I was recently dismayed to learn that someone actually believed in the 911 conspiracy theories

I was at my In-law’s house recently, and I was floored by a subject that was brought up.  Another relative was also visiting, and as I stepped outside for a moment, I saw him smoking in front of the house.  He spoke to me, and I decided to take a moment, and make a little small talk with him.

It should be noted that I have met this gentlemen on a couple of other occasions, and that both other times he and his wife were staying with my in-laws on the same weekend that I was there for family related activities. He comes across as a quiet, unassuming type who does not carry a lot of opinions around with him because he does not want to put the effort into forming the ideas.  He does read a lot, but the books are westerns which are hardly different from Harlequin Romances, except that someone always has to die in them (I know these books because my father read them all).

I was very surprised and a little dismayed when he broached an unexpected topic completely out of the blue.  He asked me what I thought about the events of 911 and the secondary ‘explosions’ on the ground in other buildings.  I thought I knew what he was getting at, but asked for a little clarification, and he told me that he was referencing the fact that the owners of the property surrounding the World Trade Center were in financial trouble, and might have somehow been involved with the situation (It is making me sick at my stomach to even type this drivel).

First, I was pleased that he asked what I thought about it, instead of telling me what he thought about it, because it gave me the opportunity right off the bat to tell him my opinion of the situation.  I told him, “I put absolutely no stock in any of this nonsense.  I believe that the Internet is a place where people can say anything they believe regardless of whether it is true or not, and there are some things that should just be ignored.”   I think he got the message, and quickly moved on to of all things, the War in Iraq.  I calmly told him my feelings of that also, but I will reserve that conversation for another post.  I want to deal with the conspiracy theorists in this one.

I do not plan to waste my time dealing with the conspiracy theory itself, or refuting it.  Just as I do not write posts refuting the Flat Earth Society and its beliefs, I do not think the theories proposed by these people deserve or require an argument in order to be dismissed.  Some things are just ludicrous, but if you must have the facts, you can find them here.

What I would like to deal with today is how people receive, react to, and respond to these theories.  As I see it, there are several types of possibilities.  The first group I want to look at is those who these theories hurt.  Obviously, the victims (who survived) and their families (also victims) of the attacks are made to suffer undue pain by the making up of such theories.  People in their situation may be looking for real answers to help give them closure, but they are faced with these lies that can only confuse and hurt them.  For no other reason than this, the people who think this stuff up should stop.

It also hurts our government which has to actually deal with these nutty theories, and refute them.  And, it hurts the government when people like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are given fodder for their disingenuous speeches.

Who does it help?  Some might feel that it helps the opposition, and this may be a twisted motive for the creation of these theories, but it is not a realistic one, because most members of the voting public who would actually entertain them, would never have voted for Bush (or McCain) in the first place.

The next group I would like to look at is the people that make this up.  It is difficult to fathom their sadistic and sick motivations.  Surely there are a few clinically demented people who actually believe these conspiracies, and they probably should be locked up for their safety and the safety of others.  Others, as was stated above, may be motivated by hatred of the Bush administration.  Shame on them.  Legitimate criticism exists, and does not cause the type of indiscriminant harm that this does.  Some may just do it for attention, and that is just sick also.  I find it hard to even come up with words for the revulsion that this causes me to feel.

The next group I would like to look at are those who allow themselves to read these theories and actually formulate questions in their minds as to the legitimacy of them.  Some may want to believe this due to political affiliation.  These people are no different than those who forward emails purporting the fact that Obama is a Muslim with terrorist ties.  Shame on them also.  Others on this group may be simplistic and easily influenced which causes them to actually think it might be possible.  These people, if they truly question the possibilities are responsible for following up and seeing if what they have been told has any truth in it, especially before they repeat it to anyone else.  The truth is out there for those who look for it.

Another group is those who ignore it.  There is something to be said for this.  If you run across this on the web, just close the page.  If you are watching television, and someone spouts this nonsense, change the channel. And, if you are in a place where you do not feel it is safe to respond to these accusations, then just leave.  Prudence is a good characteristic.

However, there are some times when you will be able to respond.  This brings me to the last group, those who speak out.  As I said before, prudence is the best course.  It is never worth it to get into an altercation with someone over something like this, and remember, these people may actually be unstable.  But, if you are in a situation where you feel that you can give your opinion, then you should tell them what you think about it.  Often, a person will sit by meekly and allow some numbskull to run off at the mouth about something like this.  You are under no obligation to ever listen to this.  You can walk away.  You can politely state that you do not care for their point of view, and would like to talk about something else, or you can tell them exactly what you think about it.  Perhaps if more people did this, we would have to put up with this nonsense a lot less.  Peer pressure can have its advantages.  For me, there is no moral difference in sitting by and listening to this as if it deserved to be listened to, and listening to someone tell a racial joke.  A person with true character does not just let it go.

In the early years of America, John Jay went to negotiate a treaty with the British and came back with what everyone agrees was probably the best treaty that we could have gotten, considering our weak bargaining position. Washington, Hamilton and most of the federalists were happy with it, but Jefferson, Madison and the Democrats were very upset about it. In New York City, where anti-Anglo sentiment ran high, a man painted the following statement on the side of his two story office building in letters large enough to fill the entire side of the building:  “Damn John Jay. Damn anyone who won’t damn John Jay. Damn anyone who won’t sit up all night with a candle in his window damning John Jay.”

The same could easily be said of those who made up this conspiracy theory, those who listen to it and repeat it, and those who sit idly by and listen as so someone spouts it to them.

New Ideas from the Wordsmiths (liars) in the Global Warming Community

Once again, I find myself drawn like a moth to the Global Warming alarmists’ flame.

I have always been a firm believer that words mean things.  I try to use precise language to convey my thoughts whenever I am writing or speaking (though I do not always succeed).  It frustrates me whenever I say something and the person I am speaking to misses my meaning.  How we choose to use the English language to express ideas is important, that is why whenever I see someone absconding with it or warping it for their personal gain, I become offended.

Such has been the track record of the environmentalists in the Global Warming movement.  They take ideas and words and shape them in strange ways in order to blur arguments and lines of thought.  For example, ‘Global Warming’ itself is out as a catch phrase.  Why would this be?  It would be like Kleenex or Coke deciding to change it brand name.  The reason is strategy.  Environmentalists are now attempting to substitute the phrase ‘Climate Change’ for ‘Global Warming” when they speak or write, and it’s pretty obvious why. 

The proponents of Global Warming have long been accused of playing both sides of the fence.  For a while, when the temperature was going up, it was ‘global warming.’  Then, when the temperature went down, it was ‘snowball earth’ or “ice age.’  The temperature went back up, and we were back to ‘global warming.’  For the past decade, if the temperature went up, it was because of global warming,  but if the temperature went down, that was also because of global warming.  Finally, some people began to question the legitimacy of these ideas.  And, now that the temperature has steadily gone down over the past few years, rather than switch back to the ‘ice age’ theory, environmentalists have chosen to abscond with all possible theories and incorporate all possible data into their theories of doom.

They have replaced the term ‘Global Warming’ with ‘Climate Change.”  Now, if the temperature goes up, it’s a result of Climate Change, and is obviously the result of mankind’s abuses of the planet.  However, if the the temperature goes down, this would also be caused by climate change, and the cause this time would also be man.  It’s a win-win for them.  How could they lose?  With logic like this mankind can be blamed for everything whether there is an actual problem or not.  Unless…the Earth were to throw them a real curve ball and suddenly stabilize itself in a constant state of Eden like uniformity.  But since that has never, ever happened, it not likely to begin now.

I saw a second equally egregious example of this linguistic modification this weekend.  I began watching the first five minutes of a program on the Science Channel (I don’t remember the name of it because I did not hang around long).  It was soon apparent that this would be another program preaching the gospel of Global Warming.  However, just before I turned the channel, I heard the host make this statement (and I paraphrase the beginning of it), “We have to do more to combat the problems of Climate Change while avoiding nuclear proliferation.”  I went ahead and changed the channel to something better but the phrase ‘nuclear proliferation’ kept echoing in my mind.  Of course no one wants nuclear proliferation.  Surely we need to keep the bomb out of the hands of the Iranians.

Then it hit me.  He was talking about nuclear energy. 

For the past few years nuclear energy have been the elephant in the room.  Traditionally, environmentalists have viewed nuclear energy as some sort of bogey man.  But, contrary to their efforts, nuclear energy has proven itself to be the safest, cleanest and cheapest form of energy in the world.  However, while the world has embraced nuclear energy as the panacea that it is, the United States has labored under strict laws that make it almost impossible financially to construct new plants.

This worked as long as fossil fuels were cheap.  Now that the price of oil has gone through the roof, everyone- environmentalists, conservatives, and liberals- is trying to find alternative sources of energy.  And now, we see the nuclear elephant looming in the room- not that environmentalists are not trying their hardest to ignore it.  Some programs that stress Global Warming issues and possible solutions simply ignore nuclear energy while others tend to tack it on to the end of the show as an afterthought.  In either case it is egregious. 

I have stated in another post that I will not take these people and their arguments seriously until they make nuclear energy a primary possible solution to current energy issues, and I still stand by that.  However, referring to to ‘nuclear energy’ as ‘nuclear proliferation’ is sly at best disingenuous at worst.  Sure, we cannot allow certain irresponsible countries, such as Iran, to build reactors of their own, but we do not include ourselves in this list.  Even if we do not allow Iran to have a reactor, that does not mean that we will not work out a deal with them in which reactors are still built to supply their energy needs, but are maintained by someone else.  The point is that much of the world is using safe, efficient nuclear energy.  The french produce 100% of their domestic electricity through nuclear plants, and so should the U.S.

But, I digress, the point is that the term ‘nuclear proliferation’ has a military connotation.  The proponents of Global Warming theories are attempting to saddle nuclear energy with the negative connotations revolving around nuclear warfare.  The point of this is easy to see.  These proponents are using their favorite weapon, fear, to avoid dealing with the issue of nuclear energy.  It should come as no surprise.  Fear drives the whole Global Warming debate.  The unfortunate thing is that they will use this fear to prevent the U.S. from benefiting from the one possible positive impact of Global Warming- that we might actually reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy by implementing the broad use of clean, efficient nuclear energy.

No Nonsense on Planes

It seems that we read almost weekly about people making asses of themselves on planes.  This week in the latest example of an unwelcome trend, two drunk women tried to open an emergency exit on a charter plane in order to ‘get some fresh air.’

I want to say now that I am personally serving notice to anyone that is on a flight with me from now on.  I will put up with none of these shenanigans on flights that I am on.  We live in a post 911 world, and an airplane is neither the set of the Jerry Springer show or your personal stage.  You are to stay in your seat.  If you get up from your seat, it is to go to the restroom, period.  You are to be polite to the stewardess or steward and other passengers.  If you cannot handle your alcohol, you are not to drink.  If you are emotionally unstable or cannot control yourself, you should stay home.  Know where the restroom is located, so that you do not accidentally try to open a cockpit door or exit. 

It’s a simple warning that should be heeded, because any false moves by people like yourself will be met with debilitating action.  Several people have mysteriously died after being restrained on flights, and no one saw anything.  You do not want to be added to this list.

If we all keep our heads and show common courtesy and decorum, we’ll all enjoy ourselves when we get to our destinations.

More on the Mole Season 5

I actually hope that I am wrong about this,but I’m very afraid that I am not.  Nicole’s whole “I’m going to self-execute” drama was one of the worst acting performances I’ve ever seen.  You could see better on Telemundo.

I just do not know what the producers are thinking.  They give her this very thin plot twist that makes no sense for her the character that she has played from the beginning.  Oh, so I’m supposed to buy the fact that this highly intelligent woman who has played her game so well, and portrayed herself in over the top mole-like behavior from the beginning, is now going to just take herself out before the others get a chance to.  That will show them how intelligent and opinionated she is.  Never mind the fact she is now three people away from winning half a million dollars.  It just makes no sense.

If Nicole is not the mole, then hats off to her.  She has played a great game (though I’ll never understand why she wasted so much time trying to convince the viewing audience that she was the mole).  However, I’m affraid that she is the mole and a terrible actress, and the producers of this show are just not very bright people either.

Good Intentions are not Good Enough

I had a person comment on my post regarding a terrible decision that was made to try to encourage children not to drink and drive at El Camino High School in Southern California.  In this program, students were led to believe that their friends had been killed in car accidents, and were show pictures of the actual (fake) accidents.  Her point in essence was that this program should be praised because the purpose of it is to keep kids from drinking and driving, and it might save a life.

Her argument is a symptom of a new idea that has been foisted upon America by bleeding heart types in the past few years.  It is the notion that ‘intention creates legitimacy.’ 

Intent is way overrated in the first place.  A lawyer will use intent to get his client off.  Regardless of  the fact that guy was convicted of drinking and driving five times before, he did not intend to kill the family of four when he took the wheel this time.

Society has followed this faulty logic by legitimizing actions based on the intensions of those who took the actions.  Probably the best example of this is Global Warming (in general) and the attitude by its supporters of throwing any idea against the wall and seeing if it sticks before considering its ramifications or the possibility that it might actually be worse for the environment (see corn-based bio fuels).

Good intensions are not enough, and can, by themselves lead to disastrous results.  

Once a year we have this unfortunate story.  A charity picnic is organized with food and games.  During the ‘games’ portion of the event, someone decides to have a tug-o-war.  A couple of the guys on one team think it would be funny to just let go of the rope, and let the girl at the front hit the mud.  Everything is all fun and games until they let go, and the little girl behind them has her hands pulled off by the rope that is wrapped around them.  The two guys were just trying to put on a show for the audience, and they had good intentions, but unfortunately their actions left surgeons trying to put the little girl’s hands back on her body. 

Often people use children and charities to as a justification for their foolish ideas, as if something done ‘for the children’ or ‘for charity’ cannot be argued with.  These become a shield that they hide behind as in the case of El Camino High School.

I suggest that we stop allowing these excuses.  People need to think about the possible consequences of their actions, and if there is any reason that it might be a bad idea, we should come up with a better way of doing it.

Ding, Dong: Bryant Gumbel is Finally Off of the NFL Network

Usually, I find myself griping about one thing or another on my blog.  It is often sadly true that bad news outnumbers or outweighs good news.  Today, however, I read a great story.  In fact, I cannot think of a thing that would make me much happier than the news I read today.  World peace would be nice, but I don’t know that I would put it above this news.  Cheap gas might slightly edge it out, but maybe not.

So what is this most momentous news?  Bryant Gumbel has been replaced on the NFL network football broadcasts this year.  I get heady just thinking about it.  There has never been a poorer broadcaster in the history of broadcasting, and I include the ‘boom goes the dynamite guy’ in this.  At least Brian Collins of Ball State knew that he was sucking.  Bryant Gumbel, on the other hand, brought the added irritant of being an arrogant ass to go with his ignorant and distracted commentating.

I had high hopes for a very professional channel that would provide the average NFL fan with tons of worthwhile information when this network was started, but Gumbel, alone, kept anyone from taking the venture too seriously.  By dropping this ‘boat anchor’, they have a good chance to rehabilitate their image.  I do not know a whole lot about his replacement, but his radio background should help.

I, personally, would like to see this network recreate my favorite NFL show, Inside the NFL with real hosts, not the spares that they populate much of the productions on this network with (excepting Collinsworth).  If they did, I would watch it every week.

Confessions of a Yankee hater

The first step in a Twelve Step Program is to admit that you have a problem.  It has been a long hard road filled with a lot of denial, but I can finally admit to myself today, that I am a Yankee hater.  Just saying it feels as if a load has been lifted off of my back.  This has been a hard realization to come to, but seeing how Jonathan Papelbon was treated in New York last night caused me to finally reconcile my feelings on the subject.

 

I consider myself a baseball fan, as much as I can be having chosen the Texas Rangers as the team that I root for.  However, in considering myself a fan of the game, I have found it difficult to place my hatred appropriately on the Yankees.  I mean, how can you hate Babe Ruth?  How can you hate Lou Gehrig?  How can you hate Mickey Mantle?  I really can’t.  So, I have decided to compartmentalize my hatred of the Yankees.  Though he is not the absolute reason that I hate the Yankees, I will use George Steinbrenner as the delineator of my hatred.  I will choose to respect the Yankees and the great players who played for them up until Steinbrenner purchased the club, and choose to hate the Yankees and the players who have played for the ball club since then.

 

So, why do I hate the Yankees?  I asked myself the same question, and came up with a lot of things that I hate about them.  Then I asked myself what do I like about them, and the only thing I came up with was their old great players.  There was really nothing from the past 35 years to like about them, so I admitted to myself, and now I admit to you that I really don’t like the Yankees.

 

Most of my hatred for the Yankees is generated through media bias.  The Eastern media that controls much of the sports information in this country never fails to prostrate itself at the foot of the Yankees.  The Yankees are never criticized for the money that they spend (more on this when I get to the A-Rod part of the post).  The Yankees could be in last place, and they would still be in the first 15 minutes of Sportscenter.  I have missed compelling Ranger’s games, and turned to Sportcenter for a recap only to have to wait 52 minutes for the five second mention of the Ranger’s game if it is mentioned at all.

 

Yankee management and their fans have such a sense of entitlement (which the media also promotes) that it makes me ill.  The owner and management of the team continually overreact.  If the Yankees are not in first place, obviously someone has to be fired,…today. 

 

Every year either ESPN or SI will do an article about the best fans in sports or baseball in particular.  Yankee fans are often at the top of these lists.  The viewing public is continually reminded how smart the fans in New York are, especially when compared with fans in other parts of the country.  If this is the case, why is it Yankee fans that screw up and grab a ball that is in play?  And, if Yankee fans are so smart, why do they fall for disingenuous articles that are printed in newspapers with the sole purpose of causing them to make asses of themselves which they inevitably do. 

 

This brings us to last night’s All Star Game.  Jonathan Papelbon made the horrible mistake of suggesting that he, as a closer, would not be afraid to close the All Star Game.  A sorry New York newspaper suggested that Papelbon was saying that he should close the game instead of Mariano Rivera.  So, these great New York fans take it upon themselves to verbally assault Papelbon and his pregnant wife during the parade on the way to the game.  Very nice.  Then these genius fans decide to boo him and chant against him when he came in to pitch.  Never mind the fact that he was pitching for the American League.  Idiots.  What a sense of entitlement they must have.  It was absolutely right for Papelbon as a closer in the major leagues to want to close the game.  Considering the fact that Terry Francona (the Boston Manager) was the American League manager for the game, it would have been absolutely appropriate for him to choose to honor his own player over a player from another team.  It was his call, and if I had been in his place, I would have left Papelbon in for the ninth to teach the Yankee fans a lesson about treating my player that way after I had gone out of my way to honor Rivera by putting Papelbon into the game in the eighth inning.

 

Yes, I have my reasons, but the biggest one is A-Rod.  Being a Rangers fan, I have suffered through decades of bad baseball.  Longtime Ranger fans know well what it is like to be frustrated with ownership that wants to win on the cheap.  Finally, Tom Hicks bought the team, and we had an owner that was willing to spend some money to make the team better (at that time).  Several times when the Rangers went after a player in the past, they went to New York, even when the Rangers were offering more money.  Why wouldn’t they go and play for a team that would still play them well, and would also pay every other position on the field well?  The Yankees routinely have All Stars or ex-All Stars at every position.  This makes a player look even better, and gives them a better chance to win a pennant or World Series.

 

The Rangers wanted to compete with this.  One way of doing this was to pay what it took to get a good player on their roster.  This would have a three-fold benefit.  They would get a very good player.  They would show other players that they were serious, and willing to pay what it took to win.  And finally, having a great player on their roster like A-Rod would entice other players to want to join a club that had players of his caliber on their roster. 

 

There was a high upside to paying the $25,000,000 a year salary to A-Rod at the time, that is until the eastern media lost their collective minds over the fact that an upstart team like the Rangers- that definitely was not the Yankees- would have the gall to sign a player to such a deal.  The general negative attitude that was expressed toward the A-Rod deal, both nationally, and unfortunately locally, eventually soured the fans, A-rod and the Rangers.  Then where does he go?  New York, of course, on the Rangers dime, that was until they decided to pay him even more, but no one in the eastern media had anything negative to say about that.  That was because it was the Yankees paying out a big contract this time, and that was OK.  Best of all, Tom Hicks had his hand slapped and learned that he was not allowed to play the salary game with the big boys.

 

Through the years, as a Dallas Cowboy fan, I have enjoyed hating the Redskins, the Eagles and the 49ers.  I’ve never really had a team to hate (other than the White Sox while Robin Ventura played for them).  Now, I find it liberating as a baseball fan to embrace my hatred of the Yankees, and realize that I actually have a baseball team to root against.