Archive for the ‘The Environment’ category

Garden Nazis

December 13, 2006

Here’s my dilemma. We live in B’ham, and we just had twins. B’ham schools being B’ham schools, that means in five years we’re going to have to either start shelling out major buckage for private school or else move. Our house is kind of small, and around the same time we’ll probably be outgrowing it. So, if I’m going to have to start spending an extra grand or so a month, I’d much prefer to spend it on a bigger house than on private school. Hence, all signs point towards moving. But where?

No way in you-know-where I’m ever living in Shelby County or Hoover. I refuse to spend more than fifteen minutes commuting to my job, so that (and other factors) eliminates Gardendale, Trussville, Leeds and PelHenaBaster. Vestavia? Probably not; it’s too hilly and car dependant. That leaves Mountain Brook, which I could never afford, or Homewood. We could probably afford Homewood, it’s close to my office, and though it has been in decline for the last few years, it still has some nice parts. But then I read stories like this:

Homewood officials say they could have an Edgewood woman arrested and her yard cleared if she continues to ignore city laws on weeds and litter.

Now this is where we should read about how she has rusted cars and broken beer bottles in her yard, maybe some fallen trees, and rats. What we do read is this: 

But Amy Vickers, owner of Red Rain, a Homewood store specializing in natural and environmentally friendly products, says the organic garden in the front yard of her Edgewood home is anything but weeds. She has lived on Valley Place for seven years.

The garden includes collard and mustard greens, leeks, garlic, spinach and onions. She and her daughter, Madilyn, eat or sell whatever is grown in the garden.

“It’s nice to eat food and you know where it’s from … from start to finish,” she said. She said she prefers to plant the garden in her front yard because it’s the sunny portion of her property.

The story goes on to say that she has no idea who initially complained about her garden. Whoever they are, they are a**holes. Good Lord people, why don’t you go talk to the woman before you call the police? And the city officials who are now threatening to condemn the property and throw this woman in jail? Also a**holes.  By no definition is a tended garden “weeds and litter.” This is using the criminal law to enforce someone’s aesthetic nitpicking.

This would never happen in my neighborhood. For one, B’ham is too busy with homicides to have a garden inspection and enforcement unit. More fundamentally though, no-one in my ‘hood would be anal enough to complain about it. Far from it, most of the folks around me would probably be inspired to do something similar. How ridiculous.

Here’s a picture (from the news article) of the offending property:

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Here’s Red Rain. I have to run over to Homewood Cycle today, while there, I may stop by Ms. Vickers’s store and tell her to fight the power.


Roy Moore: Still An Idiot

September 20, 2006

From today’s column:

But serious consequences follow when we remove the knowledge of God from our life!

A decline in our education system began in 1962 when the U.S. Supreme Court took prayer from our schools and, one year later, banned reading of the Bible in our classrooms. A drastic increase in violence and crime followed the Court’s removal of the Ten Commandments from a Kentucky school in 1980 and the prohibition of teaching creationism in 1987.

The exclusion of God in our public life has had similar results. A loss of moral direction has affected our institutions and governmental operations. In 1984, the Supreme Court ruled that a Nativity scene on public property was appropriate only if surrounded by “secular” symbols; in 2005, it ruled that the Ten Commandments could only be displayed on government property if it is part of a historical menagerie mixed with other secular documents or displays.

I’ll grant for the sake of argument his assertion that there is a conspiracy to eliminate God and that there has been a decline in morality. But does that mean the latter caused the former? If so, how about this:

You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.

A Three Hour Tour

July 31, 2006

That would probably be too long for this lawsuit to survive.  

A few owners of big, fast boats and a dealer of big, fast boats are suing to prevent enforcementof the recently enacted law prohibiting big, fast boats from several area lakes.

The stated reason for the law:

The Legislature this spring banned from Lake Martin, Lake Harris and Weiss Lake large houseboats and boats that can run faster than 60 mph and that are 26 feet, 11 inches or longer.

The law was enacted to reduce pollution from houseboats and prohibit large speedboats from creating wakes that damage shorelines and docks, said Rep. Richard Laird, the Roanoke Democrat who sponsored the bill.

That reason is a load of the same stuff Rep. Laird supposedly fears houseboats will dump into the lake. The real reason is that the law puts big money in the hands of a few developers.

Regardless, this suit is going nowhere. I suppose they will argue that the law is arbitrary. That will fail because there is a rational basis for the law, even if that was not the actual basis for the law.

This plaintiff’s attempt to say otherwise is just stupid: 

But Robert Nelems of Nelems Marine, which sells big boats and faces large sales losses because of the law, said that logic makes little sense.

“By their logic, you can’t go down to your local dealer and buy a new Corvette because it will exceed the speed limit,” said Nelems, whose Jasper company is a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “There are plenty of laws that have been on the books for years that take care of loud boats, fast boats, reckless-driving boats, big boats, boats that pollute with sewage and boats that make wakes.”

You know what? Ignoring commerce clause issues, if Alabama wanted to ban corvettes, they could ban corvettes. Niether that nor the the boat ban may be wise, but it is certainly rational. Houseboats dump waste and speedboats make wake, and noise. Sure, they could have just banned those particular offenses, but banning all the offenders saves money on enforcement and totally eliminates the problem. 

I just hope the attorney has a better argument. Maybe somewhere in the Alabama constitution’s five million amendments there is a right to operate a speed boat on Alabama lakes. If not, this suit is sunk.  

“My Saliva Was Sizzling”

July 17, 2006

That’s how Andy Kula describes nearly being struck by lightning. It could happen to you, too:

Alabama ranks in the top ten states for the number of lightning deaths from 1995 to 2004. That’s because the state’s weather patterns create frequent thunderstorms that produce lightning and the warm climate encourages frequent outdoor activity, Kula said. The Gulf Coast is the second most lightning-prone area of the country, behind central Florida.

Maybe my dog isn’t so dumb after all.

La, La, La. I Can’t Hear You So This Is NOT Happening. La, La, La.

June 22, 2006

Eco-Terrorists! God Haters! Economy Destroyers! Hippy Fags! GO AWAY, LEAVE US ALONE! We do not like this, therefore this is not true:

The Earth is the hottest it has been in at least 400 years, probably even longer. The National Academy of Sciences, reaching that conclusion in a broad review of scientific work requested by Congress, reported Thursday that the "recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia."

A panel of top climate scientists told lawmakers that the Earth is heating up and that "human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming." Their 155-page report said average global surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere rose about 1 degree during the 20th century.

This is shown in boreholes, retreating glaciers and other evidence found in nature, said Gerald North, a geosciences professor at Texas A&M University who chaired the academy's panel.

The report was requested in November by the chairman of the House Science Committee, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., to address naysayers who question whether global warming is a major threat.

Last year, when the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, Rep. Charles K. Johnson Joe Barton, R-Texas, launched an investigation of three climate scientists, Boehlert said Barton should try to learn from scientists, not intimidate them.

Boehlert said Thursday the report shows the value of having scientists advise Congress.

"There is nothing in this report that should raise any doubts about the broad scientific consensus on global climate change," he said.

Up next, a constitutional amendment prohibiting activist scientists from advocating global warming. Such an amendment is necessary to protect marriage and other traditional values. These liberal scientists are out to replace beliefs with facts, and must be stopped.

The rest of the story is here. And, againdon't breathe in Jefferson or Shelby County today.

The Dirty Dozen And Other Impurities

June 15, 2006

John at Bamacrat is still depressed, I’m sure, because his Bravos are now twelve games out of first place. I can’t remember the last time that happened.

The Mets have not sold me yet. They can score, and they will have to score often because they have no pitching. Glavine has gotten spanked in his last two starts and Pedro is starting to fall apart physically. They just signed El Duque for crying out loud. Look for them to do something really dumb tradewise, like swap Lastings Milledge for Jeff Weaver, or maybe Dontrell Willis. In other words, another beauty like Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano. (Braves fans, I think that last trade could be this century’s John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander. Agree? No? To early to tell?). So the Mets have plenty of problems, but twelve games at close to the halfway mark is quite a hole.

Now for the other impurities.

First, I asked yesterday for a chart showing who is on what side in all the various “Wars.” Today, I want a chart explaining who among our state politicians is NOT suspected of corruption. Some of the sources of my confusion are here, here, here, here, here and here.

Second, if you are in Jefferson or Shelby county today, try not to breathe. We have our first ozone alert day of the year. That means:

Active children and adults, and people with lung disease, such as asthma, should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.

Of course, there is no need to be concerned. To start, though some of those tree hugging hippies out there may think we should go back to living in caves, the rest of us understand that progress involves some sacrifices. God told us to dominate the Earth, so when the choice is between some animal’s health and our way of life, well, it’s tough luck for the animal.

Furthermore, even if this is a problem, we can’t do anything to solve it. The environazis would have you believe so called bad ozone is caused by emissions from cars and stuff like that. But the truth is that it is caused by reactions between that stuff and SUNLIGHT. Obviously, then, this is a perfectly natural phenomena, one we can neither accelerate nor inhibit. So let’s just not do anything. Especially breathe.