Thursday, December 31, 2009

Drunk Driving Warning

I confessed to Capt. Schmoe today that I am a re-poster of material that I consider to be of good quality. I am not ashamed to admit that there are a lot of creative people out there and I like spreading good stuff around. So here is a Drunk Driving Warning created by a commenter with the nom de net Dwxtracker on the NBC Action Weather blog. It is formated in the manner of the warnings and watches written by the National Weather Service, including the use of all caps.

URGENT - HUMAN INCOMPETENCE MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OKLAHOMA
233 PM CST THU DEC 31 2009

...PERIOD OF DRUNK DRIVING THIS EVENING...THROUGH EARLY TOMORROW MORNING...


...SHIPMENTS OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES HAVE BEEN DELIVERED AND PURCHASED ACROSS A LARGE SWATH OF THE LOWER 48. CONSUMPTION OF BEVERAGE SHOULD COMMENCE THIS EVENING AND INCREASE IN AMOUNTS THROUGH EARLY TOMORROW MORNING...AND EFFECTS WILL BE FELT THROUGH SUNRISE FRIDAY MORNING. THE DRINKING COULD BE HEAVY AT TIMES, ESPECIALLY IN THE URBAN AREAS PRODUCING BREATHALYZER READINGS OF .08 AND HIGHER LATER ON THROUGH THE NIGHT, DIMINISHING EARLY TOMORROW MORNING.


/O.UPG.KOUN.DD.A.0004.100101T0100Z-100102T1500Z/
/O.NEW.
KOUN.DD.W.0004.
100101T0100Z-100102T1500Z/
ALL 50 UNITED STATES, INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...NEW YORK CITY...SAN FRANCISCO...CHICAGO...KANSAS CITY... MIAMI...SEATTLE...PORTLAND...MINNEAPOLIS...
DES
MOINES...HOUSTON...NEW ORLEANS...ATLANTA...DENVER...
PHOENIX...BILLINGS...ORLANDO
333 PM EST THU DEC 31 2009/1133 AM PST THU DEC 31 2009

...DRUNK DRIVING WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM EST/4 PM
PST THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST/6 AM PST FRIDAY...

...THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORMAN OKLAHOMA HAS ISSUED A
DRUNK DRIVING WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM EST/4 PM
PST THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST/6 AM PST FRIDAY. THE DRUNK DRIVING WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT

* TIMING...DRUNK DRIVING WILL COMMENCE TONIGHT AND CONTINUE THROUGH EARLY TOMORROW MORNING.

* BREATHALYZER READINGS OF .08 OR GREATER ARE EXPECTED. HIGHER READINGS ARE EXPECTED TO BE MORE PERSISTENT NEAR POPULATED AREAS WHICH MAY PRODUCE A READING OF.08 TO .12 IN ONLY A FEW HOURS...WITH EVEN HIGHER READINGS NEAR THE BIGGEST PARTIES THAT MAY EXCEED .12.

* OTHER IMPACTS...DRUNK DRIVING CAN LEAD TO SLOPPY AND RECKLESS DRIVING THAT CAN RESULT IN SEROUS INJURY OR EVEN DEATH. THIS RECKLESS DRIVING IS EXPECTED TO LAST THROUGH TOMORROW MORNING.


...PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...


...A DRUNK DRIVING SNOW WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF DRINKING ARE FORECAST IN THE WARNING AREA WHICH WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. DRUNK DRIVERS TYPICALLY ARE FOUND IN MORE HEAVILY POPULATED AREAS. TIREDNESS IS ALSO A FACTOR, FOR ALMOST EVERYBODY IS GOING TO BE STAYING UP LATE TO CARRY OUT THEIR NEW YEARS TRADITIONS TONIGHT. TRAVEL IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED IF ALCOHOL HAS BEEN CONSUMED. COMMERCE COULD BE SEVERELY IMPACTED. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER...AND AN EMERGENCY FIRST-AIDE IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU DO PLAN ON CONSUMING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, BE SURE TO HAVE A DESIGNATED DRIVER TO HELP KEEP THE ROADS SAFE.

&&

$$


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Red Bridge Road Funding Approved

The Red Bridge in a photo taken this fall.

Another story that the Jackson County Advocate put on the front page last week was the story of the approval of the money for replacement of the bridge on Red Bridge Road and reconstruction of the road. Again, Google found only one mention of this event in the MSM of Kansas City: Kansas City Star's City Hall reporter Lynn Horsley reported on it December 10th. Here is the text of the article from the Advocate written by Andrea Wood.
After nearly a decade of debate and design, work on red Bridge will finally become a reality. On December 10th, the Kansas City city council unanimously approved the appropriation of nearly $13.5 million for the replacement of Red Bridge, as well as a number of improvements to Red Bridge Road from Holmes to Blue River. The city also approved a contract with Clarkson Construction to handle the improvements. The project will be funded by both the city and federal grants. Councilman John Sharp said that he felt concerns that residents had about the original plan for the bridge and road resulted in a scaled back project that was better for the community. Some residents had felt that a large bridge would become a bypass for trucks to get around traffic on I-435. "Now it will be a three-lane street and a two-lane bridge that will help move traffic safely and quickly, but won't attract new traffic." Sharp explained. Councilwoman Cathy Jolly said she hoped the bridge and road improvements would help bring about new opportunities for the Red Bridge Shopping Center. She added that the new Red Bridge would be a "signature bridge" for South Kansas City, reflecting the heritage of the area and reminding residents of the current bridge, which will become part of a pedestrian trail. The new bridge, which will span the Blue River floodplain and railroad tracks, will offer look-out nooks for a view of the surrounding park and historic wagon swales. Mayor Mark Funkhouser thanked Sharp and Jolly for their efforts on the plan. "You both were hit with this the day you took office, and I know you've taken a lot of advise from constituents on the this project," the mayor said.

It sounds like a good compromise was reached, although I have not personally seen the new design. This iconic bridge does need replacing; only the sturdiness and depth of its concrete pillars prevented the kind of condemnation that would provoke emergency measures. And no one will miss waiting for trains to pass. One sure thing: construction will be a pain in the neck. The utility work that had been going on all fall has given a small preview of that.

Hickman Mills C-1 School District May Contract

This might have snuck by if the Jackson County Advocate hadn't put it on the front page last week. A Google search revealed that only NBC Action News covered it at the time. To wit, the Hickman Mills C-1 school district is considering closing one of the high schools and consolidating other schools on the secondary level. Following is the text of the story from the Advocate, written by Mary Kay Morrow.
Declining enrollments and stressed budgets may mean the closure of either Hickman Mills or Ruskin High School next year. Having met since October, the Boundary Committee met again December 10th to develop a recommendation to the school board on an ideal structure for next school year and for years to come. Boundary Committee Chairman Scott Jennings said the group needed to consider a plan that will save the district money. "We need to look at a model that perhaps shutters one high school, combines grades 10,11, and 12; and consolidates middle schools into grades 8 and 9 in one building and 6 and 7 in another building." Jennings said. Since 2000, the district has lost 906 students, primarily at the secondary level. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education projects Hickman Mills' student population will continue to wane, losing 300 more students over the next couple of years. During the same ten years that student population has dropped, funding increased by $18 million and staff increased by 210 certified and non-certified employees: 149 at the high school level and 61 in middle schools. One reason for staffing increases is that new programs--often funded by additional sources of revenue--have been added, but the committee intends to further investigate past staffing changes in January. During a recent audit of the district's financials, the auditor pointed out the need to increase reserves by continuing to cut costs, particularly in salaries and employee benefits, which cost the district an average of $55,000 annually per employee. "We need to start putting numbers to potential savings to see how we can save money," Jennings said. "We may find consolidating some buildings to be fiscally prudent." Currently there are roughly 250 more students at Hickman Mills High School than at Ruskin High School while the middle schools have "fairly equal" student bodies. At the high school level, there are 20 instances of teachers teaching the same classes while the middle schools duplicate 12 teaching positions. Combining classrooms would raise class sizes but according to Chief Administrative Officer of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Beverly Phillips "many classes are 10 to 12 students below maximum federal standards." The group will review additional data and continue to develop a recommendation Wednesday, January 6th at 6 pm in the Administration Board Room located at 9000 Old Santa Fe Road. A public Town Hall will be held January 12 at 7 pm at the Baptiste Educational Center located at 5401 East 103rd Street. A final recommendation is planned to be taken before the full board for consideration on January 23rd. Decisions should be final before teacher contracts go out in late March or early April. All meetings are open to the public. Committee members include Jennings, board members Debbie Aiman and Teresa Edens, Superintendent Dr. Marge Williams, Associate Superintendent Mitch Nutterfield, Director of Special Services Susie Fanning and outside expertise as needed.

According to the paper, Hickman Mills High School has had an enrollment loss of 124 since 2007 and Ruskin High has lost 100 in the same period. Currently Ruskin, which was established in 1930 has 810 students enrolled. Hickman Mills, opened in 1972, has 1,067 students enrolled.

A couple of thoughts. First: The closing of schools is a very emotional matter. My own high school has been the subject of closing rumors for at least the past five years as it has become more and more expensive to run. Taxpayers in town have rejected bonds for the school three times. A school contributes to a community's self image and identity. No one wants to close schools. However, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I assume the committee is doing its due diligence. One thing they should make sure of: that there is not a coming bulge of kids at the primary level, who, when they age into secondary school level will cause overcrowding if schools are closed. Second: This district has long had a rep of having good primary schools and poor secondary schools. Kids are probably leaking out of the system into other school districts, private, parochial and home schools when they reach secondary school age. I would want to know what it is about the secondary level that is driving kids out of the C-1 district. Third: I was surprised at the increase in funding documented in this article. You would think with the loss of retail in the Hickman Mills district base (home of the now flat Bannister Mall, for example), there would be less money. Money is coming from somewhere. I wouldn't count on it continuing if I were the committee or school board.

Note that all the meetings are public and one is explicitly seeking public comment. Folks interested in both their kids' education and the use of their tax money would do well to attend these meetings. I have made bold the details of the meetings given in the article.

Let's Face It, Blowing Stuff Up Is Fun

The Crown Point Bridge over Lake Champlain between New York and Vermont had deteriorated to the point that it could not be repaired without spending extraordinary amounts of money. In order to make room for a new bridge, the old one had to be demolished. (Kansas City residents will note that the bridge bears a resemblance to the old Chouteau Bridge, which met a similar fate in 2001.) Herewith some video:





Best comment from the Burlington Free Press website: "Where's the Kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering Kaboom."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter Sunset x2

On Sunday, I noticed that the sun came out during the early afternoon. I figured there might be a chance for a pretty sunset. So I started out for church a little early...

Sun setting over snow covered neighborhood.
I was almost to church when I noted that the sun was just about down. I turned onto a side street so I could snap this pic. The combination of sun, clouds and colors came out well. This sunset was quick--I couldn't snap another photo because the sun had already gone down by the time I considered it.

Kitty Prints

My cats are indoor cats. They aspire to be indoor/outdoor cats, and sometimes achieve that goal by rushing the front door when it is opened. Two of my cats managed to get out and have a little bit of time enjoying the snow. My eldest cat, who is about 13, did not participate in this particular door charge, even though, ordinarily she is up for a trip outside. Ah, the wisdom of age!

Observer Kitty, after a very short time outside, decided he had observed enough and wanted back in!

Hannah was a bit more intrepid but once she discovered that the snow off the shoveled path came up to her chest--and higher--decided she wanted back in too.
An assortment of kitty prints in the sparkling snow. Hannah, being an extra-toed cat, left particularly interesting foot prints.

A Rant

This is a genuine rant. This must be ranted before I can proceed to post more glorious snow pics, or talk about how our city works or other newsy topics or go over to www.lookinglive.blogspot.com and talk about football. I must get this out of my head. Warning: Language might be immoderate here. There might even be a cuss word.

If one more person in person or on a blog comment board questions people's hardiness in this winter weather one more time, I am going to find out their IP address, and I am going to their house and I am going to pinch their head off. Furthermore, if one more person insists that neighborhoods have been plowed one, two, three, four or more times, and denies that the Kansas City residential plowing program is FUBAR and questions whether or not I live on a private street, I will find out where they live and dump prodigious amounts of snow in their driveway and pour water on any vehicles left outside so it can freeze solid in the cold. Lastly, if one more person in person or on a blog comment board states that this storm was not a cut above the average winter storm, and compares it negatively to "when they were growing up" and again, indicates that people's hardiness is lacking, I will find your IP address and then, your house, and I will pinch your f**king head off.

People, I know what I saw and what I experienced. You do not have to report what you saw and experienced and then denigrate and put down someone else's experience. We all have our experiences and opinions about this snow storm and how our metropolitan area responded to it. Start out by being Joe Friday and report what you experienced. You can add stuff from the news and other bloggers if you like. Then editorialize all you want. Do not make yourself somehow "bigger, stronger and better" by invalidating someone else's experiences. If you need to do this to make yourself feel good about yourself, please go get some help. Or just lock yourself in your room; the world can do without one more sociopath and/or narcissist running around.

Even though I know that the trolls I am talking to will probably not read this I feel better now. There are definitely drawbacks to reading blog comment sections sometimes.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Northland Weather Geek's YouTube Video

Please to indulge one more weather post. Here is a YouTube video from one of the frequent commenters on the NBC Action News weather blog with the nom de net of RickXTN. It's a pretty good video. Also, he sounds like Nick Cage which is kinda cool.


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Snow Photos from the Kansas City Star

Kansas City Star photog John Sleezer must have a four wheel drive. He drove much of the metro to photograph the snow and its results. Most of the following is his work.
Theis Park, near the Plaza, and Brush Creek in the Christmas Eve snow. (Christopher Morris)
Early Christmas day, blizzard warnings were still on, and this message was on the KC Scout boards. The blizzard warning was later lightened to a winter weather advisory for blowing snow. (John Sleezer)
Neighbors shoveling and cleaning up after the storm Christmas day in the 2700 block of East 27th street. (John Sleezer)
Pushing out a car at 37th and Main Christmas day. (John Sleezer)
More car pushing, this time in Olathe KS, on Christmas day. (John Sleezer)
More snow coming down on Christmas day; the Kansas City downtown and Bartle baubles in the background. (John Sleezer)

Yep, Heaps of Snow for Christmas!

Well, this one did not miss Kansas City. Last time I posted, there was a light drizzle. By the time I went home on Christmas eve, it had turned into evil wind driven sleet. By 10 p.m. it was wind driven snow and temps in the teens. I am a good snow driver, with a sturdy front wheel drive car with new tires, but the drive back from the 11 p.m. church service was one of the scariest I have ever made. The snow was deep, and when my tires bit down, they found the sleet from earlier in the day. That was the last time I was out and about. Since then, I have enjoyed home, good food, and warm company. I went out about 4 p.m. Christmas day, and dug shovel wide paths from door to drive. It was snowing and blowing, and was forecast to snow and blow during the night. Today, less wind, but still snow showers. I widened my paths and dug out the car. The storm has not pulled away enough yet to give the clear days with blue sky that make for great winter pictures, but here are a few photos of the snow taken yesterday and today.

Chair, grill and hand mower are looking forward to warmer days.
Snow everywhere including on outside cars.
20 mph and greater winds made for impressive drifts. This snow sculpting around the ornamental grass is a minor example. Some reported drifts in numbers of feet, and the airport truly struggled to keep runways clear due to the blowing and drifting snow
About seven inches of snow in the sheltered area of the driveway.
Car extracted from snow, and driveway tarmac rediscovered. While I was working on this, it started to snow!
Please I would like one large cup of hot tea and some WiFi, thank you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Love Came Down at Christmas


Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Stars and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

(Christina Rossetti 1830-1894)

A big hat tip to Adam Hamilton for this, and the YouTube videos I posted December 21st.

May everyone's Christmas be full of love and His blessings!

Snow: More Waiting and Seeing


This is not a weather blog, but the weather is one of the big topics of the day. If you harbor any latent weather geekiness, this will bring it out. So, here we go. This is the most recent regional radar loop. Note KC in a dry slot. The snow is streaming up from the south with the line pretty stationary or moving just a smige west. Temperatures are sitting right around the freezing mark. Here in the south part of town it has been drizzling and the wind has picked up to about 10 mph.

Oklahoma City is just getting hammered. Snow, at one time at the rate of five inches an hour, winds 30 mph with gusts, and limited visibility making travel around Oklahoma City very tough. I-40 is closed at last report. Note the white and pink radar returns--very heavy snow. Some believe this may head our way eventually with the majority of snow falling late evening and overnight. This type of snow storm is quite common in places like the Dakotas, but the wind and snow combo with cold temps is relatively rare down here, and quite uncommon in Oklahoma City. Lots of watchful waiting around here!


This temperature gradient map, for temps taken at 1400 our time (2 p.m.) shows the marked range of temps that is part of this weather pattern. Winds are howling west of the Kansas-Missouri state line extended. This almost looks like a temp pattern from spring or fall, when nasty thunderstorms are generated. Moisture is coming straight out of the Gulf of Mexico and headed right along the temperature front. There's a cold front just west of the state line, moving this way, and this is both a possible path and a storm trigger.

With this weather set up, it's not a question of if someone's going to get a meterological smack in the mouth, it's a question of who gets smacked and how hard the smack is.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Show at Church of the Resurrection

Two more pictures from the December 13th Christmas Show at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, a wonderful celebration of the birth of Christ in music, dance, drama and visual presentation.

A preview by the choir of the candlelight services tonight and tomorrow.

Celebrating the coming of the light of the world.

Wait, Not So Fast...

New model runs are waffling now on snow and snow amounts--typical for Kansas City! You have to keep your head on your shoulders about weather around here. Watchful waiting is the right thing to do. I must say, it's not often you hear thunder during a Christmas Eve eve church service. In addition, it has been in the low 50s all day, temperature very comfortable, especially for December.

An instructive story: A winter's day a few years ago: the day was mild, in the 40s and the weather folks were advising that there would be no snow; in fact it would be partly cloudy. I, fool that I am, washed my car. The day proceeded. The next thing I knew there were large fat snow flakes coming out of the sky. Soon there was three inches of partly cloudy sitting on the ground. So much for that nice wash job on the car!

So that is how the weather is around here; you just learn to live with the fun uncertainty after a while.

Heaps of Snow for Christmas?


New York City after a nor'easter in 2008

Well, confidence is getting higher, along with cases of snow fever, in weather geeks' and forecasters' offices around the metroplex. Some are thinking snow of 6 inches or more. The best way to follow snow fever is in the NBC action news weather blog, on the blog roll at left. One way you can tell this storm could pack a real wallop, even if it mostly rains around here, is by all the severe warnings and watches in the nation. Check out the watches/warnings map, from www.wunderground.com.

The counties in white are under a winter storm watch or warning--the metro is under a warning. The light green are counties under flood warnings. The dark green are counties under a flood watch. The light blue are areas under high wind warning. Finally, amazing enough for December is the counties outlined in red (mostly in Texas)--they are under a tornado watch. The ingredients are all here for some good stormy weather: A cold front coming from the northwest. Two low pressure areas moving: one in the southwest, the other in the Tennessee valley. Now, Kansas City is notorious for the difficulty in forecasting snow here. A little movement of the storm north or south can change everything: we can go from 6 inches of snow to 1 inch of rain in a flash. So the best way to deal is to stay calm, make sure the cupboard is not bare, and the gas tank is full. Watch Gary Lezak on KSHB or on the net and if you have to travel, keep up with any changes.

After being dry for most of the afternoon, it is now at 1650, raining its brains out at Roe and 119th street in Leawood. Weirdly, from where I sit, I can see a gap of blue sky to the west southwest.

If it snows, there will be pictures!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

While not strictly a Christmas carol, these well known words by great hymn writer Charles Wesley are appropriate to the season:

1.
Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.

2.
Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit;
let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

3.
Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

4.
Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.


Some Sensible Musings on Climate Change

The Tuesday Morning Quarterback was at it again over on ESPN. This time, he is penning sensible words on climate change and the recent mostly useless meeting over in Copenhagen. I don't agree with every single word, but boy, it is hard to find stuff on climate change/global warming that is not totally politically loaded from either point of view. (Click right here to find more TMQ and Easterbrook links).

Heads of State Pause Their Limos at Their Personal Jets to Denounce Fossil Fuel Use:As the Copenhagen climate summit grinds on with -- big surprise! -- nothing specific agreed upon, here's my summary of what you need to know about the global warming issue, bearing in mind yours truly is the author of an 800-page book about environmental policy(that book was so fast-paced, it only seemed like 700 pages):

• There is indeed a strong scientific consensus regarding climate change. The deniers simply aren't honest about this.

• The consensus is that in the last century, air has warmed by about one degree Fahrenheit while the oceans have warmed a little and become slightly acidic; rainfall patterns have changed in some places, and most though not all ice melting has accelerated.

• That consensus is significant, but hardly means there is a crisis. Glaciers and sea ice, for example, have been in a melting cycle for thousands of years, while air warming has so far been good for farm yields. The doomsayers simply aren't honest about how mild the science consensus is.

• Predictions of global devastation -- climate change is a "profound emergency" that will "ravage our planet" -- are absurd exaggerations, usually motivated by political or fund-raising agendas.

• Climate change has serious possible negative consequences, especially if rainfall shifts away from agricultural regions.

• Global poverty, disease, dirty air and lack of clean water in developing world cities and lack of education are far higher priorities than greenhouse gas emissions.

• Smog and acid rain turned out to be far cheaper to control than predicted; the same may happen with greenhouse gases.

• The United States must regulate greenhouse gases in order to bring American brainpower, in engineering and in business, to bear on the problem.

• A carbon tax, not some super-complex cap-and-trade scheme that mainly creates jobs for bureaucrats and lawyers, would be the best approach.

• If the United States invents technology to control greenhouse gases, no super-complex international treaty will be needed. Nations will adopt greenhouse controls on their own, because it will be in their self-interest to do so. Smog and acid rain are declining almost everywhere, though are not governed by any international treaty; nations have decided to regulate smog and acid rain emissions on their own, because it is in their self-interest to do so.

As for the e-mails hacked from a greenhouse research center in the United Kingdom, e-mails are private correspondence. Copying them without permission is at the least unethical, and perhaps a crime. If you saw private letters on someone's desk, photocopied them and posted them on the Web, you would be considered a person of low character. Whoever hacked the climate e-mails is at the very least an unethical person of low character, and one should be wary of the agendas of unethical people.

[+] EnlargeClimate talks
AP Photo/Anja NiedringhausA Copenhagen protester passed out under the strain of verbiage.

That said, many climate scientists are rigidly ideological and believe dissent must be shouted down. This is partly because of money and privilege. The United States and European Union spend about $6 billion annually on climate change research, and every penny goes to alarmism, because it can be used to justify government expansion. Being a climate doomsayer is a path to cash and tenure -- even to celebrity, as making wildly exaggerated claims got Al Gore a Noble Prize plus stock in companies now winning government subsidies triggered by alarmism. The doomsayers are lauded by foundations, go to parties with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and attend taxpayer-subsidized conferences in Nice. They've formed a guild with intense focus on maintaining guild structure. The 1962 Thomas Kuhn book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" is best-known for introducing the "paradigm shift" concept. Kuhn's larger argument was that science is not an abstract truth-seeking realm, rather, subject to fads and what is now called political correctness, and one in which many scientists are concerned foremost with safeguarding their sinecure by toeing the line.

Plus the alarmists need to divert attention from the inconvenient truth that 20 years ago, Gore and James Hansen of NASA began to say that without immediate drastic action against greenhouse gases, there would soon be global calamities. Nothing was done -- and no problem so far. That is no reason to be complacent -- warming-caused problems may be in store. But for the self-interested alarmists, this is a reason to shout down their critics.

Footnote: John Siemieniec of West Dundee, Ill., was among many readers to note the 140 private jets and 1,200 limos at the climate summit. World leaders and celebrities rode in comfort to a conference to wag their fingers about how somebody else should stop wasting fossil fuel.

I can't add much, other than to say that one, we should treat the earth kindly, because it's where we live and what we have stewardship of, and two, that we should be doing solid science on this, not corrupting the science with political bullcrap.

Ambulance Livery: A Brief Update

I saw, last night, at a common MAST post (44 for those in the know) an ambulance in the most generic paint job known. A red stripe around the rig with MAST in tiny letters in it and that was all! Not even a crummy Star of Life--and no nifty diagonal stripes on the back--it was just white back there! Nothing reflective either. No pictures of the rig unfortunately, because it was dark and I did not have a camera camera. New rig and they didn't want to paint it? Rig in process of being fixed/remounted on new chassis? Hmmm?

While we are on the subject of MAST, I found this pearl in the comments section over at Tony's place:

Anonymous said...

twas the week before christmas and all through the town,
the murders were up, instead of going down.
The guys were going down the chimneys with ease,
The soot inside, boy, made them sneeze!

The weapons were nestled all snug in their waists,
while cars ran away in a quick police chase.
My man in his doo rag and I in my cap,
had just settled down, when we heard him get capped!

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
the screams and the tears, they just didn't matter.
The cops did we call , but alas there were few,
For city council made deals, as they always do.

The moon on the breast of the man on the lawn,
showed glimmers of red, where he had fall'n
When what do my wondering eyes do appear?
A big white box with medical gear.

With an efficient driver, so learned and fast,
I knew in a minute, IT MUST BE MAST!
To the man on the lawn, they arrived so swift,
I knew in a minute they just started their shift.

Medic called on the radio, just need to know,
Man shot in the gut in the fresh fallen snow,
BP is not good, respers are weak,
Loading him now, will be there shortly, with whom do I speak?

The doctor said his name, which never is clear,
It did not matter for this life is dear.

Though things will be changing, come around May,
let's hope there'll still be money, for the city to pay.
The people who drive and ride in the box,
still will be swift and smart as a fox.

They may not have badges and training and such,
but some say they don't need them, they just need the touch.
Time will not matter, advance does not pay,
Load them up quickly and get on your way.

He is chubby and plump, a jolly old chief, I cringed when I saw him, in utter disbelief.
A wink of his eye to Louie he made, the deal was all done, boy what a trade!

He spoke many words, no sense did they make, the council all nodded,said he was great.
Laying pen on the paper they wrote it is done, MAST is all gone now we are one.

When taxes go up and time limits go away, remember the man, in the snow as he lay.
Will there be money to pay for the gal, the guy,the box,the equipment, will you be asking why?

We will hear them exclaim as they drive into to sight, lets load him and go, it is football tonight!

12/21/2009 01:32:00 AM

Oh, if it goes through to completion, this merger between MAST and the fire department is going to be interesting every single step of the way.