At the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Dr. James McHenry, a Maryland delegate, followed Benjamin Franklin from Independence Hall. He recorded a question asked by a lady, directed at Dr. Franklin.

The lady asked, "Well Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?"

"A republic," replied Dr. Franklin, "if you can keep it."


"The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." - Ayn Rand

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Extraordinary Valor

Extraordinary Valor - CIA: The story of Fecteau and Downey

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Save the Planet

The Register (UK) Reports what I have long feared. The planet is on the cusp of (another mini-ICE AGE). Twenty years from now people might be looking back on the early part of this century as the 'warm years' and the actions people took to avoid global warming --- had unintended consequences. I watched the HBO mini-series, Game of Thrones, and in the program, they're continually warning that "Winter is coming". I don't think that the mini-series has anything to do with this, but who knows with Hollywood? I'm sure that Al Gore would oppose the mini series broadcast based on that assertion alone.

(Register) What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.
Average magnetic field strength in sunspot umbras has been steadily declining for over a decade. The trend includes sunspots from Cycles 22, 23, and (the current cycle) 24. Credit: NSO/AAS
Ice skating on the Thames by 2025?
The announcement made on 14 June (18:00 UK time) comes from scientists at the US National Solar Observatory (NSO) and US Air Force Research Laboratory. Three different analyses of the Sun's recent behaviour all indicate that a period of unusually low solar activity may be about to begin.
The Sun normally follows an 11-year cycle of activity. The current cycle, Cycle 24, is now supposed to be ramping up towards maximum strength. Increased numbers of sunspots and other indications ought to be happening: but in fact results so far are most disappointing. Scientists at the NSO now suspect, based on data showing decades-long trends leading to this point, that Cycle 25 may not happen at all.
This could have major implications for the Earth's climate. According to a statement issued by the NSO, announcing the research:
An immediate question is whether this slowdown presages a second Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period with virtually no sunspots [which occurred] during 1645-1715.

NASA weighs in on this very issue (LINK) 

"Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century. Very few sunspots were seen on the Sun from about 1645 to 1715. Although the observations were not as extensive as in later years, the Sun was in fact well observed during this time and this lack of sunspots is well documented. This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the "Little Ice Age" when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past."
Global Cooling Confirmed?

"This is highly unusual and unexpected," says Dr Frank Hill of the NSO. "But the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Everyone's Favorite Weiner

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) has been under a lot of scrutiny lately. At first there were denials accompanied by hubris and a 'cocky' attitude. Then we find out that he had been 'sexting nationwide'. Then the police found out that one of the victims of his sexting was a minor female.

Now the press is taking a closer look at Congressman Weiner and guess what?

The New York Daily News reported today (LINK) that the license plate on his Nissan Pathfinder doesn't belong to that car. In fact, he hasn't bothered to register his cars for years -- the way the little people are required to do it.
The New York license plate bolted on Weiner's Pathfinder - US Congress 9 - had expired as of 2006, according to the DMV. "That license plate should not be on a car," a DMV spokeswoman said. It wasn't even issued to the Pathfinder, but to another one of Weiner's cars, a Honda, according to vehicle records.
Valid plates were issued to Weiner's Pathfinder, but they don't have the helpful words "US Congress" on them, and so look less official. It's unclear what happened to those plates. Driving a car with expired plates, let alone those pulled off another vehicle, meant Weiner's Pathfinder was unregistered, according to the DMV.
"Switching around license plates is what criminals do," noted a retired Brooklyn accident investigator. "If you are a congressman, you aren't supposed to be switching out your plates. I guess that's the least of his worries."
I'm absolutely positive that all of his liberal friends will rally around Weiner -- because he's been distracted about being so very progressive -- that he's deliberately avoiding the same motor vehicle tax that all of his constituents are required to fork over every year.

When you're an elitist, it's okay to do whatever you want.


what a weiner...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Is NATO Irrelevant?

NATO-led operations in Libya have exposed significant shortcomings in both the political will to conduct military operations and the military capabilities of the allied nations. Where do we go from here?

(1) The United States MUST reconsider its commitment to fund 75% of NATO defense spending. While the US does get something back from that in terms of foreign orders for US made weapons, that number is not sustainable in light of the current US debt/deficit.

(2) Only the US, France, Great Britain, Albania and Greece spend the 2% of GDP on defense that participation in NATO requires. The other 24 allied nations spend less.
(Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates delivered a sharp parting shot at European allies on Friday, saying NATO risks "collective military irrelevance" unless they bear more of the burden and boost military spending.
"If current trends in the decline of European defense capabilities are not halted and reversed, future U.S. political leaders -- those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me -- may not consider the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost." (Gates)

The real question is whether or not the NATO allies feel that NATO is in THEIR best interests. When somebody else pays the bill, you find that there are a lot of boutique items that you can buy and look good on the shelf. It changes when you are paying for it yourself. The Libyan gambit was not a US problem. European powers decided it was time for Gadaffi to go. Because of NATO, the US reluctantly went along with it. AND then some, but not all, of the Europeans (Italy) decided not to play in the sandbox.

Former NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer warned the forum that the current imbalance was "not sustainable...Europe has a rather pale face as we speak," he said, criticizing "totally uncoordinated budget cuts" and urging his own nation, the Netherlands, to join strike missions in Libya.

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