Vikings were not ‘green’ – recycling was an economic necessity

An article entitled Turning Swords into Battleaxes: Recycled Vikings! just came across the twitter feed. It’s premise, that Vikings ‘recycled’ because they took broken weapons to their local blacksmith and had them made into new ones. While this is a nice story, and it’s point is somewhat relevant, let’s not delude ourselves. The Vikings weren’t ‘green’. The Vikings weren’t reusing the metal in their weapons to get carbon credits and offset all the villages they burnt to the ground. The Vikings ‘recycled’ because they had to. Metal was hard to acquire and it was much more economically viable to use metal that they already had than it was to go mine more.

In fact, if the point of this article is to encourage modern man to recycle, it kind of misses the point. The steel industry has been recycling for 150 years. Since WWII the recycling rate for steel has exceeded 50%. Why is this? Again, economics. It is cheaper to recycle steel than it is to mine new iron and process it into steel. Raw materials are saved and 75% less energy is used annually by steel manufacturers, so of course they recycle.

There is one good point that the article illustrates, and that is that waste is a phenomenon of our modern wealthy society. Many primitive cultures are renowned for for their efficiency. I remember back in school hearing so many stories about how the Native Americans would use very part of a buffalo. Why? Because it was the only resource they had. They didn’t have cotton blankets, steel sewing needles or pleather jackets. They had to use the skin and bone of the animal as well as the meat. In our modern world resources are still plentiful and it’s more cost effective to use those resources than it is to be green, conserve and recycle. Until that changes I fear there is little hope to stop the rampant waste that our society is built upon.

School pays student for political persecution – proof the ACLU isn’t completely evil

In many conservative circles most people think the ACLU is evil. This organization is responsible for taking prayer out of schools, supporting gun control laws, promoting Gay Marriage and defending abortion. While the ACLU is definitely guilty of supporting many of these hot button issues, they also help defend citizens rights regardless of their political opinions.

A Colorado high school student who was arrested in 2008 for wearing a “Nobama” sticker outside a campaign appearance by Michelle Obama has won a settlement from the school.

Blake Beeson was handcuffed and arrested for interference the day before the presidential election, when Michelle Obama visited Dakota Ridge High School to campaign for her husband.

Beeson and two other students stood outside the gym where the future first lady was speaking and held campaign signs for Sen. John McCain, the Republican candidate.

School officials told Beeson to leave. He refused and was arrested and suspended from school for a day.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado announced Wednesday that Jefferson County Schools and the county sheriff’s department would pay Beeson $4,000 to avoid a lawsuit. Authorities dropped criminal charges against him in May.

“Jefferson County officials were wrong to censor the peaceful, purely political speech of a high school student just a day before a historic national election,” ACLU staff attorney Taylor Pendergrass said in a statement.

Beeson said he hoped the settlement would promote student activism.

“If one thing comes from this case, I hope it is that other students will learn more about their free-speech rights and not be afraid to use them,” Benson said.

Jefferson County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacki Kelley told The Denver Post that the arrest caused an internal investigation and that “lessons were learned from the investigation.”

Next time someone complains about the ACLU, remember, it’s not a bad thing to have an organization out there defending our rights. And just because you disagree with another’s actions doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be free to act the way they choose to.

Economic DejaVu

“This is like deja vu all over again.” – Yogi Berra

The New York Times has an article comparing the late 70’s inflation to our current situation in 2008.

That got me to thinking, the 00s are a lot like the 70s, at least from a national perspective.

  • Early 70s, the US was caught in a foreign war that was sucking the economy dry and causing civil unrest at home.
  • 00s, the US is caught in a foreign war that is sucking the economy dry and causing civil unrest at home.
  • 1979, unrest in the mideast caused oil prices to jump and created higher fuel prices/gas shortages.
  • 00s, unrest in the mideast and global demand for oil causes oil prices to jump to over $100 a barrel.
  • 1976, a country shocked by two tems of Republican incompetence elect a democrat to office.
  • 2008, a country shocked by two terms of Republican incompetence will likely elect a democrat to office.

I could think of some more, but it’s interesting we haven’t really learned any lessons in the last 30 years. Looks like this country is repeating more of the same. The next president, republican or democrat, is going to have a long road. They will inherit a complete mess, and likely by demonized for issues beyond their control with the 2012 election rolls around.

Democrats are Liars

Nancy Pelosi - Speaker of the House

The Democrats are catching a lot of flack right now for not ending the war in Iraq. Congress currently has one of the lowest approval ratings in a decade – only 23% of Americans think they are doing a good job. This is only a 2% improvement the December rating of 21%.

There is plenty of hand wringing and finger pointing being done by the democrats over this issue:

In winning control of Congress from
President George W. Bush’s Republicans last November, Democrats told voters they would move swiftly to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

But they now say voters must understand they need help from Republicans to clear procedural hurdles, override presidential vetoes and force Bush to change course.

Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware said he explained this recently to anti-war demonstrators. “‘We know. We know,”‘ he quoted them as replying. “But we are so disappointed.”‘

Biden, seeking the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, said: “Voters are going to be mad with us until we end the war.”

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said some Democrats understand “we can only do so much.”

Bottom line, this is all a lie. Congress controls funding for the War, all it has to do is not approve the funding and the situation in Iraq will come to a screeching halt. In fact, Congress had an opportunity to do this about a month ago. They played chicken with the President by attempting to include timetables for withdrawl in the bill. President Bush vetoed the bill, so Congress removed the provision and passed it anyway.

Democrats dropped troop withdrawal deadlines because they were unable to overcome a veto and unwilling to risk cutting off money for the troops, reports CBS News radio correspondent Bob Fuss.

There is a large percentage of Americans that are against the war, both those who never supported it and those who are currently disenchanted with the whole concept. The first person/party that stands up and makes a serious stand against the war has an opportunity to make history. Unfortunately that position also carries a significant risk. The public is fickle, and when the Bush administration stops paying soldiers and blames Congress there could be serious fallout.

I believe the war, in it’s current state, is unwinnable. The region is incapable of stability and self government. The only two options are to evacuate our troops or to forceably occupy Iraq, collect reparations and govern it like occupied Japan was post WWII.

Neither of these are going to happen, politicians will continue to compromise, whine, point fingers and lie about the situation – and it will cost the Democrats in 2008.