Archive for September, 2010

Barack Obama: “My Muslim Faith”

September 18, 2010

Discussions about a recent Pew Research poll have asked why so many people believe President Barack Obama is a Muslim even though he claims to be a Christian. The individuals asking this question apparently believe we are supposed to be like “Good Germans” and accept statements by our nation’s leader without question.

These individuals also apparently have forgotten that President Bill Clinton falsely said that he didn’t have a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Many apparently believe that Obama is telling similar lies about his religious beliefs.

I don’t know what religion Obama really believes, or if he really cares about religion. Many political leaders in the U.S. and other nations are religious chameleons who claim to belong to whatever religion provides them the most political benefits.

Those who believe Obama is a Muslim may remember what he said in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC prior to the 2008 election.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You mention your Christian faith. Yesterday you took off after the Republicans for suggesting you have Muslim connections. Just a few minutes ago, Rick Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager, said they’ve never done that. This is a false and cynical attempt to play victim.

OBAMA: You know what? I mean, these guys love to throw a rock and hide their hand. The…

STEPHANOPOULOS: The McCain campaign has never suggested you have Muslim connections.

OBAMA: No, no, no. But the — I don’t think that when you look at what is being promulgated on Fox News, let’s say, and Republican commentators who are closely allied to these folks–

STEPHANOPOULOS: But John McCain said that’s wrong.

OBAMA: Now, well, look. Listen. You and I both know that the minute that Governor Palin was forced to talk about her daughter, I immediately said that’s off limits. And–

STEPHANOPOULOS: But John McCain said the same thing about questioning your faith.

OBAMA: And what was the first thing the McCain?s campaign went out and did? They said, look, these liberal blogs that support Obama are out there attacking Governor Palin.

Let’s not play games. What I was suggesting — you’re absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith. And you’re absolutely right that that has not come–

STEPHANOPOULOS: Christian faith.

OBAMA: — my Christian faith.

At the time Israelinsider suggested that Obama really meant what he said. “In one of the most astonishing gaffes in American political history, in a national televised interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulus, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama referred to ‘my Muslim faith,’ confirming what researchers and political opponents have been claiming. While Stephanopoulus several seconds later tried to correct him, saying ‘Christian faith,’ it was too late. The damage was done. Obama clearly did not mean his Christian faith, since he was admitting that ‘John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith.’ The term ‘Christian faith’ would not make sense in that context.”

Israelinsider correctly pointed out that merely replacing the word “Muslim” with “Christian” wouldn’t make sense. If Obama misspoke, it is the entire sentence that is wrong not just the word “Muslim”. There would be no reason for Obama to talk about McCain making an issue of his Christian faith.

Considering that Obama had a degree from Harvard we would expect that if didn’t mean he was a Muslim he would have said something like “McCain hasn’t suggested I’m a Muslim.” Too bad Stephanopoulos interrupted Obama in the middle of a sentence that might have provided a better indication of what point Obama was attempting to make. We’ll never know if Stephanopoulos rescued Obama from any even bigger blunder or kept him from clarifying his statement.

The main point is that Obama’s own words indicated he could be a Muslim even though he claims to be a Christian. Many Democrats in the media believe that Obama is a Christian because that is what he claims most of the time. Those who believe Obama is a Muslim think he would only have used the phrase “my Muslim faith” if he were a Muslim.

The BCS Football Cesspool

September 18, 2010

The cesspool that is major college football is producing an odor that would repel a skunk.

BCS which officially stands for Bowl Championship Series really refers to Business Corrupted Schools. Business Corrupted Schools have an unhealthy preoccupation with making as much money as possible so their millionaire coaches and athletic directors can get even richer. They may be willing to do anything for more money.

The wealthy schools of major conferences established the BCS to control who could participate in a national college football championship by limiting the ability of schools from financially weaker conferences to participate.

The recent attack on the Big 12 by the predatory Big 10 and Pac 10 conferences, like a previous attack on the Big East by the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (ACC), have nothing to do with sports. Their actions represent cut throat business competition at its worst. Their apparent motive was to destroy a competing conference to reduce competition for television audiences and bowl games.

The Big 12 has been in more BCS championship games than the Big 10 and Pac 10 combined. Destroying the Big 12 would have reduced competition for the BCS championship game.

The Big 10 and Pac 10 attacked the rival Big 12 like a pack of wolves, or maybe a gang of rustlers considering that the Pac 10 wanted the Texas Longhorns. They used rumors in the media to conduct an apparently coordinated attack designed to scare teams into leaving the Big 12 for their conferences to avoid not belonging to a conference. They succeeded in getting Nebraska and Colorado to stray, but the big prizes Texas and Oklahoma decided not to leave.

If I didn’t know better I might think that the two conferences were run by 19th Century Robber Barons like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. Soap opera fans unfamiliar with business history might want to think of the Big 10 being run by Adam Chandler (All My Children) and the Pac 10 by Victor Newman (Young and the Restless) with J.R. Ewing (Dallas) the athletic director of the University of Texas. I don’t think any of the schools/conferences are connected to someone like Tony Soprano.

The attack failed in part because Big 12 members like the University of Kansas, that the Pac 10 and Big 10 didn’t want, offered a bribe to the Texas and Oklahoma schools from the money they would otherwise have received from Nebraska and Colorado as damages for leaving the Big 12. The defection of Colorado and Nebraska meant that the remaining schools would divide network money 10 ways instead of 12 ways. The University of Texas felt it could make more money if it had the opportunity to run its own television network for games not wanted by the national networks which it wouldn’t have been able to do in the Pac 10.

The Conference Wars began in 2003 with the ACC’s raid that took three schools from the Big East. The raid provoked a lawsuit by the State of Connecticut that unsuccessfully attempted to prevent the schools from leaving.

Apparently the ACC took the wrong teams because two years after Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech left the Big East, the Washington Post reported that the Big East had rebounded and the ACC had gone nowhere. Prior to the ACC’s raid on the Big East the Big East’s Miami and Virginia Tech and the ACC’s Florida State had a combined six appearances in the BCS championship game which was first played following the 1998 season. None has been in a BCS championship game since. Miami was the .last to participate as the Big East 2002 champion.

The situation with the Big 12 and Big East was different than the situation that caused the breakup of the Southwest Conference in the 90’s. The Southwest Conference had lost television revenue and had declining attendance at games in part because all but three members (Arkansas, Baylor and Rice) had been caught violating NCAA rules in the 80’s. The situation at SMU had been so bad the school had had to temporarily suspend its football program. Joining other conferences allowed the schools to regain some credibility.

The Big East and Big 12 schools had credibility at the time they were attacked. The same can not be said for Pac 10 football power The University of Southern California and Big Ten member The University of Michigan whose football programs have recently been penalized for violating NCAA rules. Earlier in the decade Michigan’s basketball program was punished. Incidentally, the Big 10 and Pac 10 may have been uninterested in basketball power the University of Kansas because of a major ticket scalping scandal involving athletic department members.

If a major conference wants to expand it should consider inviting schools from the Rodney Dangerfield conferences (those conferences that don’t get no respect), instead of attempting to destroy rival conferences. Conferences should use a sportsman like approach similar to the one used by individual schools when seeking a new coach from another schools. An expanding conference should ask the conference for permission to talk to specific teams and offer to compensate the conference losing a school. An expanding conference should not take more than two teams from another conference unless the two conferences are merging or one is breaking up anyway as happened with the Southwest Conference.

If conferences cannot compete fairly then perhaps it is time for Congress to step in and take over regulation of major college sports conferences to insure fair competition.

Big 10 and Pac 10 schools in the past have boasted of their research orientation. Their attack on the Big 12 indicates that football clearly dominates both conferences. The schools in both conferences are just as much “football U” as the universities of Texas and Alabama. In fact Ohio State’s sports budget is the same as that of the University of Texas.

The Big 10 and Pac 10 will do anything to increase their sports revenue including destroying their competition. Do their members take the same approach to the research programs they brag about?

There are two basic types of scientific research — research for money from those who want specific results (even if they are lies) and research to expand knowledge. Is the research Big 10 and Pac 10 schools brag about for money or knowledge?

Some of the research at Big 10 members indicates their research programs exist to bring in money rather than to expand scientific knowledge.

The Climategate scandal exposed emails by Big 10 member Penn State University Professor Michael Mann indicating he and others had manipulated research results to support claims about global warming. PSU conducted its own investigation of the professor who had brought millions into the university and determined there was nothing wrong with his manipulations.

Researchers at another Big 10 member Purdue University conducted a phony 2007 computer study that supposedly projected the potential for tornadoes in the future under “global warming”. The fact is that weather related computer programs have difficulty predicting short term weather, including tornadoes, accurately. In June, 2008, Accuweather’s computers predicted a major tornado outbreak on June 5 comparable to the Super Outbreak of April, 1974. The tornado outbreak didn’t occur, but the storm system produced severe storms from Texas to South Dakota. If computers in 2008 couldn’t predict whether storms would produce tornadoes within hours, there is no way computers in 2007 could predict the possibility of tornadoes many years in the future.

Research grants are a good way for colleges to increase faculty income and provide job opportunities for graduate students, but colleges shouldn’t subordinate the search for truth to the quest for money. But perhaps, that is too much to expect from college officials who believe the purpose of sports and academics is to make money for their schools so that administrators can receive 6 or 7 figure salaries.

College sports were once described as being designed to build character. In an earlier age, when Notre Dame football great George Gipp discovered he was going to die from strep throat contracted during the victory over Northwestern, his parting words to his teammates were that in some future game when the situation seemed hopeless that they might be motivated by the thought that they should “win just one for the Gipper.” Eight years later the underdog Fighting Irish did just that against undefeated Army.

Many of the Business Corrupted Schools are so dominated by greed that their slogan has become “win one for the bottom line.”

Cold Kills Millions of Fish in Bolivia

September 18, 2010

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claims this July was the 5th warmest on record in spite of the fact that Argentina had its coldest winter in 40 years and it snowed in southern Brazil.

Tropical parts of landlocked Bolivia, where rivers normally flow in a 20 C (68 F) environment, experienced 0 C (32 F) air temperatures that killed 6 million fish. Water temperatures dropped from 15 C (59 F) to 4 C (39.2 F).

A water temperature of 4 C or 39.2 F is significant because it is the approximate temperature at which water is most dense. Normally such water would be expected to be at the bottom with warmer or colder water on top. The temperature of moving water can fall below freezing without freezing.

According to researcher Michel J├ęgu, “In the rivers near Santa Cruz there’s about 1,000 dead fish for every 100 metres of river.”

“The last time something of this magnitude happened was 47 years ago,” said Santa Cruz (Bolivia) governor Ruben Costas because his province was suffering a “major environmental catastrophe”. He warned that river water was unsafe to use because of the dead plants and fish in it. He promised to truck in drinking water.

On July 15 it was actually colder in parts of Argentina than some portions of Antarctica held by Argentina. The cold wave has stressed Argentina’s energy system. The resulting energy shortage has forced the temporary shutdown of some manufacturing plants.

Colder than normal water temperatures have been suggested as the cause of the many dead penguins found on Brazil’s beaches.

South America’s cold air, like the cold air in the northern hemisphere, comes from the polar region, but cold air in the southern hemisphere passes over water that is above freezing before reaching South America. Cold air in the northern hemisphere passes over ground that is usually already frozen, or freezes as the cold air passes. Cold air passing over open water could warm slightly before affecting land.

The United States has also recently experienced colder than usual winter weather. Last December Houston received its earliest snow on record.

Maine set an all time record cold temperature record in February, 2009.

We need to insure that we have sufficient energy resources to avoid the situation that recently happened in Argentina when businesses had to close because they couldn’t get the necessary energy. Incidentally wind power can fail in cold weather as happened in Texas in February, 2008.