The Everybody Gets a Trophy Generation

After the election of Donald Trump one opinion writer speculated that Trump’s election signaled the ‘end of political correctness’. Perhaps. But before that happens, the death throes will be protracted. This struggle will be led by the current generation of pampered, helicoptered, everybody-gets-a-trophy youth who have been sheltered from the real world and any smidgen of adversity.
Youthful Hillary Clinton supporters were seen on TV crying uncontrollably. Major universities had crying rooms complete with coloring books and Play-Doh to soothe students distraught over the election of Trump. My own alma mater, Cornell, had a “cry-in” where students could sit in a circle and cry together. When I was at Cornell, I would have had to cry in my dishwater where I washed pots for my food. One Yale professor made the midterm exam optional so that students depressed by the election results wouldn’t have to discommode themselves with one of the more troublesome aspects of university life.

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The more visible expression of their dismay were the marches and riots in many of the big cities across the US and the complete meltdown of the left-leaning media. Any marches always bring out the anarchists who use any pretext to break windows and start fires. Tearful youths made up many of the marchers, but naturally were joined by their helicopter left-wing parents convinced that America was doomed. Many were “triggered” and felt “unsafe” now that Trump would be president. Really? Unsafe? What did they really think was going to happen? Did they believe Trump was going to send the police to break into their dorm rooms and confiscate their pot stash?

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Reporters covering the protest marches started asking the young marchers if they had voted in the election. About half admitted they had not voted. Call me old-fashioned, but I figure if you did not bother to get off your butt and vote, you have no right to bitch about the outcome.

Speaking of triggered and unsafe…Thursday’s edition of “The National Post” featured an article by Christie Blatchford about a teacher at a posh BC private school who got fired for expressing an opinion on abortion. His class was a criminal law unit on “vice, ethics, morality and the law”. He was pointing out that in a pluralistic democracy there is often a difference between people’s personal morality and the law. Here is where he uttered the fateful opinion
that he personally disapproved of abortion but it was, in fact, the law. One of his female students was “triggered” by this comment and felt “unsafe”, refusing to return to class.

What the Hell is triggered anyway…stuffed like Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger? Physically assaulted by the horse? OK, that’s absurd. I will anxiously await some thoughtful reader explaining triggered to me.

The teacher found himself reprimanded by the school administrator and forced to make a humiliating public apology in front of students and fellow teachers. Ms. Blatchford likened this to Maoist China where public confessions for ideological sins were punished. The spoiled brat then rushed out of the room crying because she thought she was being singled out. That was it. They fired the guy.

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I wonder if the school administrators and the parents felt really good about firing the poor guy right before Christmas for a politically incorrect comment? What the parents of this spoiled child should have done was confiscate her cell phone and car keys and saved the $30,000 tuition and made her go to public school. And made her apologize to the teacher for the consequences of her behavior. As far as the administrators of this school…they should be publicly humiliated.

These kids, the Everybody-Gets-a-Trophy Generation, will be our future leaders. Most of these youngsters have never had any adversity in their lives. How are they going to survive the setbacks that inevitably happen at some point? Like when they get fired, or one of their kids comes down with a terrible disease, or the arrogant young woman comes home early to find her husband in bed with her best friend. Shit happens in life and if you can’t even deal with encountering someone with a different opinion or belief without freaking out, how are you going to deal with some really serious stuff?

Our forefathers survived the adversity of the fear and death of the Spanish flu epidemic, the horrors of WWI, the depression years and the massive deaths of WWII. In the 40’s and 50’s most people lived on farms where hard work and sacrifice were common, where helping your neighbor was expected and political correctness incomprehensible. It is not surprising that those of us who lived those years find the behavior of these pampered teens and college
students ridiculous.

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I have theorized that the survivors of SEAL training, regarded as the most difficult in the world, are usually the men who have had a history of adversity in their young lives. The training is the definition of adversity writ large. If you’re sensitive to verbal abuse, this is not the program for you. As the Instructors in BUDS like to say, “Second place is First Loser.”

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I Was Wrong

It certainly seemed like long odds to me and the so called experts who pontificated on this election. My belief had been based on the skewed electoral college map and the ingrained voting blocks and special interest voters. I wrote and I blogged she would win a couple of times. I was wrong. And I was not alone. The TV gurus on ABC, NBC and CBS looked like they had just received news that their house had burned down and the dog had died. Several looked like they were about to break out in tears. The newspapers and magazines had cover stories already written calling Trump a loser. Stop the presses!! It was the worst call since the Dewey vs Truman election. I should have listened to myself and my last blog piece about “experts”. Dan Gardner’s book “Future Babble” shows that so-called experts are right only 50% of the time, but in this election, the experts were right maybe 3% of the time.

I’d often said that the choice was between a buffoon and a crook. Calling him a buffoon was overstatement. You don’t build a business like his without both acumen and the ability to hire good people and let them do the job. As the campaign wore on, I heard some stories (unpublished in the main stream media) of Trump’s amazing generosity and smarts. These, of course, were overshadowed by his ability to say and tweet some over the top crap. He insulted and pissed off a number of Republicans in the primaries and many of the pure conservatives refused to support him.

The main stream media, both print and televised, are decidedly liberal and hated Trump and openly cheered for Hillary. The polls showed a decided lead for Hillary, and the experts refused to be daunted by the recent miserable failure of the polls in the UK on the Brexit issue. The media focused on the “horse race” aspect and refused to get out in the fly-over states and talk to real people. Instead they hunkered down in their liberal enclaves of New York and Washington DC and talked to each other.

None of it mattered. If you look at the US map of the election results by county, the country is nearly pure red with pockets of blue in the major cities. Of course, the numbers of Hillary voters in the cities gave her a slight lead in the popular vote (about 1%) but a loss in the electoral college…. just the way the Founders envisioned.

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The reaction, after the Democrats and liberals let what had happened sink in, was anger and frustration. They think they know best what the country needs and their prescription was four more years of the leftist policies of Obama. The problem is that Hillary is a flawed human being and corruption and controversy follows her around like a cloud of stink around a skunk. People go to jail for the security violations she and her staff committed with that email server. Also, the Clinton Foundation used Hillary’s position as Secretary of State to enrich herself, her husband and her cronies. That she and Bill were protected from prosecution by the Obama Justice Department fooled no one.

She’s been around for 30 years and everyone is sick to death of that snarky smirk.

What everyone underestimated is the middle class have been squeezed for years with stagnant wages, higher taxes and costs. They are sick to death of the over regulatory Federal Government. By huge margins they think the country is headed in the wrong direction.

The pundits claimed that the white, uneducated men swung the election, a clear demonstration of their smug elitism. Celebrities once again vowed to leave the country.

Canada seemed to be a popular destination. Some joked that Canada should build a wall and make the Americans pay for it. One immigration official pointed out that moving to Canada is not so simple. We’ll see how many actually move out.

I think this election result happened because of ‘a revolt against the machine’.

The ordinary Americans are fed up with the corruption, and over reach of the Federal Government. One wag said that this was a stealth return of the Tea Party that had been destroyed by the “weaponization of the IRS”. I believe it was also a statement about the ineffectiveness of the GOP in Congress who seemed more interested in getting reelected than in stopping the Obama machine.

The Black Lives Matter movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement joined with a bunch of college kids who are ignorant of history and civics, and urban liberals and are protesting in the streets right now. There’s not much they can do about it. Trump is the next President, like it or not.

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Experts

 

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am not a big believer in global warming, to say the least. Both the Vancouver newspapers with a decidedly leftward tilt, however, are all in on AGW.

I used to get upset with them about publishing articles that were clearly not done by climate scientists but came from some US-based advocacy group. They were cleverly disguised to look like a scientific study but you could never figure out any scientific group that had actually performed it.

So, I’d write them an email asking what peer-reviewed study this article came from. I said it was lazy reporting for their so-called journalists to simple publish some press release they received from a California anti-carbon group. They would never publish any of my letters to the editor pointing out the disinformation from the AGW crowd.

2015 was a drought year in the Pacific NW. The big sea of unusually warm water sitting out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean called an El Nino condition caused an unusually hot and dry summer. The summer and early fall were marked by frequent and serious forest fires.

The flip side of the El Nino event is the La Nina condition with colder than normal masses of water in the central Pacific. This is part of a normal cycle called the ENSO or the El Nino Southern Oscillation and reverses every seven to twelve years. The NOAA website says “… the ENSO has large scale impacts on global weather and climate.”

The people who study this stuff were predicting last fall that the El Nino was falling apart and the La Nina was taking over. A La Nina year usually means a cooler and wetter year in the PNW. So, it baffled me why a purported “expert” on water resources would confidently predict another exceptionally dry year in which Vancouver would likely have to ration water and allocate more money to fight forest fires. The underlying assumption on his part was that global warming would cause drought and less rainfall. AGW does not cause droughts in the PNW but an El Nino year can and does frequently.

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One would hope that a “water expert” would know this fact. Apparently not. He confidently predicted that 2016 would be as dry and possibly worse, requiring rationing of water. “The Province” published his scare prediction on December 19 and ran a full-page headline stating, “Brace for Another Drought Crisis”. The teaser underneath stated, “Recent precipitation has replenished Metro Vancouver reservoirs but a water expert warns the worst is yet to come.”

I cut out the front page and the full-page article on the inside and set it aside. I said to myself, “Let see what actually happens.” I had just finished reading a book called “Future Babble” by Dan Gardner, a senior writer for the “Ottawa Citizen”. He had come to my attention a number of years ago when he wrote a 10 part series on drugs. Carefully researched and even-handedly written, I thought it was excellent. When I learned he had published a book, I had to read it.

Gardner carefully documented his study of “experts” and the success of their pontificated predictions on many subjects. He found that the experts were correct only about half the time and you could do just as well with a coin flip. He cites some highly public failures and how they shrug off their mistakes to make yet another sweeping prediction. Two examples among many in the book were Revi Batra who published a best selling book in 1985 called “The Great Depression of 1990.” Of course, that didn’t happen. Did he run off and hide from the press? Nope. He published numerous other books in subsequent years making pretty much the same predictions for future years and all did not happen.

Similarly, Paul Ehrlich who I have mentioned frequently, published “The Population Bomb” in 1968 predicting some 200 million people would die of starvation in the 1980’s. Obviously, did not happen, but did not deter him from continuing to predict and publish, appearing on talk shows and giving speeches. You gotta hand it to these guys, they have a lot of gall.

If Al Gore had been right, Florida would be underwater by now and the oceans would be 20 feet higher by the end of the century. But, the oceans are only rising less than 1/8th inch per year, the same pace since the end of the last ice age. He should miss it by 19 feet!

One expert in England predicted that children in school now would never have seen snow in their lifetimes. Nope. Wrong.

The La Nina took over in the central Pacific and it’s been a colder and wetter summer in the PNW as one would expect in a La Nina year. I checked with the various weather sites and BC has had a normal amount of moisture this year and September has been unusually wet this year. Subsequently, forest fires were minimal this summer.

Our water expert can join a long list of expert predictions that were totally wrong.

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Rest In Peace

Today we put our freezer to sleep. No it did not die. We put it to sleep
much like you would an ailing and aging pet. And, like a much loved pet, it
was a sad day for us for the freezer has faithfully kept ticking along without
complaint for 48 years.
After we got out of the Navy we moved to Chicago where I worked on the
60 story 1st National Bank building learning the methods of the high rise
construction business. Specifically, how to apply granite panels to the
outside of multi-story buildings.
After nine months and a cold and windy winter in Chicago we packed up
our baby daughter Tara, our English Setter Zeke and our worldly
possessions in our ’66 Barracuda and headed for the Pacific Northwest.
We moved in to our frst house, a wood frame rambler on a sandy bluff
overlooking Eld Inlet (AKA. Mud Bay) a tidal arm of Puget Sound. It was
about 20 miles outside of Olympia in an area of hobby farms and wooded
home sites.
coldspot-closed

The place already had a stove and a fridge courtesy of the previous owner
so we had to buy furniture and our frst big appliance purchase— an
upright freezer. Considering cost, we chose a Sears Coldspot and placed it
in our tuck under garage.
It got plenty of use. Every year we’d make a trip or two out to Westport on
the Washington coast and go salmon fshing. A cooler full of salmon and
perhaps some ling cod would be carefully flleted, wrapped and stashed in
the freezer. Our neighbor down the road raised lambs and each year we’d
purchase one, cut it up and have lamb for a year. A quarter or half of beef
got stashed in there as well.
Just to fll up any holes in the space of the freezer duck and pheasant
hunting proved excellent in western Washington in those days and they
ate well. One fall I shot a blacktail buck in my neighbor’s apple orchard
and that really filled the Coldspot to over flowing.
Karen and Mike were born when we lived in that house and they all
learned to love seafood as we could catch trout in local creeks and sea run
cutthroat off the beach. Clam digging on our beach was easy and our
friendly neighbor had an oyster farm. I vividly remember the girls sitting
on the counter on either side of the sink while I popped oysters that they
quickly slurped up.
It was a great time, but shit happens and the recession of the early ’70 hit
western Washington particularly hard. Boeing laid off something like
65,000 people and the ripple effect through the economy raised the
unemployment rate to 25%. We went from 25 employees to just me and I
could not get a freplace job. I took a job with a granite company in
Minnesota and we had to move. It would be the first of 14 times we and
the poor freezer moved.
We and the Coldspot got hauled to Minnesota and some years later to
Wisconsin. We moved several times in Wisconsin as our circumstances
improved. Finally, we retired to Whistler, BC and after our skiing days
ended with various injuries and ailments, moved to Surrey, BC.
The Coldspot too was showing its age. It had some dents and the light no
longer worked but it still kept plugging away. It got flled with ducks and
moose a few times in recent years but it became clear that the door
gaskets were leaking. Finding parts for a 48 year old appliance is not
possible. Besides, we had two other freezers and sadly we decided that
it was time.
In this age of planned obsolescence our Sears Coldspot has been a
champion. As they say, they don’t make ’em like that anymore.
RIP

coldspot-open

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Scientific and Economic Ignorance

“This election is about climate change.” Bernie Sanders has made this statement numerous times and his success in his primary battle with Hillary Clinton has forced her to the left on climate issues to win his endorsement. For example, as Secretary of State she supported exporting fracking technology to foreign countries to encourage natural gas development. She frequently differed with New York’s Cuomo on the fracking ban in that state. However, in a campaign ad for the NY primary she changed her position and supported the ban. To get the support of Bernie’s acolytes and the big money environmental true believers in the Democrat Party she’s going to abandon any pretense of common sense and join the “Hate Carbon” crowd.

March 6, 2016 Clinton said, “By the time we get through all my conditions, I doubt there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.”

Hillary’s turn around on fracking was extracted by Bernie Sanders as a condition of his endorsement. This may turn out to be a political mistake as Jade Clemente pointed out in a Forbes article called “Hillary Clinton’s Mistake on Fracking for Natural Gas” (March 13, 2016). Ohio sits atop the Utica Shale and Pennsylvania atop the Marcellus Shale both of which are being drilled using fracking. The economic benefits for both states is substantial. No one has ever won the Presidency with out carrying those two states.

Of course, Hillary also supports Obama’s Clean Power Plan that is essentially a war on coal. Ohio is also a big coal producing state. It is expected to cost $650 billion in lost GDP and shutter 66 power plants. The EPAs own projections show the coal industry will shrink by 48 percent. But, I saw a piece the other day that claimed the power plant closures were 4 times greater already than the EPA had projected.

A lot of power plants have been switching to natural gas but now Hillary promises to shut that down as well. Good luck keeping the lights on.

I have read numerous explanations written by warming enthusiasts on the difference between “global warming” and “climate change”. Apparently it boils down to the “effects” of global warming – sea level rise, melting glaciers, more droughts, forest fires, etc. This change in terminology was prompted by the finding by the IPCC that temperatures were not rising as predicted while CO2 levels continued the upward trend. This threw the whole theory and modeling of global warming into doubt. Time to change the name to confuse the issue. It’s still global warming though.

The Obama Administration has already spent heavily on climate change. Hard to get an exact figure as it is scattered among various government agencies but it looks like $32.8 billion on climate studies and $79 billion for tech related research. The SBA estimates the regulatory cost at $1.75 trillion. Taken together, big bucks to study a non-problem.

Consider this…. It snowed in three states last week – Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. That has not happened in 30 years. It also snowed in the Alps…. Up to 30 cm in Eastern Switzerland and Italy. People are starting to talk about global cooling (“Is the Earth Cooling” by Peter Ferrara, Forbes). Astronomynow.com has a piece called “Diminishing Solar Activity May Bring New Ice Age by 2030”.

This is based on rapid cooling recently in the upper atmosphere and ZERO sunspot activity on our source of heat….. the sun. There is a picture of the sun without a single sunspot on the website “Wattsupwiththat”.

The last time that happened for an extended period was 1645 to 1715 and was called the Maunder Minimum and that period was also called the “Little Ice Age”.

The sun goes through sunspot cycles of generally 11 years but can last 30 to 70 years like the Maunder Minimum. The current cycle began in 2008 and is on course to have the lowest sunspot activity since accurate records began in 1750.

If we go into another Little Ice Age we are going to look pretty stupid for falling for the big scam of global warming. We may live to welcome a little global warming.

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Silly Season

The silly season commonly refers to the slow news time during the doldrums of summer when the media are forced to fill the newspapers and broadcasts with trivial and unimportant stories just to take up time and space. However, this is an election year in the US and the whole year qualifies as a silly season.

I first voted in an election in 1960 when I was 19 years old. John Kennedy got my vote. He was a Democrat and a WWII Navy combat veteran. Democrats were different in those days as was the electorate. Kennedy believed in pro growth policies and that included cutting taxes to accomplish it. He believed in a strong military and had the balls to back it up. I doubt that few young voters today have ever heard of the Cuban Missile Crisis that risked a nuclear war with the USSR. For those youngsters who may be curious how that turned out…..the Russians backed down. Can anyone picture Obama doing that? Or Hillary, or Sanders?

How different Kennedy, Scoop Jackson and other Democrats of their era from the politicians today who are deathly afraid of offending anyone. Some pervert wants to piss in the women’s bathroom even though he’s got a pecker? Have at it pal, we wouldn’t want to hurt the delicate feelings of the few transgender guys around. How many can there be, really? The women may not like it but they don’t count in this season of political correctness.

Maybe that’s the appeal of Trump? A lot of people are fed up with do nothing professional politicians who waste money and lie their asses off. Politically correct Trump is not. Nor shy. Throughout this long primary campaign I have been amazed at Trump’s success and wondered why? I speculated that he won some states that allow people from one party to vote in the primary of the other party. I know the Democrats believe Trump is easiest to beat and I happen to agree with that point. I wondered if the Dems had a strategy to vote for Donald just to defeat the more traditional candidates. But Trump is winning in states where crossover voting is not allowed. So I guess conservative voters are so frustrated that they are willing to overlook Trump’s obvious shortcomings – his brash braggadocio and his tendency to ramble on with annoying and insulting remarks.

On the other side of the aisle things are just as baffling to me. First of all, how the Hell does Bernie Sanders get taken seriously by so many people? To me the popularity of this cranky old socialist tells me two things: 1). The young people who form the bulk of his supporters are so poorly educated that they know nothing of history or have the most rudimentary understanding of economics and 2). Democrat voters are so sick of Hillary Clinton and so distrustful of that lying, smarmy broad that they will go for any alternative. Like I said, it’s a silly season and will go on.

The cost of this endless farce is enormous. The presidential contest in 2012 was 2.6 billion between the two contestants. Estimates for this year range from 3 to 5 billion and this is not counting the primary contests just to find out who will be the candidate of the two parties. Nobody knows yet how much money has been pissed away as the 17 GOP aspirants vied for the nomination slowly dropping by the wayside so that now the only serious contender is The Donald. Cruz was handily defeated in Indiana today and bowed out, leaving only Kasich doggedly hanging on for some unknown reason.

These primaries have been going on for about nine months already and there are still six more months until the election. Contrast this with the Canadian system of elections. Historically the median amount of time for an election is 50 days and the parties are restricted to spending about $25 million each. That certainly compresses things and saves a lot of cash, although I am uncertain the electorate is any better at making choices. The last time around Justin Trudeau, the son of a popular PM was elected. His name was his greatest asset for his qualifications were few. He was a former school teacher, part time actor. But despite the accomplishments of Harper, the Conservative PM, the Eastern Left and the media were sick of the guy. As an dry witted friend of my said, “Trudeau got elected by the young people. He’s young (45), good looking, has great hair and has promised to legalize pot.”

This will be the first US election in my memory where the two nominees are disliked by their base. Trump’s unfavorable rating is 57% and Clinton’s 52%. Maybe those numbers will change as the campaign wears on. One thing is certain, this will be a nasty one. Trump is sure to go after her for her many illegal and unethical failings and the Democrats have certainly unearthed dirt on Trump.  The mud slinging will be historic.

I stick by my prediction first made in 2008 and again in my May 2015 blog post, “The Next President”, that Hillary would be the next president. As I pointed out then, the deck is pretty heavily stacked against the GOP nominee. Furthermore, I believe the Democrats who dislike Hillary will hold their nose and vote for her anyway to prevent a Republican president from appointing the next couple of Supreme Court justices. And, of course, Trump has gone out of his way to piss off Hispanics and women, two important voting blocks. Only an indictment by the FBI over Hillary’s email violations and mishandling of top secret documents can upset her march to the White House and coronation as the Evil Queen of the Liberals.


God help the USA.

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Unintended Consequences

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The shooting of Cecil the “beloved” lion in Zimbabwe created a furor all over the world as animal rights and anti-gun fanatics piled on to dentist Walter Palmer, the hunter who shot him. The news was non-stop and everywhere. Palmer quickly became the most reviled man in the world. He had to go into hiding because of the death threats. The killing of Cecil was neither illegal or particularly unusual although for my tastes, not especially sportsmanlike. No charges were ever filed against him yet he became the most hated man in the world.

Fortunately for him, along came Mark Shkreli the CEO of Turning Pharmaceuticals, who raised the price of his newly acquired HIV/AIDs drug, Daraprim, 5000%. Had he done the same with a drug for toenail fungus probably no one would have noticed. But for HIV? Forget it. That hits the max on the politically incorrect scale. He quickly secured the title of “Most Hated Man” from Palmer. It certainly didn’t help his cause when in interviews he certified that he was indeed an arrogant asshole. Walker quietly returned to his dentistry and dropped out of the news.

On Monday the 22nd I happened upon a piece in the “Vancouver Sun”…. on Page A11…with the headline, “’Cecil Effect’ creates lion surplus, Wildlife park may have to cull 200 big cats.” [Article can be found here.]

Well, well. Peta Thornycroft, a former British citizen who now resides in Zimbabwe and reports for “The Telegraph” wrote the story and presumably the headline and goes on to explain that the world-wide hiding of Mr. Palmer has put a huge damper on the willingness of wealthy American hunters to risk getting vilified in an unsympathetic press. As the saying goes, ‘They are staying away from Zimbabwe in droves.’

The Bubye Valley Conservancy, the largest wildlife area in Zimbabwe, supports local schools and clinics and provides jobs and meat to local residents. Like other intensely managed wild life reserves, Bubye receives much of its operating revenue fromcontrolled big game hunts, including lions. However, since no rich Americans want the Walter Palmer treatment, they are staying home or going to other countries. A victory for the anti-hunting crowd, right? Well, you judge.

The unintended consequence is that in a very short time the lion population in Bubwe has become unsustainable. Their numbers have reached 500 and they are wiping out all the other animals including antelopes, giraffe and even cheetahs, leopards and wild dogs. Perhaps the animal rights people should go to Zimbabwe and train the lions to become vegans? Blondie Leathem, the general manager of Bubwe feels they need to cull 200 lions. Mostly that means shoot because re-locating the lions to other preserves (presuming you could convince the preserves to take them) is generally unsuccessful. The immigrants are usually killed by the resident prides.

This example of animal rights zealotry backfiring because of ignorance of population dynamics, conservation management, ecology (the science, not the ideology) or ethology (animal behavior), leads to politically and emotionally motivated decisions that often backfire. Here are just a few examples.

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The Delta Smelt. A few years ago environmentalists went to court to divert water from farmers in the drought stricken San Joaquin valley of California in an effort to save the 3” delta smelt, a fish of no commercial or sporting value. At the same time they began breeding thousands of the critters in hatcheries and releasing them into the river. The result: The smelt numbers continue to decline and sample netting only produces a couple hundred per year. Maybe something other than diverted water is killing the smelt. Some would argue that the effort to save the delta smelt was a great idea, but was it worth it?

The human toll was steep. Some 40,000 people lost their jobs as farmers went broke and once fertile and productive farms and orchards turned to dust. Small towns in the area dried up too as residents fled.

As the suburbs expanded into farmland around major cities in North America, it inevitably encroached on wildlife habitat. Understandably, no hunting was allowed anywhere near these communities. Some animals like white tail deer found these safe zones much to their liking and hung around, breeding without check. Soon they became a pest browsing on people’s gardens and shrubs. Clearly the population needed to be reduced but, animal lovers would not permit shooting the excess animals who were starting to show distress from malnutrition. As an alternative, many communities decided to capture and release the animals into wilder habitats. Seemed like a good idea. One problem, almost all whitetail deer live their entire lives in about a one half to one square mile area. Dumping them in a strange place disoriented them and almost all starved or wandering around bewildered and were hit by cars. [For a great article by Time Magazine in December 2013 can be found here].

A similar thing happened with the urban goose populations. The geese figured out they were safe and could live year around in city golf courses, public parks and urban lakes. No hunters and no need to migrate. Life was good. But, the public parks became infested and unusable due to goose feces. Local ponds and lakes were polluted. Again, killing the excess geese offended the animal rights people so they were relocated. Ignored was the fact that these animals can fly thousands of miles and are excellent navigators. In days they were all back.

Grizzly bears are also excellent navigators and have been known to travel hundreds of kilometers though unfamiliar terrain over mountains, valleys and across rivers to arrive back at the same chicken coop where they had previously enjoyed a nice easy meal. People who would not know a grizzly from a teddy bear recently raised all kinds of Hell when an NHL star from BC, Clayton Stoner, was discovered having killed a male grizzly. The anti-hunting crowd jumped in and coming on the heels of the Cecil, the lion incident, knew giving this bear a name and calling him “beloved Cheeky” would evoke the anger and sympathy of folks who know nothing of griz. First of all, calling a grizzly beloved is absurd. They are the meanest, angriest, most aggressive and unpredictable beasts in the northern forests. They are huge and deceptively fast. The pictures of tourists watching them fishing for salmon from safe platforms is not an indication of what it’s like to run into one of these buggers in the woods. Furthermore, they are not endangered. Ask anyone who hunts for moose or elk in northern BC and they will tell you there are plenty of them and they are very, very dangerous.

In the end Clayton Stoner was charged with his only real crime…. they deemed he was not a legal resident of BC because he played for a US hockey team and did not spend six months of the year in BC. That he got fined for not having a non-resident license and that calmed the outraged anti-hunters and they soon went back to fretting about global warming.

Species valued by sportsmen are heavily supported in many independent conservation groups such as: Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation as well as countless others. These groups raise millions to preserve habitat, facilitate stocking programs and support laws to insure the protection of the species. Of course, as a direct benefit sportsman dollars for licenses and tourism support local economies.

As the sad consequences of the anti-hunter’s campaign against the killing of Cecil has shown, their outrage has not helped the lions, the animals of Zimbabwe or the people who live there. I guess it has made the animal lovers feel good about themselves. I suppose that’s something.

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Phones

We got our first phone when I was in the eighth grade. Of course, it was a marvel, but slowly we began to realize it had its drawbacks. Ours was a “party line”, meaning we shared the line with six other families. When you wanted to make a call you had to pick up the phone and make sure no one else was already on it. Since you had no clue who had picked up the phone while you were on a call, people could anonymously harass you by picking up and replacing the receiver every few seconds just to get you off the line. Folks could listen in on your calls too if you were not paying attention.

party line phone

All phones in those days were rotary dial, so you had to crank the dial around and wait for it to spin back to the start position. I never thought that much of a problem until touch tone came into vogue.

The big break through for me happened when they came out with car phones. At the time, business for us was booming and my biggest customers were Sears Payment Systems and Discover Card headquartered in Chicago. We lived in the Oconomowoc, WI area, a two hour drive to their offices. These two customers demanded a lot of attention and I found myself driving down two to three times per week.  That four hours of driving per day chopped a big chunk out of my work week. The car phone turned that dead time into productive time.

car phone

These early mobile phones were pretty clunky. A box a bit bigger than a loaf of focaccia bread resided in the trunk with a wire leading to an antenna screwed to the lid of the trunk. A speaker perhaps 4” X 5” X 5” sat on the hump between the passenger and driver foot wells and a microphone was mounted on the driver’s visor. The phone itself (weighing about two pounds) resided on a bracket within easy reach of the driver. Result…. you could do hands free talking and with speed dial not a lot of looking down from the road. My drive time became productive time for I could make, return and receive calls.

These car phones were not common at the time and many people had no idea they existed. This made for some funny incidents. Chicago, in its wisdom, had decided to collect its highway tolls $.35 at a time by erecting toll booths every few miles around the city. During busy travel times this inevitably created traffc jams as people slowed down to drop their change into the bucket or get change from the vendors. One day as we inched towards the toll booths I was on the phone and gesturing and laughing. I happened to glance over at the car in the lane next to me. There were three black kids peering out the window at me with expressions on their faces that said, “Now there’s one crazy white dude!” They clearly thought I was having a jolly old time talking to myself.

say what

Telephone technology made incremental improvements as a communication device providing phone and texting. (Remember the Blackberry?) Then Steve Jobs introduced the frst iPhone on June 29,2007. It represented a paradigm shift in telephone technology. He added a microprocessor to the phone that already had a screen and a keypad and, voila’ you’ve got a computer! The rest is history.

Bill Melton, the founder and visionary of VeriFone created a similar paradigm shift in credit card terminals when he decided to put memory in VeriFone’s terminals ushering in data capture and eliminating the need to process all those paper credit card slips.

I, too, realized that a phone could be a computer back in the early ’90s…although not for portable phones. At the time we were representing VeriFone, the market leader in credit card terminals. My biggest customer, as I said, was Discover Card and SPS. VeriFone manufactured a smart (chip) card reader and my company had a relationship with a chip
card company in France.

While ubiquitous in France and throughout much of Europe, chip cards had failed to catch on in the US. VISA and Mastercard were balking at the cost of outftting all the merchants with smart card enabled terminals, and without them, it was diffcult to fnd a compelling application that would justify the cost.

There are two kinds of chip cards: Simple cards that can store a PIN number and do basic functions, and memory cards with a more sophisticated microprocessor and memory capabilities.

Those were the days before everyone had a cell phone in their pocket and ATT had hundreds of thousands of pay phones around the country. These phones had a small (4” x 4”) screen and, of course, a keypad. I reasoned that if they had a VeriFone smart card reader, a customer with a microprocessor card could insert the card and turn that phone into….. wait for it….a computer. The data, however, would be stored on the card.

Every traveling businessman, like myself, had a phone list in his briefcase and a fistful of frequent flier cards, frequent hotel cards and car rental cards. None of these represented anything more than a number stored in a computer somewhere. I reasoned that all of these numbers could be stored easily on a memory chip card and lighten the load of the business traveler. At that time, if you wanted to make a long distance call from a public phone you had to manually enter your ATT billing number that would then be charged to your home or business phone.

My idea was to have Discover Card come out with a smart chip card that they would offer to their “premium” customers. This card would store their ATT billing number, their phone list and their list of frequent user numbers. Discover would then be able to charge an annual fee for this card, something not done at the time for any card.

ATT, for its part, would begin to retrofit all its pay phones with VeriFone smart card readers to accept these cards. As the cards became commonplace, smart card reader-enabled credit card terminals would be available at check in desks of hotels and car rental agencies. At least, that was the dream.

This sale would be complicated. I had to convince not only Discover Card, but more importantly, ATT. I got Discover interested and they agreed to bring the ATT guys in for a meeting. On the day of the presentation I walked into the big conference room at Discover headquarters and there were about 20 big shots sitting around the massive table. The presidents of Discover and Sears Payment Systems were there, plus a bunch of VPs from Sears and ATT. I got up in front of the group and made my presentation. I thought it went well. Lots of questions and head nodding. At the end of the meeting, as I was walking out, a guy came up and introduced himself as the sales rep for ATT who handled the Discover and SPS accounts. He said, “I’ve been the rep here for a year and a half and I never even met half of the guys in this meeting! How the Hell did you manage to get all these guys together?” I had no answer, except that I had been there at the beginning and simply knew them all.

As it turned out, the idea fizzled in the wheels of bureaucracy. People in corporate culture do not get rewarded for taking chances. If they succeed, the higher ups take the credit. If they fail, their career is over or it’s back to the mail room.

Now, twenty years later, the credit card companies in the US are finally beginning to put chips on their credit cards and install chip card reader terminals at the points of sale. It’s still not fully implemented although it has been in Canada for the last ten years and in Europe since the 80’s.

Go figure.

Footnote:
While the new smart phones are amazing with cameras, email, video, WiFi and internet access, I am not sure they are a blessing. They have an addictive quality and touches of escapism. You see couples having dinner and each have their noses buried in their phones. I guess it avoids the messy business of conversation. Groups of teens siting together all working their phones with fashing fngers. They’re texting each other while sitting side by side. Impersonal interaction. And, of course, there’s the issue of being unable to turn the damn thing off while driving and the addiction of playing games on the device instead of reading a book. As I said, it’s all good.

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Kill the Heretics!

“… environmentalism is the religion of choice for urban atheists…”
Michael Crichton 9/15/2003

Robert F. Kennedy, an environmental activist, regrets that there are no laws on the books to punish global warming skeptics. Adam Weinstein, a writer for Gawker.com, said, in part, “Those deniers should face lawsuits. You should be punished for your self-serving malice.” David Suzuki, a Canadian climate change activist, said on PBS’ Moyers & Company, “Politicians skeptical of man made climate change should be thrown in the slammer.” With or without benefit of a trial Dave?

On another tack Jaqsdish Shukla, a lead author for the IPCC and a George Mason professor, inspired 19 other scientists to join him in a letter to Obama urging him to start a RICO (racketeering) investigation into climate skeptics. It then came out that ol’ Jaqs had paid himself and his wife $1.5 million for part time work in the last two years out of government funds designated for him to study global warming. He did it through his personal foundation. No wonder he didn’t want the money to stop flowing and for the skeptics to shut the hell up!

But it was Professor Parucutt of the U of Graz in Austria who came up with the topper. He called for the death penalty as “the appropriate punishment for global warming deniers.”

This stuff lends a lot of credence to Michael Crichton’s assertion in 2003 that environmentalism is a religion. Religions all require blind faith and are often cruel to those who stray from the accepted path. Recall the inquisition? People suspected of heresy, or someone who’s property was desired by the priests, were arrested. Their property was immediately confiscated and they were put on the rack and tortured until they confessed to heresy. Then they were generally burned at the stake as an example to others.

The Islamic version of this is for the mullahs to issue a fatwa on the apostate and then any Muslim who finds it convenient can simply kill the guy. Remember Salman Rushdie who’s book was critical of Islam? He was in hiding for years after a fatwa was declared on him and more recently the French humor magazine Charlie Hebdo. They published a cartoon making fun of Mohammad so some Muslim shot up their offices killing 12.

The climate police have not yet started knocking down doors in the middle of the night and hauling skeptics down to the town square for burning at the stake but it may be coming.

Dr. Roger Pielke who testified before Congress that extreme weather events…. tornados, hurricanes, droughts, etc. have not increased in the last 100 years, recently said that “Climate McCarthyism has been practiced for awhile.” He should know. Even though he’s not a denier of global warming he has been attacked, vilified and harassed personally for publishing his results. The harassment has been so intense that he has stopped doing climate research. The same thing happened to Dr. Lennart Bengtsson who published his research that showed the oceans are not rising any faster than since the end of the last ice age. The hateful pressure was so great that he resigned his position on a global warming advisory organization because of concerns about his health.

As Dr. Pielke said in an interview published in WND on 3/21/15, “Militant climate change alarmists are backed by the media, most educational institutions and powerful lobbies in Congress. These formidable allies control most prevailing information disseminated to the public and use smear tactics to silence dissent. Critics of man-made climate change face professional and person slander.”

The question is…..WHY? Why would the genteel world of science behave like a bunch of high school “mean girls”. The answer is…. as my liberal friend likes to say…. “Follow the money”.

Billions… multiple billions…. is being thrown around for climate research each year. Between the GAO and the Congressional Research Service they estimate the total at about $112 billion in the US alone since 2003 to 2012, and it’s growing. Fat research grants are being handed out like free samples at Safeway. The benefits are many: Nice salaries on top of the ones being paid by their universities, travel to pleasant places for confabs with other like minded climate change enthusiasts and side income for speaking engagements and book deals. Why rock the boat? And, why let anyone with a dissenting opinion get in the way?

Professor Harold Lewis (1923-2011) Emeritus Professor of Physics at UC Santa Barbara, put it bluntly in his resignation letter in October of 2010 to the American Physical Society where he had been a member for 67 years, ”…I am forced with no pleasure at all to offer you my resignation from the society. It is, of course, the global warming scam, with the literally trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted scientists, and has carried the APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who doubts this should be forced to read the Climategate documents, which lay it bare.” “ I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay any scientist can read that stuff without revulsion.” Gee, a man of principle, imagine that.

There are many other scientists who agree with Professor Lewis but often they are reluctant to speak out because they know they will be attacked personally and professionally by the climate McCarthyites. A sad statement about science and the UN.

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Bits and Pieces

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” Einstein.

Those of us who actually pay attention know that Obama’s commitment to the truth is weak indeed. But, this post is dedicated to some commentary on a number of items in the news recently. I can get in to his lack of honesty later. Here are a few things that have dominated the headlines of late:

1). Cecil the lion. The killing of Cecil aroused world-wide condemnation of the US dentist who offed this apex predator and it really went over the top. The lion was routinely called “beloved” by the press. Really? I doubt few ever heard of the beast. Nonetheless, the method used to lure him out of the protected National Park and take him was a bit sketchy on the “fair chase” hunting ethics scale and certainly the responsibility of the guide who organized the hunt. Part of the horror at poor Cecil’s “murder” stems from most people’s belief that Cec is like the lion in the Lion King and The Wizard of Oz, gentile beasts just trying to get along. He was a subject of research and not a pet. I am a hunter but I do not understand the desire to shoot a lion. Notwithstanding, it is legal and he paid a big sum to do it. I think death threats on the dentist from all over the world is craziness.

2). Greed. The Seattle Teachers Association decided to go on strike last week, the day classes were supposed to start. This is typical union behavior, designed to put the maximum pain on parents who have to scramble to find day care for the kids. Let’s also remember that it is ILLEGAL FOR TEACHERS TO STRIKE in the first place. The union is supposed to fined $100,000 per day but what usually happens in these deals is that the fines are forgiven in the settlements and the teachers receive their pay for not teaching during the strike. The teachers were already scheduled to receive a 3% raise from the additional funding granted to education but the teachers are demanding an additional 18%. They also want less evaluations of teachers and less testing of students. They don’t want their failure to be exposed and they don’t want their monopoly challenged. For example, the legislature authorized charter schools in the state. The local and national teachers union sued and the Supreme Court declared charter schools unconstitutional. Turns out that the 9 justices had all received the maximum contributions from the teachers unions for their election campaigns. Coincidence? I think the governor and the superintendent should open the schools with volunteers and non-union teachers and jail the top officials in the teachers union until they accept the generous offer they already have on the table. Starting pay for teachers in Seattle is $50,000 and the average salary is $67,124. The median salary for Seattle residents is $40,000.

3). Black Lives Matter. This outfit that is promoting violence against the police is an offshoot of the Hands Up, Don’t Shoot movement which stemmed from the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. The rumor that Brown had his hands up and was in the process of surrendering when officer Wilson shot him is a lie. The Justice Department’s investigation certified that fact. As that realization took the steam out of the HUDS movement the more radical of the group morphed into the Black Lives Matter group. The number of police officers killed in the line of duty jumped 89% from 2013 to 2014. This war on the police promoted by the BLM movement has resulted in the police withdrawing from active policing in the high crime ghetto areas of major US cities. The tragic outcome of that is the murder rate in 35 cities has skyrocketed with Milwaukee leading the way with a 76% increase. ( St. Louis 60% and Baltimore 50% all according to the NY Times.) Of course, these are mostly blacks shooting other blacks. If black lives really matter why does this group promote the killing of police officers and not the epidemic of blacks shooting each other?

4). Hillary’s Email Scandal. Why did the supposedly “smartest woman in America” think she could get away with conducting State Department business on her personal email system? Answer: Because she’s been getting away with this shit for decades. It’s not clear if she can bob and weave enough to survive and become the Democrat nominee for President. It was once considered inevitable but now the power brokers may decide she’s too damaged and opt for Biden instead. I doubt that they will permit Sanders to get it. He seems like a wild haired, spittle flinging lunatic grandfather that somehow escaped from the attic.

5). Obama’s Trip to Alaska. This photo op visit was to sell the global warming myth via the press in advance of the Pope’s visit and to drum up support for the World Climate Summit to be held in Paris in late November and early December. Exhibit A on this litany of impending doom was a visit to the Exit Glacier and how it has been receding. True enough. Missing from the discussion, however, is the fact that it has been doing so since 1815. Obama and the press did not visit the Hubbard Glacier that has been growing and increasing in mass for decades or any of the other eight Alaskan glaciers that are doing the same. Nor was there talk about the Mendenhall Glacier and the U. of Alaska’s finding perfectly preserved massive trees that have been exposed as that glacier recedes. Similar evidence of a much warmer period are found in the retreating Tschierva Glacier in Switzerland’s Alps where evidence of huge trees has been found. Evidence reported in Spiegal Online suggests that 7,000 years ago the Alps were entirely glacier free and it’s likely that when Hannibal crossed the Alps in 218 BC he never saw one. Many true believers in global warming will say, “See, it’s getting warmer. This proves it.” No, what it proves is that over time it gets warmer and colder with no help from man and will do it no matter what we do. It’s plain stupid to destroy the economy to try to prevent it. Besides, many scientists point out that the sun has gone into a very inactive phase and that means we are entering into what may be a long term cooling phase.

6). The Iran Deal. The question that comes to my mind is “Why is he doing this?” Despite the BS coming out of the White House, this deal makes absolutely no sense. How can you trust the ayatollahs that run the Iran dictatorship? Even as Obama was out selling the deal to the public, they Iranians were in the streets chanting “Death to America!” The terms of the deal are absurd. The sanctions will be lifted upon its signing, not on verification that they are actually abiding by the terms. They will receive $100 billion dollars immediately so they can buy conventional weapons from Russia and continue to fund world-wide terrorism. It guarantees they will have a nuclear weapon within 10 years or sooner and will likely rule the middle east in the near future. Quite a large number of people believe that the reason Obama did this deal and much of his other behavior comes from his Muslim beliefs. What is really baffling is why the Democrat senators are backing the deal. Chuck Schumer gets no credit for voting against it because the partisan Democrats knew they had the votes to pass it without him. History will judge them harshly when the Iranians start brandishing their missiles. No, Mr. President, climate change is not the greatest threat to humanity; it’s rogue nations armed with nuclear weapons and ruled by crazy dictators. Example one is North Korea soon to be joined by Iran.

7). The Syrian refuge crisis. Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are invading Europe. Yes, invading. And the Muslim invasion is going to hasten the demographic collapse of European societies. The cause of this mass migration is the civil war in Syria and the rise of the barbarian ISIS war in Iraq and Syria. The root cause of this is the failure of Obama and the Europeans to band together and stamp out the dictator Assad for his mass killing of those who opposed his regime and the half-hearted war on ISIS. Obama drew a red line on Assad …. he warned if he used chemical weapons on his own people that the US would act. Nope. Obama did nothing. The massively destructive war against the Syria people continued and they started to flee. In addition to the monumental task of absorbing all these destitute people and the consequences of a huge Muslim influx changing the demographic character of their society, a vast number of these refugees are young Muslim men who may be sent by the terrorists. It’s a huge risk and I applaud PM Harper for resisting those who call for allowing massive numbers of these migrants into Canada without knowing who these folks really are.

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