Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour and Darkness

I've always thought that many so-called environmentalists bring to their cause an almost religious conviction. We can save the planet if only........certain things happen. The front page of the Toronto Star today shows a candlelight church service to make my point - its a religion. I've also thought that many environmental types would like humanity to regress to a simpler "dark age." You know, reduce fossil fuel usage, thereby the carbon footprint and save the planet. There was a lot of media hype about Earth Hour around here yesterday, I guess it was a slow news day. Of course there is nothing wrong with energy conservation, in fact the opposite is kind of dumb. Why wouldn't everyone be against waste?
But despite the good support for Earth Hour itself, I don't see much evidence that people really get it. My neighbours certainly don't. Many of them feel its their civic duty to pollute the night sky with all sorts of garish lighting - all night. Maybe they are just afraid of the dark. The consequences of garish and excessive use of outdoor lighting was discussed in a recent National Geographic magazine: The End of Night. The night sky has virtually disappeared for urbanites all over the planet. The Milky Way is a myth for too many children. I really doubt that conservation will save the planet for the future, but what I do know is that judicious use of outdoor lighting can save the night sky here and now.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ontario Budget, the War on drugs.

The Ontario Budget was released this week, and by and large it favours businesses in Ontario. Generally that is not a bad thing - business after all creates all the REAL jobs and ALL the wealth of this province. Corporate taxes will be cut, the sales taxes will be "harmonized" and the investment climate here in Ontario has improved. How do the Liberals make up for revenue losses? Do they cut superfluous programs, reduce the size of government? Forget that. The new 13% harmonized sales tax now covers a much broader range of goods and services and consumers will have a greater portion of income go to taxes. But the Liberals feel bad about this so they will "give back" up to $1000 per family in three cheques, June 2010, Dec. 2010 and June 2011. Isn't that nice? Oh, by the way there is an election in Oct. 2011 and this money has nothing to do with buying your vote. Right.

I'm psychic. The Economist, a major British magazine came out with this:

How to stop the drug wars

Mar 5th 2009
From The Economist print edition

Prohibition has failed; legalisation is the least bad solution

I didn't know about this article - but it hearkens back to my previous entry (see March 25). Do I feel vindicated? No, not until governments start to wise up and think smarter.........and pigs will fly.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Obama Overload & Drugs. The Ontario Budget.

Are you suffering from "B-O overload?" Are the Obama-crats cramping your nightly TV viewing? Barack Obama is proving to be a canny and articulate leader. His tour of the media (Leno, 60 minutes etc..) is obviously part of a sales campaign to convince Americans that things are under control, we know what we're doing, trust us, everything is going to be alright........eventually. That may or may not be true (I'm thinking not) but one thing is clear, Americans are going to be in hock for way more than the $10 trillion debt that already exists with no guarantee of success. Obama spent much of his press conference last night (March 24/09) reassuring us about the economy. Do you feel better yet?

Drugs at the Mexican Border

Another issue touched upon during the above press conference was the spreading drug violence across the US border from Mexico. Of course drug violence occurs just about everywhere. But where drug prohibition is tempered, drug violence is reduced. The evidence can be seen in how soft drug use is treated in the Netherlands compared to the US. The website linked in the previous sentence shows a lower rate of cannabis use in Holland than the US. How is that possible when America is at war against drugs. History shows us that prohibition results in violence. Check out the graph by clicking on this title: Homicides and Prisoners in Custody 1900-1990
Prohibition began in the US in 1920 and ended in 1933. Look at how the homicide rate (an indicator of violence) rises and falls on the graph during this period, look at prisoners in custody. Do you think there is a cause-effect link? I think there is. Even law enforcement authorities (click) think drug prohibition is wrong. That's what most Libertarians think as well.

The Ontario Budget March 26/09

Well the Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty is making noises about "harmonizing" our burdensome consumption taxes. Lets see, there's an 8% tax (PST) on a bunch of things except haircuts, kids books, feminine hygiene products and other essentials. There is also a 5% federal tax (GST) on most goods and services. Each tax is calculated separately, you know to be fair - but a pain if you are a business person. But if the tax is harmonized then we pay 13% on most everything including things that were not doubly taxed before.Ugh! Will he do it? Will he lower the PST to make it more palatable (11%)? Why not spend less money on useless government programs and let us keep our money to spend on ourselves? Why not?

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Pope, AIG and Cold Fusion

The Pope in Africa

Again the Pope has demonstrated the relevance of the Catholic Church in the 21st Century. On his way to Africa he said: AIDS "is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems." Condoms aggravate AIDS! Reality is irrelevant, which of course is a theme not only for Catholicism but ALL religions. Later the Pope urged Angolans to give up belief in sorcery and witchcraft and convert to Catholicism. Great idea, switch from believing in wizards and witches and choose the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost – again, obviously a better choice.

The AIG Debacle

The American government has given AIG a $180 billion US bailout. The reaction from the media and public to this: justified, necessary, hope it works, AIG is too big to fail.
AIG has given out about $200 million in questionable bonuses to employees. The reaction from the media and public: outrage, give it back, legislate it back! I heard a commentator recently state that this is concern about the hole while forgetting the donut. There was a solution to the AIG debacle, its called bankruptcy. The insurance company and employees that took too much risk would have to reorganize and reset their contractual obligations. People would lose jobs, bonuses would disappear, salaries would drop but the company would probably exist in a much different form. Who is at fault here? AIG certainly, but the US government has compounded the error 180 billion times! Watch for “problems” like this, for example today JPMorgan Chase had the money to buy two new corporate jets and hangers even though they received $25 billion US in TARP funds.

Happy 20th Birthday today to Cold Fusion

This is one of the best examples of how Science is self-correcting. There is a truth and the truth will out (and it ain't cold fusion).

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I have been a teacher most of my adult life. While I no longer teach as a paid job, I feel that I still have a great deal to offer my fellow humans from the knowledge and experience that I have accumulated. This blog will contain my views of current events, in particular those things that relate to politics, religion, the economy and whatever else I find interesting. As time goes by I will add to the site, but for the time being I've posted the logos of two organizations that I belong to at the bottom of the page. You may find them interesting. Happy Spring!