one?

Canada hasn't promised to save the "black gold" for us, and it's much Greener to use it closer to its origin rather than let it be exported to China.

Yet Another Way Pollution Endangers Farmers

When a valuable fish called the delta smelt--has anybody actually eaten one of these things? I'm taking the California legislators' word that they are valuable--goes into population decline, which of these three major factors would you want to control?

1. Invasive non-native fish that are larger and actually eat the poor little smelts

2. Chemical pollution from wastewater treatment (a human "need" that can be greatly reduced by humans' using dry toilets)

3. Farmers pumping water to irrigate their fruit and vegetable fields

If you picked option 3, you are probably a California environmentalist. Don't catch more of the invasive fish, don't market more Sun-Mar or Clivus toilets; crack down on those farmers, who are contributing to pollution by raising food that might keep humans healthy.

Steve Milloy posted this online editorial from the Wall Street Journal:

The Persistence of PCBs

The chemicals called PCBs have been banned in the United States for years...but Tamara Tal says they're still showing up in human bodies, causing reproductive disorders. Fair disclosure: this report was e-mailed from Steve Milloy, who has doubts about its facts...

Invasive Fish Species: Nuisance, But Cool

The "red lionfish," actually a brown-and-tan striped fish, belongs in aquariums. In the ocean, it's a nuisance, threatening the current balance of nature and endangering native species. Nevertheless, those who can watch the video will have to admit that Liz Klimas's video of the little lionfish's aggressive moves is, well, kinda cool...

Support this blog, and one day we'll be showing cool nature videos right here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Toasted Skin Syndrome

It's not really news, so much as the extent to which it's happening is news. Any heat source up to which people snuggle, in winter, could potentially cause "toasted skin" as the skin is exposed to low levels of dry heat for extended periods of time. Warm car seats, laptops, fireplaces, space heaters, heating pads, electric's the CBS report:

In the late 1970s, the first report on this I read linked the syndrome with cancer; note that CBS doesn't mention any confirmation of the link. But "toasted skin" obviously isn't healthy. So get up and let your blood circulate the warmth through your body, already.

Will California Beaches Change?

Linwood Pendleton reports on the likely impact of global warming, if it happens as projected, on California's beachfront:

Black History Month: Six Special Seniors

Will these six elders become "sung heroes" in the history books the next generation read? Doubtful, but at least they've been documented, in text and video, at the official White House blog.

Teachers Are Co-Parents?

Maybe only in Canada...but diseases have a way of spreading across borders. Mike Opelka shares the video of a school superintendent expressing diseased thinking:

After-Birth Abortion?

Liz Klimas reports on the latest ethical argument that, if the quality of its potential life is a valid reason to abort a fetus, then the quality of its potential life is a valid reason to end the life of an infant. (Warning: what will come up right on your screen, before you even scroll down, is a lifelike image of a newborn infant--babies pop into this world looking as if something gruesome had been done to them.)

Canny comments from William Briggs (no gruesome pictures, but a lighter touch than some readers will consider appropriate):
The position of this web site is that when they start breathing on their own, they become persons...and even before that, the sentimental value they have for their relatives deserves some respect.

Regional Cooperative Incentive: HB430

Virginia House Bill #430 is bland, but those who've taken the trouble to research its implications say that it's an "Agenda 21" bid to destroy the rural lifestyle as Virginia's small farmers know it. Full text:

Tea Partiers who thought that all this abstract, innocuous-looking verbiage had to be concealing something nasty have translated HB430 into plain English and determined that it would allow the "planners" and land grabbers to interfere with dozens of things Virginians have never thought of subjecting to any kind of regulation, or any input from anyone outside the home involved...


Selling surplus vegetables...or even trading them. Yes, the United Nations wants to control whether Jane Doe trades a zucchini for a couple of tomatoes.

Inviting city dwellers to spend vacation time on a farm as "fresh air children."

Operating a bed and breakfast.

Renting out rooms in your own house.

Camping in your own woodlot.

Letting friends camp in your woodlot.

Storing machines you may have bought or leased in your own field.

Building a dock and tying a boat to it.

Dividing a large house into two or three separate suites for different family members (parents and children stay under the same roof but have separate doors, may have separate utility accounts, and may even have separate kitchens and baths).

Reclaiming a pond, filling in a pond, securing the walls of a pond, or having a pond at all.

Using the timber from your own trees in your woodlot.

Allowing a logger to harvest your trees--with separate regulations if you allow him to camp in the woodlot while working.

Repairing your house after a fire. A few years ago, Scott County's Board of Supervisors destroyed their political careers by allowing outside agitators to sell them on the idea of enacting a zoning ordinance. "This won't affect anything that anybody is doing with their property right now," they insisted. Since that time, property owners who have had fires have reported that they had to "do some begging" to reclaim the legal right to rebuild their homes.

Renting out your house.

Boarding animals for friends who have to be in the city.

Docking a boat for friends who have to be in the city.

The "planners" really envy those of us who've accepted a certain amount of inconvenience in exchange for living at a healthy distance from other people...and they really want to crowd us off of our land. They'd like to see the voters of Scott County displaced--to where, they don't know, because they don't like to come right out and say they want us dead--to make room for a "wilderness" where their soulmates, the bears, coyotes, and rattlesnakes, can freely breed. And they have the gall to use not only Green, but Christian language to talk about their schemes.

Gentle Readers, this one slipped past me; it even slipped past Terry Kilgore. I'm glad that some of my e-friends were more vigilant. No individual can be paranoid enough these days.

How Bad Is Fructose?

From the Edmonton Journal:

Is it time for a personal health and fitness update? Regular readers remember that, although I became too top-heavy to be a "high fashion" model in grade six, I've worn the same shirt/dress size since grade nine. This hasn't changed. Only my jeans size changes from year to year.

Have I ever been fat? I've felt fat. Let's just say...I see a lot of diet products advertised with "before and after" pictures. "Before" is a Wide Load. "After" is a body that would not be described as emaciated, in tight-fitting clothes. When I look or feel like "After" I start looking for a physical-labor-type job.

I drink soda pop. I'm not saying that soda pop is a health food or that everybody should drink it. As a caffeine addict, I crave something, if only some form of sugar, along with my caffeine, and prefer soda pop to coffee-with-cream-and-sugar. Obviously any form of sugar contains calories...but I have to say that I've not noticed fructose affecting my metabolism in the ghastly way diet soda did.

There was a year in my early twenties when I tried to reduce my sugar intake by drinking diet soda. I felt less energetic than usual, but back then everybody on every job was older than I was and seemed to think this was a good thing. Then I tried to kick the caffeine habit. Whoa! Instant weight gain. Ugly weight gain. With loss of energy. I thought I might be becoming hypothyroid, like my mother, who had never used caffeine or drunk soda pop. I wasn't, though; I was just displaying what I've read is a common reaction to NutraSweet in diet soda. When I switched back to drinking moderate amounts of regular, sugared and caffeinated soda pop, the process of zombification reversed, the ugly fat melted away, and once again I felt energetic enough to be annoying to sluggish people.

Based on this experience, I'd warn people who may be hearing and seeing a lot about fructose causing weight gain: Do not switch to diet soda. If you can switch to drinking unsweetened tea or plain water, cutting out all soda pop may be an easy way to lose weight...but some forms of "diet sweeteners" actually depress metabolism and cause weight gain.

Two years ago, while spending a lot of time watching TV with a stroke survivor, I gained enough weight to feel motivated to lose some. I've spent the past two years slowly, steadily losing weight. Two full jeans sizes, and dropping. And I feel fine. And I eat whatever I want. Fructose in soda pop? Chocolate bars? Chips? Fried chicken? Ice cream? Greasy hamburgers? Banana bread? Those aren't the groceries I take home, but if they're what's available on the road or what someone's willing to treat me to at a fast-food "restaurant," no problem. They're not going to ruin the effects of my diet. There is no "diet."

I try to avoid thinking consciously about calories. And although I've skipped a few meals due to cash flow problems during the past year, I definitely don't recommend fasting for weight control--actually fasting (or crash dieting) makes it easier to gain weight.

Fair disclosure: I do have to make conscious, informed decisions about food, because my body does not digest anything containing wheat or cheese. That takes up the total amount of brainpower I'm usually willing to dedicate to thinking about food. What I have at home, as basic foods, are brown rice, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. I don't usually think much about food. Once a day I heat up some rice, pick out a vegetable to eat with it, prepare the vegetable, and spend the rest of the time the rice takes to cook on housekeeping chores. Then I eat my main meal for the day. Then I'm free to think about things I find more interesting. So it's possible that some dieters would not be able to do what's worked for me for all these years. Thinking about food actually stimulates the production of digestive hormones, increases appetite, and promotes weight gain...

What I recommend is exercise. I've been walking to and from almost every job, almost every day. That's what takes the weight off the hip and thigh area.

This is an overstatement, but sometimes I think it's possible to tell whether a given pound of weight was lost temporarily/unhealthily (due to reduced calorie intake) or more permanently/healthily (due to increased exercise). Weight lost by eating less comes from above the waist, especially above the cheekbones. Weight lost by exercising more comes from the hips, thighs, and abdomen. If you want to look younger rather than older when you lose weight, you have to focus on exercise.
If you want to give up using fructose, or soda pop, there are good reasons to make that choice. Soda pop is overpriced relative to its food value. Our bodies enjoy fruit flavors because our instincts are programmed to search for the nutrients in fruit; artificial fruit flavors can sabotage those instincts and unbalance our diets.

However, fructose is not the sole reason why most of us are fat, and avoiding fructose is not the most important step--or necessarily even a helpful step--toward maintaining a healthy weight.

As a person who cut all the artificial fructose out of my diet, gained weight, became ill, and found myself losing weight and feeling good when I put fructose back in my diet, I'm probably in a minority. And if I'd been willing to make more drastic diet changes, I would probably have lost the weight and felt better without using fructose-sweetened soda pop. I can even imagine some point in some hypothetical future when I might rebalance my diet in a way that does not include soda pop. But the fact remains: I wasn't willing to make those drastic changes, and for me fructose has been part of maintaining a healthy weight and energy level.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

James Ford Celebrates Hazel Eyes

I think, as much as I like e-friend James Ford's haiku, I like his choice of picture. No attempts to enhance the woman's sex appeal. This male writer is keeping it real.

Electric Car Battery Alert

"Who killed the electric car? You did, if you let the battery discharge completely."

500,000 Germans Sitting in Darkness?

From time to time Blogspot reports that we have readers in Germany. Not many, though. Because (1) Germany is smaller than the countries where we have more readers (U.S.A., Russia, Canada), or (2) this blog is written in English, or (3) I don't remember posting anything about Germany here? Maybe...but Steve Milloy has learned of another reason.

There are Green alternatives to both burning coal and sitting in darkness. Especially in winter...while our weather here is close to 1972's record for a mild winter, Reuters has reported brutal winter weather in Europe. And I hope our readers in Germany, and their neighbors, are making good use of the sustainable alternatives. However, sustainable alternatives to paying for electricity can be awfully expensive in "all-electric" urban homes...

Why has electricity become so all-fired expensive, anyway? Further illumination...

Selenium: Mutagen or Teratogen?

Did exposure to selenium pollution cause the freaky little creatures at the left side of this page to be born with, well, conditions that make it unlikely that they could survive?

Or was it some other pollutant? And, if any of these deformed fishes do survive, will their offspring inherit their deformities?

Selenium pollution is, as noted in the New York Times article, a known by-product of strip mining.

Eminent Domain Revisited: SB437

Virginia Senate Bill #437 would, if enacted, create a process for determining the amount of payment the state owes to property owners whom the state deprives of their property through the exercise of "eminent domain." Full text:

Note that this bill is contingent upon the approval of that amendment to the state constitution discussed in SB240, and commented upon at this web site:

I smell a land grab in here somewhere, Gentle Readers.

Is Disrupting a Funeral a Crime? SB434

Virginia Senate Bill #434 would, if enacted, make it a crime to disrupt a funeral in a way "likely to provoke a breach of the peace." Full text:

We are living in an era of cultural decline. Nobody should need to be told that picketing a funeral is mean-spirited and tacky. However, as this blog noted last summer, some people do. Hence the need for SB434.

Investments in Renewable Energy: SB413

Virginia Senate Bill #413 would, if enacted, give tax credits to utility companies for "investments in renewable energy." Full text:

Interesting. On the face of it, this is a nice bill--nothing intrusive, nothing abusive, just a small and tasteful encouragement to utility companies to try to clean up their act. That would be why it's passed the Senate, and almost passed the House, but still been "passed by for the day." Whether its actual intention is "Agenda 21" or not, by now we're all wary of "Agenda 21."

When dealing with proposed new laws, wariness is a good thing.

Impact to Wetlands: SB410

Virginia Senate Bill #410, another gem from State Senator Emmett Hanger, has been postponed for reconsideration next year. This means that the main "impact" of this bill may be to the future career of this "Republican FOR Agenda 21." If you have a vote against this guy and need further reasons to use it, read the full text of SB410 here:

"Contribution to a Board-approved fund, including the purchase from the fund of credits that have met their success criteria, may be permitted to compensate for impacts to wetlands or streams."

In other words, if you just give these friends of mine enough money, you can go right ahead and dump that barrel of mercury into the Bay!

President Obama's Miami Energy Speech

Steve Milloy has been kind enough to post the text of the speech here:

Erosion & Sediment Control: SB407

Virginia Senate Bill #407 is long and complicated. In theory, its purpose is to reduce the pollution generated by construction work...but read the full text here, if you can:

Tea Partiers will hate it. Among other things, it requires all construction projects to be subjected to bureaucratic scrutiny even in the absence of a "planning committee" and authorizes bureaucratic scrutiny at any time while construction is going on.

Another "Agenda 21" ploy from Emmett Hanger...while reading the House Bills I said I wasn't forming a lot of opinions about Delegates, but I am seriously starting to dislike this guy. This district badly needs a new State Senator.

Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority: SB405

Virginia Senate Bill #405 would, if enacted, expand the number of bureaucrats getting paid to belong to a "Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority." In short, use our tax money to create more cushy jobs for the kind of people who currently call themselves "planners." State Senator Hanger, who's sponsored one "Agenda 21" bill after another, is also to blame for this one:

...and unfortunately it looks as if SB405 is on the verge of passing the House as I type this.

Tax Credits for Donating Your Farm: SB403

Virginia Senate Bill #403 would, if enacted, have offered a big state tax credit to any farmer who transfers the rights to a working farm to the state government, rather than selling the farm or leaving it to a relative in his or her will. Full text:

SB403 has been postponed for discussion next year, so once again Tea Partiers should have plenty of time to shoot it down.

This web site does not recommend shooting State Senator Hanger, but it strongly recommends any legal action that would encourage him to get out of Virginia and, preferably, out of the United States.

Nutrient Offset Fund: SB402

Virginia Senate Bill #402 would, if enacted, earmark certain types of large-scale businesses in State Senator Hanger's district for the benefits of a cap-and-trade "Nutrient Offset Fund" (to the extent that anyone actually does benefit from such schemes). Full text:

It's been postponed for discussion next year, so Tea Partiers in Rockingham, Augusta, Page, and Shenandoah Counties should have plenty of time to oppose it.

Youth at Risk Need More Bureaucrats? SB396

Virginia Senate Bill #396 would, if enacted, expand the membership of a statewide council on "at-risk youth and families." Full text:

It's such a small, predictable boondoggle that I doubt that anybody will be crying real tears when SB396 becomes law, which seems to be happening as I type. But it is a use of tax money that serves no obvious purpose--the statewide council does not actually provide services to beneficiaries and, in fact, diverts funds from beneficiaries who might need them. While "Agenda 21" and related legislation have hijacked everyone's attention this winter, the Tea Party's "Taxed Enough Already" theme calls for attention to small, predictable boondoggles as well.

Require Supplies to Be Made in the U.S.A.? SB377

Virginia Senate Bill #377 would, if enacted, require government-funded construction projects in Virginia to use resources that were made in the U.S.A. if such supplies were available.

This bill has been postponed for discussion next year, but I like it.

Can Meat Give You MRSA?

Juniper Russo reports on how commercial (factory-farm) meat can give you MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

The good news is, if you cook your own meat and get it well done, you'll kill the resistant bacteria that are actually in the meat. You will still, however, be ingesting lots of heat-altered saturated fats, and residues of various drugs that were fed to the animal...and it's healthier to buy a leaner, more humanely raised animal from a True Green small family farm, in any case.

Or you could go vegetarian...actually milk is full of germs and residues too (not to mention saturated fat), but you can get adequate amounts of protein and B-vitamins from eggs alone. (Actually, healthy people can synthesize adequate amounts of B-vitamins from a totally vegan diet, without eggs, or desiccated liver supplements, or other nutritional boosts, for two to five years after the last time they ate meat. Not every body is healthy enough to do this; most are.)

And if you read Juniper's article, you'll be boosting her page-view royalties and helping a deserving single mother raise a healthy, though quirky, vegetarian child. That's why she keeps publishing articles even when they arouse the kind of hatespew I saw in the comments below the article. Please read the article, and post a nice comment.

Green Under Pressure?

Steve Milloy reports on the Obama administration's "coming under fire" for enforcing Green policies on the Department of Defense:

Is more energy-efficient technology reliable and cheap enough to be used where it really counts? I don't know. I only report these things.

Why Governor Martinez Should Find a New Hair Stylist

We can't recommend a new hair stylist to New Mexico's Governor Susana Martinez, because it wouldn't be an efficient use of New Mexico taxpayers' money for her to patronize any of the people we might recommend. However, we look forward to seeing her model a better haircut soon, after standing by her beliefs and losing that bigoted creep she had started to patronize...

If you have recommendations and aren't able to post them on The Blaze, please feel free to share them here.

Court-Ordered Psychiatric Treatment: SB371

Virginia Senate Bill #371, which was enacted into law on February 20, actually clarifies (and narrows) the conditions under which judges can declare Virginia residents incompetent and order psychiatric hospitalization:

Considering that provision for this kind of process was already part of our law, and that it's not (yet) been used "to disappear" dissidents, I actually like SB371. But we need a lot more narrow restrictions on this kind of law. Bill reading requires paranoia--you have to think, while reading, either "How could I use this law to harm an enemy?" or "How could an enemy use this law to harm me?"--and the potential for harm of court-ordered hospitalization is obvious.

Virginia Resources Authority: SB370

Did we really need yet another bit of bureaucracy to be called the Virginia Resources Authority? Well, Senate Bill #370 has been enacted--we've got one.

Earthquake Insurance: SB369

Virginia Senate Bill #369 would, if enacted, acknowledge the horrible new reality: Pennsylvania's experiments with fracking have made earthquakes part of Virginia's everyday life.

The bill probably will be enacted, and probably should be, since all it does is require fire insurance policies to state whether or not they cover fires caused by earthquakes. But think about it...fires caused by earthquakes. In Virginia? If we wanted to live with this man-made danger, wouldn't we be living in places where earthquakes are a natural danger, like Italy, Japan, or California? What about some legislation to ban fracking in Virginia, and urge our irresponsible neighbors to stop it in Pennsylvania?

Conflicts of Interest: SB367

Virginia Senate Bill #367 would, if enacted--or will, when enacted, which seems likely--create another loophole for those weaselly "public-private partnerships" that end up being accountable to nobody and doing a disservice to everybody. Full text:

There are "public-private partnerships" that work, for as long as an unlikely combination of good people are working on them. Washington's Metrorail used to be a world-class example. And if you've ridden on Metrorail lately, you've seen some of the reasons why, even though they can work well for a short time, "public-private partnerships" inherently tend to be a bad idea. In the long run it works better for projects to be either public or private, with a mechanism of accountability that will remain clear when responsibility has to be transferred to the next generation.

Is this part of "Agenda 21"? If you've been keeping up with this topic, you know it is. Frankly, Gentle Readers, I'm scared...enough to start considering a review of Seventh-Day Adventist apocalyptic fears as our next theme, after the General Assembly wrap-up next week, unless youall really want me to study something else. I think at least 85% of the bills I've read, the ones that aren't bids for state seals of approval on local business, have been groundwork for "Agenda 21." And I suspect a large amount of the local business, which I've been leaving for local people to critique, has been groundwork for "Agenda 21" too.

Free Online Course on the U.S. Constitution

When e-mails about this have reached me during the past month or so, my reaction has been "Aaack." I'm trying to read these bills, become educated about things that were new to me before I started reading bills and realized how important they were to our legislature...I'm spending more time online than my eyes can really stand for much longer...I can't sign up for anything else now...and so on.

But some of you can sign up for an online course. I probably will sign up, in March. So, click here if you'd like to join an online undergraduate-level class studying the U.S. Constitution, free of charge.

You know there have to be some benefits in taking the course at the same time others are. The chat, the networking...those benefits aren't available to me, but you may enjoy them.

Understanding Agenda 21

First the apologies: It's a horrible PDF slideshow that will use up more computer time than you may have to view it. However, if you're new to the discussion of "Agenda 21," here's a link to what sounds like a Saturday morning cartoon villain's scheme to take over the world by causing lots of people to die--only it's real life.

National Museum of African American History & Culture

This two-minute video goes "behind the scenes" (currently, the "scene" is a construction site) to present the planned National Museum of African American History & Culture, the latest addition to the Smithsonian complex.

The National Mall was starting to look a bit cluttered, to me, even before this building was added...but the museum will no doubt be well worth visiting, even if you wish it had been built somewhere else and funded by private subscriptions.

Wayne Root Said It, I Didn't...

Warning: video only, no text on screen...

Wayne Root says he's studied the federal budget for 2012 and found where, how, and why the Obama Administration has, despite talk about the payroll tax cut, raised the overall tax burden. Has your taxable income changed during the last few years? Have your taxes changed more? If so, please feel free to share your observations...

Paintings Least Likely to Hang in the Obama White House

These surrealistic paintings by Jon McNaughton appear, to my untrained eye, to have real artistic merit. They're almost photographically realistic images, arranged in symbolic cartoon-like ways; they remind me of the best works of Salvador Dali.

Prints are of course being sold on behalf of a political action group, so the prices are high...but all Tea Partiers will probably enjoy seeing the pictures, anyway.

Northern Lights

Very rarely, if ever, is the phenomenon known as the aurora borealis, or northern lights, visible in the Southern States. Liz Klimas shares photos and videos of what we miss:

Must You Report Suspected Child Abuse? SB363

Virginia Senate Bill #363 has been enacted into law. It's fairly complicated--there were lots of drafts, and the one that's become law has been edited down to include lots of links--but, if you work with children, you may want to read it just to find out what the Commonwealth of Virginia now expects of you:

Can People and Birds Coexist on the Outer Banks?

In eastern North Carolina, local people are fighting for their property rights against those who want to make the islands called the Outer Banks into a bird sanctuary...and are going too far...

Would I spend another vacation on the Outer Banks if I were required to park the car and leave the pets on the mainland? fast can I pack?

In view of the amount of news we've received from North Carolina in the last few weeks, does this blog need a "North Carolina" thread? I think so. And maybe one day I'll even find time to add the label to previous news from North Carolina, along with future ones.

Dance Moms Dancing with Toy Guns

If you want to talk about what's tacky in the "Dance Moms" video Madeleine Morgenstern shares, what about the way these alleged "Moms" have been costumed as 14-year-olds?

Young "Moms" have the right to want to regress back to high school, and even play with the "Flag & Rifle" cheerleader routines that used to be standard for all high school girls who didn't make the first ranks of the cheerleading squad. But I have the right to say that, when they're calling themselves "Moms," dressing up as teenyboppers is tacky...and so I say. Whether they're dancing with toy guns, or pom-poms, or whatever else may be on sale at Toys-R-Us this week.

Don't like it? Don't watch it. I'm not calling for censorship...I just don't.

Trap, Neuter, Return: SB359

Virginia Senate Bill #359 would, if enacted, permit the operation of "Trap, Neuter, Return" programs to address the alleged problem of feral cats. Full text:

This looks like a decent, ethical regulation against the cruel act of dumping unwanted pets beside a road, where many indoor pets will immediately approach a car (hoping to be taken home) and be run over, and other animals will starve.

Don't be deceived. If you are on the list of Delegates currently considering this bill--
Marshall, D.W. (Chairman), Orrock, Poindexter, Knight, Morefield, James, and Sickles--or are one of their constituents, it's especially important that you be undeceived.

What the "Humane Pet Genocide Society" really want to accomplish, when they're allowed to trap, neuter, and release allegedly feral cats, is the unauthorized sterilization of outdoor pets.

Our own Grandma Bonnie Peters has networked with sincere, misguided cat lovers participating in a TNR program in Tennessee, and is aware that most of the cats they've trapped are not feral at all. Most actually live within a few blocks of the site where they have been trapped. Some have been sterilized before they were trapped, and others have been left unaltered by owners who would have welcomed their kittens.

The long-term goal of TNR is to reduce domestic animal populations to the point of exterminating the domestic species. Wayne Pacelle has been quoted as actually boasting, "One more generation and they [domestic animals] are out [of existence]."

Responsible pet owners don't want dogs and cats to be "humanely" rendered extinct. Without trying to become professional "breeders," we may even want to preserve the DNA of especially valuable pets, and keep those bloodlines available to people who may reasonably want to adopt one of our puppies or kittens rather than take their chances on a shelter animal.

For my own current cat family, their ability to survive in feral or semi-feral conditions is one of their assets. This ability is based on an unusual "social" temperament, and high intelligence, which allow the cats to hunt as a team. The same qualities also make these cats especially lovable pets who get along well with other cats and really listen to their humans.

Some kittens born into this family have not inherited the family's special talents, and have in fact been sterilized...but how would we know which ones to sterilize if all of them weren't free-range outdoor "barn cats"? (At least, they're "barn cats" unless and until they display such a lack of survival skills that we think they need an indoor, urban-type lifestyle...this happened with only two kittens.)

I don't want any Humane Genocide Society "volunteers" creeping around Scott County, attempting to trap my friendly, tame, vaccinated free-range cats because they've been brainwashed to believe that "any outdoor cat can be considered feral." And Grandma Bonnie can verify that in Tennessee, where TNR operations are legal, that's exactly what TNR "volunteers" have been doing to her neighbors and their pets.

The goal is not merely to inflate the prices charged for shelter cats and cats from licensed commercial breeders; it is ultimately to exterminate domestic cats, as part of a deliberately planned strategy to reduce the human and domestic animal populations of North America. This strategy has been named "Agenda 21." Both Democrats and Republicans have mobilized grassroots groups nicknamed "Ag-Enders" whose goal is to oppose everything that's part of "Agenda 21," and TNR is part of "Agenda 21." So, whatever your political affiliation, your mandate from Virginia voters and taxpayers is to oppose TNR, along with "urban development areas," zoning ordinances for non-urban counties, "planning commissions," "carbon credits," "nutrient credits," efforts to turn family farms into state-run historical parks rather than private enterprises, and all the other nasty parts of "Agenda 21."

Don't fall for the propaganda about the animal population problem, either: As an animal rescuer who does not subscribe to Humane Pet Genocide Society policies about preventing most people from adopting pets, I can testify that every kitten, cat, or dog I've offered for adoption has found a loving home within a few months. There is actually a need for more domestic animals who can be transferred directly from good homes, to good homes, without the inherently inhumane "shelter" process.

Many people have not yet taken the time to question HSUS propaganda, or critically read Pacelle's palpably dishonest book The Bond, so they may still think that the Humane Society of the United States exists in order to promote kindness to animals. They are honestly mistaken.

Please help people who actually like and appreciate domestic animals to oppose policies for "humanely" exterminating them.

Fellow Virginians, if you recognize the name of your Delegate on the list above, there's a reason why the names probably look different from the rest of this post on your computer screen. Those are live links directly to your Delegate's office. Please use these links to send your Delegates e-mail urging them to oppose SB359 and oppose local TNR programs.

Don't Take Firearms to Court

Unless you are the courthouse security officer, don't take any weapons to court. That basic rule is familiar to most U.S. citizens by now, but apparently it was new to "Occupier" John Scott:

Really, people. My understanding was that urban courthouses are now equipped with metal detectors, and ask people to hand over even key chains, nail files, and knitting bags before entering the courtroom. You may be sitting beside a violent criminal; you don't want to carry anything he could steal and use to mutilate you along with the government officials who are about to sentence him.

Just in case this thought had never occurred to any readers out there, now you've been warned.

Virginia Budget Up for Vote Today

This press release from the office of State Senator Carrico came in the e-mail after I'd left the computer center for the night. People who start blogging after work may have posted it on time. Anyway,  "tomorrow" refers to February 23, 2012:

Carrico: Senate Budget is the Responsible Step Forward
Richmond – Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Fries) today urged the passage of the Senate Budget, which is scheduled for a vote during tomorrow’s session.

“The budget crafted in the Senate is the responsible step forward,” Carrico said. “It funds core functions of government, ‘right-sizes’ state spending, avoids forcing burdensome cuts down to localities, and makes progress on transportation funding. It is a successful budget created in tough economic times, and it deserves approval in the Senate.”

Carrico also pointed out that, beyond the larger issues, the Senate budget includes various provisions that will be critical to economic growth and healthcare needs in his district and Southwest Virginia as a whole. “This budget includes language to develop a plan for opening the correctional facility in Grayson County,” he said. “It also restores funding for the St. Mary’s Health Wagon, which provides a medical home for 2,500 Southwest Virginia citizens. It restores funding for companion care and the Pharmacy Connect program, both provided by Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Inc. It protects child advocacy centers and Project Discovery, a successful education program. Finally, it restores funding for the Coalfield Regional Tourism Authority and the Daniel Boone Visitors Center. My constituents need this budget to be passed.”

Recently, Senate Democrats have threatened to vote against the budget to block its passage, citing Republicans’ organization of the Senate as part of their reasoning. “Senate leadership has gone out of their way to accommodate Democrat concerns,” Carrico said. “There’s no reason to vote against this bill.”

Carrico said that he will be urging his constituents to contact other Southwest Virginia Senators to support the Senate budget. “I’m hopeful that someone on the other side of the aisle will understand that a vote against this budget will result in uncertainty for schools, towns and counties throughout the state,” he said. “In this economy, we can’t afford to use our citizens as pawns for cheap political points. Virginians deserve productive leadership, not empty rhetoric and sour grapes.”

Urban Development Areas Optional: SB274

Virginia Senate Bill #274, which makes the designation of a community as an "urban development area" optional rather than mandatory, has passed both houses in the Virginia General Assembly and is now law:

This could have gone further; I'd like to have seen the legislature reject the whole concept of an "urban development area," as something planned and forced rather than allowed to develop naturally. Even so, Tea Partiers are delighted.

County Officials Continue to Pray at Meetings

Billy Hallowell reports on the kind of case that give the ACLU a bad name:

Get over it, people. If you don't believe the words of someone else's prayer are "correct," can't you be an adult about it? Stand or sit quietly and pray or meditate, in the way you believe is appropriate, for peace. Whatever it is that you believe in, becoming hysterical whenever someone else expresses different beliefs is a poor excuse for a testimony to your beliefs.

Should General Motors Employees Drive Volts?

Indisputable fact: the 2011 Chevy Volt is not one of the company's greatest hits. Although major safety issues seem to have been resolved, nobody's saying the recalled, revamped Volts are the best cars they've ever driven--only that they're not likelier than other cars to catch fire.

No points for guessing that, in the company's internal efforts to encourage employees to model the company's products, General Motors is nudging its employees to choose one of the couple of thousand of unsold Volts with which the company is stuck:

How bad is that? If I work for an employer who gives me free or discounted merchandise to model, is it a scandal if the freebies aren't the employer's most popular product?

The Lorax and the Borrowers: Indoctrination?

The Disney corporation has bought up movie rights to two children's classics of the twentieth century, Dr. Seuss's The Lorax and Mary Norton's series that began with The Borrowers.

If you scroll through the review down to the poll, you'll find that a majority of people who read "The Blaze" think these films are indoctrinating a generation of "Occu-toddlers":

Hmm. I know Disney movies can stray pretty far from the original book, and I've not seen the movies. However, I liked The Lorax and The Borrowers as a child, and those books have not made me an "Occupier."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beehive Grant Fund: SB354

Virginia Senate Bill #354 proposes to grant up to $2400 per year to beekeepers who consent to state inspections. Full text:

Beekeepers beware! This kind of deal can become sticky, and can sting.

The Real Sponsor of "99% Spring"

Corporate sponsorship for the next wave of protests? No, apparently it's the United Auto Workers:

Barack Obama as Gun Salesman?

Fair disclosure: This web site has received indirect sponsorship by a firearms dealer, who, after becoming a target of local displays of envy when his business's income was reported (perhaps inaccurately) on Manta, has preferred to see Second Amendment rights-related content here rather than be identified in an advertorial.

I understood the envy a little better after a recent, infrequent, trip through his town. Somehow I remembered it as a yuppie neighborhood. Signs of economic downturn are...listen, you can't blame the few stores that are still in business; that's the way to pull the town even further down. You have to blame the factories that have shut down, and the Yankees who've shipped those jobs overseas.

But if you're the former owner of a manicure boutique or designer cookie store, and are feeling envious of, er, uh, John Doe's Gun Shop, take a look at these splashy NRA graphics illustrating the effects the Obama Administration has had on firearms sales in the United States...

Pain at the Pump? Blame Steven Chu

This post by Steve Milloy links to a CBS News story:

How Far Are We from Obama's Energy Goal?

Steve Milloy has a nice little chart to show how far we are from the current administration's "clean energy" consumption goal:

Pathetic, Gentle Readers. Most of us could potentially save money by heating with garbage. I burn a bag of garbage (mostly toilet paper to ignite mostly last summer's weedings and prunings) daily, and my heating bill for January was $50. Where it usually is. And I live in the high Blue Ridge Mountains; this year we've not had subzero temperatures, but often we do.

I don't have to pay for garbage disposal service, either; every few months someone with an open-bed pickup truck hauls off a few bags of recycling, and every year or two I've had to dispose of something too nasty to burn for heat.

Don't sit around envying my low utility bills. Get an enclosed stove or furnace and lower your own.

Now, the bad news for some Misty Greens: No, even if everybody started burning garbage, the goal of 35% "clean" energy consumption, nationwide, would not become realistic. And yes, if everybody burned garbage, the chemical balance of our atmosphere probably would be adversely affected. But it would be realistic for a lot of individuals out there to set a goal of 35% lower utility bills.

Classic Lent Jokes

If you don't recognize each joke onsite, scroll through the comments. Laughter is a healthy natural form of pain control.

Love of Animals Goes Insane

Lunatic animal lover pleads for help:

Using the same nonverbal interpretation system I use to report what animals have told me, I interpret Ms. Lowell as nonverbally telling us, "Please spay me and keep me in a nice, quiet cage." I've never received this message from a cat or dog with anything like the intensity with which it's coming from her.

Official Obama Administration Friends List

With friends like Rahm Emanuel...please, Mr. President, just retire now.

The Conscience of a Placement Agency: SB349

Virginia Senate Bill #349 would, if enacted, concede that people who work in "child-placing agencies" may have consciences, and may insist on placing children in foster or adoptive homes that are committed to the same principles they are. Full text:

SB349 passed the State Senate, but is stalling in the House of Delegates. I'm not sure why. Fear of the mean, nasty, violent homosexual lobby? What a stereotype...please don't tell me it's still real. All sane and public-spirited people should respect the freedom of conscience of their fellow Virginians, including those who work in child placement agencies. If there are prospective foster parents out there who can't get on the approval list of a church-sponsored agency due to these reasons of individual conscience, what's stopping them from organizing their own charity that will sponsor its own agency that will approve them as foster parents for children whose birth parents identified with their school of thought, whatever that might be.

Animated Highway Signs: SB339

Virginia Senate Bill #339 is being shelved for reconsideration next year, giving the eye-thinkers out there time to consider the full text:

Do we want animation on billboards? I certainly don't. It would be used as a rationalization for irresponsible driving. It would in fact be a basis for higher prices. And it would be ugly.

But do we need legislation to mandate common sense? Can't individual boycotts of companies that use obnoxious, overpriced, in-your-face advertising be used to steer advertisers back to modest, tasteful, unobtrusive ads?

President Obama Sings Hometown Classic

How well does the President sing his city's song?'s not the version that made "Sweet Home Chicago" a classic, but I have to rate President Obama a better singer than Mitt Romney.

For those who missed it, here's a link to Mitt Romney's impromptu performance:

NASCAR License Plates? SB334

Virginia Senate Bill #334 was a harmless "fun" bill that is, nevertheless, about to be shelved for reconsideration next year. Full text:

I like this one. Although nobody's claiming that it's really vital, this is a self-funding proposal to allow NASCAR fans to commission special license plates that would fund charities supported by the management of the Bristol Motor Speedway. This bill is unlikely to do much harm or cost much money. At worst, it would be ignored by the public.

For those who've wondered what the Bristol Motor Speedway is used for during the fifty weeks of the year when it does not host a major NASCAR race...well, very often, it's used as a large arena for staging large-scale fundraisers. I've never personally donated money to any cause in order to drive through the "Speedway In Lights," which is advertised through most of the winter, but many people do. However, when Virginians collected donations for survivors of 2010's Nashville Flood (and similar disasters), we loaded them into a semi-trailer at the Speedway. Two weeks from now, when residents of Bristol and Kingsport get their own chance at free dental care, cancer screening, and prescriptions for glasses at their very own Remote Area Medical Clinic, they'll be flocking to the Speedway. And so on.

Though NASCAR used to be perceived as a sort of minor nuisance on which a few redneck-types wasted their money, it's grown into a million-dollar business that generates huge amounts of revenue.  I see no reason why the House should delay authorizing B.M.S. to collect funds on behalf of these charities this year.

Mopeds on Highways: SB333

Virginia Senate Bill #333, which has been shelved for reconsideration next year, would ban mopeds from highways where the posted speed limit is greater than 35 miles per hour. Full text:

I have a pretty good idea who proposed this bill to State Senator Carrico. Reckless drivers did. Reckless drivers have also proposed banning bicycles and pedestrians from highways.

Maybe you need to be familiar with Gate City to understand why I've heard so much about this. (Though "Carrico" is a Gate City name, I don't think the State Senator himself has ever lived here.) There are basically two ways to get from one end of Gate City to the other. Although they are mapped, confusingly, as either Route 58 or Route 23 (Bypass) and Route 58 or Route 23 (Business), local people recognize the older, two-lane "business" route as Route 58 and the newer, four-lane "bypass" route as Route 23.

Which alternative do you choose? If you're driving, and you want to shop downtown, you take old 58. If you're driving a vehicle with a stick shift, and you don't want to stall or slide backward at a light at the top of an upgrade, you might be better advised to take 23.

If you're walking, and you want to see and be seen and chat with people about where you're going and why, you take old 58--although it does not have a smooth dry shoulder for most of the distance across town, and part of the time you will be walking through long grass and/or puddles and/or people's front yards, and you will be within inches of passing logging trucks if something else happens to be passing in the other lane at the same time. If you're walking, and you value either privacy or safety, you take 23 and walk on that full-sized, smoothly paved shoulder, where passing trucks still generate enough wind to ruin your umbrella (I'm now on my fourth umbrella in the past twelve months) but at least they don't actually brush against your coattails. I know the hazards of both routes well.

Reckless drivers would like to be able to race down that three-mile strip of Route 23, veering onto the shoulder in order to speed past law-abiding drivers, without any concern for slower vehicles, or people, or wildlife. More than once I've been told that the reckless drivers are trying to get legislation enacted to make walking on Route 23 illegal. I know this is what's going on whenever a local police officer stops and says--in what's become a routine conversation by now--"We've had a report of a person in distress on Route 23! Are you in distress?"

I find this harassment very annoying, and so (I hope) do the local police. I want legislation to the effect that the people who annoy the police, and me, with these calls can be arrested.

I know what the reckless drivers want to accomplish, and I don't think it would serve anyone's highest good in any way. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and moped users are physically safer on the shoulder of the Route 23 "bypass" than they are on the "business" route. Fellow motorists are physically safer, too, when reckless drivers are forced to drive at a reasonable traffic speed--which, in some weather conditions, is 25 or 35 miles per hour wherever they are.

My opinion is that even this compromise with the reckless drivers would be a bad thing, at least for Gate City, and probably for any other jurisdiction where the reckless drivers are pushing for legislation to clear the roads for their purposes. At least, if any new legislation is enacted to restrict anyone's access to any public road, such legislation should include a speed limit of 35 miles per hour for any public road within ten miles of any private home or business.

We don't actually need more road races on Route 23. Although most of the "bypass" is separated from downtown Gate City by guard rails, bluffs, and woodlots, making it unlikely that wrecked cars would encroach on any private property except other cars, many trucks hauling hazardous materials use Route 23 and many HazMat spills have occurred on this highway as it is. We need to make Route 23 safer, not more indulgent of reckless drivers.