Thursday, October 30, 2008

Election 2008: The Vote For The Most Strange

In every Presidential election there are some images that we remember. Images that have been captured by the media during the heat of the campaign.

Often, these images make us wonder why any sane person would run for political office. Certainly, these images show an absence of common sense and behavior difficult for most of us to explain.

Indeed, there are many examples of bad taste in the 2008 Presidential election campaign. Still, here is my vote for the top five things that will be remembered for a lack of good judgement and even as down right strange.

1. In July, The New Yorker had a picture of what it called a "satire" of Michelle and Barack Obama on its front cover. The "satire" magazine cover showed the Oval Office with Barack Obama as a tribal African. Michelle Obama was depicted in an afro-hairdo with a machine gun.
A picture of Osama Bin Laden was displayed on the wall and an American flag was on fire. Exactly, what was the editor thinking to allow the magazine to publish this picture?

2. Recently, Al Franken, who is not a credible candidate for the Senate but is running even with his opponent, Norm Coleman, was shown as a cartoon character, sticking out his tongue and wearing a beanie in a recent partisan Republican mailing. What ever happened to winning with new ideas in political election campaigns?

3. A Halloween display of Sarah Palin hung in effigy and John McCain emerging from a chimney in flames. These images courtesy of a West Hollywood couple were disturbing, misguided, and pretty strange. It just shows that in America, one man's hate crime could well be another man's Hollywood design.

4. A McCain campaign worker that pretends to be the victim of an attack by an Obama supporter at an ATM. She cuts a backwards B into her cheek in a vain attempt to give credit to her false claim. She was charged for filing a false police report for her deception and cheeky crime of physical pain.

5. A final example of the strange in Election 2008 comes from a quartet of young women in Brooklyn. They are pictured in a poster under the heading "Girls Say Yes to boys who say Obama".

Indeed, it's a poster that exists as an acknowledgement of the "dumbing down" of American society. Certainly, a poster that said "Girls say yes we can, to boys who say Obama" would have been far more appropriate in this strange election year.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The End Of The Phoenix Mission Is Near

It's common in late October for the temperature at Phoenix's arctic landing site to drop to well over -100 degrees Farenheit . The Phoenix lander is equipped with heaters to withstand the extreme cold, but there is now a bigger concern.

Winter on the far northern part of the Martian planet is coming, and days on the Arctic plains are shortening. As a result, the solar panels on Phoenix will soon not generate enough power.

Recognizing the inevitable, NASA has just announced that Phoenix's days to see and explore Mars are numbered.

However, NASA originally scheduled research on Mars for ninety days. Indeed, the extended length of this Phoenix Mission should promote its success. In November,the Lander will have analyzed the planets surface and atmosphere for more than five months.

So, what did the Phoenix find in the last five months on the martian surface? The test results of the samples will be analyzed for some time, but here are some initial observations from NASA:

The lander found evidence that the chemical makeup of the dust on the surface of Mars resembles that of sea water, adding to evidence that liquid water that once may have supported life flowed on the planet's surface.

Phoenix experiments also yielded clues pointing to calcium carbonate, the main composition of chalk, and particles that could be clay. Most carbonates and clays on Earth form only in the presence of liquid water.

The Phoenix lander detected snow falling from Martian clouds. A laser instrument designed to gather knowledge of how the atmosphere and surface interact on Mars has detected snow from clouds about 2.5 miles above the spacecraft's landing site. Data also shows the snow vaporizing before reaching the ground.

Recently, Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona was quoted as follows: "Mars is giving us some surprises. We're excited because surprises are where discoveries come from.

Smith continued: "One surprise is how the soil is behaving. The ice-rich layers stick to the scoop when poised in the sun above the deck, different from what we expected from all the Mars simulation testing we've done. That has presented challenges for delivering samples, but we're finding ways to work with it and we're gathering lots of information to help us understand this soil."

Over the next several weeks, four survival heaters will be shut down, one at a time, in an effort to conserve power. The heaters serve the purpose of keeping the electronics within tested survivable limits.

As each heater is disabled, some of the instruments are also expected to cease operations. The energy saved is intended to power the lander's main camera and meteorological instruments until the very end. "At that point, Phoenix will be at the mercy of Mars," said Chris Lewicki of JPL, lead mission manger.

For background on the Phoenix Mission, read: The Phoenix Mission Replaces Hollywood In Martian Exploration on

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Final Days Of The Election Of 2008

There are just six days to go in the 2008 Presidential Election. At this late stage in the race, there are several things that have become quite clear. Barack Obama has run a better campaign than John McCain.

He has had the discipline to stay on message and performs very well in front of a teleprompter. Obama's campaign is better organized and the candidate has looked very "Presidential" in all of the debates.

In general, McCain has suffered from the timing of the financial crisis and the unpopularity of the current Administration. The truth is that McCain has more than a 20% higher approval rating than George W. Bush. The fact that this is still a fairly close election in a Democratic year seems hard to believe, but that is what the pollsters say.

However, there has not been one public opinion tracking poll since early September that has indicated that Barack Obama has trailed in this election. Current polls in the major battleground states show Obama tied or slightly in the lead. In western states that usually vote Republican like New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado, Obama looks like he is well ahead and will probably win.

There is little doubt that if the election were held today, Barack Obama would become the next President of the United States in 2009. He will win next week if nothing changes between now and then. However, there is still one week to go in election 2008 and the last week of any Presidential Election can be the most volatile.

Remember in 2000, George Bush had his college record of DUI appear in the major media markets across the country. This revelation evaporated his four point lead in the polls over the last few days before the election and led to a surge by Al Gore that almost cost Bush the Presidency.

What can happen in the final days to change the outcome in election 2008? It probably would be an external event to the campaign. A foreign policy crisis or a national security event. A new revelation about Barack Obama, his background, his ideas or even dubious comments from his wife. There are certainly many different rumors in the blogosphere of damaging tapes containing information that will soon be released that could alter this race.

Indeed, we have entered the final days of the Election of 2008. So, bring a healthy dose of skepticism, and hold on tight because it may be a wild ride. In politics, it even has a name, its often called the October surprise.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Israel's Choice Is War Or A Nuclear Iran

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Tzipi Livni just announced that she cannot form a coalition government and new general elections will soon be held in the State of Israel. Many current public opinion polls indicate that in the general election, former Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu will be elected Prime Minister of Israel in early 2009.

The fact is that these new Israeli elections are likely to end the current peace process with the Palestinians, restarted with U.S. backing at Annapolis, Md., nearly one year ago.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to build a strategic relationship with Russia through a new energy alliance. Both countries should soon announce the formation of a natural gas cartel. In addition, Iran continues to enrich uranium, well along its path to becoming the only nuclear power in the Middle East.

It has become obvious that the hope of any additional strong United Nations Sanctions against Iran for its illegal nuclear enrichment program are now non-existent. Previous United Nations Sanctions have proven too weak and have not worked anyway.

In the United States, the deteriorating economy and the 2008 Presidential election dominates the national news. The dubious prospect of a nuclear Iran has dropped well down the list of problems that need immediate national attention.

For Israel, after the general election, the decision that they face is unfortunately clear. Their choice between war or the threat of a nuclear Iran is the direct result of another failure of international diplomacy and the United Nations.

It all adds up to an unresolved international problem destined to escalate into a major world wide event. Indeed, a major foreign policy crisis is on the horizon, soon after the start of the new year.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cars In The Future Will Think And Change Shape

Over one million people worldwide die in motor vehicle accidents every year. Studies have found that more than 90% of all motor vehicle accidents involve some degree of human error.

So, we should all just face the hard cold facts. Many of us just can't drive safely. Often, some of us let our emotions overcome reason.

Stress, road rage, speeding, alcohol, cell phones, screaming children, and a lack of proper driving directions, all distract our attention, reduce our driving performance and as a result increase our potential accident risk.

Since in this fast paced world we elect not to change our behavior, the automotive industry is going to provide a car in the future designed to give us instant safety protection, and provide operator help.

Consider that a car that protects its passengers by strengthening the inside of its frame in the instant before a collision has recently been crash-tested by European engineers. The system uses radar and cameras to anticipate an impact on the side of a car just a fraction of a second before impact actually occurs.

In that instant before impact, a metal bar slides into place to create a temporary brace that makes the cars inside frame significantly stronger. The bar bridges a gap between the front door and another bar running across the car and anchored on the chassis. So, the internal shape of the car instantly changes to protect occupants from the collisions impact.

The fact is that automobile prediction systems have become possible due to improvements in sensors and computing. Indeed, many car manufacturers are already testing and designing head lights that work automatically based on driving visibility, and brakes that act on their own to begin to slow a car based on upcoming traffic.

Eventually, the car of the future will warn us about the imminent danger of an oncoming vehicle or a potential collision while backing a car up. It could provide a calm reassuring voice during a difficult commute. It could even warn us of an upcoming change in the contour of the road and alert us that the speed limit is being exceeded.

Of course, the car of the future may provide other things for us to ponder as well. Consider, some of the research funded by the automobile industry being done by Car Lab at Stanford University as well as research at software giant, Microsoft, Corporation.

Both are involved in research focused on vehicle accumulation of information on driver behavior. In the future, our car will keep a record of where we drive, how fast we go, where we stop to eat and shop and many other aspects of our consumer and driving preferences.

So, the car of the future could be designed to tell our insurance company how often we were speeding, how we drive in traffic, and how many times we park illegally. The amount of our future insurance premiums may well rely on our car's report on our own driving behavior.

In addition, consider that as we pass Walmart, our car's dashboard voice may tell us all the items that the store has on sale today. It may even tell us about the deal we can get on a Latte at a nearby Starbucks or to consider going left at the next intersection for breakfast at Dennys.

The car of the future will be much safer, but from a privacy standpoint, we may need to consider taking a cab.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Controversial Paper Of Livingston And Penn

I thought that I would check on the activity of the sun today. After all, in March, many prominent scientists were worried that Solar Cycle 24 would be so active by now that our entire communications system would be disrupted.

That 2008 consensus scientific prediction certainly has proven to be well off the mark and dramatically incorrect.

As can be see in the picture above, once again today, there are no sunspots, and the face of the sun is blank. In fact, a blank sun is the same picture that has been seen by astronomers for over 200 days during this year already. The number of days without a sunspot now makes 2008, the fifth blankest year in the last century and there is still plenty of time left in the year to move toward a record and be on top.

So, what does this lack of sunspot activity on the sun really mean? The answer is still unknown but there is one thing that we do now know. We know that there was only one scientific paper that predicted this current trend in sunspot activity before it all began. However, it was denied publication nearly three years ago.

The paper was released during an active sun in 2005. It was laughed at in the scientific community, never published, rejected by scientific journals, and eventually dismissed as being too controversial.

This controversial paper was based on the research of a pair of astronomers from the National Solar Observatory (NSO) at Kitt Peak in Tucson, Arizona, William Livingston and Matthew Penn.

The researchers looked at minute spectroscopic and magnetic changes in the sun by analyzing data from sunspot observations over a 15-year period from 1990 to 2005. In total, over 1000 sunspots were measured, noting their umbral brightness, temperature and magnetic field strength.

Livingston and Penn discovered that the sunspot umbral magnetic field was decreasing rapidly from nearly 3000 Gauss in the late 1990’s to nearly 2000 Gauss in 2005. Projecting the current trend to continue until 2015, the umbral magnetic field strength would hit 1500 Gauss. At that point, the sunspot structure would not be maintained since no umbral darkening could be observed.

So, if the umbral magnetic field continued to decrease, the Sun would continue to become less active over time until the 11-year solar cycle would effectively be “put on hold” in the year 2015. It would remain on hold until the unknown mechanism driving the process decided to start up again. The result is that in 2015 there would be no visable sunspots.

The conclusion of their research was certainly startling and it is also the title of their work: “Sunspots may vanish by 2015". It should be noted that their paper only considers data from 15 years worth of sunspots, that’s only just a little more than one cycle. Data over several sunspot cycles could certainly be seen as more conclusive.

However, what if they are proven correct and we are about to enter a sunspot minimum with the regular eleven year sunspot cycle on hold in just a few years time? It has happened before in the Maunder and Dalton Minimums, and if sunspot history is a guide, much colder times for this planet would be ahead.

One thing seems certain. If the current lack of sunspot activity becomes a continuing trend, nobody will be laughing at the scientific research in the controversial paper of Livingston and Penn.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Joe Biden Moments Are Hard To Understand

Joe Biden moments continue to appear with regularity in the Democratic Presidential Election campaign of 2008.

Last week, Joe could be seen shouting into a microphone that the major issue in this campaign year is a three letter word and then he proceeds to spell out for the audience the four letters in the word Jobs.

Its a pretty funny moment if you have not already seen the video, but its just another in a series of Biden gaffes in this campaign. Surely, its not any wonder why Barack Obama has recently tried to keep this guy away from a microphone.

The truth is that Joe Biden has been isolated from the traveling press, taken off of the campaign trail for a week and has not held a press conference in over a month. Nevertheless, Joe Biden moments just keep on coming.

Indeed, its very difficult to explain how an intelligent career politician of more than three decades can make so many verbal and political mistakes. In fact, here is the latest strange Joe Biden quote at a fundraiser on the campaign trail.

"Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

Biden continued: "I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate," mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. But he's gonna need your help. Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going, 'Oh my God, why are they there in the polls? Why is the polling so down? Why is this thing so tough?' We're gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I'm asking you now, I'm asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. "

So, two weeks before election day and Joe Biden is turning the voters attention to Barack Obama's inexperience in handling foreign policy? In addition, he is telling the American voter that there will surely be a foreign policy crisis early next year and that a Democratic administration's handling of that crisis will be unpopular.

It seems that the logical conclusion of this speech to a voter trying to avoid Biden's bleak foreign policy outlook would be to vote for the experience of John McCain over the inexperience of Barack Obama. Biden must have realized that his speech would make news in the press.

Biden's foreign policy assessment may well be true but why bring it up now, only two weeks before election day, with the Democrats significantly ahead in every major public opinion poll? The discussion acts to create foreign policy uncertainty which doesn't politically help Barack Obama but could assist the failing campaign of John McCain.

Consider that all the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates were given high level foreign policy briefings last week. This briefing may have led to Bidens recent foreign policy comments. Comments which politically represent yet another Joe Biden moment in Election 2008.

If the polls are right and do not change, in two weeks, Joe Biden will only be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. The next four years of Joe Biden moments would surely be entertaining but they could also become a full time job (three letters) for this country to understand.

Other articles on Joe Biden on the eWorldvublog:

Joe Biden Moments May Get John McCain Elected

Joe Biden's Moment Of Truth Will Not Help Obama

Monday, October 20, 2008

Increasing Arctic Ice Is What We Don't Hear

Last summer a headline from the Christian Science Monitor read: "Arctic Sea Ice Melting Faster Than Expected". The first line of the article sounded the environmental alarm.

It said: "Arctic Ocean sea ice, one of the most visible indicators for global warming, may be headed for another recordbreaking summer decline." There were similar articles concerning a connection between global warming and melting Arctic sea ice in many other magazines and newspapers at the time.

However, when conditions in the Arctic change, there is no longer any apparent media interest in reporting about Arctic sea ice. So, everyone concerned with global climate change should ask this question; If Arctic Sea ice really is "one of the the most visable indicators for global warming", why is the mainstream media not reporting what is happening in the Arctic Sea today?

The fact is that after last summer's Arctic ice melt fell short of the 2007 record extent, Arctic sea ice has been increasing at the fastest rate seen in years. As of last Friday, it was running ahead of the same day in October of last year by 31.3%. (See: annual comparison in purple shade in picture above - 10/17/2007 5,663,125 square kilometers, 10/17/2008 7,436,406 square kilometers ).

The truth is that despite all the recent media hype, melting Arctic Sea Ice probably has nothing to do with man-made global warming. (See: Melting Arctic Sea Ice And Global Warming Hype) on .

In fact, there are several other possible explanations for the recent record melt in Arctic sea ice that have little to with global warming.

A scientist at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, (Igor Polyakov) points out that pulses of unusually warm water have been entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic, which several years later are seen in the ocean north of Siberia. These pulses of water are helping to heat the upper Arctic Ocean, contributing to summer ice melt and helping to reduce winter ice growth.

Another scientist, Koji Shimada of the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology, reports evidence of changes in ocean circulation in the Pacific side of the Arctic Ocean.

"Through a complex interaction with declining sea ice, warm water entering the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait in summer is being shunted from the Alaskan coast into the Arctic Ocean, where it fosters further ice loss. Many questions still remain to be answered, but these changes in ocean circulation may be important keys for understanding the observed loss of Arctic sea ice.”

The media reports that the recent record Arctic ice melt is connected with global warming as fact, when it certainly is not. After all the environmental hype concerning record melting Arctic sea ice last summer, there is a notable lack of reporting on the dramatic annual increase (31%) in the extent of Arctic Ice in evidence in the past week.

Indeed, after a summer of Arctic ice melt from global warming media hype, the rapid increase in Arctic Ice this year is a media story that we just don't hear.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe The Plumber Saves The Day For John McCain

The third and final Presidential debate was held last evening at Hofstra University. It was certainly the best performance by John McCain of the three debates.

In this debate, the candidates finally discussed Barack Obama's plan to raise income taxes on 5% of americans during a recession. During the debate, McCain forced a discussion of Obama's recent response to a regular guy on the campaign trail by the name of Joe the Plumber.

Joe the Plumber was concerned about Obama's income tax policy and Obama responded that he was going to "spread the wealth around". Wealth redistribution, class warfare and the dubious effect of raising taxes during a recession are winning issues for the Republicans.

However, until Joe the Plumber's question about raising taxes and Obama's wealth redistribution response, it was hard to distinguish any real policy difference between the two candidates on the issue of income taxes.

So, Joe the Plumber was able to do with one question what the incoherent campaign of Republican John McCain has heretofore failed to do. Focus a debate on the wisdom of raising income taxes during a recession.

In general, John McCain was on the offensive all night but Barack Obama was smooth as usual on defense. The truth is that based on style points there is really no contest between these two candidates. Barack Obama will win on style every time.

However, in what may well be the final public debate of his political career, McCain began to highlight a pattern in Obama's background that suggest policy positions that are far to the left of the centrist, middle class Democratic candidate that Obama portrays himself to be today.

Recent public opinion polls suggest a Democratic sweep in election 2008. Indeed, this Presidential race may already be over. However, there are still nearly three weeks until election day and three weeks is a very long time in Presidential politics.

The fact is that Joe the Plumber has saved the day for John McCain. In three weeks, we will see if an income tax question from a concerned plumber was the turning point for McCain's Presidential campaign. A campaign which currently appears to be on life support and close to the political abyss.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The United Nations Global Anti-Poverty Goals

We are at the halfway mark of the United Nations anti-poverty program called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These eight goals developed by the international community through the United Nations were intially scheduled to be achieved by the year 2015.

The goals were drawn from the actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration that was adopted by 189 nations-and signed by 147 heads of state and governments during the U.N. Millennium Summit in September 2000. The basic premise of the Goals, was to slash poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy by the year 2015.

The reason for this ambitious global United Nations initiative is due to the fact that the statistics on worldwide poverty are sobering. Consider that:

Each year more than 8 million people around the world die because of poverty.
1 billion people (1 in 6 people around the world) live in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1 a day.
More than 800 million go hungry each day.
Over 100 million primary school-age children cannot go to school
Almost half the world (over three billion people) live on less than $2.50 a day
At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day
According to UNICEF, 26,500-30,000 children die each day due to poverty
Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names
Water problems affect half of humanity: Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.

So, how is the world doing in its objective to end global poverty, at the half way mark of the program? The progress so far is decidedly mixed.

In the latest United Nations Ministerial Review, the overall picture showed uneven progress across and within countries. The strategy for achieving the development agenda was working, but not nearly on the scale required.

Indeed, there were positive results. Some countries were demonstrating progress toward the Millennium Goals when strong Government leadership, good policies and healthy institutions were combined with adequate financial and technical support from the international community.

However, this result is not very surprising to anyone that has looked at the long term history of poverty and foreign aid. In fact, studies by Peter Boone of the London School of Economics and the Center of Economic Performance in 1994 reviewed the experience of one hundred nations. Those studies concluded that "Long term aid is not a means to create growth." He found no evidence "that aid transfers will allow countries to escape from a poverty trap."

History shows that sound domestic policies and good government not just foreign aid are what generate economic growth and eliminate poverty. This is how Europe escaped poverty, with markets that were allowed to operate freely, a protection of private property and with a rule of law that permitted economic competition. The truth is that it is not realistic to eliminate poverty in a country without sound government leadership. Research shows that money alone does not solve the problem.

The world is currently experiencing an economic downturn and future international assistance to eliminate global poverty may be much more difficult to obtain.

So, in the final seven years of its program, the United Nations should increase assistance to the nations that are serious about its anti-poverty goals, at the expense of those nations that are not. Reward the government that seeks a better way for its people. Money will only be wasted on those governments that do not.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Taxpayers Dollars Are The Nuts That Fund Acorn

According to a 2006 report from the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), Acorn has been subsidized by the United States taxpayer since 1977.

Consider that Acorn's American Institute for Social Justice claimed $240,000 in tax money between fiscal years 2002 and 2003. In addition, its American Environmental Justice Project received all of its revenue from government grants in those same years. In fact, EPI estimates the Acorn Housing Corporation alone received some $16 million in federal dollars from 1997-2007.

Also, we should remember that just last month, House Democrats tried and failed to stuff an "affordable housing" provision into the $700 billion bank rescue package that would have let politicians give even more taxpayer dollars to Acorn.

So, here is how Acorn puts taxpayer dollars to work as reported by various news outlets across this nation:

The Michigan Secretary of State told the press in September that Acorn had submitted "a sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications."

Earlier this month, Nevada's Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller requested a raid on Acorn's offices, following complaints of false names and fictional addresses (including the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys). Nevada's Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said he saw rampant fraud in 2,000 to 3,000 applications Acorn submitted weekly.

Meanwhile, officials in Ohio are still investigating voter fraud connected with Acorn, and Florida's Seminole County is withholding Acorn registrations that also appear fraudulent.

New Mexico, North Carolina and Missouri are looking into hundreds of dubious Acorn registrations. Wisconsin is investigating Acorn employees for, according to an election official, "making people up or registering people that were still in prison."

Then there's Lake County, Indiana, which has already found more than 2,100 bogus applications among the 5,000 Acorn dumped right before the deadline. "All the signatures looked exactly the same," said Ruthann Hoagland, of the county election board.

Bridgeport, Connecticut estimates about 20% of Acorn's registrations were faulty. As of July, the city of Houston had rejected or put on hold about 40% of the 27,000 registration cards submitted by Acorn.

There is an Acorn voter registration form for Mickey Mouse in Florida and reports of teenagers bribed by Acorn with "smokes and dollar bills" to fill out fraudulent voter registration cards several dozen times.

Sadly, for Acorn, this record of voter registration fraud is nothing new. In 2004, four Acorn employees were indicted in Ohio for submitting false voter registrations. In 2005, two Colorado Acorn workers were found to have submitted false registrations. Four Acorn Missouri employees were indicted in 2006; five were found guilty in Washington state in 2007 for filling out registration forms with names from a phone book.

A politician that votes to give taxpayer dollars to organizations with a history of voter fraud needs to be held accountible by the voter for a lack of sound judgement. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and now Acorn are just the latest examples of the lack of oversight and regulation in the handling of taxpayer money in Washington D.C. .

Taxpayer dollars are the nuts that fund Acorn. Based on the problems of voter fraud in this Presidential election and the dubious history of that organization, a positive return on taxpayer money is pretty difficult to see.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Year Of The Man-Made Global Warming Skeptic

In 2008, scientists from all over the world are jumping off the man-made global warming bandwagon. This is due to the fact that environmental study after study concludes that the behavior of man is not the cause of significant global warming.

In a recently released Geological Society of America abstract, Dr. Don Easterbrook, Professor of Geology at Western Washington University, presented data showing that the global warming cycle from 1977 to 1998 is now over and that we have entered into a new global cooling period that should last for the next three decades.

He also suggests that since the IPCC climate models are now so far off from what is actually happening that their projections for both this decade and century must be considered highly unreliable.

Meanwhile, David Douglass and John Christy, in a paper just accepted for publication and now available on the internet, have come to the conclusion that natural changes in global water temperature are responsible for an increase in global temperature. Here is their scientific conclusion:

"El Nino and La Nina effects in the tropics have a more significant affect on global temperature anomalies than carbon dioxide, in particular it was an El Nino event that drove the 1998 global temperature maximum".

At NASA, Dr. Roy Spencer, believes natural cycles account for most of last century’s warming, with carbon dioxide increases contributing only a modest amount.

His new research, which was submitted to Geophysical Research Letters for publication, shows that climate models overstate the positive feedback from an increase in carbon dioxide, and therefore grossly overstate the projected warming during the next century

In addition, two new studies (article in Science Magazine) point to wind-induced circulation changes in the ocean as the dominant cause of the recent ice losses through the glaciers draining both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, not ‘global warming.’

In June, Dr. David Evans, an architect of Australia’s Kyoto compliance, and for years a noted climate change alarmist, became the latest man-made global warming doubter. Evans outlines the four main reasons why 2008 has become the year of the global warming skeptic and why he recently jumped off of the global warming bandwagon.

1.The missing “greenhouse signature”, which would be a hot zone about 10 km up in the atmosphere. It’s been sought for years - hundreds of measurements using radiosondes (a sort of temperature measuring weather balloon). It would constitute the smoking gun . Hundreds of tests have returned the same answer - it’s not there. It is statistically impossible that the hundreds of tests missed the spot. The existing models on greenhouse warming do not work without this hot zone.
2. “There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming” says Evans. “None". There is plenty of evidence that global warming has occurred, and theory suggests that carbon emissions should raise temperatures (though by how much is hotly disputed) but there are no observations” constituting evidence that carbon emissions are a significant driver in warming trends.
3. Satellites measuring the world’s temperature uniformly show that the warming trend stopped in 2001 and that in the past year the temperature actually returned to 1980 levels. Satellite measurements are the only truly reliable method for capturing the data as land-based measurements are vulnerable to encroachments of expanding cities and “urban heat island effect.”
4.“The new ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect.”

As global temperatures continue to cool and research against man-made global warming continues to pile up, as scientists abandon the man-made global warming bandwagon one thing is becoming increasingly clear. The cause of global climate change should be based on facts and evidence and not just our fear.

(See: Melting Arctic Sea Ice And Global Warming Hype on

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This Debate Was A Long Campaign Commercial

If you missed the second Presidential debate last night, you saved ninety minutes of your life. The truth is that this wasn't a Presidential debate, it was a boring replay of the same tired debate questions answered in the same fashion by each of these two Presidential candidates for months.

Tom Brokaw was the debate moderator and was too concerned over the rules. The selected questions were standard and plain. The format was suppose to be a town hall meeting but it felt like a long, campaign commercial.

The only thing that was original was that John McCain proposed a new government plan to buy back every bad mortgage and renegotiate the terms of those loans. McCain's new mortgage plan apparently would add another 300 billion dollars to the 700 billion dollar bailout package that the Congress passed last week. His plan lacked detail in the debate and was not well explained.

For McCain, this mortgage plan looked like another "Hail Mary" in his effort to stay competitive in this election. The fact is that for the last two weeks, McCain has been steadily dropping in all the public opinion polls. Most polls now show him trailing by a total of between five and nine percentage points with a month to go in this presidential election.

It is hard to see how the outcome of this debate changes anything in Election 2008. Once again, Barack Obama did not make a major mistake and looked polished, articulate and Presidential. As a Republican candidate with the chain of the unpopular George Bush (27% approval rating) wrapped tightly around his neck, John McCain was swimming against a strong Democratic tide to begin with.

However, its now apparent that McCain may well lose this election on the mistakes he has made in response to the current mortgage crisis in the economy.

Consider that he suspended his campaign for three days to return to Washington D.C. to help with the bailout bill. Then, he resumes his campaign in time for the first Presidential debate but does not explain why he suspended his campaign in the first place. (see: McCain Does Not Explain His Suspended Campaign on Four days later the bailout bill that he suspended his campaign for goes down in defeat. It was to be loaded with pork in the Senate and passed last Thursday.

So, less than one week after that unpopular 700 billion dollar bailout bill passed Congress, John McCain has another plan and now wants to add an additional 300 billion dollars to the bill that has just passed. He announces his new plan in the middle of a debate without any real explanation or detail. Barack Obama has accused McCain of being erratic and chaotic in this economic crisis, its sure getting pretty hard to argue with that.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama's rhetoric on his government spending plan continues to be totally unrealistic. Last night, he stated that in his Administration the government would realize a "net spending cut". This "net spending cut" is completely ridiculous since he is proposing new spending on a national health insurance program, a plan to fix social security and tax cuts for 95% of Americans. Of course, this is all in addition to that 700 billion dollar mortgage bailout bill passed last week by the United States Congress.

The second Presidential debate was a long, boring campaign commercial by both of the Presidential candidates. The problem is that it did nothing to alleviate America's growing concern about its troubled economy, and the question of which candidate is the right man to handle this difficult job.

The truth is that a real debate could provide the answer, but long, boring campaign commercials never do.

Paris Fashion Week: Declining Hemlines And Strange Designs

Let me just say that I don't really know anything about designer clothing. In fact, I am certainly the type of person that prefers fabric comfort over making any type of designer fashion statement.

However, I know that there are people who view the most contemporary fashion design as if it were an art form. So, when it comes to taste in apparel, fashion is clearly in the eye of the beholder.

Fashion Week in Paris ended last Sunday and I decided to use the Internet to look at some of the latest fashion show clothing designs. I was driven to this strange state after recieving my latest 401k account statement that showed the negative impact the recent global stock market carnage had made to my investment holdings.

Consider that I was looking for a future stock market rally by researching a leading economic indicator, the length of designer hemlines. It is thought that when the economy is good, hemlines decline and clothing is short. However, when the economy is bad, hemlines increase and clothing is lengthened.

What was the result of my research about hemlines at Paris fashion week for the Spring design? Here is a quote from Alexandra Shulman, the editor in chief of British Vogue from the Associated Press: "I don't think it's been as exciting as other seasons. On the whole, most of the designers here have kind of stuck to what they know they can do, and not really tried anything that's going to scare the horses. We've seen a lot of very short clothes, which goes against the old idea that when the economy is bad, hemlines go down."

There you have it. Hemlines are not going down. So the economy should improve by next spring. It could well be a sign that its time to buy equities. After the recent market carnage led by the decline of the Investment Banks, could clothing fashion designers perform any worse than current stock brokers?

Probably not, but its still very hard for me to understand who would actually consider wearing some of those strange fashion designs.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A United Nations Resolution To Deny Free Speech

For the third straight year, it is about to be put to a vote of the United Nations General Assembly. This non-binding Resolution on “Combating the Defamation of Religion” is an annual reminder of how distant the U.N. has become from the goals and principals outlined in its original charter.

This religious blasphemy resolution is intended to curtail speech that offends religion, especially Islam. The non-binding Resolution 62/145, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in both 2007 and 2008, says it “notes with deep concern the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of 11 September 2001.”

The Resolution (sponsored by the Organization Of The Islamic Conference - OIC)“stresses the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred, against Islam and Muslims in particular.”

Of course, “Defamation of religions” United Nation Resolutions act as a diplomatic cover to empower governments to decide which statements about religion are permissible in public. Its a compromise of basic free speech in the name of religion. The end result is more global religious tension and intolerance, certainly not less.

In fact, religious intolerance has become commonplace during the last several years in the United Nations. Consider that the U.N. has passed over 400 resolutions targeting tiny democratic Israel, without equal condemnation of its autocratic neighbors or commensurate concern for China's annexation of Tibet or Russia's absorption of the disputed Sakhalin Islands. Also, the United Nations is open for business on Jewish religious holidays but it is closed in observance of Ramadan.

In July, The U.S. government mission in Geneva, told the U.N. Human Rights Council that “defamation-related laws have been abused by governments and used to restrict human rights around the world, and sometimes Westerners have been caught in the web."

Several recent news events provide disturbing examples of how the U.N. "blasphemy resolution" has emboldened Islamic authorities and threatened Westerners. A few of these examples are summarized as follows:

-In December 2007 “a court reportedly sentenced two foreigners to six months in prison for allegedly marketing a book deemed offensive to Aisha, one of the Prophet Muhammad's wives,” the U.S. government said.
- A British teacher was sentenced to 15 days in jail in Sudan for offending Islam by allowing students to name the class teddy bear Muhammad in November 2007.
- In February 2007 in Egypt an Internet blogger was sentenced to four years in prison for writing a post that critiqued Islam.
- In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered after the release of his documentary highlighting the abuse of Muslim women.

Currently, there are three bills before Congress that would prohibit U.S. courts from enforcing international defamation decisions that do not comply with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

So, does it really make much sense for America to pay the U.N. about five billion dollars in annual dues only to have to pass laws to protect itself from the ramifications of intolerant religious U.N. Resolutions?

There is a real need for a radical reform of the United Nations. It seems like an obvious initial reform would be to insist upon a democratic constitution as a prerequisite for a nation to qualify for its U.N. membership. If a country does not have one, it need not apply.

Indeed, to be a relevant international organization, the United Nations needs to return to the goals of its original charter. Sadly, the current United Nations Resolution to deny free speech in the name of religion, is about as far removed from that charter as you can get.

For more on the United Nations see: Zimbabwe And The Need For United Nations Reform on

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bailout Now Includes Rum, Racetracks And Wooden Arrows

Seven Hundred Billion Taxpayer Dollars to bail out Wall Street was not enough. The Senate wanted to handout even more of our money. In a bill that passed the Senate yesterday, the total Wall Street bailout price tag has just gone up by another 112 billion dollars.

We are told that the passage of this bailout bill is urgently needed to unfreeze the credit markets and save America from the financial abyss. Apparently that reasoning is not enough to get the taxpayer bailout bill passed in the United States Congress. So, bring on the "sweeteners".

A bill that was once three pages now resembles the size of a large phone book. It includes the following tax breaks and earmarks:

-Manufacturers of kids' wooden arrows - $6 million.
- Puerto Rican and Virgin Islands rum producers - $192 million
- Wool research- $148 million
- Nation wide improvement in Auto-racing tracks - $128 million.
- Corporations operating in American Samoa - $33 million.
- Small-to medium-budget film and television productions - $10 million.
- A $223 million package of tax benefits for fishermen and others whose livelihoods suffered as a result of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill

Some of the other measures include a $3.8 billion health-care provision that forces insurance companies to provide coverage for mental-health treatment equivalent to the coverage they provide for physical illness.

Other provisions in the plan will increase individual tax credits, help shield more than 20 million Americans from the painful alternative minimum tax, and offer breaks for businesses that invest in alternative fuels. Also, several federal income-tax breaks due to expire will now be extended through 2009.

So, when the next President supports a plan to raise taxes, every American citizen should remember this Financial Services Bailout bill. That future tax increase will be our hangover from Wall Street's wild, unregulated party and a Congressional inability to balance a budget.

So, as taxpayers, we should take comfort in the fact that we have now improved auto racing nationwide. We should be aware that money spent on wool research may be crucial to our future.

Certainly, our children will always need those government subsidized wooden toy arrows. In addition, it's great to now be able to make movies with the governments help, especially in American Somoa. The reality of all this makes it very difficult to see who among us could live without Puerto Rico's rum, especially with the imminent passage of this huge, pork laden taxpayer bailout bill.

The Senate Bill moves on to the House Of Representatives, for final passage today. Look for more "sweeteners" to be added to the bailout bill in the House. Of course, this is all business as usual in the United States Congress. Spend huge sums of money on things we don't need with money we don't have.

Maybe Democratic Senator Bill Nelson said it best: "They've added on $150 billion dollars of more spending, that's not paid for. It will have to be borrowed from the government of China."

There are two words in our vocabulary that can solve the problems in Washington, D.C.. They are the words that the Washington political insider fears the most. The only real solution to clean up this mess in Congress is to eliminate the career politician through the use of "Term Limits".

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Year Of The Missing Sunspot

The number of days that have not had a sunspot this year now exceeds 200. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go back to 1954, when the sun was blank 241 times.

So, Astronomers who count sunspots have announced that 2008 is now the "blankest year" of the Space Age.

In fact, if the current trend continues, 2008 could total 290 spotless days by the end of December, making it nearly a century since we have seen such a lack of activity fom our sun.

In addition, the quiet sun coincides with the dimmest sun scientists have ever recorded, and a low in solar wind pressure. Sunspots are the result of the Sun’s magnetic field tearing ‘holes’ into its surface. Meteorologists use the arrival and disappearance of sunspots to gauge how active solar cycles will be.

What does the current lack of activity on the sun mean? It could mean that scientists can test their various theories concerning the relationship between the sun and global climate change. It also may mean that much colder times for the planet are just ahead.

The fact is that during the last 1000 years, a weak or non existent sunspot cycle can be linked directly to three global temperature events called the Dalton, Maunder, and Spörer Minimums. Each of these events led to a rapid cooling of the planet. One was large enough to be called a “mini ice age”.

Meanwhile, Al Gore continues to achieve publicity in his role as man-made global warming alarmist. Gore was widely quoted last week, in a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative as follows:

"If you're a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration."

Since there is no real evidence that global warming is man-made, (See: A Nobel Peace Prize And A Weather Balloon on it may be possible to prove that global climate change is really a function of the activity surrounding the cycles of the sun in the years directly ahead.

Certainly, such a discovery would save billions of dollars worldwide, and may put an end to a future of man-made global warming civil unrest.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Voting Before The Presidential Race Is Over

If you were on trial, would you want the jury verdict before your defense was heard? If you are making a very important personal decision, would you want to decide before considering all the pertinent facts and information?

The answer to these two questions for most of us would be a resounding, "no" . However, nearly one third of the voters in this election will be doing just the opposite. They will be voting early and without proper consideration of all the information and facts.

They will be voting in many cases long before this Presidential election is over. In fact, by October 5, 2008, some form of voting will be occurring in twenty three American states, a full month before election day.

In the Presidential election of 2000, an estimated 12.7 million people, roughly 12 percent of voters, cast their ballots early. In 2004, that number doubled to about 25million, or about 20 percent of 122 million total voters. This year as many as one third of voters or around 40 million people are expected to vote before election day.

Consider that the percentage of early voting in several battleground States in 2008 is expected to exceed fifty percent of the vote. New Mexico, Washington State, Nevada and Oregon will likely see a majority of voters cast their ballots before Election Day.

Of course, it is understandable that members of the military and disabled citizens who have a valid excuse, be allowed to cast an absentee ballot prior to election day. However, the number of states offering no-excuse, in-person early voting is on the rise.

In 1996, just eleven states offered it. In 2004, that number rose to twenty six. This year, with the addition of Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas and the all-important state of Ohio, voters in thirty two states no longer need to provide a reason in order to vote early.

So what is the reason for the increase in state sponsored , no excuse, early voting? A recent USA Today article called the 2008 election, "the most extensive early voting process in history" and said it was driven by the desire of bureaucrats to avoid long lines at polling sites on Election Day.

Another reason often cited for early voting is an increase in overall voter turnout. However, there is not a single study that shows that the increase in early voting increases overall voter turnout.

Meanwhile, early voting increases the risk of election fraud and frustrates the imperative for our democracy to be based on an informed electorate.

The Constitution refers the matter of Presidential voting process to the Congress not the individual states. It says: "The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States."

Certainly, a "day" and "time" suggest an election should be conducted on an actual Election Day not the current process of the tabulation of tens of millions of early votes for months.

The United States Congress needs to reform the rules for Presidential voting soon, before early voting elects a president, well before the race is over, prior to election day.