Al Gorevara and the Global Warming Super Fad

Filed under:D. Sirmize, Media, Guest, Web Log (Blog), Politics, Opinion — posted by D. Sirmize on June 12, 2007 @ 11:17 am


Do you know who Che Guevara is? Probably not. But you know what he looks like. You know, the t-shirt. The one you see at night clubs, college campuses, and leftist protests across the country. The famous posterized image was even recently spotted on the streets of Baghdad. But I’m willing to bet 300 carbon offsets that outside of Latin America, nobody knows anything about the guy gracing their $30 t-shirts. I’m not going to waste space on the guy. Google him if you care. Better yet, Wikipedia him.

The only thing that bugs me worse than political stupidity is fads. The Atkins diet, beanie babies, Survivor. They hit the pop culture scene, drive hordes to obsession, then disappear as quickly as they came. Ok, so Survivor hasn’t yet been voted off the island, but when was the last time you heard “Sorry, I can’t tonight. Survivor’s on.”

Today it’s myspace, organic food, and “going green.” Of course if I were smart and would have been the guy who invented these things, I’d be on sitting on some beach counting my stacks of green.

Today’s Che Guevara is Al Gore. Who’da thought? Some turds just don’t flush. Seven years ago I would never have believed that Al Gore would lead pop culture’s pantheon of idols. Of course Gore would be nothing if his pet cause hadn’t taken the world by storm. Al Gore has become the face of Global Warming. And he’s recruited quite a cabinet of indoctrination pros- Hollywood, national news media, academia, and education. Musicians like Pearl Jam croon about green living while distinguished climate experts like Sheryl Crow and Leonardo DiCaprio preach about conserving toilet paper and living “carbon neutral” lifestyles. Network news reporters poo-poo even the most intellectual challenges to Global Warming theory and college professors teach it as gospel. Even red state elementary schools have made “An Inconvenient Truth” a curriculum staple (never mind that the premise of this Gore flick is shaky and packed with exaggerations and stretched truths).

Global warming will go down in history as the super fad of modern times. I’m constantly amazed at how it has gripped the country. I recently attended a large educational conference whose keynote speaker was Bill Nye (the Science Guy). The subject of his speech, as stated in the conference program, was “promoting educational technology.” After a few self-serving stories about his various inventions, the lovable geek we all grew up watching on PBS launched a tirade on Global Warming (known nowadays by it’s current fad name, “climate change”). Nye told the several thousand educators present that their main goal should be to raise awareness of the dangers of global warming. He ended with the following:

“We are facing a serious business here on Earth; we are facing a very serious future unless we get on it,” he warned. “This is where we, as educators, must change the world.”

I think I was the only one that didn’t give him a standing ovation. So much for educational technology. Can I get a refund?

Come on, you say. Climate change isn’t a fad. It’s science. Al Gore says so. Well there’s plenty about this “science” that doesn’t sit right with me, which I’ll discuss in subsequent posts. Even if the science is sound and humans are indeed affecting global climate, today’s climate change chic is still a fad. And like all other fads, most of the people wearing the t-shirts don’t have a clue what’s behind the graphic. And also like all other fads, it will be gone once the hype dries up.

Now I consider myself an environmentalist. I love nature and I contribute annually to several conservation organizations. I drive a fuel efficient vehicle, recycle, and actively oppose unwise land development in my county. I believe humans should be good and wise stewards of the earth. Climate change I can believe, but I’m not so quick to believe the change is caused by humans. But even if any of the hype pans out, there are a few things about the hysteria that bug the hell out of me:

1. Al Gore. Ok, you must realize by now that I think Al Gore is a lying, hypocritical, steaming pile. I couldn’t stand him during the Clinton years and I can’t stand him now. The man has no credibility and I’ve never understood his appeal. The best way to convince me of something’s falsity is to have Al Gore promote it.

2. Celebrity activists. First of all, to think your average celebrity has any sense of reality is ridiculous. How much in common with the everyday Joe do actors and musicians have? And they’re telling me how to live my life? Shut up and sing.

3. Carbon offsets. Nothing like buying off guilt.

4. Indoctrination. Despite what Al Gore and Bill Nye say, global warming science is not set in stone. There is a difference between scientific hypothesis and scientific law. I’m no scientist but I’ve read enough to know that there are many, many climate experts who seriously doubt the theory of human-caused global warming. But you’ll never hear them on the news and your kids will never read their side of the story in school. On the other hand, Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” is required viewing in many American schools. It is widely shown in elementary schools. Some students have reported seeing the movie several times in several classes. I do not pay thousands of dollars in taxes for the government to ram these things down my kids’ throat.

5. Purging dissidents. Scientists who have doubts about Global Warming theory face a modern-day witch hunt. Just ask Oregon state climatologist George Taylor, who faces possible removal by Governor Ted Kulongoski because his views aren’t in line with “the consensus.” John Christie, Alabama state climatologist, told Cybercast News Service “It seems if scientists don’t express the views of the political establishment, they will be threatened and that is a discomforting thought.” Read the New York Times or watch a network newscast. Anybody skeptical of man-made global warming is painted as a marginal hack funded by Big Oil, while the fact that global warming alarmists are openly paid by environmentalist groups and far-left foundations goes unscrutinized. I’m no expert on Democracy, but since when was silencing critics a democratic value?

Global warming alarmists may be able to indoctrinate a sizable portion of our kids, but as long as they promote their agenda by fad, they’ll never reach adults with half a brain. I anxiously await the day when celebrities and scientists alike will lament the fact that they tarnished their names with the global warming fad- like an old lady regrets getting that huge tatoo on her back in her younger, more ignorant days. Environmental problems can only be tackled with true open debate, exhaustive peer review, and politics-free analysis.

Thanks to Glenn Beck for the awesome Al Gorevara graphic! Somebody should put that on a t-shirt…

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New Blog Emerges in Blogosphere

Filed under:Web Log (Blog), Cool Stuff, USOE, Friends — posted by Tyler on April 26, 2007 @ 3:05 pm

My good friend, Clint, has begun recording his adventures in a new blog entitled “BonnevilleMariner“. The current story is one that I had the pleasure of being involved in; a noisy ride to Nevada in my oil-leaking Jeep with Clint and John. We nearly ran out of gas at least once and we were completely lost at one point. I can honestly say that that was the only time I’ve been lost and were it not for the insistence of the majority that we were finally walking up the right road, I might have been lost forever. I’ll comment more on his blog for history’s sake.

I look forward to reading more stories as they’re posted and I’m sure you’ll enjoy a lore or two if you take a moment to visit and browse. It will be more reminiscent for me seeing as how I’m Clint’s adventure buddy and have been involved in many of the adventures he’ll share. The one place he didn’t follow me was down an old, dark, long-forgotten mining tunnel. And wisely so. (Yet again, because he was there I am not still lost or now dead.) Thanks, Clint!

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Thoughts on Saddam Hussein's Execution (Part 2)

Filed under:D. Sirmize, Media, Guest, Web Log (Blog), Politics, Opinion — posted by D. Sirmize on January 11, 2007 @ 10:41 am

“They’re very effective if people don’t wear masks.”

“You mean they will kill thousands?”

“Yes, they will kill thousands,”

No, this is not Michael Moore bragging to Al Franken about his flatulence.

“If you arrest any of them, cut off their heads. Show no mercy. They only joined the security to avoid having to join the army and fight Iran.”

The voice is Saddam Hussein’s. It’s an excerpt from several recently revealed recordings of the former dictator in conversation with his subordinates, in this case telling them to execute internal security officials for “incompetance.”

Oh, there’s more.

“Some commanders who abandoned their positions when they found themselves in an awkward situation, who deserved to have their necks cut, and did.”

The most disturbing dialogue discusses the effectiveness of chemical weapons (from Tuesday’s NY Times):

On one recording, Mr. Hussein presses the merits of chemical weapons on Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, his vice-president, and now, the Americans believe, the fugitive leader of the Sunni insurgency that has tied down thousands of American troops. Mr. Douri, a notorious hard-liner, asks whether chemical attacks will be effective against civilian populations, and suggests that they might stir an international outcry.

“Yes, they’re very effective if people don’t wear masks,” Mr. Hussein replies.

“You mean they will kill thousands?” Mr. Douri asks.

“Yes, they will kill thousands,” Mr. Hussein says.

Mr. Hussein sounds matter of fact as he describes what chemical weapons will do. “They will prevent people eating and drinking the local water, and they won’t be able to sleep in their beds,” he says. “They will force people to leave their homes and make them uninhabitable until they have been decontaminated.”

As for the concern about international reaction, he assures Mr. Douri that only he will order the attacks. “I don’t know if you know this, Comrade Izzat, but chemical weapons are not used unless I personally give the orders,” he says.

The tapes, made a decade ago and played at the continuing trials of his cohorts, reveal Saddam as the calculating, evil incarnate rat bastard that we knew he was.

Well, not all of us, I guess. CNN censored their own reporting of Saddam’s terrors in order to retain access in Baghdad. Leading up to the coalition’s 2003 invasion, foreign media painted Saddam as an enlightened moderate. The UN (including Kofi Anon’s own son) privately sucked millions from the Oil For Food program while publicly turning a blind eye to Saddam’s tyranny. Russia and France were dead set against taking any action against Saddam’s regime that amounted to anything more than empty rhetoric. The Angry Left defended Saddam and and sent human shields to Baghdad to protect him. Jaded politicos still bark that Iraq was better off under Saddam’s rule.

The New York Times, until Tuesday’s article, seemed convinced of Saddam’s innocence, accusing Iran of gassing the Kurds.

In reality, Saddam was a devil that murdered millions of his own people. There were the Kurds (the victims of Saddam’s “very effective” gas), the mass executions following the Shi’ite uprising, the revenge killings, and the random beheadings of his own security forces. I could go on and on.

Say what you want about the Bush. Say what you want about the war. But I admire a country and an administration with the juevos to actually look evil in the eye and send it to hell.

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Thoughts on Saddam Hussein's Execution (Part 1)

Filed under:D. Sirmize, Media, Guest, Web Log (Blog), Politics, Opinion — posted by D. Sirmize on January 10, 2007 @ 11:18 am

I had mixed feelings about the execution of Saddam Hussein last month, and I wanted to wait to post about it until the dust had settled and I could refine my view of this event.

I wanted Saddam dead, of course. I lamented his escape from that first April bomb. When he was captured I knew his trial would become a spectacle. Indeed, for 15 months Saddam used the trial to spew his fascist propoganda, which the media gleefully echoed around the globe. His execution, in my opinion, couldn’t come soon enough.

But then it came and, much to my surprise, I was bothered by it. Not bothered by his death. Not bothered by the fact that the rope nearly decapitated him with an audible “crack.” Not bothered by the cheering in the streets.

No, I was bothered by the way it went down (or fell through, if you will).

The key to “winning the peace” is to prove to Iraqis (specifically the Sunni minority), the war-weary American public and the world that the invasion of Iraq was justified, that the new Iraqi leadership is legitimate, and that it is dedicated to building a stable democracy.

Much of the sectarian violence stems from the perception that Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki’s government is either unable or unwilling to bring order to his country. An orderly, official-like execution of Saddam by uniformed government officers would have gone far to demonstrate this legitimacy.

Instead, the execution looked more like a mob hit. Street-clothes thugs taunted Saddam as they put the noose around his neck, then danced a jig around his hanging body. Security failed to confiscate cameras and cell phones, resulting in a video leak that crushes any notion of the government’s credibility.

But what bothered me most was the confirmation of a fear I’ve had for a long time- al-Maliki’s ties to Shi’ite radical Moqtada al-Sadr. Al-Sadr is one of the most influential Shi’ite clerics in the region. He commands the largest independant militia in Iraq and is adamantly anti-American. He and his henchmen are responsible for most of the sectarian violence in Iraq. In short, al-Sadr is a huge thorn in our backside.

Since al-Maliki took office, both he and the Bush Administration have desperately attempted to convince the world that he is not beholden to al-Sadr, and that he’s doing everything he can to stop the flow of blood through Baghdad’s streets. The edited video of Saddam’s execution, provided to news outlets by Maliki’s government, is silent and cuts off just before the money shot. Yeah, it looked a little bit 7th century, but it had an aire of legitimacy.

But then the cell phone video popped up on the Internet. It was the whole deal, audio and all. Soon after came translations of the dialogue- specifically the exchanges between Saddam and his executioners:

The room was quiet as everyone began to pray, including Mr. Hussein. “Prayers be upon Mohammed and his holy family.”

Two guards added, “Supporting his son Moktada, Moktada, Moktada.”

Mr. Hussein seemed a bit stunned, swinging his head in their direction.

They were talking about Moktada al-Sadr, the firebrand cleric whose militia is now committing some of the worst violence in the sectarian fighting; he is the son of a revered Shiite cleric, Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, who many believe Mr. Hussein had murdered.

“Moktada?” he spat out, a mix between sarcasm and disbelief.

Yes, Saddam, Moqtada.

Al-Maliki’s government had to realize the importance of a credible trial and execution for Hussein. They have to realize the importance of pacifying the Sunni minority. Yet somehow the most critical event in this government’s young history was carried out by al-Sadr foot soldiers. And that should bother all of us.

Saddam Hussein was not executed by the democratically elected Iraqi government. He was murdered by the Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. And that, dear reader, does not bode well for Iraq or the U.S.

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Angelo Amaranto, 60, 2 World Trade Center

Filed under:D. Sirmize, Inspiring, Web Log (Blog) — posted by D. Sirmize on September 11, 2006 @ 7:12 am

Most people aren’t morning people- especially when they know they have to go to jobs they don’t like.  Angelo Amaranto was not one of those people.  He woke enthusiastically every morning at three o’clock to catch the subway from Borough Park to his job at 2 World Trade Center.

Angelo’s janitor job was hard work, but he loved it. He was employed by Ebasco and worked on the 87th, 89th and 91st floors of the tower. He had worked at 2 World Trade Center since the towers opened in 1973, and he knew that building well.  His wife, Maria, says he would regularly go into work one or two hours early every day.  Sometimes he would even work the weekends.

Originally from Salerno, Italy, A young Angelo Amaranto fell in love with New York when he arrived in Brooklyn with his young Bride.  He got a janitorial job at the Nasdaq, where he worked until he took the World Trade Center job.  “He told me the pay was better and if they took him, he would have to work nights for a little while,” his wife, Maria, told Newsay. “He said it was worth it because it was a better building. He switched to days after two years or so. He loved those buildings.”

Angelo took great pride in providing for his family.  He had worked hard and honest his entire life.  But it wasn’t about the money.  “He used to say to us, ‘You know, a lot of people have money,’” his daughter, Emily recalls. “‘I have something better than money. I have grandchildren.”

It is my honor to pay tribute to Angelo Amaranto today.

You can read messages left by family and friends here.

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