31 October 2007

A Good Read

This is an excellent article by John R. Christy. He is director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a participant in the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is just the article that I have been waiting for.

I'm sure the majority (but not all) of my IPCC colleagues cringe when I say this, but I see neither the developing catastrophe nor the smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for most of the warming we see. Rather, I see a reliance on climate models (useful but never "proof") and the coincidence that changes in carbon dioxide and global temperatures have loose similarity over time.
There are some of us who remain so humbled by the task of measuring and understanding the extraordinarily complex climate system that we are skeptical of our ability to know what it is doing and why. As we build climate data sets from scratch and look into the guts of the climate system, however, we don't find the alarmist theory matching observations. (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite data we analyze at the University of Alabama in Huntsville does show modest warming -- around 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit per century, if current warming trends of 0.25 degrees per decade continue.)
It is my turn to cringe when I hear overstated-confidence from those who describe the projected evolution of global weather patterns over the next 100 years, especially when I consider how difficult it is to accurately predict that system's behavior over the next five days.

The whole thing is fantastic.

30 October 2007

North Korea U.

When I read this bit from John Leo, I was incredulous. He writes about a program for new students at the University of Delaware, the aim of which is to indoctrinate students toward a very specific way of thinking:

The training makes clear that white people are to be considered racists - at least those who have not yet undergone training and confessed their racism. The RAs have been taught that a "racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture, or sexuality."

This is shocking. A university should be a place that truly promotos intellectual freedom and diversity of thought. This program does just the opposite, in the name of tolerance. While it appears to be the particular brainchild of one administrator, that it has emerged at all is telling.

29 October 2007

Fiction that Fits- A Follow-up

Having made this post the other day, I was especially interested in the dispatch from Michael Yon about Scott Beauchamp and The New Republic. Despite his fraudulent reporting from the Middle East, Beauchamp continues to serve in the Army and his commander is happy to have him:

Lapses of judgment are bound to happen, and accountability is critical, but that’s not the same thing as pulling out the hanging rope every time a soldier makes a mistake.
Beauchamp is young; under pressure he made a dumb mistake. In fact, he has not always been an ideal soldier. But to his credit, the young soldier decided to stay, and he is serving tonight in a dangerous part of Baghdad. He might well be seriously injured or killed here, and he knows it. He could have quit, but he did not. He faced his peers. I can only imagine the cold shoulders, and worse, he must have gotten. He could have left the unit, but LTC Glaze told me that Beauchamp wanted to stay and make it right. Whatever price he has to pay, he is paying it.

Having never served in the military, I'll defer to Beauchamp's commander as to the best course to pursue. Yon is less charitable towards Beauchamp's enablers at The New Republic:

As for The New Republic, some on the staff may feel like they’ve been hounded and treed, but it’s hard to feel the same sympathy for a group of cowards who won’t ’fess up and can’t face the scorn of American combat soldiers who were injured by their collective lapse of judgment. It’s up to their readers to decide the ultimate fate.

Somehow I don't think their readers will care too much. That's too bad.

28 October 2007

La Familia

Lacy went with Joseph to a pumpkin patch the other day. I had to put these pictures up. The kid is growing so fast!

27 October 2007

Awesome Video Saturday XXI

This is the trailer for the next season of 24. The change in setting from LA to New York is a welcome move. I think it's a good preview. It may have some spoilers.:

26 October 2007

Fiction that fits the talking points

I have enjoyed Peggy Noonan's writing for a long time. Lately she has seemed to me a little too nostalgic. This week's column was very good. She writes about Scott Beauchamp, the second outright liar to have hoodwinked the leftist New Republic magazine:

Everyone in journalism thought first of Stephen Glass. I actually remember the day I read his New Republic piece on the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington in 1997, a profile of young Republicans as crude and ignorant pot-smoking alcoholics in search of an orgy. It, um, startled me. After years of observation, I was inclined toward the view that there's no such thing as a young Republican. More to the point, I'd been to the kind of convention Mr. Glass wrote about, and I thought it not remotely possible that the people he painted were real. I also thought: Man, this is way too convenient. The New Republic tends to think Republicans are hateful, and this reporter just happened to be welcomed into the private world of the most hateful Republicans in history.
On the Thomas stories, which I read not when they came out but when they began to come under scrutiny, I had a similar thought, or a variation of it. I thought: That's not Iraq, that's a Vietnam War movie. That's not life as it's being lived on the ground right now, that's life as an editor absorbed it through media. That's the dark world of Kubrick and Coppola and Oliver Stone, of the great Vietnam movies of the '70s and '80s.

Too many people see the war, and by extension the world, through lenses made decades ago. We are dealing with a more connected world and geopolitical dangers that are sharply different than those that were present in decades past.

The End of the World

According to the United Nations, it's coming soon:

The human population is living far beyond its means and inflicting damage on the environment that could pass points of no return, according to a major report issued Thursday by the United Nations.

The politics of fear continue:

The speed at which mankind has used the Earth’s resources over the past 20 years has put “humanity’s very survival” at risk, a study involving 1,400 scientists has concluded.

Remember, pointing out this kind of propaganda with some healthy skepticism doesn't mean I advocate acting without consideration for environmental impact. We need to examine the incentives behind different groups advocating radical measures that would be borne principally by the United States and our partners.

25 October 2007

Good job, Bill!

From LiveLeak.com, Bill Clinton calls a spade, a spade:

Bill Clinton addressed a crowd in Minneapolis, Minnesota at a fundraiser for his wife's campaign on Tuesday.Clinton's 50-minute speech, which started about an hour behind schedule, was derailed briefly by several hecklers in the audience who shouted that the 2001 terrorist attacks were a fraud. Rather than ignoring them, Clinton seemed to relish a direct confrontation."A fraud? No, it wasn't a fraud," Clinton said, as the crowd cheered him on. "I'll be glad to talk to you if you shut up and let me talk."When another heckler shouted that the attacks were an "inside job," Clinton took even greater umbrage."An inside job? How dare you. How dare you. It was not an inside job," Clinton said.

You can't ignore fruitcakes like that. You have to speak truth. I'd like to seem them all rounded up and sent to Iran, free expression be darned.

24 October 2007


In our house we have had warming on the mind. Not this kind, but this kind. My wife's family is from San Diego. Her sister has talked about it on her blog. Fortunately Lacy's family has escaped any harm, but we know people who have lost their home. It is very disturbing.

Fire is so indiscriminate. After a hurricane there are some remedies. A house can survive, at least structurally, even in the face of severe water damage. There is no such repair after a fire. So many of the 1100+ houses that have burned are completely destroyed. It is tragic to think about it.

Sometimes Lacy laments the weather in Florida. I can't blame her, but I am grateful for that humidity in a time like this. I've often said that San Diego has the best weather. That it of course when it isn't on fire.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people dealing with this mess, especially the firefighters risking their lives.

23 October 2007

Wit & Wisdom

From Harry Reid:

One reason why we have the fires in California is global warming.

Although he later backed away from this statement when asked to clarify, to have said it all tells us a lot about him.

22 October 2007


I am in Boston on business and wanted to post some photos. This is just a cool photo of the sun on some clouds behind a skyscraper.

Quincy Market has been in operation since the early 1800's. It is in the foreground. In the back is the Customs House, now a Marriott property. This is historic Fanueil Hall. Some breakdancers doing an improptu show near Fanueil.
I love this city. The mixture of history and modernity is fantastic.

21 October 2007

SPOTD #132

Scroll down the SPOTD blog for excellent stuff.

Today's phrase:
Today's quote is from Hippocrates. It demonstrates that there have always been things to be pessimistic about. It shows that adults have always worried about the inclinations and acitivites of the young. Sometimes they have been right, sometimes not.

Los jóvenes de hoy no parecen tener respeto alguno por el pasado ni esperanza alguna para el porvenir.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
Lows ho-vay-nase day oy no pah-ray-sane tay-nare ray-spay-toe ahl-goo-no poor ell pah-sah-doe nee ace-pay-rahn-sah pa-rah ell pro-vane-ear.

The youth of today do not appear to have any respect for the past nor any hope for the future.

The Wilhem Scream
This is a fun article, featuring common misquotes of classic movie lines. It also addresses the phenomenon of the Wilhelm Scream. You can see examples of it on the SPOTD blog.

Peter King writes for Sports Illustrated. He can be very longwinded, but I like this bit about Vinny Testaverde's return to the NFL. As a kid I was a big fan during his days at Miami.

Warming Warning
Al Gore's movie now requires a special warning before being shown to school kids in Great Britain.

Crazy Allergies
This kid is allergic to almost every food. Bummer.

Repairing Sports
Chuck Klosterman has some ideas about how to repair sports coverage. I agree.

Link of the Day
An interesting article about Hillary Clinton and her former cat Socks.If she discarded Socks upon leaving the White House, will she discard some of her supporters upon returning?

20 October 2007

Romney on Reid

I'm no fan of Harry Reid. I liked this quip from a speech given by Mitt Romney at the Family Research Council's "Values Voters Conference" (from The Corner):

By the way – a few of you may have heard that I'm a Mormon. I understand that some people think they couldn't support someone of my faith. That may be because they've listened to Harry Reid.

Well done.

Awesome Video Saturday XX

Today is my father's birthday. I want to wish him a Happy Birthday and show you this video that he made me aware of. For the last 30 years many films have featured the same "scream" as a sound effect. It was reintroduced by Ben Burtt, a key figure in the Star Wars films and many other projects. Since his discovery of the original scream it has been extremely popular as the video indicates. It is the "Wilhelm Scream."

This is a just a funny video of a bird dancing.

19 October 2007

El Gran Vienticinco

I like this picture of my brother and me. It is from our leaner days. Today he turns 25, a great brother, uncle, and friend. I'm glad he's here with us in Gainesville.

Happy Birthday boy!


18 October 2007

Bad Sports

One of my least favorite things about going to a sporting event is the foul language coming from many of the fans. College football games are particularly rough. This is a growing problem in the NFL as well. From Mark Yost in OpinionJournal:

Unruly behavior at sporting events has been one of the most visible signs of the coarsening of American culture, but the NFL is in a league of its own. One reason is the sheer size of the crowds. The Washington Redskins, who lead the National Football League in attendance, draw about 90,000 fans per game, almost twice the average number of baseball fans at Yankee Stadium and four times the number of spectators at the best-attended National Basketball Association and National Hockey League games.
...Walking through the parking lot before the game, I witnessed a scene all too common at NFL tailgates: home fans taunting the visitors with four-letter expletives. What made the scene here particularly appalling was the target--a family of Cowboys fans with two small children. And the taunt, repeated throughout the stadium by Bills fans, questioned Dallas quarterback Tony Romo's sexual orientation (think of what rhymes with "Romo"). I wonder how the parents explained that one.

If someone can tell me how this is a good thing I'd love to hear it. Jason Whitlock weighs in on another dilemma in the NFL, this one on the player side:

Hip hop athletes are being rejected because they're not good for business and, most important, because they don't contribute to a consistent winning environment. Herm Edwards said it best: You play to win the game.

It is an interesting and provocative article.

16 October 2007

Ignoble Nobel, part 2

I felt like rehashing my stance on Global Warming. My first post on the subject was this one, and I broke down the different Warming beliefs this way:

  1. Global Warming is caused in large part by man, is a grave crisis, and man must act immediately to prevent disaster (Al Gore).
  2. Global Warming is real, may be caused by man and could be problematic for the future.
  3. There is no "Global Warming," aside from the normal cyclical changes in climate that have occurred many times in history.
  4. There is no warming. There may even be cooling.

I stated then that #3 was closest to my personal belief. I feel comfortable with that viewpoint, and it is supported by people like Dr. William Gray, one of the most prominent hurricane forecasters in the world:

"We're brainwashing our children," said Dr Gray, 78, a long-time professor at Colorado State University. "They're going to the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth] and being fed all this. It's ridiculous."
...Dr Gray, whose annual forecasts of the number of tropical storms and hurricanes are widely publicised, said a natural cycle of ocean water temperatures - related to the amount of salt in ocean water - was responsible for the global warming that he acknowledges has taken place. However, he said, that same cycle meant a period of cooling would begin soon and last for several years.
"We'll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realise how foolish it was," Dr Gray said.
During his speech to a crowd of about 300 that included meteorology students and a host of professional meteorologists, Dr Gray also said those who had linked global warming to the increased number of hurricanes in recent years were in error.
He cited statistics showing there were 101 hurricanes from 1900 to 1949, in a period of cooler global temperatures, compared to 83 from 1957 to 2006 when the earth warmed.

Writer Mark Steyn weighs in on Gore's pseudo-religion:

A schoolkid in Ontario was complaining the other day that, whatever subject you do, you have to sit through Gore's movie: It turns up in biology class, in geography, in physics, in history, in English.
Whatever you're studying, it's all you need to know. It fulfils the same role in the schoolhouses of the guilt-ridden developed world that the Koran does in Pakistani madrassas. Gore's rise is as remorseless as those sea levels. I assumed Gore's clammy embrace would do for the environmental movement what his belated endorsement had done for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential candidacy: kill it stone dead. But governor Dean was constrained by actual humdrum prosaic vote tallies in Iowa and New Hampshire. The ecochondriacs, by contrast, seem happiest when they're most unmoored from reality.
That's where Gore comes in. No matter how you raise the stakes ("It might take another 30 Kyotos", says Jerry Mahlman of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research), Saint Al of the Ecopalypse can raise them higher. Climate change, he says, is the most important moral, ethical, spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced. Ever. And not just humankind, but alienkind, too. "We are," warns Gore, "altering the balance of energy between our planet and the rest of the universe".

It is interesting how anyone who questions liberal orthodoxy on Global Warming is labeled as anti-environment. It seems like anyone who swallows Belief #1 is anti-reality. Even if you think warming is caused by man, to act like we know EXACTLY what will cause it is absurd. It presumes a great deal more than we know. Want to know why this propaganda has reached such a level of acceptance? Dr. Gray has the answer:

It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong. But they also know that they'd never get any grants if they spoke out. I don't care about grants.

This illustrates the need for skepticism and a questioning mind. It is at the heart of real scientific discovery.

14 October 2007

Ignoble Nobel, part 1

This is a little late, but I was on the road the day that Al Gore was announced as the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel committee tasked with selecting the winner of the Peace Prize has a spotty record. According to an excellent editorial in the New Hampshire Union Leader, this is the purpose of the award:

[Nobel] endowed the Nobel Peace Prize and instructed that it go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

I was very happy with 2006's recipient, although his work does not exactly fit the profile laid out by Nobel, it seems clear that extending credit to underserved populations is more impactful to peace than writing a book and making a movie. As the Union Leader states:

On Friday the prize was given to Al Gore and the International Panel on Climate Change. Two days before, a British judge ruled that Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," contained so many errors (read: lies) that it could be shown in British public schools only if accompanied by a fact sheet correcting the errors.
The Nobel Peace Prize is worse than a joke. It's a fraud. It is such a transparent fraud that the five Norwegian politicians who award it have been reduced to defending their decision by concocting elaborate rationalizations. This year they laughably claimed that Gore deserves the prize because, well, global climate change" may induce large-scale migration and lead to greater competition for the Earth's resources," and "there may be increased danger of violent conflicts and wars."

More on this tomorrow.

Hurricane Photos

Here are some photos from yesterday's game. Even though the Canes lost a tough one I was glad to be there, and glad to have felt what it is like to watch a game in the Orange Bowl one last time.

13 October 2007

Go Canes!

This is my first try at cellphone blogging, coming to you live from the historic Orange Bowl. I love this place. It is my first game here in over ten years, and thanks to Justin Palmer (& of course my sweet Lacy) I get to make this pilgrimage to the OB.
Miami set an NCAA record here with 58(!!) straight home wins. It is old, run-down, and beautiful. Here's hoping for a win. I'll post some pics later.

Awesome Video Saturday XIX (Early Edition)

AweVidSat comes early this week. I'm making a pilgrimage to the Orange Bowl to watch the Hurricanes play there one last time. Here goes:

This is an amazing video. There is some brief profanity, but it seems justified. A commenter on this video's YouTube page said the following:
Seems a little big for an land mine, we called these "sub surfaced IEDs" -- my guess is probally 3 to 4, 155mm shells buried too deep for any possible effect.

This is a very emotional video about a father surprising his son at school after returning from a long deployment. It tugs at the heart strings, big time.

12 October 2007

I Love Capitalism

This is a fantastic article from Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. The purpose is to relay some of the lesson of Atlas Shrugged, a novel by Ayn Rand. It is one of the most important books in my opinion, and one that I credit with "making me a capitalist." I think the link only works for subscribers, but I wanted to excerpt a portion:

This is the lesson that most people in business have yet to learn from "Atlas," no matter how much they may love its portrayal of the passion and the glory possible in business enterprise. At a crucial point in the novel, the industrialist Hank Rearden is on trial for violating an arbitrary economic regulation. Instead of apologizing for his pursuit of profit or seeking mercy on the basis of philanthropy, he says, "I work for nothing but my own profit -- which I make by selling a product they need to men who are willing and able to buy it. I do not produce it for their benefit at the expense of mine, and they do not buy it for my benefit at the expense of theirs; I do not sacrifice my interests to them nor do they sacrifice theirs to me; we deal as equals by mutual consent to mutual advantage -- and I am proud of every penny that I have earned in this manner…"

We will know the lesson of "Atlas Shrugged" has been learned when business people, facing accusers in Congress or the media, stand up like Rearden for their right to produce and trade freely, when they take pride in their profits and stop apologizing for creating wealth.

In light of my focus in the past week on those who would take from the labors of others by force and according to their own warped and naive motives, I thought this was a timely piece. Let me know if you'd like the whole thing. I can e-mail it to you.

10 October 2007

The Phuture of the Phins?

The Miami Herald has a nice opinion piece advocating the ascension of former BYU quarterback John Beck to the starting spot on the Miami Dolphins. He makes a good case:

Beck did pretty well in the preseason if you'll recall, throwing for more August yards (300) than any Dolphin rookie since Marino pitched for 354 in '83. Don Shula then waited half a season to give Marino his chance and later wished he hadn't.
Marino went on to throw 296 passes as a rookie. Bob Griese threw 331. The idea that rookie QBs need to be treated like porcelain -- lest they shatter irreversibly if deployed a minute too soon -- doesn't stand up.

There is a very good chance that Beck will get more playing time. That is reason to be optimistic.

08 October 2007

The Legacy of Che

It disgusts me when I see a college student or teenager wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Che Guevara.
This post from the Reason blog offers a nice remembrance of the dead totalitarian.
The shirt below is more to my liking.

07 October 2007

Happy Birthday Gladys & Paul!

This is usually the territory of my very talented sister-in-law Lillie, but today is my sister Gladys' 30th birthday (she won't care if I say that) and her husband Paul had a birthday on Friday, so I wanted to say something. They live a few hours away so we don't see them as often as we'd like, but as we venture further into parenthood my respect for them grows. They have three great kids, and have always been great parents and good examples.

They are also people that I like to be around. Being less than two years apart in age has meant that Gladys and I but heads from time to time, but she has always been a true friend and one of my biggest cheerleaders. She is absolutely faithful in her role as a sister, and I am grateful for all the great qualities that make her who she is. In Paul she has a partner who complements her and who demonstrates a lot of the qualities that I would like to develop in myself, as a father and a man.

Happy Birthday! We love you!

06 October 2007

Awesome Video Saturday XVIII

Eric Snider posted this biting interview of Paris Hilton by David Letterman.

And also this incredible lyrical treatise on our times:

Jimmy Kimmel actually had him on his show. You can see it on YouTube.

05 October 2007

SPOTD #131

Almost another month has passed. Time flies by.

Today's phrase:
From Benjamin Franklin:

¿Amas la vida? Pues no malgastes el tiempo que es la tela de la vida.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
¿Ah-mahs lah vee-dah? Pways no mal-gas-tays ell tyem-poe kay ess lah tay-lah day lah vee-dah.

But dost thou love life ? then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of

The Blog
Here are some highlights. Scroll down to check it out.
-Mormon Anarchists
-Police Beat
-Clay Aiken looks like the Donald
-My kids are awesome
-The Republican party need to cleanse itself
-And much more!

Randy Shannon
He is the new coach of the Miami Hurricanes, but not new to the program. This is a very interesting article about how he came to be the coach, and the many challenges that he has experienced in his life.

This is a great story about a man who came from nothing and became a butler for several households in New Orleans. He learned to read and write while in his twenties. He was selected as butler of the year. The link may not be available to people who are not subscribers of the Wall Street Journal.

This is an entertaining quiz that identifies your religion. It worked for me.

Eric Snider is writing for Film.com. This is a funny article about bad movie promos.
This is a great article, also by Snider, about fatness in America.

You may have heard about the young MIT student that thought it would be a good art statement if she walked into Boston's Logan airport with a fake bomb strapped to her chest. As they said, she is lucky to be alive. Unfortunately she is probably still an idiot.

Pina Coladas
I think this is a pretty funny story about a couple that decided to explore the personals, only to find that they had matched up with each other. Unfortunately they did not reconcile while getting caught in the rain.

Link of the Day
This is old news by now, but Mark Ecko, a fashion designer, had a pretty cool idea about what he should do with Barry Bonds' record breaking 756th homerun ball.

04 October 2007

Whither the Mormon Anarchist?

I wrote a post for my friends at In Rare Form on a new publication, The Mormon Worker. It advocates something called Mormon Anarchism. Want to guess how I felt about it?

Go read the post here.

03 October 2007

Police Beat Memories

When I was at BYU, the Police Beat was one of the few readable and entertaining things about the campus newspaper. That doesn't mean that it is well-written. This recent edition is a good example of the criminal element at BYU

They stopped publishing the Police Beat for a time, citing the belief that people were purposefully doing things to gain entry. They were right. This one is a true classic for me. We were involved in the snow incident under Criminal Mischief. We had some really great ideas to gain entry for other reasons, but this is the only one that made the cut.

Separated at Birth?

I can't take credit for this juxtaposition. I saw it at this fashion-watching website a friend told me about. I think they're on to something with this one:

01 October 2007


U.S. military deaths continue to decline in Iraq, hitting a 14 month low. That is good news. More good news comes from the World Tribune:

The U.S. military is eliminating Al Qaida's chain of command in Iraq.
Officials said several leading aides to Al Qaida network chief Abu Ayoub Al Masri have been killed by the U.S.-led coalition. They said two out of the four foreign aides of Al Masri remain alive.

Shortly before he died, [aide] Al Tunisi wrote a letter that warned of a threat to Al Qaida operations in Karkh. The lettter, found by the U.S. military, sought guidance from Al Qaida leaders amid coalition operations that hampered Al Tunisi's network.
"We are so desperate for your help," the letter read.

That's what I like to hear.