Sitting In the Dark: Did It Help?

March 31, 2009


Saturday’s first celebration of “Earth Hour” was, I guess, interesting for those who observed it. We in the Stoutcat household were otherwise occupied celebrating Human Achievement Hour, which meant that some lights were on, soft music composed over a hundred years ago was playing with crystal clarity, and a savory supper of non-local comestibles and beverages was being consumed with gusto.

Those who sat in the dark (many of whom actually burned candles, which to my mind sort of negates the whole idea of “Sitting in the Dark”) may have had a pleasant experience; and I freely admit, there are some really impressive photos (but again, isn’t that using power of a sort?) showing the lights dimming in larger urban areas; but did the whole imposture accomplish anything — like actually saving any power?

Let’s take a look, via Watt’s Up With That?, at actual usage charts from the state of California (an area which I think we can all agree has more than its share of folks likely to have celebrated Sit in the Dark Hour), both during the powered-down time, and for the same time period the very next day. What do we see?

Saturday, 3/28: Earth Hour day (see gray shading for the actual usage for the 8:30-9:30 time frame)


Sunday, 3/29, the day after “Sit in the Dark” Hour (see gray shading for the actual usage for the 8:30-9:30 time frame):


As Russ Steel, at the always interesting Watt’s Up With That? said:

There you have it, scientific data showing that the Earth Hour was a total bust in California.  If you look close, you can see a little bump up above the forecast demand, which tracked very closely with actual power consumed prior to the witching hour 8:30 to 9:30. But, it is clear that power consumption did not drop, it stayed up. Maybe all those protesters forgot to turn off the lights. 

I can’t wait to see what kind of feel-good boondoggle they’ll try to foist on us next…


NASA Image of the Day and RSS

March 31, 2009

The last time we posted a NASA image (STS-119), we got quite a bit of traffic… Well, here’s another that isn’t quite so dramatic. (Though those who are following the “back to the moon” Orion Project will probably find this interesting. Besides, how in the name of Great Googly Moogly did we ever manage to put a human on the moon 40 years ago?)



Pretty cool, eh?

As a side note, I was talking with a couple of friends (more than a couple actually), and was tipped off to the fact that many folks are a little fuzzy regarding the concept of “RSS” “or “Really Short Syndication“. (Yeah yeah yeah… I know… That’s a bastardization of the real acronym. If you want more detailed info about RSS, you can check out a post I wrote here… And no, you won’t get spammed because I write that blog too.)

But to make a short story even shorter, RSS gives a Web explorer like you access to collections of articles from a fixed source.  Add more RSS feeds (like NASA, Grand Rants, etc.) and you’ve got more info at your fingertips. Anyway, check it out…

Alan Speakman

Judging Obama

March 31, 2009

It is said that a man is known by the company he keeps. So it was during the long election season, when so many of us were concerned about Senator Barack Obama because of that very thing. We were troubled by that company, as much of it was anti-American; anti-Semitic; pro-Socialism;  anti-white.

We didn’t make it up; we didn’t imagine it. We knew the kinds of people he felt comfortable with. We knew, because he told us.

“To avoid being mistaken for a [racial] sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.”

We knew because he showed us.

obama-wright obama-rezko obama-calypso-louie

The then-Senator is now President, and he is currently in a position to do this country far more harm than he could ever have dreamed of. Unimaginable, incalculable harm. He is now in a position to appoint judges. Judges who will remain in their positions long after Obama has failed of re-election and is making millions on the lecture circuit at the most  radical universities here and in Europe.

Obama’s first judicial appointment is rather troubling. David Hamilton is the President’s choice for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Currently, Judge Hamilton is US District Court Judge for Indiana.

Why the objections to Judge Hamilton’s nomination? According to the Judicial Confirmation Network:

Hamilton has a pretty clear leftist political record and was rated ‘not qualified’ by the ABA when President Clinton nominated him to the federal bench because his experience at that time was almost purely political, as opposed to legal and judicial. We need to read his decisions carefully to make definitive pronouncements, but it’s clear that at least some of his work on the bench demonstrates his willingness to embrace judicial activism.

“For example, Hamilton prevented the state of Indiana from implementing an abortion law that was substantially the same as the one the Supreme Court upheld in the Casey decision. He was reversed by the 7th Circuit (the court on which he has now been nominated to sit), which noted: ‘No court anywhere in the country (other than one district judge in Indiana) has held any similar law invalid in the years since Casey.'”

As an interesting aside, Judge Hamilton’s sister-in-law, Dawn Johnsen, has also been nominated by President Obama to head the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice. How cozy.

Far worse than Judge Hamilton, however, is Obama’s choice of Harold Koh for legal advisor to the State Department. Mr. Koh is in fact a poster child for the damage that could be done to America. Meghan Clyne of the New York Post has done a fine job articulating why this man should not be approved and should never have been considered:

“…Koh would forge a wide range of international agreements on issues from trade to arms control, and help represent our country in such places as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice.

It’s a job where you want a strong defender of America’s sovereignty. But that’s not Koh. He’s a fan of “transnational legal process,” arguing that the distinctions between US and international law should vanish…

For example, Koh believes that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child — a problematic document that we haven’t ratified — should dictate the age at which individual US states can execute criminals. Got that? On issues ranging from affirmative action to the interrogation of terrorists, what the rest of the world says, goes.

Including, apparently, the world of radical imams. A New York lawyer, Steven Stein, says that, in addressing the Yale Club of Greenwich in 2007, Koh claimed that “in an appropriate case, he didn’t see any reason why sharia law would not be applied to govern a case in the United States.”

Why does this matter? He’s not being appointed as a judge, only to a legal advisor position, some might say. The article continues with some disturbing foreshadowing:

…[T]he State job might be a launching pad for a Supreme Court nomination. (He’s on many liberals’ short lists for the high court.) Since this job requires Senate confirmation, it’s certainly a useful trial run.

What happens to Koh in the Senate will send an important signal. If he sails through to State, he’s a far better bet to make it onto the Supreme Court. So Senate Republicans have a duty to expose and confront his radical views.

This man must not be confirmed.

Our president is being true to his word. The company he keeps (and appoints as his advisors and policy makers) continues to tell us exactly who he is.


Obama’s Big Promotion: Head of All Industry?

March 30, 2009


As Stoutcat wrote this morning, President Obama has effectively fired GM CEO Rick Wagoner.  

I wonder how many Americans have really given some thought to the precedent set by the President? Today it’s GM. Whom does Obama take over tomorrow? What if you worked for GM and came to work only to find the CEO had been fired… by the President of the United States? Can salary caps be far behind?

Obama has now established that if he decides that he knows how to run a company better than the CEO, he can simply demand the CEO’s resignation. The fact that GM is hoping for more federal funds to get it through its current problems is actually moot. With no promise of funding, Obama demanded (and got) the resignation of the CEO.  Another piece of American democracy falls by the wayside.  

Wake up, folks! It’s happening before our very eyes. Obama has taken another crap on our Constitution, our way of life, and our free enterprise system. As a quick refresher from Wikipedia: “Capitalism is an economic system in which wealth, and the means of producing wealth, are privately owned and controlled rather than commonly, publicly, or state-owned and controlled.”

Did Rick Wagoner deserve to be fired? Quite possibly, but that decision should have been made by GM’s Board of Directors, not by the President of the United States.

This is no laughing matter, folks. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention that the President may fire people in private companies. If he wants to withhold government funds that would keep them afloat, fine. He should have done that. Instead he holds our tax dollars in the form of a potential bail-out for GM as if it were a hostage and Wagoner’s scalp was the ransom required.

Wagoner reported to GM’s Board of Directors and Stockholders. Obama has just proclaimed himself to be a part of the executive level structure — at the very top. Above the board of directors. Above the CEO. Above the stockholders. Why? Because he can, and because he knows we have a gutless, impotent Congress that will only praise his every move.  Oh, and also because, in his own mind, it makes him look Presidential. A real “take charge” kinda guy.

Well, allow me to point out that bank robbers are also “take charge” kinda guys. And perhaps they are more honest. You know what their agenda is when they walk through the door. And when they leave, you know who really took your money… and  you probably have a better idea what it’s going to be used for.

Gerry Ashley

Dude, Where’s My Car Company?

March 30, 2009


I guess this means that we the taxpayers own GM now, right? After all, we (in the form of President Obama) fired GM’s CEO.

So as one of the new bosses, here’s what I want from GM:

  • A new design for a non-polluting engine to be installed on all GM cars by, oh, say, 2015. Plenty of time to develop that.
  • The engine has to run on air, or water, or something plentiful and cheap. And get great milage out of whatever fuel it does use.
  • And it has to do 0-80 in 6.5 seconds.
  • It has to be able to fly.
  • And in order to get it re-fueled, all you have to say is, “I re-fuel thee, I re-fuel thee, I re-fuel thee!”
  • Oh, and of course, it has to be safe, so that  in the event of a flying 80 mph head-on collision, the driver and passengers must be able to float down from the aerial wreck on parachutes that feel like goose-down pillows and are scented with sandalwood (or jasmine).
  • And the workers who build these autos must work in factories that open onto sunny beaches, where pina coladas are served during break times.
  • After the 3 1/2 hour work day is done, workers may receive mandatory double-plus extra overtime if they so choose, by working an extra hour, or by taking a nap.

That’s all I want from my car company. What about you?

Oh, and I only have one question. When do we get to fire the head of the UAW?


H/T: Riehl World View

Celebrate Human Achievement Hour Tonight!

March 28, 2009

While others are observing “Earth Hour” by sitting in the dark listening to crickets chirping, join with us and celebrate our journey from living in caves to living on the International Space Station. Human Achievement Hour celebrates just that.

Congratulations, Homo Sapiens, you’ve come a long way!


The Dissolution of Our Republic?

March 28, 2009

Has it ever struck anyone as strange that cities have simply decided to declare themselves as “sanctuaries” and in doing so have basically flipped the bird to the immigration laws of the federal government? (For that matter, remember that Speaker of the House Pelosi herself declared that enforcing immigration laws is unAmerican. Not the laws themselves, just the enforcement of them.)

And how ’bout them states that make up their own marijuana laws despite what the federal government says?

Sen. Chuck Schumer is now talking about challenging the federal “Defense of Marriage Act”.

And the issues of states rights vs. federal power go on and on… There are 2nd amendment conflicts, stem cell research disagreements, refusal to host military recruitment centers… We’ve all seen the news… We’ve all seen the conflicts.

This “Feds vs. States” topic may seem a bit esoteric to you, but at least from a historical perspective, this is far from arcane. In the 1850s, a slow boil gathered in this country over not just the issue of slavery, but also over the debate concerning the line of demarcation between states’ rights and federal power. In a single phrase, “This is serious stuff.”

Quite simply, we’ve been writing about this for some time:

Bottom line? What is happening is a power struggle between the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, the citizenry, and media and technology. Throw into the mix blind agenda, crappy social norms, and those hell-bent on entitlement, and you have… well… today.

Bored? Before you go, I ask that you read this superb piece from the Christian Science Monitor. If nothing else, just look at the map of the states trying to assert sovereignty from our Republic. I’ll get you started:

There’s an old joke in South Carolina: Confederate President Jefferson Davis may have surrendered at the Burt-Stark mansion in Abbeville, S.C., in 1865, but the people of state Rep. Michael Pitts’s district never did.

With revolutionary die-hards behind him, Mr. Pitts has fired a warning shot across the bow of the Washington establishment. As the writer of one of 28 state “sovereignty bills” – one even calls for outright dissolution of the Union if Washington doesn’t rein itself in – Pitts is at the forefront of a states’ rights revival, reasserting their say on everything from stem cell research to the Second Amendment.

Something wicked this way comes…

Alan Speakman</em

Freedom Tower: Unknown At This Address

March 27, 2009


Various news outlets are reporting today that the Freedom Tower, the 1,776-foot building replacing the World Trade Center towers which came down in the attacks of September 11, 2001, will actually be named “1 World Trade Center.”

The NY Daily News reports that the New York Port Authority announced the official name change yesterday after a meeting of the Port Authority Board, at which it was voted to sign a long-term lease with Vantone Industrial, a Chinese real estate company cozy with the Chinese Communist government, as the building’s first commercial tenant.

But the Port Authority insists that the name change has nothing to do with gaining its first commercial client after a five-year search. They claim that they are merely reflecting the building’s actual address —the name change has received “a very interested and warm reception to it,” insists Anthony Coscia, the PA chairman.

Others, however, aren’t so thrilled with the change. Former NY Governor George Pataki stated:

“The Freedom Tower is not simply another piece of real estate and not just a name for marketing purposes. In design and name, it is symbolic of our commitment to rise above the attacks of Sept. 11. Where 1 and 2 World Trade Center once stood, there will be a memorial with two voids to honor the heroes we lost – and, in my view, those addresses should never be used again.”

Of course, Gov. Pataki does have some skin in the game, as the name “Freedom Tower” was originally his idea. However, it seems the locals and visitors aren’t that pleased, either.

“My gut reaction is calling a building the World Trade Center when it really isn’t the World Trade Center is pretty creepy,” said Rosaleen Tallon, who lost her brother Sean, a 26-year-old probationary firefighter with Ladder 10, on 9/11.

On Liberty St., across from the 16-acre site, Michael Gardner, 52, a tourist from London visiting the WTC Tribute Center, argued that the name Freedom Tower must endure.

“It is a symbol. The name is about freedom and peace. America – land of the free – that is the message that should be put out there.”

And the New York Post reported that Deborah Burlingame, sister of Charles Burlingame, pilot of AA Flight 77, remarked: “If we can’t say the word freedom out loud, God help us.”

Amen to that.

Once again, we are being done to death by political correctness. And I am getting mighty sick of it.


Obama, Orwellian Math, and a “Joe the Plumber-ism”

March 27, 2009

For me, a couple of things leapt out of the opening remarks in President Obama’s March 26 Virtual Town Hall” – a touch of Orwellian math and a classic “Joe the Plumber-ism”.

As for “1984” aspect… Yesterday, President Obama stood there and bluntly stated that he he had a budget plan that “cuts the massive deficits we’ve inherited in half by the end of my first term.” And everyone applauded.

Ummm… Did anyone stop to think that by Obama’s own account, his deficit will be roughly $600 billion vs. the $400 billion Dubya left behind. Not to mention that by the end of this year, again, by Obama’s own account, we will have a deficit of $1.75 trillion!


Why is it that everyone didn’t say, “Huh?” Am I missing something, or is it that the rest of the world’s collective eyeballs and brain cells were glazed over by Big Brother Obama? Maybe everyone thinks that 600 is half of 400…

Secondly, the president stated that he would “…build an economy in which prosperity is broadly shared.” Isn’t that kinda the same thing he said to Joe the plumber when he suggested that “when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody”?

I’m so confused…

Alan Speakman

Shakespeare for Thursday

March 26, 2009


We all need a break from press conferences, teleprompters, bonuses, and faux outrage from our elected representatives. So on a lighter note, here’s something very special. If you’ve never seen the Reduced Shakespeare Company, you’re certainly missing something in your life. If you have, you know what I mean.

Here’s a taste, in the form of the RSC’s version of Romeo and Juliet…

Part I:

Part II: