Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Henry Waxman and Edward Markey Report

How much time do you really think we have?

Extreme temperatures
  • July was the hottest month ever recorded in the continental U.S.  Some areas were 8 degrees warmer than average, with the average temperature in the lower 48 states at 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.3 degrees above the 20th century average.
  • Spring 2012 saw the warmest march, third-warmest April and second-warmest May in history, and was approximately 5.2 degrees Fahrenheit above average overall.
  • Through late June 2011, daily record highs were outnumbering daily record lows by 9-to-1.
  • As of September, 64 percent of the continental U.S. is experiencing drought, with August and September 2012 comparable to the worst months of the 1930s Dust Bowl.
  • By the beginning of August, more than half the counties in the U.S. had been designated disaster zones because of drought.
  • As of August, 51 percent of corn and 38 percent of soybeans grown in the U.S. were rated as poor or very poor by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some states’ corn fared worse – Indiana had 70 percent of its corn rated as poor or very poor, and Missouri had 84 percent.

  • This fire season 8.6 million acres – roughly the size of Connecticut and New Jersey combined – have burned in the U.S., with fires still burning in parts of the West.
  • Wildfires in Colorado have killed six people, destroyed 600 homes and caused about $500 million in property damage.
  • There has been nearly a four-fold increase in large wildfires in the West in recent decades, with fires burning longer and more intensely and wildfire seasons lasting longer.
  • Tropical Storm Debby caused Florida to have its wettest June on record. The storm killed at least seven people and also damaged more than 7,500 homes and businesses.
  • In July, the “derecho” storm system killed at least 23 people and left more than 3.7 million people without power.
  • In August, Hurricane Isaac caused storm surges of up to 15 feet in some places and contributed to Louisiana and Mississippi experiencing their second-wettest August on record and to Florida experiencing its wettest summer on record.
Extreme water levels and water temperatures
  • In July, water in the Great Lakes reached temperatures of 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit – more than 10 degrees warmer than the same time last year.
  • In August, water temperatures of up to 97 degrees and low water levels caused tens of thousands of fish to die in Midwestern lakes and rivers.
  • Low water levels in the Mississippi watershed have caused some barge companies to reduce their loads by 25 percent and have caused harbor closures in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


You may have seen this story in the Huffington Post:

Libya Embassy Attack: Libyan President Orders 'Illegitimate' Militias Disbanding

But perhaps of greater importance is the following:

"The assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, which left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead, has sparked an angry backlash among many Libyans against the myriad of armed factions that continue to run rampant across the nation nearly a year after the end of the country's civil war.
On Friday, residents of Benghazi – the cradle of the Libyan revolution last year that toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi – staged a mass demonstration against the militias before storming the compounds of several armed groups in the city in an unprecedented protest to demand the militias dissolve."

Here we have the average citizen, REAL MUSLIMS, saying no to violence. One Muslim business leader on NPR said that the killing of innocent people is much more of an affront to Islam than "any video or silly cartoon." Clearly a voice of reason and clearly one who follows the teachings and not radicals seeking to create and spread hate and fear.

Thank you people of Benghazi!

Friday, September 21, 2012


Sam Harris has some definite views on religion and what follows are an excerpt from his recent blog article, Freedom to Offend an Imaginary God.

The latest wave of Muslim hysteria and violence has now spread to over twenty countries. The walls of our embassies and consulates have been breached, their precincts abandoned to triumphant mobs, and many people have been murdered—all in response to an unwatchable Internet video titled “Innocence of Muslims.” Whether over a film, a cartoon, a novel, a beauty pageant, or an inauspiciously named teddy bear, the coming eruption of pious rage is now as predictable as the dawn. This is already an old and boring story about old, boring, and deadly ideas. And I fear it will be with us for the rest of our lives.

Consider what is actually happening: Some percentage of the world’s Muslims—Five percent? Fifteen? Fifty? It’s not yet clear—is demanding that all non-Muslims conform to the strictures of Islamic law. And where they do not immediately resort to violence in their protests, they threaten it. Carrying a sign that reads “Behead Those Who Insult the Prophet” may still count as an example of peaceful protest, but it is also an assurance that infidel blood would be shed if the imbecile holding the placard only had more power. This grotesque promise is, of course, fulfilled in nearly every Muslim society. To make a film like “Innocence of Muslims” anywhere in the Middle East would be as sure a method of suicide as the laws of physics allow.

What exactly was in the film? Who made it? What were their motives? Was Muhammad really depicted? Was that a Qur’an burning, or some other book? Questions of this kind are obscene. Here is where the line must be drawn and defended without apology: We are free to burn the Qur’an or any other book, and to criticize Muhammad or any other human being. Let no one forget it.

Religion only works as a pretext for political violence because many millions of people actually believe what they say they believe: that imaginary crimes like blasphemy and apostasy are killing offenses.

The freedom to think out loud on certain topics, without fear of being hounded into hiding or killed, has already been lost. And the only forces on earth that can recover it are strong, secular governments that will face down charges of blasphemy with scorn. No apologies necessary. Muslims must learn that if they make belligerent and fanatical claims upon the tolerance of free societies, they will meet the limits of that tolerance.

I have to agree with the above statements. Freedom of thought and expression, even if in poor taste, is a fundamental freedom that needs preserving.I do draw a line at hate speech, but criticizing a religion does not fall in that category. In my WAKING GOD TRILOGY, much is said regarding religious dogma and its historic, and current, destructiveness.  These books did not start riots even though there is much criticism of religion and one of the heroes in the novels is Lucifer. Just as Christianity should be faulted for the Inquisition and the crusades, no religion, including Islam, can justify the use of force to prevent criticism. That should be a no brainer that fundamentalists and hard-liners obviously don't get. You can't protect teachings by violating the teachings. The ends do not justify the means. Efforts in the Muslim world to further outlaw blasphemy is not acceptable. Are they so insecure in their faith that violence must be used to fend of anything offensive? Their ideas are a return to the intellectual dark ages and their arguments are based in ignorance.

So yes, Muslims must learn that if they make belligerent and fanatical claims upon the tolerance of free societies, they will meet the limits of that tolerance.