Sunday, December 21, 2014

Well, this one was armed...



       An 'Unarmed' Young Man Was Shot,,,
       Was that the important thing? that he was unarmed? 
       Is the cop really supposed to fight back with his bare hands, even if he feels his life is in danger, because, if he uses his gun and if the guy he's trying to arrest is unarmed, then it wasn't a 'fair' fight? (By the way, what if the 'policeman' is a policewoman? Still not allowed to shoot? SHE also has to 'fight fair?')
        Well, if the cop is the only one with a gun, then it might not be a fair fight but....IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A 'FAIR' FIGHT. An arrest is not a duel. It's not Man from La Manch.  The cop is supposed to win. You're supposed to give up. You're being arrested. Tomorrow, you'll have a lawyer and then there'll be the judge.
        Too often we see what happens when the other guy is armed. That's the way it will always be if the bad guy has a gun. Nobody reads a cop his Miranda rights. It's just, BANG!
       

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I Love Paris (Chinese version)



        In return for the United States' agreeing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions below 2005 levels by 2025, the Paris Climate Accords allowed the Chinese to continue to increase their burning of fossil fuels, remaining the planet's largest emitter of carbon dioxide until 2030 when, they agreed, their carbon dioxide emissions would...'peak.' 
        Huh?!
        What does that mean? How much is a 'peak?' In case you were sick on the day  they taught counting, 'peak' is not a number. Nobody counts, "one, two, three, peak, four, five, si..." 
         And don't let anyone tell you that you can save money by switching from fossil fuels. If it would save money, we wouldn't need laws and fines and whatnot to get people to do it. 
                                                                   *** 
        "So, Xi, how did you get the Americans to agree to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 28%? The price of everything they make will go thru the roof."
        "I told them that if they did that, we would agree to peak in 2030."
        "Peak? What does that mean, to peak?"
        "I don't know. We'll worry about it in 2030."

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Global Warming 'Pollution?'


        "Hey, Nee, want to go for a swim?"
        "Ander, are you crazy? It's freezing outside. That's why they call this the Ice Age. Ask Thal. He's also nuts. Maybe he'll go with you."
        "No, bro'. Take a look outside. The ice is melting. It's getting nice and...toasty."
                                                                  ***
        About 15,000 years ago much of North America, Northern Europe, and lots of other places were covered with ice. And it wasn't just that crunchy stuff that all those folks in Massachusetts and Vermont walk thru on the way to their Social Justice meetings. This was real ICE, a mile or two thick and covering the continent from coast to coast. And then, gradually, it all melted, except for a little that was left on the poles, North and South.
        But how could that be? With no industry to burn 'fossil fuels' (most of the 'fossils' were actually still walking around), where did all that 'climate change' come from?
        Well, Earth's climate has been changing since it was formed  4.5 billion years ago due to what scientists call, 'natural causes.' i.e., changes in earth's orbit, changes in the way the earth's axis tilts, changes in the sun's output of heat, etc. It's only been during the past 200 years or so, i.e. since the start of the industrial revolution, that we've had a little extra warming (0.8 degree C.) from burning fossil fuels and, during the last 17 years in fact, there's been no additional surface warming at all. Go know!
        And, as far as it being a pollutant is concerned, global warming is no more a 'pollutant' than is global cooling or global lukewarming. Pollutants are pollutants and warming is warming. Calling a change in temperature a 'pollutant' just to get everyone's juices going is dumb and dishonest and you shouldn't do it even if it gets people to vote for you or to come and see your movie.
Summary of latest U.N. IPCC Report on climate change:
1: We made a lot of mistakes last time but we got better computers and we're smarter than
     we used to be.
2. Things are much worse than we thought.
3. Send money.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Here today, gone tomorrow?


             "Who was that Neanderthal I saw you with last night?"
             "That was no Neanderthal. That was my Cro-Magnon."
                                                     ***
        Between 98 and 99.9% of all species that ever walked, crawled, swam, flew, or ran for office anywhere on Earth are now extinct. (No, you don't get to pick which ones stay and which go.)
        But, as some species become extinct, others manage to adapt to a changing environment and thrive. It's called 'evolution' and has been going on for all the billions of years since life first appeared on Earth.
        "But, if we keep burning fossil fuels and carbon dioxide increases, won't that tip the balance? Won't we ALL soon become extinct? I saw this movie..."
        Maybe time for a little perspective here. Movies are fun. Go, eat some popcorn, have a few laughs...but don't think you're watching a lecture by Albert Einstein. Make believe is, well, make believe.
        'Sea snails', for instance, are less than one-half inch in size and with very delicate, fragile shells. If the carbon dioxide dissolved in the ocean increases and  this damages their shells, could the snails be hurt and possibly even become extinct? Well, maybe. But, at the same time,
         The oceans are also filled with 'Phytoplankton' which are microscopic 'plants' that make their own food from carbon dioxide. If carbon dioxide in the oceans increases, they grow and thrive, i.e. "Viva la food chain!"
        In other words, maybe it's time to take a deep breath and calm down a little. There's a lot we don't know and, despite the assertions of some people who should  know better, this whole subject is far from 'settled science.'
        Maybe even time to give up the politically correct greeting, "Hi. The Koch brothers are eating your children" and go back to the old fashioned, "Hello," which is rumored to still be popular in some remote parts of the country and can be very soothing.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Don't Go Near The Water


     "What's all this fuss about the oceans becoming more 'Hasidic'? I know lots of Hasidim and they're very fine people."
        "Emily."
        "And they're also very modest. When they go swimming, they always wear those long bathing suits that go all the way from their ankles to their neck."
        "Emily."
        "And besides, the oceans belong to everyone and if the Hasidim want to swim in the oceans, well, what business it that of..."
        "Emily!"
        "What?"
        "Not 'Hasidic,' Emily. 'acidic.' The oceans are becoming more acidic because when carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean, it combines with water molecules, hydrogen ions are generated, and the ocean becomes more acidic."
        "Oh. Never mind."
                                                              ***
        So, is this really a serious problem or, like Emily Litella, should we just...'never mind?' Here's what you missed that day you were absent from Science class,  
        The pH of a liquid tells us how acidic it is. Pure water has a pH of 7 and is neutral. Liquids with pH lower than 7 are acids and greater than 7, bases or alkaline.
        Since the start of the industrial revolution 200 years ago, the pH of the oceans has declined from 8.2 to 8.1 so that it would actually be more correct to say that the oceans are becoming more 'neutral', i.e. less alkaline, than to say that they're becoming more 'acidic'.  But 'neutral oceans' just won't get those juices flowing the way 'acidic' ones will,
       Think someone is trying to snooker us with all this stuff? More taxes? More loan guarantees? Help out the Green People a little? Maybe we should ask to see their emails. Oh, all the hard drives fell into the ocean and got eaten by sharks? Well, it could happen."
         

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Is Carbon Dioxide Getting A Bad Rap?


        Maybe you've seen The Graph, the one with the two wavy lines, one for carbon dioxide and the other for temperature, and have also heard...The Speech,
        "Look at this. Anybody except a Republican can see that carbon dioxide always increases when earth's temperature increases and, if we don't do something soon, we're...cooked! Only question is, boiled, baked, or fried?" 
        Well, while it's true that carbon dioxide and temperature have fluctuated   together for millions (billions?) of years, take a closer look at that graph and you'll notice something that scientists, but apparently not former Vice Presidents, have known for years, i.e. temperature goes up before carbon dioxide increases.
        But how can carbon dioxide cause global warming if the warming comes first, before the carbon dioxide increases? The most widely accepted scientific explanation for all this is that,
        Earth's climate has always fluctuated between ice ages and warming periods due to 'natural causes', i.e. changes in earth's orbit around the sun, changes in the way the earth tilts toward or away from the sun while it's orbiting, changes in solar activity...in other words, anything that can't be controlled by Exxon-Mobile.
        As the planet warms, the oceans also warm and carbon dioxide comes out of solution (the oceans contain 50 times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere). This additional carbon dioxide then enters the atmosphere where it absorbs energy from the sun which it then radiates down onto the earth's surface. It's how 'greenhouse gases' work.
        In other words, carbon dioxide didn't 'cause' all that warming over the past  4.5 billion years. It just 'amplified' the warming that was already going on. When the planet cools, the same thing happens but...in reverse.
        "But this time, things are different. We're burning lots of fossil fuels which is adding even more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere which is adding to global warming and making the seas rise even faster. We're all going to die!"
        Whew! Maybe time to take a deep breath and chill (ha, ha) a little.
        While it's true that burning fossil fuels has added some carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and that this may very well be causing some warming and increase in sea levels, the important question is, how much? And is it 'dangerous' or, as some have suggested, might it even be a good thing if it prevents, or at least delays, another ice age? Or is it maybe just..... inconsequential?  
        Anyway, over the past 130 years, the planet's temperature has gone up, ready?... less than one degree, 0.8 degrees Celsius to be exact. And during the last 15 of these years, we've had no surface warming to speak of at all. A 'pause' in the warming, an end to the warming, or maybe even the beginning of a new ice age? No way to know until we can look back on these years someday and see what actually happened.
         And the seas? Over the past 130 years, the seas rose...eight inches. Looks like we're not going to have to swim to work for at least a little while longer.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meet Me In Crimea, Vladimia...



        "Mommy, the boys next door are fighting again. Why can't they learn to play nice?"
        "They're Europeans, Timmy. They don't know how to play nice."
                                                                  ***
       European 'tribes' are no different from tribes in any other part of the world except that European tribesmen wear ties. This time it's Ukraine and the world, as usual, has turned to the United States to assume its customary role as policeman and haberdasher,
        "You have to. You signed the Budapest Memorandum in 1994. It says you have to protect Ukrainian sovereignty." 
        No! Wrong! Not correct! Nyet, nyet!
        The Budapest Memorandum, which was signed by the U.S., U.K., Ukraine, and Russia, says that, in return for Ukraine's giving up its nuclear weapons, the signatories agree to 'respect' the integrity of Ukraine. It doesn't say anything about 'protecting' that integrity. And, besides, it was never submitted to the United States Senate for ratification, i.e. not legally binding.
        Russia may have breached the agreement but, unfortunately for Ukraine, there is no enforcement mechanism. (Before buying a used car or giving up your nuclear weapons, it's probably a good idea to read what you're about to sign.)
        And under similar circumstances, by the way, would we behave any differently from the way the Russians behaved?
        Suppose the United States were leasing a naval base from Mexico to protect the security of the Panama Canal (same way the Russian Black Sea fleet based in Crimea is leasing its base from Ukraine). And suppose the Mexican gov't were overthrown by one less likely to allow us to continue to use that base (ditto Ukraine). Does anyone doubt that the Marines would be crossing the border before you could say, 'Remember the Alamo?' 
       As they say in the Russian Tea Room, 'One man's taco is another man's pirogi.' 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Free Pizza

        Why is the president so proud of all the millions of people who are signing up for Medicaid? It's free health insurance. Who refuses 'free?' 
        And the millions who the Congressional Budget Office now says will be working less hours or quitting their jobs altogether so they'll be eligible for free or subsidized insurance? More pride?
                                                            ***
      "Want some pizza?"
      "No thanks. I just ate."
      "It's free."
       "Hmm, in that case, ok. I'll take it home for later."
       "I can throw on some pepperoni for a buck."
        "No, thanks. Pepperoni gives me heartburn."
        "Quit your job and it's free too."
        "Ok. I could use a rest. Throw it on. My wife will eat it."
Question #1: What's the difference between free pizza and free health insurance?
       Ans.: Free pizza has tomato sauce.
Question #2: Who's going to pay for all this 'free' stuff?
       Ans.: "Mirror, mirror, on the wall..."