Friday, June 29, 2007

Immigration Bill

Thankfully the Senate's amnesty bill failed this week. I'll spare you a long diatribe about enforcing our existing laws, but can we at least build a wall? And a moat? Maybe one with sharks with frickin laser beams on their heads? I bet these people's families would have liked to have a wall keeping thousands of dangerous criminals, murderers, and drug dealers out. Unfortunately, the Democrats won't allow this because they can't get their way and hand the 12-20 million illegals voter registration forms.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Europe Photos

I have finally posted photos from our trip. We took about 500 photos, but don't worry, I only posted about 40 online. The photo above is of a chimney pot on the roof of Gaudi's Casa Mila or as the natives call it, La Pedrera, in Barcelona.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Klaus - Leader of B Squad

Sorry to post two days in a row on global warming, but this article is just too good. Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, argues in the Financial Times that global warming propaganda is huge threat to individual freedom, democracy, the market economy, and prosperity. He answers a series of questions submitted by readers, some from my line of thinking, but mostly from Al Gore types. Klaus argues that global warming “is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.” The "imminent crisis" that is global warming is an attempt to use government to restrict our freedoms and to control markets. I highly recommend this quick Q&A, Klaus (I love the name Klaus, by the way, it reminds me of Willem Dafoe's character in the Life Aquatic) sums up the arguments I'm trying to make, only he's smarter than me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

News Flash: The Earth Changes Temperature

Quick global warming update: Climatologist Timothy Patterson has new data to indicate the variations in temperature over the last 5,000 years. As you might guess, the temperature did not remain constant during that time period. He found periods of rapid warming or cooling, several degrees in a few years, despite the fact that Romans and Mayans didn't drive Escalades. This suggests that perhaps we shouldn't get too worried about .6 degrees of warming over a century. Patterson also cites a poll of climate scientists. In one two-thirds of more than 530 climatologists surveyed did not believe that "the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases." And half of those polled said that the science of climate change was not settled enough for policymakers to be considering it. Patterson goes on to say that in 2020 the sun will enter its weakest cycle in two hundred years. This may have even more impact than compact fluorescent light bulbs. However, I feel compelled to include my global warming disclaimer: let's conserve energy, let's develop new technology to reduce pollution, but let's not have useless Kyoto-like protocols or taxes that will damage the global economy.

Vote for Maggs!

The guys at You Eat Like That have alerted me to a "national tragedy worse than the Black Death times the Hindenburg squared." Despite the best performance in the American League for first half, Magglio Ordonez and his hair are currently fourth among outfielders in the All-Star balloting. Vote early and vote often.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Romney Update

Mitt Romney's smart campaign appears to be paying dividends. He is leading the Republican candidates in New Hampshire and Iowa, which is huge because these states are the first to vote in the primaries. If Romney wins these states, the momentum would give him a big boost and might help him beat Giuliani, McCain, and Thompson in other states. Romney currently trails Giuliani and McCain in the national polls, but I expect McCain to fall by the wayside as he can't seem to raise any money. As I've written earlier, I like Romney for president. He is easily the brightest and most articulate of the candidates. He is conservative on national defense, immigration, abortion, and taxes. He has the intellect and charisma to beat Hillary, does anybody else? Much has been made of how his views have changed on abortion. However, the only question voters should ask when considering the issue is what kind of judge the candidate would put on the Supreme Court. Romney would go for a constructionist judge, which would likely overrule Roe v. Wade. As far as the other candidates, Giuliani and McCain aren't conservatives. Thompson? I'm waiting to see more, but I think people like him mainly because he was on Law & Order, he's not Giuliani/McCain and he's not Mormon. Anybody else have a shot? I don't think so, but let me know if there's someone else I should pay attention to.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

White Stripes Update

Ok, it's official. The White Stripes are playing the Aragon Theater in Chicago on October 6 and 7 (Saturday and Sunday). Tickets go on sale at on Tuesday at 10:00 am (sign up ahead of time) and at Ticketmaster next Saturday at 11:00. Tickets are $36 and the opening act is the Cold War Kids. I would like to go to both, but may end up just going to the Sunday show, as the 7th is my birthday and my family might be in town. And in case you didn't know, their new album, Icky Thump, comes out on Tuesday.

Back Home

After a long day of travel yesterday, we are back home. After 12 days, we're ready to be back. To fill you in since the last post, we left Amalfi around 5pm on Wednesday and made our way back along the treacherous road to Napoli (this time our bus driver talked on his cell phones, yes two of them, and took pictures with his cell phone while negotiating the curves high above the ocean). We spent the night in Naples, not as ghetto as we'd imagined, but not nice. The concierge recommended a great pizza place (Naples invented pizza). The pizza was thin, but not like our thin crust because it wasn't crunchy at all. It was sloppier, had a sweeter sauce, and globs of delicious mozzarella. We flew to Barcelona the next morning. This time our hotel was right at the tip of La Rambla, the most famous street in Barcelona, with a wide path for pedestrians, street performers, out door restaurants, bird salesmen, and artists. Yesterday our flight left at noon Barcelona time, arrived in Philadephia around 3 and we got in to Chicago by 9:30 (or 4:30 am Barcelona time). I'll try to find one of those online photo sharing sites to post our pictures.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Amafi Coast

We left Rome this morning and got on a crowded Metro to get to the train station. There is apparently no such thing as a full train in Rome, everybody just squishes in a little tighter. We had a very fast train to Naples, but then a slow, super crowded train from Naples to Sorrento. The only road from Sorrento to Amalfi (where we are staying right now) is the craziest road I have ever been on. About an hour and a half of hairpin turn after hairpin turn as we weaved our way through the cliffs over the ocean. I was quite certain we would die (and did I mention that the bus was jammed packed and we had to stand for half of the trip?). However, we arrived in one piece in this beautiful town carved into the cliffs. We'll probably do some hiking and spend some time at the beach tomorrow before heading back to Naples for the evening. We have heard that Naples is, well, quite colorful and we are attempting to minimize our time there before we fly to Barcelona on Thursday afternoon. I do plan on having a delicious pizza in the town that invented it before we go. And no, I did not take this picture.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

In Rome, Still On My Game

President Bush met with the Pope yesterday in Rome and was met with a large protest, apparently. We missed it, as we didn't get into Rome until the evening. However, I did my part by ripping down the stickers and posters wherever I could. The host of our bed and breakfast, Valentina, asked us what we thought of the President. She believes that he is not a good person, and also that the Pope is a Nazi. That really frustrates me. I believe the President has made a lot of mistakes (spending, immigration, certainly tactical mistakes during the war), but I do believe he has done what he thought was right without worrying about the political consequences, while trying to defeat the greatest evil the world has seen since World War II.

Anyway, today we visited the Colleseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill, the Pantheon, and Piazza Nuvona. Yes, I am tired. Tomorrow we'll get up early and hit the Vatican and then probably some of the fountains and such in the afternoon.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Buon Giorno

Greetings from Italy. Sorry for the lack of posting, Sarah and I are in Europe. Our first stop was Barcelona, where we spent three nights and took in a lot of Gaudi's architecture (like Casa Battlo, pictured). I love Barcelona, the people are great and there's something new and different around every corner. We flew to Venice early this morning. I didn't get much sleep last night and was fairly crabby. It didn't help that it rained on and off all day today. Venice is incredibly beautiful and rich with history, but begins to feel a little like a Disney resort after a while, especially since it is wall to wall tourists. Also, everything is ridiculously expensive. I had a disgusting microwaved lasagna for lunch for €8, plus a €3.50 can of Coke. I did get to visit the church featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (the one where X marks the spot and there are rats). Unfortunately, only the outside was in the movie, the interior was filmed somewhere else. Tomorrow we're off to Verona, then Cinque Terra, Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Naples, and back home.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

What Consensus?

Al Gore's scientific "consensus" on the threat of global warming just does not seem to be materializing. Recent polls of those in the climate science community do not seeem to match Gore's claims. A recent poll of the National Registry of Environmental Professionals (a U.S. based, accrediting organization of 12,000) found that 59% think human activities are largely to blame for warming and only 39% think curbing carbon emissions should be a priority. Al Gore's response to these thousands of "denying" scientists? "Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the global warming crisis. The time for debate is over. The science is settled." In other words, "You insignificant 41% - SHUT UP!" The media and the Democrats (redundant, I know) are shouting louder and louder about global warming. If they win the White House, get ready for extreme global warming taxes.

White Stripes Update

The White Stripes have announced that they are rescheduling a lot of their fall tour dates, including the dates in Chicago that I mentioned earlier. I will keep you posted.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Day Light Savings - A New Enemy of the Planet?

An astute reader who shall remain Matt Dunmore (check out his photo of the day) emailed me a letter to the editor published in Arkansas Democrat Gazette. It highlights a new cause of global warming - Daylight Savings Time. Doesn't the government know the impact of an extra hour of daylight on our icecaps?! I believe the author meant it as a joke, but it appears the Gazette took it at face value. You can click on the image to open a new window, that should sharpen the text up a little bit.