Thursday, August 30, 2018

Additional Comments Pertaining to the Scandal in the Catholic Church

I promised I would write again about the ongoing sex scandals within the Catholic Church. Sadly, there are still too many in the Church hierarchy who seem not to understand the horror of what has occurred. 
The above video from an NBC interview with Cardinal Cupich of Chicago is one of the most shameful things I have seen in a very long time. The Cardinal claims the above snippet is out of context. I have read the full transcript here and it doesn't seem out of context to me. You may make your own judgment.

Here is why that snippet so bothers me: The Catholic Church has one job and that is to facilitate the salvation of every soul on earth. It has a secondary mission of helping the world's poor better their lives. [The good news is there is less extreme poverty than at any time in the history of our planet. That does not mean our work is done but it does mean it can be concentrated where it is most needed.]

It is an utter mystery to me why some of the Church's hierarchy still don't seem to get it. I can hardly think of any greater sin than the rape or molestation of children. Jesus himself seems to agree:

"...whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." 

So, Cardinal Cupich's glib answer about the importance of global warming is completely unacceptable. Justice demands that those still active who have molested children, or covered it up, be held accountable but I increasingly doubt that will happen in this lifetime. If Pope Francis hasn't acted by now, I doubt he will, with perhaps, some high profile exceptions so it looks like he is engaged in the issue. The Pope himself is accountable to no one on this earth and he seems to like (perhaps too much) being Pope. My guess is Francis is not going anywhere. For more "predictions" along this line, see Fr. Dwight Longenecker's forecasts here.

There is good news: I believe there are now sufficient measures in place that additional molestations of children taking place are extremely unlikely. Your children at a Catholic church or school are as safe as anyone can reasonably make them.

There are wonderful priests and bishops across our nation who do outstanding work every day. They have been unfairly tarred with this brush and need our love, support and, most of all, prayers. I am blessed to live in the Diocese of Wichita which is outstanding and there are many others like it across our nation and the world.

So, don't be discouraged. Keep praying. Have faith. We will get through this.

Yes, Tornadoes Do Occur in Mountainous Area

Pro tip for safety: tornadoes occur in all terrain. 
Wyoming tornado taken by Reed Timmer in July.

Said It All Along...

Article is here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Bulletin: Children in Hot Cars

I had no idea.


Remember the movie Sully which tells the story of US Airways Flight 1549? It crashed after both engines were destroyed by the ingestion of birds.

Here is the fascinating story of people who work to prevent to prevent a similar occurrence at Denver International Airport.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

To Our St. Louis Readers

I know we have a number of readers in the St. Louis area. By coincidence, Kathleen and I dined at the new Cinder House restaurant last night. They had a soft opening last week and tonight is its grand opening.

Kathleen liked her entree, Ozark Trout (the taste I had was quite good). There was nothing special about the $64 (!!) eight-ounce filet is a small piece of meat on a plate. No side. I did like the black bean side which was $9. The menu is surprisingly limited and everything is dreadfully overpriced.

My verdict: Pass.

As We Begin a New School Year...

....this essay about affirmative action is essential reading.

Dr. Stephen Asma, a professor of philosophy at Columbia College, shows considerable intellectual courage writing such a piece. A sample paragraph:

We need to face reality. College admission and employment generally is a competitive zero-sum game. Affirmative action started as a well-intentioned way to redress inequalities, but it has become an ethical and practical quagmire. It is now effectively pitting races against each other, and rigging the results so that individual merit differences are discounted. Liberals are afraid that eliminating affirmative action is the same as turning away from those who are less fortunate, whereas conservatives and libertarians think that, when the State gets out of the way, individuals and families make themselves more prosperous. If the State must be involved in the redistribution of social outcomes through college admissions, then it should stick to a problem it can actually solve—namely, improving access for poor people of every race.

Please read his entire piece.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Anyone Who Believes the Al Gore "Global Warming is a Catastrophe" Is Naive

Here is an excerpt from Bjorn Lomborg's piece in the New York Post this morning:

Activist organizations like Worldwatch argue that higher temperatures will make more people hungry, so drastic carbon cuts are needed. But a comprehensive new study published in Nature Climate Change led by researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis has found that strong global climate action would cause far more hunger and food insecurity than climate change itself.

The scientists used eight global-agricultural models to analyze various scenarios between now and 2050. These models suggest, on average, that climate change could put an extra 24 million people at risk of hunger. But a global carbon tax would increase food prices and push 78 million more people into risk of hunger. The areas expected to be most vulnerable are sub-Saharan Africa and India.

Trying to help 24 million people by imperiling 78 million people’s lives is a very poor policy.

More and more it seems the emperor has no clothes. Global warming policy is primarily about power, not helping people.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Quote of the Day

"'Hurricane Lane' sounds like the more sophisticated cousin of 'Tornado Alley'."
            -- Gloria Van Rees

Monday, August 20, 2018

Great Book For That Late Summer Trip!

Want a great book for that end-of-summer vacation?
It tells the story of how storm warnings (like the ones in the Ozarks region yesterday) save lives. It has a 5-Star rating from Amazon. Take a look, here.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Major Step Forward in Public Health: Forecasts Of Disease

A new way to stay healthy!

Exclusive Preview For Our Readers

The last few weeks have seen headline after headline regarding public health and medical issues across our nation. The items below are a small sampling. And, every one of them is from the last two weeks.

Again, these are just in the last two weeks. 

And, a growing concern:

Keeping yourself, your family, and your coworkers healthy and safe has never been more important. After all, the best way to keep healthcare costs down is with prevention.

Since 2010, Ascel Bio has been taking peer-reviewed science, developing models, and creating ways to, -- for the first time in human history -- forecast the relative risk of disease. Ascel is forecast the risk of disease in much the same way as meteorologists forecast the risk of tornadoes or hurricanes. 

I an investor in the company and am proud of our new site:

Its purpose is to alert you when there is a heightened risk of contracting one of four groups of diseases enabling you to take appropriate precautions. Below is the current forecast for a group of food and water-borne diseases. The forecasts are updated approximately weekly.
The colors are the relative risks and the dots are a rough estimate of the cases per million population. For example, the forecast above is showing a high to very high risk in Missouri, was posted a few days 
before news of the Missouri salmonella outbreak became known. The forecasts have been carefully validated before the website was created.  

Once you view the forecasts, to make taking precautions easier, we have created a link that automatically takes you to your Amazon account to shop for items specifically chosen by our clinical experts. For example, suppose you are taking your family hiking in an area with a high risk of mosquito-borne illness. You would pick products to keep your family save from that risk by choosing the button below (it is live, you can shop now).
Below is our "Magazine" section (more of a blog, really) with articles written by our experts to help you prevent and treat disease.

And, below that, our international disease risk section (which will be tweaked before the official launch).

So, that's it. We'd like your comments and feedback. You may email me here.

I'll post again when the site goes fully live. I hope you are excited by this new way to keep yourself, your family, and your coworkers healthy.

Sunday Fun: "I Found Out Long Ago, It's A Long Way Down to Holiday Road"

Why we universally remember vacations with fondness, including the ones that are disasters.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Yes, It Appears Weather Was Involved in the Collapse at the WinStar Casino

Headline from the Dallas Morning News...
Their story is here.

Here is the radar at the time. The most intense part of the storm is directly over the Casino.
There are multiple reports of injuries but not much else is known at this time.

According to the Dallas Morning News 14 were injured. The severity of their injuries was not reported.

ADDITION: Good news.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Amazingly Tranquil Atlantic

Happy to report the Atlantic and surrounding waters are quite tranquil at this time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Two Dead in Kansas Flooding

Tragedy has struck again; this time in my home state of Kansas last night. Yet again, a car has been swept off the road in flash flooding and two died.

By far, the #1 cause of deaths in flash floods is automobiles.

"Apparently what happened, they hit the high water, the vehicle probably stalled. It was found in park with the engine shut off and, we believe, high water came and just swept the vehicle off in a high ditch," Dierks said.

It happens over and over, people who are safe one minute make the fatal decision to drive into a flooded area and are swept away to their deaths. Or, emergency response personnel risk their lives to make a swift water rescue.

When driving, you do not know if the roadway has been washed away when flash flooding is in progress as this photo from Twitter reveals.

And, from KOCO-TV's helicopter:
Can you imagine what would have happened to any driver who drove into that rapidly flowing stream without knowing the road beneath was gone?
Don't Risk It:
Please, please, please: "Turn around, don't drown."

To My Readers From a Catholic

The news pertaining to the Catholic Church the last few weeks is beyond sickening. I don’t believe my vocabulary is adequate to express my revulsion. 

The Catholic Church is a divine institution run by humans. We “cradle Catholics” were educated to believe the leaders of the Church were chosen because of their holiness and devotion to helping their flock attain Salvation by striving to live lives worthy of Christ. 

The faithful now know we have been betrayed in the most evil possible way. And, we have learned it wasn’t a few rogue priests or that the press has been libeling the Church (as the Church’s leadership wanted us to believe) but that the rot exists throughout. Even Pope Francis doesn’t seem to fully grasp or want to grasp the seriousness of the problem both in the United States and internationally.

There are far too many -- to this day -- in positions of leadership in the Church who seem to think if they ignore the problem it will go away. My diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Advance, has a "latest news" column. Not a word.

I am also disappointed by priests on social media writing truisms this morning such as, “holiness is the answer.” While that is ultimately true, it is not nearly sufficient. To any priest or bishop or cardinal who might be reading this: If you are aware of any member of the clergy who has or is engaged in these activities and you have not called in law enforcement, you are acquiescing in evil!

I call on every priest and every bishop this Sunday to condemn these gravest of sins, beg our Lord to forgive the Church, and pray to give the good members of the clergy the strength and courage to do what is right in the eyes of Christ. I also ask them to consider that their vow of obedience must be obedient to Christ above all else. If they know of “hush orders” or any such obstruction of justice they must go to law enforcement. This must not and can not continue. 

While Catholics do not believe one has to be Catholic in order to attain heaven, we do believe that Christ founded the Church to make the often challenging path to Heaven easier to follow. I still believe that to be true with all of my mind, heart and soul. But, I also know it must be extraordinarily difficult for those outside the Church to see at this time. As a member of the Church, I'm so sorry that is the case. 

To those who may happen to be considering conversation to Catholicism, please continue your study and prayers. 

I will have more to say on this subject
 as events unfold. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

Climate Silliness -- As Only the New York Times Can Do It

The New York Times has published a piece of climate fluff regarding the recent tornadoes in New York City and New England. The article is here.

The two scientists the author consulted did not provide support for the author's hypothesis but that didn't stop her from writing the article or the Times from publishing it.

Let's look at the facts. Here are world temperatures since the 1880's.
Current temperatures are circled. I've placed an arrow at 1953's temperatures, which I will come back to. Please note that temperatures are significantly warmer now than they were in the 1950's.

Yet, as temperatures have risen, the number of significant tornadoes is strongly down.
So, if anything, warmer temperatures means fewer strong tornadoes across the country. 

The worst tornado outbreak in New England history occurred in June of 1953.
The Worcester tornado, which was on the ground for 48 miles, killed 94. Six more died that day elsewhere in New England from other tornadoes. Is there any doubt that if this occurred today it would be blamed on global warming?? Note that this tornado outbreak occurred with global temperatures much cooler than they are today.

This is inaccurate climate advocacy published as news. It is highly unfortunate.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Good News: The World Has NEVER Been Better Than It Is Now

While there are unquestionably problems in our world, it is vitally important to keep things in perspective. Here are some graphics that help make the point that right now -- 2018 -- is the best time in the history of the world and that things will almost certainly get even better.
click to enlarge
Diseases Are Receding. Polio has been nearly wiped out thanks to Rotary International and the Gates Foundation.
HIV deaths are also decreasing.
Child mortality is improving.

Sanitation is often overlooked but it is a vital part of the public health. India, in particular, is making rapid progress.

Starvation is disappearing.
click to enlarge
And, not only are fewer people malnourished, the quality of our diets is improving.
You can go here for the entire story of our rapidly improving world.

Finally: Did you know that is you make more than $35,000/year (US) you are in the world's top 1%? 

So, let's keep our issues in perspective.

Sunday Inspiration: A Little Kansas Boy Inspires People Around the World

Sunday Fun: The Humanity of the California Firefighters

There is very little good news to come out of the grim stories of the California wildfires. But, here is some, via Twitter.
An enlargement of the letter:
Let me add my thanks to the brave California firefighters.

Sunday Photo: Lightning Hitting Tucson Radar

From Twitter:
The radar was knocked out Friday afternoon.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Putting Your Life at Risk -- For Golf

While I was posting this in Kansas yesterday, two young people in Arizona were hit by lightning; and it was caught on video yesterday. You can see it here. They were in a less open area than the golfers I wrote about below.  One of the teens is in critical condition and the other has second degree burns. Hopefully, it won't be the case here, but many who survive lightning strikes are permanently impaired. 

It is just not work the risk. Please continue reading below. 

-- Original Posting -- 

Today is a big (for me, I don't play) golf day at The Smith House. My brother, Mark, scored a hole-in-one for the first time (he plays a lot). I spent a good part of the day watching the PGA Tournament because I enjoy watching the majors and I'm hoping Tiger Woods can continue his comeback.

After the PGA correctly suspended play when lightning moved through St. Louis County this afternoon, some Wichita golfers pulled a really stupid move about an hour and a half later.
Radar 5:59pm CDT
With nearly continuous thunder sounding and with the corresponding lightning less than four miles away, the people in the golf carts (circled, below) continued to play their game.
The thunderstorm and its rain shaft were clearly visible as they are in the photo above. Heck, we could hear it well from inside our house with the air conditioning going. While an automobile is good shelter from lightning, golf carts are dangerous.

I doesn't matter if you've scored a hole-in-one or have spent all of your time in the sand traps. This was too dangerous. Remember: If thunder roars, go indoors!

Dilbert Without Comment

click to enlarge

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Climate Engineering = Terrible Idea

I give Big Climate credit for finally figuring some of the many dangers in attempting to engineer the climate before the scheme was deployed. From Watts Up With That...

Unfortunately, the article continues the implication that wildfires in the United States have increased. They have not.

Highly Recommended Article About California's Horrific Fire Season

It is from the Capital Weather Gang and you can access it here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Congratulations, Lisa!!

Lisa Teachman, chief meteorologist of KSN-TV in Wichita, has been honored for having the best weathercast in the state. The selection was made by the Kansas Association of Broadcasters.

The honor is richly deserved. Congratulations, Lisa.

Something That May Be of Concern

Asbestos may be making a comeback. As I am not an expert in this area, I'm posting the article without comment.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

And, While We Are on the Topic of Sleaze,

Mark Zuckerberg
Photo by Media Matters
...the censoring of various people and groups deemed "politically incorrect" must stop. While the First Amendment gives us some protection from federal government censorship, the giants of Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., need to stop their fascist-like behavior.

I am writing this post using an Apple MacBook Pro and I have, personally and as a businessman, spent well over one-hundred thousand dollars on Apple's products. But, I certainly do not like Apple's recent behavior. Hollywood's Roger Simon puts it well:

  Fascist is a big word not to be bandied about (though it too often is these days), so let me make myself clear.  I've spent about ten minutes of my life on InfoWars and think Alex Jones is a boring blowhard of little interest except to those who want to spend their lives worrying about whether there was a second gunman on the Grassy Knoll.
  Nevertheless, the group censorship of Mr. Jones, led by our friends in Cupertino, the makers of the ubiquitous iPhone -- I've had a half-dozen myself and am typing this on a MacBook -- is one of the scarier developments of our time, if not potentially the scariest.
Apple is one hypocritical organization banning the puny Jones.  They -- the first trillion-dollar company -- are the people who are genuflecting to the Chinese, kowtowing (that is definitely the proper word) to Xi Jinping and Co., and making all kinds of accommodations to that totalitarian regime for access to their giant market.
  China is, as most of us know and Apple CEO Tim Cook prefers to ignore, the nation that has for years put their political dissidents in jail, completely censored the press and the Internet, stolen our intellectual property, brutally oppressed Tibetans and other minorities, and, lest we forget, mowed down the democracy demonstrators at Tiananmen.  Alex Jones -- to my knowledge -- has done nothing anyone near as monstrous.
  So what Apple is doing picking on the basically irrelevant Jones is a form of corporate virtual signaling, a particularly dangerous form if you believe in the Bill of Rights.

Roger's entire piece is here. He also makes the point that people like Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, has more money than sense. He made his money so young and is so insulated that all he knows is virtue signaling and doesn't even understand the wider implications of his actions.

Steve Jobs, for all of his faults, never would have done this.

Google (real motto, "Don't Be Evil") has allegedly tweaked its search engine to make it more difficult to find conservative sites. Facebook...well, go to the posting below.

Microsoft used to believe it was invincible. So, did most economists and analysts. That certainly wasn't the case.

There is a pretty good case that some of this may be a violation of anti-trust laws. But, I'd rather the companies re-think their anti-American values positions and rescind them voluntarily.

This Type of Sleaze Is Why I Closed My Facebook Account

Not only banking information, Facebook has been accused of sending employees disguised as physicians into hospitals to obtain confidential information about Facebook's customers. I no longer wanted to be associated with such sleaze.

Monday, August 6, 2018

I Fell For Fake Weather

Thanks to Dr. Marshall Shepherd, I learned this is a photo of a Hawaiian sunset reflecting off the clouds, not a California wildfire. I fell for "fake weather."

It is a California wildfire as seen through an undercast of altocumulus clouds.