Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Patrick Micheals not Virginia's State Climatologist

As I brought up in this Agonist diary and here at Granite Rock Sound, Virginia's "State Climatologist", Patrick Michaels, was being scrutinized. He's been the leading "scientist" claiming that global warming is a farce and the main support against global warming while taking money from utility companies and the energy industry.

And it turns out he never was Virginia's State Climatologist and VA Governor Tim Kaine has made it known officially now.

Well this should help the science revolving the real issue of global warming and hopefully increases the rate of production and implementation of solutions. Michaels can be anti-human-induction-global-warming all he wants and pursue that avenue of research. But to take money from the energy industry AND from VA taxpayers to produce information for the VA citizen is a clear conflict of interest. Being a state representative means a person refelcts the views for the state, not the vested interests of a lobbyist. The fact that he never really was "State Climatologist" and just claimed that he was year after year after year is just another slap in the face.

By taking away this title (and paycheck) should remove some of the fake clout his work has received. His work should be viewed as the fringe work that it is. It shouldn't be given more weight because of the title "State Climatologist" because he doesn't have that title and never did.

My biggest question is, "What happens to the $90K a year Micheals has been getting from the State of Virginia as 'State Climatologist'?" Who authorized those paycecks every year?
Photo from NOAA: Large plume of Saharan Desert dust blowing from Africa northeastward over the Mediterranean Sea and Greece.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Online Gambling is Hilarious

With online gambling being such a hot commodity these days that the federal government wants to ban it and with the fall sports season gearing up, I decided to check out some of the lines being offered. I love the political lines out there:
"Bet On: Who will be found first: The body of Jimmy Hoffa or Osama Bin Laden?

Any wagers placed after outcome becomes public knowledge will be graded as No Action. No refunds. No over limit wagers. If Jimmy Hoffa's body or Osama Bin Laden have not been found by December 31st, 2006, all wagers will be graded as No Action. Max $100.

Jimmy Hoffa +230
Osama Bin Laden -360
Don't ban this stuff. Treat it like the rest of the gambling and gaming industry. Regulate it, tax it, and get a slice of the pie. As with the current war on drugs, haven't the feds realized that blanket illegalization and bans only produce and promote criminal societal issues? Get to the real issues folks.

And incase you're curious, below you can see how much the gaming industry has made each year for the past ten years. The $100 billion mark is projected to be cracked by the end of the decade. The U.S. casino lobbyists are probably foaming at the mouth and dropping some serious money to get this legislation passed. Now there's some numbers that would be interesting to see.
Growth from 1995 to 2005 in both the commercial casino industry and gaming as a whole, which includes pari-mutuel wagering, lotteries, casinos, legal bookmaking, charitable gaming and bingo, Indian reservations and card rooms.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

FBI: No terror groups in cell phone case

So it turns out that in neither of the cases involving the Michigan men nor the Texan men that there was a terror plot. As to why it was thought the men from Texas were going to blow up the Mackinaw Bridge (emphasis added):
"William Kowalski, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Detroit field office, said authorities believe concern about the bridge was connected to images of the Mackinac Bridge found on a digital camera belonging to the men."
Hmmm imagine that. People not from Michigan taking pictures of a famous bridge that thousands of tourists take pictures of year round. That's some top notch police work there. Someone has a picture of a landmark on their camera, so tell the media that the suspects were planning on blowing it up. Quality.

So why did these young guys have so many phones? They were trying to turn a profit reselling them:
"From Dearborn to Troy to Sterling Heights, Arab Americans are a major part of the cell phone business in southeastern Michigan. At least half of the cell phone businesses in the region are owned by metro Detroiters of Arab or Chaldean descent, say business owners in the industry. Many new immigrants or emerging businessmen earn money by buying the cell phones and then selling them to gas stations, distributors or stores.


Here's how the practice sometimes works, said Nasser Beydoun, head of the Dearborn-based American Arab Chamber of Commerce:

An independent entrepreneur will buy the phones for, say, $8 each. He will sell them to a distributor for $12, making a $4 profit. Multiply that by a thousand -- about the number of phones the three men arrested in Caro bought in total -- and you have a $4,000 profit.

The distributor then will sell the phones at a higher price to gas station owners, who in turn sell them at a marked-up price.
So the crime here is that young men of Middle Eastern descent were running a business venture. Damn those capitalist bastards. We better start pulling over Wal-Mart trucks.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Traffic Stop Yields Terror Arrest of 2 Michigan Men

Traffic stop yields terror arrest of 2 Mich. men and Arraignments Likely For Men Caught With About 1,000 Cell Phones

Now I just heard on MSNBC that these guys may have been plotting to blow up the Mackinaw Bridge (connects Michigan’s lower and upper pennisulas). This AP report is the second I’ve heard and read about the bridge plot other than MSNBC first repeating the claim. Is this a hype machine behind this story? Why does someone need 1000 cell phones to blow up a bridge?

If this is a terrorist plot, as it has unfolded so far, it wasn't halted due to illegal eavesdropping or by federal intel. It was busted by a store employee contacting authorities and the local authorities intervening.

(The bridge’s name can be spelled Mackinac or Mackinaw. Depends on which side of the bridge you live on how you spell it, but it’s always pronounced Mac-i-naw.)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Additions to the Blogroll

I've added a few new additions to the Blogroll and I'd like to note them here.

detroitblog. The images "John" captures of the decaying downtown Detroit buildings as well as the historical background of the areas he treks through is out of this world. An urban pioneer if there ever was one. The weekly Metro Detroit paper The Metro Times has nice a piece on what this site is about.

Waldo Jaquith. Waldo hails from Charlottesville, VA and writes with witty commentary on events surrounding Virginia politics. Along with Charlottesville City Councilor Kevin Lynch, Waldo's latest watch and research into VA State Climatologist Patrick Micheals should garner attention from anyone interested in global warming. Who is Patrick Michaels? He's the only State Climatologist to disagree with the global warming theory and he's bankrolled by utility companies.

Haduken. A mix of Virginia info, national interests and sometimes just plain randomness. Been checking them out for some time, but they had me with the post about The Greening of Planet Earth.

I hope you enjoy these additions and read them from time to time.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Thelma Drake Advertisement

I haven't paid much attention to the Congressional race for Virginia's 2nd district between incumbent R-Thelma Drake versus D-Phil Kellam. I've read blips on other blogs and an occassional article in the paper. It's not my district and I really don't care. That said, I've recently been working on a project in Yorktown, VA. During my hotel stay, this ad came across the TV screen more than once:

I take issue with two facets of the ad. First, the broad sweeping claim that "liberals" are fighting to give illegal immigrants gov't handouts like welfare, free health care, and social security. Who is fighting for this? Who gets free health care? I didn't know we had free health care in this country to begin with. The ad is attacking a ficticious entity only known as "liberals".

Second, the ad makes no refrence to her Republican party. It doesn't have to, but it makes the claim she is "independent". An attempt to distance herself from the flailing GOP machine? Pretty hard to be independent when you're voting with president Bush 89% of the time and voting the GOP party line 98% of the time. I'm having a hard time seeing the independence.

As stated, I'm not deeply entrenched in this election and don't really care. That ad struck a real shord with me. What it did was make me look into Phil Kellam and see what kind of candidate he is. Now I'm just curious to see who wins this race.