Monday, July 31, 2006

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard is an invasive plant to Western Pennsylvania, and other places. It is an alien which is now taking over vast pieces of land. At one time I thought it was sort of beautiful. You tell me, is it ...?

There are volunteers in Murrysville who are making great strides towards their laudable goal: The eradication of invasives in the native woods.

Several years ago, before joining and becoming actively involved in the Westmoreland Conservancy, I was oblivious to the concerns to rid the woods of invasives. Which plants are considered invasive, alien or exotic, or whatever the terms may be, were not a concern for several reasons.... a). ignorance: just too busy to know there is a problem, or what the problem really is .. b). priority: the content of the woods seemed pretty consistent to me, with respect to how it has always seemed, so this wasn't a big priority. A higher priority may have been my cultivated flowers, gardens and trees.

Education is the most laudable goal, because future action is two-fold: a). a prospective list of volunteers have to first understand the problem .. and b). There ought to be this mentality amongst the general population that there is a problem, and that each and every individual ought to do something about it on their own and as second nature. Groups of volunteers are fine, but they are hard to organize and get together.

Consider the dandelion: We consistently try to eradicate it from our lawns individually, we pay tons of money for applications (perhaps chemicals that are not too environmentally friendly) to apply to our lawns; or some, like me, take a digger and walk around digging them out one by one; and all the while, we probably don't realize that there are way worse threats to our woods, and since we don't hold a stake in those woods, like we do our lawn, we don't think about it all that much.

If you could get folks to the point where they worry about invasives like the do the dandelion, you are well on your way to a solution, a self-fulfilling resolution to the problem of invasives plant species in our woods.

It's like paying your taxes on April 15th. The government has us to the point of being slaves for them. We rush out with our checks made out to Uncle Sam, and we feel good about it. Now that's brain washing. If only we could get people to the same point about invasives.

I've been told by others concerned that " efforts of selectively encouraging the growth of certain plants & discouraging the growth of others may be considered a form of 'gardening' - in contrast to letting a place develop in a completely natural way." This is an important point that I agree with, because these efforts, when taken beyond the areas near paths and into areas not much touched by man, may actually do " more damage than they prevent, by disturbing earth and inadvertently damaging 'good' plants;" and that "over time, any such effort may be rendered moot anyway, as plants naturalize and a balance of distribution is restored." Certainly these are good points that need to be balanced with any efforts to eradicate the invasives. Perhaps the noble goal of education will be enhanced once it is decided what that balance ought to be. For instance, eradication may only be desirable to areas which are along paths.

Last spring I discovered the extent of garlic mustard proliferation at the Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve in Fox Chapel. It is way-worse than Murrysville. Folks ought to take a trip there in the spring, to discover first hand the foreboding of what might happen in Murrysville and other more rural locals that are just beginning to become overgrown with invasives. It certainly opened my eyes!!!

Hastert responds to FairTax

I sent a letter to Speaker of the House Hastert a few weeks ago asking for his support of the FairTax, and now I read this... I guess sometimes these politicians really do listen. If the FairTax ever becomes law, it will be significant to conservation organizations for all the reasons I stated before (no inheritance tax). In addition, consider this: How many people hesitate donating land because they are afraid of the IRS!! I daresay there are plenty. Now that there will no longer be an IRS, nor withholding taxes, nor any other kind of taxes, other than a national sales tax, there will be no need to have deductions. People will be coming out of the woodwork to donate land! Reason to cheer.
"In a surprise announcement by Rep. John Linder, we learned at the FairTax Orlando rally Saturday that the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, arranged a meeting between Rep. Linder, author of the FairTax legislation, and the President George W. Bush to discuss the merits of the FairTax! Thank you Mr. Speaker!

"President Bush had already heard from tens of thousands of FairTax supporters in our last call to action after the Altlanta, Ga. rally and tens of thousands have recently communicated their support of the FairTax to Mr. Hastert. The voice of the people is being heard.

"Speaker Hastert, who has been vocally supportive of the FairTax in the past, has now made possible a pivotally important meeting with our President to discuss the single most important public policy change in recent American history!

"Our campaign is moving. Thank you for making the FairTax one step closer to reality."
Liberal Idealist Gives Fair Tax Big Thumbs Up

With the FairTax, the government sends you a check, not the other way around, and no withholding taxes, only a 23% national sales tax.
"Human subtelty will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does Nature, because in her inventions, nothing is lacking and nothing is superfluous." -- Leonardo da Vinci
There is only one thing more simple or direct than the FairTax, and that is Nature.

The Terminator Acts

The Terminator (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger) sidesteps the legislative branch of government in California with an executive order. How can I cheer an oligarchy that acts unilaterally with tyranny? All this with an unproven hypothesis, that man has anything to do with these local weather patterns. Look for more and more businesses to move out of California; and the people too.

Killer Heat Waves

Here we go again. This is supposed to be true reporting? This is opinion, what ever happened to: "Just the facts, mame."? Even consider the title of the article: "Better get used to killer heat waves"
And not too far in: "For the long-term future, the world will see more and worse killer heat waves because of global warming, scientists say."

Ah, well at least this reminds me of the excellent Star Trek movie:

"The Search For Spock"

Remember the excellent fight scene between James T Kirk (William Shatner) and Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) as the Genesis Planet was overheating and breaking up? That was a great sequence. Now that's global warming for you.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Let those without sin...

To those pessimistic, yet justice minded souls who would believe that the government of Israel would purposely target U.N. peacekeepers... From
Israel is a parliamentary democracy and the world's only Jewish state, though its population includes citizens from many different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, as of May 2006, of Israel's 7 million people, 77% were Jews, 18.5% Arabs, and 4.3% "others". Among Jews, 68% were Sabras (Israeli-born), mostly second- or third-generation Israelis, and the rest are olim -- 22% from Europe and the Americas, and 10% from Asia and Africa, including the Arab countries.

I wonder, why be pessimistic and immediately accuse our allies of atrocities? Why not grant the benefit of the doubt to a like minded democracy and people of good faith? And what about these notions which distinguish and elevate the human race: 'innocent until proven guilty,' and 'forgiveness,' especially for accidents. Adopt a good nature, and be not so harsh nor the first to throw the first stone at Israel.'No one is to stone anyone until I blow this whistle!'

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Do you live a Carbon Neutral Lifestyle?

Apparently Al Gore buys his carbon neutral lifestyle. So he flies all over the world in jets, polluting and emitting more carbon dioxide than all the rest of us, and that's okay, because he pays for the right to emit, he is rich, he can afford all that hot air.

Gore: Take Personal Responsibility To Stem Crisis [had adopted a "carbon neutral lifestyle."....] [He certainly hasn't adopted a carbohydrate-neutral lifestyle.] ;)

Soar with Eagles

How can I soar with eagles, when I'm surrounded by turkeys.

"the wild, bicycle-chasing turkeys of Panther Hollow"

7 inches

"Global sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide." -- Al Gore's web site Climate Crisis

Checking the fine print in Al Gore's web site shows that he does not indicate a time frame for his claim. The so-called 'consensus' of science says this time frame is 100 years. Yet now I hear that Al may mean 1000 years. There is a difference. Others won't say what the time frame is. In 1000 years a 20 foot rise would cause no disaster, if fact, it would not be beyond the standard deviation for historical trends of sea level rise. In 100 years, it certainly would be a 'big deal.' So which is it Al? Is it 100 or 1000 years? Should we run screaming, scared of Global Warming? Or should we simply yawn. Well, since Gore claims to have 'invented the internet,' why not relax, sit back, kick off our shoes, put up our feet and just wait until Gore applies his superior intellect to the invention that will stop this looming disaster. ;)

Here is an article from the U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 095-02. This article is part of the 'consensus' and it is from the government. It states that: "Global sea level has risen about 18 centimeters (7.1 inches) in the past century (Douglas, 1997). Computer models suggest that climate change will cause an additional rise of 48 cm (18.9 in.) by the year 2100 (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001), which is more than double the rate of sea-level rise over the past century."

So why does Gore insist on 20 feet? 1.5 foot is more like it, and that is WITH the so-called global warming. If there is no global warming it will probably only be the historical value of 7 inches.

[while looking at Lord Farquaad's huge castle]
Shrek: Do you think he's maybe compensating for something?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Upside down smile.. What's up with that?

Compare the smiles...Is there a correlation? Am I the only one to notice?
Venezuelan dictator
Hugo Chavez
Bill Clinton

Today, or 100 years from now.

"A biologist studying wild songbirds in New York State has found that all 178 woodland birds he tested last year had unusually high levels of mercury in their blood and feathers, a sign that the toxic chemical has spread farther in the environment than previously thought."

So tell me, which is scarier for wild life? Mercury, or CO2? To me it's a slam dunk.

Yet all we hear in the old stream media is global warming, a sketchy hypothesis of 100 years from now. Today we are experiencing species decline, not because of CO2, but mercury.

It's a scary world, when the media doesn't understand the difference between today, and 100 years from now. The attention span of the public is not too long, let's talk about today's menaces, please.

FairTax letter to congress

The following is a letter I have written and sent to my representatives in congress, and to the Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert. I suggest others follow suit, read the book, and write their representatives.

I have recently purchased and read "The FairTax Book." There are many things about this plan that I had not known. For instance, the poor make out twice: through elimination of payroll taxes, and through the prebate mechanism. Additionally, since the 23 percent national sales tax supplants the hidden 22 percent tax embedded in all items we currently purchase (on average), there will be no additional burden on those more needy souls of our nation. The middle class (including myself) also benefit for these same reasons. The cost of compliance with the IRS is a whole other ball of wax that goes out with the wash, and never comes back with abolition of the IRS. I can no longer do my own taxes, and feel that the whole process of our overly complicated tax return system is an abomination. Another issue I had not previously know about this new proposal for tax collection is the amount of money that is kept overseas, by corporations and wealthy individuals in order to avoid taxation in this country, all done legally. With the elimination of all taxes on income and savings, this money will surely flood back to our nation, and our country will be the country of choice for doing business. We lead the world today, but that head start will surely crumble over time if we do not act soon. In my optimistic attempt to help our nation for my daughter and all of our successive generations, I ask that you support the FairTax, whole heartedly, embrace this new plan which does not change the way congress does business, but only changes the way our budgets and entitlements are funded.

I offer this additional advice, for what it is worth. I realize that Republicans this year are in tight re-election campaigns, and I wish you and others the best of luck. I stand behind you and always have. As a way to distinguish and differentiate your representation of the constituents of Illinois, as I have asked my representative of Pennsylvania to represent me, I suggest you and other Republicans run on the platform of replacing the IRS with the FairTax. Who out there among us does not despise the IRS? If the campaign ads are structured in a clever and precise way, we can show all constituents that this is the right thing to do. Don't let the left wrongly say the plan is a tax increase on the poor, as I've indicated before, they benefit twice. This is in your best interest, because polls show that this is a winning platform. Look at recent primaries in Georgia, where +80% of voters voted for this very issue, and more practically, the turn out increased because of the issue. As a representative of the people, you can see that this is a win-win scenario, stand behind the FairTax, win elections, and most importantly, the people win, because the taxation is simple and fair.

Thank you in advance for consideration.
Douglas A. Bauman

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Rice PC, Cars not

Perhaps this is a greater contributor to global warming than CO2. It is known that methane plays a bigger role, but why not report this in the media? Perhaps because rice fields are politically correct, yet cars are not..

'Tax cuts are good for everyone' "an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance our budget, just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits." -- John F. Kennedy.

Big Dig: Lethal Boondoggle

Big Dig : Another federally funded boondoggle. 'Fatality adds to long list of Big Dig's woes.'
$14.6 billion down the drain, because of government ineptness.
Reagan vetoed federal funding of this project, but the D's
overrode his veto.
'3 More Loose Bolts Found in Big Dig Tunnel'

Monday, July 24, 2006

'Farming for Embryos' versus 'Alternate Techniques'

Why veto the use of stem cells from embryos?

It's about trade-offs. Young women are swayed to abort, simply to obtain these embryos. That's sending the wrong message to young women. They should be taught abstinence, not 'farming for embryos.'

It's not about the so-called 'waste'; it's about behavior. I wouldn't want anyone trying to persuade my daughter to do anything immoral, just to advance a less than obvious attempt to solve some of these diseases.

Some of the diseases they are attempting to 'cure' are very difficult to cure. Many are extending false and misplaced hopes to cure these diseases. Why change the behavior of a whole society, simply to cure diseases which affect not the young?

Additionally, we are not the only country to consider banning this, so too is the EU.

The trade off to science is this: science is getting good at finding other ways to accomplish the same goal: bone marrow, etc. There are already successes in using alternate methods to develop stem cells.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Wasteful Government

Government is surely inept. How in the world could anyone expect any inept entity like government to effectively take over healthcare? It would ruin it.

Take this article as an example. I think we ought to eliminate the department of Homeland Security, I don't see anything useful, or constitutional about that boondoggle.

"The Homeland Security Department spent $34 billion in its first two years on private contracts that were poorly managed or included significant waste or abuse, a congressional report concluded Thursday, [July 27, 2006]."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

FairTax Hillary

Addendum: There is one way I'd vote for Hillary for president... If she would support the FairTax!

What name do you prefer for Presidential Candidate Clinton?
Hillary Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Rodham
FairTax Hillary

Scary for president!

I used to like Owen Wilson, but now I'm going to have to rethink that. I guess that's what they mean by separate the artist from the art. He is a great actor, but not too smart in real life, based on what I read this article.

This lady is scary, I tell you. Look at the pic in the article. She is so condescending. She and her ilk want to tell me and all of us what to do. She wants to nationalize medicine. That's scary. It will bankrupt the nation. What husband will vote for her in the general election..? I can't even imagine Bill would do so.

I just can't believe that this is supposed to be a better replacement for our current president. Sure Bush is not too smart, but at least he doesn't force feed the oligarchy down our throats (correct me if I am wrong). By that, I mean he doesn't intend to raise taxes so as to nationalize medicine. That's way too much government for me. And Hillary will personally chose our doctors for us, right?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The man paused, stood, and stared awhile.
He wondered what he might have missed.
Or when he may have missed it, but
something was definitely awry.

That was it, the onset of his journey onto
another path, his leap from one course to
another, sort of like that moment at the
arrival of a fork in the road, and the leap-second
latency from mind to foot taken, yet taken.

This man's new path wasn't a mere walk in
the woods. It was a new outlook on life,
guided with inertia via wisdom attained,
yet not completely honed, but still mysterious
in that the future is so unknown, but steadfast
in his new resolution to pursue those things
that he -- missed.

Perhaps it was something, someone, some aspects
of life overlooked, but more likely it was many of those
parts which were rather overstepped, with little
pause for consideration, less patience than desired,
and not time taken to contemplate the really important...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Here's to 'tenacious temperament' I wish I had more of it.

Some might ask: how can you be for preservation of land, yet at the same time be for limiting government from infringing the liberties and property rights of individuals. I am. There are better ways to preserve land, than to have government come in and step all over our liberties. For instance, repeal the death tax, that alone will send gobs of land to conservancies.

Here's the story of my battle with goverment over land. I lost that battle, and now, 12 thousand dollars later, and at the detrimint to a large swath of land (400 feet) that was wiped of trees on my property, I now have public sewer, even though I did not want it; and oh, yes, a $60 a month bill to boot. ;(

Have a nice day. ;)
[Here is a letter to the editor from last December...
The Municipal Authority of Washington Township, a newly formed sewer authority, is forcing every resident adjacent to their new sewer lines to connect without regard to state law, which provides that they only have authority to mandate connections to homes within 150 feet of their lines.

Other water authorities in Westmoreland County abide by the second-class township act in their dealings. Who remembers what taxation without representation is all about?

Apparently, these authorities have board members who are appointed by a township; they are not elected by any voter. Consequently, they have unlimited power with little culpability or accountability for their actions. Onerous costs of up to $15,000 must be incurred by some along these lines.

I for one am outraged and demand a better system, one with oversight and voter representation. Anyone else with concerns of their own may contact the MAWT at 724-727-5881 or and voice your outrage.

You many not even know what may soon be coming your way.

Douglas A. Bauman
Washington Township

Friday, July 14, 2006

Laffer has the last laugh

The economists I listen to subscribe to the theory that there is a curve called the "Laffer curve." It is bell shaped with the top between 23 and 30 %. If taxes on average center in that range, then you maximize revenue. Our current taxes, on average are to the right of the peak, so by shifting downwards toward that peak, you actually increase revenue by decreasing taxes; however, if you go too far, you do tend to lose revenue. Of course this is an over simplification of a complex dynamic system, but it is a good model to discuss for the purposes of demonstrating the phenomenon.

Tax cuts spur an increase in revenue for the Federal Government. This worked under Kennedy, it worked for Reagan, and it even worked for Clinton (the child tax credit increase, cutting taxes), and of course now it is working under Bush. I'd call that a pretty good trend. And of course the reverse holds true as well, each time the taxes were raised significantly, there was a dent in the economy. I think we are definitely on the Right Hand Side of that LAFFER curve. Shaky ground we are on with most economists, perhaps, with respect to predicting and shaping the economy, but for long term taxation, this is one trend which is continually proven again and again.

The point may be made that when the economy rebounds (either on it's own or when spurred by a tax cut) that inflation may creep, but the Federal Reserve is trying to control that these days. Under Kennedy and the period after that economic recovery, the powers that be did not do a very good job of controlling inflation. Today, they are trying to get a handle on it by increasing interest rates. That does indeed control inflation, because it causes the stock market to stabilize (short term declines), the long term trend is only a slow upward movement, rather than a bubble like we had at other times.

I say, let's just hold taxes steady, because if they let the Bush taxes expire in a few years it will cause a recession, take that to the bank.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Be like Kirk

Attention all Star Trek fans..

Kirk was always riding in on his cowboy horse, to far-away planets; and even though there was this 'non-interference' clause with the Federation, he was always interfering.
Take for instance the episode: In "A Taste Of Armageddon", where Kirk and Spock took it upon themselves to forfeit a 'peace' between two worlds who were at war for centuries. The mechanism they used was to have a computer simulation fight the war for them. If the computer indicated that you die, you reported to a 'disintegrator chamber', and that was that, you were dead and gone. The two worlds claimed that this was better, because no infrastructure was destroyed, just the people, so their war could go on, and their societies could go on, still with 'casualties', but without the violence.

So Kirk and Spock went around destroying the 'disintegrator chambers', knowing full well that would mean either a return to violent hostilities or a permanent peace without the stupid computer model and non-violent deaths. Spock claimed, upon the destruction of one of the chambers, that he was: "practicing a peculiar variety of diplomacy." You could read in his voice that he, being a Vulcan, didn't exactly approve of it, but that Kirk was his boss and friend, and he followed his lead.

Well this makes me think of the way Bush handles things. Perhaps Bush is a Star Trek fan, and wants to be like James T Kirk..

A quiz I wrote in the '80s

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What will Bush do with North Korea?

I don't know the answer to "What will Bush do". I'm not defending Bush here, per se. I note this quote by Joseph Kennedy in 1940. Even though he was wrong to appease Hitler, he was right about what the result would be:
"A bureaucracy would take over right off. Everything we hold dear would be gone. "
Many of our liberties are gone because of the huge bureaucracy that is the federal government today. So what is the middle ground? I don't know. A war cost money and lives. Yet to let a criminally insane dictator with WMD remain can result in disaster. I'm not the person to answer that question. One thing I do know, however, is this. When I vote for an official to represent me, I expect him or her to represent me with the same conviction that they had when they were making their campaign promises. Bush promised security. Kerry promised appeasement and forms of cut and run. I chose the former, and I will not waver in my support of my decision, and I expect my leader to not waver in his commitment to security.

"Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing." -- Abraham Lincoln

Bush is the tree. The media is casting the wrong shadow over him.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Deficit dropping faster than predicted

The deficit is shrinking, and revenue is increasing, this because of the Bush tax cuts....

"Strong gains in tax receipts have overwhelmed increased federal spending."

"Indeed, tax collections are surging at a 13 percent growth rate, reflecting particularly strong growth in taxes paid on corporate profits and income taxes paid by wealthier people and small businessmen who pay taxes quarterly instead of having them withheld by employers."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Slouching towards New Jersey

Good news in New Jersey: No government. That's right, there is no government there. That means they can't hold back the free market. Will that good news persist? Who knows. Too bad it isn't happening with the Federal Government.. :(
The same thing will happen in Pennsylvania if our current Governor had his way (Rendell); the proposal is for slot machines to replace property tax, and that proposal has essentially gone nowhere.
Taxes in New Jersey are worse than PA, but not by much. When government over taxes, the result is usually a disaster. What I don't understand is, why don't the casinos just open, with government shut down, who is going to stop them?
Who could honestly say they miss the government..? not me.