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Entries from blogs tagged with “Kansas politics”

Republicans Lose A Republican District- Again

Honest-to-goodness, it's music to our ears:

A GOP House leadership aide told the Politico last week that "if we don't win in Mississippi, I think you are going to see a lot of people running around here looking for windows to jump out of."
They didn't win in Mississippi.For the third time in a row, the Republicans have failed to keep a solidly Republican House seat in their column For the third time Democrats have been elected over supremely well funded Republicans to seats that haven't seen Democratic representative in the last 20, 30, 40 or more years.For the third time in a row, seats just as or even more Republican than Nancy Boyda's have been won by Democrats, even as the Republicans have scrambled desperately to paint the Democrats with national brushes, when it's local issues, and deep, deep dissatisfaction with the Republican brand, that has won the day time and time- and time- again.First it was Congressman Bill Foster's stunning win in the seat once held by Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert in Illinois- a seat with a PVI of R-5 that the Democrat carried 53% of the vote. Then, Congressman Don Cazayoux was elected in the Louisiana 6th- a district with a PVI of R-1o that hadn't been represented by a Democrat since 1974. And now, just tonight, Congressman-elect Travis Childers has found himself elected in the Mississippi 1st- a district that has been held comfortably by Republicans since 1994 and that Childers took tonight with 54%.In each race, the Republicans pulled exactly the same tricks they're going to try to use against Nancy Boyda. They're going to try to make the race about Nancy Pelsoi, they're going to try to make the race about Barack Obama- they're going to do whatever they can to make the race about anything other than Nancy Boyda's track record or about the Republicans, because, if they do allow the race to be about the job Boyda has done, or about the miserable job the Republicans have done, they know they'll be destined for yet another lose in a "Republican" district.It didn't work there, and it won't work here.
A third loss in Tuesday's 1st District special election would prompt new predictions of electoral doom in November, hurt the party's already flagging morale and usher in a new round of public finger-pointing among an already fractured GOP. Politico.com
With good reason- they're heading toward yet another election year like they had in 2006.The Mississippi First is a district 4 points MORE Republican than Nancy Boyda's. This wasn't in Boston, kids, this was in rural Mississippi. And rural Louisiana. And rural Illinois.Our hunch is- rural Kansas is going to be more of the same.
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the Assault on Rev. Jeremiah Wright

The recent editorial assaults on Rev. Jeremiah Wright amount to a virtual "lynching" of him.Fifty years ago the southern white Democratic elite would have used the word "uppity" to describe an outspoken preacher like Rev. Wright. Today the predominently white elite that controls the national Democratic Party probably doesn't use the word, but the recent attacks against Rev.Wright indicates the elite may have the same attitude toward black preachers who disagree with the views of the elite.When politicians associate with white preachers who make comments editors disagree with, the editors criticize the politicians. So why when a black preacher makes comments the editors disagree with, do the editors criticize the preacher?The New York Times editor criticized Rev. Wright because "Mr. Wright" has "said the government manufactured the AIDS virus to kill blacks" and "he suggested that America was guilty of 'terrorism' and so had brought the 9/11 attacks on itself."The Hutchinson News has said: "The Rev. Jeremiah Wright needs to shut up."Religious leaders often explain calamities as punishment for immoral actions by government or society. Some U.S. government actions such as the bombing of the Chinese embassy during the Kosovo incident or supporting tyrants could be considering support for terrorism. Why should Rev. Wright be prohibited from making such statements?I doubt that the government deliberately manufactured the HIV/AIDS virus, but I recognize that such an action could have occurred. Among the possibilities is that employees within the biological weapons research program might have released such a virus without authorization or by accident.Those who attempt to censor someone for suggesting government might have done something wrong often do so to prevent discovery of the truth. If editors don't believe government created the HIV/AIDS virus, why are they afraid to have anyone mention the subject?Former President Jimmy Carter was recently on the Tonight Show. Jay Leno mentioned that Carter's mother Lillian had occasionally made controversial statements. Would today's editors have told Lillian Carter to shut up or expected Jimmy Carter to rebuke his mother?It's clear that the white elite that controls the Democratic Party believes that if Rev. Wright wants to ride on Barack Obama's bandwagon that Wright should stay in the background and keep quiet.I'm not concerned about Barack Obama's pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright expressing views I disagree with. I am concerned about Obama's newspaper editors who feel it is part of their job to conduct character assassinations of people who might stand in the way in Obama's drive for power.The idea that religious leaders should have to adjust their views to benefit politicians, especially someone wanting to be president, should scare anyone who believes that the state should not control the church.

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The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

Mothers Day, like so many of our holidays, is rooted in ancient times. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans celebrated motherhood by honoring their goddesses. In Medieval times, in the British Isles, goddesses were replaced by "Mother" Church.Mother's Day was introduced from Europe by Julia Ward Howe, best known for her lyrics in the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Howe suggested that June 2nd be a day of peace in honor of mothers in the United States. In 1870 she wrote A Mother's Day Proclamation, urging mothers in America and around the world to work towards peaceful co-existence.In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother's Day a national holiday to be celebrated the second Sunday in May. In contrast to the commercialized holiday it has become, it was to be a day in which Americans flew the flag to honor mothers whose sons had died in war.In her book, "We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For," Alice Walker talks about the Swa people of the Amazon. In their culture, men and women are equal but different. It is the man's job to hunt, to cut down trees, and to make war when necessary. Women take care of the home the garden and the children, but their most important job is to "tell the men when to stop."Walker says, "When the Swa are brought to this culture they observe:that the men have cut down so many trees and built so many excessively tall buildings that the forest itself is dying; they have built roads without end and killed animals without number. 'When, ask the Swa, are the women going to say stop?'" My young friend Natalie became a mother on Wednesday. I am going to give her a book that my daughter reads to my grandson. The book is "Potatoes, Potatoes" by Anita Lobel and is a story about two brothers who go to war for opposing armies. After battling in their mother's beloved potato garden with near disastrous consequences, she finds a clever way "to say stop." The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men - from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

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In Defense of Rev. Wright

I disagree with Rev. Jeremiah Wright on many things, but as an American I believe that he has the right to believe whatever he wants to believe and express those beliefs. My father believed the rights of freedom of belief and freedom of expression were important enough to risk his life in Europe in World War II. I believe those rights were important enough to risk my life in Vietnam.I disagree with Rev. Wright that the U.S. government is responsible for the HIV virus, but as an historian I know that some of our ancestors gave small pox infected blankets to the Indians.America has a long tradition of belief in conspiracies. Many believe there was some type of government involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the fall of the World Trade Towers. I disagree with those theories but see nothing wrong with people wanting to have such beliefs.Wright's statements about 9/11 being punishment are consistent with a long religious tradition dating from biblical times. Religious leaders have often explained calamities as punishment for sins. I disagreed with Rev. Martin Luther King's statements about the Vietnam War, but I recognized that he had a duty to speak out against what he believed to be wrong.One of the functions of religious leaders is to condemn what they believe people or nations are doing wrong. If we want to truly guarantee religious freedom, we must allow them to continue to do so even if we disagree with them. If anyone is to blame in the controversy, it is Senator Barack Obama not Rev. Jeremiah Wright. No one held a gun to Obama's head and forced him to attend Rev. Wright's church for 20 years. If Obama had serious disagreements with Rev. Wright, Obama should have left the church instead of belatedly condemning Rev. Wright for holding various beliefs.Obama's behavior is scary in someone who wants to be president. Presidents can become intoxicated with the powers of the presidency. A candidate who makes a practice of condemning those he disagrees with as a candidate might attempt to punish those who disagree with him if he's elected.Rev. Wright's statements about HIV might not make sense to most of us, but many of those who are condemning him believe ideas that make even less sense. For example, many of them believe that carbon dioxide which is less than 0.04% of the atmosphere has some type of magical power to control the temperature of the atmosphere. They believe this even though the process they talk about is inconsistent with the laws of physics and with scientific experiments. They claim the earth is getting significantly warmer, even though they admit that the average temperature they use changed by only 1F during the entire 20th Century and such change represents only a 0.17% increase in temperature. Such a small change could indicate nothing more than differences in equipment or differences in the characteristics of the sites containing the equipment.

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Net Metering as Sunflower Compromise

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/apr/30/veto_override_house_set_thursday/Instead of passing a bill to impose a surcharge on ratepayers The legislature should pass a companion bill that would require Sunflower to allow its customers to set up their own generating equipment and pay them if they generate more electricity than they use. The bill would allow the KCC to establish a reasonable charge for maintaining the electric lines connecting the customers to Sunflower's system.Government needs to encourage people to switch to hybrid vehicles that can be charged at home. However such a shift would require a substantial increase in electricity generating capacity. If northeastern legislators had any sense they would want to increase the western Kansas tax base with large facilities that can be taxed and increased individual income taxes from economic development.The Sunflower would produce biofuels without diverting food crops to fuel as is currently being done.

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The Rating for 2007 is Irrelevant

The so-called experts cannot agree on where the year 2007 ranks in comparison with other years. But then the average temperatures for various years only differ by a degree or less. The average temperature changed only 1 F or 0.5 C (0.17%) during the 20th Century which can hardly be considered significant.I recently checked the average temperatures for the three Wichita airports for the 1st ten days of March and found Mid Continent had an average of 37.3 F Jabara 37.6 F and McConnell AFB 36.4 F. Notice that even though the sites are within a few miles of each other and would have similar situations such as runways etc. Jabara was 1.2 F higher than McConnell and Mid Continent was in between them.A one degree temperature difference even if it's one degree Celsius isn't a big deal.

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It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity

Climatologists pay too little attention to the role water plays in earth's energy system, including the way water vapor affects air temperature. Water's potential to affect air temperature is well established in science. As I have noted in previous posts the ability of CO2 to affect temperature is highly questionable. Those who spend much time in greenhouses know that they are often very humid places because water evaporates from plants and from surfaces that get wet when the plants are watered. Meteorologists typically refer to the water vapor content of the air as relative humidity which is how close the air is to holding as much water vapor as it can hold at its current temperature.Unfortunately many climatologists waste so much time on the nonexistent impact of radiation on air temperature that they don't provide sufficient emphasis to the significant impact of water vapor on air temperature. Those who want to blame climate changes on humans ignore the fact that the combustion of hydrogen containing fossil fuels increases the amount of water vapor in the air. Other human actitivies such as watering yards, washing cars and operating public fountains also add water to the atmosphere.Water has some special thermal characteristics that can significantly affect atmospheric temperatures. Water heats and cools signicantly slower than other components of the atmosphere. Water vapor needs to absorb over four times more heat energy than the same mass of other air molecules to raise its temperature the same amount.Thus as the water vapor content of the air increases the atmosphere will heat and cool slower than when the air is drier. This process tends to keep the temperature from rising as high during the day or cooling as much at night, although the increase in the overnight low may lead to an increase in the daytime temperature because the air doesn't have to heat as much to reach a higher temperature. In equatorial areas deserts have higher maximum temperatures and lower minimum temperatures than jungle areas where the humidity is higher.Water vapor possesses what physicists call "latent" heat. Latent heat refers to the heat energy water molecules must absorb to go from a solid to a liquid (heat of fusion 80 calories/gram) or a liquid to a gas(heat of vaporization 540 calories/gram). This energy isn't reflected in the temperature of the water vapor. However, when water vapor condenses back to a liquid, or freezes, the release of this latent heat can raise the temperature of the air. A gram of water vapor releases enough heat energy when it condenses to raise the temperature of 2 kg of air by 1 C.Physicists define a "calorie" as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of a gram of water 1 C. 27 C (82 F) is the same temperature as 300 K[elvin the absolute temperature scale]. At 300 K water vapor has 300 calories of heat from its temperature and 620 calories of latent heat.The dew point is the temperature at which water vapor will condense on objects or aerosals. The dew point normally is the lowest temperature the air will fall to. As the water vapor content of the air increases the dew point rises and the air doesn't get as cool at nightThe situation is more complex than I am presenting it in this post. I will deal with some of these complexities in a subsequent post. The important facts to consider are that increases in humidity can raise the low, or minimum temperature, and limit the high, or maximum temperature, each day.I recently came across a 10 year old study done by David R. Easterling of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., indicating that humidity had increased and, as should have been expected, the minimum temperature had been increasing and the difference between the minimum and maximum daily temperatures, diurnal temperature range (DTR), had been declining.http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?id=3085&method=fullThe potential impact of changes in atmospheric water vapor are real science. Water vapor holds a substantial amount of heat energy. The only potential impact climatologists can find for carbon dioxide is the highly questionable claim about absorbing and re-radiating low energy IR. But then, if would be difficult for the politicians behind the global warming scare to make a case for getting rid of water.

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Suppressed Study Contradicts Bush

President George W. Bush has once again claimed the existence of a threatened calamity that is contradicted by a government study.Does the claim involve WMD in Iraq? No, if it did the Main Stream Media would have put the story on page one and it would have led the evening network news programs.Those people who believe in the threat claim that it could involve mass destruction, but it doesn't involve a military weapon.Several years ago NASA whistleblower Ferenc Miskolczi discovered a major flaw in the equations that have been used to predict catastrophic global warming. When Arthur Milne developed the equations 80 years ago he mistakenly assumed an infinitely thick atmosphere as a boundary condition. Assuming boundary conditions is a common practice when solving differential equations, but boundary conditions involving any amount in any way related to infinitely makes no sense for any sitautions other than black holes.In fairness to Milne his speciality was stellar atmospheres rather than planetary atmospheres.Miskolczi eventually resigned from NASA because the agency chose to suppress the study that discussed the error. Miskolczi has revised the equations and they no longer indicate the type of catastrophy suggested by NASA bureaucrats.Prior to reading about Miskolczi's work I had thought those who talked about the idea of a very minor atmospheric gas controlling atmospheric temperature were liars or intellectually challenged. Now that I know they were using an equation containing [from my perspective] such a blatant flaw, I can understand how they would make such a mistake. However I cannot understand how real scientists could continue to make that mistake. Of course government bureaucrats masquerading as scientists don't care about scientific accuracy.There is more evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction than there is for catastrophic "global warming". Hussein had previously used WMD against his enemies and still possessed plans for a nuclear program and unloaded nerve gas shells when the U.S. invaded. C02 levels went up throughout the 20th Century but the temperature went up and down which indicates there is no connection.

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Food Crops Not Good for Biofuels

Those who are criticizing conversion of corn and soybeans to fuel have a good point. Diverting food crops to fuel doesn't do much to increase energy resources, even though it reduces food supplies.Corn and soybeans have been bred for eating to provide energy for animals. Corn and soybeans cannot be efficiently converted to fuel. Too small a portion of the plants can actually be used to produce ethanol. Using wind energy for ethanol plant operation provides a greater net energy yield, but not enough to really increase energy resources.Technology to convert corn stalks and soybean leaves to ethanol would improve the yield, but such technology would eliminate the need to use corn and soybeans. Waste paper and tree trimmings could be used without diverting food crops to fuel.Currently algae provide a much more productive source of biofuels. Glen Kertz president and CEO of Valcent Products says that algae can produce 100,000 gallons of oil per acre compared to 30 gallons of oil from corn and 50 gallons per acre from soybeans. Unfortunately, ignorant politicians think that the carbon dioxide that "fertilizes" algae is a pollutant that should be prohibited. Algae production facilities connected to coal fired power plants can increase the amount of energy produced from the same amount of coal without reducing food supplies.

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CO2 Sequestering Would Be Insane

The people who want to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) don't understand the biosphere. Carbon and oxygen are two of the most important elements for biological life. 65% of the human body is oxygen and 18.5% is carbon. Plants are carbon structures with the percentage of carbon varying according to the type of plant.The CO2 oxygen cycle is critical to the functioning of the biosphere. Animals exhale CO2 which plants then use to produce the molecules such as sugars and starches that animals use for food. Plants release oxygen into the air which animals inhale and combine with the carbon compounds to grow or perform various body functions.CO2 is a major source of that carbon that provides the structure for plants. Absorbing CO2 through the leaves allows plants to use their roots for water and minor nutrients, particularly during the initial growth when they don't have extensive root systems. Some plants grow better as the amount of CO2 in the air increases. Some greenhouses use CO2 enrichment equipment to add CO2 to improve plant growth.Humans are already removing large amounts of carbon from the environment through such actions as construction of wooden buildings and making paper. Much paper and plant wastes are buried in landfills making the carbon unavailable to become part of plants.The combustion of fossil carbon fuels offsets the removal of carbon from the environment and increases the planet's ability to grow more plants. Adding carbon to the ground to replace carbon in harvested plants isn't as practical as adding carbon to the air in the form of CO2.Plants are normally thought of in terms of their biological function, but they have an inportant physics function. Plants are the original solar energy storage devices. Globally plants convert huge amounts of solar radiation into the chemical bonds of complex carbon molecules. This process reduces the amount of solar energy converted to heat energy.The molecules plants produce can be extremely long lived. If fossil fuels are ancient plant wastes as is commonly believed, the combustion of fossil fuels releases solar energy stored millions of years ago.Each CO2 molecule contains 2 oxygen atoms which are essential to animal life because animals breathe oxygen. Burying oxygen would reduce the amount available for humans to breathe and adversely affect human health.A better way to "get rid" of CO2 would be to encourage plant growth to return the oxygen to the air humans breathe. For example, power plants that produce CO2 could have attached greenhouses to recycle the CO2 into oxygen for humans to breathe and plants to convert to food or fuel. Kansas should encourage construction of the power plants Sunflower Electric has proposed rather than attempt to prevent construction.

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Gilligan and the Professor

Kansas Governor Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius has something more in common with the title character of "Gilligan's Island" than just her maiden name.The Professor on "Gilligan's Island" used his intelligence and knowledge to find ways to get the castaways off the island. Then, Gilligan would inevitably and inadvertantly sabotage the Professor's plan.Isaac Berzin may not be employed as a professor but he does have the academic qualification of a Ph. D. Dr. Berzin has developed a technology that allows coal powered electric plants to not only produce electricity but produce additional fuel. Incidentally,.Bob Metcalfe the codeveloper of the Ethernet is the interim CEO of the the company Berzin founded.http://web.mit.edu/erc/spotlights/alg-all.htmlFor someone like Gilligan carbon dioxide might be a pollutant. Berzin recognizes that CO2 is one of the raw materials used by the original solar energy devices such as algae to convert solar energy into the chemical bonds that bind carbon atoms to other atoms. According to Glen Kertz of Valcent Products algae can produce 100,000 galloms of oil per acre compared to 30 gallons of oil from corn and 50 gallons from soybeans. http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/04/01/algae.oil/Sunflower Electric's proposed power plant would use coal to provide electricity while producing the raw material that Dr. Berzin's technology would use to convert the abundant sunshine of the state "where the skies are not cloudy all day" into usable energy. The sun is our primary source of energy. Algae are very efficient solar energy storage devices. In nuclear energy a facility which produces nuclear fuel in addition to using it is called a breeder reactor. The Sunflower facility is the carbon fuel equivalent of a breeder reactor. Governor Sebelius claims to support the concept of renewable energy. So why does she oppose the renewable energy facilities Sunflower wants to construct? Could it be that she and the legislators who agree with her are no smarter than Gilligan?

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Kansas Small Town Needs Votes

Wilson, Kansas, population 800, has pride.With declining school enrollment and more than one-third the commercial downtown buildings vacant, David Criswell, President of Wilson PRIDE, Inc. decided to write a grant to the Case Foundation, an organization committed to helping cities achieve sustainable solutions to complex social problems.Recently he was informed his city made the Top 20 out of 4,641 applications. Not only is Wilson the smallest community in the Top 20, but the only one in the middle of the US. Other finalist cities include Denver, Colorado, Vancouver, Washington, Chicago, Illinois and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Placing in the Top 20, awarded the city of Wilson $10,000, which Criswell says, "We will use to do an aggressive community outreach, visioning and goal setting project."If the grant entitled "Wilson For The Ages" gets enough votes to make it to the Top four, they will get an additional $25,000, a significant achievement for the small town midway between Salina and Russell on I70.Wilson needs our on-line votes to compete against the big cities in the competition.Voting is simple. Click here on Case Foundation, vote for four, placing Wilson first, and follow the commands. To record your vote go to your email in-box and click on the link sent to you by the Case Foundation. Hotmail and gmail type accounts might not work. Your internet carrier issued email address is best. Votes must be confirmed by April 22, 2008.After last week, the Lawrence community appreciates the pride that comes with hitting a goal. Help Wilson Kansas hit theirs.

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Read Her Lips: Expect New Taxes

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All Climatologists Aren’t Scientists

Some people seem to believe that anyone who studies some physical phenomenon is a scientist and that anything a "scientist" says is to be accepted as if the "scientist" were a priest. J. Robert Oppenheimer once remarked "There must be no barriers for freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors" Empirical scientists use repeated observations and experimentation to study physical phenomena. Scientists attempt to provide approximate explanations for phenomena. Exact explanations may not be possible, that is unless someone can come up with the holy grail of physics the Unified Field Theorem.. A real scientist would produce experimental evidence to support a claim that CO2 could cause temperature increases instead of claiming that historical data can be interpreted to imply CO2 affects temperature. When dealing with complex situations real scientists set up experiments in which all but one factor is controlled so they can determine the effect of that factor. Real scientists don't expect to have their explanations automatically accepted. They expect to have to prove what they say is valid by conducting experiments and providing evidence. They accept the existence of physical "laws" which control and limit physical phenomena. They accept concepts like those in quantum physics, even if they don't seem to make sense, if there is evidence that they do. Niels Bohr "And anyone who thinks they can talk about quantum theory without feeling dizzy hasn't yet understood the first thing about it." Some climatologists aren't acting like empirical scientists. For example, they claim the existence of things like greenhouse gases that are not consistent with established physics such as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Religious figures sometimes claim that physical laws can be ignored, but they typically suggest that a deity can perform supernatural feats. Scientists recognize that concepts come and go. Physicists have been debating whether light is a wave or a particle for two centuries. Each side has dominated at one time or another. They may think that those who disagree with them are misguided, but they don't call the members of the other side names like "denier" or "contrarian" like the believers in greenhouse gases do. These people who use such terms use them in the same manner religious figures use the terms 'heretic" and "infidel". The greenhouse gas believers believe that consensus is more important than evidence. Real scientists recognize that everyone can be wrong as 19th Century scientists were when they believed that atoms were the smallest particles of matter . Scientists don't vote on which explanation is the best. They develop evidence through experimentation and observation. Real scientists recognize that mathematical explanations are often complex and that throwing a bunch of numbers together and averaging them isn't likely to produce any meaningful result. Greenhouse gas believers think they can average global temperatures and get an exact explanation of the climate of every place on earth. The climatologists who claim to believe in greenhouse gases do not behave like scientists and thus are not scientists. A real scientist wouldn't provide vague explanations like "global warming is going to cause this or that". A real scientist would give specific explanations for climate in each area of the globe. The greenhouse gas believers use the term "global warming" as if it were some type of deity. If the weather is colder or warmer than usual the answer is the same "global warming did it."

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Earth Isn’t a Black Body

Many climatologists misunderstand the theoretical physics concept of a black body model. They falsely believe that earth must radiate most of the energy it receives back into space.The black body model is a theoretical concept that can only be approximted in a lab by examining what is called "cavity radiation". It isn't a practical concept for climatology.A planetary black body, if one existed, would absorb all radiation received, become hotter and then convert the heat energy back into radiation.Substances are black if they absorb all radiation. White substances reflect all radiation. Transparent substances allow radiation to pass through. Substances that are transparent or reflective don't radiate well.A black body concept is a simple linear model that only looks at radiation and heat. A linear model can be represented by a relatively simple equation. Non-linear models require complicated equations that may be difficult to solve. Chaotic models may be difficult to represent with equations.For planetary objects the model can only apply to solids in a vacuum and to be fully applicable the solid cannot be reflective. The model cannot apply to planets with a transparent atmosphere because such planets are non-linear. Planets that also have liquid oceans especially a water ocean, are too chaotic to function as black bodies.For a planet with a transparent atmosphere the solid will still heat up after absorbing radiation, but a portion of the heat is transferred to the atmosphere through conduction. The heated air then rises drawing in colder air which is also heated. As the heated air rises the heat energy is converted to potential energy rather than radiation.Water is transparent to light which means it doesn't radiate very well. Water loses heat through conduction and evaporation instead. Conduction heats the air. Evaporation carries heat energy into the atmosphere as latent heat rather than by raising the temperature of the air or by converting heat to radiation.Earth's biosphere further prevents earth from being a black body. From a thermodynamics standpoint, plants are solar energy storage devices. They convert solar energy into the electron bonds that hold complex carbon molecules together. When animals eat plants they store part of the energy as body parts and convert some of the energy into heat part of which may be transferred to the atmosphere through evaporation of water on the skin or exhaling water vapor. Fossil fuels are believed to be plant parts that weren't eaten and continued to store solar energy.A planetary black body is a simple energy in energy out system. Earth's energy utilization system is far too complex for earth to function as a black body. The above discussion is an oversimplification of that energy utilization system.

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Consider Haskell County Kansas

I spent a lot of time on a dairy farm when I was a kid growing up in Wisconsin. Now living in Lawrence it is easy to become disconnected from agriculture. Rural Haskell County has a natural connection to Lawrence. It was named after Dudley Haskell of Lawrence. He was a congressman back in 1883. Haskell County is now represented by Congressman Jerry Moran. Representative Moran has two important deadlines this week. We all share a tax deadline with him tomorrow. The other deadline is passage of a farm bill by Friday. So why do I care and what is the connection to Haskell County? Well according to the Environmental Working Group Representative Moran's district ranks second in the nation in the amount of farm subsidies received from 2003 through 2005 (http://farm.ewg.org/sites/farmbill2007/cdlist.php). The amount is $1,315,979,151. That is billion with a "B". Haskell County was a recipient of $43.2 mllion of this amount. I have been to Haskell County but I never knew it was so wealthy. As I remember it is flat farm county with little population. The U. S. Census Bureau estimates the 2006 population as 4,171 folks. What a lucky group of people. Of course the Department of Agriculture does not send the checks to Haskell County. There are actually over 100 farm businesses receiving these subsidies. Farming in Haskell County can be a tough business with droughts, late spring freezes, snow, hail storms, : the list could go on. The kind of family farm that I spent time on as a kid would find tough going in Haskell County. They would deserve the subsidies. But wait a minute. Here is a list of the 8 top farm businesses in Haskell County and the amount they received in that 2003 to 2005 time slot reported by the Environmental Working Group. They don't sound like small struggling family farms to me.1Clawson Farm Partnership $2,202,507 2 Cox Farms $1,806,319 3Rooney Agri Business $ 908,518 4Brown Enterprises $ 720,731 5 Bryant Farms $ 666,205 6Garetson Brothers Partners$ 665,377 7 Kells Farm $ 549,252 8 Mclain Partnership $ 514,372

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The EPA Should Regulate DHMO Emissions

The U.S.Environmental Protection Agency needs to adopt regulations for human emissions of dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO). Last year the Supreme Court ruled last year that carbon dioxide (CO2) qualifies as a pollutant subject to government regulation under existing pollution control laws. The gaseous form of DHMO can produce more adverse effects than CO2. Some people refer to DHMO as dihydrogen oxide.Humans add DHMO to the air through various activities including combustion of hydrogen containing fuels such as natural gas and petroleum based fuels.The only alleged adverse affect of CO2 is that it supposedly causes increased atmospheric temperatures through a process that some physicists say doesn't exist. Some climatologists claim that CO2 causes adverse warming by trapping infrared radiation even though physicist R.W. Wood demonstrated in 1909 that trapping IR doesn't cause greenhouses to be warmer.DHMO is said to be more effective at trapping IR under the process that greenhouse gas believers claim is causing global warming which means it should qualify as a pollutant under the same criteria as CO2. DNMO comprises 2-4% of the atmosphere, but CO2 is less than 0.04% DHMO can cause climate changes even if the greenhouse gas warming process doesn't exist.One gram of the gaseous form of DHMO can melt almost 7 grams of ice which means adding DHMO to the air can increase the melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps. The same thermal characteristics that allow DHMO to melt ice allow it to prevent temperatures from dropping below a threshold. Scientists have long known that increasing the amount of DHMO in the atmosphere can keep the low temperature above freezing which can increase the melting of ice and prevent it from refreezing.The severity of flooding and hurricanes depends upon the amount of DHMO in the atmosphere. Severity of both increases with increases in the amount of atmospheric DHMO. Obviously, human DHMO emissions can increase the severity of floods and hurricanes and the EPA should regulate such emissions.DHMO can corrode metal and damage wood products among other adverse environmental effects. DHMO can adversely affect human health.Some people might argue that DHMO cannot be a pollutant because it occurs naturally in the atmosphere. The Supreme Court didn't find that claim important regarding CO2. Various natural processes put CO2 into the atmosphere including venting from the oceans and volcanoes. According to the Court's ruling in Massachusetts et. al. v. Environmental Protection Agency the law is so broad that it allows regulation of any chemical released into the atmosphere. DHMO qualifies as a chemical for the same reasons CO2 does.Plants need DHMO, but they also need CO2. Some greenhouses deliberately increase the amount of CO2 in the air to increase plant growth. The Supreme Court didn't consider the need plants have for CO2 to justify exempting it from government efforts to force the atmosphere to adhere to human law precisely regulating its content.For a further discussion of DHMO and its affect on temperature see my previous post on the subject.

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Kansas Waterfall Roadtrips

What is it about a waterfall. Is it the sound? Feel of mist or reflection of light as it cascades down?All together, waterfalls bring a joyous feel to nature.What if I said there are natural waterfalls just a few hours drive from Lawrence? There are--in Kansas. Come with me to my favorite.Pillsbury Crossing near Manhattan is 59 acres billed as one of the most scenic areas in the Northern Flint Hills region. We agree. Managed by Kansas Wildlife and Parks, it provides free access to a natural crossing of Deep Creek. In normal conditions, water flows gently over a natural flat limestone crossing then over a beautiful horseshoe like waterfall. The day we were there, the water was flowing over the falls nicely but still low enough families were wading about the crossing.Quoting from the Kansas Flint Hills Tourism web site: "During normal stream flow, you may canoe, kayak, or take a small row boat upstream as far as 1/2 mile. There are some areas suitable for primitive camping by special permit only. Birdwatching is popular, and there is a small hiking trail provided in cooperation with a local conservation club in Manhattan. Fishing is also popular at Pillsbury Crossing, where the fish include channel cat, spotted bass, largemouth bass, bullhead catfish, and carp."Pillsbury Crossing is a short 10 minutes drive north of I70 on Exit 313 (GPS: 39.12888 -96.44050). While in the area, visit the self-guided Konza Prairie Hiking trail . A 2.5 mile loop is perfect for the young members of the family and a full 6 mile loop for the full Flint Hills experience.Other Kansas waterfalls we plan to visit include Butcher Falls in Chautauqua county. The one mile stretch of Pool Creek has been determined by American Whitewater to be a class III section. It is located on the Bill Kurtis Red Buffalo Ranch near Sedan Kansas.The town of Elk Falls bills itself as the largest living ghost town. The town's namesake waterfall is located on the nearby Elk River is in the Ozark Region of extreme southeast Kansas.Alcove Springs was a stop on the Oregon Trail as it passed through Marshall County six miles northwest of Blue Rapids. The Alcove Spring Preservation Association in Blue Rapids, Kansas, maintains the short ½ mile hike to the actual falls where travelers waited for the Big Blue River to go down. This is a significant historical site as immigrant names carved into rocks are still clearly visible. It also has the distinction of being the burial place of a member of the doomed Donner-Reed party of 1846.Chase Lake Falls in Chase county on Prather Creek is on the Flint Hills Scenic Byway While there, we plan to visit the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve with its showcase limestone mansion and Cottonwood Falls, site of the Chase County Courthouse.Kansas waterfalls might not be as high or plentiful as those found in other parts of the country but, they are historic, beautiful in their own right and you can't beat the amount of gas to find them.FRIDAY NOTE: Below is a beautiful Kansas waterfall located on private land sent by an anonymous reader. He indicates it is not too far from Lawrence. Any other private falls out there?Note: Check Kansas University's Kansas Geological Survey Kansas Photo Display page. Scroll down to waterfalls and see pictures of those mentioned above and others of interest. Thank you to anonymous commenter Max1

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Boyda Responds to Petraeus, Expresses Concerns Regarding Readiness

After another report from General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker before Congress, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda's public statements seem to be very similar to the statements she made after their last update.

"When it comes to Iraq, I think everyone is rejoicing that we have increased stability," Boyda said. "The question is, what does that mean to our strategic readiness? What does it mean to our ability to defend our homeland?"
In a pair of articles in the Topeka Capitol-Journal and the Pittsburg Morning Sun, Boyda again called for a draw-down of US troops in Iraq- not necessarily for the preparations of total withdrawal, but so the ever worsening situation in Afghanistan can be address and our overall strategic readiness can be improved.

Boyda said military leaders were also increasingly concerned with the situation in Afghanistan. About 10 months ago, a National Intelligence Estimate reported that al-Qaida had regained its pre-9/11 strength in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"When we ask why we aren't addressing that more, we are told that Iraq is our number one priority," Boyda said. "But why and when did Iraq become the number one priority? It wasn't the number one priority on Sept. 12-13."

Boyda said she wasn't in favor of a large withdrawal, rather a slow and steady progression that would allow the U.S. to reset its military readiness. Boyda cited a quote from General George Casey, Army chief of staff, who said there was an "invisible red line" that would indicate the current operations can no longer be sustained.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said April 2, "I think we're close to (the red line) now."

"While everyone rejoices in some stability in the region, the questions are two-fold," Boyda said. "One, will we be able to stay and hold on to that stability and two, at what cost could we do it? It's clearly having an affect on readiness moving forward.

"We're on uncharted ground," Boyda said. "There's no doubt in my mind that if we had another 9/11-type incident, we would be able to have an overwhelming and immediate response. The Air Force and Navy are ready (to respond quickly). The problem is sustaining that response. That's what we're hearing from senior military leadership."

Readiness has always been Boyda's reason for backing calls for a draw-down of troops in Iraq, in every public statements she's made since taking office. The threat to our national security the War in Iraq has caused is becoming more and more real military officials, Members of Congress, and to the American people.
"We are in a volatile, dangerous situation," Boyda said. "The American people are waking up to the fact that having all our eggs in Iraq is not keeping us safer."
We're thankful for Congresswoman Boyda's dedication to keeping us all safe at home, and we're glad to see someone remember Iraq wasn't responsible for 9/11 and that we have allowed a very real threat come back to life in a different part of the world.
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Your Vote

Forty thousand of you reveled in Massachusetts Street Monday night after a basketball game. Unless you were one of the unfortunate business owners who had to repair and pay for broken windows Tuesday morning (and if you are, my sympathy goes out to you), unless you were one of those who ended the night in the emergency room, that one basketball game--won or lost--is not going to affect your day to day life. Not like last Tuesday's election.And yet how many of you made the same effort to get to the polls?I was up at four-o'clock April first. My fellow poll workers and I were at our appointed precincts --YOUR polling places--at six-o'clock, putting up signs in the dark, moving tables, setting up machines, opening envelopes of ballots, all to help YOU cast YOUR VOTE.The polls opened, as usual, at seven. We waited. And waited. At my precinct, it was more than an hour before our first voter came in. We waited there all day for YOU, from seven until seven. We got up one by one every now and then to pace a bit and stretch our legs. We ate our lunches right there, lunches we'd brought from home. You wouldn't have had to stand out in the rain or fight your way through a crowd. Rarely did we have more than one voter at a time. Two would be cause for a little celebration. But YOU didn't come in.YOUR vote might have been the one that made a difference. Instead, YOUR ballot traveled back to the courthouse unopened, unmarked, uncounted.What a shame!

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