Monday, February 18, 2008

A Modest Proposal to End Global Warming (With Apologies to Johnathan Swift)

A Modest Proposal to End Global Warming (With thanks to Jonathan Swift)

Mother Earth is heating up; the Polar Ice Caps are melting. Record heat and drought are striking the planet. Global Warming is upon us.

The prophet Al Gore has shown us the way with An Inconvenient Truth. We shall worship at the Altar of Global Warming. The Global Warming Truth shall set us free as we worship Mother Earth. Indeed, we shall enter into a Holy War against Global Warming. We cannot lose this Total War. We shall Google Global Warming to death. We are all soldiers in the war against Global Warming. No conscientious objectors or 4F’s in this crusade. Onward Christian Soldiers into the Global Warming hell of fire and brimstone. We shall go where no man, not even Nostradamus, has gone before. Catholic theology shall view it as a just war, and Jihadists can earn credit to meet 72 carbonless virgins in Heaven.

All of us earthy sinners can receive absolution by genuflecting and receiving carbon credits at the Holy Church of the Carbon Redeemer.

We must reduce our carbon footprint for it is the cause of global warming. Let us eliminate henceforth all carbon-based fuels, such as oil, gas, and coal. Energy gluttons can repent at the shrine of zero carbon energy. We must switch to solar, wind, hydro, thermo climes, and nuclear. Only electric, solar or hydrogen cars will be allowable. Walking, jogging, biking, skating, canoes, row boats, and sailing vessels will still be permissible means of transportation, but not camels, donkeys, mules, or horses because of their carbon based road apples. No more horse and carriage rides in Central Park or New Orleans.

We can start by deleting carbon from the carbon free periodic table. No more carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, or carbon tetrachloride.

We have to choose between mottos though:

Live carbon free or die


Carbon free or carbon tax

No cows for food because of methane emissions. Hold your burps! Composting is out. Neither wood burning in the fireplace to warm our houses at night nor in a stove; only solar heating can cook our food and dry our clothes. We must avoid burnt carbon emissions. If you live in the Frost Belt, then move to the Sun Belt.

What if that doesn’t reverse global warming? Then we as soldiers must be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. We shall have no choice but to end the carbon footprint of all carbon-based life forms by eliminating all carbon-based life forms, starting with Homo sapiens, then all mammals, fish, plants, bacteria, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Even the ultimate survivors, Castro, cock roaches and coyotes, must be terminated with extreme prejudice. We must defer to the wisdom of Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

All other “isms” will disappear in a flash flood: atheism, capitalism (sorry Ayn Rand), communism, deism, fascism, hedonism, monotheism, nationalism, Nihilism, sado-masochism, socialism, social Darwinism, sophism, theism. Certainly no pacifism! No one can be agnostic about global warming although transcendental meditation and yoga will help.

Think of the blessings.

Viruses, including computer viruses, will no longer form a threat to carbon based life forms.

No further debate between global warming and an oncoming ice age.

Confused about the dynamics of carbon offsets? No problem if we “off” carbon-based life forms.

Air pollution, water pollution, and toxic pollution will be solved.

Forget about pro life/pro choice, big box stores, blow-dried liberals, border security, budget deficits, Detroit, endangered species, gas guzzling SUV’s, gender gaps, Hamas, Hezbollah, HMO’s, Iran, Iraq, judicial appointments, mass transit, Microsoft, the Mideast, Midwest, North Korea, paparazzi, political correctness, pop tarts, porn, Radical Islam, right wing wacko nut jobs, Santa Anas, Scientology and Tom Cruise, starvation and malnutrition, stem cell research, Taliban, talk radio, taxes, The Donald, trial lawyers, U. S. News & World Reports, Universal Health Insurance, Universal Soldiers, and even the Green Revolution.

No more NIMBY’s because global warming is universally in everyone’s back yard.

No more debate over free trade because globalization has triumphed.

The Anti-Christ, anti-Semitism, antitrust, anti-war, anti-mites and antidisestablishmentarianism will disappear.

Think of the benefits for all.

Partisanship will be no more for we are all in the same carbon sump.

Bias will no longer exist. No gender bias, no genetic bias, no media bias, no liberal bias, no racial bias for we are all equal.

No more prescription drugs beginning with the letter “V”: Valium, Viagra, Vioxx, Vicodan, and Vytorin.

No more endless debates at the UN or in faculty meetings.

No more books about Who Shot JFK, J.R., or Florida 2000. No more digging for Blackbeard”s Treasure, deciphering the mysteries of DNA, or carbon dating the Shroud of Turin. The human genome project will be moot. Henry Ford will be proven right; “History is bunk.”

Finally an end to Rambo, Rocky (and Bullwinkle).

Most important of all. No more listening to “it’s a Small, Small World After All,” for it is now a global, global warming world after all. And an end to the three most pernicious words in the English language: “No assembly required.”

Of course, we must sacrifice. Thus, no more Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, Miss Hawaiian Tropic, the Swedish Bikini Team, and the Really Desperate Housewives of Orange County, not to mention Borat.

What if we’re wrong? What if Chicken Little is wrong about the sky falling and the temperature rising?

Then we’ll never know unless we settle a possibly carbonless space.

Let’s get serious.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Lessons From california

Immigration is not a defining issue for Republicans – not in California, not in Arizona.

White males may now vote for a person of color.

The public believes in term limits for legislators.

Political endorsements work to a point, but the Kennedys could not deliver either
California or Massachusetts to Obama, but they may have cut the margin of victory.

The “non-conservative” conservative, John McCain, won the conservative vote in California. He carried all but two Congressional districts, and all 6 of the Orange County Congressional Districts. Orange County is the bedrock of Republican conservatism. Senator Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential campaign got its genesis in Orange County, which then became the political base for Ronald Reagan. The County was also the birthplace of Richard Nixon.

The polls continue to be bumpkus this year. The only polls that matter are the votes of the voters in the voting booth. Even exit polls, especially early exit polls, can be erroneous.

The closing polls which showed Obama in the lead and Romney overtaking McCain were wrong.

Polls showing such a last minute surge in popularity cannot overcome the inertia of 2 million previously cast absentee ballots, which locked themselves in too early in a volatile election.

Talk show hosts and blogs play a significant role in determining the political future, but may not be decisive (See McCain).

As usual, the youth vote was Democratic.

Asian Americans and Latinos are increasingly registered and voting.

Voters support increased state revenues from Indian casinos.

Voters will approve tax increases, especially when presented in a disingenuous manner. Courts had struck down a 10% Los Angeles phone tax, meaning it should be 0. The City repackaged it as a tax cut from 10% to 9% that would support police and fire. It was also advertised as a way to cut corporate tax loopholes. In fact, the tax was extended to apply to cell phone calls as well as land lines. It helps that no organized opposition existed to the tax increase.

Even peace loving San Franciscans can draw a line. They rejected a proposal to turn Alcatraz into a Peace Center

Monday, February 4, 2008

It's the Delegates, Stupid

Forget Super Tuesday. Primary Season will extend through the spring, perhaps all the way into the Conventions.

Super Tuesday may be tomorrow, but it may not decide the nominees for November. Both the Democrats and Republicans are entering Super Tuesday with two strong candidates for their party’s nomination. Iowa, New Hampshire and the other early primaries and caucuses performed their role of winnowing out the field.

The country learnt in 2000 that the key to the Presidency is the Electoral College and not the popular vote. Similarly, the delegates control the nominating process – not the popular vote. The count of delegates proceeds state by state, not always under uniform rules.

We must also understand that the Media does not want the process to end this soon. Suspense and lengthy nomination process add excitement, not to mention circulation and viewership, to the contest. Clinched nominations at the beginning of February create a large void, indeed a news vacuum, between now and the summer.

Only if one of the candidates in each party receives total victory on Tuesday might the nominations be closed, but that is almost mathematically impossible.

The Democrats select 2064 delegates on Tuesday, out of the 2065 needed for the nomination. However, no state selects delegates on a “winner take all” formula in the Democratic Party. The delegates are apportioned proportionately, based upon votes in the state, sometimes under convoluted formulas. For example, Hillary won Nevada, but Barack received one more delegate from the state.

We can assume that neither Barack nor Hillary will win an overwhelming majority of the Democratic delegates on Tuesday, and that both have the financial resources and backing to carry on through the spring.

If though either Barack or Hillary receive an overwhelming percent of the delegates selected tomorrow, then the other might see the light and gracefully withdraw.

Just as conceivable though is that if Barack pulls an upset, then Hillary’s people may decide to wait out this tidal wave of enthusiasm for Barack, assuming that it is in fact such a wave of euphoria that will recede before the Convention.

If Hillary pulls through with a large percent of the votes and delegates tomorrow, then Barack may still reason that the voters increasingly perceive him as the candidate of change for the future. The more voters see of Barack, the more they like him.

The Republicans will select 1081 delegates on Tuesday, but 1191 are needed for the nomination. Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Missouri, New Jersey, and New York are winner take all states, presumably pledging all their delegates to McCain. However, most states select their delegates by Congressional District. Thus, simply winning a majority of the vote may not necessarily result in a majority of the state’s delegates if the weaker candidate wins most of the Congressional Districts, as might happen in California.

Once again, even if McCain as the favorite wins most of the votes on Tuesday, Romney may reap sufficient delegates to continue through to the Convention. He also has the resources, and backing of many conservatives, to stay in the race. Will he? As a highly successful business man, at some point he knows how to cut his losses. Let’s see how super Super Tuesday is for McCain and Romney.

Quite possibly, for the first time in living memory, not just one, but both parties may not have selected their nominee before the Convention, resulting in an Open Convention. The Media will love it. The suspense is building. That will be exciting.

Open conventions, with the image of smoked filled rooms and brokered conventions, are a distinct possibility, absent the cigarettes and cigars. The wheeling and dealing, the exercises of raw political power, the promises demanded and made, often in secrecy, may set democracy back a century.

If every delegate is critical, imagine what a delegate from West Podunk can demand for a vote. On the bright side, a brokered convention gave the nation Woodrow Wilson on the 46th ballot of the 1912 Democratic Convention.

On the negative side in national elections, the disputed 1876 Presidential election resulted in a compromise whereby the Southern Democrats supported the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, on condition the Republicans pull the Union Army out of the South, thereby ending Reconstruction and ushering in a century of segregation.

797 delegates to the Democratic Convention, about 20% of the total, are “super delegates’ unelected by the voters, but appointed by virtue of their political positions. They are unpledged and can vote for whoever they wish at the Convention. The pressure on them by the “Party” will be overwhelming. Obviously, they will like the nominee to be decided before the Convention. If not, they may control, and then the fun begins.

The 1968 Democratic primaries showed the power of the anti-war Senator Eugene McCarthy. President Johnson used his political powers to secure the nomination for his Vice-President, Hubert Humphrey. The result was to elect Richard Nixon in November.

The super delegates gave the nomination to Walter Mondale in 1984 over Senator Gary Hart, although it probably made no difference in the November reelection of President Reagan.

If the Democratic nominee is not chosen before the Convention, then a critical subplot will be the role of Michigan and Florida. The Party refused to seat their delegates because they voted at an earlier date than the Party wished. All the Democratic Candidates, with the exception of Hillary, honored a pledge not to campaign in the two states. She won both handily and is now asking their delegates to be seated at the Convention. If the Convention votes to seat them, then Hillary will almost certainly be the nominee

The real problem for America is that the compression of the primary season has resulted in much of America not getting a good look at the candidates. The citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire, and to a lesser extent, South Carolina and Florida, did, often to the point of “face to face”, but the rest of us have not.

Decisions are all too often being made on the basis of momentum, 15 second impressions, advertising, and endorsements rather than analysis and solid information. In theory, everything is available on the internet today, but one needs time to analyze all the information..