The DoE: Failure

Oil and Natural Gas Resources in Alaska  Too me this is just more evidence of the Administration’s efforts to serve oil and big business interests at the expense of the American people, our ecology, the oceans, and the world. The Department of Energy shouldn’t be encouraging the use of oil and petrochemical fuels by destroying our nature preserves, lands, and waters. The DoE should be demanding the use of alternate energy sources and fuels: wind, hydrogen, nuclear, photo-voltaic, et. al., to meet the nation’s energy needs as well as work with other agencies to encourage or demand the development of usable mass transit systems, car pooling, mandating significant improvements in automobile fuel efficiency, mandating alternative energy generation (such as noted here and here) and/or management in new building and housing construction (such as this technology), and even encouraging walking/cycling to work or school (which can do wonders for the nation’s lack of exercise and obesity rates) as just a few examples. Drilling for more oil does not eliminate the simple fact that there is only a finite amount of oil on the planet. Period. It’s better to deal with the issue now in a reasonable and informed manner, then ignore it until it becomes too much of a problem to overcome without serious geopolitical, social, and environmental repercussions for all.

Analog to Digital TV Conversion

Because so many don’t seem to realize the facts about television switching from analog to digital signalas in the United States here is a site of interest for information. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s TV Converter Box Program So no need to rush and throw out your older televisions if they lack a digital tuner.

Personally, I think the government kept the whole thing relatively quiet until recently so people will just assume that they need to buy new televisions in some twisted idea that it’ll somehow help the economy or something. That or they’ve under funded the program like they are wont to do when they change public policy but want the public to pay for the change. It’s been done before and will be done again.

Shadows of Uluru

Australia to Apologize to Aborigines  I’m glad the Aussie government is finally dropping it’s intransigent behavior in refusing to acknowledge their past abuse of the aboriginal peoples of Australia, particularly those who are part of the Lost Generation. My hope is that this will ope up a dialog in Australia about the rampant discrimination against Aborigines and the latent racism too many Australians refuse to acknowledge. After all, you can not rectify a problem is you refuse to admit that there is one.

Make no mistake Australia does have a racism problem. All one needs to do is look at the actions of the government and people during the period of the Lost Generation and it’s scarring of the Aboriginal people to this day. Add to this more recent government actions to try and take Aboriginal lands and rights away from them under the guise of doing so “in their best interest”, made all the ore confusing given the push to give back tribal lands and holy places by other agencies. This is similar to arguments used in the Aussie government’s actions in stealing so many children away from the tribes and families in the first place, many of which ended up in abusive environments (homes, schools, etc) far removed from their culture and family.

I suppose I just do not get why the Australian whites, descendants of  people Britain considered to be criminals, scoundrels, and the scum of humanity, who were treated to poorly themselves would inflict such horrific treatment on the native people. I suppose it simply comes down to cultural arrogance, arrogance that has led to the oppression and attempted exterminations of local populations and cultures by invasive foreigners throughout the history of the world.

World News Commentary

Woman wins right to sue ‘lottery rapist’ (CNN) I have little sympathy for the rapist and if this is the only true redress his victim can get than so be it. I have to wonder, though, why the convicted rapist was even allowed out of prison on “day relief” if he was sentenced to life for his crime. I would think people in England would be more concerned that such a dangerous individual would even be allowed to leave the prison and buy a lottery ticket in the first place.

Kenya Troubles
I wish I could say I was surprised, but African nations always seem to be in one trouble or another. Worse, is these problems are exacerbated by corrupt politicians exploiting, and far too often igniting, tribal tensions where once there were none. None of this is helped by self-important and ill informed politicians from the European Union and United States making gross exaggerations that are often contradictory. For example, an American diplomat says it is the Luo tribe trying to “ethnically cleanse” the majority Kikuyu tribe but with EU officials stating the opposite.

Two down and more to come

Now that the early primaries are over and Super Tuesday approaches we have the nominee pools thinning out a bit for both parties. This time: Edwards and Giuliani.

I’m not really surprised John Edwards announced his withdrawal given his respectable, but still too low, numbers. Too low to ever win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination this electoral season. I also wasn’t surprised that Edwards didn’t endorse any of the remaining party candidates as of yet. I suspect regardless of who ends up with the Democratic Party nomination Edwards will have some influence and sway within his party, perhaps even aiming for a position with in a potential Democratic administration.

While Giuliani hasn’t made an official announcement as I write this, he too is expected to withdraw due to poor performances. I think he might have done much better if he hadn’t taken such an odd approach to his presidential big. The impression I was left with was one of a man trying live of the reputation gained from the September 11, 2001 and little else. Perhaps that was simply how the media portrayed him, perhaps not. All I know was Giuliani spoke too often about issues that have already been expounded on by other candidates: terrorism, national security, immigration, the economy, and so on.

I admit I am very pleased to see McCain win in Florida, even if the alleged “conservatives” of the party are still against him. I called them “alleged conservatives” because for many of them it isn’t about conservative issues anymore but power, big business, and money. Too many of them instead give lip service to such financial issues while instead trying to maintain or even undermine the status-quo to their own personal greed and benefit. And as for social issues, they’ve turned social conservatism into religiously inspired and justified intolerance, discrimination, and hate.

I’m still hoping Super Tuesday will result in John McCain and Hillary Clinton victories across the board (and perhaps all but locking up their respective party nominations) because I would actually like to have a presidential election where I feel like I’m voting for people that can be trusted to do their jobs, are responsible, reasonable, experienced, and would represent the United States to the world with some class and dignity instead of simply voting for the candidate least likely to make me ill at the very thought of them as president.

Commercial Spaceflight

The Unsung Rocketeers I enjoyed this commentary piece very much. Far too often the engineers behind the designs and innovations are ignored. Fortunately Burt Rutan is one of the few who seems to enjoy sharing the spotlight with his fellow engineers and designers.

On a personal note, I got a kick out of seeing Pete Siebold’s name as I’ve actually had the opportunity to meet him while attending ERAU through members of his family teaching there. He and members of Scaled Composites came to the school and gave a few presentations on SpaceShipOne that were quite interesting and gave much  insight to student engineers in what is involved in the design and engineering process.

Wire Tapping Debate & State of the Union Address

As well all know President Bush gave his State of the Union address tonight. I personally thought some parts were well written and articulated, but much of it was a simple rehashing of Mr. Bush’s stated goals, even if it was too little, too late. I was annoyed by his comments supposedly encouraging the development of alternate fuel technology and investing in American technology and innovation given that his administration has done little to nothing, aside from lip service, to support such initiatives in the past.

Overall it was a so-so speech without any real spark. It really came off like many other of the President’s speeches have been: businesslike. The problem is the United States is not a business. It’s not a corporate hegemony. It’s a nation. Trying to run it like a business (but without the fiscal limitations of a business) have only led to disaster: government debt, pork barell politics, company bail outs, etc.

Wire tapping debate in Congress resumes Teusday ( I am somewhat offended by President Bush insinuating in the State of the Union speech that the temporary Protect America Act was solely the reason why our security and intelligence services have had successes against terrorists and other would be threats to the United States. The reason many congressmen are hesitant to make the Act permanent, as Mr. Bush desires, is that it may in fact not be needed given the existing FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) does make allowances for possible threats. The real problem is the act being debated upon could potentially give a blanket pardon to companies that acted illegally and make them exempt for said illegal activities.

Too often, nations and governments allow criminal activity to be pardoned in the name of protection and security and the public good. Sometimes this is accurate and true. More often though, it is simply an excuse to abuse power, to silence opposing views, and eventually oppress citizens. In this case, it appears to be another corporate bail out for companies that knew what they were doing was unethical and illegal and did it anyway. If that is the case, then they shold be rightly held accountable for their actions, especially if their actions harmed their customers and consumers.

But they did it too! See! See!

I’m not sure whether to be amused or annoyed at the blatant and poorly done attempt to somehow give political moral equivalence of a picture showing the Clintons with a slum lord  to the actions of Obama’s business dealings with same said slum lord.  The fact that anyone even thinks these can be counted as equal in nature is laughable.

For example, just because I met, spoke, and had a picture taken with Nursultan Nazerbayev when I was in a student exchange program to the then Soviet Union, doesn’t mean I can now be considered one of now Kazakhstan President Nazerbayev’s  aides. Such a claim would be the height of stupidity a rightly scorned.

The fact that the Obama campaign or one of it’s supporters did this indicates to me just how weak Obama’s position is and they know it. So instead they play games to try to get people to ignore the truth of the record of which he claims to be so proud. He may be seen as affable and personable to most people, but if his actions run contrary to his own assertions and claims then he is shown to be just like every other politician. Perhaps even worse, because he lacks the qualifications, experience, and maturity for such high level politics.

Juvenile, even for Obama’s “feel good, ignore the truth” campaign.

Good thing that I support Mr. McCain.