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Season’s Jottings

Mormon neutralism. Putin's designs. All over Ol' Olbermann. Christmas and the intellectuals. Christmas and the crusaders. Plus much more.

12.19.06

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STRICTLY NEUTRAL
Re: The Washington Prowler's Mormonism in the Spotlight:

In its article "Mormonism in the Spotlight," the usually dependable American Spectator widely misses the mark. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has absolutely no plans for a "public education campaign" because of a possible run for office by any political candidate including Mitt Romney. The Church has a long-standing advertising program. Its latest phase, now three years in planning, has nothing to do with the campaign described by the article's unnamed source. Had The American Spectator contacted the Church before posting the story, it would have found its information to be erroneous. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is strictly neutral in partisan politics, no matter who the candidates may be.
-- Kim Farah
Church Spokeswoman

PUTIN'S POISONS
Re: Ben Stein's A Scary Russian Bear:

Ben Stein's thoughtful -- and alarming -- article about Russia's increasingly aggressive behavior is an apt reminder that other, serious threats exist besides Muslims and radical Islam. In fact, this concern is really a product of the Clinton years, when it was proclaimed -- contrary to all historical experience -- that the threat came from loose networks of Islamic extremists. This was accompanied by a refusal to consider the possibility that one or more hostile states may have penetrated and inserted themselves among such networks, including al-Qaida.

Stein's words are an appropriate caution. We can reassess our current understanding of the threats we face and recover our prior understanding of the primacy of states in international affairs -- or developments will likely oblige us to do so later, when the dangers will be much greater and we will be less able to deal with them.
-- Laurie Mylroie

Ben has to put in the obligatory put down from the right for France in his article about European dependence on Russian oil. Perhaps he doesn't know about 90% of France's non-auto energy needs are met by nuclear power in which she has been a leader for forty years. That's not to say his comments about the rise of Russia are ill founded, an issue, along with the rise of China, we should be much more concerned about than "Islamofascism" and all the other myths much beloved of writers at the American Spectator.
-- John Ellis

So, let me get this straight -- Western Europe is now subservient to Russia on a scale unimaginable in the days of the cold war -- all because of oil? If that is the case, and after extrapolating Ben's convoluted logic, the good 'ole US of A would be would be a second class citizen to the likes of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and (Yikes!) Nigeria.

Mr. Stein, is that cherry-flavored or carbon-based Kool-Aid in your pantry? Shouldn't really matter, because after you hike taxes on the rich, you can upgrade to peppermint Schnapps or Amaretto and become subservient to the US Government.
-- Owen H. Carneal, Jr.
Yorktown, Virginia

Ben Stein hit the nail on the head. Western "experts" on Russia have been trying to paint a happy face on that country for decades in an effort to convince us that Russia is our friend if only we could be open minded and forget about the repression, mass murder, assassinations, and periodic invasion and intimidation of any smaller countries unfortunate enough to be close to Russia.

What's amazing is that a smart guy like Ben Stein has just figured this out. Russia did not become a "rogue nation": it has been one since 1917 if not earlier. The events of the 1980s and 1990s did not change that fact, only made Russia a weaker rogue. One wonders at the brilliance of Western business leaders who continued to pour investments into Russia after the financial meltdown and organized theft of the late 1990s, lured by the prospect of access to Russian oil. In the past few months, the Russian government has made moves to confiscate foreign assets in Russia's oil industry, proving the old adage about a fool and his money.

However, Mr. Stein is wrong about one thing. There are Europeans who will stand up to Russia. They are not to be found in London, Paris, or Berlin, however; rather look to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Georgia for moral courage. Poland has earned the ire of "old Europe" yet again by refusing to bow to Russian extortion and using its seat in the EU to force that otherwise hapless organization to confront the issue of energy security.
-- John Radzilowski
Minneapolis, Minnesota

I think Ben is being a bit paranoid about the Russians -- somehow I don't think it's quite so bad, and one does have to look at the world through a Russian filter.

Don't take me for a Pollyanna -- I've been a Russian linguist now for 32 years and have read a lot of really repulsive tripe about the "new Soviet man" and why he should have dominated the planet. Too bad most of those of the left still believe it.

Europe has gotten really lazy, and socialism is, as is usual, the root culprit. But Russia has still been suffering for its Communist past.

Part of the problem was the fact that when it collapsed a handful of greedy entrepreneurs, dubbed the "Oligarchs," grabbed up all that was useful, became overnight billionaires, and the smarter ones like Berezovskiy fled the country to safer climes. Result: a wannabe capitalist country with no capital -- you can't buy goods in the real world with T-72 tanks and AK-47s.

Putin's problems also included the fact that of the 89 republics -- each of which had a governor -- many of them were the same Soviet "apparatchiks" from the "good old days" who simply changed flags, ditched the "serp i molot" (hammer and sickle) and continued with business as usual. He basically took away the direct election of these guys to prevent the heredity of the Soviets from continuing. Some good, some bad in such a decision.

Chechnya has not been Putin's shining moment -- like Nixon after Johnson, he was elected in part to end the fighting and not continue it to victory. But unlike Nixon, he didn't get caught with a "Watergate" moment although his opponents have tried to hang one on him. It was also one of the first "success" stories for Al-Qaeda, who sent some of its most unsavory types there such as the late and thoroughly unlamented Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, the Jordanian who reintroduced slow beheadings with a hunting knife to the Western world. (The FSB did poison him, no big loss.) But Chechnya has been a sucking chest wound for Russia for over 150 years, and the actions of Dudayev and his lot only brought them back to the surface. (Stalin eliminated the entire population in 1944 with a "disaspora" and it took them 40 years to get back from Siberia, the Far East, and other outsposts of purgatory.)

As far as the unfortunate former KGB agent in London, Litvinenko, goes there is no way to say who knocked him off. Too many items such as the heavy metal isotope used on him are relatively "loose" if you have connections. And former KGB do -- the criminals, the power brokers, former contacts, etc. Knocking him off may (a) send a message to others (b) shut him up before he "outs" people who don't want to be "outed" and (c) embarrasses Putin in front of the world, which many pro-Communist types who want to go back to the "good old days" take great joy in doing.

Putin, from a Russian standpoint, is a benevolent despot. He hasn't stopped as much of the freedom of the press as some would think, or many more reporters would have had "accidents" or "the actions of unfortunate criminal elements" and be populating post-Soviet cemeteries.

He is dealing with a one-dimensional economy (petroleum products) on a world scale and only a weapons-oriented one with the Third World (think Mini-Jefe in Venezuela and his weapons buys -- for cash). But part of that problem can, surprise! suprise!, be laid at the feet of the Clintonisti. They had the chance to step in when asked and cement good relations with a Russia coming out of the doldrums of 74 years of Communism. Instead, they turned their backs on the Russians -- probably for rejecting the "true faith" of Marxist socialism -- and started the chain of events we face now.
-- Cookie Sewell
Aberdeen, Peoples' Democratic Republic of Maryland

Ben Stein writes: "Someone, please tell me I am wrong. I don't even dare to want to be right about this."

Ben, I would never say that you are wrong about anything. But I will say that you might be wrong about this.

Who has the advantage, the person in a position of buying from a single source? Or the source who has a single customer? I assume your concern is that Russia might hold back on energy supplies to Europe. What if they do? I'd happily step in to buy the Russian oil, and with a small markup, re-sell it to France. It will probably be delivered via the same tankers and pipelines. I'm not sure of the details, but Kofi Annan or Marc Rich could explain the mechanics.

If Russia supplies 40% of the oil consumption in Europe, I'd say that Russia is dependent on Europe, not the other way around. This is how commerce promotes peace.

Of course, you are right that Putin is a thug. So what? The world would have bought Kuwaiti oil in the 1990s, even if Saddam Hussein was the salesman. Instead, we went to war.
-- Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Putin also gently dodged the first suggestions he might take over Gazprom when he steps down in 2008, but the rumors are flying again. There is even the suspicion he will hand pick his successor from -- where else -- the energy sector.

What's more, Putin has been intimately involved in EU energy, including getting his buddy Gerhard Schroeder a position at the head of the Northern European Gas Pipeline shareholder committee last year.

I realize Gazprom is state owned and politics is part and parcel of its business, but when the political aspects of one national industry start reaching into other territories at the top levels, Ben's scenario becomes all the more plausible.
-- Erik Litvinchuk
Sacramento, California

Ben Stein is correct. Not only is Putin getting real scary, it is getting panic scary. The overall leverage using energy not only affected Ukraine, but the shut off affected another nation, specifically Romania. I was there conducting petroleum training and found out when Russia cut off Ukraine the entire northern area of Romania was cut off, everything north of the Transylvania Alps. This scared the Romanians. I also heard that the cutoff affect Hungary as well. Acts such as this devastate the economies of these countries, which are trying to get into the EU. Look for more confiscation of energy partnerships.

One manager in Eastern Europe told me the Russian objective is to control 80-90% of Europe's energy. Think about it.... We who travel into these countries hear these horror stories. The U.S. State Department is snoozing under the tree and hoping Ben Stein is wrong. He's right on.
-- Mlj

KEITH MET
Re: Florence King's Paper Tiger:

I just read Florence King's review of Keith Olbermann's book, The Worst Person in the World, and all I can say is, to quote Donald Rumsfeld, oh my goodness. I've been a fan of King's for nearly two decades now (I still count her essay on Lizzie Borden to be one of the finest things I've ever read), and so I was appalled to see that she is a fan of that quarter-witted blowhard Olbermann (sorry; calling him a half-wit would be giving him too much credit). To use a word such as "brilliance" in any connection with Keith Olbermann is like using the word "tolerance" in connection with the Taliban: one needs to have a phrase along the lines of "total lack of" in there somewhere as well.

To be fair, she doesn't address his most annoying moments, namely his attempts to deliver Murrow-esque monologues. Unfortunately, these moments of self-righteous indignation can't even rise to the level of Murrow-light (it's more David Gregory-light). But she does address other, almost as grating, aspects of his shtick, in particular, his obsession with Bill O'Reilly. Perhaps she finds that madness to be a sign of genius, but if so, there must be a lot of geniuses at MSNBC; watch on any given day between the hours of 6 and 10 in the evening and you'll hear any number of persons waxing bilious about Fox News in general and O'Reilly in particular. Or perhaps her inner ironist simply loves the thought of a self-important, ill-informed gasbag who has gained fame for contrived rage spouting off about other people being self-important, ill-informed gasbags who engage in contrived rage. Or maybe she's just a sucker for a smirk; I'll concede that that's the one thing Keith Olbermann can do masterfully.

As for myself, I'll merely hope that she's been partaking of some liquid holiday cheer a bit early and will soon return to her senses.
-- Scott C. Pandich
Canton, New York

Perhaps I am alone in wondering why anyone would go to the effort of taking Keith Olbermann seriously, much less as seriously as Florence appears to take him. Olbermann is the Howard Zinn of television journalism. I turned off Olbermann regularly when he was merely a less than adequate sports commentator on ESPN2 a few years ago. How nice not to have to trouble with him now, apparently a majority view since his show is consistently last in the news show ratings. If only Jimmy Carter were his co-anchor, then we could ignore all of their hateful, blame America, diatribes in one fell swoop.
-- Joe Phillips
Red River, New Mexico

Olbermann is a bombastic megalomaniacal Leftist propagandistic hate-monger who should not rate a review in The American Spectator. I'd like to know when facts and reasoning went out the window and anyone with the look, the delivery and a Liberal axe to grind can get a T.V. show. It's a sad state of affairs.
-- Matt M
St. Paul, Minnesota

I do not find Keith Olbermann funny. Florence King should look into another line of work.
-- Steven R. Shaver

SOCIAL FACTS
Re: William Tucker's A Christmas Greeting:

Tell Mr. Tucker that that was a great piece. It was perfect for this season and today's confrontations.
-- Joseph D'Ambrosia

Thank you for you wonderful article on "A Christmas Greeting" ending with "Merry Christmas."
-- Brother Bob Howard, Pastor
Stone Mountain, Georgia

Mr. Tucker, after I sent the other e-mail, John 7:43 came to my mind "So there was a division among the people because of him". With the context in this chapter in The Gospel of John, this verse is verse is right up to date with all of the division in the world because of "Him." If you think on this, I would love to see an article you publish on this.

Thanks again, and merry Christmas
-- Bro. Bob Howard

I just read "A Christmas Greeting" by William Tucker and to summarize it Mr. Tucker should have said instead of his long diatribe: We hate intellectuals because they are too smart for their own good and we hate Moslems and Islam because we are offshoots of Judaism and by the way, those Moslems don't know how to forgive, as if the Jewish do. To wit, he brings an example, look at the Shiia and Sunnis, for more than a millennium and a half they haven't forgiven the killing of Hassan and Hussein, etc....

Dear Christian Mr. William Tucker, for your own knowledge, to be forgiven, one has to ask for forgiveness. Just recite Lord's prayer, listen to your own words and understand them. And if your house is made of glass, do not throw stones at your brother's house.

It would have been heart warming to me, if Mr. Tucker, who professes to be Christian, to have asked forgiveness from those whose religion he is eager to trash, from the thousands upon thousands of whom we "shocked and awed" to their death, and which we proudly applauded at one point in hour recent history. It would have been really Christian-like to have yelled as loud as his chest could bear the pain, screaming "Mia Culpa, Mia Culpa." To the Iraqis, for "screwing up your country and your lives and mass assassinating you with what our know-how developed in "Shock and Awe" technology." And he should have called onto his president and country to ask forgiveness of the families of the brave soldiers who were pushed to their deaths with the BIGGEST LIE to our nation in its recent history.

Christ gave up on the "offshoot of Judaism" notion by appearing to Paul after his resurrection to propel him to lay down the foundation of Christianity. It is thanks to Paul that today, we believe Christ is Lord, who, by the way, said that one does not need to be circumcised to be a Christian. One could throw away the Ten Commandments if one is willing to Love, unconditionally, as Christ so told us. Reading Mr. Tucker's article, however, it is clear to me that he has not arrived at the bridge to cross over to the other side of that divide.

So Mr. Tucker, if you are unable to ask forgiveness and you want to deliver a Christmas greeting, a "Merry Christmas" will suffice, or simply stay silent. That would be much preferred.
-- Ara Demirjian

When we humans are young and healthy, religion is unneeded. When we are not, religion is our final fallback position. A society that is relatively wealthy and healthy may dispense with religion, but this universe can change both in a heartbeat.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

I enjoyed "A Christmas Greeting" by William Tucker, but must point out a small error therein. From the article:

"Whether the myths and legends that inevitably surround religions are true -- whether Jesus was really born in a manger, ... -- all this hardly matters."

It may hardly matter. But I feel compelled to point out that nobody has ever believed or taught that Jesus Christ was "born in a manger." Rather, he was born in a stable, and subsequently laid in a manger. A manger is a feeding trough, too small to fit a gravid woman, but large enough to use in place of a bassinet.

I look forward to your correction.
-- Sean Gleeson

OPEN INQUIRY
Re: Christopher Orlet's Merry Christmas as Hate Speech:

I find Christopher Orlet's recent article annoying on two levels. First, as a person whose philosophy is both conservative and atheist, I don't seem to fit into either of the two camps that he describes. I find the War on Christmas abhorrent. I believe that the vast majority of non-Christians or non-believers in the U.S. would agree. The "professional atheist" gadflies cited by Orlet may be fellow travelers in that war, but they are certainly not the philosophical backbone or driving force. Instead, those in government, business, education, and the law who put multiculturalism and fear of being labeled non-PC ahead of the rest of our society are those who tear down Christmas. If you could survey these attackers I'm sure you'd find the vast majority to be nominally Christian, who celebrate Christmas themselves.

The second level is more visceral -- I do my best in supporting the Christmas tradition: I celebrate Christmas with my family, honor my wife's associated religious beliefs, halt patronizing stores that ban the Salvation Army Santas, and send out Christmas Cards instead of tepid "Holiday Cards". I'd like to be judged by my actions, not my religious beliefs.

Orlet's article gives too much credit to anti-Christmas straw men and doesn't add to our understanding of those who are undermining Christmas and how they can be stopped.
-- Chuck O'Leary
Houston, Texas

There is an important aspect of Christopher Orlet's article, (Merry Christmas As Hate Speech), that is wrong. He writes "secularists and non-Christians taking up the ballistas and battering rams and Christians manning the ramparts". But, there are plenty of non-Christians who are not trying to de-Christianize Christmas. I submit that most Jews, in fact, support keeping the traditional public display of Christmas and do not fight the greeting of Merry Christmas.

It seems that Mr. Orlet is making the terrible mistake of attributing the actions of the few Jews who oppose the public traditional Christmas to Jews generally and collectively.
-- Jack Abella
Sterling Heights, Michigan

My own solution to the Christmas Humbugs is to simply allow them to opt out. Those who believe anyone who says Merry Christmas should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart should be deprived of all gifts and good food during the celebration of the Savior's Birth, and should be forbidden to take any time off during this time of celebration for others. Lord knows our office is in a swivet every year because nobody wants to work during the week between Christmas and New Year! It would be a simple solution to their problem if all those who whine and scream and flail their arms and legs at the sound and sight of a Christmas tree were required to be in the office at this time. They could amuse themselves by taking down all the decorations and sending out the end-of-year invoices to the clients, thus making sure everyone else was as unhappy as they are when the mail comes to their homes. Those who squall against Christmas should get no cards, be provided no music, attend no church and simply stay home during December, with their iPods jammed in their ears blasting the series of huffs and grunts interspersed with obscenity, blasphemy and threats that normally passes for "music" in their world, and endless episodes of "Desperate Housewives" and specials about the "Sex Trade" to remind them what's really important about the society they live in. They could also sit around nekkid and smoke crack (the true way to make themselves merry) and dream of the day when their lotto ticket wins big and their horse comes in first...

The possibilities are endless. But as in the case of taxes, the Christmas haters are not content to merely keep Christmas by leaving it alone and continuing their squalid, sordid daily lives. They won't rest until they have forced the rest of us to hew to their sorry line as well.

Good luck with that, brats. And Merry Christmas.
-- Kate Shaw

Regarding Christopher Orlet's article, I would say that the war on Christmas is still on and while Wal-Mart and others have removed the ban on the C-word, some merchants are not even recognizing the holiday season at all.

My wife and I did some CHRISTMAS shopping this weekend and at both stores (Pottery Barn and Bath & Body Works) we were told to "Have a nice weekend." Not even a "Happy Holidays!" My immediate reply was, of course, "Merry Christmas!"

In another example, I was at the office of a CATHOLIC cemetery and, as I was leaving, was told, "Happy Holidays!" As I walked to my car, I was saddened by where we have gone as a society. Notice I didn't say offended or upset, but saddened. We've gotten to the point where the people working at a Catholic organization don't say, "Merry Christmas."

Where does the problem really lie when someone wishes you well, wishes you peace, wishes you happiness and someone, like Mr. Flynn, takes offence to that wish?

The things that are good in this world are worth fighting for and the peace and hope that come with the Christmas season will always be one of those.
-- David
Los Angeles, California

What's behind all the War on Christmas?

Yes, a lot of it has to do with the cancer of political correctness and multiculturalism that is affecting the country. Here, we're being dictated to by our "betters" that we must be sensitivity and tolerant to the feelings of others to the absurd point of giving minorities near veto rights over the majority.

But the crux of the issue is even more sinister than this. It's that the ruling elites want to put out put out of their mind -- and ours -- that Christ is the Light of the world. And why? Because, as John 3:19-21 says, "... that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, so that his works may not be exposed."

Merry Christmas
-- Peter Skurkiss
Stow, Ohio

Re: Christmas. Let's make the atheists really crazy. Remind them that "holiday" in fact is a corruption of "holy day".

Happy Holy Days! And Merry Christmas to all!
-- Steve Nikitas
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

A NON-INTELLECTUAL CHRISTMAS EVE
Thanks for trying to set me straight
About Jesus Christ and His life.
I suppose it really matters
If he had or hadn't a wife.

I guess I need to be precise
In tracing time and place.
I suppose what happened on which date
Has a bearing on His Grace.

But on Christmas Eve at midnight
As I look in my heart and see
The Holy Scene that thousands have seen
Through the ages, He'll be with me.
-- Mimi Evans Winship

CHEWABLES
Re: The "Singled Out" letters in Reader Mail's Misunderstandings:

Writers' LTE's in the Spectator have been conversationally (at least) chewing over the possible implications of religion/backgrounds in the 08 presidential race. Few have approached the potential bomb shell (irony intended) -- elephant in the room that may really spew in the race however, that of the background of Barrack Hussain Obama. He, born of Muslim father, so in the eyes of Islam for all times a Muslim. Who converted to Christianity and is (at least in public) a fervent believer. The interesting thing of course is that conversion from Islam is apostasy and carries an automatic death sentence (by stoning, be heading don't remember which comes first...) in most of the Arab world.

Q? How will his handlers, nay the USA handle his election when the new president elect (Heaven forefend!!!) is the target of the entire Muslim world and the very act of his visiting any of the Islamic countries that would execute anyone of lesser stature (or military) on sight would start a war? How then will he (can he?) deal with the middle east at all?

Pop some more popcorn this is going to be fun.
-- Craig Sarver
Seattle, Washington

YOU KNOW WHO
Re: Jeremy Lott's Only You

Time Magazine's Mylar stunt -- naming "You" as person of the year and putting up reflective cover -- isn't even terribly original. Back in the 1960s, the Monkees put out an album, "Head," with a Mylar cover, the idea being "your head" would be in the reflection next to the word "Head."

The "Head" cover was something of a nightmare to produce and bring to market. So, maybe, is the "You" cover -- the magazine should have been on stands today, and isn't, and my subscription copy should have been in my P. O. box today -- and wasn't.
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

NEW GREEK
Re: Stuart W. Settle's letter (under ) in Reader Mail's Misunderstandings:

I did some further research on this, and discovered that my previous contention that arsenokoites is not found outside of Paul's letters is incorrect. I found an excellent article by Dale B. Martin entitled Arsenokoites and Malakos: Meanings and Consequences that cites several extra biblical instances of arsenokoites. It also addresses the problems involved in equating a word's entomology and composite parts with its meaning. The author uses techniques of contextual interpretation to argue quite well that it is impossible for us to know what the word arsenokoites meant in the time it was written, and provides compelling evidence that calls into serious doubt the assurance with which many 20th century scholars interpret the word. The article can be found in Biblical Ethics & Homosexuality: Listening to Scripture, edited by Robert L. Brawley (© 1996 Westminster John Knox Press).

Secondly, I see no problem with the idea that the translators who would compile the New Testament Greek lexicons which Mr. Settle consulted would share in the same institutional bias that affected the translators of the NIV RSV or KJV. They are a part of the same institution. It would be quite absurd to assume that religion (even the Christian church, both Protestant and Catholic) is not subject to the same human bias toward personal status and status quo that affect every other human endeavor. If the compilers of these lexicons were to translate it any differently they would be immediately derided as agenda driven. I am not here arguing that the bias of the translators is conscious or malicious, but that they truly believe arsenokoites to mean homosexual. My argument is that they believe it to mean this because they already assume homosexuality to be wrong because they were taught by their teachers who were taught by their teachers and on and on. Therefore the logic becomes arsenokoites means X because all respected theologians say it means X. If one wants to be a respected theologian one must then agree with the respected theologians. This is what I mean by institutional bias. It is as corrosive to the academia of the church as it is in the academia of the secular world.
-- Michael D. Harding

ONE LAST TIME
Russell Seitz's letter (under "Stirring the Atmosphere") in Reader Mail's Misunderstandings:

I would like to thank Russell Seitz for his letter in reply. I will read the speech he cited. Also I thank him for the link to his blog.

My doubts, to phrase them better, are about the transport of CFCs north to south through the intertropical convergence zone and vertically through the tropospause. Not that these are impermeable barriers but they should cause products released in the lower atmosphere of the northern hemisphere to be more prevalent there than in the stratosphere in the southern hemisphere. I will be interested to see how this is handled in the speech cited.

I also remember reading of a soil bacteria that could breakdown CFCs. That was quite a while ago and I should look to see what has become of that research.
-- Geoff Bowden
Battle Creek, Michigan

Mr. Seitz, your reference was excellent reading, and something that I recommend to anyone on this website who is interested in subject of climate change and the rational presentation and discussion of facts. Rather lengthy, but definitely worth it.

I really enjoyed the part about the use of "Global Warming" as opposed to climate change. Correct me if I have this wrong, but the use of "Global Warming" is more of an emotional appeal rather than an intellectual one. The former is more of an "oh my gosh; let's start passing some laws" way of thinking. The latter is more of an "oh, climate change; let's talk about it and see if there's anything we can do." Not that it means we should do nothing, nor does it mean we should ignore evidence that clearly exist and presented rationally.

I don't mind discussing climate change; it's a fascinating subject. But when it's presented in a sensational manner complete with demands for irrational action than discussion becomes almost impossible. Unfortunately, the "Global Warmists" take just that approach. The only thing they want to discuss are terms of surrender.

It would really be incredible if we could come to understand the climate change phenomenon even in part. The list of unknowns is intimidating, but not unknowable. As long as we stick with the facts, and keep the emotions under control, there shouldn't be a problem.

I also picked up the lesson that we need to be sure to deal in facts, not conjecture. Opinion is OK, but we must recognize it as opinion. I'd even go so far as to say question "facts" that agree too much with your position. Nothing comes that cheap!

Peace to Mr. Seitz; Merry Christmas or whatever is your preferred greeting, and Happy New Year!
-- Karl Auerbach
Eden, Utah

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