It’s Not the Heat; It’s the Sensitivity in Global Warming

The Heartland Institute’s 12th International Conference on Climate Change was nothing like I expected. When joining a group described in pejorative terms as “deniers,” one would expect to see furtive movements and disreputable haircuts, yet the crowd displayed good humor and a welcoming attitude.

Even the dour Washington Post, which sees potentially fatal darkness around every corner, described the event as “buoyant,” which will come in handy if the seas continue to rise on Al Gore’s Titanic–like timeline.

Spending time with climate realists shows an informed observer that what he should be looking for is not spectacular climate disasters visible just prior to his agonizing death. Trying to spot herds of tornados tossing Oklahoma into the Gulf of Mexico or perpetual heat waves leaving spontaneous combustion in their wake is simply a waste of time.

The momentous events that drive leftist climate policy aren’t something as mundane as the weather. What really counts are small adjustments to computer programs. Or as Patrick Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, puts it, “He who controls the parameters controls the climate.” Or at least climate policy and how it affects the taxpaying public.

It’s why control–freak leftists are so passionate about the climate. Minute adjustments to confidential computer models produce dramatic disaster scenarios that can only be prevented by massive government control and intervention.

Earlier that morning Kevin Dayaratna, senior statistician and research programmer at the Center for Data Analysis, gave an example of parameter control. The EPA has determined the social cost of carbon is $36 a ton. This figure purports to represent the sum of the net damage across the world of adding another ton of carbon to the atmosphere.

An accurate cost “improves the efficiency of policy” and “putting a price on carbon is the only regulation needed.” But the key word is accurate and takes us back to Michael’s “parameters.”

The EPA price for carbon has been more volatile than Reince Priebus futures under Donald Trump. The cost started out at $21/ton, then jumped to $24 and has now peaked (until the next Democrat takes the White House) at $36/ton.

The price kept jumping not because the damage increased, but because the number was “a political decision.” According to Dayaratna, “The goal was a high price not justified by science.” To get their number EPA bureaucrats cooked the books and based the cost finding on “worst case scenarios” and a world that embraced “zero (carbon) mitigation.”

The EPA’s future featured self–driving Ubers powered by burning wood and a White House heated by dirty coal. The EPA couldn’t even be trusted to follow guidelines for discount rate set by Obama’s Office of Management and Budget. OMB recommended a 7 percent discount rate, but EPA’s calculations used 2.5, 3 and 5 percent, finally setting on the figure that resulted in the highest carbon cost per ton.

Dayaratna’s cost with little adaptation on the part of the government is $18/ton and with extensive adaptation $4/ton.

The difference between the figures is the difference between maintaining your first–world lifestyle or fleeing to Honduras as an economic refugee after the EPA makes modernity unaffordable.

Obama’s lasting legacy is embedded leftist regulations. Even if Donald Trump issues executive orders overturning the EPA’s economy–killing regulation, they won’t take effect because green fanatics will file suit to stop implementation. Their argument will be Trump can’t overturn any of the EPA’s carbon regulations because the EPA has determined carbon is a pollutant. Reversing the “endangerment finding” is the only way to prevent this stalling tactic.

A reversal is only possible if the administration can prove the “endangerment finding” was based on faulty science.

Michaels explains, “The endangerment finding was based on computer models [showing carbon causes warming] and nothing else. If these models are demonstrably failing, the endangerment finding can get thrown out.”

Michaels compared an average based on 102 temperature models with the actual temperature at various altitudes in the atmosphere based over a number of years. The distance between the temperatures predicted by the models and the measured temperature looked like the gap between a husband’s opinion on the acceptable price for a sports car and that of his wife.

“Climate scientists” can’t admit the sensitivity in their models is wrong because then “you admit you’re wrong.” So they continue to use models calibrated to reflect 20th century climate exactly, but break down completely after the turn of the century.

The scientific solution is to change the carbon = pollutant hypothesis since observation doesn’t support it, but “climate science” isn’t science. It’s religion. Which is why the economy’s only hope rests on a carbon atheist in the Oval Office.

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Climate Change Doesn’t Affect NWS Forecasts

How long would firemen remain the nation’s genial mascot if they forced you to move into a hotel for a few days because you smelled smoke in the garage? As you were wondering if ten years of chainsaw, lawn mower and leaf blower gas cans were about to be launched into a low earth orbit while you waited for firemen to arrive, once the truck arrived the first responders weren’t worried.

They knew in 30 seconds the smell originated in an overheating freezer, and unplugging it solved the problem. But the brass was concerned.

The chief worried that since your house didn’t go up in a giant fireball, you would be so relieved that you’d fail to view the problem as the narrow escape from a fiery death that it was.

Consequently, you might be tempted to plug the freezer back into the socket after they departed; potentially melting you and the lamb chops if the freezer shorted out while you slept.

That’s why, to impress the gravity of the situation on your family, the chief delivered a scary, arm–waving lecture and ordered you to earn two nights of Hilton points at Embassy Suites.

Unlikely you say? Tell that to the National Weather Service.

It was responsible for scaring airlines into canceling 9,000 flights, schools into closing, the federal government into delaying three hours, the DC Metro into cancelling transit services for the handicapped and a variety of other private businesses into shutting down on Tuesday for a storm that put a mere 2 inches on snow on the ground in Washington, DC.

Even worse, the NWS knew “Winter Storm Stella” was going to be more on the order of Snow Shower Sweetie but it refused to revise the forecast. The Associated Press reports, “After announcing that snow could reach record levels in the city, NWS meteorologists in New York and other Northeast cities held a conference call Monday afternoon about computer models that dramatically cut predicted totals.”

Taking a cue from “climate scientists” who never cut back on their hyperventilating over smoldering polar bears – in spite of their computer model’s failure to come close to predicting how the climate has changed – the weather service took a stern line on sleet.

Instead of calling off the evacuation of the Eastern Seaboard, they decided to stick with hysteria. This monumentally bad decision relied on that byword of the modern bureaucrat: “Extreme caution.”

These Chicken Littles felt people wouldn’t view a storm with a potential for just two to seven inches of snow as a harbinger of the apocalypse. Which is right, since it isn’t.

Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Prediction Center observed, “I actually think in the overall scheme that the actions [by states and cities] taken in advance of the event were exceptional.”

If “exceptional” is another word for lunatic overreaction, then right on!

The NWS thought costing taxpayers millions of dollars in lost time, revenue and emergency daycare was a small price to pay if it prevented one granny from slipping on her way to the mailbox.

In their defense the weather wardens at the NWS are under a certain amount of pressure from the incoming Trump administration. Since it rained on him at the inauguration, the president has felt the NWS might be secretly participating in the “resistance.”

I’ve written the NWS is under a severe hiring freeze warning, which comes at a bad time for the organization because it’s been down 650 employees and no has appeared to notice. The solution for the weather mavens is to reinvent the NWS and make it part of the nation’s public safety apparatus, which the Washington Post says might allow NWS to exploit the hiring loophole Trump left for agencies involved in the military, public safety or public health.

If the NWS brass can finesse this textbook example of mission creep, the guy who eyeballs the rain gauge at the airport will join Seal Team 6 on the front lines of homeland defense.

Downgrading “Winter Storm Stella” into “Scattered Flurries Flo” and lifting the No Fly Zone on the East coast might have been accurate, but it wouldn’t enhance the sense of urgency management wants to convey to the White House.

Just mentioning these potential cuts in a previous column was enough to unleash hounds of humidity. My protestations that I’ve had my own Wi–Fi weather station on the roof for years fell on deaf ears connected to a dangerous high–anger zone.

I’ve suggesting the NWS concentrate on getting the data and let the private sector handle the forecasts, which in the case of the Weather Channel have proven to be more accurate. This latest exercise in paternalism and over–reaction hasn’t changed my mind.

A Leftist and Her Money Are Soon Parted

Instead-of-going-to-Starbucks---lolSan Francisco leftists have once again decided to inflict another socialist utopia on an unsuspecting South American nation. What’s more, just like at Jonestown, a popular liquid is playing a prominent role.

This time instead of a male heretic imposing a fanatical religion, we have two women, Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell, doing orthodox socialist missionary work.

The ladies are owners of Equator Coffee, a trendy gourmet emporium with two San Francisco area locations. The utopia is Finca Sophia a coffee farm owned by the company and located in Panama. The duo has decided to upend traditional coffee–growing practices in favor of importing California thinking, but since the ladies are card–carrying progressives this is not cultural imperialism.

It’s more a 21st Century White Woman’s burden.

In 2008 Equator flew in another female to manage the operation and got to work. In their view the land had been abused by being “clear cut.” (Local farmers, before the new owners parachuted in, called these treeless areas “fields.”) The new philosophy was planting with “sustainability in mind,” although that doesn’t appear to extend to economics.

The land was replanted with shade trees and a monoculture of Gesha coffee, a variety of bean that can be viewed “legendary” or forgotten, depending on your viewpoint.

Equator’s second break with tradition was coffee itself. Most coffee beans are grown at an altitude of approximately 4,000 feet. The altitude at Finca Sophia is 6,300 feet, which means the plants are as oxygen–starved as a socialist’s brain.

Since coffee and thought processes grow very slowly at that altitude, the new owners decided to occupy their time by upgrading the life of their “indigenous” employees. Equator provided free health care and education for employee families.

Then time passed. Think of it as coffee grown by the postal service. Racing against the 22nd Amendment, Equator was finally able to bring in it’s first crop before Obama left office. The hand–picked beans, soaked in ideology, were packaged and rushed to California where coffee connoisseurs have an opportunity to savor the social justice at a mere $15 for an 8 oz. cup.

Or if you prefer to risk making your own coffee at home without the supervision of Equator’s “coffee educator,” half a pound will set you back $75.00.

To put this in perspective, the US Navy’s alternative jet fuel — made from snips and snails and puppy dog tails — only costs $150 a gallon, while Equator’s java is $240! At that price you’d think ownership would throw in a free Bernie Sanders bumper sticker, unless Bernie’s voters are the ones pouring the coffee and glaring at people slurping down a whole hour’s pay.

At that price I could have a cup of coffee or lunch, but not both.

Fortunately for Equator, I’m not part of their customer base. According to the SFist, the people who are customers eagerly soak up the Market Street location’s daily allotment. But Equator owners are discovering the best of misguided intentions can’t avoid eventually colliding with reality.

Even at $15 a cup the store is losing money on every pour. And this is while the brew is new and noteworthy.

After the novelty wears off, Equator may discover most customers would prefer to drop a quarter in the UNICEF jar to express social justice solidarity and hold the coffee price to under five bucks a cup — rather than have their wallets recruited by management to support its caffeine Shangri-La.

Equator owners do deserve credit on two fronts: First, for using their own money to subsidize this fantasy and not my tax dollars.

And second, for providing the answer to the question of what’s going to happen if government continues arbitrarily raising wages and increasing benefits without any economic justification. Even $240–a–gallon coffee won’t generate enough revenue to cover the cost.

Burning Man Causes Burning Faces Among BLM Bureaucrats

It appears that Sec. of the Interior Sally Jewel had a schedule conflict after all. That must be why the Bureau of Land Management dropped it’s demand for VIP boxes called the “Blue Pit” at this year’s Burning Man festival in Nevada.

For the previous 25 years hardy BLM bureaucrats had no problems observing scantily clad (and unclad for that matter) female festival attendees whose burning desire to get close to nature involved extensive use of man–made chemicals as they cavorted on a barren desert.

But that wasn’t good enough this year and I speculate the change had something to do with Sec. Jewel’s desire to be a happin’ cabinet official and attend Burning Man, without the inconvenience of sunburn. The BLM’s sudden desire for comfort was going to cost event organizers an extra $1 million to provide 24–hour availability of Choco Tacos, private bathrooms and AC.

I don’t know for sure if BLM drones discovered Choco Tacos weren’t on the USDA food pyramid or VIP box requests started to skyrocket, but something made the bureaucracy back off.

Complete details are in my Newsmax column URL below:

http://tinyurl.com/phfxk22

EPA Discovers Water Flows Downhill

EPA-river-spill-memeOnly the Obama administration, with it’s special kind of incompetence, could turn a mine that’s been closed for 92 years into an environmental disaster today. That’s exactly what happened when the Keystone Regulators at the Environmental “Protection” Agency decided to dig into a dam holding back dangerously polluted water at the Gold King mine.

According to the incomparable Paul Driessen, rather than sink a small diameter pipe into the dam to analyze the water, the EPA “…used an excavator to dig away tons of rock and debris that were blocking the entrance portal.”

That’s like using a badger to do exploratory surgery.

Only the EPA was surprised when 3 million gallons of water, yearning to breathe free, burst from the dam and cascaded 11,458 feet down the mountainside. EPA environmental “protectors” learned firsthand that toxic water filled with heavy metals like lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic flows just as fast as Perrier water and soon the orange flood was far downstream.

To put things in perspective for readers who don’t have much experience with toxic metals or the EPA, a spill of approximately a thermometer’s worth of mercury in a Washington, DC high school resulted in hysteria, immediate evacuation and a school closure that lasted a month.

The water from the EPA’s dump down the mountain, according to Driessen, “is enough to fill a pool the size of a football field (360×160 feet) seven feet deep.” The pollution plume extended from the shattered dam into the Animas and San Juan Rivers and finally washed up in Utah’s Lake Powell.

Residents in the valley, whose river now looked like Rachel Dolezal after her monthly dose of Man Tan, were outraged. First by the spill and then by the 24 hours it took the EPA to notify victims of the scope of the disaster.

Hypocrisy fans will be interested in comparing Obama’s reaction to this environmental accident to that of BP’s Gulf oil spill. After the Deepwater Horizon explosion the president wanted to “know whose ass to kick.” But so far he hasn’t even brandished his putter in the direction of the EPA.

Later when BP CEO Tony Hayward correctly observed that the gulf was “a big ocean” and “the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest,” Obama was outraged. He declared, “[Hayward] wouldn’t be working for me after any of those statements.” Yet when EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy condescendingly explained the EPA was “very careful,” and the mercury and other poisons “are flowing too fast to be an immediate health threat” — Obama didn’t even pause while lining up his putt.

What’s more, pollution caused by private sector chemical releases is uniquely dangerous. EPA regulations embody a concept known as “linear no threshold” that in layman’s terms means there is no safe level of exposure for humans to lead, cadmium and arsenic, three of the multi–metal cocktail in the Gold King spill. But when the EPA dumps identical substances into the river, McCarthy assures us the water is “restoring itself.”

It’s not quite water into wine, but remains a miraculous transformation nonetheless.

Enviro fanatics and other greenies are circling the Prius’ around EPA headquarters to defend the agency. And I haven’t seen so much as a dead minnow floating on the water in mainstream media coverage of the event.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper visited the Animas River last week on a fact–finding mission and drank several glasses of river water. He then started ripping off his clothes to jump in for a bath, before he was wrestled to the ground.

(The governor actually had a good idea. I’ve long contended the majority of rivers in the US could have been cleaned without EPA regulations and bureaucracy if once a quarter the chairman of the board, president and CEO of every company discharging into a river was required to drink a pitcher of water collected downstream from their plant. After the first handful of cancer deaths the river would have been clean enough for Hickenlooper to bathe in courtesy of motivated members of the private sector.)

For the Navajo Nation located downstream from the EPA disaster, it’s just another example of White Eyes perfidy. The Washington Times reports Russell Begaye discovered the tanker trucks the EPA hired to deliver “water for livestock and crops arrived in dirty oil tanks.”

At first glance this appears to be just another instance of EPA incompetence, but when you recall there are plenty more mines upslope from the Navajos and the EPA is still “protecting” and inspecting, the dirty tanks could be a thoughtful effort on McCarthy’s part to help the Indians build up a tolerance for toxics so the next spill won’t be so dangerous.

Bureau of Land Management Demands ‘Burning Man’ VIP Boxes

Leave it to members of the coddled ‘counter–culture’ to decide it makes sense to bring more heat to the desert. But like Pope Francis says, if the Burning Man festival wants to build an enormous bonfire in an already blazing desert, who am I to judge?

Burning Man is a week–long bacchanal that began in 1986 on a San Francisco beach when a derelict fell into a fire pit. Now it’s moved to Nevada and climaxes with the burning of a 40–foot tall wooden effigy.

Black Rock Desert, current home of Burning Man, is a barren tabletop as devoid of plant life as a BLM bureaucrat is of mercy. Temperatures range from over 100 degrees in daylight to near freezing at night. Wind has been known to gust to 70 mph, which comes in handy if you want to sandblast an ill–advised tattoo.

Climate is probably why BLM bureaucrats are now demanding organizers spend an extra million dollars to build air–conditioned VIP boxes for bureaucrats so they can enforce regulations without breaking a sweat. You couldn’t expect Sec. of the Interior Sally Jewell to share an outhouse with any old taxpayer.

Irritating and combustible details are in my Newsmax column at:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/Climate-Change-Global-Warming/2015/07/07/id/653753/

 

Lunch is Finger Lickin’ Good at the National Weather Service

Does your boss supply you with knives, forks, spoons, plates, cups and napkins when you eat lunch? (Fast food employees may feel free to stop reading now.)

The National Weather Service employees serving on the front lines at Fort Climate are angry because Uncle Sam stopped. Who has time to remember the cutlery when you’re fighting “Climate Change?”

Naturally the union filed a grievance, a process where taxpayers again foot the bill, but we are off the hook for place settings.

Complete details in my Newsmax column:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/U-SCommerce-Department-Dan-Sobien-National-Weather-Service/2015/01/22/id/620109/

The Bugs are Back

The cicada: Mascot of the federal bureaucrat?

The cicada: Mascot of the federal bureaucrat?

People in the Washington, DC area like to worry. Part of it’s because leftists are required to show “concern” about the darnedest things and part of it is because a large government workforce has to discover something to do or at least find a way to look busy.

For example, the National Weather Service suffered a crippling budget cut of about 3 percent when the sequester went into effect. I had assumed that after the cut hit, a spokesperson would inform us there would be no more rain or rainbows due to evil Republican budget cuts.

Instead the service is now under a hiring freeze and unable to begin what the WaPost called “a major pilot project aimed at helping the local community prepare for extreme weather.”

For those of you who tuned in late, “extreme weather” is what used to be “global warming” before it stopped getting warm.

According to the Post, “Previously, the emergency response meteorologists were tasked to assist “on the scene” during major weather events, offering on-demand briefings to emergency managers and stakeholders. They also were charged with developing more event-specific forecasts, explaining possible impacts in detail, and getting key messages out using new communication technologies and social media.”

In laymen’s terms this means highly–paid government meteorologists would appear during a hurricane or tornado to tell damp citizens with frizzy hair that they had just been hit by a hurricane or tornado. The weather people would then pass out small, waterproof maps with colorful depictions of pressure zones and isobars. Then advise survivors to take shelter, cut down on salt and keep hydrated. Once the citizens were dispersed, the weather service employees would be free to teach elected officials how to post heroic photos of themselves in galoshes on Twitter.

How they intend to accomplish this without power remains to be seen. A more practical plan would involve teaching Pepco customers how to buy and install a generator, since long term loss of electricity is much more common here than severe weather.

Somehow, Oklahomans have managed to endure weather without federal intervention. Twice during my youth I lived in Duncan, OK. Smack dab in the middle of tornado alley. In spite of the fact we did not have weather service types parachuting in to state the obvious, we managed to survive. The municipal tornado siren sounded, you picked up the babies, grabbed the old ladies and headed for the nearest tornado/bomb shelter or leaped in a nearby bar ditch.

I distinctly remember one evening when we gathered in our neighbor’s backyard shelter to wait out the alert. Since I was just a kid, I had no idea how long a tornado lasted. My idea of a long duration was waiting for Christmas and that took forever.

What’s more, I was a chubby kid who suffered “food anxiety” before it came to Michelle Obama’s attention. Not wanting to add hunger pangs to potential tornado problems, I filled my pockets with cheddar cheese. (It could have been that I also wanted to prevent diarrhea, but my memory is fuzzy.) This caused something of a commotion later in the week when Mom opened the washer and saw the laundry looked like nachos.

So without the weather service to gin up worry, the media here has turned to the insect world and found this summer will mark the return of the cicada. Cicadas sleep underground for 17 years and then emerge blinking into the sunlight, looking for sex and a square meal. This alone would make the cicada a perfect mascot for the less motivated federal bureaucrat.

Insects on the make would not normally be an issue for the front page of the Metro section. What makes the cicadas newsworthy is they return in the billions. They cover the landscape and make a loud buzzing sound to attract a mate, similar to disco but without  mirror balls.

The insects are about an inch long with red eyes. The outer shell is crunchy but they’re soft on the inside, much like a Democrat. The reporter even found publicity–hungry omnivore who claimed he eats cicadas. His recipe calls for sautéing them with lemon and butter. I can’t remember if he serves the finished product with MD–20/20 or WD–40.

After sex cicadas don’t smoke, which would at least shut them up, instead they eat the shrubbery. I actually saw a handful while walking the dogs, but the density did not begin to approach the 1,000,000/acre of which the WaPost warned. Maybe these were scouts, wary of people with frying pans.

The important part of the infestation for our purposes is that I’ve been inspired to write another song. This time to the tune of the Angel’s “My Boyfriend’s Back.”

The bugs are back and there’s gonna be trouble

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

When you see them fly you better cut out on the double

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

Cicadas been gone for such a long time,

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

Better watch your step don’t slip on insect slime

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

And the trees are full of buzzin’

And the males are wantin lovin’

A mating dance right on your front lawn

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

They’re here right now, about a trillion stong

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

Buried underground for 17 years

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

It’s time to mate, so cover up your ears

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

And the trees are full of buzzin’

And the males are wantin lovin’

Beady red eyes on a body one inch long (Wa–ooh, Wa–ooh)

Eating your shrubs while they play a mating song  (Wa–ooh)

It’s time to flee

The bugs are back and there’s gonna be trouble

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

When you see them fly you better cut out on the double

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

The Only Good ‘Redskin’ Is a Deleted ‘Redskin’

Does this man know leftists consider him a bigot?

Does this man know leftists consider him a bigot?

The Thought Police at the Washington Post are on the warpath once again over the Washington Redskins nickname. In spite of the fact it would cost owner Daniel Snyder heap–big wampum to change the name, they say it is bad medicine and it has to go. They are also angry about calling people who sell their own tickets “scalpers,” but that’s for another time.

What fired up the grievance machine this time was a gripefest on sports nicknames at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. One of the panel participants gave a summary of the ‘anti–Redskins’ argument when he challenged the paleface Washington owner to visit the National Congress of American Indians’ next meeting and start calling the attendees “redskins” and see if they consider it an honor.

That would be equivalent to visiting the nearest university Women’s Studies department during a performance of the Vagina Monologues and making a case for the positive contributions of heterosexual men.

Just because one is surrounded by screaming fanatics does not mean you deserve to be burned at the stake. (Note to Jesuits in the reading audience, I mean no offense with this analogy.)

Frankly it sounds to me like the staff of both institutions have been sampling the firewater. The Red Man has already had his revenge. Indians introduced white eyes to tobacco and that golden leaf is adding to the death toll as I type. The largely imaginary “smallpox blankets” were not even a rounding error compared to Big Tobacco’s body count.

The WaPost cites Suzan Shown Harjo, president of the Washington-based Morning Star Institute as a strong supporter of sporting censorship. (Rule of Thumb: beware of experts who use all their names.) She says there are some 900 troublesome nicknames and mascots across the country, down from a peak of more than 3,000.

Harjo is proud of the fact that among the first mascots flayed was ‘Little Red,’ who used to perform at University of Oklahoma games.

I remember ‘Little Red.’ We attended OU at the same time. He was a genuine Kiowa who volunteered to be part of the athletic program. People cheered him during games. Students appreciated the work he put into his authentic costume and his footwork. Plus he didn’t leave a mess in the end zone like the Sooner Schooner. All these accolades were too much for professional Native American outrage intensifiers so they worked to have him fired.

I’m surprised Harjo let the school off so easy, merely stopping with the banishment of ‘Little Red.’ ‘Sooners’ itself is a nickname rife with bigotry. It’s a negative reference to cheaters during the land rush that crossed the border early and is no doubt a slap in the face to illegal border–crossers everywhere.

While we’re at it, how about Notre Dame’s ‘Fighting Irish?’ Doesn’t that imply the Shannons might have a drinking problem? What’s more, nicknames are just the tip of the iceberg for those “who oppose the appropriation of Native American imagery in sports.” Are they casting their gimlet eye on tomahawks, feathers, loincloths, arrows, and buffalo? Where does it end? Must 7/11 stop selling jerky?

But fair is fair. Why do ‘First Americans’ get to hog (no offense to Jews & Moslems) all the outrage? What about all those pagans wearing crosses around their necks? Or Germans and Hispanics wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day? And don’t get me started on honkies that give soul shakes.

What’s more, the Redskins aren’t the only sports enterprise with a ‘hurtful’ name. What about the Cleveland Browns? Isn’t that offensive to Hispanics and people suffering from melanoma? How would you like someone to make fun of your freckles?

Among the worst of the commercial enterprises is the Jolly Green Giant: A continual poke in the eye to tall people and committed environmentalists.

The person I feel sorry for is ‘Skins general manager Bruce Allen. This slang term controversy is déjà vu all over again for the Allen family. First the WaPost goes and lights up his brother for saying “macca” in a campaign appearance, now they are after him and his team for a name that’s been around for decades. Allen no doubt thanks his lucky stars that he’s never used the word “niggardly” in conversation.

Even the ‘conservative’ Washington Times is clinging to this bandwagon. One of their sports columnists asks, “When was the last time you used “redskin” in non-sports discussion? If the word really, truly honored, we’d have a National Museum of the Redskin…” Whoops, Faulty Analogy Alert! Formal names don’t usually incorporate nicknames, this is why the Marine Heritage Museum is not called the Jarhead Heritage Museum.

Frankly, I feel sorry for the agitators. How pathetic does life have to be to support a belief that the nickname of a professional football team is damaging to one’s psyche?

Personally, I don’t harbor any particular affection for the Redskins as you can read here. But I do hope they stand firm in the face of hysteria.

Otherwise I’m afraid my team is in imminent danger, because it will only be a matter of time before vegans come after the ‘Packers.’

Private Sector Ends Unwanted Alien Invasion

Hydrilla: Michelle Obama’s next heart–healthy menu item.

Prince William County, VA is suffering the ill effects of another alien invasion and a collection of politicians is engaged in vigorous hand–wringing over possible solutions.

No, this isn’t another rant about illegals clogging 7/11 parking lots. This time it’s alien plants clogging Quantico Creek.

Recently Dumfries Mayor Jerry Foreman, Del. Mark Dudenhefer (R–2nd), Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, and Dumfries Council-member Helen Reynolds took a pontoon boat tour of Quantico Creek. (Oddly enough Supervisor Frank Principi, a Democrat who is usually an enthusiastic participant anytime commuter ferries are involved, did not make the voyage.)

Creeping along at about the same speed as OJ’s SUV, the group’s mission was to see for themselves the extent of the hydrilla crop currently infesting Quantico Creek. Hydrilla is a green, leafy and invasive species from Florida that might do well in a vegan’s salad bowl, but causes extensive problems in lakes and waterways.

Hydrilla also has much in common with the federal government: It grows and grows, and as it increases in size all surrounding activity slowly grinds to a halt as a result of silt buildup and tendril blockage.

In Quantico Creek hydrilla is so extensive it’s impossible for boaters to cross and the alien vegetation has crowded out white lilies, swans and crabs.

Unfortunately the creek touches a number of jurisdictions so agreeing on a solution is going to be difficult. If the problem is solved, everyone wants credit but if there are problems no one wants to take the blame. Plus, anytime a political decision takes place outdoors, it attracts “environmentalists” with all the attendant scare stories, warnings and potential lawsuits.

However, I have a suggestion with two advantages in that it saves time and eliminates hydrilla. Simply call the Montclair Property Owners Assn. (MPOA) because it solved the very same problem over ten years ago

Back in 1994 Lake Montclair was rapidly becoming Swamp Montclair. Hydrilla covered approximately 45 percent of the lake. Lakefront property owners were rapidly losing the use of the lake. After easing into the water — jumping was out of the question since it was like leaping into a bowl of mold chowder — you felt like Moses in the bulrushes. The obnoxious plant would rub against your bare legs like a sex harasser on Metro’s Red line.

The MPOA was offered the same three options the politicians are considering. The first is harvesting. Think John Deere combines in the water. Unfortunately, this option is particularly attractive to politicians because it’s perpetual. You don’t eliminate the hydrilla; you just give it a yearly styling.

In fact, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has been running a harvesting program on the Potomac for almost 40 years. The Army Corps of Engineers (the same experts in charge of levies in New Orleans!) mows the river annually and everyone involved is happy. Politicians get to appropriate and show “concern” for the problem and the Corps of Engineers gets to justify its budget. A win–win for everyone but the taxpayers.

Montclair could have purchased a huge harvesting machine and donated the annual hydrilla crop to the school lunch program. But someone has to operate the harvester, repair the harvester and store the harvester, which means the cost never ends. Appealing to government but a problem for the private sector.

The second option is always carp. Montclair tried neutered Japanese carp in an effort to harvest hydrilla the natural way. I used to throw rice off the dock in an effort to entice passing carp into my section of the lake, but it never worked. And neither did the carp.

It could have been neutered carp suffer from a testosterone deficit that affects their appetite or maybe they were just resentful after losing their manhood. Or it could have been the hydrilla infestation was so extensive solving the problem would have required a concentration of carp dense enough to allow one to walk across the lake without getting your feet wet.

I’m reasonably sure the politicians won’t opt for carp either, not because it’s ineffective, but because it’s tough to have their photo taken hugging a live fish.

The last option is the one that works: herbicide treatment. Naturally this choice put the victims of hysterical “environmentalist” indoctrination into a tizzy because it introduces a chemical into a liquid. Of course adding salt to your soup does the same thing, but “environmentalists” are immune to analogy.

The Montclair greenies were joined by fishermen who had no problem with property owners losing the use of the lake as long as they could persuade a bass to stop hiding in the hydrilla long enough for them to hook it.

After approximately a year of debate (light speed in political terms) the MPOA board realized hydrilla was also adding to the cost of lake dredging; the association’s largest recurring expense. So in late 2000 the MPOA board approved a treatment with a chelated copper herbicide. Problem solved without wasting tax dollars or time. It was a perfect conservative solution: local, effective and cost–conscious. Which is another reason Mayor Foreman should call Montclair ASAP.

He’s concerned that eliminating hydrilla could cost Dumfries half its annual $4 million budget. Montclair treated an entire 110-acre lake for only $20,730.00.