Archive for February, 2007
28 Feb 2007

Unconstrained Energy Consumption for Me, But Not for Thee

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Al Gore’s light bill is $1200 a month.

Wow! And I thought I left too many lights on all the time. Memories of my father finding a superfluous light on in my childhood, and demanding indignantly: “What do you think? Have you got shares in the PP&L?” often bring a smile, and I’ve sometimes thought of buying a few shares of PPL, just so I could rhetorically justify my irresponsible habits in my own mind.

A day after a film about his efforts to combat global warming won an Oscar, former Vice President Al Gore was called a hypocrite by a Tennessee group that said his Belle Meade home is consuming too much energy.

The home’s average monthly electric bill last year was just under $1,200, according to bills that The Tennessean acquired from Nashville Electric Service.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk (the) walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, identified as a free-market think tank.

Al Gore’s house.

But Al Gore is rich enough, you see, to justify himself in even better and more creative ways.

Gore purchased 108 blocks of “green power” for each of the past three months, according to a summary of the bills.

That’s a total of $432 a month Gore paid extra for solar or other renewable energy sources.

The green power Gore purchased in those three months is equivalent to recycling 2.48 million aluminum cans or 286,092 pounds of newspaper, according to comparison figures on NES’ Web site.

But this greenie site points out that Gore is buying those credits from his own firm.

So, where does Gore buy his ‘carbon offsets’? According to The Tennessean newspaper’s report, Gore buys his carbon offsets through Generation Investment Management. a company he co-founded and serves as chairman:

Gore helped found Generation Investment Management, through which he and others pay for offsets. The firm invests the money in solar, wind and other projects that reduce energy consumption around the globe…

As co-founder and chairman of the firm Gore presumably draws an income or will make money as its investments prosper. In other words, he “buys” his “carbon offsets” from himself, through a transaction designed to boost his own investments and return a profit to himself. To be blunt, Gore doesn’t buy “carbon offsets” through Generation Investment Management – he buys stocks

Cool! Albert Gore takes some money out his right pocket, buys some carbon offsets from himself, and then puts the money in his left pocket, and voila! he has saved enough of the planet by that clever transaction to immunize himself from Don Surber‘s description of him as some kind of an alleged:

born-to-the-manor, overfed, limousine liberal who consume(s) 22,000 kilowatts of electricity each year* in just one of his three homes.

* More than 20 times the National average.

27 Feb 2007

Unusual Statues World-Wide

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link

Hat tip to Karen Myers.

27 Feb 2007

More Proof of Global Warming

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Waves freeze as they crash on the beach in Newfoundland.

5:11 video

The unintelligible language being spoken in the background is Newfie.

27 Feb 2007

Lee Wulff on the Miramichi

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The Internet offers some very interesting video offerings these days.

Here is a vintage movie short, titled Salar the Leaper, made in 1957 on New Brunswick’s Miramichi River by the illustrious fly-fishing authority Lee Wulff (1905-1991).

Part 1 – 3:43 video (Unfortunately interrupted right in the middle.)

Part 2 – 4:21 video

26 Feb 2007

M16 Still Jamming After All These Years

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An Army Times article by Mathew Cox describes the problems still afflicting the US military’s primary long arm, and identifies Heckler & Koch’s 416 as the generally desired, but unavailable, alternative.

Ever since the Army’s adoption of the M16 in the mid-1960s, a love-hate relationship has existed between combat troops and the weapon known as the “black rifle.”

It’s accurate and easy to shoot. Plus, the M16’s light weight and small caliber helped soldiers carry more ammunition than ever before into battle.

The M16, however, has always required constant cleaning to prevent it from jamming. The gas system, while simple in design, blows carbon into the receiver, which can lead to fouling.

The Army has decided to replace most of its M16s with the newer M4 carbine. The Army started buying M4s in the mid-1990s but mainly reserved them for rapid-deployment combat units. Its collapsible stock and shortened barrel make it ideal for soldiers operating in vehicles and tight quarters associated with urban combat.

Experts, however, contend that the M4 in many ways is even less reliable than the M16.

Special Operations Command documented these problems in a 2001 report, “M4A1 5.56mm Carbine and Related Systems Deficiencies and Solutions: Operational and Technical Study with Analysis of Alternatives.”

The M4 suffers from an “obsolete operating system,” according to the report, which recommended “redesign/replacement of current gas system.” It describes the weapon’s shortened barrel and gas tube as a “fundamentally flawed” design and blames it for problems such as “failure to extract” and “failure to eject” during firing. “The current system was never designed for the rigors of SOF use and training regimens — the M4 Carbine is not the gun for all seasons,” the report concluded.

Read the whole thing.

HK 416 Wikipedia article

26 Feb 2007

Al Sharpton’s Genealogy Connected to Strom Thurmond

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Fox News reports:

The professional genealogists, who work for Ancestry.com, found that Sharpton’s great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, was a slave owned by Julia Thurmond, whose grandfather was Strom Thurmond’s great-great-grandfather. Coleman Sharpton was later freed.

It’s a small world after all.

25 Feb 2007

Kyuzo Mifune

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Kyuso Mifune

Kyuso Mifune (1883-1965), probably the greatest exponent of judo of all-time, astonishes in this 7:19 video.

Kudokan bio

Kyuzo Mifune’s Rules of the Dojo.

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The above excerpt was taken from the 1:3:16 The Essence of Judo, also happily available on-line.

25 Feb 2007

I Don’t Apologize

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The Goddess Virginia may have Tyranny down, but Stupidity has gotten the better of her.

If you ever needed a demonstration of the worthlessness and cowardice of today’s politicians, you received it yesterday in Richmond, when both houses of the Virginia General Assembly bowed to pressure from journalists and race-baiting agitators, and voted to apologize for Slavery, and for some unspecified “exploitation of Native Americans” to boot.

AP story.

Well, the poltroons in the Virgina Assembly and the PC agitators waving the bloody shirt can go to Hell, as far as I am concerned. I reside in the Commonwealth of Virginia these days, and I do not apologize.

In the first place, not one single member of my family had even left Lithuania for the United States until 30 years after the War Between the States was concluded and Slavery abolished.

And my wife is entitled to excuse herself as well on the same grounds. Her father’s ancestors departed from Odessa in the 1890s, and her mother was a war-bride from Belgium who arrived in America during the later days of WWII.

Secondly, I do not support any form or concept of hereditary group guilt or entitlement. Whoever may have held slaves, or been enslaved, a century and a half ago, they are all dead and gone. Most living people cannot even trace their ancestry that far back. Events so distant and remote in time have no authentically identifiable current significance, and no one alive today ought to feel either personal guilt or animosity on the basis of events which took place three to five generations before his birth.

In a better age, crowds of irate citizens would have descended upon that Assembly of nincompoops and tarred and feathered the ringleaders behind this travesty in order to discourage with certainty a repetition of such dishonorable and cowardly forms of pandering to stupidity.

25 Feb 2007

So Much for “Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell”

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The London Times tells us that the Pentagon is riddled with pacifists, cowards, and traitors.

Some of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.

Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.

“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”

A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.

“There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment too far for there to be resignations.”

Can you imagine the unmitigated gall of more than one US military officer confiding a lack of confidence in the elected civilian administration they are serving to foreign journalists?

Cowardice in the face of the enemy has been traditionally treated as a capital offense by the military. These generals could be court-martialed, then taken out, stood up against the wall, and shot.

But, from the point of view of the good of the service, their separation ought to be regarded as so significant a benefit that I’d even say their lives should be spared, and they should be permitted quietly to resign.

25 Feb 2007

Afghan Rambo

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Will Collier evidently successfully confirmed the authenticity of this amusing email war story:

Hi everyone. I’m still alive but freezing my tail off. We got 8 inches of snow last week and it reached 5 degrees below zero that night. That’s not why I’m e-mailing though.

You may have heard about a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul last Thursday. It was at one of our FOB’s (Forward Observation Bases) about 27 miles from here.

But the real story is why no one was killed. We employ several thousand Afghans on our various bases. Not to mention the economy that is fed by the money these locals are making. Some are laborers and builders, but some are skilled workers. We even have one Afghan that just became OSHA qualified, the first ever. Some are skilled HVAC workers.

Anyway, there is this one Afghan that we call Rambo. We have actually given him a couple of sets of the new ACU uniforms (the new Army digital camouflage) with the name tag RAMBO on it. His entire family was killed by the Taliban and his home was where our base currently resides. So this guy really had nowhere else to go.

He has reached such a level of trust with US Forces that his job is to stand at the front gate and basically be the first security screening. Since he can’t have a weapon, he found a big red pipe. So he stands there at the front gate in his US Army ACU uniform with his red pipe. If a vehicle approaches the gate too fast or fails to stop he slams his pipe down on their hood… He’s like the first line of defense.

Last Thursday at 0930 hrs a Toyota Corolla packed with explosives and some Jack Ass that thinks he has 72 Virgins waiting for him approached the gate. When he saw Rambo he must have recognized him and known the gig was up. But he needed to get to the gate to detonate and take American lives. So he slams his foot on the gas which almost causes the metal gate to go up but mostly catches on the now broken windshield.

Rambo fearlessly ran to the vehicle, reached thru the window and jerked the suicide bomber out of the vehicle before he could detonate and commenced to putting some red pipe to his heathen ass. He detained the guy until the MP got there. The vehicle only exploded when they tried to push it off base with a robot but know one was hurt.

I’m still waiting for someone to give this guy a medal or something. Nothing less than instant US citizenship or something. A hat was passed around and a lot of money was given to him in thanks by both soldiers and civilians that are working over here.

I guess I just wanted to share this because I want people to know that it’s working over here. They have tasted freedom. This makes it worth it to me.

Hat tip to PJM.

24 Feb 2007

Jim Zumbo Wrote a Career-Limiting Blog Entry

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Jim Zumbo was never the equal as a writer, or nearly as famous, as some of the great men preceding him as editors at century-old Outdoor Life magazine. But he had a pretty good career going as an Outdoor writer, serving as Hunting Editor for Outdoor Life, appearing weekly on the Outdoor Channel, representing Remington, and publishing a long series of books and a host of magazine articles, until now.

All that success evidently went to Zumbo’s head, and he recently started throwing around censorious and intolerant opinions on his blog about the alleged lack of sportsmanship of long-range game shooting, and the inappropriateness of using semi-automatic rifles of military style for shooting varmints, like coyotes and prairie dogs.

on 2/5:

Long range shooting

While at the SHOT Show recently, I ran into a guy who complained that too many hunters were taking excessively long shots. He’s an outfitter, and witnessed plenty of people shooting at elk at distances greater than 350 yards. He suggested that that was too far, primary because the majority of those hunters had no clue of ballistics. Most were “Hail Mary” shots. I agree. We read about people making 500 yard shots and more, and that, to me, is ridiculous.

Then at the SCI convention last week, I talked to a guy who bragged that his custom gun kills deer out at 800 yards and better. To each his own, I suppose, but that isn’t hunting. It’s shooting. And I don’t care how great a marksman you are. The risk of wounding an animal at extremely long ranges is high, and where’s the sportsmanship, the ethics, the satisfaction of taking outrageously long shots? I understand there’s a group in PA that shoots deer at 1,000 yards and more. More power to them. Just don’t ask me to support that kind of “hunting.”

and on 2/16

(the url used to be: http://outdoorlife.blogs.com/zumbo/2007/02/assault_rifles_.html – but the post has since been removed.)

Assault Rifles For Hunters?

As I write this, I’m hunting coyotes in southeastern Wyoming with Eddie Stevenson, PR Manager for Remington Arms, Greg Dennison, who is senior research engineer for Remington, and several writers. We’re testing Remington’s brand new .17 cal Spitfire bullet on coyotes.

I must be living in a vacuum. The guides on our hunt tell me that the use of AR and AK rifles have a rapidly growing following among hunters, especially prairie dog hunters. I had no clue. Only once in my life have I ever seen anyone using one of these firearms.

I call them “assault” rifles, which may upset some people. Excuse me, maybe I’m a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity. I’ll go so far as to call them “terrorist” rifles. They tell me that some companies are producing assault rifles that are “tackdrivers.”

Sorry, folks, in my humble opinion, these things have no place in hunting. We don’t need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them, which is an obvious concern. I’ve always been comfortable with the statement that hunters don’t use assault rifles. We’ve always been proud of our “sporting firearms.”

This really has me concerned. As hunters, we don’t need the image of walking around the woods carrying one of these weapons. To most of the public, an assault rifle is a terrifying thing. Let’s divorce ourselves from them. I say game departments should ban them from the prairies and woods.

A bit over a week later, Outdoor Life has fired him, Remington has severed his corporate sponsorship ties, and the Outdoor Channel has reportedly dropped him.

Thw Washington Post is publishing tomorrow a shocked story on the Unforgiving Response from U.S. Gun Culture.

A firestorm of criticism swept Internet shooting sites, and Mr. Zumbo apologized very profusely 2/18:

I was wrong, BIG TIME
Someone once said that to err is human. I just erred, and made without question, the biggest blunder in my 42 years of writing hunting articles.

My blog inflamed legions of people I love most….. hunters and shooters. Obviously, when I wrote that blog, I activated my mouth before engaging my brain.

Let me explain the circumstances surrounding that blog. I was hunting coyotes, and after the hunt was over and being beat up by 60 mph winds all day, I was discussing hunting with one of the young guides. I was tired and exhausted, and I should have gone to bed early. When the guide told me that there was a “huge” following of hunters who use AR 15’s and similar weapons to hunt prairies dogs, I was amazed. At that point I wrote the blog, and never thought it through.

Now then, you might not believe what I have to say, but I hope you do. How is it that Zumbo, who has been hunting for more than 50 years, is totally ignorant about these types of guns. I don’t know. I shot one once at a target last year, and thought it was cool, but I never considered using one for hunting. I had absolutely no idea how vast the numbers of folks are who use them.

I never intended to be divisive, and I certainly believe in United we Stand, Divided we Fall. I’ve been an NRA member for 40 years, have attended 8 national NRA conventions in the last 10 years, and I’m an advisory board member for the United States Sportsmen’s Alliance which actively fights anti-hunters and animal rights groups for hunter’s rights.

What really bothers me are some of the unpatriotic comments leveled at me. I fly the flag 365 days a year in my front yard. Last year, through an essay contest, I hosted a soldier wounded in Iraq to a free hunt in Botswana. This year, through another essay contest, I’m taking two more soldiers on a free moose and elk hunt.

When I started blogging, I was told to write my thoughts, expressing my own opinion. The offensive blog I wrote was MY opinion, and no one else’s. None of the companies that I deal with share that opinion, nor were they aware of what I had written until this firestorm started.

Believe it or not, I’m your best friend if you’re a hunter or shooter, though it might not seem that way. I simply screwed up. And, to show that I’m sincere about this, I just talked to Ted Nugent, who everyone knows, and is a Board member of the NRA. Ted is extremely active with charities concerning our wounded military, and though he’s known as a bowhunter, Ted has no problem with AR 15’s and similar firearms. My sincerity stems from the fact that Ted and I are planning a hunt using AR 15’s. I intend to learn all I can about them, and again, I’m sorry for inserting my foot in my mouth.”

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All this is very sad, of course. No one likes to see this kind of career disaster befall even a semi-inadvertent victim. But… it is simply outrageous, when gun ownership rights are under continual attack by active enemies outside the sporting community, for someone occupying one of the most honored positions within the shooting sports, for the successor to Jack O’Connor himself, to be so obtuse as to lend aid and comfort to the enemy.

Of course, Field & Stream‘s David E. Petzal, in 1994, got away with endorsing the original Assault Weapons Ban (which he, however, did criticize for being too broad):

Gun owners — all gun owners — pay a heavy price for having to defend the availability of these weapons. The American public — and the gun-owning public; especially the gun-owning public — would be better off without the hardcore military arms, which puts the average sportsman in a real dilemma.”

I certainly felt back then that Field & Stream had no business employing a man with Petzal’s views as Shooting Editor, and I told them precisely that in the letter I sent canceling my subscription, which I had maintained continuously since the late 1950s.

Petzal is more careful today, but he actually has the chutzpah to deny that he endorsed the Assault Weapons Ban back in ’94.

I guess my personal position is that all this should have happened to David E. Petzal back in 1994, and then it wouldn’t be happening to Jim Zumbo today.

24 Feb 2007

Beavers Are Back in NYC

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Beavers (Castor canadensis) are back in New York City’s Bronx River.

AP story (with video link):

Beavers grace New York City’s official seal. But the industrious rodents have not been seen in the flesh here for as many as 200 years — until this week.

Biologists videotaped a beaver swimming up the Bronx River on Wednesday. Its twig-and-mud lodge had been spotted earlier on the river bank, but the tape confirmed the presence of the animal itself.

“It had to happen because beaver populations are expanding, and their habitats are shrinking,” said Dietland Muller-Schwarze, a beaver expert at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. “We’re probably going to see more of them in the future.”

Beavers gnawed out a prominent place in the city’s early days as a European settlement, attracting fur traders to a nascent Manhattan. The animal appears in the city seal to symbolize a Dutch trading company that factored in the city’s colonial beginnings, according to the city’s Web site.

But amid heavy trapping, beavers disappeared from the city in the early 1800s, according to the city Parks & Recreation Department.

The beaver that has made its way to the Bronx appears to be a male, several feet long and 2 or 3 years old, said Patrick Thomas, the mammals curator at the nearby Bronx Zoo.

Biologists have nicknamed the animal “Jose,” as a tribute to U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano’s work to revive the river. The Bronx Democrat lined up federal money for a cleanup.

I can tell those biologists that before very long that beaver, and his cronies, will have a nice dam built, which will cause the river to overflow its banks, and make a nice swampy mess for the Parks & Recreation Department to clean up.

That beaver’s name will then be mud, and the New York authorities be busying themselves to see to it that the city’s future will be as beaver-less as its recent past.

Beavers are amusing animals, but they generally produce big trouble for people.

24 Feb 2007

Man Buys Farm in Portugal, Cuts Open Padlock on Barn, and Finds…

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The earliest American report seems to have been January 30 at The Manic Mechanic:

So, this man in Portugal buys a farm (as opposed to ‘buying the farm’, as it were). Apparently the property owner died and the farm was put up for sale. Pretty satisfied of his purchase he wanders about the property sizing up what might need attention. An old, unused barn that will probably need cleaning out was part of the deal. Upon making his way inside the barn he finds that, indeed, the place needs more than a little cleaning…

The story was originally linked from this Dutch site, which has since removed the link. The Dutch site led to a Norwegian Mazda owners site (Google-cached version) leading to the conclusion that the lucky buyer was Norwegian.

It is still unconfirmed, and an urban legend/hoax of some kind is suspected, but the story is he found 180 vintage cars.

photos

I first came across the story at Maggie’s Farm.

23 Feb 2007

This Morning’s Rant on Global Warming (From My Class List)

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The liberal view of the universe

Liberals confuse a consensus of journalists, celebrities, and do-gooders, combined with activist science, with something meaningful. If they lived in the 1920s, they’d be championing eugenics. If they lived in the 1880s, they’d be worried about sex as a health threat and the rising tide of inferior races. These kinds of consensi are always wrong.

Sophisters, calculators, and economists have cooked up models and projections based on various kinds of data, but we really know perfectly well that mankind does not understand the typical duration and causes of climate cycles and periods of glaciation, and cannot accurately predict weather more than a week in advance.

The theory of Global Warming is ultimately based on nothing more than the unavailability, post-1980, of a continuing pattern of cooler weather. When it had been getting colder for a few years, the same kinds of authority were projecting a new Ice Age, brought about by mankind’s hubris in creating industrial civilization with attendant contamination of pristine Nature. The vital remedy was more taxes and greater regulatory restriction of American productivity and energy consumption. When temperature trends reversed, curiously enough, the causes and the cure remained exactly the same. The only change is that the media and the left went from agitating over Global Cooling to agitating over Global Warming without missing a beat, and essentially the same agitprop has simply increased in volume and alleged urgency for years.

What depresses me is the fact that Americans can emerge from 16+ years of education still capable of falling for this kind of ridiculous nonsense. To believe in Global Warming, I’d say, you have to be basically unconscious of the highly limited state of human knowledge of the earth’s past. We know that there were periods in which the planet’s climate was considerably cooler than at present, and we know that there were periods when it was considerably warmer. We do not have anything like exhaustive knowledge of the climate throughout earth’s geologic history. Nor do we now why periods of different climate occurred.

The rise of modern science of geology goes back roughly two lousy centuries. Continental drift, a fairly basic factor in geologic matters, was not even accepted before the 1960s, within many of our lifetimes. When that bozo on the evening news starts describing today’s temperature as an all-time record, what kind of records do you suppose he’s working with? Exactly how meaningful is anything of the sort? What can 20+ years of slightly warmer weather signify?

I attribute this lunacy to a combination of too much city living and Hollywood. There has been an endless stream of horror movies about Godzilla rising from Tokyo Bay, giant ants, mutated this, or catastrophic that, all attributable to the wickedness of mankind’s pursuit of material gratification. Today’s citified Americans all believe that they are the absolute center of the universe, and that the world and man’s position in it resembles the old New Yorker cartoon of the view from 9th Avenue. If I dropped all the liberals somewhere west of the Missouri and they had to walk out, their view of man’s centrality in the universe would be changed mightily.

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