Classical Values

Friday, April 28, 2006

Local reporting wastes time and shoe leather!

What do you do when the Saudis [more properly, computers in Saudi Arabia] shut down your blog?

I dunno. It occurs to me that maybe I should retaliate. But how would I do such a thing? Not buy gasoline? Nah, that wouldn't work. Gasoline is fungible, which means it comes from all sorts of countries -- Saudi Arabia being only a small percent. Besides, if I buy from companies known not to buy Mideast oil, I end up funding Hugo Chavez. (That's a hell of a way to punish the Saudis.)

Instead of retaliation, how about doing some basic reporting? There's a Saudi madrassa in my neighborhood which has recently applied for a permit to expand. Here's what they want to do:

Appeal No. 3975
Applicant: Foundation for Islamic Education
Property: 1860 W Montgomery Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085
R 1 Residence District
Election District #6
The Foundation for Islamic Education seeks a special exception under §155-11 S(4), §155-11 S(1)(e) and/or 155-11 X to expand its existing religious and educational institution use for the following:
· A licensed Elementary School for grades pre-K through 8 with 93 students and 13 faculty/staff personnel, with a future enrollment up to 130 students.
· A 6-week summer camp program for up to 25 children, ages 4-12.
· Increase the number of retreats permitted to 10 per year with no more than 2 per month.
· Increase the Friday Juma Prayer session to allow up to 150 attendees.
· Increase Sunday School classes to allow up to 160 students.
· Increase various Holiday attendance to allow up to 400 attendees.
· Increase staff residence to allow the 6 current individuals/families to remain and allow accommodations for a security guard, gardener, maintenance supervisor, VAHS principal, Islamic Arabic teacher, and provide two guest rooms for lecturers.
The Foundation also requests that if it is determined that any additional parking spaces are required that the Zoning Hearing Board waive up to 50% of the required spaces as permitted under §155-95 AA(4) and/or grant a special exception under §155-95.1 to hold the additional parking spaces in reserve.
Maybe I should go check out the paperwork.

I think I might as well put on a suit and go down to my local planning department.

Hey, if they won't let me blog, I might as well do something!

Besides, according to Tom Maguire, the MSM complains that bloggers do too much sitting around, and they need to rely on shoe leather.

The problem is, I hate bureaucracy.

UPDATE: I just returned, having wasted an hour to discover that no one can find the file, and that the person responsible won't be in until next week. Why am I not surprised?

I guess that's what they mean by the term "shoe leather." To be a "real" reporter means spending a lot of time running around for nothing. Chasing down Google leads on the Internet would probably be more productive.

On the Internet, for example, you can find out stuff you'd never learn about from a bureaucrat, because, assuming you asked questions, (as Howard Kurtz would have us do), the bureaucrats would most likely not know. And if they did know, they probably wouldn't tell you.

If you ask the Internet, on the other hand, it will generally tell you whatever is there.

And when you find something, if you save it on your hard drive, it will always be there -- even if the links expire.

Like this story:
A Home in America

Displaced for decades, ethnic minority Turks settle in the Philadelphia area. The language is daunting, the regulations burdensome, but finally they're making a home in this country.


Some live in dormitories on the grounds of an Islamic center tucked along the Main Line, and a few live amid the farmhouses of Lancaster. But many more are close to Russian canteens in the strip malls of the city's Northeast.
The "Islamic center tucked in along the Main Line" would be the very Foundation for Islamic Education now seeking the zoning change. (Here's a peek inside their dormitories.)

As the website proudly proclaims, it's run by the American Open University. It's probably worth noting that the Washington DC area director of American Open University was deported and the Fairfax madrassa raided last year.

It occurred to me that the least I could do would be to take a look at their local zoning file. That, it seems to me, is what any decent reporter would do anyway. Even though I'm not a "real" reporter, I just have this funny feeling (dare I call it a "reporter's hunch"?) that if I didn't look at the file, no "real" reporter would.

The problem is, they haven't let me see the file. That creates a feeling of (ugh!) responsibility.

Not sure I like this "reporter" stuff at all . . .

MORE: What's pasted below consists of old links which I found in 2004, along with some of my usual gratuitous unprofessional commentary.

No fair! No peaking!

DDOS attack at Host Matters (which Glenn Reynolds says originates from Saudi Arabia); hope this goes through, and please forgive any errors I haven't caught! (BTW, there is a Classical Values backup site, which I rarely use....)

Anyway, I'm more than skeptical about peak oil theory, and I appreciate Justin's recent post on the subject.

In fact I'm even skeptical about oil theory. Back in 2004, I wondered whether fossil fuel is in fact that, and I linked to the work of Nikolai Alexandrovich Kudryavtsev -- "who first enunciated in 19511 what has become the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins. After Kudryavtsev, all the rest followed."

All the rest includes a recent book by James Corsi and Craig Smith which apparently ruffled a few feathers in the scientific oil community.

Anyway, I don't have time to get into detail here, and I don't know enough about the field. I cannot state with confidence that I know that "fossil fuel" is a Big Lie promoted by Big Oil and Big Environmentalism. I will say that these two huge interests could be expected to find common ground propping up the fossil fuel theory.

Is "fossil fuel" a theory?

Or is it fact?

What got my attention were the ad hominem attacks directed at the American authors. Their book explores the Russian/Ukrainian theory, but the criticism of them seems to be based largely on Corsi's Swift Boat background.
Staniford's column is titled "The Swiftboating of Peak Oil," an allusion to Corsi's co-authorship of "Unfit for Command," the New York Times No. 1 best-seller during the 2004 presidential campaign that challenged Sen. John Kerry's claims about his Navy swiftboat service in Vietnam.

Staniford said Corsi "can perhaps be forgiven for his … allegiance to the abiotic theory which has roughly zero support amongst working exploration geologists. … But what on earth are the editors of Rigzone thinking?"

Secondly, Staniford writes, "given Dr Corsi's recent history of involvement with well-funded extreme right-wing causes, are we seeing the start of a comparable campaign against peak oil?"
Surely the scientific community can come up with a better rebuttal than that. has an interesting discussion of the theory, which doesn't convince me one way or the other, but the simple logic of one commenter appealed to my sense of logical pathos:
If oil comes from fossils, how many fossils does it take to create a big huge oil field that supplies billions of barrels of crude, and how did all those fossils get in that one place? Really... I want to know.. because it just doesn't seem logical.
I want to know too.

But I don't. Highly compressed swampland over millions of years, perhaps?

And might both theories possibly be right?

Verifying the abiotic oil theory by taking an inside peek might take a journey to the center of the earth.

We can't get there from here.

UPDATE: More on the DDOS attack (via an email from Rand Simberg to Glenn Reynolds):
Rand Simberg emails, correctly, that originating in Saudi Arabia doesn't actually mean that the perpetrators are Saudis -- just the computers they've hijacked. True enough.
For all we know, the computers could have been hijacked by angry gay activists. Or irate Christian fundamentalists. CIA agents working for Michael Moore.

No way to know. And no way to retaliate.

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