Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Components of AGW

We hear that one of the foremost components of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming is the CO2 that's a by-product of the combustion of fossil fuels. In order to arrest this global warming it will be necessary to dramatically cut back on this CO2 finding its way into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, just shutting down coal-fired power plants and throwing away the keys to the minivan isn't the answer to the problem.

Three other things, among many, are also major contributors to the greenhouse gas problem but we hear nothing about them. First of all, what about beer? Beer is produced by yeast eating malted barley and producing alcohol and CO2. The CO2 is the stuff inside the little bubbles that make up the head of your glass of beer and also make it necessary to store beer in strong, sealed containers. When a beer is consumed that CO2 doesn't just disappear, it's an invisible gas and goes into the atmosphere. Over 53 billion gallons of beer are swilled world-wide annually. A significant amount of CO2 is released when this sudsy stuff is turned into urine.

Another aspect of civilization that people take for granted is the staff of life, bread. According to industry figures there are over 280 billion loaves of bread eaten each year on the blue planet. That doesn't even take into account pizza and hamburger buns. What's the difference between bread and crackers? Once again, it's yeast. The friendly bacteria that make the holes in bread fill those holes up with CO2. When sister Suzy eats that peanut butter and jelly sandwich after school, green house gas goes right up into the sky.

Similar to beer is the carbonated drink situation. In this case, the fizz in your Diet Coke is caused by an injection of CO2 into a mixture of water and flavored syrup. Thirsty people spend over $350 billion annually on soda and all of the CO2 used in the product goes into the atmosphere.

As you can see, limiting green house gas emissions by cap and trade taxes in the power production business won't entirely save Mother Earth. Destructive homo sapiens will also have to give up beer, bread and Coca-Cola, too. 


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bureaucracy and Secrecy

Bureaucracies abhor negative publicity. Even in a "free society", such as supposedly exists in the US of A, bureaucracies can avoid the spread of bad news about themselves, as happened in this sad event. The taxpayers can't know the financial terms of a settlement for which they are paying. There doesn't seem to be any indication that anyone in particular is being held responsible for the institutional lapse in this case. Everyone is still employed.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Terrorists Attack US National Shrine

    In the early morning hours Saturday, the day after Christmas, as yet unidentified terrorists attempted to incinerate one of the holy places in America, the once unpretentious childhood home of Democratic deity and 42nd president of the US, William Jefferson Clinton. The Julia Chester Hospital in Hope was the actual birthplace of the future president but was demolished in a fit of amnesia by local authorities. A small shrine exits in the location commemorating the wondrous event.

The home once owned by the grandparents of William Jefferson Clinton, President of the US, 1993-2001.

A newspaper account of the incident can be found here.  The house, located at 117 South Hervey Street in Hope, Arkansas was the home of President Clinton for the first four years of his majestic life. In 1994 the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places and its administrators, the Clinton Birthplace Foundation, turned the property over to the National Park Service in 2010 and it is now a unit of that agency.

Daily during the summer tourist season, some 60 or 70 curious travelers that have found their way to this remote hamlet take the time to wander about the two-story frame structure that was the scene of baby Bill's first steps on the road to the everlasting thanks of a grateful nation. That some un-American terrorists would attempt to defile this monument is nearly unthinkable. In addition to local law enforcement and the Arkansas State Police, the crime is being investigated by one of the National Park Service law enforcement units, the armed Special Agent (SA) branch of the United States Park Rangers. The United States Park Police could also become involved.

Preliminary estimates assess the damage to the national treasure as being in the neighborhood of $20,000. Perhaps schoolchildren can contribute their dimes and nickels to the effort to restore the building to its former glory.

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Quote From Albert Camus

"The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience. It would be easy, however, to destroy that good conscience by shouting to them: if you want the happiness of the people, let them speak out and tell what kind of happiness they want and what kind they don't want! But, in truth, the very ones who make use of such alibis know they are lies; they leave to their intellectuals on duty the chore of believing in them and of proving that religion, patriotism, and justice need for their survival the sacrifice of freedom."


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hillary Clinton's Emails

The brouhaha over Mrs. Bill Clinton's emails being routed through her own private server, in spite of government requirements. continues to roil the pasty-faced sexagenarian's quest for the ultimate ego embellishment, the US presidency. The issue is not her bizarre avian globe-trotting at government expense, her dubious or perhaps non-achievements in international diplomacy, or even the fact that an enormous number of emails were sent in her name. The real issue is why so much intra-agency communication should actually be classified.

It is the nature of bureaucracy to embrace secrecy. That's why the Freedom of Information Act was signed into law, so the media, interested organizations and individuals could discover what the bureaucrats were up to. Even so, the agencies involved have the final say on the information to be released.

In the faux democratic/republic that is the US, where every citizen over a certain age has the right to make his voice heard through the ballot box, when this right is circumscribed by a government that routinely keeps secret its activities, the right is meaningless. Sure, a note to Putin or Hollande really shouldn't be public knowledge, at least not immediately. But there's no reason other communications of a routine nature should be classified. The classification process is one where as much information as possible is to be kept secret because the bureaucracy can never predict if some information might be unfavorable if given to the public. They are covering their rear.

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