Category Archives: unjustified Fears

Beware of Cats


Cat Trapped in a Folk Music Environment


It started innocently enough.  I like to get on Facebook, and some of the people I am friends with are into the animal rescue thing.  Lots of cute pictures of cats and dogs.  I didn’t pay much attention to them until this great cat picture appeared.  I liked it, laughed, and shared it on my page.

It is important when using social media to avoid posting material one might regret later.  I have ADD, and one characteristic of my condition is impulsivity.  I get myself into trouble.  I don’t do Twitter as a result.  I also watch my behavior on Facebook and have seldom made a fool of myself. But, I posted a cat picture.

This time, however, it all went bad.  I haven’t posted anything rash, but that one act, posting a cat picture, has led to my moral decline.  I look at too many animal pictures, Like them, and even follow links.  Even more dangerously, I find myself following ever more decadent Internet pages.  Stories about Kardashians!  Jenners! Brad and Angelina!  Republicans!  Media liars!

I have worthwhile things to do with my life, but my time is increasingly going to meaningless pursuits.  I even found myself looking at The Enquirer in the checkout line yesterday.  I fear that I may even start watching reality TV shows.  Oh, the horror!  Will I switch from The New York Times to the Daily Mail?  Watch Good Morning America?

My worst nightmare is watching Fox News.  I have managed to avoid that so far, but I feel myself weakening.  I used to avoid most sports writing and programming, but I found myself talking to my wife about Lance Armstrong this morning.  I also tend to follow attractive woman athletes.  Mixing my weaknesses together.

Will I have to have ESPN now?  Will I find myself at Nuggets and Avalanche games?  Will I start following the sports betting lines from Las Vegas?  Even worse, will I be at Caesars Palace instead of Carnegie Hall?

Remember, Dear Reader, that a cat caused this crisis.

Part Three, the Keystone XL Pipeline

Pipeline Construction

Pipeline Construction

When I was growing up in Fruita, Colorado in the 1950’s, the El Paso Natural Gas Company built a 26″ natural gas pipeline from north to south through Western Colorado. In flat country, laying a pipe is fairly straightforward.  To lay a pipeline, dig, lay pipe, weld, wrap, and backfill.  In the Colorado Plateau, the pipeline not only goes from point to point, it goes up and down.

North of Fruita, The line had to go over Douglas Pass. As Colorado passes go, it is no big deal.   Not that high, but near the top there is steep and unstable ground famous for landslides.  The trenchers, welding machines, side-boom tractors handling pipe, and bulldozers; all had to be winched up and down the mountainside.  That is a slow, expensive process. To us in Fruita, it meant that our little town had lots of pipeliners for several weeks.

I mostly saw the pipeliners in Hill’s Cafe, where we often had dinner. The stereotype is that pipeliners are a wild bunch, but we didn’t see it in the cafe.  They were quiet, well-behaved, some prayed before eating, and I liked them.  After all, if you are from Bald Knob, Arkansas, how wild can you be?

That pipeline brings gas from Wyoming, Western Colorado, and Eastern Utah to markets in Texas and the southwest, including California. To my knowledge, it has few problems and quietly does its job.  I think that pipeline has shaped my thinking about pipelines in general.

Today there is much oil and gas development in North Dakota and Alberta. A pipeline network exists to deliver crude oil from there to the refinery complex on the Gulf Coast.  It can’t deliver all that is being produced.  Proposed is a new line, the Keystone XL Pipeline that would run west of the existing line, picking up crude from the Williston Basin in North Dakota as well as the synthetic crude from the Alberta tar sands.

There is a lot of opposition for several reasons. One reason is fear of leaks.  Big spills, contamination, fire, ground water contamination, and all the risks that go with moving lots of nasty stuff that burns.  That Alberta synthetic crude is even nastier than regular crude.  Its carbon footprint is much higher than oil from traditional sources.  It is thick and has to be heated to separate it from the sand.  Most of the crude oil refined here in Denver is tar sand oil.

Oil Car Train

Oil Car Train

The fact is that as long as demand for petroleum products stays high, that Alberta crude will go south, but in rail cars if the pipeline isn’t built.  Here in Denver, there are many tank car trains headed south, competing with coal trains for right of way.   In the upper Midwest there is so much oil traffic that farmers are having difficulty shipping their grain.  Pipelines are safer than rail cars for shipping petroleum.

Some of the opposition is for environmental reasons. Tar sand crude is bad.  Pipelines are bad.  Fossil fuel is bad.  All true.  The solution is not stopping pipelines, but reducing demand.  How to reduce demand?  Make fossil fuels more expensive with higher taxes.  Use the tax money to develop alternative energy and transportation.  Build rails not freeways.  Tell that to Republican legislators.

In the meantime, I think the pipeline is the best alternative until our energy policies change.

Unjustified Causes Part Two: GMO’s

GMO-Dangers-300x215In this part two of my series on spurious causes I address the campaign against genetically modified organisms. The  GMO’s most people are concerned about are in foods.  Despite an overwhelming body of research confirming that GMO’s are safe, there is a huge movement opposing their use in foods.  The illustration at left is an example of truths and falsehoods mixed together.

This brings me back to a common theme underlying many causes: fear. I would like to think most fearmongers are Republicans; they have Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.  In these three popular campaigns, however, many of the adherents are mostly liberal in their thinking.  It just illustrates that I am the only truly rational person around.

So, here we go on applying my advanced reasoning powers to examining how the international agribusiness conspiracy is systematically poisoning the world population, producing hordes of mutants ready to run amok killing the innocent. Oh, wait, I have seen too many zombie movies.

I think Anti-GMO activists have also seen too many Zombie movies as well. There are no studies showing any adverse effects on humans or livestock from GMO’s.   In the U.S., most of the corn, and soybeans produced are GMO varieties.  No ill effects.

The opponents cite studies that have been refuted or make claims with no scientific basis. They are also concerned that there may be problems from GMO’s in the future.  Well, folks, we are in the future.  These products have been around for more than 20 years in many cases.  No zombies yet.

The health food industry has jumped on the no GMO bandwagon in a big way. They accuse big agribusiness of dangerous practices for profit, but they sell No-GMO products with big markups and scared people who have bought into the hype into paying inflated prices.

The justified fear of adverse health effects from pesticides and herbicides in the diet and drinking water has spilled over into the GMO movement. The anti-pesticide movement has strong scientific support.  The anti-GMO movement has none, but the fear spills over.

Marketers are exploiting the fear by putting organic foods and No-GMO foods In the same category. Who loses?  The Whole Foods customer.  The customer is subjected to the classic propaganda technique of the half-truth.  Pesticide residue bad, true;  GMO’s bad, false.  The association is what sticks in people’s minds, scientific fact notwithstanding.  This technique is one the Nazi’s used to justify killing Jews.  Good people were taken in.  Good people are beIng taken in today for profit, not genocide