April 28, 2017

Woke Up with Wood; Biofuel-Powered Aircraft Carriers

Timothy Birdnow

Here is a bit of an older story I just came across. Turns out the British Navy is moving backwards, converting the HMS Prince of Wales to run on wood pellets! I kid you not.

From the article:

"In a widely anticipated move, it was announced today that one of Britain’s new aircraft carriers will be converted to run on wood pellets. The two new Queen Elizabeth class carriers, originally designed to be nuclear powered were allegedly converted to oil power early on in the design program to save money. It now comes as no surprise that THE Prince of Wales, well known for his eco-sensibility, has persuaded The Admiralty to go one step further towards a truly sustainable Royal Navy.

The Prince has also proposed that the deck of the super carrier be laid with solar panels to further boost the green arsenal of this fearsome weapon of war. The admiralty said they were looking at the proposal seriously while noting that in future Britain may have to only pick fights with sunny countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Solar won’t work in the S Atlantic

said Rear Admiral Sir Lord Chip Woodboard MBE CBE Knight of the Garter."

end excerpt.

Did you buy that? The key to good satire is to nibble on the edges of reasonableness, and frankly, the modern Green movement has gone pretty much this crazy. Take for example the fact that the U.S. Navy is now using biofuels to partially power aircraft carriers. Yes, the Navy actually intends to do this.

Oh, there are so many things that one would suspect were satire if we didn't know better. Consider the space shuttle Columbia disaster; it happened because NASA switched to "eco-friendly" insulation that did not adhere to the orbiter properly. See, they didn't wanto to pollute the air with the old tried-and-true insulation (reentry always burns some up) so they went Green with the result being the total destruction of Columbia. Of course they never really owned up to that. Or take wind farms, which act as huge food processors and chop up all manner of endangered birds and whatnot. Environmentalists cut water off to California's Imperial Valley, one of the richest farm regions on Earth, because some bait fish was not faring well downstream.

So if you fell for the first part of this it is easily forgiven; what the Gang Green is doing makes Swift appear to be a serious pragmatist.

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Mizzou - an Object Lesson

Here is my blogpost from American Thinker a couple of days ago.

Timothy Birdnow

The University of Missouri Columbia (Mizzou) has witnessed a steep drop in enrollment in this year's class, leading the University to layoffs and budget cuts. According to the Columbia Tribune:


"The University of Missouri is unlikely to see a rebound in freshman enrollment in the fall, which means tuition revenue will not be the source of money to cover the latest round of state budget cuts.

A decline of more than 20 percent in this year’s incoming class forced layoffs, a hiring freeze and a 5 percent cut in general fund budgets across the Columbia campus. Overall enrollment, down 6 percent from the 2015-16 academic year, already was expected to decline further as the smaller freshman class moves toward graduation.

Gov. Eric Greitens on Monday ordered $146.4 million in new withholdings from state spending, including almost $20 million earmarked for MU. Provost Garnett Stokes and MU Faculty Council Chairman Ben Trachtenberg discussed how to deal with the new cuts during a Thursday council meeting."

Between budget cuts and the drop in enrollment there is a $20 million dollar deficit at Mizzou.

The situation is so bad Mizzou had to shut down three dorms. http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/04/06/mizzou-shuts-down-more-dorms-as-enrollment-continues-to-drop-drastically/

In usual academic myopia, the university is calling for the creation of a commission to determine exactly why enrollment is down and how to make up the shortfall.

Apparently it does not occur to the academics at Mizzou that parents are afraid to send their children to a school where professors threaten to beat up students. Remember Melissa "I needs some muscle over here" Click? Not only did she try to get students to beat up inconvenient student journalists, she was also caught on tape screaming like a maniac at a police officer. The University DID fire her, but she wound up getting a job at Gonzaga University, probably on a recommendation by Mizzou.

It also didn't help that Mizzou had ties to baby butchers Planned Parenthood, or that the University was the subject of a unionizing effort for adjuncts, the worker drones of academia, or that the school tabled health benefits for said adjuncts.

But the biggest problem of all was the racial terrorism of the 2015 race rampage season.

According to Lakeexpo.com:


"Barbara Rupp, Mizzou’s director of admissions, sees cause for concern."


"But Rupp also acknowledges that some of the projected declines are "undoubtedly part of the aftermath of last fall.”

In particular, recruiters working in the Chicago area are more frequently hearing the same concerns from prospective students, she said.

Those concerns are tied to the growing perception of Mizzou as a national symbol for strained race relations.

"Because those students are geographically removed from the campus, they don’t really have a sense of what’s going on and they are relying on what they are seeing and hearing in the media,” Rupp said. "And it’s not particularly positive.”

According to the university’s data, applications from out-of-state student have seen some of the sharpest declines. Among those students, deposits toward tuition are down 25 percent since last year.

But there are also barriers toward luring students from within Missouri, perhaps especially in rural areas"

End excerpt.

Outside of the media, academia is the only business in the world that can openly sneer at the customers and subvert their wishes and still expect to prosper. The gross mishandling of the bogus http://www.outkickthecoverage.com/is-the-entire-mizzou-protest-based-on-lies-111115 race protests (and there is every reason to believe the racial incidents that provoked these demonstrations were bogus) by school officials - and the unwillingness to put down bullying https://heatst.com/culture-wars/internal-emails-show-safety-fears-were-rampant-during-missouri-protests/ and thug tactics by student protesters - have rightly come back to haunt the Columbia campus.

Any decent parent would be crazy to send his or her child to such an unsafe and fascistic environment as Mizzou.

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washed up Colin Kaepernick didn't even register to vote

Jack Kemp forwards this:

Colin Kaepernick – Blackballed or Washed Up?

Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall was very blunt regarding his opinion on the NFL and Colin Kaepernick: (Denver Post):

"Quarterbacks are usually the face of the franchise. So, he’s probably being blackballed,” Marshall said Tuesday. "Maybe part of it is owners don’t want their franchise tagged with that. But I still stand by what I said (on Twitter), that he’s the best quarterback in free agency. He’s better than all of those that got signed, the Matt Barkleys, the Nick Foleses. I think that’s a fair assessment, honestly.”

Brandon Marshall is a very good linebacker, but he really should stick to his day job, analysis seems out of his grasp.
Last year, Colin Kaepernick made the personal choice to kneel during the playing of our National Anthem. His stated reasons were to protest police brutality and the oppression of minorities everywhere. The public outrage was immediate and intense, lighting up social media and call in radio shows. Following the season, he’s made headlines again: (Sportschew.com):

Unfortunately, Colin has made headlines again more recently, but for all the wrong reasons. First, it was found out that he didn’t vote in this year’s election after preaching that everyone should do their part to produce change in the country. It was later discovered that he isn’t even registered to vote. His excuse was that it didn’t really matter who he voted for because the "whole system is oppressive”. And most recently, he’s been getting a lot of attention for wearing a shirt with Fidel Castro on it just 2 days after he died. What’s worse is that he did it while his team played in Miami, a city that has a very big Cuban population. When asked why he chose to wear the shirt, he said that he agreed with Castro’s stance on investing in education, universal healthcare and helping to end the apartheid in South Africa. He never once mentioned Castro’s heinous acts of oppression against his own people. How can he be against oppression and support an oppressor at the same time?

Kaepernick’s 2016 season was decidedly sub-par

Read the rest!

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If it wan't for hypocrisy and lying Libs would have no redeeming values

Wil Wirtanen


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April 27, 2017

The lunacy of colleges

Wil Wirtanen



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Target's Israel Problem 2010

Jack Kemp

Since we are coming up on the 70th anniversary of the U.N. declaring Israel a state as the British Mandate of Palestine was partitioned by them, I recall this. Note the last lines of my article below this NBC story. The actual partition took place in a building that was not only part of the 1939 NY World's Fair but also was the NY City Pavillion in the 1964 World's Fair (today a Queens County art museum).
Palestine Replaces Israel on Globes Sold at Target

"A rally of Jewish leaders took aim at Target stores Thursday for selling a globe that omits the name Israel but instead labels the region Palestine.
"It is a very serious thing, its not just a little mistake, we're seeing companies kowtowing to people who live in tyrannical governments who are trying to dictate policy here and dictate how people think and feel," said Rabbi Gary Moskowitz, who led the rally at Zuccotti Park on Liberty Street and Trinity Place in downtown Manhattan.

"We're fighting 'global war on terrorism,' and in this global war we have to 'target' the people who are coming against us," said Moskowitz. "I hope Target did this in error.. and they must have a recall of all these globes."
In a statement, a Target spokeswoman said: "It is never our intention to offend any of our guests and we apologize. We have removed the mini-globe from our shelves, and we are following up with our vendor."

They went on to say that, "The country is labeled on a key on the mini-globe; however, the important issue is that we are no longer selling this product in our stores and we are sorry for offending our guests.""

End excerpt.

The story below also appeared at The Aviary in 2010...

Target's "Final Solution"

Jack Kemp

The NY Post's Andrea Peyser informs us that:

It looks as if Iran has found allies in its quest to wipe Israel off the map -- the dopes at your friendly neighborhood Target store.

On sale exclusively at Target is this innocent-looking toy globe. Thousands of these trinkets have already moved out of malls, from Queens to Honolulu, and landed in living rooms and kids' rooms across America.


In the spot where Israel should be, this word is printed: "Palestine." Some of those who unwittingly purchased the Israel-free orbs feel as if they've played a role in a modern-day Final Solution.

"They're teaching kids there is no Israel, only Palestine," said Rabbi Gary Moskowitz, who bought a globe at the Queens Center Mall for his 5-year-old daughter. "This encourages terrorism. This foments hatred." END OF QUOTE

One small technical correction. Target's Queens store is in the Queens Place Mall, site of the old circular Macy's building that looks a bit like the Roman Coliseum. It is located several blocks west of the Queens Center Mall.

This is the culture and propaganda war writ large and brought to our shores.

Ironically, the Target store on Queens Boulevard is less than two miles from the former New York City Building at the 1939 World's Fair (now the Queens Art Center) in Flushing Meadow Park. That building was a temporary home for the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 and was the location where the UN voted (UN Resolution 181) to partition the British Mandate of Palestine into a Jewish State - Israel - and an Arab state we know now as Jordan.

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The Dhimmi of Rome

Fay Voshell

The Church largely has failed in it's responsibility to consistently and seriously confront those who attack her. Syncretism has proved a deadly and debilitating virus.

Piss Christ, the portrait of Mary with excrement surrounding her; the constant attacks on her standards like same sex "marriage;" the near silence on the absolute reality of the binary nature of male and female...Here is where Church authorities should and could speak out more vigorously,including the pope. Yes, a few speak, but not enough.

Islamists outdo Christians in outrage. Not that we should imitate their intimidating and often deadly tactics, but where is the outrage? Weakness invites attacks.

I thought in view of our A team conversation on Kim Kardashian, you'd enjoy reading this article on the pope and his views on Islam.



The Papal Propagandist for Islam Heads to Egypt

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April 26, 2017

VDH on North Korea

Fay Voshell

A brilliant article on North Korea and possible responses by the always profound Victor Davis Hanson.

I admire this man so much. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447013/madmen-nukes-deter-western-actions-north-korea

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April 25, 2017

Schumer Wants to Ride Subway at 4 a.m.

This courtesy of Jack Kemp


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) fired back at U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Monday over a Friday press release in which Sessions said that "New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city's ‘soft on crime’ stance.”
"My daughters, you know, they’re young adults, but they ride the subway at 4 a.m., and I’m perfectly happy about it,” Schumer claimed. "We are a safe city.”
"But I’ll be happy to ride the subway at 4 a.m. with Jeff Sessions,” he added.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was also insulted by Sessions’ statement saying Friday, "I would say to President Trump, and to Attorney General Sessions, if you believe this statement is accurate, come here to New York City, look our police officers in the eye and tell them that you believe they are soft on crime. See how that feels. See what the people of New York City will say about that.”
Sessions clarified on ABC’s This Week that his remark was not aimed at the New York Police Department (NYPD) but focused at the city’s sanctuary city policy.
"For four decades, New York has been a fabulous city for law enforcement,” Sessions said. "They have developed some of the best techniques ever. They are so far ahead of many other cities. I think we all should study the tactics that have been developed.”
He pointed out that Ed Mullins, president of the NYPD’s Sergeants Benevolent Association said in a statement Friday, "Sessions is absolutely correct to hold New York and other jurisdictions accountable for their so-called ‘sanctuary policies.’”
"For a long time, Mayor De Blasio and the NYPD’s leadership have failed to heed the warning that refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials when it comes to criminals and suspected terrorists would have consequences beyond making our City less safe,” Mullins warned adding, "They have placed officers in an impossible Catch-22: between obeying the directives and orders of their superiors and elected officials on one hand, and the obligation they feel to follow the direction of the law and to cooperate with federal immigration officials on the other.”
"We want to improve law enforcement in America. Half of the murders in New York are gang-related. Many of those are people – gangs who have illegal aliens involved in them,” Sessions pointed out. "So why would you not want to deport those and make the city even safer?”

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Kardashian's image as Virgin Mary on a religious candle

Jack Kemp

This will make your blood boil:

You have to go to the article's website link to see the images and some tweets...


Reality star Kim Kardashian sparked controversy over the weekend when she released a "Kimoji" image of herself as the Virgin Mary on a candle, complete with the image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary over her chest. The candle can also be purchased on her website. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07168a.htm

Kardashian first rose to fame in 2007 after a sex tape featuring herself and her ex-boyfriend Ray J was leaked.

The day after the Kimoji/candle were released, Kardashian wore a sheer dress with the picture of the Blessed Mother on the chest. The Catholic League issued a statement condemning the dress and the image. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/21/kim-kardashian-rebuked-catholic-league-virgin-mary-dress-kimoji/

This is an absurd move by Kardashian, and she should have known better than to do something like this. In 2015, she had her daughter North baptized at St. James Cathedral, an Armenian Apostolic church in Jerusalem. She also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with her husband and shared images of her family venerating the Stone of Anointing. She has to be aware of how people would view this image and product as offensive or disrespectful.

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the woman attacking Hannity...

Jack Kemp

Here's what I wrote about Debbie Schlussel on Amer. Thinker's article about her attack on Sean Hannity:


Jack Kemp's comment...

Ever since Debbie Schlussel, Hannity's accuser, attacked Sarah Palin in 2008, I thought she was bat guano crazy - especially since she was trying to sell herself as a Republican at that time. Now she is attacking Sean Hannity?
Debbie Schlussel was a self-promoting egoist and disgrace over a decade ago. She is trying to be the next Amy Schummer. I wonder if Schlussel has one of those pink wool pointed hats at home, too.

UPDATE: From Wikipedia's Schlussel site...

"On May 30, 2012 Schlussel wrote a blog post[37] commenting about a speech by President Barack Obama, in which he mistakenly used the phrase "Polish death camps" referring to the German death camps in occupied Poland.[38][39] Schlussel said Obama owed no apology for his remark"

Whereas there were Poles who collaberated with the Germans, there were also Poles that helped Jews, including my aunt after she jumped from a train going to Treblinka. My aunt later sent him money and even went from her home in Israel to visit him in Poland decades after WWII. The fact that Schlussel wants to characterize Nazi death camps as Polish rather than German further proves how crazy and deliberately inflamitory she is.

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Customer service at its best

Wil Wirtanen



While not in the same league as a Marine under fire, I too enjoyed success with the customer service at the Auto Club, who sent a tow truck out to toe me off my wilderness property when when my pickup became stuck in a mud quagmire. I was impressed; they simply said "we're on our way" as I tried
desperately to explain my location relative to some sort of civilized landmark. Not as good as what happened here, but certainly worthy of commendation.

There is still good customer service out there.

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April 24, 2017

Francis Slay Proud he Increased Violent Crime in St. Louis

Timothy Birdnow

Outgoing St. Louis mayor Francis Slay shows exactly why the STL area saw hell break loose. From Ladue News:


"There was a big disconnect between the people, police and government in general in a lot of communities,” he says. "We learned you can’t isolate people in low-income minorities in a way that they feel disconnected.”

Slay successfully pushed for the establishment of the Ferguson Commission, which uncovered overreaching governments that were funding themselves with unfair traffic courts. "We need to learn in St. Louis that something that happens in one part of the region impacts the entire region,” Slay says."

End excerpt.

Mayor Slay blamed the courts for weak sentencing after violent crime increased under his watch and yet he promoted a weak, puscillanimous approach to civil order that was guaranteed to lead to an increase in crime. The "disconnect" between police, government and "people" was actually a disconnect between police and criminals, who knew a good thing when they saw it. The Ferguson Commission was nothing but a Democrat slush fund and tool for black supremacists. That Slay is unwilling to admit this speaks volumes about him.

It suggests to me he wants to run for higher office at some point.

The fact is the Ferguson riots and the troubles in St. Louis after vonderritt Myers was shot were easily preventable had a firm hand been taken at the outset. But fools like Slay handled this as a "social justice' matter rather than as the acts of terrorism and criminality they were. And the Ferguson Commission's recommendations amounted to surrender, meaning that the political operatives who took the $33 million dollars from George Soros now know they can force their will on the voting public simply by throwing a temper tantrum.

St. Louisans are less safe as a result of Mayor Slay's actions, and there will be more of this down the road because he acted more out of political interest than in the interests of his citizens. But a Democrat is a Democrat, and reality has little to do with their assessment of events.

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Backdoor Redistricting by Democrats in Florissant Mo.; Stealing Elections for Fun and Profit

Timothy Birdnow

The Democrats have been challenging redistricting in courts to avoid the GOP taking seats from them. And yet here we have a clear case of Gerrymandering in the north St. Louis County community of Florissant that is being hailed by the liberal Post-Dispatch because it gives minorities more representation.

From the article:

"It’s significant in St. Louis County’s largest city, where one in four residents is black and where Parson’s election comes less than a year after the city agreed to redraw the boundary lines of its nine wards so that each has roughly the same number of people.

The change in boundaries came at the urging of the New York-based NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the country’s first civil rights law firm.

"We believe that the city’s current electoral plan may undermine the opportunity of black voters in Florissant to participate equally in the political process and to elect candidates of their choice,” wrote Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill and three other attorneys from the firm in a letter two years ago to Mayor Thomas Schneider.

"We, therefore, write to encourage the City Council to pursue a readily available fair and inclusive approach to elections that complies with the Constitution, the Voting Rights Act and other applicable laws.”

The letter was unexpected, Schneider said, and was the first indication that the city had used incorrect data when redistricting, something it is required to do after every decennial census.

"We were surprised by the letter, surprised that the data was flawed, then surprised at how flawed it was,” Schneider said. "It actually made the wards worse.”

The letter was written April 15, 2015, eight months after teenager Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer in neighboring Ferguson. The Legal Defense Fund attorneys pointed out that in addition to under-representation on their city councils, both communities have few black police officers, and officers make a disproportionate number of traffic stops involving African-American motorists."

End excerpt.

So florissant has redrawn her districts to increase the chances of blacks to win public elections, despite the fact that the Florissant election scheme goes back to redistricting in 2010, long before the community developed a large minority population.So the city of Florissant (one of the largest cities in Missouri) has essentially undergone a redistricting despite based on minority demands.

It should eb pointed out that Florissant is largely dominated by Democrats.

Last August a judge tampered with the school board elections in the Ferguson-Florissant school district in a similar way, as I chronicled at the time. The city of Florissant clearly feared legal entanglements and surrendered to the NAACP and the other aggressors.

Just another liberal coup dressed as "fairness".

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Middle Aged Woman Kills Armed Robber at 711

Timothy Birdnow

Guns are the great equalizer. Here is a classic example; a female employee of a Seven Eleven store thwarted a robber by shooting him.

According to the Post-Dispatch:

"ST. LOUIS • A woman who stepped out of the 7-Eleven where she worked for a smoke break found herself in a gun battle early Monday when an armed man tried to rob her before she shot him.

The 53-year-old woman, whom police have not named, was shot twice in the leg. Police said the woman was conscious and breathing when she was taken to a hospital, where she was stable. Her medical condition was unavailable.

The 25-year-old man died from his injuries at St. Louis University Hospital"


So, a 25 year old man attacks a 53 year old woman and pays the price. Had she not had a gun she may well have wound up being raped or killed. If nothing else, we have one less evil bastard in our fair city.

Too bad she didn't shoot him first.

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Bill Maher Says America Gassing Syria with Carbon Dioxide

Timothy Birdnow

Bill Maher, host of "Real Time" and the formerly misnamed "Politically Incorrect" continues his desent into madness.

Maher claims:

"we talk about Assad gassing people, we’re gassing them too. We’re just doing it slower with CO2.”

and he makes the ridiculous assertion Syria's problems stem from Climate Change (gee, I thought it was a result of foreign intervention to drive the decades-long dictator out of power.)

Now, I have no doubt Maher knows well what it means to be gassed; I suspect he's frequently on the sauce. But how can he possibly think this sort of stupidity gives him any credibility whatsoever?

The Syrian Civul War had its roots in the Egyptian and Libyan rebellions, which were fostered by the U.S. government. Here is a timeline of events. It is clear that Syria was swept up in the wave of "Arab Spring" which was a result of the Iraq invasion and falling oil prices. Even the New York Times recognized the U.S. involvement in promoting the rebellion:

"The money spent on these programs was minute compared with efforts led by the Pentagon. But as American officials and others look back at the uprisings of the Arab Spring, they are seeing that the United States’ democracy-building campaigns played a bigger role in fomenting protests than was previously known, with key leaders of the movements having been trained by the Americans in campaigning, organizing through new media tools and monitoring elections.

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington, according to interviews in recent weeks and American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks"


"Some Egyptian youth leaders attended a 2008 technology meeting in New York, where they were taught to use social networking and mobile technologies to promote democracy. Among those sponsoring the meeting were Facebook, Google, MTV, Columbia Law School and the State Department.

"We learned how to organize and build coalitions,” said Bashem Fathy, a founder of the youth movement that ultimately drove the Egyptian uprisings. Mr. Fathy, who attended training with Freedom House, said, "This certainly helped during the revolution.”"

End excerpts.

And declining oil prices weakened both Asad and his Russian backers. Couple that with the power vaccuum left by the fall of Saddam Hussein and the subsequent rebellion against the U.S. occupation and you have a perfect storm for the rise of something like ISIS. Global Warming has zilch to do with any of this.

Yet here is Maher making ridiculous claims without even realizing how monumentally idiotic he sounds.

I am mindful of the end of the excellent Peter Sellers movie "being There" where it concludes "life is a state of mind". I don't know about life, but Climate Change sure as hell meets that definition.

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April 23, 2017

More SCOTUS retirements by summer?

Dana Mathewson

Sen. Chuck Grassley believes that one, maybe two more Supreme Court Justices will retire before long.


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Financial security versus independence

Paul Driessen

West Virginia University Professor James Smith offers another perceptive commentary on current events and trends in America. This time he and his master’s degree student Alex Hatch reflect on the waning of the one-time American ideal of being a "company man.” The change is having significant implications for careers, families, financial security and the need for young people in particular to take charge of their own financial security and not expect to find solutions to a lack of personal planning during the eleventh hour of their working careers.

Financial security versus independence

The changing face of the United States should be viewed as an opportunity

James E. Smith and Alex Hatch

In 2015, the Bureau of Labor (BLS) Statistics released the results of a study dubbed the "National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979.” https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/nlsoy.pdf This survey observed the employment habits of nearly ten thousand men and women of various groups over a 30-year period. Of all the data presented by the study, two numbers most characterize the evolution of the American job market: 11.7 and 93.7.

The former represents the average number of jobs a person will work between the ages of 18 and 48; the latter the percent of people age 30 to 34 who will spend less than 15 years with any single employer.

These numbers reflect the downward trend, if not the death, of the one-time American ideal of being a "company man.” The average American no longer aspires to grind through a nine-to-five job in his or her perfect first employment scenario. If they did initially, the volatility of the current job market seems to force a more thorough review of reality.

At the very least, they certainly don’t expect to be rewarded with a mantle clock or gold watch after thirty-plus years of faithful service. Even in their early to mid-thirties, an age when most people begin to settle down and raise a family, the average American is still willing to change careers and locations repeatedly to further their long-term economic viability.

In most cases a planned career change provides an improvement in living and working conditions, as well as a boost in income. For most, these improvements are reflected in the standard of living enjoyed, and also with measureable improvements in future financial security, improved net value, greater liquidity, and larger retirement benefits.

For some, the correct choices may also provide the ability to cross the threshold where financial security becomes financial independence: defined as the ability to continue the same, or better, lifestyle without a job; the much-heralded early retirement.

The frequency for this likelihood increases for the case where workers take greater personal and financial risks early in their career by investing in additional retirement plans, stocks and bonds or, more significantly, by contributing their time and future income to innovative technologies and start-ups.

Accordingly, spurred on by the age of the internet, numerous opportunities have sprung up in the last 30 years, resulting in a more than eight-fold increase in millionaires. That demographic can be used here to illustrate the number of people who have become financially independent.

More specifically, in 1988 there were only about 1.5 million millionaires in the United States. By 2017, this number had increased to 10.8 million, showing that, as investment savvy workers and the innovations they support have grown, so too have the number of financially independent Americans.

By and large though, employer mobility, as enjoyed by American workers, has often come at the cost of their financial security. According to the BLS study, during the 30-year period the bureau analyzed, the subjects spent a total of 22% of their time from age 18 to 48 either unemployed or out of the workforce. This means that they were out of the working world for nearly seven years during what should be the most productive portion of their lives.

While a good portion of this time was likely related to the pursuit of higher education and training, the result is still the same: the average American now spends more than half a decade out of the workforce during their working careers. This results in years of lost wages and promotions for the individual, lowering their future earnings potential and seniority in a position, in many cases affecting their job security.

In a broader sense, this also means that there are fewer citizens who can make positive contributions to the local economy, as well as to the government in the form of taxes. Today’s employee knows that stability in a career is not a given, and there is very little chance that the government will provide any kind of substantial fallback for them should their employment situation change. Thus, their historically strong employer loyalty has given way to increased financial depth.

The days when Social Security and even company pension plans would provide for future living conditions and survival security are long gone. Even with all the optional retirement vehicles, the reality is that the American workers must again secure their own future financial security, independent of government-mandated programs that may work initially but can never keep pace with changing economic, demographic, longevity and life-style realities.

Workers must invest in their own future, first through education and training and then by investing in public and private markets, as well as in innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities, not to mention second jobs or the equivalent from their spouses and other family members.

According to the 2016-17 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, http://www.babson.edu/Academics/centers/blank-center/global-research/gem/Documents/GEM%202016-2017%20Global%20Report.pdf there has been a significant uptick in entrepreneurial activity in the last decade. Most notably, in 2016, 13.6% of all American adults ages 18 to 64 were involved in either the creation or the operation of businesses that are less than 42 months old. Thus, millions of Americans have decided to dedicate at least part of their time and financial security to the pursuit of innovation and wealth creation, instead of working exclusively in the corporate world.

While entrepreneurship entices Americans with the promise of great wealth, it is important to note than 90% of all startups fail. For the sake of financial stability, Americans must understand that the social safety nets currently in place simply cannot support entrepreneurs who fail in their endeavors. They must have their own savings and safety nets to help them survive any failures they may encounter.

We are ultimately responsible for our current situation, and more so for the future, since we have time to make the plans necessary for that future lifestyle we have set as our goal. It also means we can bet the house on one throw of the dice. Proper planning is essential and even risk taking must have a safety net.

For these and numerous other reasons, it is important for the stability of our citizens and the social welfare system we enjoy that we take charge of our own financial security and not expect to find the solution to our lack of personal planning during the eleventh hour of our working careers. Programs are in place to provide the fundamental mechanisms for wealth accumulation. We just need the discipline to take advantage of them.

More importantly, with that same discipline and a proper outlook to the future, there appears to be a plethora of ideas that will allow the transition from hand to mouth to financial security and possibly to financial independence. The data show that the United States is primed to make innovation another way to create security and independence. It is our responsibility to make it happen.


James E. Smith, PhD is a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University. Alex Hatch has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from WVU and is studying for his Master’s Degree in engineering at WVU.

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A (refreshingly) different perspective on the United Airlines incident

Dana Mathewson

I tell ya, there are people out there who monitor my e-mails. *) laughing This guy said, just as I did a few days ago, that flying is a privilege, not a right.


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Solar ovens and sustained poverty for Africa

Paul Driessen

In his latest article, aspiring Ugandan college student Steven Lyazi explores efforts by a number of companies and entrepreneurs to bring solar ovens and photovoltaic panels to Uganda and other African countries. As Steven points out, these technologies are much better than the open fires Africans currently rely on. However, most families live on a few dollars a day and cannot possibly afford the ovens and panels. Worse, too many of these retailers and environmental activists seem to believe a little solar or wind power for villages and cities in Africa should be enough, or all they should aspire to.

Steven doesn’t accept that and notes that Africa has big dreams. It is no longer content to be a poor, neglected stepchild or former colonial region, while the rest of the world moves forward. But to advance, Africa needs abundant, reliable, affordable energy, especially electricity.

Solar ovens and sustained poverty for Africa

African families and hospitals cannot rely on limited solar power, instead of electricity

Steven Lyazi

Solar technology in Africa, including my country of Uganda, would bring good news to millions of people who today must use firewood, charcoal and dung for cooking. Millions of Africans die from lung infections caused by breathing fumes from these fires, millions more from eating spoiled food, drinking contaminated water and having spoiled medicines, because we don’t have electricity, sanitation or refrigeration. What we do have in abundance is extensive, sustained poverty.

Solar technologies could help Africa, because this multi-purpose energy can cook food, light homes, charge cell phones and even power tiny refrigerators. Even simple solar ovens can help reduce our deadly traditional ways of cooking. Renewable energy from wind turbines can deliver even more electricity to billions around the world who still don’t have this amazing, essential energy.

Those are huge benefits, and I applaud them. In addition, we can install little wind and solar systems faster than we can build big power plants and transmission lines to remote areas.

However, we must not look at wind and solar as anything more than short-term solutions to fix serious, immediate problems. They do not equal real economic development or really improved living standards. Our cities need abundant, reliable electricity, and for faraway villages wind and solar must be only temporary, to meet basic needs until they can be connected to transmission lines and a grid.

Only in that way can we have modern homes, heating, lighting, cooking, refrigeration, offices, factories, schools, shops and hospitals – so that we can enjoy the same living standards people in industrialized countries do (and think is their right). We deserve the same rights and lives.

That is why I react strongly to people and organizations that think wind and solar electricity and solar ovens should be enough, or the end of our progress, and everyone should be happy that their lives have improved a little. I do not accept that. But I see it all the time.

At least a dozen companies are selling solar ovens and other solar technologies in Uganda. There’s Blazing Tube Solar from Hawaii and Home Energy Africa, which sells Dutch products. Green Energy Africa is registered in Kenya. It says its renewable energy systems "provide electricity without depleting the earth’s limited resources.” (Of course, those systems generate very limited electricity and require raw materials that are limited in quantity and must be dug out of the earth and turned into products using fossil fuels. But we’re not supposed to think about that.)

There’s also Solar point Uganda Limited, Energy Made in Uganda, New Age Solar Technologies Ltd, New Sun Limited, Solar Assembly Plant for African Villages, and other companies.

Some just want to make money, and leave. Others plan to stay for years. They can help solve some of our electricity, cooking and indoor air pollution problems. But these are all just short-term solutions. We need real energy, real electricity – a lot of it, reliable and affordable. What we are offered is very different.

I watched a Blazing Tube Solar demonstration and asked some questions. Their system has a long shiny metal trough that holds a tube filled with vegetable oil. The hot oil heats up a small oven at the top, to bake bread and cook other food. It has handles and wheels, so it can be moved easily. The cooker is mostly metal, so it should last a long time. But it can take 45 minutes to boil some eggs, and it costs $260.

Most African village families live on a couple dollars a day and can hardly afford food for their children. They cannot afford $260, or even $100 for some other systems. So they watch the sales presentations and admire the cookers. But they are frustrated or angry that they cannot afford them. I saw this when I traveled to the northern, eastern and central parts of Uganda.

Another problem is the sunlight. Even in Uganda, which is on the equator, the best sun comes from October through February. Other times of the year, it’s not as good because of clouds and rains. So the solar companies mostly come around when the sun is best and their ovens perform the best.

When it’s cloudy for several days, families cannot cook at all, unless they have solar cookers that actually run on electricity from photovoltaic panels on their homes. But those systems are even more expensive, and the battery power only lasts a couple days. Then families have to go back to wood, charcoal and dung. (Small diesel generators would be a huge improvement, but they too are unaffordable for most.)

Parents are very aware of the deadly respiratory diseases. But they have no choice. And many just prefer the cheaper traditional means of cooking and surviving than the fancy, expensive solar innovations.

A major local preacher for solar energy stoves is a Ugandan native who now resides in Chicago, Mr. Ron Mutebi. He used part of the $100,000 he won at the African Diaspora Marketplace competition at an Africa Infrastructure Conference in Washington. The conference was sponsored by the Corporate Council on Africa, Western Union, USAID and President Obama’s Forum with Young African Leaders. Mr. Obama often said Africans should use wind, solar and biofuel energy instead of fossil fuels.

But I worry that Mr. Mutebi has forgotten how many people are starving, have no money, try to earn a living by digging metal ores with their hands, and almost have to feed their children with grass and dirt. Uganda’s New Vision newspaper recently reported that over 10 million Ugandans in seven districts are starving and many animals are dying of hunger. This sustained poverty and starvation cannot continue.

Many people also don’t know that Africa has some big dreams. One is a Trans East Africa railway that will link Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Horn of Africa countries. This will be a first of its kind electric railway, some 750 kilometers (466 miles) long, and it will need tremendous amounts of energy that cannot come from wind turbines and solar panels.

It will have to come from nuclear power plants – or coal or natural gas generating plants. Africa has these resources in great abundance. But so far we are barely developing or using them, except maybe to export oil to wealthy nations. We should use them. Right now, most of our natural gas from oil fields is just burned and wasted right there. Why not build gas pipelines to power plants to generate electricity for millions? Why not build nuclear and coal plants, and hydroelectric projects like the Bujagali and Karuma Dams on the Nile River in Uganda? Mostly because powerful environmentalist groups oppose these projects. They care more about plants, animals and their own power, than about African people.

What is an extra degree, or even two degrees, of warming in places like Africa? It’s already incredibly hot here, and people are used to it. What we Africans worry about and need to fix are malnutrition and starvation, the absence of electricity, and killer diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, sleeping sickness and HIV/AIDS. Climate changes and droughts have been part of our history forever, and modern energy and technology would help us cope with them better in the future. We must stop focusing on climate change.

African governments are not doing enough to build the energy, transportation and communication systems we desperately need. They are not standing up to Europeans, global banks or environmentalists who oppose big power plants in Africa. They need to do better at helping their people.

Our leaders also need to remember that Europe and the United States did not have a World Bank or other outside help when they modernized and industrialized. They did it themselves. National and local governments, groups of citizens and businesses, and various banks and investors did it. They invented things, financed big projects, and built their cities and countries. China and India have figured this out.

Now Africa needs to do the same thing – and stop relying on outsiders, bowing to their demands, and letting them dictate our future. We have the energy and other natural resources, and the smart, talented, hardworking people to get the job done. We just need to be set free to do it.

Steven Lyazi is a student and worker in Kampala, Uganda. He served as special assistant to Congress of Racial Equality-Uganda director Cyril Boynes, until Mr. Boynes’ death in January 2015. He plans to attend college and help his country and Africa get the energy and living standards they need and deserve.

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