Monday, January 31, 2011

Fantasy Land

What do you think it will take for the Obama Administration to realize that we are actually at war? Not just with radical Islamist extremists either, but for the resources, and economic incentives we need to make us safe and capable of competing on the world stage. If we are going to be seen as the “sponsor of democracy” we are going to have to improve on our track record around the world. We profess concepts that we do not back up. We needn’t look just at Egypt with our pathetic patter, waffling back and forth from day to day, paying limited faint praise to Mubarak and his strong man government, and then encouraging the rioters with words, not action. The United States, as currently governed, is apparently incapable of looking at foreign policy, or domestic policy for that matter, that is in our own strategic best interest.

There is no certainty as to the outcome in Egypt or Tunisia for that matter, and chaos is often a fertile breeding ground for radical outcomes. Given our wimpy response when dissidents do, in fact, gain the courage to openly defy their governments. It is no wonder we are not trusted in volatile regions. We needn’t think this is a new phenomenon. There are plenty of people who can recall their shame at our lack of response to Hungarian Freedom Fighters or the pathetic inadequacy of our support with Iran’s democratic faction.

To our enemies, we have become the epitome of a Texas phrase, “All hat, no cattle.” You do not have to wear boots to understand what that means. Oh yes, we have military capability – we are usually unwilling to use it, but we have it. We have economic power in trade issues, but we almost never use it really. We hand out mega billions to regimes all over the world that are absolute antithesis of what we are suppose to be about, but get little in return. Let’s just say we are not very good at foreign affairs.

One might think that’s because this current administration is totally interested only in domestic affairs: ensuring that our economy is strong, jobs and educational opportunities are created, that the tax code encourages innovation and development, and that our energy supplies are adequate to our needs. Unfortunately, none of that is true, and perhaps you wonder why.

In the business world, you cannot have the top job until you have had experience in some of the lower jobs. Stuff happens, and if you don’t have experience with lesser crisis, you are not prepared to handle the biggies.

Since I don’t get Christmas cards from Sierra Club members anyway, let us drive once again into the energy melee. The entire world is scrambling to tie up energy resources and keep them FROM the United States. Even Venezuela has begun shipping more of their crude to Europe instead of the US to take advantage of the higher Brent oil price as opposed to WTI Crude.

We have become a country of words and no action. Obama declared the Gulf oil moratorium “over” in October, and then instructed two of his agencies, the EPA and the Successor to the Mineral Management Service who was the Cop of the Gulf to play hardball, and be slow in issuing new permits. Since October, that duplicity has had the following effects.

1. Since the Gulf supplies 30% of our domestic crude needs, the inability to put new wells on line has hurt reserves of several of the oil companies as reported in their recent financial reports. They need new oil to replace what you used in your Chevy last week.

2. The economic situation in Louisiana is significantly worse. Twenty times more people work for the energy industry in Louisiana than work in shrimping, and a few have had to declare bankruptcy due to the dearth of service work.

3. The price of gasoline has gone up, did you notice? We did not stop driving; we just bought more oil from our enemies.

4. The states did not collect the amount of severance taxes that would have come from the new production, and the federal government did not receive its 12.5% offshore royalty. Major money to solve critical problems at the state and national level did not happen.

5. We were able; however, to reward George Soros with additional money sent to help develop Brazilian oil.

6. In spite of the fact that since WWII over 50,000 wells have been drilled in the US Gulf, and by my count, there have been three blow outs, we have followed our anti carbon “newscasters” and refused to deal with the fact that we are hurting ourselves.

Oh well. There are other forms of energy. How about coal? Does anyone besides Investor’s Business Daily in their recent editorial, “Obama’s War on Coal” remember that, as a campaigner, he vowed to bankrupt and shut down the coal industry? Last month, the EPA actually revoked a permit for an approved, operating coal mine in West Virginia, forcibly laying off the workers and depriving West Virginia, the mine owners, and the buyers of the coal, the fruits of their energy based efforts. Instead, we dream about electric cars that run on……oh yeah, that is electricity that is produced by…….oh yeah, coal and gas and oil to a lesser extent.

We tout emerging technologies that are not at all economic, or for that matter efficient, as if there is no carbon used in their production, and they will run forever, and there will never be another problem on the planet. Young boys and girls use fantasies to prepare for adulthood. Adulthood should include a few less fantasies.

Well, at least there is gas. We found over another hundred years of usable supply in the last three years, and they are still drilling. There is massive Canadian gas as well as the now eight US shale gas plays.

1. It is totally North American, totally inside our monetary system so there are no balance of payments issues.

2. Totally taxed in the US, the payroll is in the US, the pipelines are produced by US steel mills – must be a good deal.

3. Did I mention that the gas price is at a multi-decade low?

It would seem that if one wanted to create increased employment and increased energy independence, maybe, just maybe, instead of throwing money to political cronies, you might, in fact, do a gas tax credit to encourage people to switch to more gas appliances or to develop other energy needs. It is after all, the cleanest fuel under the 1993 Clean Air Act, and it is infinitely cheaper, and therefore better for inflation, the cost of living, retirees, even for the federal government.

Boone Pickens idea of compressed natural gas long haul trucks and buses, and short haul delivery vehicles not belching diesel fumes is a good one, but unless he joins a union, his voice is unlikely to be heard.

This country is being run by a slick talking, socialist/communist/ward politics leaning crony, who is intent upon income redistribution and apologizing for America’s growth and prosperity. He is doing everything he can to make sure the next twenty years do not match the last twenty. I too thought the elections gave him a wakeup call, but apparently it was only an intermittent snooze alarm, and he has returned to his economic slumber. Perhaps we need to give him a wakeup call once again. We need the jobs. He cannot give enough money to the unions to make us whole.

He cannot appear weak and groveling to enough enemies to do him any good, potentially doing us great harm, and he can’t keep looking in the mirror thinking what a magnificent thinker he is, when he obviously does not know how to deal with these situations in a businesslike manner.

William Daley may or may not be a good addition to his staff. He certainly brings a greater understanding of business as opposed to anarchy, but with a nod to the last Chief of Staff, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” That works both ways. Obama could use the current crisis to rescind the ridiculous delays going on in offshore well permitting, to encourage the increased use of natural gas, and to learn a little global economic reality that 70% of the world’s electricity is made from coal, so it is probably not a good idea to kill it since it is a major export item to the rest of the world.

Maybe you should drop him a note to remind him of the real role of a leader who represents America first.

Brian Presley

A Guest Posting by Dr. Bob

What’s Really Happening in Egypt?
31 January, 2011
With all the hype and frenzy from the media concerning the demonstrations in Egypt, are we getting what might be the real background story. Lots of questions out there. We see endless video of marches in a specific part of Cairo and a few streets. We hear that millions are in the demonstrations. There is a little coverage of activity in Alexandria and a few other cities nearby. But what is going on in the rest of Egypt? If it is the middle class that fuels these demonstrations, as we are told, what does the rest of the country think of it all? I find little content about all of that.

But what really is behind these demonstrations and what appears to be a move to a new government or at least to a new leader of the government in Egypt? Look at the history over the last century.

When the Egyptian royal family was overthrown in 1954 and King Farouk fled to exile in Italy, the Egyptian Military took control of the government. Within a very short time, Nasser, a man from the Military leadership, stepped up. He ruled for many years, working for Arab nationalism, and during that time a man named Sadat, also in the Military, became one of President Nasser’s chief deputies. When Nasser died in 1970, Sadat became President of Egypt. Again this President of Egypt had a good tenure, and Sadat was murdered in 1981. At Sadat’s death, Mubarak, his vice president and a Military man, took the office and has held it ever since.

But Mubarak did not and until this week would not name a deputy in the military or establish a vice president. Instead of following the recently established pattern of succession through the Military leadership, Mubarak was clear in his intent to put his own son in power when he stepped down. This could not have been very popular with the top Military leaders, at least some of whom must have had the normal ambitions for themselves and at least some of whom must have thought that the next President of Egypt---after the very long 30 year tenure of Mubarak (lots of time to nurse one’s ambitions)-- would be a leader from the Military.

We hear just now and then of the stress that the succession pattern has been causing between Mubarak and his Generals. The Generals were not pleased with the Mubarak family pattern, and a few reports in recent years even hinted at the push from the Military for Mubarak to step down. Obviously, Mubarak is not quick to accept a “why don’t you resign?” invitation. He has relied on his national police forces to support him, even in the face of moderate opposition from the Military.

Could it be that the current demonstrations by the middle class are linked in some way to the Military’s preference that Mubarak give way to a new leader from the Military? Could it be that the very soft military response to the street demonstrations stems from the Generals’ hope that this is a way to force out Mubarak short of an official military coup (or a repeat of the method of removing Sadat)? The Egyptian Military are extremely close to the U.S. Armed Forces as to leadership (our country basically funds the Egyptian army and keeps it modern). Does that explain why the U.S. response to the demonstrations in Cairo is what it is—and not more forceful or specific?

Most commentaries this week speak of the determining factor of the Egyptian Military in what happens next. Nobody is talking about the possibility of the Egyptian Military as the root of the action and what happened first.
Robert L. Burns, PhD

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational

Thanks to Jodi for passing this along.

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2 Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon : It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido : All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

16. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:
1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Maxine and Obamacare

Another classic from Dr. Bob...

This is the best ever!!

Let me get this straight . . . .
We're going to be "gifted" with a health care
plan we are forced to purchase and
fined if we don't,
Which purportedly covers at least
ten million more people,
without adding a single new doctor,
but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents,
written by a committee whose chairman
says he doesn't understand it,
passed by a Congress that didn't read it but
exempted themselves from it,
and signed by a President who smokes,
with funding administered by a treasury chief who
didn't pay his taxes,
for which we'll be taxed for four years before any
benefits take effect,
by a government which has
already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare,
all to be overseen by a surgeon general
who is obese,
and financed by a country that's broke!!!!!
'What the hell could
possibly go wrong?'

Monday, January 17, 2011

Crowd Saves 8 Year-Old's Anthem Performance!

There's still a lot good about America too, and it need not be regulated by some" hall monitor minded" bureaucrat.

Video: Hockey crowd sings after 8-year-old's national anthem glitch

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Schizophrenic Administration

Read these two pieces together and see if you begin to feel as schizophrenic as our economics and energy-deprived current administration.

In Louisiana alone, the job damage is 10 times any "shrimp related impairment."

Customers face huge bill for wind farms that don't work in the cold

Last updated at 1:20 AM on 9th January 2011

The failure of Britain’s wind farms to produce electricity in the extreme cold will cost billions of pounds, create an economic crisis and lead to blackouts, leading industrialists have warned.

To cover up the ineffectiveness of wind farms the Government will be forced to build emergency back-up power plants, the cost of which will be paid by industry and consumers.

Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, which represents major companies employing hundreds of thousands of workers in the steel, glass, pottery, paper and chemical industries, said the failure of wind power had profound implications.

Read more here.

Obama's Oil War

Posted 01/05/2011 08:46 PM ETEnergy Policy: Oil prices are surging to levels that will soon crimp economic growth. And what's our government doing about it? Just making it worse.

Since President Obama took office in January 2009, the price of oil has rocketed 117% to $90.41 a barrel and gasoline has jumped 67% to $3.07 a gallon. In the 34 industrialized nations, oil imports have surged 34% in the last year to $790 billion. The U.S. alone has seen a $72 billion jump.

All this imperils a fragile recovery from the financial crisis. "Oil prices are entering a dangerous zone for the global economy," says Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency.

Read more here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Der Feuhrer's Coffee

Commodities, or the withholding thereof, has always been a tool of conquest or war.

Maybe the current federal "governors of the Gulf" should spend a little time on history - like the time the German Panzer division ground to a halt from a lack of diesel fuel delivered in a timely manner.

Delaying legitimate drilling or completion permits to further hurt the oil companies, costs jobs, strengthens our enemies, raises the cost of living beyond what would otherwise occur, hurts our balance of payments, and weakens our national security - otherwise it's probably okay.