Archive for April 2008

Watts Down, Doc!

Posted by unclesmrgol at 30 April, 2008 14:44:46

I love living in California. First, the State considers limiting incandescent light bulbs to no more than 60 watts. The incentive is to force people to use more energy-efficient lighting, such as flourescents and LED bulbs. But each of the energy-efficient alternatives currently has problems -- a flourescent light bulb requires the use of environmentally unsafe mercury for its operation, while LED costs are high enough (at $10-$35 per bulb) to put them out of reach of all but the richest people.

Now, to force the use of low wattage bulbs (no matter what the technology) California's Energy Commission has proposed limiting lighting fixtures in desk lamps or table lamps to consume no more than 35 watts of power. Methods of limiting such use would consist of a "35W" circuit breaker imbedded in the lamp holding a medium base (standard) light bulb, or a special socket which would take special bulbs (I assume that it would be illegal to manufacture any special bulb at higher than 35W energy use).

Here's some interesting paragraphs from the proposal.
First, the recommendation itself:
Effective January 1, 2010 (assuming this rule is completed in 2008), portable lighting fixtures (specifically defined) shall either be certified to meet the current Energy Star fixture specification or shall not consume more than 35 Watts of power and shall be incapable of operating with lamps that total more than 35 Watts

Note: You get 35 watts of light maximum from your desk lamp for your desk. No more brightly lit writing area for you, unless you want to put a couple of desk lamps on the job, or maybe get a desk lamp the next time you are in Las Vegas.

Second, proposed methods of getting there;
Portable lighting fixtures typically contain screw-in sockets for 1-3 lamps. Efficient alternatives include: (1) fixtures with LEDs or plug in CFLs (e.g.?PL-type? lamps) in lieu of screw-in sockets, and (2) use of screw-in CFLs in conventional fixtures. For the latter option, there are a range of options including (a) requiring that manufacturers include efficient lamps when fixtures are purchased and (b) including a circuit breaker or some other switch that prevents the fixture from operating if lamp wattage exceeds a preset value. Option 1 is the most expensive but ensures that efficient lamps are used throughout the life of the fixture. This also requires most fixtures now on the market to be redesigned. Option 2a is inexpensive, but will save significantly less energy because some consumers won?t use the CFLs in the box, and other consumers will only use the CFL until it burns out, and then will replace it with an incandescent lamp. Option 2b is intermediate between the other two options, with a cost only a little higher than option 2a and savings approaching those of option 1 since, with the right wattage cap, most incandescent lamps cannot be used. This option will require addition of a circuit breaker to most current fixtures, something that torchiere manufacturers have recently done.

Notice the interesting statement -- ...something that torchiere manufacturers have recently done...

That torchiere you just bought here in California may well have a current limiting breaker preventing its operation with standard 300W torchiere lamps. Torchieres are designed to provide indirect light to a very large area, and hence need a large wattage bulb. They take the place of many smaller lamps. The standard solution to such limitations is going to be the purchase of multiple torchieres for the same job. SInce the current limiting is at the 180W level, two torchieres each emitting 180W (for a total of 360W) will be needed to light the same area. For those of us who are wealthy, no problem, but for the poor -- you get to buy a couple of fixtures where previously you only had to buy one, and those fixtures together will consume more power than the single "unlimited" one you were previously able to purchase.

Note also that they realize that consumers are driven by impulse price, and that, given their druthers, would rather have more light at a cheaper price per bulb even if the energy costs more.

Third, how do we get around that problem with mercury?
Proposed standards will require moving toward CFL, LED or other high-efficiency technologies. While most consumers accept these light sources, some consumers prefer incandescent lights. If the Watt cap compliance pathway is used by a manufacturer for a product (e.g., a 35 Watt circuit breaker is used in conjunction with a medium screw base), some consumers may be confused when the fixture does not operate if they use a high-wattage conventional bulb. To address this, manufacturers, utilities and others should provide educational information. This educational effort should also address proper disposal of CFLs.

We are going to educate consumers on how to properly dispose of expired mercury-laden lamps? What if the lamp breaks (everyone has had a light bulb break on them at some point)? Are we going to educate consumers on hazmat procedures too?

The point is that the alternatives are unattractive from both safety and price standpoints, and defeatable from a use case standpoint, and yet California is going to force us to go there anyway.

When Obama Pigs Fly

Posted by unclesmrgol at 30 April, 2008 11:02:00

Obama's Albatross Resurgent

Posted by unclesmrgol at 29 April, 2008 07:40:00

Obama's "former" pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, has been on a roll recently. But Wright's recent appearance before the National Press Club in Washington D.C. created a product which Obama has no choice but to address:

To say ?I am a Christian? is not enough. Why? Because the Christianity of the slaveholder is not the Christianity of the slave. The God to whom the slaveholders pray as they ride on the decks of the slave ship is not the God to whom the enslaved are praying as they ride beneath the decks on that slave ship.

Translation: Blacks and whites pray to a different God.

As I said on the Bill Moyers? show, one of our news channels keeps playing a news clip from 20 years ago when Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion.

And he was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter is being vilified for, and Bishop Tutu is being vilified for. And everybody wants to paint me as if I?m anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago.

Translation: I am anti-Semitic. My support for Louis Farrakhan shows that.

And if you saw the Bill Moyers show, I was talking about ? although it got edited out ? you know, that?s biblical. God doesn?t bless everything. God condemns something ? and d-e-m-n, ?demn,? is where we get the word ?damn.? God damns some practices.

Translation: Judge, for ye shall not be judged.

Britain has apologized to Africans, but this country?s leaders have refused to apologize. So until that apology comes, I?m not going to keep stepping on your foot and asking you, ?Does this hurt? Do you forgive me for stepping on your foot?? if I?m still stepping on your foot.

Translation: Abraham Lincoln is a figment of the imagination.

Father Flagger (sic), by the way, he might be one of the one ?

Translation: I've found a pro-abortion, racist Catholic priest to flack for me.

Oh boy. Hasn't Wright even considered the racist abortion agenda of Planned Parenthood as he marches in solidarity with the Rev. Sharpton and Father Michael Pfleger, the pro-abortion priest?

Don?t make me come across this room. I had to come across the room, because they start ? understand, when you?re talking about my mama, once again, and talking about my faith tradition, once again, how long do you let somebody talk about your faith tradition before you speak up and say something in defense of ? this is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright.

Once again, let me say it again. This is an attack on the black church. And I cannot as a minister of the gospel allow the significant part of our history ? most African-Americans and most European-Americans, most Hispanic-Americans, half the names I called in my presentation they?ve never heard of, because they don?t know anything at all about our tradition.

Translation: Every black church is as racist as mine. And yes, you are attacking me and I don't like it. That's why I'm afraid of you, and why I have all these Nation of Islam guards standing around.

Several black pastors have already disowned Wright's viewpoints. If his viewpoints are stock within the black church (whatever that is), that church is in a sorry state.

All of that Obama has heard shouted from the pulpit before. The thing that got him was this:
He didn?t distance himself. He had to distance himself, because he?s a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was anti-American. He said I didn?t offer any words of hope. How would he know? He never heard the rest of the sermon. You never heard it.

I offered words of hope. I offered reconciliation. I offered restoration in that sermon, but nobody heard the sermon. They just heard this little sound bite of a sermon.

That is an attack on Obama's integrity. In Wright's mind, Obama is only a politician, which is why Obama is not defending Wright's viewpoints, which Obama understands and believes, because, as a politician, Obama needs racist votes to be elected. Obama has to respond. Sadly, any response by Obama will be about twenty years too late; the scales should have fallen from his eyes years ago.

Note: Here's the prescient scoop from the LA TImes' Jonah Goldberg:
I, for one, have no interest in being united with Wright or anyone who insists that America is an evil, racist, damnable nation bent on murdering black people -- and I suspect neither will many general election voters.

Another Emybronic Stem Cell "Second"

Posted by unclesmrgol at 23 April, 2008 22:14:53

Autologous Stem Cell research vs. Embryonic Stem Cell research

Note again what stem cell research has advanced to the human trials stage, and which research is still mired in the "Petri Dish" stage.

Since embryonic stem cells come from a human different from the one in which their tissues might be implanted, there will always be rejection concerns requiring the use of immunosuppressent drugs. That's why we may never see such tissue implanted in another human, because that human's own autologous stem cells can be used far more efficatiously.

Channelling Karl Rove

Posted by unclesmrgol at 23 April, 2008 21:17:14

And what of the reborn Adlai Stevenson? Mr. Obama is befuddled and angry about the national reaction to what are clearly accepted, even commonplace truths in San Francisco and Hyde Park. How could anyone take offense at the observation that people in small-town and rural American are "bitter" and therefore "cling" to their guns and their faith, as well as their xenophobia? Why would anyone raise questions about a public figure who, for only 20 years, attended a church and developed a close personal relationship with its preacher who says AIDS was created by our government as a genocidal tool to be used against people of color, who declared America's chickens came home to roost on 9/11, and wants God to damn America? Mr. Obama has a weakness among blue-collar working class voters for a reason.

Karl Rove, you magnificent bastard!

China's Going to Win This One

Posted by unclesmrgol at 23 April, 2008 21:02:38

"They're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years."

You can add a couple of Chinese citizens to that accolade. As the link indicates, they're suing CNN for defamation of the Chinese people. A nearly identical lawsuit has been filed in Beijing.

My guess: They'll lose in the USA and win in China. As a result of the win in China, CNN's intellectual property in China will be confiscated to "pay" the lawsuit.

Of course, Cafferty was right -- and the lawsuits prove it.

Waffle King

Posted by unclesmrgol at 22 April, 2008 08:04:13

Don't mess with Barack Obama when he's eating waffles.

It's OK if he's eating pumpkin pie, but not waffles.

Maybe Barack has finally decided to heed his mother's admonition that one shouldn't talk with one's mouth full. Or, better, maybe he's realized that every time he opens his mouth, he opens a new can of worms.

Deadly Force to Protect the Torch

Posted by unclesmrgol at 20 April, 2008 11:48:36

The Chinese have had a tough time with their Olympic aspirations. First, Stephen Spielberg resigned from the committee performing artistic overview of the Games, Secondly, the Tibetans have made its path through the various Western nations a public relations fiasco for China, which had viewed the hosting of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The torch has been doused with water, taken to secret warehouses to evade protesters, and even snatched from the hands of a torch-bearer, Majora Carter, who bared a Tibetan flag as she ran. China has attempted to respond with what appear to be "spontaneous" demonstrations against people who find fault with its policies.

Of course, the Chinese have not done much to deflect the truths behind the criticisms:
Now this. Apparently, any Tibetans (or others) who might try to protest the passage of the torch over Tibetan territory can expect to be shot, not only by the Chinese, but by the Nepalese as well.

One wonders what has happened in Nepal for this to happen -- could it be the recent election of a Maoist government (whose candidate was the only one with an army)? In addition, Nepal and China have, as of earlier this month, banned cameras and cellphones on the mount.

The route to Everest above the Base Camp is currently closed in preparation for the Torch. I suspect people will die up there, and the Chinese want no witnesses, no evidence -- or, if there are, they want the convenient excuse that Nepal shot first.

Update (23 APR 2008): I forgot the cat food fiasco, the lead toys fiasco, the toothpaste fiasco, and, now the latest, tainted heparin fiasco. One would do well to avoid Chinese products, it seems (provided one can find them -- the cat food containing the contaminated wheat gluten did NOT have a Made in China label). Of course, as in all of the previous instances, the Chinese government is officially denying that China was the source of the problem; in each case, China's assertion has been shown to be false.

Tough Debates

Posted by unclesmrgol at 20 April, 2008 11:20:13

The Obama Crowd is calling foul on the recent ABC-hosted debate, claiming that their candidate was asked frivolous questions by ABC's Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos about such topics as his choice of pastor, his gaffe in San Francisco, his disparagement of those who wear "flag pins", and his untenable position on increased capital gains taxes.

Of course, Obama is helping to fuel the "backlash" by claiming that he was set-upon in the debate. I guess, in the eyes of the Barack campaign, ABC didn't get the same message CNN did. So, instead of the tough questions coming from CNN, they had to come from ABC.

The Hillary camp has an interesting response:
From: Jay Carson
To: [Tom Shales]
Sent: Thu Apr 17 17:59:49 2008
Subject: debates


I hope this finds you doing well.

I read your piece with great curiosity this morning especially because I didn?t recall you ever having the same negative reaction to any of the multiple debates where the moderators were extremely tough on senator Clinton (much much tougher than either Stephanopoulos or Gibson were on either candidate last night). I did a lexis search to make sure I hadn?t missed you crying foul about any of these debates and my memory proved me correct. Msnbc was so tough on senator Clinton (including devoting over well over the first hour of two debates to tough questions to senator Clinton) that they were mocked and criticized by many for the imbalance of their coverage, though notably not you. In fact, you found their most recent debate to be ?too tame and tepid.?

To be clear, I don?t think it is a bad thing for the press to be tough on presidential candidates (or their staff for that matter). These people are running for president after all, and if you cant handle a tv anchor how should the American people expect you to handle a hostile world leader? My only complaint is when a different standard exists for each candidate, which is the glaring issue with your piece. It is troubling to me that tough on one candidate is deserving of your outrage, and tough on another candidate is fair game, even ?too tame.? I would posit that if one is going to be playing referee with media coverage it is all the more important not to have a double standard.

When you get a chance I would appreciate an explanation of how the various debates differed.



In my opinion, both candidates got asked questions which address the qualities of both character and policy. Every question was a hardball.

That Obama is whining that some pitches (entirely deservedly) were hard is not a sign of Presidential character -- it's more a sign of the whiney liberal.

We'll see.

Why I'm Glad I'm Catholic

Posted by unclesmrgol at 17 April, 2008 22:39:47

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing God Bless America? No, no, no! Not God bless America. God damn America! It's in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating its citizens as less than human!" -- Reverend Jeremiah Wright

"Mr. President, dear friends: as I begin my visit to the United States, I express once more my gratitude for your invitation, my joy to be in your midst, and my fervent prayers that Almighty God will confirm this nation and its people in the ways of justice, prosperity and peace. God bless America!" -- Pope Benedict XVI

'Nuf said.

The Iraqis are Watching

Posted by unclesmrgol at 14 April, 2008 08:24:13

Here's an interesting opinion piece from Michael Honeycutt, a veteran who spent sixteen months in Iraq attached to the 2/198th out of Mississippi, and who is a member of Vets for Freedom:
All we ask is that the our political leaders not pull the rug out from under us and, more importantly, out from under the Iraqi people now that real progress is finally being made.

We did not do this because we are Republicans or Democrats. We don't believe that wanting America to win in Iraq and defeat the forces of radicalism is a partisan goal. It is an American goal, and we support any politician, Republican Democrat or independent, who shares that one belief.

Here's more from Mike:
Most Iraqis don't support Al-Qaida and the militias, but when our commitment to stay in Iraq and finish the job is in doubt -- as it was when Sen. Harry Reid went on TV and said, "this war is lost" -- Iraqis are going to hedge their bets. They may not support the militias, but when they are betting their lives, most of them are not going to commit to America unless they are assured that America is committed to them.

The Democrats (hopefully) do not realize the damage they are doing to our reputation with their partisan position on cutting and running. It is the same position the Democrats held during the Civil War, in which the war was judged by them to be too costly relative to its objectives. The abolition of slavery was judged to be less important than getting our guys back home. Back then, we had a name for such individuals, and the name may well be appropriate today. Copperhead.

One final quote from Mike to make a trinity:
They were willing to help us, but they are not a stupid people. They know that if they commit to the American side and the Americans abandon them as we did in 1991, it means death for them and their families. They know this, and it is real. It is not an abstract idea for them.

Yup, that ought to be enough to clue the Democrats into just what they would cause. Mike touts our abandonment of South Vietnam as the prime example of what we would have to do to begin to salv our reputation -- anyone remember the Boat People? They were our Boat People -- the best and brightest from a country created and ultimately betrayed by us. This time, we will be betraying an entire people, not just half a people.

Why I Stopped Watching Television

Posted by unclesmrgol at 13 April, 2008 22:45:46

As a kid, I was an inveterate TV-watcher. They had me hooked. Gilligan's Island, F-Troop, Get Smart, Star Trek, Bonanza, The Rifleman, Profiles in Courage, Mary Tyler Moore, My Favorite Martian, I Dream of Jeannie, Maverick, Combat, Twelve O'Clock High, The Munsters, The Addams Family, Car 54, Rowan and Martin's Laugh In, Carole Burnett, Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, I Love Lucy...

Once, you could keep an audience without vast amounts of blood or gaping bullet wounds, no overt sex, and without a single bad word.

Then, TV left me. The shows got edgier, the language rougher, the blood redder and more voluminous. I guess, what happened, was, as NBC puts it:
?It was not to be construed as a return to a strictly defined family hour,? he said, featuring wholesome shows like ?Little House on the Prairie,? a hit on NBC in the late 1970s and early ?80s.

?Those days and those audience expectations are gone,? Mr. Metcalf said. He further differentiated NBC?s Thursday-night comedy block from the family shows planned for other nights at 8. ?Our tradition is one of adult, edgy, sophisticated comedies? on Thursday nights, he said. When appropriate, the shows would get a TV-14 warning, he said, and ?30 Rock,? though scheduled at 8:30 p.m. (or 7:30 Central time) ?meets the expectations for that night.?

?There are not going to be hard and fast rules? for the family hour, Mr. Metcalf added.

Well, if there aren't any hot and fast rules, that might explain why my young children weren't allowed to watch TV, and why I and my family now find more productive things to do. The rules of propriety were abandoned sometime in the 1980's, and when the rules went out, a bunch of audience did too.

They are welcome to pitch "family hour" at oversexed juveniles, for who else would watch a show with 20 "hot mamas" accompanied by 50 8th graders, with the "mamas" forced to remove bras and throw them in the fire? Not me. They lost me 20 years ago, and they'll never get me back, because, as they would have it, those days and those audience expectations are gone. Other media outlets than TV successfully compete for my money and time now.

Good luck, NBC. You'll need it.

For the Good of the Party

Posted by unclesmrgol at 13 April, 2008 16:38:09

Hillary and Obama duking it out is hurting the Democratic Party, Al Gore and Jimmy Carter apparently feel the pain, and, according to some guys in Scotland, they're about to read Hillary the script to force her from the race in favor of their designated heir apparent.

One has to love the thought that a guy who couldn't bring himself to concede an election for the good of the nation is about to try to convince another equally hard-headed politician that she ought to concede an election before it has happened for the good of their beloved party.

Good luck, Al Gore, you'll need it.

Blood for Oil

Posted by unclesmrgol at 09 April, 2008 07:42:02

One of the favorite liberal memes is that we invaded Iraq to get its oil. The Democrats in Congress, according to this AP story want to make that meme come true.

If they get their way, our troops will be dying not to defend our country or to insure the peace and tranquility of the Iraqi people, but to obtain the oil our economy needs.

Here's the quotes:

"Rather, we need to put continuous and increasing pressure on the Iraqis to settle their political differences, to pay for their own reconstruction with their oil windfalls, and to take the lead in conducting military operations," -- Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich.

Of course, a few good Republicans have joined the Democrats in this Blood for Oil endeavor:

"Isn't it time for the Iraqis to start bearing more of those expenses, particularly in light of the windfall in revenues due to the high price of oil?" said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Well and good, but if, as the Democrats claim, we broke Iraq, why, by their own arguments, should we begrudge the Iraqis any of the windfall?