Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cindy Sheehan Resigns

As many of you probably already know, Cindy Sheehan has “resigned” from the protest over the Iraq war. The event as described in a MSNBC article has several snippets that I would like to comment on.

In what she described as a “resignation letter,” Sheehan wrote in her online diary on the “Daily Kos” blog: “Good-bye America ... you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

I’m sorry that America is not the country you want it to be. I’m not exactly happy about all of the things that happen here, but I am not na├»ve enough to believe that if I parade around the world protesting that everyone is going to follow my lead and do the same.

“I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called “Face” of the American anti-war movement.”

And that’s exactly what will happen if you go out and protest. There will be repercussions of some nature from the opposition, especially from parents in a similar situation. Whether you will be strong enough to weather the criticism is something that is not for the faint-hearted.

When she had first taken on Bush, Sheehan was a darling of the liberal left. “However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the 'left' started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used.”

“…would rather live under Hugo Chavez than George W. Bush.” (Hardball, July 5, 2006, with guest host Norah O'Donnell)

Sheehan said she had sacrificed a 29-year marriage and endured threats to put all her energy into stopping the war. What she found, she wrote, was a movement “that often puts personal egos above peace and human life.”

Congratulations, Cindy, you just found out you was used by the liberals to further their agenda. Once you outlived your usefulness, you were discarded like yesterday’s garbage. Making statements of wanting to live in a Socialist country with an anti-America dictator running it did nothing but make you appear like a wacko and make you a liability. Politics (and politicians) do not respect personal sacrifice, nor do they care about anything but the advancement of their personal agendas.

“Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives.”

I can do nothing but agree with her statement (surprise!!). We are a fickle nation with misplaced priorities and limited attention spans.

Kristinn Taylor, spokesman for FreeRepublic.com, which has held pro-troop rallies and counter-protests of anti-war demonstrations, said dwindling crowds at Sheehan's Crawford protests since her initial vigil may have led to her decision. But he also said he hopes she will now be able to heal.

"Her politics have hurt a lot of people, including the troops and their families, but most of us who support the war on terror understand she is hurt very deeply," Taylor said Tuesday. "Those she got involved with in the anti-war movement realize it was to their benefit to keep her in that stage of anger."

I agree with Miss Taylor. Cindy Sheehan has always struck me as a person with a deep amount of pain over her son’s loss. I think she started asking why her son died, and couldn’t come to terms with it. I do hope that she finds peace, and hopefully, heal the wounds that the loss of her son created.

Monday, May 28, 2007

In Flanders Fields

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

Friday, May 25, 2007

Freedom Isn't Free...

...it must constantly be paid for in pain, blood, and lives.

This Memorial Day weekend, let us not only celebrate and remember the sacrifices of those soldiers, sailors, and airmen that have given their lives for this country and all it stands for, but the people behind them.  The wives, families, and friends that they left behind with the memories of their passing and lives should also be remembered.  Often, it is the ones left behind that carry the most pain.

My father is a Korean War Veteran.  He doesn't speak of what went on over there - he prefers to remain silent on the horrors that he witnessed.  He gave my mother a picture, which I now have, of him in Korea.

I had two cousins that were in Vietnam.  One didn't come back, and the other one probably shouldn't have.  Their respective mothers keep pictures on the mantle.

One of my friends spent two tours in Iraq.  He made it back without a problem, but I know the unit he was with.  He saw some action, but I'm too polite to ask him what happened over there.

Everyone reading this post knows someone within their family or circle of friends that has been in the military.  Those families that have their sons & daughters in the military dread that knock on the door or the ring of the phone telling them that someone they love is gone.  Even though this may not come to pass, this is their sacrifice - the waiting for that notice that they pray will never come.

These people all deserve our thanks - living and the dead - for their respective sacrifices for the freedom we all enjoy.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Just An Old-Fashioned Rant...

Sometimes all you really want to do is just vent about what honks you off at the moment.  So this is mine for the day.

The Senate will vote on the Immigration Bill to see if they will bring it to the Senate floor for debate.  I've heard that this Bill is 1000 pages long, so our esteemed Senators will be voting on this document without having even read it.  So a couple of questions beg to be asked:

How in the world can a document be 1000 pages long?  It boggles the mind, but that is what happens when a bunch of beaurocrats with law degrees get together.  How could anyone read it much less understand it is beyond my meager comprehension.

I've also heard, that despite the rhetoric, this bill adds nothing to the current laws regarding illegal immigration.  The only thing that it adds is an out for the current illegals to get a card to make them "legal" workers, pay a fine, avoid prosecution, and get fast-tracked on the path to citizenship.  As I've stated in a previous post, this is still a recipe for disaster.  The 1986 Amnesty debacle is about to be repeated.  Why do our Senators not see the problem with this "solution?"

I understand that the majority of illegal aliens residing and working in this country are only trying to make things better for themselves and their families.  They have also broken the laws of this country be crossing the border illegally.  What gets me going is that the media trys to portray them as victims instead of lawbreakers.  Why do our elected officials not understand this?

An example of the above are various mayors in cities who have declared "safe zones" within their cities that are designated safe havens for the illegals.  They defend their decisions by stating that they are under no compulsion to enforce Federal immigration laws.  What???  Excuse me, but isn't one of the duties of an elected official to uphold the laws of this country, whether they are Local, State, or Federal?  Where did I miss that in Civics Class?

Our elected officials should be ashamed of themselves.  There are existing laws on the books that deal with the issue of illegal immigration.  But all they have done is handicapped our Border Patrol and INS agencies with increased regulations and decreased funding.  Border Patrol agents have been prosecuted for doing their jobs, and INS is swamped.  The border is wide open for almost anyone to cross at will, and that includes terrorists mixed in with the illegals.

What should be done is close the border first - manpower and budgets need to have priority.  Second is to find and prosecute all employers of illegal immigrants.  Last would be to find and humanly deport those who do not leave voluntarily - let those people who want to leave first leave without any trouble.

Sure, this is a simplified plan.  But simple works much better than a 1000-page doorstop...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Senate Immigration Bill

Listening to the radio last week about the Senate's "agreement" just riled me to no end.  The fact that a committee made this agreement in secret harks back to the age of backroom deals that smacks of illicit activities.  Some of the details that have come out about the compromised (!) bill are somewhat expected.  From msnb.com:

The key breakthrough came when negotiators struck a bargain on a so-called "point system" that prioritizes immigrants' education and skill level over family connections in deciding how to award green cards.

The immigration issue also divides both parties in the House, which isn't expected to act unless the Senate passes a bill first.

The proposed agreement would allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a "Z visa" and — after paying fees and a $5,000 fine — ultimately get on track for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years. Heads of household would have to return to their home countries first.

They could come forward right away to claim a probationary card that would let them live and work legally in the U.S., but could not begin the path to permanent residency or citizenship until border security improvements and the high-tech worker identification program were completed.

A new temporary guest worker program would also have to wait until those so-called "triggers" had been activated.

Those workers would have to return home after work stints of two years, with little opportunity to gain permanent legal status or ever become U.S. citizens. They could renew their guest worker visas twice, but would be required to leave for a year in between each time.

Democrats had pressed instead for guest workers to be permitted to stay and work indefinitely in the U.S.

In perhaps the most hotly debated change, the proposed plan would shift from an immigration system primarily weighted toward family ties toward one with preferences for people with advanced degrees and sophisticated skills. Republicans have long sought such revisions, which they say are needed to end "chain migration" that harms the economy, while some Democrats and liberal groups say it's an unfair system that rips families apart.

Family connections alone would no longer be enough to qualify for a green card — except for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens.

New limits would apply to U.S. citizens seeking to bring foreign-born parents into the country.

But what is really interesting are the comments that various politicians have made.  Let's view & comment on a few:

"It is not amnesty. This will restore the rule of law." - Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

Excuse me, Senator Specter, but we are a nation of laws the last time I checked.  What needs restoring is the enforcement of the current laws, not a compromise that circumvents those same laws.

"I have serious concerns about some aspects of this proposal, including the structure of the temporary worker program and undue limitations on family immigration." - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

I too have serious concerns about this proposal, Senator Reid, but not the ones that you have.  I do not like giving felony-level offenders (of which I understand illegal immigration is) a pass with a slap on the wrist, a fine, and permission to do it again. To whit -

"What part of illegal does the Senate not understand? Any plan that rewards illegal behavior is amnesty," said Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus.

Representative Bilbray hit the nail on the head.  Unfortunately, there just isn't enough common sense or thought given to the long-term actions that this Bill would inflict upon the country.

Proponents of the Bill point to Ronald Reagan's amnesty program from 1986 as precedent for this updated and improved Bill.  This is one of the few times that I would say that Reagan was wrong.  In excerpts from a New York Times Op-Ed piece published on May 24, 2006, Ed Meese had this to say:

In the mid-80's, many members of Congress — pushed by the Democratic majority in the House and the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy — advocated amnesty for long-settled illegal immigrants. President Reagan considered it reasonable to adjust the status of what was then a relatively small population, and I supported his decision.

In exchange for allowing aliens to stay, he decided, border security and enforcement of immigration laws would be greatly strengthened — in particular, through sanctions against employers who hired illegal immigrants. If jobs were the attraction for illegal immigrants, then cutting off that option was crucial.

...

The difference is that President Reagan called this what it was: amnesty. Indeed, look up the term "amnesty" in Black's Law Dictionary, and you'll find it says, "the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act provided amnesty for undocumented aliens already in the country."

...

There is a practical problem as well: the 1986 act did not solve our illegal immigration problem. From the start, there was widespread document fraud by applicants. Unsurprisingly, the number of people applying for amnesty far exceeded projections. And there proved to be a failure of political will in enforcing new laws against employers.

After a six-month slowdown that followed passage of the legislation, illegal immigration returned to normal levels and continued unabated. Ultimately, some 2.7 million people were granted amnesty, and many who were not stayed anyway, forming the nucleus of today's unauthorized population.

...

America welcomes more immigrants than any other country. But in keeping open that door of opportunity, we also must uphold the rule of law and enhance a fair immigration process, as Ronald Reagan said, to "humanely regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value of one of the most sacred possessions of our people: American citizenship."

And here is the crux of the matter!!  Unless the border is secured and the employers hiring illegal immigrants are prosecuted, we will find ourselves in the same mess in another 20 years. 

We have already seen the political will-power of our Congressional Representatives and Senators on the issue of Terrorism.  What sane person thinks that they will have the will-power to follow through on all of the funding and enforcement that comes along with with passing this Bill?  No more than the 1986 law, I guarantee you that.

President Bush said:

“I appreciate the effort of senators who came together to craft this important legislation.  This bill brings us closer to an immigration system that enforces our laws and upholds the great American tradition of welcoming those who share our values and our love of freedom.”

President Bush, I respectfully disagree with you.  If these people respect our country and "share our values," they would not have crossed the border illegally.

The Bill that I would like drafted, passed, and signed is funding to enforce the immigration laws already on the books.  After all, if those cannot be enforced, then how in the world is new legislation going to work any better?

Monday, May 14, 2007

SOLD!!

In case you didn't catch the business news, DaimlerChrysler accepted an offer of $7.4 Billion from Cerberus Capital Management for the Chrysler part of the business.  Daimler will retain 20% of the business to be known as Chrysler Holding, but also assumes the former division's debt.  What is surprising to me is that UAW President Ron Gettlefinger supported the transaction.

Where the company goes now is going to be interesting.  Chrysler is in the middle of a restructuring to return the company to profitability in a couple of years.  The upside is that the company is starting out debt-free thanks to Daimler assuming the debt.  The downside is where the negotiations with the UAW (and with the rest of the staff) go.  No doubt concessions for health benefits and retirement coverage will be on the table.

Will Cerberus pump up the company before dumping it?  Only time will tell.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Let's Have a Reality Check - Gas Prices

No doubt everyone is noticing that the gasoline prices have shot up.  In our area, the price of a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.25, diesel is a surprising $2.75/gallon.  But where does this stand with the other necessities of life?

The average Starbucks coffee - $3.00 for an 8 ounce cup (that's $48/gallon!)

A pack of cigarettes - $4.75 (from a billboard outside a gas station)

Movie with popcorn & drink (1 person) - $14.00

Monthly cell phone bill - $50.00 (if you have a good plan & watch the minutes)

Dinner for two at a decent restaurant - $50.00

Average price for a music CD - $15.00

Gallon of milk (on sale) - $1.89

Ticket to Wrestlemania - up to $1200.00!!!

Your freedom in this country - Priceless!

Just thought that things should be put in perspective...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Transportation Energy Independence

We, as a country, need to get away from using Middle Eastern oil for our transportation needs. Why, you may ask? The short answer is that the Middle East is not the place we need to look for in guaranteeing the economic security of this country. And transportation is essential to economic growth and stability.

Part of the longer answer can be found in part of an earlier post, Energy Independence:

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. 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…

So what are some of the options for reducing or eliminating foreign oil for our personal transportation needs? Let’s explore a few:

Electric-Drive Technology

The battery-powered car has been around since the turn of the century. The latest commercial incarnation of this technology was GM’s EV1, which could only be leased. After only a few years, these vehicles were pulled from the market.

The main problem with pure electric-drive vehicles is their range. While the EV1 was advertised to have a range of between 60 to 80 miles on a single charge, those claims were tempered with a recommended upper limit speed to achieve that range. Often, the range was less because those speeds were not realistic when competing on a highway with other vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine.

The limitation of range and speed of these vehicles is due to the limitations of the battery technology. The batteries can only hold a limited charge, and the batteries take up space in the vehicle. Weight also becomes a consideration, so the practicality of the vehicle now becomes a compromise between range, weight, speed, and size of the vehicle. Battery technology is improving, and may one day store vast amounts of electricity in a small space, but that day is not here yet.

An alternate energy storage solution that has been proposed (and is currently be researched) is a super capacitor. A capacitor in its simplest form is a non-chemical means of storing an electrical charge (batteries use chemical reactions to generate electricity). This is a new technology, so developing a device that can be mass-produced in quantity and price is some time away.

What is not often expressed about using an electric-powered vehicle is how to charge it back up for the next use. The most often method is to plug it in to a power outlet in your garage. The problem is that the recharging of several thousand of these cars will put a burden on the power grid. Considering that during the summer in California, there are rolling blackouts due to increased usage of electricity does not bode well for charging a bunch of electric vehicles, even if it is at night. The answer to this problem is to build more power plants, but where and fueled with what? Coal pollutes worse than natural gas, and both emit the greenhouse gases that the environmentalist / Global Warming crowds oppose. Nuclear energy is a no-no with the anti-nuke crowd, and there are only so many rivers that can be dammed to furnish power (providing the site passes the environmental review and doesn’t endanger any fish).

Electric-drive vehicles have their use in limited quantities, but these vehicles will not be a wide-spread long-term solution.

Hybrid Technology

Hybrid technology has been touted as the next best step to an environmental friendly and foreign oil dependence solution. And in some respects, that is a correct assessment.

Hybrid vehicles combine an electric-drive vehicle and an internal combustion engine (gasoline or diesel) in an attempt to optimize performance while reducing fuel consumption. When the battery pack of the vehicle reaches a low charge level or the vehicle needs an added power boost (such as passing another vehicle), the engine starts up automatically, powering a generator, and thus supplying the additional power needed by the vehicle.

A variation of this technology is known as plug-in. Like the electric-drive technology that was examined above, the vehicle is plugged in a standard wall socket to initially charge the battery pack. The initial charge is only good for 20-30 miles of driving, after which the engine in the car would then generate the power needed to keep the battery charged. This method might help keep the power grid from overloading, but that remains to be seen.

As discussed in a previous post, there are some concerns that hybrids are not as environmentally friendly as they have been portrayed. The chemicals and minerals used in the current crop of batteries are obtained at a greater energy and environmental cost than what could be acceptable. Of course, this same problem affects the all-electric vehicle that was discussed above. However, advances in battery technology may help reduce these concerns and environmental impacts. But remember – the fuel to run the engine to power the vehicle on the road and charge the vehicle in the garage has to come from somewhere.

Bio-Fuels

Bio-fuels have been getting a lot of press recently as being the answer for the near and middle term solution for energy needs. Bio-fuels include ethanol (with gasoline blends and as a stand alone fuel) and bio-diesel.

Ethanol is derived from the fermentation of sugar. The source of the sugar in the United States is primarily from corn, although other sources are used in other countries. The most successful example that I can think of is Brazil, where their entire transportation energy needs are met by domestic ethanol production from sugarcane – no oil is imported to the country for energy consumption.

Bio-diesel can be derived from a number of sources. Soybeans (United States) and jatropha nuts (India) are just a couple of crops that can be raised for the purpose of manufacturing bio-diesel. Bio-mass (organic recycling) is being used in Europe. Additionally, canola oil and recycled cooking oil have also been used as fuels in diesel engines.

Bio-fuels are extremely attractive for several reasons. The first is that current internal combustion engines can use them with little or no modifications. The second is that the technology to use these fuels is known and relatively mature. The third is that this source of energy is renewable. Last, in some instances, bio-fuel can burn cleaner than petroleum-based fuel. But…

…there’s always a downside. Growing crops to turn into fuel takes land that could be used to grow food crops. In countries that must choose between growing food and growing energy, this would be a difficult position. Environmentally, this could also prove to be a disaster in the making as countries would clear land (such as rainforests) to grow these crops and thus potentially wipe out endangered species. Already there are reports from Mexico and Holland about the rising food prices or unavailability of crops for food (or beer – horrors!!).

Additional concerns would also be that there is a report that using ethanol could be bad for the environment, and could cause additional health problems (link here). Also, the miles per gallon from using ethanol is approximately 15% less than using gasoline, and 11% for biodiesel. And using these fuels will still generate certain levels of CO2 which may not be acceptable even though they are supposedly “carbon neutral.”

Compressed Natural Gas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas

From an internal company webpage that cannot be linked to the outside:

An alternative fuel is natural gas. This chiefly consists of methane (CH4), and of all the fossil fuels, it has the lowest percentages of carbon that turns into to CO2 on combustion. Emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), soot and reactive hydrocarbons are also lower compared with liquid fossil fuels. One kilogram of natural gas, which is stored in pressurized tanks and therefore also called compressed natural gas (CNG), corresponds to the energy content of around 1.5 liters of gasoline. However, the low energy density compared with liquid fuels and the higher tank volume also cause disadvantages in terms of range and load area.

CNG is very attractive as a fuel that can be used to fuel internal combustion engines. I know for a fact that current engine technology can use CNG with little or no modification just by using a conventional carburetor and not fuel injectors. The main concern is the size and the weight of the tanks that would need to store CNG, and the safety of the tanks should there be an accident. Puncturing a tank could 1) be a fire hazard, and 2) have the potential to cause additional injury should the escaping gas propel an object.

An alternative to CNG is liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Many of us use this gas to fire up our grills for that cookout, but it can be used as a fuel in the same way as CNG. But it also has the same concerns.

Hydrogen Technology

Hydrogen is the potential "king" of all fuels. It burns up completely in combination with oxygen, and pure water vapor is emitted as an "exhaust gas". Some examples of regenerative production possibilities are electrolysis using regenerative electrical energy from the sun, wind, water or geothermal energy. Regenerative hydrogen can also be extracted from biomass. To provide reliable supplies for hydrogen-powered vehicles, a standalone filling station network is required.

The main problem with hydrogen is storage. Hydrogen is the smallest of all molecules, and containing the gas reliably is incredibly difficult as it tends to seep through tanks and other storage containers. This could lead to a dangerous buildup in an enclosed space. The image of the Hindenberg is always on person's mind when someone mentions hydrogen.

And therein lies an inherent problem with hydrogen. It must be stored under high pressure to store enough gas for a vehicle burning hydrogen to get a decent range. But there is hope.

There is research that may lead to a reliable and stable method of storing hydrogen. The research centers on bonding hydrogen into a metal or nano-material matrix. This would stabilize the gas from leaking into the surrounding atmosphere. The gas could then be released in a controlled fashion as to be used in a power source for a vehicle.

Which leads us into the next topic...

Fuel-Cell Technology

One of the more intriguing power sources for vehicles are fuel cells. Essentially, fuel cells generate power through an electrochemical process, much like a battery. They convert chemical energy to electrical energy by combining hydrogen from fuel with oxygen from the air. Hydrogen fuel can be supplied in two ways - either directly as pure hydrogen gas or through a "fuel reformer" that converts hydrocarbon fuels such as methanol, natural gas, or gasoline into hydrogen-rich gas. The result of this combination is water vapor and electricity.

NASA has used fuel cells for years to power its spacecraft using compressed hydrogen and oxygen with great success. The main problem with this technology is that it is expensive, but cost should come down with time and development.

Tom's Vision for Fuel Independence

From an engineering standpoint, the internal combustion engine is fairly inefficient (30 percent efficiency at best) in providing energy for our personal transportation needs. Stop to think about it – every time a cylinder fires in your engine, you get the bang to convert the energy into mechanical motion, but a great deal of heat is also generated and goes out the tailpipe.

A better way is to directly convert the fuel into energy as efficiently as possible. In my mind, the fuel cell is just about the best direct fuel to energy conversion device thus far - fuel cells can achieve 40 to 70 percent efficiency, which is greater than the 30 percent efficiency of the most efficient internal combustion engines. Technical challenges toward developing fuel cells are many – safety, fuel supply & distribution, and cost are just a few of the problems that would need to be overcome. But this will not happen overnight – it will need to occur in stages. Until those challenges have practical solutions, then here’s the direction I think we need to go:

When I was in Germany, I drove a Mercedes C230 with a diesel engine. Outside of the initial startup rattle that sounded like a truck engine turning over, the engine was quiet and powerful. Getting the car up to cruising speed (250 kph = 155mph) on the autobahn was no problem, and the response of the vehicle was excellent. Using diesel engines in passenger cars as well as trucks & SUV's while supplementing the petroleum diesel fuel supply with bio-diesel would make an almost immediate impact on how much petroleum is imported to this country. This would be the first step, but would need time to implement as this industry would need to ramp up to meet the level of demand that is currently dominated by gasoline demands. Can it be done? Yes, but the stigma of diesel engine for passenger use in this country would need to be overcome.

The second step would be to pour the development money into the R&D for both battery and fuel cell technologies. The vehicle configuration that makes the most sense to me is a battery-powered vehicle that can be recharged by a plug in and by a fuel cell for those extended trips. Such vehicles are quiet, powerful, and as a side benefit, environmentally friendly. A hydrogen infrastructure would need to be developed as well as a beefing up of the electrical power grid for the extra demand, but this is all possible.

The third step? Mr. Fusion, but that’s way out in the future, but we will need to get back to that later…

Remember you read it here first!!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Politicians - Bah!! Humbug!!

After watching the politicians over the past several weeks, I begin to wonder if I need to go to the doctor and have my blood pressure checked.  Let's just run down the list:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stating for the record that the war in Iraq is lost.  Thanks loads for supporting stabbing the troops in Iraq in the back just because you want to make political power plays.

Speaker of the House Nancy Peloci running off to Syria & donning a headscarf while making like an Ambassador.  Shameful actions from a shameless politician.

Congress passing and the President vetoing a funding bill for the troops.  Never mind that there were approximately $20 Billion in pork attached to the bill.  Now that the point(?) has been made, Congressional leaders now state that they want to play nice and support the troops...

Immigration is becoming a hot topic again.  Several candidates have stated their support for illegal immigrants.  Excuse me, but do they know what the word "illegal" actually means, or have they taken one too many payoffs selling their souls to the highest bidder?

Both the Democrat and Republican candidates for President have had their first debates.  While I did not see them, I've heard lot of comments from both sides of the political spectrum.  The general consensus is that there was no new information revealed, and that the debates were boring.  We need another Ronald Reagan, not anemic know-nothing wanna-be's.

Finally, the assertion that the Democrats were voted into power just to bring the troops home from Iraq.  No, the Democrats were voted into power because the Republicans didn't seem to be effective in winning the war in Iraq.  Considering that the Republicans do not fight back or refute the majority of charges the Democrats make against them or President Bush only emboldens their behavior.

What is the bottom line on all of this?  The enemies of the country sees this BS as weakness.  All they have to do is wait us out, and we'll run away.  The rest of the world also sees weakness, and perceives this country as someone that cannot be trusted to keep promises or support them.  After all, if this country cannot stand up to a terrorist organization that has killed people on our soil and cannot finish the job in Iraq, then what respect will this country be left with?  We might as well as hand the keys to the country off to the terrorists...

I have grave concerns over the future of this country, especially with the current crop of politicians in Congress and the ones running for President.  Both Parties are out of touch with mainstream America, and listen only to the screaming extremists (both left and right).  Power politics result, and nothing gets done except compromising this country's future.

And we only thought that we had to worry about the Goracle's ranting about global warming...