America Will Triumph

I wanted to share this article from Frank Schaeffer.

Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times best selling author.

Obama Will Triumph — So Will America
By Frank Schaeffer

Before he’d served even one year President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds — including this white, straight, 57-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of a famous (evangelical leader) this unlikely Obama supporter — are sticking with our President. Why?– because he is succeeding.

We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us. Obama’s steady supporters will be proved right. Obama’s critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst.

The Context of the Obama Presidency

Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe , the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration has any president faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully ignorant opposition – from both the right and left. As the President’s poll numbers have fallen so has his support from some on the left that were hailing him as a Messiah not long ago; all those lefty websites and commentators that were falling all over themselves on behalf of our first black president during the 2008 election. The left’s lack of faith has become a self-fulfilling “prophecy”– snipe at the President and then watch the poll numbers fall and then pretend you didn’t have anything to do with it!

Here is what Obama faced when he took office–none of which was his fault:

  • An ideologically divided country to the point that America was really two countries
  • Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and immoral
  • The worst economic crisis since the depression
  • America ‘s standing in the world at the lowest point in history
  • A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of prisoners of war
  • A health care system in free fall
  • An educational system in free fall
  • A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done nothing)
  • An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left
  • A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally irresponsible Bush administration.

And those were only some of the problems sitting on the President’s desk!

“Help” from the Right? Continue reading

The Power of Mother Earth – Unleashed

Air traffic in Europe has been greatly affected by the ash cloud spewed by the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull. This may well have desastrous effects on the European economy, namely the airlines, which are already suffering  from the recession.

But in history volcanoes have had greater impact than that. One, Icelandic, too, reinforced the “little ice age“, that was one major contributing factor to  the French Revolution.

The Laki volcanic fissure in southern Iceland erupted over an eight-month period from 8 June 1783 to February 1784, spewing lava and poisonous gases that devastated the island’s agriculture, killing much of the livestock. It is estimated that perhaps a quarter of Iceland’s population died through the ensuing famine. (read more)

We all remember the Pinatubo. It effected an average cooling of the atmosphere  of about 0,5°C. And we were treated to fabulous sunsets for months. The 1980’s eruptions of  Mount St. Helens and El Chichon added to the knowledge what constitutes the cooling effect of volcanic eruptions.

It was thought for many years that the greatest volcanic contribution of the haze effect was from the suspended ash particles in the upper atmosphere that would block out solar radiation. However, these ideas changed in the 1982 after the eruption of the Mexican volcano, El Chichon. Although the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens lowered global temperatures by 0.1OC, the much smaller eruption of El Chichon lowered global temperatures three to five times as much. Although the Mt. St. Helens blast emitted a greater amount of ash in the stratosphere, the El Chichon eruption emitted a much greater volume of sulfur-rich gases (40x more). It appears that the volume of pyroclastic debris emitted during a blast is not the best criteria to measure its effects on the atmosphere. The amount of sulfur-rich gases appears to be more important. Sulfur combines with water vapor in the stratosphere to form dense clouds of tiny sulfuric acid droplets. These droplets take several years to settle out and they are capable to decreasing the troposphere temperatures because they absorb solar radiation and scatter it back to space.(read more)

While checking the web for this information, I found not a single scientific discussion that uses the insight into volcanic impact on the earths climate to explain away the fact that what we call global climate change is indeed man made. Moreover, they all agreed that the greenhouse gases emitted during the modern age through man made machinery, outweigh those of volcanic activity in the same timeframe. The Pinatubo and El Chichon  have even given us  some respite. Maybe the volcano with the unutterable name will help us, too. If only by keeping the fuel blasting jets on the ground for a little while.

Filed your taxes yet?

I found this at my favourite jokes site

The IRS auditor was not surprised when Grandpa showed up with his attorney.  The auditor said, ‘Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I’m not sure the IRS finds that believable.

‘I’m a great gambler, and I can prove it,’ says Grandpa. ‘How about a demonstration?’

The auditor thinks for a moment and said, ‘Okay. Go ahead.’ Grandpa says, ‘I’ll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye.’ The auditor thinks a moment and says, ‘It’s a bet.’ Grandpa removes his glass eye and bites it. The auditor’s jaw drops.

Grandpa says, Now, I’ll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye.’ Now the auditor can tell Grandpa isn’t blind, so he takes the bet. Grandpa removes his dentures and bites his good eye. The stunned auditor now realizes he has wagered and lost three grand, with Grandpa’s attorney as a witness. He starts to get nervous.

‘Want to go double or nothing?’ Grandpa asks ‘I’ll bet you six thousand dollars that I can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between.’ The auditor, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there’s no way this old guy could possibly manage that stunt, so he agrees again.

Grandpa stands beside the desk and unzips his pants, but although he strains mightily, he can’t make the stream reach the wastebasket on the other side, so he pretty much urinates all over the auditor’s desk. The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win. But Grandpa’s own attorney moans and puts his head in his hands.

‘Are you okay?’ the auditor asks. ‘Not really,’ says the attorney. ‘This morning, when Grandpa told me he’d been summoned for an audit, he bet me twenty-five thousand dollars that he could come in here and piss all over your desk and that you’d be happy about it!’

Don’t Mess with Old People!!

Ok, I have heard it before, but I still like the joke, if not the visual.

The Watering Hole: April 17, The Cloud

Cloud from the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier Picture: NASA

It is so quiet over here. No airplanes are disturbing a sunny spring afternoon. Until now I never realized how many planes I usually hear during the day.

Almost all of Europe’s airports are closed and most probably will remain closed for the weekend. The cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland that grounds air traffic is hardly moving at all and now reports come in of the volcanic activity intensifying. Call me selfish, but I am going to make the most of the quiet that surrounds me.

This is an Open Thread. Go ahead and tell us what’s going on in your corner of  the world.