TitleTexas Sized Gator
DateJuly 25th, 2002 at 8:48pm

This gator was caught a few weeks ago at Kitty Hollow Park in Missouri City, TX. on Highway 6. (suburban SW Houston)

A construction worker found it laying in one of the concrete pipes. The animal control officers said it weighed just under 2100 lbs and was 18 1/2 feet long. It was taken to Brazos Bend State Park, and released.

I'm thinkin' a coupla things here. First, I'm not gonna be taking the wolfhounds, Shelby, or any kids to that park anytime soon. In fact, I don't think I'll be planning too many trips there. Second, that monster woulda made quite a few pairs of good-looking cowboy boots.

Actually though, I'm happy. Gators had a rough go of it there for a while, and the sightings of ones like this just reaffirms how well they've come back. There are success stories in wildlife preservation, though you'd have a hard time getting some of the more radical tree-huggers to admit it.

The gator was lucky. If they'd have nabbed him in Louisisana, he'd a been the all-you-can-eat buffet at the nearest Cajun eatery. :-)

TitleWhat's A Liberal To Do?
DateJuly 24th, 2002 at 7:53pm

“I have an axe to grind, and plenty of fury to turn the wheel.”

Arthur Allen Leff

They can't find an issue to call their own these days that the public gives a damn about.

Quick now—the Democratic leaders are calling a press conference this afternoon to announce their great new plan for the American people. It is … what? What does the Democratic party stand for today? Can they think of anything? Can they define themselves other than by being against whatever the Republicans are for? Would any reporters even show up?

The pity of it all is that there are real issues out there crying out for attention. Ending the compleat failure of the “War On Drugs” would be one. Getting our somnolent, lazy asses up and off this rock and out into space would be another. Revising copyright law to relax the deathgrip the publishing companies are keeping on artists completes the trifecta. Any of those issues alone would be enough to change my vote in a presidential campaign.

Rational regulation on environmental issues, easier approval of new drugs, privatization of many government functions, (start with the Post Office) clueful airline security, solving the “last mile” problem for high speed information access, protection of personal privacy, more R&D funds for universities researching things such as nanotech, I can imagine many issues that are not inherently wedded to to one school of political thought, and are wandering around as orphans, largely ignored by both parties.

Devoid of both creative thinking and charismatic leaders, (Gore? Gephardt? Lieberman? gimme a break) Liberalism, at least as manifested by the Democratic party, is on the ropes.

The DoJ has come out as officially supporting the 2nd Amendment. They're losing the Jewish vote, one of their traditional constituencies, as Bush hangs tough with Israel. Al Freakin' Sharpton is wanting to run for president. I dearly pray that he does, as the totality of his vote will come from the group of people known as Too Stoopid To Have The Franchise, immediately improving the average IQ of the voters for the other candidates. A better outcome would be inevitable.

The public is solidly behind Bush, (approval ratings steady at around 70%) even though the market is tanking, and none of the financial scandals are affecting the Republicans more than the Dems, as the public seems to recall the antics of one William Jefferson Clinton, and thinks just maybe the fine integrity he showed in office might have set the tone for nineties.

“Is there collusion between the auditors and the companies they audit to cook the books?”

“Well, sir, that depends on what the definition of 'is' is”.

The real meaning there? It's OK to lie, (under oath) cheat, (on your wife) and steal, (even White House furniture) if you're rich and powerful. That differs from the Enron folks just how?

It's not looking too good for the liberals on the international front, either. Communism is dead, and the Euro socialist utopia is starting to smell like last week's fish, as the economy tanks and they slide further into the backwaters of history.

We ran the Taliban outta Afghanistan without breaking a sweat, and Osama is fertilizer somewhere. After we take down Saddam, and Iran falls of it's own weight, there will be the first real progress toward liberal modernity in the Middle East in centuries. (and if you truly consider yourself aligned with the “liberal” issues such as women's rights, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression, and think those rights should extend to humans that didn't have the happy accident to be born here in the States, then you oughta be marching in the goddam streets demanding that Dubya send in the troops yesterday)

Bush is about to liberate more people from the yoke of oppression than any president since, hmmm... Reagan, finally doing the job that WJC and, to be fair, his daddy, should have done.

The Dems are running on prescription drug benefits for seniors. Could the contrast be any greater?

TitleDoomsday 2019
DateJuly 24th, 2002 at 7:01pm

NASA is reporting today that an asteroid 1.4 miles in diameter may be on a course to impact Earth in 2019. One this size would wipe out a continent, and cause a years long “nuclear winter.”

According to the report, it'll take a few more days of observation to narrow the course down enough to tell whether it's going to hit or miss.

Me, I'm hoping for a hit. Seventeen years is a good long time to do something about it, and it for sure would be the clue-by-four our so-called leaders (how you can be a leader when you follow the sheepul is a bit beyond me) need to set up a space-based warning and interdiction system worthy of the name. Then we'd be ready for the one that gives us only about twelve hours notice.

Of course, the spin-off benefits would be immense, but that alone doesn't seem to be enough motivation.

They say that there are only two things that ultimately motivate—people fear and greed. I think fear is the more reliable.

(Addendum: both the BBC and ABC have picked up the story, so I'm sure the wires will be flooded with coverage. Somehow the BBC guy managed to get several simple facts wrong in the article, to include the date of discovery. (sigh) I leave you alone to consider whether this is symptomatic of journalism in general, or just science reporting.)

TitleOne Hand Clapping
DateJuly 23rd, 2002 at 4:55am

While rummaging around in my list of referrrers today, I stumbled across a blog that was new to me, One Hand Clapping, by Donald Sensing.

It's an excellent site, with several well-written essays on various topics. I would particularly point out his essay, Precision Weapons, Abject Defeat, and Reshaping Societies. It discusses how our new way of waging war, which minimizes civilian casualties, may work to defeat our longer-range goal of winning the peace.

I look forward to reading them all, but CG is tugging at my elbow, dragging me off to chauffeur her around Texas. It's her day off, and she wants to go antiquing.