Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Texas legend T. Boone Pickens is a man with a mission: to reduce American dependence on fossil fuels. That the goal is worthwhile is undeniable. The Pickens Plan was feted by Carl Pope of the Sierra Club on The Huffington Post. “To put it plainly, T. Boone Pickens is out to save America,” he wrote. If one can judge a man by his friends and supporters, this would have us worried.
Whether his plan is right is another matter...
The greatest void in Pickens' plan is simply ignoring practical steps that can be taken to halt our dependence on foreign oil. No workable plan ignores all pieces of the puzzle. Drilling for known oil reserves and reviving nuclear power are necessary components. Exploring domestic oil reserves both lowers the price of the commodity and makes us less dependent on foreign oil, often manipulated by hostile regimes.
Significantly, using domestic oil requires no change in the oil system: no development of new engines, no massive erection of wind turbines throughout the nation’s midsection, no development of delivery systems for that energy. Thankfully, it presents none of the potential for human combustion pregnant in the transfer to a new and less stable energy source...
For many months, NewsBusters has been reporting the financial interest Nobel Laureate Al Gore has in advancing global warming hysteria, and has continually wondered when media will raise this issue to the American people.
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Brokaw missed this opportunity to be the first major, mainstream media member to ask the Global Warmingist-in-Chief about his own investments, and just how much he stands to make if America does indeed shift all of its electricity production to renewable sources of energy.
President Bush almost got it right this week when he declined to call on Americans to conserve energy. Sadly, he still seems to think that conservation is a win-win proposition; worse, so do both major presidential candidates... [snip]
In our modern society, using less gasoline means doing less and, most importantly, it means spending less. It means fewer shopping trips, less eating out, fewer pleasure trips and less employment in those businesses to where you drive. It means fewer cars, pleasure boats and airplanes, and fewer jobs in the industries that manufacture those goods.
Using less gasoline means engaging in less economic activity.
If you don’t remember the 1970s and very early 1980s, the last time conservation was all the rage, consider that every economic slowdown of the last 35 years, that is, the recessions of 1973-1975, 1979-1980, 1981-1982 and 1990-1991, has been associated with, if not caused by, a decline in oil consumption. Whenever oil consumption increased, GDP did, too. The same goes for total energy consumption...
It would seem that a new transgression has been invented to add to seven tried and tested Cardinal Sins. It’s called the Carbon Footprint and, fallible humans that we are, we just can’t help having one any more than we can help being adulterous, envious, gluttonous and all the rest of it. Flying, walking, eating, sleeping… pretty much everything we do seems to add carbon to our footprints.
And just as once industrious priests used to sell absolutions to erase our sins, some clever clogs have hit on the idea of charging us for exuding CO2...
Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) created Social Security, the system has always been based on the principle that as workers' wages rise, so do the taxes they pay, and so do the benefits they will get from the system. Sen. Obama would do away with this principle by requiring higher-end workers to pay taxes without getting any extra benefits linked to their higher contributions.
This would be a big step toward turning Social Security from a contributory pension scheme into just another welfare program.
• He would apply the Social Security tax to incomes above $250,000, in addition to the current tax on incomes up to $102,000.
• On incomes over $250,000, he would also impose a 4.6 percentage point hike in the personal income tax rate, a loss of some itemized deductions, and a 12.4 percentage point hike in the Social Security payroll tax.
• A high-income entrepreneur would see his or her federal marginal tax rate rise to 53 percent from the current rate of 37.7 percent; a rate higher than during the disastrous economic years under Jimmy Carter, when the maximum tax on an entrepreneur was 50 percent.
• The after-tax profits of an entrepreneur earning $500,000 would be reduced by $70,000 -- $56,000 in lost profits and $14,000 more in taxes -- just to produce a net revenue gain to the government of $14,000.
• The private sector would be made $5 poorer in order to make the government $1 richer.
The calculated political design of the proposal indicates that what is really on offer is not some post partisan approach to politics, but rather a Democratic candidate far to the left of Bill Clinton...
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has stated that healthcare spending will continue to be the largest component of overall consumer spending -- and is expected to keep rising -- is proof that the national healthcare situation will soon be unsustainable:
- Medical spending and price increases are rising exponentially more than national income or the rate of inflation.
- Most notably, the reform proposals of Sens. Obama would only aggravate the issues, as it would not change the path we're on but merely put more people into coverage
DEMOCRATS' single most important domes tic proposal - universal health insurance - may blow up in Barack Obama's face when voters are exposed to the deadly details. Obama has said, proudly and often, "I am going to give health insurance to 47 million Americans who are now without coverage." But are they "Americans?"
That 47 million statistic includes illegal immigrants - who virtually all lack insurance. In fact, about one in four of those lacking insurance is here illegally. About 15 million of the remaining uninsured are eligible for Medicaid but haven't signed up - mainly because they haven't gotten sick. Virtually all uninsured children are eligible for the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Care for illegals is the biggest unmet medical need in our nation, and Obama's program targets it squarely. But do we really want to give them federally paid coverage equal to what US senators get, as Obama proposes?
There are far better ways to handle their needs than to turn our entire health-care system upside down.
In order to save money, a rural school district in Minnesota has opted for a four day school week, running Tuesday to Friday. Now comes the hard part.... [snip]
First, knocking off Mondays not only creates a four day school week, but also makes every weekend a long weekend. The question is what will students and teachers do with the extra time? Needless to say, the students will be more than willing to claim every Monday is a holiday -- thus no work will be necessary...
[wonderful: the entire article, written by a teacher, address the problems this causes for teachers (the employees) and the students (the product) - not one word about the difficulties this causes for most parents (the customers - who weren't consulted on this drastic change). typical. Can you imagine a private school pulling this stunt without the pre-approval of parents? vouchers.]
The belief that reporters are trying to help Barack Obama win the fall campaign has grown by five percentage points over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found that 49% of voters believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage, up from 44% a month ago. Just 14% believe most reporters will try to help John McCain win, little changed from 13% a month ago.
"How do I love thee, Barack Obama?" the MSM asks: "Let me count the ways."
1. In your toasted anti-Iraq speech of 2002, you proclaimed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction - but has any of us reminded you of that?
2. In declaring Saddam armed but not dangerous, have we asked you how that could be?
3. You preach that "Iran's President Ahmadinejad's regime is a threat to all of us" - but did we probe into how Ahmadinejad unarmed was a threat while Saddam armed was not?
4. When Bill Clinton stated that Saddam "presents a clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere," did we ask what you knew that he didn't?
5. When Hillary Clinton stated that Saddam "has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members," did we inquire how he was therefore not a threat?
6. When you proclaimed that "Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors," did we point out that Israel was among those neighbors and that Saddam was paying $25,000 to suicide-bombers families so their sons would kill Jews?
7. Did we ask how Saddam was no threat to the US when he was firing on American pilots?
8. When you said "What I am opposed to is a rash war," did we inquire how it was "rash" to act more than four years after Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act declaring that "it should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power in Iraq"?
9. When you waxed about Saddam "that in concert with the international community he can be contained," did we ask how that could be when that same community bribed and conspired and kicked-back to keep Saddam in power and strip all sanctions?
10. When you perorated that "even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences," did we ask if that wasn't also true of any new venture - or did Edison, Bell, Carrier, Ford, and Harley and Davidson know exact times, costs, and consequences before they began?
11. When you articulated that war in Iraq "will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world," have we asked why then Arab nations are sending ambassadors back to Iraq and forgiving Saddam-era debt?
12. When you contended that Iraq would "strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda," have we pointed out that Al Qaeda is being destroyed in Iraq and will be in Afghanistan now that US troops have built a solid ally in Iraq?
13. When you argued "Let's fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work," have we asked how they could when inspectors testified that Iraqis repeatedly lied and that none of Iraq's Full, Final, and Complete Declarations to the UN was ever full, final, or complete?
Ah, but then love does indeed blind...
A worsening economic downturn and the state's $15 billion budget deficit are driving unemployment to its worst levels in a decade.
California's unemployment rate inched up a tenth of a percentage point last month to 6.9 percent, state officials said Friday. It was the highest unemployment in California since January 1997, when the state was still dealing with the lingering effects of the recession in the early 1990s.
California is now tied with Mississippi for the third-highest unemployment in the nation, behind Michigan's 8.5 percent and Rhode Island's 7.5 percent.
"It looks like it's not just housing now, it's other sectors," Roth said.
[the article conveniently didn't address what degree of job losses are due to employers moving out of state...]
Last week, the California State Automobile Association, an affiliate of the national AAA, announced it is closing all three of its call centers in the state at a loss of 900 jobs. Spokeswoman Cynthia Harris was quite blunt about the reason: "It costs more to do business in California than other states."
Its departure is one more sign that California's current tax and regulatory climate is driving jobs away.
California's liberals seem oblivious to such developments. One-seventh of California's pending $101 billion state budget is red ink, the result of the state's leadership once again failing to rein in spending and develop a less volatile tax base. The Democratic legislature has proposed over $8 billion in higher taxes... [snip]
The state's Democrats not only insist on higher taxes, but are blocking a proposal to limit future spending increases to the growth of the state's population and inflation ... "I think that we have to be very, very careful about tying the hands of future legislatures," says Democratic Assemblyman Dave Jones.
Apparently, he and his colleagues prefer tying the hands of California businesses so they feel compelled to flee the state.
[and they'll all be re-elected]
At NRO, Victor Davis Hanson diagnoses our society as being in a chronic state of hesitation, a nation of “Jittery Hamlets:”
There is an inverse side to all this dithering: the rush to resolve gargantuan problems that do not exist: global warming, institutional racism, “Islamophobia,” American military overreach, etc. Hanson is right. Action brings risks. Perhaps the hand-wringers figure that treating a non-problem involves no risk. If you multiply something by zero, after all, you end up with zero. So: by applying aggressive policies to challenges that don’t yet exist, they once again feel safely ineffectual. This is a mad type of preemption...
[short, Highly Recommended > ]
Never a Doubt
Fox News has this headline: Obama "Never" Has Doubts About Foreign Policy Experience
Logan: Do you have any doubts?Golly. I don't think Abraham Lincoln would have said that he never had any doubts before the Civil War. I don't think Henry Kissinger would say he had no doubts during Vietnam and the Cold War. I don't think Harry Truman, JFK, RFK, FDR, LBJ, Bush Sr, W, or any other actual occupant of the Oval Office would ever answer that way. Ever. [snip]
At least, I hope not. Mr. Obama has not a single smidgen of foreign policy experience at all, nor executive experience, nor any experience that qualifies him to be Commander in Chief. He doesn't even have a legislative record in Illinois, much less the US Senate.
That's weird and scary. Obama doesn't seem to have an adult evaluation of himself --- or of the formidable challenges that will face the next president. And the media have made up their minds to fall on their knees for this guy. They're not going to ask any tough questions at all. It's just part of their normal service to the American voter.[snip]
If the Democrats control Congress and the Presidency, as the media now hope and predict, they will have all the power in the world. Have they ever shown themselves to be responsible in any way whatsoever?
Logan: Do you have any doubts?Just let that echo in your head for a while.
Reagan Memorials Planned for London, Berlin
London - London and Berlin may soon join other cities across Europe in hosting memorials to the late President Ronald Reagan. Since the death of America’s 40th president in June 2004, a handful of parks and streets across the continent have been named after him, and a bust of Reagan was installed in a central Budapest park in 2006.
Gas Prices Cause Louisiana Women to Resort to 'Pole Dancing'?
WAFB TV Channel 9, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana pulled out all the stops for this ridiculous report claiming that "some women" in the Pelican State are resorting to working in strip clubs because gasoline is so expensive. To prove it, WAFB found one woman that said so. I'd say that clinches this as "fact," then.