When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. - Edmund Burke
By: sp34n119w, 7:32 PM GMT on August 22, 2008
I have been very distracted the last several weeks and seem to have missed quite a lot of interesting doings on the political front. At the time it didn’t bother me – now I feel totally out of the loop! Therefore, this is likely to ramble a bit as I try to get my bearings. Perhaps some WUers will enlighten me.
Where does one begin when trying to catch up? I could go to the candidate’s websites. I could check the news (ugh). I could go through the political WU blogs that I am aware of. I could actually read my cousin’s numerous pro-BO emails. There is no dearth of information on the web, from the sensational to the mundane.
Since I was supporting Hillary during most of the primaries, I decided to start with PUMA – those nutty Hillary supporters that no one saw coming. PUMA has raised over $25,000 to go to Denver and set up shop and raise some... eyebrows. They have done a good job of that, so far. When I first found them they were a small group of bloggers who were ticked at the way Hillary was being treated by the media and, mostly, by the fact that the Democratic Party allowed it to go on – even seemed to encourage it. Yes, sexism is alive and well in the USA, unlike anywhere else in the Western World, and we Americans seem to be okay with that and even to enjoy participating in it. Except the PUMAs, who are not only angry about sexism but, also, are fed up with the whole selection process that the Dems use that has cost them the election time and again. PUMAs have been actively engaged in a campaign to ensure that Hillary’s name is read on the floor and that her delegates are counted at the convention and it has worked. Hillary will be named and there will be a floor count unless she gives up her delegates before the count takes place. She won’t win the nomination, of course, although (according to PUMA) fifteen of BO’s delegates switched to Hillary during the month of July. She would still need 160 more and that won’t happen. Still, it might actually be worth watching it all on TV - just in case.
I am no happier with BO than I was 2 months ago or 6 months ago – if anything, he is even less appealing as a presidential candidate. I wonder why the Dems selected him?
One theory, which makes good sense to me, is that the Democratic leadership couldn’t care less who is in the White House next year. Their main objective is to have a front man who will garner Dem votes for congressional seats. It is what the Republicans were doing when they put Bush out there over McCain in 2000 (whoops). Call it “trickle-down politics” and, hey, it works. Except when it doesn’t and there is a backlash. In any case, the theory is that the Dems are actually better off with BO losing in the polls because voters will be more likely to vote for Democratic representatives and senators if they think the Reps will hold onto the big job.
For the record, I do know that the man who crosses the finish line will be either McCain or Obama. Nevertheless, I am still likely to vote for an Independent candidate this year and need to get back up to speed on what they have been up to. Anyone got a few C&P’s for me?
In the meantime, I’ll just follow along with the convention to see how many different guns the Dems use to shoot themselves in the foot – and each other, in the back.
By: sp34n119w, 7:18 AM GMT on August 08, 2008
There are two hot spots underground in Ventura County that are hot enough to start fires - to melt boot glue! And no one is sure why they are there. This is just too odd not to post it here for speculation.
The article is from the Ventura County Star newspaper.
Scientists puzzle over source of county hot spots
A burning question
By Zeke Barlow (Contact)
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
High atop a steep grass-covered mountain overlooking the Little Sespe Canyon near Fillmore, the earth is on fire.
Wisps of smoke rise from a brown patch of grass that looks like it was toasted under an oven's broiler. Deep down, under the dirt, rocks and grass, something is smoldering and burning, sending smoke through cracks in the parched soil.
It's being called a natural anomaly, a geological whodunit, a scientific puzzler. And it's the second time that scientists have been scratching their heads over the fact the earth under Ventura County is burning.
In 2004, a patch of land northwest of Ojai burned so hot, it started a brush fire that scorched three acres in Los Padres National Forest. Firefighters cleared the grass from the newest area of hot earth near Fillmore on Friday so the same thing won't happen..
Though the outcome of both circumstances is the same — ground hot enough to delaminate boot soles — the reasons they started are likely very different. But both are equally fascinating to those who make their living examining rocks and sediment.
"This is a lot of fun," said Allen King, a former geologist with the U.S. Forest Service who has studied both sites. "I'm retired, but this is what I love to do."
The leading theory behind the latest hot spot is that gas or oil or some other hydrocarbon deep in the soil caught fire and is burning, pushing ground temperatures to 812 degrees. What ignited it or when it started burning is a whole other question.
"We don't know how long this particular thing has been burning," King said.
Firefighters have responded to the area five times since 1987, at times dumping water into the ground to try to quash the flames. King said a landslide hit the area within the past 100 years or so, possibly creating enough friction to start a fire. Another theory is that the land is so dry and parched that all moisture has been sapped from the ground, making it more susceptible to ignition. King said it's possible that some spark on land caused the underground blaze. How long it will burn is anyone's guess.
Such fires aren't uncommon in areas where there is a high concentration of gas or oil underground, he said.
But while the origins of this fire may be a relatively common phenomenon, the one near Ojai is still a puzzle.
"We've been researching it for a while and don't have all the answers," said Scott Minor, a U.S. Geological Survey researcher based in Denver who has made multiple trips to the site. "It's like detective work."
He and other scientists, including King, are hoping to publish a paper on their findings that may be a geologic first.
The anomaly was discovered after the land got so hot, it started a brush fire and burned three acres. Their theory is that there are high concentrations of pyrite — commonly called fool's gold — deep in the earth that were oxidized and converted to another mineral when a flush of oxygen was introduced after a landslide. The oxygen could have come from new fissures in the earth.
The process of converting to a new mineral was an exothermic reaction, releasing heat that could have sparked old carbon-based material — decayed wood or plants — that started the underground blaze.
King stuck a thermometer 14 inches into the ground and got a reading of 550 degrees. One time, the ground was so hot, the glue holding the sole of his boots melted. Grass can burn at 300 degrees.
"After that we were more cautious about standing in one place for too long," he said.
Minor said if a landslide were indeed a factor, it could be a new geologic discovery. The research group he's working with would like to drill down into the earth to see if the materials support the theory but is faced with a few hurdles. The first is funding and the second is the fact that the area is in the Dick Smith Wilderness, where no machinery is permitted.
Until then, the scientists are having fun trying to solve the puzzle.
"It's always neat when you explore something that is new and something that hasn't been documented before," Minor said. "It's fun to speculate, but it's a lot more satisfying when you can nail it down."
Me, again. The responses to this article are interesting and speculative explainations range from volcanos to UFOs (naturally). If it is an indication of impending volcanism or a major fault about to go - I am on the wrong side of it! If the one near Fillmore is burning hydrocarbons, I wonder how far that can spread.
What say WU?