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A Glimpse Inside Fukushima Daiichi

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:59 AM

National Geographic has posted a really eerie set of photos showing the “Fukushima 50” doing their unenviable work trying to save Japan from a complete meltdown. Amazing.

Christians and Creation Care

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:41 AM

Reading for class, I ran across a blog post from Dr. Vinoth Ramachandra arguing for more concern about “global warming” amongst Christians. He writes,

Interestingly, many atheists seem to care more about global warming than many so-called “Biblical Christians”. I suggest that the latter need to re-read their Bibles and the former need to re-think their worldview. If Nature is all that is, and human beings are as significant as slime moulds where nature is concerned, why care about what happens to future human beings? If Homo Sapiens ends up destroying itself, the earth will simply throw up new life forms that will survive at higher temperatures. In other words, the question I am posing is whether either “deep ecology” or the militant atheism that insists on telling us that humans are nothing more than accidental products of an evolutionary process – can these worldviews coherently sustain our fundamental moral intuitions in the face of global warming and climate change?

He seems to presume that those who disagree with the IPCC don't care about the environment and climate change. He is arguing against a straw man. Many of us who disagree with the IPCC-related materials do care very much about the environment, we just tend to think scientific data and Biblical commands led us to other conclusions than pushing for the adoption of policies such as the Kyoto Protocol that would likely hurt millions of people around the globe.

(I'm not saying there aren't a lot of Christians, especially those with a “the World is Not My Home” dispensational framework, who think it is perfectly fine to pollute the earth with mindless abandon. But, the range of disagreement is far more nuanced than that.)

Amoco is Dead, Long Live Amoco

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:34 AM

Reuters reports:

Some BP gas station owners in the United States want to drop the BP name and return to the Amoco brand to recover business hit by public anger over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

I predicted this some time ago, but failed to post it online. Too bad. I do expect BP will pull a Worldcom and rebrand with their less tarnished, previously subsumed and retired brand sometime in the next year or two. I wouldn't expect it in the next couple of months, though. Doing it too soon would risk dragging the Amoco name into the mud, or in this case, oil.

Newsweek's Ghost

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:02 AM

Gruber writes (tongue-in-cheek):

So I say, “Who’d he write that for? I didn’t see anything on the Fake Steve blog about it.”

She says, “Newsweek, of course.”

“I thought they went out of business a few months ago.”

“No, they’re still around. I swear.”

Pretty much sums up the current state of the magazine. Sad.

WashPo on Lack of Black Panther Story Coverage

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:41 AM

The intimidation of voters in Philadelphia during the 2008 presidential election by the “New Black Panther Party” drew some attention at the time, but has become a firestorm since the Obama Administration decided to essentially drop all meaningful charges just as they were about to win the case. The Washington Post ombudsman has an interesting piece on WashPo's lack of coverage related to the case.

National Editor Kevin Merida, who termed the controversy “significant,” said he wished The Post had written about it sooner. The delay was a result of limited staffing and a heavy volume of other news on the Justice Department beat, he said.

Better late than never. There's plenty left to explore.

True. Better get exploring.

Turning to Chapter 11 of BP's Story

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:04 AM

Matt Simmons on the future of BP:

They have about a month before they declare Chapter 11. They're going to run out of cash from lawsuits, cleanup and other expenses. One really smart thing that Obama did was about three weeks ago he forced BP CEO Tony Hayward to put in writing that BP would pay for every dollar of the cleanup. But there isn't enough money in the world to clean up the Gulf of Mexico. Once BP realizes the extent of this my guess is that they'll panic and go into Chapter 11.

I suspect he is right. I am not sure how BP can weather this short of entering bankruptcy protection. Of course, how its liabilities will ever be meted out in an equitable fashion is hard to say. Perhaps an organization ought to be formed to represent all the individuals as a class and seek to obtain a large ownership stake in BP's assets.

Given how the Obama administration (unfairly in my estimation) forced GM and Chrysler into specially packaged bankruptcies and handed off a large chunk of each to the union pension funds instead of the rightful preferred stock holders, I am puzzled that they haven't already jumped in here where such a handoff appears more conscionable. When a company severely damages the economies of numerous states, I'm not sure it should still be setting its own course.

Olympics and Georgia

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:50 PM

It strikes me — as I know it does others — what an odd contrast we have had over the last week or so. The Olympics so far have been largely inspiring — seeing events such as the continual array of records broken by Michael Phelps is just marvelous. And, while I'm not a huge sports guy, tuning in for the great variety that is the Olympics and seeing our athletes do their best is encouraging. How can one not be happy to see people using their God given talents to their fullest extent?

Then there is Georgia. The Cold War Era-esque echos that come out of this event are startling, I think, even for those of us who have been watching in dismay as Vladimir Putin has been busy reconstructing a Soviet-esque totalitarian state in Russia. “What can be done” is the question that keeps passing through my head. Surely we cannot go into a head to head conflict with Russia, but how do we at the same time support pro-Western allies like Georgia and the Ukraine?

It is sad that the glories of the Olympics — fleeting as they are — must be overshadowed by such a disaster as Putin's little war. But, I suppose one might say it is a picture of life: the joys come with the sorrows. Somehow that seems hollow, though, when one sees the pictures of the bloodied, homeless, weeping people fleeing their cities as a madman in charge of a scarily powerful army bombs them.

Requiem to Sharper Image

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:23 AM

The Sharper Image is dead, it seems. That's too bad. For all the bad press they have gotten, I rather liked them.

An example is worth recalling. A few years ago, I received as a gift a little iPod speaker dock that performed a light show to the music. Shortly thereafter, I misplaced the AC adapter and after months of searching, gave up and wrote the Sharper Image's customer service, asking if they sold replacement parts. They informed me that they could not sell the AC adapter to me — but they'd send me one for free. And they did; rather quickly even, as I recall. They even apologized that I had lost my adapter!

The Sharper Image always had some interesting gadget for sale. I'll miss that. Alas, poor Sharper Image, I did not know thee well enough.

Amazing, Good News

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:14 AM

I'm more than a bit surprised, but it seems that through a series of amazing events, the 11 day old infant that had been abducted over the weekend, in the metro area, was given to authorities and returned to her mother. I have to say I doubted a happy ending to this — what wonderful news! Praise God!

Irrational Behavior and the Power Grid

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 3:48 PM

According to KMOX 1120 AM, the Rev. Al Sharpton is coming in to St. Louis today to protest the fact that minorities are still without power in St. Louis after the storm that hit last week. He joins a growing faction that is angry at Ameren for its “slow” repair of the power lines.

Let me get this straight. A storm with 90+ MPH hurricane force winds hits six days ago and knocks out almost 600,000 customers' power — the worst damage in the power company's history. The power company gets over 100,000 of those lines restored only to have a storm on Friday morning push the number back up to almost 600,000. Nevertheless, using over 4,000 Ameren and other power utility workers from all across the midwest, the number is inching down to 235,000, as of yesterday afternoon, and someone still has the nerve to suggest that Ameren is discriminating against minorities!?! Last I checked many non-minority areas in St. Charles were out of power all weekend, and St. Charles has the advantage of newer infrastructure with less large trees. St. Louis too is getting most of its power up, but there is a price to living in older areas, whether one is a minority or not.

People need to get a grip. Ameren has done an amazing job dealing with an “act of God” and to say otherwise is only to demonstrate one's lack of connection to reality. This isn't discrimination, its life after a major storm.

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