Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Energy Independence

Note: I wrote the below before I heard that the President may speak on this topic tonight in his State of the Union Address. I can only hope that he does, and our elected representatives take heed.


We all know that there is an energy crisis. All we have to do is look at our natural gas, electricity, and gasoline bills to know that we are not going to get any relief any time soon. More importantly, the United States must reduce its dependence on foreign energy sources, specifically petroleum, for our economic and social health.

One of the recommendations included in the May 2001 Report of the National Energy Policy Development Group is to increase the domestic energy supply by exploring & developing petroleum resources in protected areas. While the environmentalist groups will scream, this can be done with minimal impact given today's improved technology and procedures. It is also necessary.

The oil producing region of the Middle East is under an uneasy peace at best. Suicide bombers and the conflict in Iraq are the most visible and most reported violent incidents from the area. Alliances change without warning as Iran did during the late 70's. The Palestinians have elected a known terrorist group, Hamas, as their leaders. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is among those listed in Parade Magazine as being some of the most ruthless dictatorships known with multitudes of human right violations. Of course, there is Iran making noises about wanting to join the nuclear club even though the president of Iran is clearly advocating using any and all means to wage war on Israel to wipe it off the map. Lastly, Islamic terrorists such as al-Qaeda are constantly stirring up trouble for everyone in the region.

Whether we like it or not, the United States has a vested interest in the Middle East for national security reasons. Again, according to the May 2001 Report of the National Energy Policy Development Group, the United States relies on foreign oil for 52% of its needs. Should the flow of oil be interrupted, then the United States would have a severe impact dealt to its economy as all sectors (transportation, manufacturing, & energy generation) would be affected. Those groups that have accused the United States government with trading blood for oil are partially right as the Government has the duty to protect the economic welfare of the country. However, these same groups do not take the time to understand the reasons for the foreign policy sometimes enacted in the Middle East. For example: The first Gulf War was waged for a singular purpose, and that was to secure valuable oil resources in both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from Saddam Hussein's control. If those resources were under the control of Hussein, then he would have been able to economically cripple the United States and the rest of the world. Those groups decried the loss of life in this conflict. One wonders what they would do or say if Hussein had control of the oil fields and turned off the oil, thus depriving them of the ability to drive to the supermarket only to find empty shelves since the food couldn't be delivered...

There are billions of dollars being spent for the research into alternative energy sources. A renewed interest in nuclear power is underway, renewable energy sources such as ethanol & bio-diesel currently have limited use, hybrid & fuel cell vehicles are being tested, and wind power is starting to make an appearance. But all of these new technologies are years from being perfected and cost effective. Until these technologies are developed for widespread use, the consumption of petroleum in this country must be addressed. Thus, a domestic agenda for finding and developing petroleum resources within the borders of the United States must be enacted. So what is the hold up? To put it succinctly - Politics and Special Interest Groups.

The most powerful of these groups are the Environmentalists. Their stance is no drilling or exploration in protected areas. However, the proper use of the technology and procedures learned from various disasters and developments should reduce the risk to the environment. But there is the risk, and the Environmentalists do not trust the oil companies, and probably for good reason. With the Exxon Valdez disaster as well as other disasters in mind, they do have a powerful argument. While I'm in favor of a clean environment, some risk must be taken in order to secure these resources. Having the caribou running free is of little comfort if you are standing out in the cold because there is no heat in the house.

The other major factor in this equation are the politicians and the games they play. The mindset of politicians is usually short term, as in the next election. If their constituents do not directly benefit from a long-range policy or it is a political hot potato, they will vote against it or abstain. If the various special interest groups target key legislators with promises of campaign contributions, then the representatives will usually vote which ever way will contribute more to their campaign war chest while not getting them in trouble with their constituents. While I realize that this is a very cynical view of how our elected representatives behave, I would be extremely naive if I believed otherwise in light of numerous embarrassing political idiocies played out recently on national TV.

What is most disturbing is that while the political games are being played, our national economic security is at risk of a few nations. Worse, some of these nations may either covertly or inadvertently fund the terrorist activities which threaten our country. Think of it as the ultimate irony: We are funding our own destruction. Bin Laden's family got rich by various oil construction projects, and he has tapped into that money to fund al-Qaeda terrorist activities against the United States & other countries. So the sooner we reduce or eliminate our dependence on the Middle East and other sources of foreign energy, the better.

So now it is up to us, the Citizens of the United States, to vote our conscience & let our duly elected representatives know that a long term solution is necessary to solve the coming crisis. We have an election coming up this year. Find out where your representatives stand on this issue and vote accordingly.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ben Stein Article

Saints in Armor is a piece by Ben Stein that really hits home, and show us that not everyone living in Hollywood or on the Left Coast is a flaming Liberal.

Thanks to Betsy's Page for the heads up.

Superbowl Picks

In approximately 7 days and 15 minutes, Superbowl XL will begin. So the blog has temporarily been hijacked with the official Superbowl graphics. Who is your pick for this year?

Personally, I would like to see a game that is evenly matched and close, not one of these blowouts. That way, we have some entertainment besides the commercials.

Comment now, comment early on this topic.

Friday, January 27, 2006

News Bytes

News Bytes is a short, brief look at the events over the past week or so since I have been so busy.

Hamas Wins Election
Hamas was voted overwhelmingly by the Palestinian people as the leaders of their government. Since Isreal and the US recognise Hamas as a terrorist organization, it will be interesting to see how the two respective governments deal with this new government. It will be difficult at best, but all bets will be off if the Hamas-led government continues its policy of terrorism against Isreal.

Iran Nuclear Program
Iran has stated that they will continue on developing a nuclear program. With Iran's radical leadership spewing out hatred and threats toward Israel, I'm predicting that Israel will do the same thing as they did to Iraq's nuclear program in 1983. For those of you who do not remember, they raided Iraq's nuclear facility & blew it up.

Oprah Duped!
The queen of daytime has been hoodwinked by an author telling a falsified tale of self-redemption. While honesty is supposedly the best policy, the author has made millions on the book, Oprah has shown that she is human too (endearing her further with her fans), and there is some proof that the book has inspired some people to clean up themselves. Isn't there something wrong with this picture?

Judge Overruled
The judge who ruled that a man who sexually abused a girl for 4 years has had his 60-day sentence overruled. The sentence was extended up to 10 years. The movement to remove Judge Cashman is continuing, to which I say, the sooner, the better. We can only hope that the victim of this crime receives all the help she needs to live a happy life.

Senator John Kerry is promising to filibuster Judge Alito's confirmation vote on Monday, even though there are enough votes to overrule Kerry's promised tirade Politics as usual, the Dems continue to implode, and does nothing constructive for the country.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Liberals Beware!!

Canada had their elections yesterday. After 13 years of leading Canada down the path of Liberalism, the citizens of Canada voted the Liberal Party (LP) out of power. They lost 30 some seats in their parliament, according to my Canadian co-workers.

One of the reasons my friends gave me for this change was that they could not trust the LP because they constantly broke campaign promises and were generally arrogant in their attitudes. Does this sound familiar?

Liberals in this country have often looked to the socialistic agenda that the LP foisted on their country as a guide for what they should introduce in the United States. With the voters speaking with the ballot box, the Democratic Liberals should be very, very nervous.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Patriotic Blog Look

Ok, ok, I can hear it now - he changed the blog again!!! Yes, I did, and hope everyone likes it.

Dusted off the HTML code book & editors, & wanted to see what could be done to make the "look" a little more manageable.

Hey, programming is still a hobby as well as a job! At least I like my job, unlike a lot of other people.

If anyone has a problem viewing the blog, please let me know your browser and display settings, and I'll work on it.

Thanks again.

Interesting Articles

Saw these articles on AOL, & thought all 6 1/2 readers of this blog would like to read and/or comment on them.

First, Judge Souter's participation in the eminent domain decision may come back to bite him in this article. Should be interesting to see how this one works out...

Second, is your American-made car really American made? This article makes you think otherwise, and just makes globlization that much more of a problem than what you would expect.

Last, if there is anything in the news or the articles that you would like to see me comment on or rant about, please email me or comment below.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Idol Discrimination

Another season of American Idol kicked off this week with the tryouts to make it to the next round in Hollywood. People that showed up to audition were like the title to a Clint Eastwood movie - "The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly." Like a box of chocolates, you never really knew what to expect.

Of course, there were a lot of bad performances. Invariably, the majority of the people shown that didn't make it to the next round were pissed off that they didn't get picked. They usually went down the path that the judges didn't know talent when they saw it, they should have been picked, it was nothing they did, yadda yadda yadda... It wasn't until the boy who literally looked & sounded like a girl, got rejected, & started mouthing off that it hit me - this show discriminates!!

Of course this show discriminates! Exactly what do you think it should do? Give everyone a pass on bad notes, bad attitude, bad looks, & bad performances? Considering that some of the performances were so bad that my wife muted the TV just goes to show that not everyone who gets their 15 minutes of fame deserves it.

To those of the contestants that were rejected, I would like to ask: Did you or did you not sing into a tape recorder and listen to yourself? Really listen? How many of you actually came prepared, practiced your song, and had that critical eye on yourself? From what was shown, not many.

Talent aside, this show did not boost the majority of the loser's self-esteem. Sorry, life is harsh & does not give warm fuzzies to those who don't measure up. This is a lesson that seems to have been lost on lots of people. For example, my son's high school has a mission statement that goes:

"The mission of XXXXXX High School is to teach for understanding so that all students learn for a lifetime. In this task, a positive learning environment will be continually promoted, evaluated, and adjusted in order to provide opportunity for achievement and self-esteem."

Awwwww - doesn't that just give you a warm feeling? They care about your child's self-esteem, will not bruise his or her ego, and make sure that the environment that they will (hopefully) learn in will be encouraging. What about being held to an educational standard? Oops, can't do that - it's not in the mission statement! But I digress...

The point is that a lot of these people have gone through life getting their ego stroked, never really were held to a standard, and when they don't measure up, take the classic "it's not my fault" mentality, and blame someone else for them not succeeding. Sound familiar?

Finally, comments to the aforementioned boy-dress/sounds-like-a-girl contestant: The judges were not racist, not accepting of you or anything else that you spouted off about after the audition. In fact, they were damn courteous compared to some of the other people that auditioned. You were OK in your performance, but you didn't measure up to their standards, and you definitely confused the hell out of them with your appearance. Think of this as a prelude to a job interview - if you confuse the interviewer and have a mediocre interview, don't expect to get hired. Last, if you truly believe that Americans are racist, don't accept you for who/what you are, or any of the other drivel that you sobbed about, I would suggest that you find another country that would accept you as you are and emigrate. Hate to break it to you; other countries are not as accepting as the US. I know - I've been to several.

OK, ranting is over (for now).

Assisted Suicide or Murder?

My cats are smart.

They listen to the news, and followed with some interest on the latest Supreme Court's decision on assisted suicide using perscription drugs. They had a toy mouse that needed to be put out of its misery, but they didn't want to go to the vet to get a perscription. They decided to do something else.

They dropped it in a water dish...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Democrat Meltdown

There has been so much stuff happening with the Democrats since the Alito hearings, I just wonder if they are undergoing a nuclear meltdown. For instance:

Ray (there was a hurricane coming?) Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans, made a speech in which he stated thatNew Orleans should be rebuilt as an African-American city. Let's forget about the parsing of the "chocolate" reference - that is exactly what he said in this speech. How many "vanilla" and other foods & flavors did he offend? Of course, he backtracked like crazy. Doesn't exactly inspire me to visit New Orleans even after it's rebuilt...

Hillary Rodham Clinton (ugh - need to wipe the keyboard down after typing that name!) stated in her recent speech that the House is run like a plantation, denying full discussion of bills, procedural errors, and the like. First of all, her Party did the same things when they had control of the House AND the Senate. Second, to raise up the specter of slavery in front of a predominately Black crowd is playing the race card once again. Personally, I'm sick of it being played because all this causes is division and tension, not unity and tolerance that the Liberal Democrats keep saying that they champion. Again, HRC (better...) explained, backtracked, etc... away the inflammatory reference.

Al (I'm a tree-hugger and inventor of the Internet) Gore flamed the Bush administration for domestic spying, even though the Clinton-Gore administration did the exact same thing! Excuse me, but exactly what planet is he from again?

The bad behavior from the miscreants listed above can be explained by the following:

  1. We Hate Bush.
  2. We made fools of ourselves and our Party in the Alito hearings.
  3. We really Hate Bush.
  4. We are politicians, and it's our job to behave like idiots to get more votes for ourselves.
  5. We Hate Bush so much we can't see straight and keep our lies in check.

One final news flash on bad Democrat behavior - Ted Kennedy has a love-child.

Excuse me, but I need to get some Pepto...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Human Right - Gun Ownership

For those of you who are not convinced that firearms are useful for self defense and is a right guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment, check out this site: http://www.a-human-right.com/

For those of you who wondered what my definition of gun control is, read the following:

Gun Control is putting your rounds (bullets, for those of you in Rio Linda) on target and in the black. And I've been doing it since I was 5 years old.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Equal Diversity

I've debated for some time about this subject & posting it, but I feel it is appropriate to do so on this day. I do wonder what Martin Luther King would think about today's situation if he had not been killed. Please have the courtesy to read the entire post and understand the viewpoints before responding in the comments to flame me. Thank you.

Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrikan, and Al Sharpton all lament that their people are being mistreated, held back, discriminated against, and otherwise separated from their proper place in society. They constantly point to the "white oppressors" in government and business who stop at nothing to hold the minority back. Of course, they then pass the plate for funds to change the attitudes of business and change the laws to favor their people.

Their speech inflames and divides people along racial lines. How can anyone accept diversity with such hateful speech from the proponents of diversity? Unless, of course, they like to stir up the masses to line their own pockets...

How many times have you seen the above three in the slums or ghettos with their "people", with or without their legions of bodyguards? When was the last time that you heard of their organizations helping the victims of Katrina get back on their feet, or contribute or organize programs to help their people to better themselves to get themselves out of the desperate situations that they are in? How many "photo-ops" have featured any of the above? Damn few, if any, from what I've seen.

Their solution is to have the government take care of their people while they live the high life. And there is something fundamentally wrong with this - these three bitch & moan about the government mistreating minorities, and expect the government to take care of the same people that they are being accused of mistreating! What am I missing here?

To rely on the government for anything long-term is insanity at best and stupidity at worst. Government changes depending on who is elected and how much public opinion pushes the elected officials to make those changes. Politicians have no allegiances except to themselves. Further, government cannot make people change their attitudes about themselves, which is a greater hindrance to progress than anything else.

Here's a better solution for these three to consider: Stop the politicking and fundraisers, and turn your attention to changing the attitudes of the people you claim to represent. Aid them in finding solutions instead of assigning blame. Support getting the able-bodied off of Welfare, and find jobs, educational opportunities, and other positions that will improve their standard of living. Recognize the rapper/drug culture for what it is, a self-destructive blight upon your people, and kill it. Instill in these same people self-respect and self-control, the understanding of tolerance, and the fruits of social change will be forthcoming. You, the self-appointed leaders of your race/community must first demonstrate leadership before any positive changes can even be expected to occur.

Government sponsored quotas & regulations will not change people's attitudes toward diversity. All these will do is promote division, dissention, and resentment. I have noticed in recent years an increase of these attitudes. This is NOT what Martin Luther King had in mind.

His vision looked for the Negro people to stand side by side with the White people as equals, and to get there by self-sufficiency, not by a government mandate. He wanted his people to rise up to their potential, to stand on their own two feet, not by some law or subsidy. Patronage of the Negro was not his vision, but to join the human race as equals to any other ethnic group, to enjoy the fruits of hard labor through equal opportunity, and not through quotas. It is truly a travesty that his own people have hindered this vision instead of completing it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ted Kennedy Hearings

Thinking about the previous post and having a drink in my hand (OK, on the table beside me...) can lead to some dangerous thoughts. What if our favorite Liberal Democrat was on the receiving end of the questions? Could you imagine what Teddy Kennedy would be asked if he was in Judge Alito's position? Here's my take on it:

"Thank you, Mr. Kennedy, for appearing before this inquisition, er, panel to answer questions pertaining to your suitability for sitting on the Supreme Court. As you have already been sworn in, please answer the following questions on your ethical ability & views truthfully and to the best of your ability:

  1. Who was Mary Jo Kopechne?
  2. Were you married at the time you knew Mary Jo Kopechne?
  3. Did you have sexual relations with her as defined either by popular convention or by the Bill Clinton definition?
  4. What happened that night in Chapaquitic?
  5. Were you drinking that night?
  6. Were you drunk?
  7. Why were you driving?
  8. Why did you leave that girl to die in a sinking car?
  9. Why should you not be in a prison for drunken driving & vehicular manslaughter?
  10. Have you ever been under the influence while in a Senate committee or on the Senate floor?
  11. For the record, how many times have you been married?
  12. For the record, have you ever lied, or knowingly stretched the truth in your testimony today or in hearings before any other committee?
  13. Do you have an agenda? If so, what is it?
Thank you, Mr. Kennedy, for invoking your 5th Admendment rights. Please do not call us, we will call you. Please take care in leaving this chamber and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out."

Alito Hearings

Heard on NPR(!) this morning that out of 11 hours of confirmation hearings, Judge Alito spent 1 1/2 hours answering questions. The other 8 1/2 was spent by the Senators posturing, preening, and otherwise getting as much face time as possible to show that "they care."

All that our illustrious Senators have shown is that they are direct decendents of the back end of a horse. For Ted Kennedy to question anyone's integrity is akin to the pot calling the kettle black. For Joe Biden to ramble on for a reported 11 minutes before asking a question is absolutely insane (or inane, depending on your point of view). If anything, they are proving out what I wrote in a previous post (find it here.)

Regardless of what is said in the hearings, unless Alito self-distructs, the votes will come down along party lines. For once, I would like to see our elected representatives throw out the party retoric and really do the job that they were elected to do.

Yeah, right...when pigs fly and Hell freezes over (not Hell, Michigan...)

Bad Formatting on Previous Posts

My apologies, everyone - it seems that some of the previous posts do not have the right punctuation when I changed the format of the blog. I will work on them as time permits so that the garbage is removed and the posts get back to being readable. In the meantime, let the blogging continue!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Delphi Part 3

Most of the news organizations covered the Delphi UAW picket line at the auto show. Surprisingly, they got most of the facts right.

But you know, there's a few facts that haven't really been published, at least with the usual fanfare. Here are a couple...

  • Delphi lost over $5 billion last year. By one account, if the 30,000 workers earned an average of $27 an hour, that's only $1.685 billion in wages. This means that Delphi's managers through their mismanagement lost the company $3.315 billion. It doesn't seem that the worker's wages are the real problem here.
  • I heard on the radio that one of Delphi's business assumptions was that the business volume from GM purchasing Delphi components would remain the same or increase through the years. That way, they could support the employee's pension and wage structure. What business model was this? From the School of Business Fantasy? This business model was a recipe for ultimate failure.

The biggest problem that everyone seems to have with this sad chapter in American business is that the executives get rewarded for screwing up the company, and the workers get nothing but the unemployment line.

Another New Look

Hello All:

Changed the look of the blog again. I know, I know - the damn engineer changed things again...

Please continue to read the blog & let me know what you think either on the comments or by an email. If you really like what is here, link this blog to yours and refer it off to your friends. If not, well...


Friday, January 06, 2006

No Justice

Heard this on the radio this afternoon & confirmed it here. A 34-year old man was sentenced to 60 days for repeatedly raping a 7-year old girl over a period of 4 years. The judge of the case stated that he no longer believed in punishment, and would rather have the offender undergo rehabilitation. Of course, the family of the girl (now 11) is heartbroken.

Exactly what is the criminal code? It prescribes punishments for criminal offenses, and is referred to by judges as a guideline for sentencing convicted criminals. It should not be overridden by a judge's beliefs. Obviously, the victim's rights were ignored by this miserable excuse of a human being, and justice for this little girl & the hell she went through were not considered.

There is a movement to remove this judge. GOOD!! The sooner you get rid of that miserable son of a female dog, the better. Little consolation to the family, though.

In the meantime, it's obvious that Burlington, Vermont is not a family friendly town.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mining Disaster

By now, everyone knows that through some kind of accident, 12 miners died in a mine with over 200 safety violations. First and foremost, our condolences go out to the families and friends of those who died.

In many respects, mining is a dangerous occupation. No mine is totally safe just because of the terre is not always firma, and so many things can happen. Methane pockets, cave-ins, equipment failure, and other hazards abound. There has been a long history of safety improvements that has reduced the danger, but will never eliminate it. In contrast, 5000 miners in China lost their lives in mining accidents last year versus 23 in the United States.

Besides the faux pax of the mining company on relaying wrong information on the number of casualties, the focus of the investigation will center on the 208 safety violations. Now realize that a safety violation could be something as little as someone not wearing a hard hat to a faulty spark arrester on a loader to an improper procedure for clearing out an accumulation of methane in the mine. However, no details have been released just yet, but I'm sure that all the violations will be splashed all over the news.

The questions that I would have would be:

  • If the violations were so numerous & severe, why was the mine not shut down by the mine inspectors?
  • If there were serious safety concerns, why didn't the miners complain, or if they were represented by a Union, safety grievances filed with the company?
  • And last, what caused the accident?

I'm sure that the news media and the attorneys will make the information known in the near future.