Saturday, June 19, 2010

Obama at the Bat

This came in the mail this morning from a dear old friend and I present it to you as a pleasant respite. It is a priceless reworking of the favorite childhood poem, “Casey at the Bat” by Earnest Thayer. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

“Obama’s gonna Change It”

Go back to September of 2008 when this YouTube was the hottest thing on the internet. Go ahead, click and play this as a reminder. It carried a promise which has been fulfilled. In a scant twenty-one months, he has indeed “changed it.” The precious young people who are delivering the message have now acquired their share of the projected national debt which comes to about $125,000 each. The odds are one in five (or one in ten if you believe the administration) that their parents have lost their jobs and will be unable to send them to college. If mortgage default continues at its present rate, they will also be homeless. The promise has been fulfilled, but only half way. He has delivered only half the deal; the change has occurred—the hope, not so much.

Those who have observed Obama in action clearly understand the principle of “using” others to achieve his goals. It is common practice in today’s advertising world to lean heavily on juvenile talent to carry an adult message. Find the cutest baby, the most appealing child and pull out all the stops to bang your message home while the audience is entranced by the endearing kid. No matter the product, baby food, tires, insurance, or cereal, some cuddly little tyke will get the job done when all else fails. The reason is simple: we are decent, loving people and are attracted to the youngest among us. Even the hardest heart recognizes the need to protect the young of our species. Also, we can easily relate because we were all there once.

Near the close of the tape, we note the pleased parents gathering the kids in their arms and praising their effort. Let’s admit it; for a youth choir, they are terrific. Now the question is how many of the proud mamas and papas were thrilled with the children’s efforts and how many were moved by the message? I would suggest that it was a horse apiece.

Not long after this, I had some serious conversations with a couple school board members about the possibility of our local district emulating this activity. Although it had not been suggested I was anxious to be reassured that it would not be a possibility. The current level of indoctrination of our youth by faculty is bad enough without lending facilities and other instructors to finish the job. In my dotage, I have no kids enrolled in the local school district but that in no way lessens my interest, as a taxpayer, in what is going on there. I left the interviews with each representative with agreement that he understood the potential for danger in this sort of politicking and the necessity of a watchful eye.

I spent two years in Germany shortly after WWII and had two close male friends (German citizens both) of my age who shared experiences they had as part of the Hitlerjugend. As I watched the video, the distant conversations with both Klaus and Joachim about their compulsory service came to mind immediately. The parallels were obvious and I believe, deliberate. While I have been a severe critic of Obama’s reputation for high intelligence I do credit him with a serious understanding of the dynamics of moving a crowd to a specific goal. Although unqualified for the job he did manage to win.

If you have not clicked on the link so far you should do so now. We all need the memory jog to keep us ever mindful of just how shallow the electorate can be. It would be ridiculous to say that he was elected as the result of this lone video. It surely didn’t hurt him though.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Friday, June 18, 2010

Old River Cut-off—A Solution for the Salt Marsh?

There are two major natural factors which work to stem the advancing tide of the oil spill to the fragile eco-system which is the salt marshes of Louisiana. The first is the wind direction in the Gulf. The second is the force of the water coming down the Mississippi and its outward push from the land mass.

As the winds shifted to the northwest, they tended to push the polluted waters away from the threatened wetlands which comprise over 40% of such terrain in the US. This seasonal wind change is of course, a blessing, but with little advantage if the direction were to change. If this normal pattern continues, it buys time to implement other more concrete solutions. This, of course, underscores the necessity of immediate and unhampered action in the coastal area to avert what is shaping up to be a major disaster.

The river (Mississippi) is quite another matter. Decades ago, the US Army Corps of Engineers undertook a project to alter the flow of the Mississippi to protect downstream cities (New Orleans, Baton Rouge, etc.) and the endless miles of petrochemical industries scattered up the banks in that general vicinity. They chose a spot called Breezy Point which is on the river exactly where the LA/MS east-west border meets the river in Concordia Parish. Over a span of years they built diversion canals, spillways, dams, and relief structures to feed about 30% of the big river into the Atchafalaya (pronounced: cha-fa-lie’-yah) basin. It quickly became the life blood of the local eco-system.

The project also lessened the water levels to protect the downstream entities. New Orleans especially has long been the subject of fears from the river. Standing at the Café du Monde near Jackson Square, one has to crane the neck up, uncomfortably, to note the ocean going ship traffic’s superstructure on the river. If they are mid-river, they disappear from sight. When the hurricane hit, the levees were breeched and you know the rest of that story.

Some experts, seriously involved in the hydrology of the area, are suggesting an alteration of the dispersal of water at the Old River Cutoff. They recognize that even a slight change in the allocation of waters to increase the Mississippi flow would have a positive affect on the force of river where it meets to Gulf. They see the result as “pushing” greater amounts of water further into the sea and lessening the threat to the delicate salt marshes. This is a great idea as far as it goes but I’m certain (or at least hope) they are inhibited by two potential problems.

With an increased water level in New Orleans, the city would be subject to vulnerability if just about any minor hurricane were to strike. That season is well under weigh and the possibility is ever present. The figure of the increase would be from the current load of 70% to as high as 81%. They speculate that this could be accomplished within ten days.

The second problem is more difficult to predict. Reducing the available water to the now well established Atchafalaya River could well have an affect on the well developed eco-system in the basin. The wetlands reach scores of miles inland and could result in endless damage to bayous, swamps and extremely delicate systems over thousands of square miles. In total, the plan, while workable, does have inherent risk.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

(Ed note: This piece is based on personal experience gained while living in Lafayette, Baton Rouge and Houma, Louisiana. For the finest account of the creation of the Old River Cutoff, I recommend John McPhee’s “The Control of Nature” 1989.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today’s Oil Spill Outrage

For anyone left who thinks the government is doing a great job containing the oil spill we suggest you look in on Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal as he went to the dockside to see the departure of the barges loaded with spill equipment. The feds maintained that they had delayed the departure of this critical equipment because they need to be checked for safety equipment; life vests, fire extinguishers, etc.

The following is from an ABC News report:

“Eight days ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state’s oil-soaked waters. Today, against the governor’s wishes, those barges sat idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore.

“It’s the most frustrating thing,” the Republican governor said today in Buras, La. “Literally, yesterday morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges.”

Sixteen barges sat stationary today, although they were sucking up thousands of gallons of BP’s oil as recently as Tuesday. Workers in hazmat suits and gas masks pumped the oil out of the Louisiana waters and into steel tanks. It was a homegrown idea that seemed to be effective at collecting the thick gunk.

“These barges work. You’ve seen them work. You’ve seen them suck oil out of the water,” said Jindal.

So why stop now?

“The Coast Guard came and shut them down,” Jindal said. “You got men on the barges in the oil, and they have been told by the Coast Guard, ‘Cease and desist. Stop sucking up that oil.’”

A Coast Guard representative told ABC News today that it shares the same goal as the governor.

“We are all in this together. The enemy is the oil,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dan Lauer.

But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.”

Note that there was no assertion that the safety equipment was missing but that they actually needed to see it. This is bureaucracy at its most offensive worst. At the current flow, each and every minute of delay releases another 35 gallons into the Gulf. An hour is 2100 gallons total and in one day, an extra 50,400 gallons.

When will it end?

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Presidential Poll Numbers

Because of past successful performance in critical elections, Rasmussen has proven to be the one to watch as a predictor of results. They only poll likely voters and the outcome demonstrates amazing accuracy on testing the public will.

Obama has been polling in the minus high teens for the last couple of weeks in the “strongly approve/disapprove” category. After his oil spill speech, we find him owning a -20%. Without the “strongly” modifier he is currently at 42% approve and 57% disapprove for a net -15%.

This link will take you to  the complete history of Obama’s poll numbers since his inauguration in January 2009. Go to the home page for other polling results which may have local interest concerning your personal favorites—or objects of your derision.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What Do We Do Now? Punt !!!

The golden moment has come and gone and we have no more idea now what the White House has in mind than we did 58 days ago. The oil continues to gush a mile under the sea, the bureaucracy continues to grind along, and the president has taken the podium and is still gushing platitudes, generalities and no concrete steps. Oh he has assured us that BP will pay and he will appoint a blue ribbon commission and engage every Nobel Laureate he can find but does not mention exactly whose hands are going to get dirty fixing this thing. We can depend that he’ll not eat his next snow cone while visiting the gulf with oil stained hands.

The “speech” was rife with comparisons to other calamities but his leadership is in no way comparable to those who handled the mentioned disasters. There was no call to arms for the people to become involved in saving themselves and their way of life. Even Roosevelt had the presence of mind to realize that he required the efforts of each and every citizen if WWII was to be successfully resolved. Our first view of Bush after 9/11 was encouraging the nation with a borrowed bull horn from atop a pile of rubble.

What was missing in the entire mess was any degree of specificity. Mixed in with some of his favorite agenda items for the congress was little concrete information as to how the leak would be stopped or how he had waived austere requirements from various federal agencies to circumvent their regulations to allow the clean-up to proceed. As a confessed conservative you would logically expect that I would find little praise worthy material in the president’s text.

For a good look at the opinions of established pundits and commentators on the left I strongly recommend you play this tape. Here, Keith Olbermann interviews Chris Matthews of MSNBC and Howard Fineman from Newsweek magazine. You must click on this link and hear these guys. I’m pretty certain that the bloom is off the rose.

Now wasn’t that special? I especially enjoyed Olbermann’s line: “It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days.”

I noted the other day that the thought of President Biden was becoming more and more attractive to me by the day. This evening, I am definitely ready. God help us all!

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

A Few Grins on Tuesday and some Good News

Under the constant avalanche of bad news from D.C., the Gulf and everywhere the administration’s hand reaches, we need to take some time out and appreciate the good news and some times humorous moments in life. Yes, I realize that these are scarce commodities but that doesn’t mean they are non-existent.

For example; we find newly elected New Jersey governor Chris Christie at it again. He is obviously bent on injecting fiscal responsibility by insisting that school districts use available funds and not tap the public purse. If you check the article in  "Jammie Wearing Fool" you will find greater detail on his “radical” method. If he is not careful, he will destroy a concept which I have harbored for years that New Jersey is synonymous with corruption. It is difficult to remember any person in government who has brought such joy to the heart of a conservative as Chris Christie.

If you have little experience listening to Mark Levin, this will be lost on you. His explosions in the face of liberal lies (is that redundant?) is legendary. When I directed my attention to this interview with Al Green, on “real clear politics”, I hesitated for fear of hearing him dissect this poor man as would be normal. Mr. Green recently won a surprising victory in the primary in South Carolina for the Democrat nomination to face Jim DeMint in the November elections. Levin, in a total reversal of technique, was kind, considerate, polite, gentle, and solicitous.

Listen to the interview and you will come away with a firm grasp of the intellectual capacity of the South Carolina Democrat electorate. The most telling moment comes at the end of the interview when he asks Mr. Green to identify his opponent in the upcoming general election. Listen carefully and judge for yourself if my appraisal of Mr. Levin is accurate. Should we file this under “humor” or “good news?”

A commenter on Yahoo Answers posed the following which one can only hope was “tongue in cheek” as a solution to a raft of problems.

“Why not use the stimulus package to voluntarily retire people over 50 that are still working? There are over 40 million people over the age of 50 that are still working. Why not offer them 1 million dollars a piece to take a patriotic retirement with strings attached?

The strings attached.

1. You must buy an American made car = 40 million cars bought= Auto industry fixed

2. You must purchase a house= 40 million homes bought= Housing market fixed

3. You must retire from your job= 40 million job openings= Employment fixed.

Why are we not really getting creative in fixing the economy instead of flushing our money?”

Sounds like a winner right? It is if you have no mathematical knowledge. When a million is multiplied by $40 million the result is $40,000,000,000,000.00 ($40 Trillion.) Don’t hold your breath on this one; even this renegade congress can see through it. This would increase the debt of every man, woman and child by $125,000.00 apiece. Even so, just don’t mention this to any congress critter you might know who could also be mathematically challenged.

I found this on Instapundit yesterday in regard to the proposed $50 billion added stimulus package:

“As my father-in-law said, when they want to raise taxes, it’s always for the teachers and the firemen—but when they actually get the money, it goes to buy leather chairs for guys you’ve never heard of who work downtown.”

When I started this piece I was pleading “grins and some good news” in the offering. After three hours of searching the net, I have to explain that the jokes on me. This is the best I could come up with. I have been accused of seeing the funny side of nearly every issue but it’s getting tougher and tougher.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Monday Morning Rant 150

I deeply regret that I find it difficult to maintain the spiritual lift I received from brother Lee Parsons this morning. His central message concerned Saint John 1:29 which says in part: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (KJV) He (John) was speaking of the approaching Christ and carried a message which constitutes the “good news.” I find it striking that he uses the singular “sin” rather then isolating specifics by saying “sins.” As a result, it includes each and every soul and wrapws the totality of sin in a package. As I repeat it, I find a restoration of the good spirit--those are encouraging words.

Piled higher and Deeper

In this video, posted on Knowledge is Power, we find a report from Fox News which should give you some obvious insight into the machinations of this White House and its minions.

Scientists and engineers were enlisted to give credence to a recent report on the oil spill. In classic “bait and switch” style, they assembled a benign report, got the experts to sign off and then added the moratorium on drilling offshore for six months after they had their compliance. Some of that group have become aware of these shenanigans and published their displeasure with both the conclusions and the methodology. It is necessary that the video be viewed to appreciate the depth of avarice involved.

For more insight on the ramifications of your host’s opinions on this technique, re-read the preceding post. I submit that this circumstance validates my conclusions and suspicions. It is difficult for those of good faith to confront the reality that this administration is not constrained by the normal societal mores held by men of good will. Be assured that the document which the qualified and experienced scientists signed off on is not that which the White House offered to the public.

This constitutes hard evidence that our nation is being directed by those of little or no conscience. They will stoop to any ruse, no matter how infantile, to achieve their end results.

The oil extraction business is dominated by highly technical and specialized equipment which serves little purpose other than recovering usable quantities of product. It is single purpose gear dedicated to only one possible use. Once manufactured, it has no value other than its originally designed sophisticated intention. It is also extremely expensive. The investment has already been made and recovery of that expense depends upon its immediate and constant use if there is any hope of recovering its original cost.

If a farmer were to be deprived of the use of tractors, mowers, balers, seeders and plows; how long would it be before every farm was bankrupt? Would the president, in case a single restaurateur managed to poison his clientele with under cooked food, declare a moratorium on the use of all stoves, ovens, fryers and other heating devices and destroy the food industry? Look at your own specialty and equate the deprivation of and use of a vital piece of equipment to your own occupation and appreciate what a blow this is to the oil business. Are you next on the list of these destructive practices? These are the tools of the trade and their absence will deal a death blow to a vital business and the nation as a whole. Working on an offshore rig is a high dollar job and the loss will only drive the depression deeper.

A Mad Dog Loose in the Streets

Those who follow this blog are well acquainted with my attitudes toward my constant companions and their predecessors. My furry pals have given me so much more over the years than I could ever repay with food, toys, ear scratching and the like. They have comforted me in grief, provided moments of unanticipated joy, been ever watchful to provide an early warning system, and risen to my defense in response to a perceived threat. In some cases, they have departed this life at my feet to comfort me to the last possible instant. Only in the unhappy circumstance of extreme suffering and hopelessness could I ever consider helping them to their final end. Fortunately, this has been an extremely rare occurrence.

I have had a dog as a companion for 70 of my 78 years but even though I can’t sometimes find my glasses, I can easily bring back a mental picture and fond memory of each and every one. Only one dog has ever attacked me in my life. A litter-mate of my Rhodesian Ridgeback was a guard dog at a neighboring turkey farm and on my first visit there, grabbed my elbow as I attempted to leave my car. I later found that he was a cancer victim in constant pain who was eventually destroyed by his owner, a vet.

Among the universe of marvelous dogs are those who are subject to the dread disease, hydrophobia. It renders “man’s best friend” into a lunatic force with a single minded eye to destruction. An encounter with one can result in very painful treatments if you are lucky or possible death if you are not. In today’s world, cases of actual “mad” dogs are extremely rare. Like the encounter with a pain crazed dog cited above, they are manically striking out at whatever they encounter, confusing it with the inner demons which plague their lives. Even though we sympathize, we clearly understand the threat and find it necessary to respond. Although humane capture and isolation are preferred, many often resort to destruction as the only option.

Just as animals are encouraged to emulate human activity, (come, sit, stay, heel, etc.) we occasionally see humans who constantly seem bent on emulating damaging animalistic behavior as well. As we observe “leadership” that seem constantly on the alert to advance programs which prove destructive to the body politic, one questions what demonic force is promoting their actions. As the total mounts day by day, is it possible to equate the actions to the un-reasoned attacks by the rabid dog? As iterated above; humane capture and isolation are the preferred option.

One last note for those who are enjoying this edition of “Dog Talk;” for your personal safety, don’t mess with a female and her pups. This applies cross-species.

And finally,

How is it possible for such a mob of tiny birds to manage to empty a full liter of syrupy goo in such a short time? The hummingbird feeder is in need of a refill already in about a week. The birds at the standard feeder are much easier to understand. In their sloppy eating habits we observe about as much seed falling over the side as they ingest. There is no evidence that the hummingbirds are that careless. They rarely feed for more than 5 or 6 seconds. In mid-June we continue to see roughly the same mix of breeds as were here far earlier in the spring.

After a series of 90° days one can only imagine what will follow the Summer Solstice on the 21st. We have had a series of threats of thunderstorms after bedtime, which rarely result in more than .1 or .15 in the rain gauge. We continue to water daily with special attention to the tomatoes and the grapes. They constitute the excitement of the week since the grapes have reached the open work on the front half of the deck roof. The fruit is gradually enlarging and I will soon need to get out my toga to get in character. God is good.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon