Saturday, August 25, 2007

Holiday History

I love to read the history of various holidays--it's fascinating stuff! At The History Channel you can click on Holidays under the heading of Topics and get this page. There you will find "The History of the Holidays". There are a number of them to click on, from those that are traditional in the USA, to those from other traditions that you hear of from time to time.

This morning, I clicked on Labor Day, as that's our next holiday here in America. Here are the first two paragraphs of The History Channel's write up:
As the Industrial Revolution took hold of the nation, the average American in the late 1800s worked 12-hour days, seven days a week in order to make a basic living. Children were also working, as they provided cheap labor to employers and laws against child labor were not strongly enforced.

With the long hours and terrible working conditions, American unions became more prominent and voiced their demands for a better way of life. On Tuesday September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers marched from city hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first-ever Labor Day parade. Participants took an upaid day-off to honor the workers of America, as well as vocalize issues they had with employers. As years passed, more states began to hold these parades, but Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later.
And the last paragraph:
Although Labor Day is meant as a celebration of the labor movement and its achievements, it has come to be celebrated as the last, long summer weekend before Autumn.
There are links to various people and terms used so that you can get more information. For example, the eight-hour work day.

Lots to learn in history!!

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

"Tragic Implications"

At Jewish World Review there is a column titled "Tragic Implications" by Thomas Sowell. In it, he writes about the two recent tragedies of the bridge in Minnesota and the mine in Utah, and the concerns that those two events bring to mind.

With regard to our nation's infrastructure, there are those who are using the bridge collapse as an argument to raise taxes. Yet history tells us that raising taxes doesn't result in more revenue, but cutting taxes does. There is also the issue of wasting taxpayer dollars on various pork projects. I've noticed, too, that a number of people are saying that we can't fix our infrastructure because of the war in Iraq. Sure, the war costs, but it's the government waste on pork that uses money that should go to infrastructure repair. The war is a necessary battle against tyranny, oppression, and terror.

As for the mine tragedy, Dr. Sowell points out that, among other things, we should be using more of our own oil and setting up to use nuclear power so that fewer coal miners need to put their lives at risk. The difficulty here is that politicians are paying too much attention to certain environmentalist group rather than considering what is best for our country and all its people.

I'd recommend reading his column. There's a lot of food for thought there.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Science is Supposed to be About Investigation

Like global warming, another object of scientific study is evolution. And again, a small group of people insist that the debate is over and evolution, like global warming being caused by man, is a fact, even though it is assuredly not. I found an interesting article called "Theory of Evolution" at the Conservapedia. Like Wikipedia, this is a publicly written/edited online encyclopedia, so you would want to do some research of your own to confirm the information. However, this article is full of names and quotes and footnotes, so it gives you plenty of information to research.

My reading on the topic of evolution shows little, if any, evidence confirming it. Yet this is what is taught in our schools, and other viewpoints and ideas and facts are shut out. It can take years, even decades, for such indoctrinated students to realize they've been had. Who knows how much scientific research goes undone because everyone thinks "the debate is over". How many ideas and solutions and new discoveries are delayed or never found because research is stifled in certain directions?

Wikipedia has a good article on "Scientific Method" which should serve as a good reminder of what science is supposed to be about.

This past week, Newsweek had a story called "The Truth about Denial" by Sharon Begley. An excellent rebuttal of this article can be found at in an article called "Paralyzing Fog of Uncertainty on Climate" by Debra J. Saunders.

Just keep an open mind and search out all sides of an issue. You might be surprised at what you find. And don't forget to consider motivation for taking one side or another--the spokespeople might have hidden agendas.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Global Warming Complications

I have a couple of articles I would like to share with you. We are told that the debate is over about global warming--that it is an undisputed fact. We are told that it is man's fault and that in order to save the planet, we must cut back on carbon emissions. We are told lots of things, but the truth is that the debate is not over. The touted solutions may, in fact, be making things worse. And there are things that have been accepted as truth that have been found to be questionable at best, false at worst.

First is an opinion piece from Fox News called "Junk Science: How Now Brown Cow?" by Steven Milloy. It seems that particles in the air called "aerosols" (soot and sulfates from fossil fuel combustion, and dust from volcanic eruptions), long believed to be a cooling agent, may in fact be warming the atmosphere. The article says:

Based on data collected by unmanned aerial vehicles over the Indian Ocean, researchers from the University of California, San Diego and NASA reported not only that aerosols warmed temperatures, but they also increased atmospheric heating by 50 percent. This warming, they say, may be sufficient to account for the retreat of the Himalayan glaciers.
Mr. Milloy cites sources in his article and discusses some other findings. He concludes by saying:

If manmade global climate change is something worth fretting over — and it’s not at all clear that it is — the aerosol study opens up the possibility for an entirely new hypothesis for global warming with aerosols as the culprit. Yet up to now, the “consensus” crowd has portrayed aerosols in the opposite light as cooling agents.

When so-called “consensus” can be that far off, it would seem that there’s plenty of room for serious debate.
The second article you should read is on the American Conservative Union, but was originally printed in Rolling Stone, not exactly a bastion of conservative thought. The article is "Ethanol Scam: Ethanol Hurts the Environment And Is One of America's Biggest Political Boondoggles" by Jeff Goodell. In this article, Mr. Goodell discusses the difficulties with trying to produce ethanol--from the heavy use of fossil fuels to do so to the problem of using corn for ethanol instead of food. It's an intelligent article that everyone ought to read.

The point of my pointing out these two articles is that we need to seriously look at what we do and don't do when it comes to the environment, and that blindly following politicians looking to grab power and/or money is not the best way to go about it.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007


Music is something of a universal language. It touches our hearts and souls as well as stimulating our intellects. I'm partial to piano and guitar music and to classical music, although I enjoy religious music and popular music, as well.

I learned to play the accordian as a kid (my dad was a big Lawrence Welk fan) and I am forever grateful that I learned to read music and to play an instrument. I wish I could sing a lot better, but I guess we can't do it all! I'd probably improve with practice.

Needless to say, there are many music sites on the web. You can do a search on your favorite instrument, your favorite type of music, or any musical topic you want to learn more about. There are sheet music sites and lyrics sites, too.

One thing to remember, too, is that you are never too old to take music lessons or to teach yourself to play an instrument or to sing. It's also fun to learn about music styles and composers and to listen to different types of music over the internet or on the radio. You may find that you enjoy more than you expected to.

What instrument(s) do you like? What kinds of music do you enjoy?