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Posts by Gorjus

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  • Q&A: Mark Steyn on the '06 Elections

    10/26/2006 7:43:25 AM PDT · 11 of 11
    Gorjus to Alberta's Child
    The solution to "fixing" the U.S. Senate is to repeal the 17th Amendment...

    Bingo! What was orginally intended was one house of the Congress would represent the people, and the other house would represent the States. That's a good plan, and we should get back to it.

    If the Senators owed their positions to the States (via the legislatures who appointed them) instead of to their ability to dole out federal funds to the people, we'd see a lot less power concentration in DC. Can you imagine, for example, the States (through Senators who truly represented them) approving Justices to the Supreme Court who are so fond of usurping power for the federal government? The 9th and 10th Amendments would have meaning again!
  • Literal interpretation of Constitution not practical

    10/04/2006 8:20:37 AM PDT · 43 of 52
    Gorjus to tacticalogic
    I find that a wholly unsupportable conclusion.

    Obviously, you're entitled to your own opinion and conclusions. I find it unsupportable that someone should undermine the plain language of a Constitution written for "We, the People" by saying the actual written words are less authoritative than the opinion of an individual.
  • Literal interpretation of Constitution not practical

    10/03/2006 11:39:59 AM PDT · 34 of 52
    Gorjus to tacticalogic
    It's a fair question, but I don't have a good answer. In short, I really have no opinion on the logical consequences of that paragraph, beyond the basic one already expressed that although I respect James Madison's wisdom, his opinion has no more authority over the actual text of the Constitution than any other citizen's.

    Perhaps there is another way to look at it: Article 1 Section 8 states that Congress shall have the power, "To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes." That clearly establishes that the Congress has the 'literal' power to regulate commerce among the several states. Conversely, that does not give the Congress the power to regulate commerce within a state.

    So, the words do establish that the power to regulate power among the several states is 'being in the same terms with the power over foreign commerce,' and if Madison is trying to draw a distinction, I don't see it.

    Why that provision was added (because it 'grew out of abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the non-importing . .') is historically interesting but not relevant. The provision in the Constitution establishes a power. That is the key issue.

    The exerpt from Madison's letter may be too brief for me to capture the context, because I can't tell if Madison is trying to say that Congress doesn't really have the power to regulate commerce among the several States, or whether he is trying to make the point that although the reason for including it is different, it still has that power. Regardless, the words that matter are not from his letter, but from the Constitution.

    At least, that is the position that I advocate.

    By the way, I've seen plenty of evidence that Madison was not entirely satisfied with the form of the Constitution as finally ratified, and I understand and find logical his argument that including the Bill of Rights was a mistake because it implies those rights only exist if they are enumerated rather than by virtue of not being explicitly addressed by the Constitution and therefore automatically excluded from the federal government authority. Nontheless, I'm glad the Bill of Rights was included, because logic does not automatically hold sway over politicians lusting for power. I think we'd have been in much worse shape if the Bill of Rights was not explicitly included - though I fully admit that many of the enumerated rights are flagrantly violated all the time.
  • Literal interpretation of Constitution not practical

    10/03/2006 10:08:17 AM PDT · 31 of 52
    Gorjus to tacticalogic
    it is not within our pervue to modify them by simply re-defining the words.

    I have no intention of 're-defining the words.' Just the opposite. The words are what they are, and even the opinion of James Madison cannot 're-define' those words.

    And the most important words are, "We, the People."

    If someone found a long-lost letter from James Madison to George Washington saying that the word 'right' as written in the Constitution only applied to those working for the federal government, would that make it so - in your mind? Or would the intrinsic meaning of the word 'right' and of the 'people' and so on be more important than the opinion of a single man, no matter who that man was?

    In matters of actual opinion, I would very much be guided by the prevailing opinion at the time the Constitution - or, through our history, the various amendments - were ratified. But in matters of plain language, the ultimate arbiter must be, "We, the People."
  • Literal interpretation of Constitution not practical

    10/02/2006 2:17:36 PM PDT · 19 of 52
    Gorjus to x
    Shouldn't that interpretation be as close to the actual words used as possible, though?

    Bingo!

    The most important words in the Constitution are, "We, the People." It's not written for "We, the lawyers," nor, "We, the landed gentry of Virginia," nor, "We, the elected or unelected bureaucrats of government."

    The Constitution is a contract between, "We, the People" and the federal government. We, the People have the right - if we would claim it - to interpret the Constitution where the nature of society has changed in ways that were not envisioned at the time of ratification. For example, if you asked a cross-section of the people whether "the press" as defined in the First Amendment referred to modern electronic media, there would be clear consensus that it does.

    However, asking that same cross-section of "We, the People" whether the clear words of the Constitution on something like, "Congress shall make no law," now mean that Congress can make any law it desires, you'd also get a clear consensus that it does not.

    And the opinion of the landed gentry of Virginia from a couple of hundred years ago on what they intended for the words to mean should have no more impact than the opinion of you or me or any other of "We, the People" on what the words actually say. Every time we refer to someone other than the people ourselves for authority, we justify those who claim their own opinions (See Ruth Bader Ginsburg, et. al.) are the final authority.

    So, the interpretation should indeed be, "as close to the actual words used as possible."
  • The American Eleven: Two Down, Nine to Go

    09/19/2006 8:34:31 AM PDT · 5 of 15
    Gorjus to MattinNJ
    It may be Newt's to lose.

    If so, then we lose. I'm sorry to have to say that, but his 'baggage' is too extreme to be overcome.

    He was hounded out of office for moral shortcomings - a standard that only applies to Republicans, but that's the way it is. When it comes time to get out the vote, a lot of middle America just won't make the effort for a man of Newt's moral shortcomings.

    In addition, he is the bogeyman to the left. They use Newt Gingrich as President to scare their children at night. Even Bush - though he is hated fiercely - is not considered as big a threat as Gingrich. Bush, in short, is considered a liar, but dumb. Newt is the AntiChrist to their liberal/socialist faith. Everyone who ever thought about being liberal would - to use the popular phrase - crawl over ground glass to get to the voting booth to vote against Newt. (Sort of like I feel about Hillary.)
  • ‘Radical Christianity’ as Threatening as Radical Islam?

    09/14/2006 10:25:16 AM PDT · 23 of 53
    Gorjus to Mr. Mojo
    She then said that “radical Christianity” is just as threatening as radical Islam.

    She's right - if you're looking at the 'threat' she sees.

    Long before Ann Coulter's latest book, it's been clear that modern liberalism/socialism is a faith-based philosophy different from a 'religion' only in that they believe there is no higher being than humans (and therefore, that whatever makes humans feel good about themselves is the highest 'good' for society). As a result, Christianity, in America, is 'just as threatening' to their faith as Islam.

    After all, what are the lives of a few thousand people she didn't even know, as measured against her 'right' to be an out-of-the-closet lesbian?
  • The Long Twilight Struggle - What a Cold War realist can teach us about winning a "long war."

    09/06/2006 1:12:35 PM PDT · 4 of 5
    Gorjus to Hound of the Baskervilles
    Very Interesting.

    Yes, but . . .

    One of my favorite quotes is, "The difference between Engineering and opinion is numbers." All this fine theory doesn't really address the numbers that might give credence to or refute the theory.

    And, in a deliberately ironic twist, the first issue is yet another theory. It was (and is) widely accepted that an offense needs an advantage - at least locally - of 3:1 in combat power over the defense for reasonable chance of success . If each power were truly interested in defense, then they would stop producing conventional combat power (e.g. tanks) when they had reached something like parity. This would be enough to assure the other side could not achieve a 3:1 advantage, and as a defensively minded nation, no superiority in combat power would be desired.

    However, the Soviet Union worked frantically, to the point that they brutally cut back all other areas of their economy, on achieving not only superiority, but a 3:1 advantage in combat power all along the European front. There is no justification for this except an offensive intent.

    And, perjorative labels like 'triumphalist' aside, it was precisely Reagan's buildup of combat power - negating in just a few years what the Soviet's had been working toward for a generation - that made it clear to the Soviets that it was hopeless. They had 'eaten the seed corn' to achieve the correlation of forces required for offensive operations, then found they had fallen short, with neither additional 'seed corn' nor inherent economic vitality to go further.

    True, they could have bet it all on the hope that surprise or some other factor (defeatist liberal press in the US) would compensate for their lack of combat power, but even more than the US, the Red Army was institutionally bound to McNamara-style operations analysis. So Gorbachev really had no choice short of self-immolation. To his credit, he refused the Hitlerian exit, but it really wasn't that much of a choice.

    Just a few numbers, like the actual build-up of Soviet bloc forces and how close they came to a 3:1 advantage before Reagan, would resolve the 'originalist,' 'revisionist,' and 'post-revisionist' debate.

    But of course, social 'science' academics are not very fond of numbers, except poll numbers or other subjective pseudo-data that support their pre-conceived ideas.
  • White on white: Nation's first ever 'whiteness' survey provides new insight on race

    09/06/2006 7:42:38 AM PDT · 33 of 96
    Gorjus to Pharmboy
    ...that a similar majority were able to see prejudice and discrimination as important in explaining white advantage . . .

    No bias here. Of course prejudice and discrimination are important. It's just that only the enlightened are able to see it.

    ... people claim white identity for defensive as well as progressive reasons,

    No bias here either. It's of course a well-established fact that the only valid reasons for anything are progressive, not those reactionary defensive reasons. There can not, for example, be any reasons connected with simple fact. All must be political.
  • NUCLEAR POWER TO THE RESCUE

    09/06/2006 7:28:37 AM PDT · 27 of 34
    Gorjus to jpsb
    It is my understanding that the biggest cost of a N reactor is the cost to dismantle once it is no longer useable.

    I've never heard this particular issue raised before. I'm not sure we've actually dismantled any power reactors as unusable in the US. Some reactors have been decommissioned in place.

    But I'd disagree with the statement even if it were in general discussion. Far and away the biggest cost of a nuclear reactor is administrative impendimentia created by those who hate nuclear power. It takes three meetings, with a cast of a dozen including highly trained nuclear engineers, to change a light bulb in a monitor panel. This is not a joke or an exaggeration.

    We should be so lucky that the needless costs of nuclear power could be reduced to the point that disposal of wastes and dismantling of obsolete reactors were the biggest costs. If that is true today, it is because the paranoia of nuclear power haters requires that anything within the fence (including the fence) at a nuclear power plant needs to be treated as though it were highly radioactive waste - preventing it from being salvaged for value. The actual radiation exposure of anything outside the reactor vessel itself is minimal. Even the containment structure is salvageable if we wanted to do so, being about as radioactive as an equivalent amount of metal exposed to direct sunlight for a comparable time.

    I am reminded that for years gasoline was burned off during the petroleum refining process as unusable. All we wanted was kerosene and other lower distillates. And today, one of the most productive sources of gold in the US is the slag piles of 'unusable' ore detritus that was discarded as the gold was originally mined. If I had the money, I would be buying all the 'waste' nuclear fuel I could get my hands on. In a generation, that will be highly valuable. Saving it, as in Yucca Flats, is going to turn out to be a very wise decision.
  • New evidence shows Antarctica has warmed in last 150 years (Despite cooling in 90's!)

    09/05/2006 8:43:28 AM PDT · 11 of 42
    Gorjus to ClearCase_guy
    Mmmmmmmmmm.

    Indeed. Let's base our scientific analysis of an entire continent on data we know are not representative.
  • NUCLEAR POWER TO THE RESCUE

    09/05/2006 8:33:54 AM PDT · 16 of 34
    Gorjus to jpsb
    cool, wonder what the down side is?

    I've very much in favor of nuclear power, and have written so in this forum and others many times. However . . .

    This article makes no mention at all of cost. I think that's no coincidence. Creating all those pebbles in the first place is going to be very expensive. It wouldn't be cost-competitive against rational nuclear reactor designs - but of course the libs are not rational about nuclear power.

    If the economics support it, then great. If we don't do something, the costs of alternative ways to generate power will rise until this is cost-competitive, which is sort of like hitting your thumb with a hammer so you don't think about your toothache.
  • Pupil Rolls Drop At Schools (SoCal...guess why?)

    09/05/2006 7:13:49 AM PDT · 2 of 47
    Gorjus to truthkeeper
    "They're getting the funds that we should be getting," she added.

    Interesting focus. It's all about the money, to these so-called 'educators.' Where is the, "We're obviously not providing what the people want, so they're voting with their feet," focus?

    And, in another surprising newsflash, their wildly proclaimed 'friendliness' to homosexuals has resulted in a drop in population in the SF Bay area. Who'da thunk it?
  • MIT's inconvenient scientist [He doubts global warming propaganda]

    09/01/2006 7:10:16 AM PDT · 88 of 89
    Gorjus to aligncare

    I never said it was impossible - only inefficient. If building an inefficient car is your definition of success, then you are, of course, right. It's not my definition.

  • MIT's inconvenient scientist [He doubts global warming propaganda]

    08/31/2006 2:45:19 PM PDT · 83 of 89
    Gorjus to aligncare
    Haven't had a chance to look at this yet, but the energy efficiency of cold air is just horrible. We can't even use it to start a jet engine once, not with reasonable size bottles.

    I suppose with a zillion psi or so you could store enough energy to be useful - but that would make one heck of a bomb, or cut through just about anything if it ever developed a leak.

    My take on it is that cold air (meaning compressed, but not combusted for power) becomes dangerous before it becomes useful as a power source. Of course, with a low enough horsepower requirement, you can make a lot of things work. But I wonder if an equivalently sized gasoline/diesel engine might not be better overall for pollution and fuel use, once you figure in the need to have some way to compress that air in the first place.
  • MIT's inconvenient scientist [He doubts global warming propaganda]

    08/30/2006 12:26:11 PM PDT · 54 of 89
    Gorjus to cogitator
    but energy policy is very important.

    Absolutely. A rational energy policy would accept as a given that we need more energy every year. Else is the nightmare slide into eternal barbarism. But where does the energy come from?

    That needs to consider the nature of the energy storage and transport. If right now we had a totally hydrogen-fueled transport system and someone came up with a fuel with 5 times the energy density, that was further a liquid at room temperature and pressure so storage was easy, we'd jump all over it. Cars need gasoline. On the other hand, using fuel oil for home heating or powerplants (except as a way to employ what is left over after a barrel of raw crude has produced all the gasoline it can) is just wrong.

    Powerplants, unless there is a handy high-head-pressure hydro source (i.e. Hoover dam) should be nuclear. It's the safest, least polluting power source known to man, but it takes a large, permanent, immobile installation. Right now, all the 'renewable energy sources' other than water power are not cost effective. This is disguised by massive government (i.e. taxpayer) subsidies for things like wind power, but an honest look at the numbers shows they don't really work (except, again, in certain limited locations with a particular geographic advantage like very steady winds).

    Natural gas is a 'natural' for distributed heating, since burning gas produces very stable heat when burned in atmospheric conditions (compensating for minor variations in feed rate as things wear - something that gasoline will not tolerate). That's not terribly volume efficient, and external combustion is not terribly safe for mobile installations (such as cars). But it works great for homes. Electrical heating of homes (except as a very occasional thing as in Southern California or Hawaii) is just too inefficient for a rational energy policy.

    If we focused our energy policy on considerations like that, we would both increase our efficiency (through things like gas heating instead of electric heating for homes) and increase our available energy sources (through use of nuclear power for electricity generation, freeing up fuel oil for mobile users like cars and trucks). Special case users, like large volume trucks and transport aircraft might take advantage of hydrogen with an acceptable penalty.

    However, once we get as efficient as practical - while still providing a decent standard of living - we need to identify and exploit sources of the various types of energy-producer. That means drilling for oil in ANWR, etc.

    Notice how many of those options that start from an acceptance that we need a continuing supply of energy are the opposite of what would be accepted by those who most complain about no energy policy? All they want is to restrict usage, and I am personally convinced it's so they can control our lives. If, for example, the only way to get around is on public transport, then whoever controls that transport controls a major part of our lives. If, for example, we all have to live in high-density housing (so that commutes are shorter) then we wouldn't be able to 'vote with our feet' to move from suburb to suburb and thus big-city bureaucrats (a natural government constituency) control more of our lives.

    Thus, while the Kyoto protocol itself may die a well-deserved death, the basic socialist attitude of using energy/pollution controls as a way to control and limit free choice is the wave of the future. It needs to be combatted in every way that we can.
  • MIT's inconvenient scientist [He doubts global warming propaganda]

    08/30/2006 11:23:07 AM PDT · 50 of 89
    Gorjus to cogitator
    Interesting data, and it addresses one but not both of the points.

    Taking the scatter in the various models as a measure of their collective accuracy (an assumption, not a fact, but a place to start), you can see that the consistency among the models leads to an estimate of about half a degree in uncertainty. The actual data show a man-made impact slightly outside that range, which is at least some support for the significance of man-made effects. However, consistency among the models is no guarantee that any of them are accurate.

    In addition, that doesn't really address the second point, which I couldn't extract from the data. Were any of those simulations set up at a single point in time, based on conditions observed at that point and extrapolations from that data using assumptions similar to those being used today, then allowed to run for a century?

    I get the impression that the methodology was the opposite. On a much shorter timeline - like year by year - it looks like they took a look at all observed data and fed it into the model to get an impact assessment for the various observatios for that year. Thus impacts like Mt. Pinatubo are explained. Of course, a prediction started in 1900 would not (likely) have predicted a Mt. Pinatubo event.

    This is better than nothing at attempting to validate the models. It shows (or doesn't, as applicable) that the temperature variations follow observed variations in key predictive variables such as solar and volcanic activity. If we knew now what those variations would be from now until 2100, we'd have some confidence that the models could provide a correlation between that future volcanic activity and future temperature, for example.

    But we don't know how those factors will vary in the future.

    I'm all for research, if it's honest, scientific inquiry without agenda. But the burden of proof should be squarely on those who advocate massive economic harm to the US particularly and without corresponding impact to our competitors (i.e. Kyoto Protocol), or who advocate massive centralization of power into the hands of unelected bureaucrats (i.e. Kyoto Protocol). These data do not provide that proof.

    One interesting note: A single volcanic eruption (Mt. Pinatubo) is reported to have had twice the effect of all man-made warming combined for that corresponding year. Perhaps the solution to global warming is to detonate a few nuclear devices in not-quite-active volcanos. One or two of those a year and the man-made effects are more than cancelled out. That 'solution' is offered at least partially in jest (the science might work, but I know the politics would not) but the key issue is that we haven't really considered how to address the issue in a positive way. The 'limits to growth' philosophy just rolls over and dies, accepting that for all future generations, the standard of living will be less then ours. We should be looking at data like this for solutions that increase the overall wealth of society, not eliminate it.

    I'd like to see, for example, an analysis of what hydrogen as a fuel, or nuclear power does to these data. Both can reduce the amount of carbon entering the atmosphere, but they increase water vapor (which is a worse greenhouse gas) though not on a pound-for-pound basis. Are those good or bad ideas for power, as a net effect? That's a matter for data, not the opinion of mankind-is-bad-and-manmade-carbon-will-kill-us-all zealots.

    Interesting article, and thanks for pointing it out. When I get home this evening, I'll post you another note with a link to a paper identifying some compensatory atmospheric effects that tend to reduce global warming (and may have been the reason the predicted ice age didn't show up). Compensatory factors may be buried in the simulations reference in your article, but I couldn't see any explicit recognition of them.
  • MIT's inconvenient scientist [He doubts global warming propaganda]

    08/30/2006 9:10:22 AM PDT · 45 of 89
    Gorjus to cogitator; TChris
    TChris, that's still essentially a weather prediction, not a climate prediction. Take a look at the link I posted in #27. Given a liberal margin-of-error, I could easily predict the average temperature for any state one month in advance; I just look at what the average temperature IS for that state and that month. (That, in essence, is climate. Climate = average weather.)

    First off, I agree that weather and climate are different, but the article (which I did read) misses the point about global warming.

    Yes, repeatable trends, like the difference in temperatures between winter and summer, are predictable at least as an average. But the global warming advocates are 'predicting' a change to the previously repeatable situation.

    And yes, one can 'predict' based on an assessment of the trends, but that does not make the predictions accurate.

    Here are two issues that need to be addressed:

    1) What is the uncertainty associated with the prediction? How does that uncertainty compare to the effect being predicted? If our scientifically justifiable accuracy is no better than the effect being predicted (+/- 5 degrees of uncertainty on a prediction of +3 degrees) then we hardly have a basis for embarking on policies that guarantee near-term economic disruption.

    2) What is the demonstrated validity of the models used to make the prediction? Even if we have analyzed our uncertainty and feel there is a real trend, we still may not be making accurate predictions. There is a simple test for this, and all current global-warming predictions fail. Apply the model to the conditions of 1900, and predict the conditions of 2000, using the sampled proxy evidence and assumptions for the future that the models employ. Not a single one of them correctly predicts the year 2000. An example of this is that a few years ago the same sorts of models (less sophisticated in a computer complexity sense, but still based on the same underlying assumptions) predicted an ice age by now.

    Bottom line: Using a demonstrably repetitive cycle, like the winter-summer temperature variation, to justify an open-loop extrapolation of a change to that very cycle is hardly convincing. It does show that there is a difference between climate and weather, but it tells us little about whether climatologists have any basis for alarm over global warming.
  • Astronomers say Pluto is not a planet (Eight Planets)

    08/24/2006 9:20:28 AM PDT · 52 of 120
    Gorjus to kidd
    Modern "science" is now become the result of one form of an opinion poll or another.

    This isn't about science. It's about a definition, and (except when imposed by force) those are always a matter of opinion.

    If some of the salient characteristics of Pluto were in dispute scientifically, then it would indeed be bad science to declare as fact what is unproven. But a definition is inherently a declaration, not a matter for data (except to the extent data demonstrate 'natural' distinctions among classes of objects and thus highlight bases for differentiation).
  • Funny Answers From Real Students

    08/17/2006 12:21:49 PM PDT · 42 of 45
    Gorjus to NaughtiusMaximus
    Define a more'. Answer: When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that's amore'.

    A New Zealander man with an all over tan, that's a Maori.

    (Originally by Spider Robinson)