Archive for October, 2010

California’s Wacky Marijuana Question

October 24, 2010

Are you tired of all the negative ads featuring sneering voices?

California has a long history of wacky election questions and this year is no different. The marijuana question (Prop. 19) is a good example of a question that really doesn’t do anything.

Proposition 19
demonstrates the negative impact marijuana can have on the brain. The measure really doesn’t change anything legally other than possibly duping some marijuana users into making it easier for the government to convict them . The measure might potentially make it easier for hard drug sellers to escape arrest and make California more attractive to the Mexican drug cartel.

The measure cannot legalize marijuana because it cannot change federal law. The only change would be that the Drug Enforcement Administration rather than state and local officials would be enforcing the law against marijuana. State law enforcement might not be able to arrest anyone, but they could pass along names to DEA.

This measure could benefit those who sell stronger drugs like meth. Currently if an officer stops a van and notices marijuana the police may be able to get a search warrant for the vehicle and discover the cash and meth lab in the back. This change in law enforcement action could significantly benefit the Mexican drug cartels who could also benefit from any increase in the market for marijuana.

Anyone attempting to take advantage of the provision allowing growing marijuana in the backyard would likely be arrested by DEA for being a “commercial” grower of marijuana because the illegal crop would be in plain view. That might allow DEA to confiscate the real estate and possibly the vehicles and bank accounts of the grower.

The grower could also potentially face a civil lawsuit if some of the neighbor kids “harvested” part of his crop and tried smoking it behind the garage like their ancestors tried smoking tobacco behind the barn. The parents of any child who suffered health damage from smoking marijuana would likely sue the grower for everything he owned.

Supporters falsely claim that taxes on marijuana could help the state. California only collects about $900 million in tobacco taxes. That might be a lot of money in Alaska or even in Kansas, but California’s budget deficit is about 20 times the amount collected in tobacco taxes. Raising significant revenue from marijuana sales would require an extremely high tax.

Of course, only those whose brains had been fried by marijuana would actually pay taxes to the state. DEA could use a drug dealer’s tax record to convict him of selling without the need for actually arranging to buy drugs from the dealer. DEA would have an easier time obtaining such business tax records than obtaining individual tax records..

Supporters of legalizing marijuana falsely claim the action would reduce problems associated with the drug. Marijuana has to be a controlled substance because of its impact on perception and behavior and potential adverse affect on health.

Misuse of legal prescription drugs is a major problem in the U.S. Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson are among those who have died from misusing “legal” drugs. A Wichita, Kansas, doctor and his wife were recently sentenced to 30 years for improper prescription of pain killers that resulted in 10 deaths. Some over the counter allergy and cold medications have to be regulated because of misuse of some ingredients.

The nation’s biggest “drug” problem is the legal drug alcohol. Misuse of alcohol destroys families and kills people in traffic accidents.

The potential for drug addiction in Americans may be higher than in other countries. Drug addiction is often associated with possession of what is called the “risk taker gene”.

Possession of this gene could have made our ancestors more willing to take the risk of going to a new country far away from their friends and family.

Republicans Better than Democrats at Jobs

October 21, 2010

Some Democrats are complaining that Republicans have no new ideas. So what. Neither do the Democrats.

When Obama took office he suggested implementing programs like those used by Franklin Roosevelt during the Depression Obama ignored the fact that Roosevelt’s programs didn’t end the Depression.

New ideas would be desirable, but we won’t get them from either major party. Thus we should consider which party’s “old ideas” are better.

Political activists like to treat the economy as if the President was controlling it from his magical White House by figuratively pulling levers and pushing buttons. However, Congressional action may affect the economy more than the President’s actions, because the President depends upon Congress to implement his recommendations and Congress can introduce its own programs.

An examination of unemployment Labor Department statistics over the last 20 years indicates unemployment was lower when Republicans controlled Congress than when Democrats controlled Congress.

Unemployment was 5.2% when Republicans took control of Congress in January, 1995. Unemployment dropped to 3.9% just before the small recession that began at the end of the Clinton administration due to the failure of many Internet companies — The Dot Com Bust.

Unemployment rose to 5.0% by the time 9/11 occurred. After 9/11 unemployment began a slow rise to 6.3% in June, 2003 and then fell back to 4.4% in December, 2006, just before control of Congress shifted to the Democrats.

During the 1st year of Democratic control of Congress unemployment rose back up to 4.7% and continued to rise in 2008 reaching 6.1% by August. Unemployment continued to rise through 2009. It has stabilized above 9.5%.

The last Republican Congress was able to get unemployment back down after it rose. The current Democratic cannot.

If Democrats had any ideas about how to get unemployment back down they would have implemented those ideas. It’s time to see if the Republicans’ “old ideas” can do any better.

The combination of a Republican Congress and a Democratic President worked well in the nineties. It’s time to try it again even though Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton.

Democrats Think We’re Slaves

October 18, 2010

The scariest part of the Democrats “Obamacare” legislation is the fact that Democrats believe we are nothing more than elements of Interstate Commerce. The last time the federal government treated human beings as elements of Interstate Commerce was during slavery.

The federal government has traditionally excluded small businesses with under $500,000 in sales that don’t sell across state lines from Interstate Commerce regulations such as the minimum wage law. So how can individual Americans be considered elements of Interstate Commerce?

Commerce involves the transfer of money or property by entities that exist for that purpose. Democrats seem to feel that if you have a job or buy food you are a business enterprise rather than a human being with the right to make your own decisions about what to do with the portion of the money you earn that the government lets you keep.

It shouldn’t be surprising that Democrats think of us as slaves considering that the Democratic Party was the party of slavery. Before you bring up Barack Obama’s color keep in mind that if his African ancestors had any association with American slavery it was because they captured and/or sold slaves not because they were slaves.

“Socialism” is a word that is often thrown around without anything more than a vague definition. Some people take a simplistic view that if government does something it’s socialism.

The Russian government that called itself a “Socialist Republic” provides an example of what socialism is. What the Soviet Union called socialism is basically the system that existed under the Russian emperor and old European monarchies. The only significant difference was that the government was not headed by an hereditary monarch but by a small group of people one of whom served as leader until he died or was deposed by the others.

Under socialism people are treated as the property of the government (emperor). Under socialism people belong to the government. Under our system the government is supposed to belong to the people.

Under socialism the government controls the people, in some cases even determining their careers. Under our system the people are supposed to control the government.

Under socialism the people serve the government. Under our system government is supposed to serve the people

Under socialism government tells people what they must do. Under our system, government tells people what they cannot do, especially to each other.

Obamacare is socialism under this definition because government attempts to control people’s private lives by forcing them to purchase insurance regardless of their personal needs and desires.

The Democrats are telling young adults they don’t have an option of using money to start a business or purchase a home before starting to buy insurance. Obama is like Mr. Potter in “It’s a Wonderful Life” who wanted people to pay rent to him instead of having an opportunity to using the rent money to pay on a mortgage. Many young adults would like to save the money they would spend on health insurance to use as a down payment on a home.

Medicare and Medicaid are not socialism because the money for them comes from taxes assessed to the general working population. Individuals have the option of other insurance or paying their own bills and coverage is not based on how much has been paid with the exception of the optional Medicare coverage. Medicare recipients are expected to meet a minimum residence requirement and have to have paid the tax before becoming eligible.

A government health insurance program based on general taxes that allowed individuals to have private insurance or pay their own medical costs if they wanted to would not be socialistic. Such a program would be socialistic if it prohibited people from having private insurance or restricted the treatment they could purchase.

Democrats support for Obamacare demonstrates their limited intelligence. They are like children in that they are incapable of seeing unwanted consequences of their actions.

Most Democrats believe that women should be able to make their own decisions about having abortions. The Supreme Court says government has only limited authority to restrict abortion because of the individual right to privacy.

If government can control health care decisions on the grounds that humans are elements of Interstate Commerce than individuals no longer have a right to privacy in health care decisions. Government can prohibit medical procedures, including abortions, as a means of limiting health care costs. Persons have a right to privacy, but elements of commerce do not.

Could Californian Become 1st Woman President?

October 16, 2010

No, I’m not suggesting that Rep. Nancy Pelosi might inherit the office. That could only happen if President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were to die at about the same time before the Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in January.

The Republican candidates in California for governor (Meg Whitman) and U.S. Senate (Carly Fiorina) are potential presidential candidates. Obviously, it is too late for either to run for the 2012 nomination, but they could seek the nomination in 2016 or 2020 if they can successfully make the transition from corporate CEO to the political arena.

Both have significant executive experience as former CEOs of major corporations. Whitman was the CEO of eBay which became a major corporation while many other dot coms failed. Fiorina was also in a high tech company as CEO of Fortune 500 company Hewlett Packard.

One reason we haven’t had a woman president is the relative lack of potential female presidential candidates. The only women to make a significant run for the nomination so far were the wives of the 1996 major party presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Dole. Although Dole did have her own career which included heading the Red Cross, her presidential bid was due to the career of husband Sen. Bob Dole.

I suspect Elizabeth Dole would have been a stronger presidential candidate in 1996 than her husband Bob. Hillary would have been a stronger candidate in 2008 than Barack Obama and would probably have been a better president than Obama. Many of us thought Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would have been a better Republican presidential candidate in 2008, but she wasn’t interested in the job. Some are encouraging her to run in 2012.

Most 20th Century presidents were former executives. Seven former governors occupied the White House for over 57 years. In addition, President William Howard Taft had served as the appointed governor-general of the Philippines before becoming president. Three other presidents had executive experience. Herbert Hoover and George H.W. Bush had been cabinet secretaries. Dwight Eisenhower was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during World War II.

Five former Senators served as President, but three of them had been vice presidents before becoming president

Four of the nation’s first five presidents were among the business leaders of their day. Their businesses weren’t as big as the businesses Whitman and Fiorina headed, but then neither was the federal government.

Whitman and Fiorina helped make our high tech world what it is. The business leaders who served as our initial presidents helped make our country a nation.

Democrats are going all out to defeat Whitman and Fiorina who represent the present and the future. California Democrats believe California voters long for the past with candidates born in the Depression era.

The Democrat running for governor is Jerry “Moonbean” Brown who was governor back in the era of Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. When Brown was governor, microcomputers had only limited capabilities and use was limited to the technologically savvy.

Senator Barbara Boxer appears to be afflicted with terminal Senator disorder. Like former Senators Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd she seems addicted to being a Senator and doesn’t know how to retire. She will keep coming up with excuses to stay in the Senate until voters get tired of her.

Whitman and Fiorina are high tech candidates. Brown and Boxer are old tech candidates.

Whitman and Fiorina are strong independent women who speak their own minds. Democrats prefer women like Boxer who believe and say what they are told to believe and say.

Democrats Exploiting Latina Housekeeper

October 12, 2010

Democrats have been making a big issue of the fact that Meg Whitman’s former Latina housekeeper is in the country illegally. Democrats are apparently hoping Hispanics will ignore the fact that they have had a chance to change immigration law, but have refused to do so.

It must be great to live in a state that doesn’t have any significant problems. Or, did former governor (1975-1983) Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown bring up Republican opponent Meg Whitman’s hiring of an illegal immigrant because he has no idea how to deal with California’s current problems.

Whitman hired Nicandra “Nicky” Diaz Santillan as a housekeeper at a generous wage of $23 an hour after being shown documents indicating Diaz Santillan was in the country legally. Whitman fired Diaz Santillan after being told she was in the country illegally, but told Diaz Santillan she wouldn’t be reported to authorities. Whitman had come to think of Diaz Santiallan as a member of the family and thus wasn’t willing to report her to authorities..

Whitman did Diaz Santillan a favor by firing her before Whitman entered the public arena as a candidate for governor. People in the country illegally need to avoid public attention to avoid discovery. Employees of politicians are automatically in the spotlight.

Diaz Santillan wanted Whitman to help her stay in the country legally, but that would probably have been impossible for a Republican politician during a Democratic administration In fact attempting to do so might have caused the government to deport Diaz Santillan.

If you watch cop or lawyer shows you will notice that competent attorneys advise clients who have been arrested to not tell the police anything.

Gloria Allred apparently doesn’t care about protecting the rights of her client Nicandra “Nicky” Diaz Santillan. Allred told everyone, including law enforcement officers, that Diaz Santillan was guilty of violating immigration law even though Santillan wasn’t in custody and law enforcement officers may not have even suspected she was illegally in the country. Diaz Santillan could be in trouble unless Allred has worked out a secret deal with President Barack Obama to allow Diaz Santillan to avoid prosecution if she helps the Democrats win California.

If immigration authorities want people to take the law seriously they have no choice but to arrest Santillan for being in the country illegally, identity theft and lying on income withholding forms. Failure to take action would imply that those who help Democratic politicians are above the law. I wonder if immigration authorities are prepared to explain their actions to a Republican congressional committee.

If I were more ambitious I would try to find out if Allred has made any comments about Arizona’s immigration law. She seems to share the opinion of Arizona authorities that Hispanics should automatically be suspected of being in the country illegally. Allred claims that Meg Whitman should have known Diaz Santiallan was in the country illegally when she received a letter from the Social Security Administration referring to a discrepancy in Diaz Santillan’s name and social security number.

Allred hopes we won’t read the letter which explicitly states “this letter makes no statement about your employee’s immigration status.” The letter warns that it “is not a basis, in and of itself, for you to take any adverse action against the employee such as laying off, suspending, firing or discriminating against the employee. Any employer who uses the information in this letter to justify taking adverse action against the employee may violate state or federal law or be subject to legal consequences.”

The normal assumption for a letter about a female employee indicating her name and Social Security number didn’t match would be that she changed her name without notifying the Social Security Administration.

The fact that Whitman paid Diaz Santillan $23 an hour indicates Whitman didn’t know Diaz Santillan was in the country illegally. In 2007, most non-Boeing aircraft workers in Washington made less than $23 an hour. Those who knowingly employ people who are in the country illegally typically pay them very low wages.

Diaz Santiallan’s claim that she wasn’t paid for some hours worked sounds like the type of disagreement that can normally occur between employer and employee. The complaint about not being paid for running errands might make sense if Diaz Santillan hadn’t being paid $23 an hour.

Diaz Santialln wouldn’t have much chance in a civil suit against Whitman because Diaz Santillan has admitted lying about her immigration status and her identity.

Democrats are clearly using Diaz Santillan for political purposes and its unlikely they care as much about her as Meg Whitman does. Whitman tried to help Diaz Santillan stay in the country the only way Whitman could by severing ties with Diaz Santillan so that the publicity surrounding Whitman wouldn’t expose her status.

The exposure Diaz Santillan has received may make it impossible for her to find another job because she has told everyone she is here illegally.

The incident demonstrates what is wrong with immigration law. Potential terrorists like the Times Square bomber and the 9/11 hijackers can enter the country legally, but a hard working mother like Diaz Santuillan has to sneak in.

Democrats have had two years to change immigration law since Barack Obama became President. The fact they haven’t done so indicates they like the law just the way it is. Democrats want foreign manual labor in the country, but they want the workers to have to enter the country illegally so their friends can hire the illegal immigrants at substandard wages.

Democrats have changed health care and bank regulations. Why haven’t they changed immigration?

Physics Professor Emetitus Resigns From APS Over ClimateGate

October 10, 2010

The following is a letter to the American Physical Society released to the public by Professor Emeritus of physics Hal Lewis of the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Sent: Friday, 08 October 2010 17:19 Hal Lewis

From: Hal Lewis, University of California, Santa Barbara
To: Curtis G. Callan, Jr., Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society

6 October 2010

Dear Curt:

When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago).

Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?

How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:

1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate

2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.

3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.

4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind—simply to bring the subject into the open.

5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.

6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.

APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?

I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.

I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.


Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk (about, surprise, technological risk) and Why Flip a Coin (about decision making)

Tea Party Critics Don’t Get It

October 10, 2010

Critics of the Tea Party movement suffer from the delusion that the lack of specific complaints means there isn’t really anything wrong.

Have you ever had a craving for something, but couldn’t decide exactly what you wanted to eat? Perhaps you remember the Star Trek episode in which Mr. Spock was temporarily in command and Scotty was complaining that the ship “didn’t feel right” even though he couldn’t say what specifically was wrong.

Do you sometimes feel sick, but have trouble describing exactly what is wrong with your body?

Many of the Tea Party participants are in such a situation. They believe something is wrong with the country, but aren’t sure what it is.

We shouldn’t expect them to have analyzed our society and government to determine what is actually wrong. Most are average citizens rather than political scientists or sociologists who devote their time to studying government and society.

Political scientists often use the term “alienated” to describe a situation in which average voters aren’t connected to government officials or government in general.

Some may be reacting to the way government or politicians have treated them or just concerned about government becoming too intrusive. Perhaps they know someone whom government has mistreated. They may feel that government services aren’t worth what it is costing them in taxes, particularly local taxes such as sales taxes and property taxes.

Some may be upset by overly aggressive government efforts to control personal behavior such as seat belt laws or excessive taxes on tobacco. Even many of us who have never smoked recognize that smokers don’t threaten our safety the way drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs do.

Elected officials are often isolated from voters. The media encourages this isolation by hiring reporters, editors and news anchors who act as if they have a duty to serve politicians rather than the general public.

Many journalists are like the emperor’s supporters in the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes who refuse to consider that the reason they can’t see his new clothes is because he doesn’t have any. Instead of trying to keep their party “honest”: by looking for flaws in its policies, they blindly support those policies. Journalists refuse to consider the possibility that “Emperor” Obama has no clothes on.

For example, Obama and his media slaves continue to ignore the obvious con involved in claims about global warming. Even those who don’t know enough science to know that the theory behind greenhouse gases was disproved a century ago, recognize that claims that humans can control the temperature of the air isn’t believable.

Investment cons are often recognizable because they sound too good to be true. Political cons sound too bad to be true like the claim that the polar ice caps will all melt or Saddam Hussein was about to give Weapons of Mass Destruction to al Qaeda.

Media critics complain about Tea Party supporters turning to Republicans like Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck. What choice do people have? The only choices provided by the media are the Democrats and the people at Fox.

If alternative views exist, the media are ignoring them. If media critics don’t like the choice Tea Party members are making, they should look for other alternatives to the rejected ideas of the Democrats.