Friday, September 4, 2009

Alan Mollohan's Opposition to Windmill Construction

Last night at the US Windforce meeting in the Wind Lea Conference Center in Keyser, a letter was produced and distributed containing a several page long list of objections by Congressman Alan Mollohan to this development.

Mollohan cited a number of concerns in his letter, starting first with the fear that windmills might adversely affect the bat population. Next he asserted that the Beech Ridge project was constructed without regard for the positions of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, again citing an as yet unknown effect on birds. Finally he complained that it affects the aesthetics of mountain views. Congressman Mollohan believed the effects on tourism would be dire.

This letter was passed around as evidence of Congressman Mollohan's antagonism to wind power. Whether or not the congressman feels the same today as he did in the letter may be debatable since it was dated July 26, 2006. Since that point we have had two congressional and one presidential election. No matter what other nonsense the dominant party has spewed since last January, a commitment to wind power has been one of their goals. Would Congressman Mollohan issue a detailed statement so diametrically opposed to wind power today? Perhaps, but then again perhaps not. After all, windmills do not permanently alter the contours of the mountains that he so wonderfully describes. I doubt that he would reject a new limited access highway carving through the hills and ridges of his district, nor would I want him to.

The letter's predictions, however, are worthy of study. Did windmills in Tucker County affect tourism? I see busses stopped at windmills there all the time so people can have their pictures taken with them. Have the numbers of people who visited that county dropped since the construction of windmills more than what would be normal in a recession? The answer to that could be interesting.

At the end of the day the practical numbers are what is important. How many local companies and individuals will be involved? How much will the heightened tax revenue help our cash strapped school system? How much money will the property owners who benefit from these projects spend in Mineral County?

My thought on aesthetics is that I do not see a ridge near a town as an unspoiled view. We have development extending from Keyser up Green Mountain. The Department of Highways is considering the construction of a highway perhaps a generation from now in the same general spot. Certainly there are areas some areas with a unique quality where we'd rather not have them. Having them sitting above the lights of a large town does less visual harm.

I also disagree with anyone who believes that wind will ever come close to substituting for coal. Wind power helps to bolster our output and enhance even further our energy exports. Congressman Mollohan in 2006 took a narrow view when he said that power exports only help those outside the state. Producing more power than you consume helps keep rates from increasing even faster than they do now. Expanding all possible sources of power, as the representative from the state Department of Energy expert explained at the meeting, increases jobs and state tax revenues. West Virginia can now also boast of being one of only a few states pursuing both alternative and renewable energy resources.

Most developments in the state, once done, cannot ever be completely undone. Coal companies try to restore the original contours of mountain ridges as much as possible. Highways snake across the landscape cutting through the hills. Industrial parks are permenent monuments of concrete, block, and steel. Windmills are one of the few things that, if they do not work, their removal would leave the natural view almost unchanged. Some fear that if wind power goes belly up, they will have to look at decaying structures with no purpose. I would doubt that, with the ever increasing price of scrap metal, that they would go unclaimed for long. People in the last election stole campaign signs for the steel mounts because metal is now such a lucrative product. If this is a major concern, the Legislature could hold wind power companies to the same standard as coal; when you are done, remove the evidence of your presence.

We want development. We want more clean and cheap power. Wind power provides a minimum of risk with a broad potential for gain.

Environmental Protection Agency Study Shows Mankind Does Not Change Global Temperatures, But Don't Tell Anyone!

Michelle Malkin has spent a lot of time on her net publication discussing the increasing pressure on Environmental Protection Agency senior analyst Dr. Alan Carlin.

Apparently Dr. Carlin produced a study that shows that fluctuations in the ocean, not man produced carbon dioxide, affect global warming and cooling cycles. Add this to the very strong scientific evidence that the Earth's temperatures (as well as Mars) rise and fall in conjunction with solar activity.

Dr. Carlin heads the National Center for Environmental Economics under the EPA and is a career government civil servant. Of course his little neck of the federal government woods is about to be eliminated by executive action. In other words, Dr. Carlin contradicts the innumerable and scientifically useless correlation based studies and fake computer models that bolster legal attempts to raise our electric bills and destroy the coal industry. Therefore he must go.

Again, I am not saying that we should not try to reduce pollution. Capitalist nations have shown themselves to be most effective at reducing pollutants as opposed to Communist countries and other dictatorships. The free market punishes industrial polluters through publication of facts and figures. Gradually we have cut pollution in this country tremendously since the 1970s. We still have work to do, but we have come a long way. On the other hand, we must not sacrifice our standard of living for radical changes.

Radical changes, such as the president's goal to drive electric bills into the stratosphere, will be counterproductive. Part of the drop in pollution overall comes from decreased use of wood and coal burning stoves over the past century. If electric bills go up, people will return to wood and coal in large numbers. After all, many West Virginians can get that fuel from the very land they own by themselves.

Too many experts and studies contradict the anti-capitalist mantra of global warming. Obama's heavy handed ploy to drive out the architect of the latest study that points out his mistakes reveals how little confidence they have in their own science.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Weighing Carefully the Risks of the Swine Flu Vaccination

Swine flu is the latest killer disease du jour for the media. Like SARS before it, we are seeing a rise in coverage of every single person who contracts the disease. This creates a perception that the disease is rampaging throughout the world, killing manby people. In the entire United States, under 8,000 people have sought medical treatment for the swine flu and 522 died. In a nation of three hundred million people, that means that over 99.99% of the people did not contract this virus. By comparison last year, between five and ten million people contracted pneumonia. Between 40-70,000 patients died of this condition. That means that a Charleston sized population dies of pneumonia every year, but the swine flu is a dangerous pandemic.

So why not get the vaccine just to be on the safe side? According to the London Telegraph, (yes we often have to go abroad to get accurate news) the swine flu vaccine could create much more significant health problems. During the swine flu immunization of 1976 in the United States, twenty-five patients died of a crippling neurological disease called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. British medical personnel have been advised to utilize "enhanced surveillance" of vaccinated patients to watch for any signs of the condition. Doctors have not yet established whether or not the vaccine or the actual flu resulted in more cases of the syndrome, causing the leader of one British medical watchdog group to comment "What we've got is a massive guinea pig trial."

Guillain-Barre syndrome does not usually kill, but it is the leading cause of non traumatic paralysis in the world. The immobility generally strikes the legs.

Each individual must weigh the costs and benefits before rushing in to get the vaccine regardless of what the government says. The risks of getting this flu, much less dying from it, are extremely miniscule. One must weigh the slight chance of spending a week recovering from the swine flu (a type of flu no more serious than the regular flu) against the risk of spending a longer time contending with slight possibility of possible paralysis from the aftereffects of the vaccine.

Personally I have never gotten a flu shot and do not intend to this year either. The link to the British story is below.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Can You Spell "Indoctrination" Boys and Girls? I Knew You Could!

I'm taking my son fishing at noon next Tuesday, September 8th. I am going to let him sleep in and eat a good breakfast. Then at noon, we will go down to New Creek and go try to catch some dinner.

That is what we will do if Mineral County Schools comply with the request of the Secretary of Education to basically turn that day into "Barack Obama Day." Here is the letter from the Secretary of Education to school principals written last week:

Letter From Secretary Arne Duncan to School Principals August 26, 2009
Classroom Activities
Grades preK-6

PDF (64K) | MS Word (32K)
Grades 7-12

PDF (108K) | MS Word (80K)
Please note that the time of this speech has changed to 12:00 noon eastern standard time.
Dear Principal:

In a recent interview with student reporter, Damon Weaver, President Obama announced that on September 8 — the first day of school for many children across America — he will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of education. The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens.

Since taking office, the President has repeatedly focused on education, even as the country faces two wars, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and major challenges on issues like energy and health care. The President believes that education is a critical part of building a new foundation for the American economy. Educated people are more active civically and better informed on issues affecting their lives, their families and their futures.

This is the first time an American president has spoken directly to the nation's school children about persisting and succeeding in school. We encourage you to use this historic moment to help your students get focused and begin the school year strong. I encourage you, your teachers, and students to join me in watching the President deliver this address on Tuesday, September 8, 2009. It will be broadcast live on the White House website 12:00 noon eastern standard time.

In advance of this address, we would like to share the following resources: a menu of classroom activities for students in grades preK-6 and for students in grades 7-12. These are ideas developed by and for teachers to help engage students and stimulate discussion on the importance of education in their lives. We are also staging a student video contest on education. Details of the video contest will be available on our website in the coming weeks.
On behalf of all Americans, I want to thank our educators who do society's most important work by preparing our children for work and for life. No other task is more critical to our economic future and our social progress. I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead to continue improving the quality of public education we provide all of our children.

Arne Duncan

Why has this not been big news in the media outlets? How come this unprecedented expansion of exposure of Il Duce right into our classrooms has not been debated or discussed? Apparently it is flying very smoothly under the radar. I learned about it from Facebook.

What is the problem? This president has failed to ingratiate himself with the people, so he is taking his charm and smile to the children. They will be asked to rate the three most important words of his speech, read background materials on Obama (probably NOT provided by the RNC), and discuss "what he is inspiring them and challenging them to do."

The fact is, we know all we care to know about this man. His attempt to worm his way into the school curriculum is actually pretty pathetic.

My kids will likely be home that day. My son will love another fishing trip. When they ask for an absence note, they'll get a "Don't Tread On Me " flag. Of course that is if Mineral County Schools signs on to this. Hopefully they have better things to do that day, like education.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Secretary of Education Asks Schools to Devote Much of September 8th to Obama

Tuesday September 8th has been designated by the US Secretary of Education apparently as a day to bask in the glow of The Won.

A speech will be broadcast from the White House online. Students will be asked to read about His Husseinness, rate the three best words from the speech, discuss how Obama inspired them, etc.

A national day of protest by Bury the Blue is in the early stages of being organized.

It is not clear at this point if Mineral County or other regional systems will be taking part.

More details to come in tomorrow morning's Potomac Highlands Conservative.

Only God Knows When It's Your Time to Go

Left wing proposals for an independent panel to make allocation choices for the sick and elderly generally find condemnation among conservatives. Sarah Palin's reference to such bodies as "death panels" sharpened the debate and placed left wingers on the defensive. Some writers, even on the conservative side, however, have questioned the logic of pumping costly resources into patients during the last year of life. They cite the statistic that 30% of health care costs go to people in their last several months of living.

Here's the problem. No one knows whether or not the sick eighty year old is on their last legs, or if they have several good years in them. Obama Administration health care advisors callously argue that younger people deserve more health care because they have potentially more to contribute. This ignores the fact that the elderly paid into insurance and/or Medicare their entire lives. Don't forget the servicemen who sacrificed for their country either. Doctors must proceed under the assumption that the patient can make a reasonable recovery, or they risk killing a person well before their time.

Another problem lies in the patient. Let's say the eighty year old is a distinguished senator compared to a former teacher or factory worker, or any common person. I seriously doubt that the "independent panel" that Obama wants to make decisions will look at a senator, an actor, or another famous individual in the same way as retired railroad worker Joe Smith of Keyser, West Virginia. One will get the care, the other gets the shaft.

We are a people conditioned to be optimists because sometimes heroic and expensive measures do give us a few more years with Grandma. You cannot put a price tag on a life that a person wants to live, or the love their families have for them. Their productivity over a lifetime paid into insurance or Medicare entitles them to care no matter what callous, uncaring left wing socialists think is best.

Some Items Left Out of Kennedy-Fest

Last week we saw endless praises and near canonizations heaped upon Senator Ted Kennedy. Someone, somewhere called him the "Lion of the Senate" and others compared him to Henry Clay and Daniel Webster as one of the greatest ever. Of course no Democratic funeral would be complete without utilizing it for political gain. The Kennedy family brought forth children to try and convince the nation to pass socialized health care that the man himself would never have used himself.

You would never, however, go through a Richard Nixon death without mention of Watergate. Kennedy's misdeeds similarly ought to follow praises of whatever it is he did that was great.

Most remember the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Nothing to say about this that readers of thise site do not know already.

What many people are not aware of is how damaging Ted Kennedy was to this state. In 1960 the future Senator took charge of John F. Kennedy's effort to win Southern West Virginia. The region already had an unsavory reputation for corruption. Most county bosses lined up behind Midwestern traditional liberal Hubert Humphries. At this point their influence, especially that of Raymond Chafin of Logan County, was very strong.

Chris Matthews said recently that John F. Kennedy's good looks won him the 1960 primary in West Virginia. In contrast to this rather insulting and condescending assertion, West Virginians themselves have tried to relate the real story of the 1960 primary. Two books in the past few years, West Virginia Tough Boys, by F. Keith Davis and Don't Buy Another Vote I Won't Pay For a Landslide, by former Gaston Caperton Administration official Dr. Allen Loughry, discussed in detail the drama that unfolded in that primary season. Basically what it boils down to is that the Kennedy campaign pumped tens of thousands of dollars into the hands of county bosses. This caused them to switch allegiances overnight to Kennedy and to use some of the funds to line up precincts for their new candidate.

Dr. Loughry also argues that the massive amount of funds injected into the hands of the bosses and by extension many corrupted voters raised the bar for voting irregularities. In essence, to purchase a West Virginia election, a candidate would need more cash than ever. This tied some more tightly to unsavory donors while making for others personal wealth and the willingness to use it in illegal ways more tempting than ever. Obvious fraud and corruption benefitted the status quo since voters reacted by growing ever more cynical. When you have a mindset that all politicians are crooks, you tend to adopt "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't" mentality.

And who should answer for this? Ted Kennedy's death removed a man who likely knew a lot, but never uttered a word about that scandalous year of 1960.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rockefeller on Healthcare

Secularism As a Religion

In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church controlled society. It saw itself as a parent of the people, guiding them away from sin, by persuasion if possible and by force if necessary. This, as well as Puritan theocracies in early New England, gave religious authority a bad name for intolerance and tyranny.

Religious authorities in those times and places used the power of the state to curb people's natural rights to think and make choices about religion. The United States Constitution responded to such fears by weighing in against the establishment of any particular denomination as an official religion. It balanced this language by providing that government cannot prevent the free exercise of religion either.

This reflects a general trend in Western Civilization towards the religion-neutral state. Certainly this has sparked arguments and dissention as some occasionally go too far in wiping away religious references in government controlled zones. It does not mean that religion has been officially established when high school football teams pray in the locker room before a game.

In recent years, the religion-neutral state has started to transform into the religiously hostile state. France recently outlawed the Muslim practice of burkha wearing among women. They argued that women wear the clothing under duress. I wonder how they determined that every Muslim woman in the entire country has rejected that tradition. Headscarves are also not permitted in that country's schools.

Most frightening is the recent prosecution by Obama's Justice Department of a principal and an athletic director in federal court because they prayed before a meal. The ACLU claims that the entire school district has "flagrantly" defied their interpretation of the First Amendment for years. They could spend six days in federal prison for praying.

Secularism has become, in some ways, a religion. It has no god and no soul, but it does keep a creed and a faith in a flawed perception of the Constitution. When good men go to jail for simply exercising their natural right to speak and freely exercise their religion, secularist tyranny has emerged. These men forced no one to pray with them, whether they were adults or students. However they violated the conformity of thought that secular tyranny seeks to impose, regardless of a man or woman's natural rights. Obama recently removed the legal and liability protections once enjoyed by medical practitioners who refuse to participate in procedures that are against their faith.

The victims of secularist tyranny are not only Christians, but also Jews, Muslims, or anyone else with an abiding and principled faith in their religion. Tolerance of different religions is great and necessary in a free society. Left wing government today actively campaigns against the faithful, proving that our nation grows less free every day that left wing Democrats remain in power.

Never Underestimate the Will of the American People