the daily doyle


Mom
August 18, 2011, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Family stuff

Today (August 18th) would have been my mom’s birthday. She would have been 81.

She lived a good life but maybe not for herself. She made a good life for others – that’s for sure. But her own life, at least the last half of it, was not lived as well as it could have been. She deserved better. But that is a story for other days. Today is Reminiscing-about-the-Good-Times-with-Mom Day.

My two sisters and I usually called her “Mom” when we spoke of her. I always always called her Mom directly. My sisters sometimes called her Mother, which I always found endearing.

She raised the three of us, with no man around to help. We have three different fathers. Undoubtedly, that’s an exciting story but truthfully, I don’t know the details of it. She kept most of it to herself and even if I knew the story I probably wouldn’t write it. I know a fair amount of what happened with my dad from what he told me. But it’s a story Mom didn’t care to share so I’m not telling it either.

So why three kids, all that work, and no man? I always thought she just loved us (myself and my sisters) and wanted to have us and just didn’t want a man around interfering. Maybe there is some truth to that. Possibly she intended it to happen exactly as it happened. In any case, she never complained.

We were poor, I suppose, but I never noticed. We always seemed to have what we needed. We never went hungry but we ate simple food and rarely ate out. We had good clothes, though she made some of them. I had toys, bikes, color TV. Everything we had along those lines, including an electric guitar and amp I remember from my early years, came from the Western Auto store. She bought everything on credit. When she needed something, she called up Clay, who owned the store, and he delivered it.

We didn’t have a car but she didn’t drive. It would have been pointless to have one. We got around by walking (we lived in a small town), taxi (Oscal Goble, one of the TWO taxi drivers we had in our aforementioned small town) and rides from friends and relatives.

My fondest memories from childhood are when she played with me. Since I didn’t have a dad around she had to “man up” and play some frisbee, toss a baseball back and forth and a few other outdoor activities. She even tried fishing once but she really didn’t have the patience for it and I quickly worked out doing it on my own.

We also played Monopoly, checkers, chess, Yahtzee and some card games. The best part is, she cheated. If I looked away, or left and came back, she somehow always ended up with a strategic advantage. We’d laugh endlessly about her cheating. She just did what she could to make the games a little more fun.

She worked ALL the time, early morning and late at night. Mainly, she was a seamstress. Our house was a constant stream of the townspeople showing up unannounced with dresses, suits, curtains to repair. Sometimes a big fat man would show up with a pair of pants he’d ripped out. That was funny. She made dresses and weird green, pink and psychadelic pantsuits out of polyester for the stylish women of our town. Hey, it was the 70s. She kept the leftover pieces of the clothes she made and sewed them into patchwork quilts. I still have one, my favorite material possession. It’s the best beach blanket ever.

She also made costumes and uniforms, being the only full-time seamstress in town. In the 70s, rock bands had to have matching costumes – think the Osmonds and Jackson Five. She made them, from scratch. She even made school band and cheerleader uniforms. Once when I was a young teenager, in 7th or 8th grade, my bedroom was full of cheerleaders in various stages of undressed, trying on their uniforms. It was awesome. Well, I imagine it was awesome. I got kicked outside and I was shivering in the snow.

As I said, she worked a lot. As I also said, she never complained. I remember clearly that, in my childhood, she sang softly when when she worked. Gospel songs mostly, along with some Jim Nabors and Stevie Wonder. After 1976, she didn’t sing anymore but that’s a story for another day.

Today, I remember Mom, I miss her and I know two things. Wherever she is now, and whatever she’s doing, the place and the people are better off because she is there, and she isn’t complaining.

Love you Mom.

-Doyle



The Debt Ceiling for Dummies
July 30, 2011, 2:13 pm
Filed under: Political stuff

Warning, political content. If you continue reading past this point, your high blood pressure, confusion, any action you decide to take, and your possible slide into deep apathy is all YOUR responsibility. You have been warned.

At the time of this writing, the biggest news in the USA is that our federal government has spent itself out of money. We now need to raise the arbitrary “debt ceiling” before August 2nd or risk some form of catastrophe.

There are many opinions floating around about this situation and what will happen if we don’t allow the government to borrow more money. Our president (that I did NOT vote for by the way) was telling seniors a couple of weeks ago that he couldn’t promise that their Social Security checks would go out. The latest fear-mongering is mainly that if we don’t get more money, the country will not pay our bills and we’ll lose our good credit rating, interest rates will go up, bad things will happen, etc.

So what IS the real story? Considering that I’m no expert in the field of government, politics or economics, you’re probably in the wrong place to find out the truth. But you’re here, and you’ve invested the time in reading the first four paragraphs, you might as well stay and at least find out my thoughts on it.

The first thing to know is that the United States government has a debt ceiling, a limit for how much the federal government can owe. It’s like a credit limit on your MasterCard, except it’s an arbitrary number, set by Congress. As I understand, it’s a federal law. So, actually, we could borrow more money, exceeding that limit, but everyone involved would be guilty of violating that federal law. Well, basically, the government already spent the money that we are not allowed to borrow. They didn’t have any money to spend but the expenditures are already approved in other bills. We will have to pay this money, sooner or later. The way I see it, we have a debt limit (federal law) and our legislature and president unlawfully committed the country to spend more than the limit. It seems to me they have already violated the law and should be rounded up and jailed.

At the time of this writing, we’re at a bit of an impasse. The Republican-led House of Representatives (my boys!) has passed a bill with a solution involving raising the debt ceiling but only if we have some specific spending cuts and if Congress passes a balanced-budget amendment. Basically the amendment would say that a government cannot spend more than it takes in. This bill died immediately in the Senate and most likely the Senate (Democrat-controlled, not my boys) will craft their own bill and pass it. Then let’s see if the house will accept it and pass it.

Isn’t it just astounding that our legislators have to be forced to limit their spending to the amount of money we actually have. It just really seems like that would be common sense.

In our current position, everybody claims to agree that we need to reduce spending. I say “claims” very carefully because I really don’t believe it when coming from many of the Democrats who have demonstrated that spending is their answer to any problem. I suspect they are simply saying what they perceive will be popular and will enable them to be reelected.

There is sort of a hard-right position on this, which is: NO debt limit increase. Cut spending drastically, now.

And a hard-left position, which is: Raise the debt limit, keep spending. Party on!

The vast majority of people, the public and politicians alike, are somewhere in between these two positions. Personally I’m pretty close to the hard-right, except I do think we have to borrow a bit of money right now.

The Republicans demand spending cuts, no new taxes and a balanced budget amendment.

The Democrat position seems to be that we definitely have to raise the debt ceiling, that’s key. And President Obama has specifically stated that he will not accept a short-term solution; he wants this problem to go away until after the 2012 election. That’s kind of an interesting admission that he cares an awful lot about getting reelected and that his Democrat colleagues in Congress get reelected. I’m ok with that admission though, at least it’s honest and transparent.

The two sides fervently disagree on one point. They can’t even agree on what to CALL it, that’s how differing the opinion is. I have been listening to political radio, left and right, all week and I’ve heard 100+ mentions, from Democrats about “raising revenue” in such phrases as “solving our debt problem will require both spending cuts and raising revenue”. From the right I’ve heard many mentions about “raising taxes”, such as “this is no time to raise taxes on the American people”. They are talking about the same thing, I suppose, though it’s a confused subject.

Raising taxes is pretty easy to understand. There is a 10% tax on whatever and the government raises it to 11%, that is a raised tax. Or if the government comes up with a new tax on something never before taxed, that’s an example. There is also a modification of the tax code to remove special tax breaks, derisively called “loopholes”. For example, one of the items in the news lately is that Obama wants to remove an incentive in the tax code that was designed to encourage people to purchase corporate jets. Basically it allows the jet purchaser to take the tax deductions of the purchase over five years rather than the usual seven years. The smaller deductions would mean that the corporation would be paying more in taxes, in theory. I saw an estimate of $3 billion increase in revenue over a 10-year period from this change alone.

However, as I said, this is a confused subject. Our educated and sophisticated political elite can be pretty stupid. Increasing a tax 1% does not necessarily mean that revenue increases by 1%. In fact, it’s quite often the opposite. Making the aforementioned changed to jet depreciation schedule could mean fewer jets sold, which means less profit/less tax from Gulfstream, Boeing and rest, plus all their hundreds of suppliers. It means fewer employees, which leads to less income tax revenue. It means some employees get laid off and end up with a government check. So our tax increase could be a net revenue decrease.

Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush proved that decreasing taxes INCREASES government revenue. In fact, reducing taxes has stimulated economic activity and increased the tax revenue every time it’s been tried.

If the Democrats want a “revenue increase”, ok, let’s do it. Let’s decrease the tax rates, make it easier to do business here, and we’ll all make money. But alas, that’s not what they mean.

So what happens if we do not raise the debt ceiling and the country defaults on some of the money we’ve promised to pay. Good question. And basically, I don’t know. As I mentioned earlier, the main thing we’re being told now is that interest rates will be going up. I suppose that means that, in the future, it will be more difficult for the government to borrow money. According to Ron Paul, that’s a good thing.

Also according to Ron, we are already in default, to the American people, “First of all, politicians need to understand that without real change default is inevitable. In fact, default happens every day through monetary policy tricks. Every time the Federal Reserve engages in more quantitative easing and devalues the dollar, it is defaulting on the American people by eroding their purchasing power and inflating their savings away. The dollar has lost nearly 50% of its value against gold since 2008.”

However this current situation is resolved, it’s a very good thing that “debt ceiling” has now become a household word. I hope that the public’s awareness is increasing, that we will be paying attention, will be electing more capable representatives and that a new day of freedom and prosperity is dawning for these United States of America.



From Perkins to Peppermint
July 18, 2011, 12:50 am
Filed under: General stuff

Show of hands please – how many people out there always take a shower before getting into bed?

Wow, that’s not many. I’m glad you don’t all sleep here!

The other night I came home from a late night dinner at Perkins restaurant with my son. Our house guest said, “you smell like Perkins”. I suppose I did.

So there I was, smelling like a middle-of-the-road chain restaurant, at bedtime. I could have just thrown on some pajamas and gotten into bed carrying the smell of our dinner, the place and all the people who’ve sat in that booth before. But I didn’t, I took a shower. I use Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap. Thus, I went from Perkins to Peppermint.

If someone told me to raise my hand if I take a shower before bed, I’m raising it. I always take a shower before getting into bed. Well, almost always. I surprised that everybody doesn’t. Possibly those who don’t do it are surprised by people like me, who do.

For those who don’t want to go to bed clean, why not? Is it really that much trouble? At night I’m in the shower for about 5 minutes. Anybody can spare 5 minutes.

I can think of many reasons why a shower is a good idea and really can’t come up with any reasons not to except for just plain laziness and the idea that you just don’t have time.

I grew up hearing repeatedly, “cleanliness is next to godliness”. Well that may be so. But I like this quote at lot: “Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely.” -P. J. O’Rourke

So here are my reasons why a shower before bed is a great idea:

Reason #1: IF you’re sharing your bed with someone (lucky you!), that person certainly should appreciate the effort to get to bed clean, smelling good, ready to be close together for, well, whatever purpose you happen to mutually agree upon.

Reason #2: Your sheets stay clean longer. Who wants to wash sheets every day or every few days. I expect to get a week between washes.

Reason #3: You just never know what might happen. If some disaster should happen to befall your house the next day and you can’t spare  a time in the morning for a shower, you’ll at least be somewhat clean.

Reason #4: Your pajamas will go longer between washings, pretty much the same as reason #2.

Reason #5: A nice hot or warm shower can act as a soporific. That word means “causing or tending to cause sleep”. The heat relaxes your muscles, makes you more comfortable, thus it’s easier to fall asleep.

Reason #6: Because I said so DAMN IT, you little Sh.. Get the F… in that bathtub right now before I tan yer hide! This reason always worked great with my kids, not so well on wives and various girlfriends.

Are there reasons not to take a shower at bedtime? Maybe. I look forward to reading all about it in the comments.

-Doyle



Press 1 for English; Press 2 for… Endless Failure
July 3, 2011, 12:21 am
Filed under: General stuff

“No bum that can’t speak poifect English oughta stay in this country…oughta be de-exported the hell outta here!” -Actor Carroll O’Connor playing Archie Bunker in All in the Family (see Note below for more info about the show)

For those too young to remember, television character Archie Bunker was a cultural icon of the 70’s. He was considered to be a bit of a bigot.

If I said, “all them dang furiners need to speak English!” you’d think I were a bigot too.

On the other hand, if I said, “immigrants from any land should have every opportunity to succeed in the USA”, you’d consider me caring and thoughtful.

Despite the difference in reaction, those two statements are essentially the same.

It’s a kind thought that each person should be able to speak any language they want. At least on the surface. But is it really kind?

The United States has long been called the “melting pot”, a good description of life here. People came from all over the world (maybe aliens from other planets too) and they “melted” to become part of one thriving, prosperous society and a uniquely American culture.

When the masses of immigrants landed at the foot of the statue of liberty to begin their adventure in this new land, many of them spoke only the language of their birthplace. In decades past, virtually all of them, or certainly all who intended to become part of the business community, enthusiastically learned English.

Now, however, there seems to be a movement aimed at making it easier for those from other lands to move here, live here and continue to live their same lifestyle, speak the same language as their birthplace. If everyone who moved here basically carried their same culture, language, custom and lifestyle here, it would be the big “salad bowl” not melting pot.

So what’s the problem? I don’t have a problem with it honestly. I’m not offended by people who don’t speak this language.

We have a longstanding tradition of immigrants bringing their culture here to add to our diversity. A beautiful thing. Chinatown. Little Italy. And if you’ve ever been invited to a Jewish family’s Friday night dinner at home, you are going to be very glad they didn’t give it up for the great American tradition of McDonald’s eaten in front of the TV. It’s adventurous to walk the streets of Miami and see mainly signs in Spanish and hear Spanish spoken everywhere. It’s very fine to walk the streets of Chinatown in any big city and see/here/smell/taste the culture of the Far East.

Should English be required to live, to work, to vote, in the United States? It’s a controversial question.

When I posed this question on Facebook, I received a few diverse opinions. One person, whose opinion I greatly admire, wrote, “hey, what happened to ‘don’t discriminate’? isn’t this a free country? I’m free to speak any language I want, no?” Of course she’s right, we are free to speak any language we want, as it should be. Another wrote, “If people want to live in this country, if anything just out of respect, they should also learn the language.”

I don’t think it’s a matter of respect. I think it’s a matter of freedom, opportunity and equal rights under the law. Basically, someone who does not speak English, the common language of business here, is stuck in a permanent underclass. They may as well be illiterate. It’s the same thing. Someone who can only speak Spanish, Russian, Chinese or whatever language has a VERY limited job market. They are sort of stuck in a lower echelon of society. Gardening. Janitorial. Or they can only work in businesses frequented by public speaking the same language. Maybe if they really stretch their opportunities they can be a babysitter or nanny for a wealthy family. It’s a kind of slavery, keeping a cheap labor pool there so that others can take advantage of them. Quite simply, they should learn English. Many do. Those who don’t will always fall short of what they could be. I’m not sure exactly how to encourage more to learn English. I don’t want lawmakers coming up with a bunch of laws that will stifle business and make everything even harder. I just want people who live here to have full opportunity to succeed. That’s all.

I don’t want to outlaw people speaking other languages. I just want to encourage, by whatever method, people (and aliens) to learn English, because it will be better for them. They will have more opportunity to grow and succeed, and to really be a part of a thriving economy. It’s a beautiful idea to let everyone speak any language they want but it’s not a practical solution, in my opinion. I’m willing to listen to others’ opinions on this for sure.

Gracias por lectura! -Doyle

NOTE: The Archie Bunker character was a workin’ man, living in Queens, conservative, Republican. His daughter was radical leftist played by Sally Struthers who lived with a do-nothing way-left-wing husband in their house. The husband part was played by Rob Riener in his first major role. Archie’s wife, Edith, was a darling lady who worked hard to keep the piece and tolerate Archie’s ways. She was very funny, so was Archie. Many of the scenes were simply filmed in a living room with Archie’s chair and Edith’s chair. At one time the who set, with the real chairs were on display at the Smithsonian as an example of American culture.



The Scientology Creed, Part Two
June 26, 2011, 4:59 pm
Filed under: Philosophical stuff

This is the continuation of an earlier article regarding the Creed of the Church of Scientology. That article discussed the first few points of the creed. Now part two of the series continues where part one left off.

You can find the earlier article here: http://the-daily-doyle.com/2011/05/25/the-scientology-creed-part-one

The Scientology Creed is read aloud at the beginning of every Scientology Sunday Service. While Scientologists and their guests may have heard this dozens of times, most have not taken the time to read it carefully, examine what it says, and see how they can apply it to their own lives.

From http://www.scientology.org:

“The Creed of the Church of Scientology was written by L. Ron Hubbard shortly after the Church was formed in Los Angeles on February 18, 1954. After Mr. Hubbard issued this creed from his office in Phoenix, Arizona, the Church of Scientology adopted it as its creed because it succinctly states what Scientologists believe.”

Framed in that way, it seems important for a Scientologist, and the friends and family members of a Scientologist, to understand its meaning. It’s also vitally important for anybody reading the creed, or for anyone studying anything for that matter, to understand all the words contained in the material. Mr. Hubbard used the term “inalienable” several times, a word which also appears in the United States Declaration of Independence. The word means, “absolute, inherent. something that cannot be transferred or sold or taken by anyone else.” Inalienable is a very strong word, implying that a right is inherently part of each person, that it cannot be separated from the person by anyone, ever.

The entire text of the creed can be found here: //www.scientology.org/what-is-scientology/the-scientology-creeds-and-codes/the-creed-of-the-church.html

The creed begins with “We of the Church believe” and that phrase applies to the first eleven lines of the creed. My previous article on the creed took up the first four lines, so we begin with the fifth line:

“…That all men have inalienable rights to their own defense.”

This is not the same as the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, referring to the right to bear arms. This is much more basic, covering essentially any method of defense, appropriate to the circumstances. This is simply a clear message that we have a right to be secure in our persons and the right to protect our family and our possessions against anyone intending harm.

“…That all men have inalienable rights to conceive, choose, assist or support their own organizations, churches and governments.”

In limited view, this is the right to vote. But it is much more. The creed asserts that all men have a right to create new groups, join any group they wish, and to promote the survival of those groups. That’s a big deal. Scientologists support anyone’s rights to build and maintain strong groups to accomplish whatever goals they set for themselves. This could be a dangerous thing, right? There have been evil groups. Would a Scientologist defend the rights of the KKK to build a new group in Montgomery? No. The answer would be clearly NO because a group such as the KKK, dedicated to the destruction of another group, would violate other points of this creed, harming others and taking away their rights.

Scientologists do support the general principle that free men (and women) do have the right to be a part of any group. Scientologists know that the evil amongst us is a very small percentage, that man by and large is good, decent and constructive.

“…That all men have inalienable rights to think freely, to talk freely, to write freely their own opinions and to counter or utter or write upon the opinions of others.”

This is a big one, the freedom to think and communicate freely what you want. It describes my right to pick apart the Scientology Creed and give my opinion on it. Freedom of thought and speech are so fundamental, who would ever think they could be taken away. They can and in many places they are.

“…That all men have inalienable rights to the creation of their own kind.”

This is certainly a beautiful thought, that men and women do have the right to come together and to create the next generation. Again, in our mainly free world, who would ever imagine that this right may be taken away. Again, it has been and is taken away, in various parts of the world.

That’s it for now. Look out for part three.

-Doyle



How to Escape the “Just Friends” Trap
June 25, 2011, 12:16 am
Filed under: Man stuff

Houdini couldn’t get out of the “just friends” trap. What is it? It’s when you know a girl, you’re into this girl, you’re hoping and planning to move your relationship to a new level, physically or otherwise and the girl thinks of you as “just a friend”. Ouch. It is a trap.

Urban Dictionary has 20 definitions for “just friends”. Some of them are really funny. Some of them make you want to cry. This one is kind of funny, with a great analogy:

JUST FRIENDS – “when you fall in love with someone, say your best friend, and it doesn’t work out because you’re her “Friend”. To her, you’re just friends. A woman has a close male friend. This means that he is probably interested in her, which is why he hangs around so much. She sees him strictly as a friend. This always starts out with, you’re a great guy, but I don’t like you in that way. This is roughly the equivalent for the guy of going to a job interview and the company saying, You have a great resume, you have all the qualifications we are looking for, but we’re not going to hire you. We will, however, use your resume as the basis for comparison for all other applicants. But, we’re going to hire somebody who is far less qualified and is probably an alcoholic. And if he doesn’t work out, we’ll hire somebody else, but still not you. In fact, we will never hire you. But we will call you from time to time to complain about the person that we hired.” -Urban Dictionary, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=just%20friends

This trap is easy to fall into, for nice guys anyway, and almost impossible to climb out of.

The title of this article is “How to Escape…”. I didn’t choose that title because I actually know how to get out of the trap. Rather I chose it because I would like to write an article about it and help nice guys out and, well, I thought maybe if I research well and think this all through, by the end of the article I really will know. Keep your fingers crossed.

Are you in the “just friends” trap? There is a condition a little lower than the friends trap. We might call it the Faux Friends Trap but a better term would be Pretended Friends Trap. A girl will tell you “let’s just be friends” or “I think of you as a friend” under at least two circumstances:

1. She really likes you and really does consider you a friend.

2. She does NOT like you and would love to say “get lost forever you creep” but just can’t say it.

It’s pretty easy to tell if you’re in category #1 or #2. In number one, the girl will call you and will pick up the phone if you call her. She’ll answer text messages. She’ll be glad to see you, etc. For category two, well, if she just never gets around to texting or calling back, this article isn’t for you. That doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. You can still make this happen. But it’s a different situation. Maybe I’ll write an article about how to go from, “I wouldn’t date you if you were the last man on Earth!” to “I want you… NOW!”

There was a pretty good movie about this subject from 2005, with Amy Smart in it. Hubba Hubba. I really like Amy Smart. But we’re just friends. Actually I’m her friend but she has no idea who I am. That’s a far lower condition than either of the ones above.

A big factor in this problem and all relationship problems is something called the Reactive Mind. It’s a part of the mind that works on a stimulus-response basis, not under a person’s conscious control. It makes people do funny things, like choose the wrong guy or girl and reject the right guy or girl. You can learn all about it by reading Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard. Start at http://www.dianetics.org.

So now that the problem is defined and we all know that I have no chance with my true love, Amy Smart, let’s get down to business – what can be done?

The first thing to know is – what you’re doing right now isn’t working. So, unless you plan to stay just friends and be content, it’s time to change up. I can’t necessarily tell you what to do. Perhaps you should be nicer, or perhaps stop being so nice. You could start doing special things – give the girl a flower every now and then, or bring her favorite coffee unexpectedly. Or you can get some results by not always being there. Be busy when she calls. Have your own interests and make them a priority. Live your life. Don’t make “get the girl” your entire game in life. But if you want to make this work, change something. Take her out on a real date, let her know it is a date. Specifically ask her out for a date. And wherever you go, pay for everything. Be confident and fun and of course, be yourself.

The second thing is, if you’re serious about this, don’t give up easily. Be tougher and don’t give up or whine because of setbacks. Keep that dream there of the life you want with this girl. And never give it up, no matter what. You may want to tell her or maybe not. You’ll just have to feel it out and guess what’s likely to work out best.

The third thing, and maybe this should have really been the first thing, take a hard look at whether this really is the girl for you. Do you have similar goals in life? Do you get along? It’s not enough that she’s cute with big breasts. That can make for a great weekend but if the base compatibility isn’t there, you’re in for a rough life starting Monday and every day thereafter. If you’re just “in love” with the girl but you and she really are not a good fit, scroll up to the Dianetics link above and find out for yourself how to get rid of that reactive mind.

So there is some advice. Good luck!

Here is a great little interchange from the movie, with Ryan Reynolds as Chris, Amy’s “just friend” character, and Fred Ewanuick as his friend Clark:

Clark: How’d the big date go?
Chris: It was terrible. I went in for a kiss, but she wants a hug, okay? Then I get caught in a sort of kiss-hug limbo type thing. I don’t know what that is, then I ended up *shaking* her entire body!
Clark: So you gave her a body shake?
Chris: Oh, God! I should’ve just kissed her! What am I doing?
Clark: It looks like you picked up right where you left off. You’re back in the friend zone.



Global Cooling, um, Warming, um, Climate Change
June 18, 2011, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Political stuff

Maybe global warming isn’t so bad. Have you heard about the potential for an upcoming ICE AGE, global cooling to the max?

Read this, from Newsweek:

“The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.”

Before you start to panic and stock up on canned foods, you should know that the above article was published in Newsweek in 1975. Yes, in 1975, according to Newsweek, Scientists were almost unanimous in their belief that global temperatures were about to take a nose dive, and we were about to be in danger of starvation because the Earth was going to be too cold.

It’s logical that cooling temperatures would cause great famine and disaster on a large scale. Food grows in the warmer months and grows more in hotter climates.

Now, in 2011, the narrative is that the Earth is about to become too warm. The impending disaster is a little harder to understand than what would happen with global cooling. Higher temperatures mean more food production usually; so global warming is not a matter of famine and starvation. The big scare in global warming is that the polar ice will melt, raising ocean levels and endangering coastal areas, and that we will be threatened with increasing levels of violent weather – hurricanes, tornadoes, floods.

Is any of this true? Former President Al Gore made a movie about global warming. A lot of people saw it and he made a lot of money from it. He won a Nobel Prize for his efforts to convince people that global warming is real and is caused primarily by man’s activities.

Al Gore is a politician, an extremely liberal politician, not a scientist. I’m a writer, not a scientist. Neither Al nor I approach this subject from a purely scientific viewpoint. He has his agenda. I have mine.

Al Gore is an example of many of today’s politicians who promote the issue of global warming and who are using it to attempt broad sweeping changes in the way people live.

The issue of global warming is generally split along party lines. People and politicians on the left (the Democrat party in the USA) are generally those who speak out about global warming and push for drastic government action. Those on the right (Republicans, Libertarians, etc. in the USA) tend to concentrate more on other issues, like increasing opportunity for prosperity and promoting freedom.

The drastic change desired by the politicians is essentially a reduction in what are termed “greenhouse gases”, any gas that is believed to rise to the upper atmosphere and serve to contain the heat of the sun, warming the earth. The big push lately has not been so much to reduce gas emissions directly but to have larger companies and countries pay more for their emissions.

And what do I want? What is my selfish agenda? I do have one. I want a clean planet that I can enjoy, along with my fellow human beings, my friends the animals, and the plants that we all enjoy to look at and to eat. Simple. I am a true environmentalist. However, I’m not in favor of the vast sweeping changes and restrictions and wealth redistribution desired by the left. I also want opportunity to grow, prosper and enjoy life to the fullest. I want the freedom to hop on a jet and go to Hong Kong if I want to. I value a clean, pretty planet. I value freedom. What’s the point of a nice environment if we have no rights to enjoy it.

There may be such a thing as global warming. We have evidently been in a warming trend for a couple of decades. However, the Earth has a long history of cyclic changes, related to solar activity, volcanoes and many other factors not caused by man.

History speaks of growing crops in Greenland, which is now too cold. The Earth has experienced many ice ages. It’s complete folly to look at the last couple hundred years of temperatures and decide that this should be the temperature from here on out.

I like to listen to this reading from Charleton Heston. It’s from Michael Crichton, author of Jurrassic Park. Heston read it on the Rush Limbaugh show some years ago, and I believe Rush plays it again every Earth Day. The message is essentially that the Earth has been here a long damn time and will continue to be here a long damn time, that our beliefs that we’re somehow going to destroy the Earth is illogical. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGodDOLvBxw

Once upon a time, London (and just about every other city) was a dirty, sooty place. Coal, wood and oil were burned for heat. Now London is much cleaner, nicer place. What happened? Government intervention to limit emissions, which would have essentially created “cooling” in all the houses of London? No, it wasn’t the government. It was the free market, creating better solutions for heating and energy production.

So perhaps if the politicians wanted a cleaner planet, they’d look at what worked before, the free market. Perhaps what they really desire is more control, less growth and prosperity.

I have no quarrel with the idea of using energy more efficiently, as a personal choice. If you’re going down to the store on the corner for a quart of milk, ride the bike, don’t drive the Hummer. But even if you drive the Hummer around the block all day, just for fun, don’t let anybody tell you that the planet is falling apart and it’s your fault.

As an aside, “global warming” as a movement has changed to “global climate change”. Some data in the last couple of years seems to indicate that our warming period is coming to an end. But the movement still has an agenda.

Everyone, enjoy life, enjoy the planet, be smart with our resources but use all you need and want.

-Doyle