June 2010

Proponents of the proposed “Smart Grid” initiative for utility-provided electrical power cite the energy saving and user friendliness of this system. The smart grid is basically a means for a utility or some other organization, external to your home, to monitor and control the usage of power within your home. At least that’s the plan. The proponents also tout the ability of homeowners and consumers of electricity to monitor and control energy usage via a computer…a supposed benefit to the consumer.

Outside of the home, the smart grid is designed to provide the electrical utilities a means of matching loads to shifting demands…for example during the heavy use periods in the summer months when air conditioner use (and subsequent power demand) is at its highest. It would also allow utilities to “steer” power to high demand areas and around areas where damage from storms or other disasters may exist.A smart grid would also allow utilities to better integrate secondary, “clean” sources of power into the grid — as these power sources are transient on nature due to the vagaries of sunlight and wind.

The smart grid, when implemented, would allow the utility to charge a customer based on their power usage on a continuous basis — and apply time of  day dependent rates. This differs from how billing is done now where the time-varying rate is averaged over the day to yield a single billing rate.

So far this all sounds kind of innocuous and nonthreatening, right? Well, it is if we ignore the “monitor and control the usage of power within your home” part of the equation. See, part of the intent of the smart grid is to give the electrical power utilities the the ability to “shed” loads during times of high demand when brownouts and blackouts may be inevitable. The theory is that using a combination of the smart grid and smart appliances/consumer products that the utility could shed non-essential devices in order to reduce the overall load demand on the utility.

The theory is that the consumer would have tacit control over what appliances were “controllable” by the utility, with the exception of very special circumstances (like an impending black out.)

This still sounds pretty tame stuff…however…

When we have a build out of this smart grid, what stops another organization, say like the US government, from monitoring the power usage of individuals? A story today notes that the FCC is allocating more frequency spectrum for wireless communication relating to the smart grid. A LOT more frequency spectrum. The FCC also announced a panel to study the spectrum requirements for a built-out smart grid system. Why would they be doing this? Why would they, the government, be so concerned over the internal workings of a utility (which is obviously a commercial, private enterprise?)

The ability to monitor and control our electrical power usage would give the government a great control over our individual freedom and liberties. Not only would a maliciously used smart grid be a blatant invasion of privacy (someone else knowing what appliance or electronic device that I was using  and when chafes at my concept of privacy), but it would also present a great temptation for abuse. And we have numerous examples where the government has abused the powers given to it with our consent, let alone for those assumed without our consent. Utilizing a smart grid to monitor and potentially control power usage would be an unconstitutional assumption of political power and would bring the individual closer to the gulag.

As an electrical engineer for over 30 years, and an individual involved in power and communications systems, I understand the full ramifications, both positive and negative, of a smart grid electrical utility grid. The positive aspects are those that an informed consumer may gain from the ability to monitor and control their personal energy consumption, and the ability of the utility to better control and provide energy to their customers. But the smart grid has the potential for myriad unintended consequences…not the least of which is the invasion of privacy and an increased role of the government in the energy delivery system. These unintended consequences should concern and perhaps frighten any freedom/liberty-loving individual.

There is going to be a great push for the smart grid from both the government and commercial concerns alike. Why? Because there is a lot of money to be made! The utility stands to make more money from time-dependent rate billing, electrical equipment manufacturers stand to make a ton of money from all the smart metering equipment required, appliance and electronic equipment manufacturers stand to make a lot of cash too by providing the “next generation” smart grid enabled appliances and other devices (like TV’s, entertainment products, tools, etc.) and there are also a whole lot of other industries that stand to make even more money from the build-out of the smart grid.

I fear that most people will trade buckets of money for their liberties if given the choice. As for me, I’ll pass on this fad. I will not convert my home to this intrusive utility system unless I’m forced to do so. I love my privacy…love my liberty…love the Constitution too much to compromise.

There is no convenience or amount of money that I could earn or save that would convince me to abandon my hard-earned Constitutional rights.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-KKK) died early this morning at 92. Good riddance. I hate to speak ill of the dead, but he was a loathsome man with a loathsome past. It’s now between him and God as to what happens to him next.

But here’s the thing. Byrd was a former “Kleagle” and “Grand Cyclops” in the KKK. In his past, he was a hand’s on guy when it came to racism…regardless of the revisionist history that will be attached to him (just read the softening of his past in the odious Times story that follows.) So, how will he be remembered?

For the NY Times, his death is marked by this headline and this story:

Robert Byrd, Respected Voice of the Senate, Dies at 92

Seems like they’ve forgotten to mention something, eh? Ahhhh, but he was a good Democrat…and perennial goody-giver to the proletariat. In fact, he was known the “King of Pork,” and there wasn’t a stretch of road or public building in West Virginia that doesn’t remind us so.

Now, let’s contrast the treatment of Byrd in the Times to another less odious character…but still a man with a racist background, Strom Thurmond of North Carolina. See, he wasn’t a member of the KKK, but he was memorialized by the NY Times as follows:

Strom Thurmond, Foe Of Integration, Dies At  100

Notice that the Times forgot to mention something? Like that the man was a former senator…and a decorated WWII veteran…but they didn’t forget to mention something else even though Mr. Thurmond had no affiliation with any hand’s on, racist organization. The NYT chose to tarnish this man’s memory in his public “obituary.”

But why the different treatment of these two men? Why the differentiation between two men from the South — both with racist pasts (but not uncommon for white men of their generation and their times) and both long time serving senators?? Because Byrd died a Democrat and Thurman a Republican. See, other than that little racism thing, that was the difference in the history of these men. See,both Byrd and Thurmond were ‘foes’ of integration, with both conducting lengthy filibusters in opposition to civil rights-related legislation when they served in the Senate. I also suspect that both were respected voices in the Senate. But again, because of the ‘R’ versus ‘D’ thing, Thurmond gets the highly disrespectful tag line and Byrd gets a pass.

We don’t need to wonder if there is a liberal bias in the media, it’s there in full view for all to see. But for this example, it took waiting from 2003 until Byrd’s passing for us to see in full view the liberal bias of the media in general and the hypocrisy of the NY Times in particular. And to cap things off, both these stories were written by the same person, Adam Clymer, with the only exception being the seven year time difference in the stories. But regardless of the author, these stories obviously bear the editorial imprimatur of the NYT editorial board. Nothing gets printed without their tacit approval; at least nothing as important as the death of a sitting or former senator.

Byrd dies an important statesman, given encomiums and respect way beyond what he deserves. He is a Democrat.

Thurmond dies a flawed individual, and shown disrespect not commensurate with his past sins (at least when compared to Mr. Byrd)…and the headline in his memorial in the Times reflects their bias and their hypocrisy. They detested Thurmond not because of his convenient “racist” past, but rather because he was a Republican. That was his greatest sin. But they embrace a truly flawed and odious man, Byrd, and slough off serious character flaws and past actions — and they do this because of his ideology — he was a Democrat.

So, forget about a dictionary…you’ve just seen the perfect definition of hypocrisy thanks to the NYT. All the news fit to distort…

Are there any further insults to our individual sensibilities regarding freedom and liberty that our “leaders” can spring on us? I mean mandatory health insurance, intrusions into our personal financial business and proposed regulations that make our energy consumption increasingly unaffordable all challenge the constitutional role of government in our lives.

Well, it looks like our “representatives” in Washington have active imaginations regarding the role that they see the government assuming in all our lives. They also are showing their complete contempt for our constitutional rights and liberties on an almost daily basis. No piece of proposed legislation shows this contempt like the so-called Internet Kill Switch Bill.

Under the guise of “internet security” during times of crisis (hmmmm…), this law would give the president the authority to shut down the internet for up to 120 days, a time period renewable by the action of the Congress. This is both frightening and liberty-threatening all at once.

The internet has become an indispensable means of free speech, commerce and communications for the average citizen and business alike in modern-day America. It has improved communications between individuals (e-mails, FaceBook, blogs, etc.), stimulated new commercial activity (interstate sales that would have otherwise never have taken place) and has assumed the role of the new agora or town square in our lives. Simply put, for many Americans their daily lives would be impossible to lead without the aid and utility of the internet.

A single individual representing the will of the government should have no role on determining of the internet should be “killed” or not depending upon some crisis or emergency. This would be akin to the government declaring that free speech would be curtailed based on that same event. The Constitution provides no such authority, and average American citizens simply would not stand for such a dictate from the president or anyone else.

Similarly, we should not tolerate this naked grab for power and authority over the operation of the internet. I would rather take my chances with malicious foreign hackers or belligerents…and suffer the consequences than to cede my right to communicate freely with others via this new technology medium. Frankly, I can’t trust the president to execute his constitutionally-mandated powers correctly, so why would I entrust him to “protect” my best interests by shutting down my major communications conduit with the outside world (beyond the face-to-face interactions with townsfolk, friends and relatives?)

I have called my senators regarding this affront. Kerry is a hopeless cause, however Scott Brown may side with us freedom- and liberty-loving citizens who do not want, under any circumstance, yet another government intrusion into our daily lives. I guess only time will tell.

Ronald Reagan famously said that the most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” The “help” that Congress and the Obama administration plans with this kill switch legislation should similarly terrorize us all. Providing the president a kill switch for anything, let alone the internet, is simply too dangerous and too frightening a concept to imagine.

I hope and pray I awaken from this nightmare soon, as I need to get back to the semblance of a normal life unencumbered by the constant drumbeat threat to the freedoms and liberties that I enjoyed a mere 2 years ago. Hopefully the elections in November will throw a giant monkey wrench into the insane and duplicitous agenda of Obama and the Democrats. My friends, that’s the only hope that we have.

Since the day our Dear Leader burst onto the scene as a serious presidential candidate, I felt some apprehension regarding the (what I thought at the time was a) remote possibility that he could or would become POTUS. Well, in the subsequent year and a half since his inauguration, my apprehension has turned to shock then to scorn then to consternation then to downright fear.

That’s right, FEAR! I have…Baracknophobia!!!

My fear arises from the fact that day-by-day, week-by-week, our socialist/statist chief executive (aided and abetted by his majority Democrat minions) finds new and depressing ways and means of crushing our individual liberties. To him and his cohort, the Constitution is a quaint legal speed bump on the road to his idea (whatever that is) of socialist, egalitarian Utopia. We are constantly being assaulted by a barrage of anti- and unconstitutional laws and regulation that are intended to stifle our popular version of a Capitalist America and to change the very fabric of our society into something that our grandparents would not recognize.

In the process, piece-by-piece, each of us is surrendering our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights and liberties so that our megalomaniacal leaders may erect totems and tributes to themselves and their “vision.” Except that in their vision of things, freeborn American citizens may be forced into serfdom and servitude to a monolithic government, regardless if the process to get to that point isn’t contained within the Constitution.

Obama’s and the Democrats vision of America is akin to a football game without rules, yard lines and goal posts…but with plenty of referees waiting to penalize the players for the slightest of infractions and to make up the rules as the game goes along. Winners and losers won’t be determined by mere points scored…no, no, no…as score-keeping is such a 20th century, passe idea. Rather, the referees will select the winners and losers by favoritism, cronyism and by analyzing those who can help them keep their referee gig. See, points don’t matter as much as “feelings.”

And what would be the result of our Obama/Democrat vision of a football game? In a word: Anarchy. And chaos..with a heaping dose of mayhem for good measure. The game of football, or any game for that matter, played without established, immutable rules, becomes a meaningless exercise in futility. Try playing Monopoly with your kids sans rules if you need to be convinced!

So, what can be said of our daily lives and the future of our country without strict Constitutional fealty? Pretty much the same things as can be said about rule less football. EXCEPT, rather than just a game, we’re talking about our lives, livelihoods, loves, aspirations and futures when we talk about abridging the Constitution (for whatever reason.) And if WE allow the government that is supposed to work for us flip the roles and have us work for them, then I’m afraid we deserve what we get for our lack of vigilance and inaction.

The sad part is that every single legislator in Congress, as well as our POTUS and the SCOTUS, takes a solemn oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution of the United States of America and then spends the remainder of their term in office trying to figure out weaselly ways of short-circuiting the intent of this document. Ways to capitalize on penumbras, interpretations and vague clauses to feed the lesser angels of our society, and then be rewarded for their efforts by theses special interest factions. Don’t take my word for this, just closely examine any of the mind-numbing bills that have been dreamed up recently in the Congress. Patriots interested in the future and wholesomeness of the United states did not craft these bills: Rather self-serving, vote whores who would sell us all down the river to achieve that next term in office (and simultaneously have surrendered their honor and dignity to a corrupt and cancerous political system) were unfortunately the authors.

The Democrats and liberals and uber-left-wing nuts may have had an incurable case of Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) during the last administration — but their malady was driven by hatred rather than by fear.

However, I realize that I have Baracknopohbia. I don’t hate the man, I fear his every move, his world-view, his policies and his agenda. Because I know that no matter how thickly the mainstream media and the administration candy-coat the goings on in Washington, every single piece of proposed and then enacted legislation will run counter to the intent of the Constitution and will chafe at my sensibilities.

We’re a year-and-a-half into this administration, and God willing we can endure the nonsense that is left to assault us from our “representatives” in Washington until November, when the promise of a change in Congressional direction may change the insane and irrational tone that has existed for the past eighteen months in Washington. Perhaps it will make Obama the lame duck president that he richly deserves to be. And perhaps we can then relegate this president and his administration to the irrelevancy that he also richly deserves.

I guess I HOPE for a CHANGE!!

Until then, I have Baracknophobia…

Gen. Stanley McChrystal could have chosen a better way to voice his dissatisfaction with his commander-in-chief and his posse. The article in Rolling Stone was, as the president said, a tremendous lapse of judgment. As the point man appointed by Obama to lead our military effort in Afghanistan, he should have maintained a public fealty to his boss, President Obama, while he held his rank as general. The way the good general should have handled his dissatisfaction and disagreement with Obama, his administration and his policies was to tender his resignation. At this point, as a former warrior, he would be free to voice his opinions and to call out his former commander-in-chief.

But at some level I can understand what McChrystal did and why (I speculate) he did what he did. The general is the point man for a crazy policy with rules of engagement that put the lives of our troops in constant jeopardy. Insane rules like patrolling without rounds chambered in their rifles might make a true warrior like McChrystal a little crazy. Not insane crazy, but rather crazy with self doubt. How can the man charged with winning the Afghan war win it with unloaded guns…and avoidance of civilian collateral damage at all costs…and troops being picked off one-by-one with almost impossible to detect IEDs?

McChrystal (and his top aides) is (are) voicing his (their) dismay, contempt and anger towards the ridiculous and oppressive political rules that have been thrust upon him. He and his staff have been dealt, basically, a no-win situation by his civilian leaders. Making things worse is the fact that McCrystal and the military view these civilian “leaders” as inept and distrustful of the military. How can they possibly respect and professionally serve individuals who would dream up such inane rules of engagement.

If I were Obama, I would accept the reported resignation of General McChrystal. It would be for the simple reason that the general has lost credibility in the eyes of his boss. And he has proven himself “disloyal” to his commander.

However, I cannot hold this transgression against the General. He is and has been a soldier’s-soldier. The troops who report to him in his chain of command respect him and they are highly motivated to serve him. Although he could have channeled his criticisms of Obama in a more politically adept manner, he did what he did and now must accept the consequences like the man and warrior that he is.

In the final analysis, the result is a stain on the Obama administration for embracing policies and rules of engagement that would drive a good man like McChrystal to even contemplating what he did. If this situation involving the General were the only controversy encountered by the Obama administration, I might fall towards the side of Obama in this occurrence. But because Obama and his administration have shown a consistent and almost magnetic attraction for controversy (to the point of contrarianism), I have to side with the good General if and until other information comes to light.

Friends, we are witnessing an administration unraveling right before our eyes. Stanley McChrystal is a symptom of a larger sickness that pervades the Obama administration. We are now going to endure an executive branch that has gone from idolatry to unfavorability…and from passive dismissal of criticism to political desperation.

God help us all as we live through the consequences and repercussions…

It’s official! Our Dear Leader and his cast of congressional Democrat minions are certifiably crazy. With the full court press conducted yesterday with the release of the “favorable” analysis of the Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (I-CT) cap-and-tax legislation…followed by the 17 minute droning by our Dear Leader (of course punctuated by the grand push for cap-and-tax legislation), one can only come to that inescapable conclusion.

Obama’s speech, although it contained words, phrases and sentences that addressed BP and the Gulf oil leak situation, was NOT about the Gulf oil leak. Not by a country mile! The leak and spill were merely tools of political rhetoric — devices he tried to use to drill home (pun intended!!) his Quixote-esque quest for the next jewel in the crown of statist societal control, a universal energy tax. But I think even the most marbled-in-the-lean liberals, like Matthews and Olbermann at MSDNC, oops, MSNBC weren’t suitably impressed with the leadership acumen or vision put on display last night by the Dear One. No, last night’s lecture was just the opening round in Obama’s full court press on cap-and-tax –  a desperation move by a desperate man way over his political head. Rather than take a temperate approach to this crisis and work just on solving the leak and the effects of the spill on the Gulf Coast, he chose to go “all in” politically. And he’s going to do it while blowing the political equivalent of a vuvuzela all the while.

Listen, Obama might think that he is the Entrepreneur-In-Chief, but I assure you that he doesn’t have a single capitalistic idea floating around in his socialist/statist skull. Perhaps with the exception of buying lunch on his various forays among the suffering hoi polloi at the oil-stained Gulf Coast. His insistence that viable alternatives to fossil fuels are just around the corner if we burn enough time/effort/wishes looking for them is, well, crazy talk. Real crazy talk. In order for there to be an alternatives, there have to be an underlying theories or materials that prove themselves viable (given the proper money/time/effort/wishes): there could have been no Manhattan Project if the theories undergirding nuclear fission and fusion were not established to some confidence level. No amount of research would have resulted in a man-made nuclear fireball without the solid background theory in place.

No such situation exists for replacing fossil fuels. Sure, we have “alternative” and “green” solutions to supplying some of our energy needs. But these are transient, secondary sources of power that are incapable of replacing the steady primary power sources (that is they’re always ON even at night or when the wind doesn’t blow!) provided by fossil fuels. Of course, then there is nuclear power. This is a viable alternative as a primary power source for our electricity needs, but the science-illiterate American public fears nuclear power for its destructive power (Three Mile Island and Chernobyl had a lot to do with this) than it appreciates this power source for its usefulness. Unfortunately, NIMBY rules the day when it comes to siting anything nuclear, so there is a lot of public push back when this discussion arises.

And, beyond petroleum for transportation and electricity generation, we have the myriad uses of petrochemicals in our daily lives. How can we replace the chemicals and compounds that we depend upon on a daily basis (think plastics, medicines, detergents, etc.) that are extracted from oil along with gasoline and heating oil? Simply put we cannot or, I propose, it would have been done already!

Poor misguided President Obama and his power cronies in the Congress need to step back and away from their single-minded quest to make fossil fuels so expensive as to change the fabric of our society, for the worse, forever. If they wish to cheer lead for their schemes, and try to influence American citizens to adopt alternative energy usage voluntarily, then I suggest that they go for it. But to try to jam another complicated and unintended consequence-filled piece of legislation down our throats by partisan fiat at a time when the US economy is both stagnant and fragile is foolhardy and CRAZY.

But we all know now that the die is cast…that there is going to be the incessant push for this cap-and-tax legislation because it’s “good for us.” The same way that all other socialist schemes, like Obamacare, are “good for us.” Until they aren’t. Obama has let the proverbial cat out of the bag starting last evening — he’s now put his dog in the fight and he has too much to lose politically if he caves in on this. I suspect, though, that Obama may have to go this alone or with token support as there are many shell-shocked Dems who will be facing the equivalent of locked cage death matches come November for re-election. They simply don’t have the stomach to follow their Anointed One off the cliff in the same manner that they did with Obamacare. Most are still wiping the political blow-back off them from that fiasco! They might be ideological fellow travelers with Obama, but they’re also craven vote whores first and foremost, so in that light,  they’re not crazy enough to touch this political third-rail just yet. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think so!

Obama on the other hand has nothing to lose…his foray into insanity last night only costs him political capital (just wander over to Rasmussen if you need to be convinced). He’s got two and a half years to possibly regain his footing, so what the heck. See, for a true believer like Obama, the totems of his ideology (like spreadin’ the wealth, etc.) are more valuable than reality or moderation or compromise. He sees himself as righteous — exploiting this oil leak/spill crisis — by proposing his means to an end. Unfortunately it means the end of prosperity and American exceptionalism. Still, Obama sees himself the Changer-In-Chief iconoclast: particularly when it comes to capitalism. He thinks himself the knight in shining armor saving us from greedy oil companies and greedy, hostile Middle Eastern emirs and potentates.

Unfortunately for him, the rest of us see him as just plain CRAZY…

  • A Month Late and 65 Spillion Gallons Short. (I love the “spillion” tag — thank you Matt Drudge!!) Well, Obama is kicking off his grand southern tour with yet another contrived stop at the Gulf Coast. He’s trying to work up some emotion and concern for the poor working lugs down there like you and me. I imagine we’re going to see several things over the next weeks and months — until the leaking well is finally capped via a relief well: a barrage of pictures and stories with a furrowed-brow, angry Obama rubbing elbows with the bayou locals. He’ll be picking up tar balls on beaches, excoriating BP for something or the other, and holding press conferences to demand “fair” and expedient compensation to the folks in the Gulf who have suffered so much already. You know, typical community organizer fare. But rest assured, our Fearless Leader doesn’t feel our pain. Never did, never will. He’s above all that — you know the earthly constraints of pain and fear and concern. I’m convinced that he isn’t amazed that apres his first visit that the oceans didn’t recede and the tar balls didn’t evaporate in a paroxysm of exultation. He’s still looking for fish to fry, asses to kick and photo ops where he can look deliberative, concerned and mui macho…and a resultant boost in his sagging approval ratings…so expect to see him front-and-center on a beach near you (if you live somewhere on the Gulf Coast) real soon.
  • Calling All Crises! President Obama will make a full frontal assault on our airwaves this evening with (what I’m sure will be) an insightful and forceful speech on the oil spill crisis in the Gulf. Oops, there I said it…crisis. CRISIS!!! Be sure to listen very carefully to the doublespeak and innuendo that will flow from this political gusher this evening: Obama and the cap-and-tax Democrats see this awful Gulf disaster as the means to an end. Obama is about to lay new groundwork for his latest push to make anything with carbon in it so expensive as to be reviled by man. Yeah, right. Instead of tipping at windmills (both literally and figuratively) he should have paid more attention to science when he was in school. We NEED petroleum and petrochemicals. Period. We will need them as they spring from the ground until a time when we can synthesize them on a large scale basis in the lab and in refineries. Every living thing on Earth is based on carbon and lives via the carbon cycle. The social tinkerers who eschew this immutable truth are only fooling themselves or willfully trying to fool the rest of us. Mark my words — Obama will push, HARD, for cap-and-tax legislation and he will try to make it seem like we can just capriciously dump our petroleum-based economy for some pie-in-the-sky alternative. I don’t buy this foolish and self-destructive (and unbelievably expensive) rationale, and I sure hope the rest of America doesn’t swallow this as well. I for one won’t be watching this TelePrompTer-licious speaking engagement this evening. I’ll got better things to do: I’ll be watching The Deadliest Catch!
  • Is it Blue or Mad Dog Etheridge? The viral YouTube video of Bob (Bobby Ray) Etheridge’s (D-NC) dust up with alleged students who were trying to interview him on a Washington DC street is very enlightening, indeed. Everyone, US representative or not, is allowed to have a bad day. After all, we’re all human. We should throw out a Mulligan or two to our fellow man for minor transgressions. However Etheridge’s actions rise above mere petty and call into question the man’s temperament and judgment. His getting physical with the interviewer reveals something disturbing about his character — he seems to possess the “do you know who I am?” flaw that is so pervasive in Washington and for that matter in most political circles wherever they may be. Maybe it’s just me, but I think we need legislators who are more deferential towards the public, and more humble regarding the position that we’ve assigned them. Getting grabby and offensive with a stranger on the street, whose only sin was to ask a single question while equipped with a microphone and camera, is simply unacceptable behavior and should not be tolerated. I hope the voters of North Carolina’s 2nd district were watching the deportment of their Congressional representative closely. I know for sure that the rest of the country was.
  • Obamacare: Web of Deceit. As time passes, we are living the paradoxical situation that Nancy Pelosi foretold before the passage of Obamacare by the Democrats in Congress. She said that the Congress would have to pass this vile legislation before we could know what’s in it. And the prescient Madam Speaker was right on the money with that prognostication. It seems that every day we learn something new and troubling about Obamacare. The latest is that contrary to the claims by Obama, Reid and Pelosi, that our health insurance premiums will rise drastically and that we will most likely be forced off our present health insurance by employers forced to make cost containment decisions. And we are also facing a daily barrage of new ever-rising cost assessments for this program. Each new cost projection raises questions about the truthfulness and candor of our elected officials or their competence — perhaps both. But in the end, we are left with paying for their incompetence and duplicity in service to the concept that elections do indeed have consequences.
  • Slip Slidin’ Away…. The approval ratings of President Obama are, to be kind, tanking lately. According to Rasmussen, our Dear Leader is experiencing the inevitable rough spot that a many with no executive experience to speak of, a lousy message, poor political judgment, socialistic tendencies, an aloof manner and mannerisms, a detachment from the common man and a tin ear when it comes to the REAL issues that the citizens of the US hold near and dear to their hearts. Mr. President, make a note to yourself…if you want the next 2.5 years to go a little smoother, then you should cry uncle and moderate your world view and your ideology. Because you’ve been a catalyst for the impending doom of many Congressional Democrats come November with your intractable hard line stance and your fringe views of what it means to be an American. You’re insisting “ass-kicking post-American” and we’re screaming “made in America — we need jobs!!” I have a feeling it’s going to be rough sailing for you after the November elections essentially render you a lame duck for the remainder of your one and only term in office. You know what…the less damage that you can do to our great country while (unfortunately) you hold office, the better!

News stories today quoted President Obama as saying that I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar, we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick. The only thing missing is his taking names.

So, our president is going to revert from his Mr. Spock cool, analytical persona to ‘Scarface’ Al Pacino in Scarface: “You wanna f**k with me? Okay. You wanna play rough? Okay. Say hello to my little friend!” Or maybe ‘Nada’ Roddy Piper in They Live: “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum.” I know, I know, these juxtapositions are stretching it a little. But it is unbecoming of our president to morph into an ass-kicking chief executive, when the reason for his transformation is oh so transparent.

Exploiting the tragedy in the Gulf is a poor excuse for bolstering one’s popularity and political viability. The transmogrification of an impassive and hardly emotional Obama into some ersatz gangsta or limited-power superhero is more amusing than infuriating.

So, let him go out, man up and kick some ass…and lets’ hope for our sakes that his actions don’t come back to bite us all in our collective backsides.

Paleo-journalist Helen Thomas of the Third Reich News Network has put on display a breathtaking antisemitism in recent comments made on May 27, 2010. Apparently Jews, the original inhabitants of the Palestine, should simply “Go Home” according to Thomas. This YouTube video documents this outburst by the apparently deranged Ms. Thomas:

Helen Thomas tells Jews to go back to Germany

I might add that this is the same Helen Thomas who is treated as the press’ reporter-emeritus at White House press conferences and events. So far, and I might have missed it, there has been no comment by President Obama or his press secretary Gibbs on this egregiously offensive statement.

Given the recent shoddy treatment of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by the Obama administration, I won’t hold my breath.

UPDATE 6/7/2010: Helen Thomas did the right thing and resigned with the appropriate contrition. However, her reprehensible behavior still lacks a certain rebuke from the man who had been photographed with his arm around her — our Dear Leader. And the response from Obama’s official mouth piece, Robert Gibbs, was tepid at best.

Not surprisingly, there was a certain lack of indignation from her fellow WH press corpsmen and women. All they could muster was to photograph her empty chair today and lament about the end of a era.

Bye bye, Helen. You’ve been a stooge and useful idiot for the left for far too long. It’s perhaps surprising that it took so long for you to play out enough rope to hang yourself, given your crazy, outspoken history. Enjoy your obscurity and your infamy. You richly deserve it.

In spite of the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, we need to redouble our efforts to exploit the oil reserves located in our coastal waters, beneath the ocean floor. But this effort comes with a caveat and a philosophy. The caveat is that we cannot force petroleum exploration into places where only the foolhardy or desperate would go, especially for purely political reasons. The philosophy part of the equation is that we have extensive exploration and drilling experience in shallow waters along the coast. We need to exploit this experience and exploit the reserves that presently go untapped because of excessive government restrictions.

If we are blunt and honest about our modern lives we are forced to admit that our dependence on fossil fuels is not going to diminish as a result of political speeches with lofty rhetoric. At the present time there are no viable alternatives to petroleum, and gasoline in particular, that combine the energy per pound or gallon along with the convenience of the material. For example, there are electric vehicles that can mimic the performance of gasoline powered vehicles under a narrow set of conditions. But when all is said and done, when the fuel (coulombs of charge) runs out, there is the need for  a not-so-insignificant wait period before the vehicle may be used again. This is the key disadvantage of such alternative energy-based vehicles.

But just focusing on transportation ignores all the other valuable uses that petroleum products play in our daily lives, from chemicals to pharmaceuticals to plastics to electricity generation. In short, we are highly dependent upon petroleum and petroleum-derived products in our modern lives. Without them, we would be leading dreary 17th century existences.

So, to me, the government taking the approach of  ‘retreat at first crisis’ is counterproductive and narrow-minded. It is a situation where the government has become so risk-averse that it threatens the very future existence and productivity of our nation. Having said this I feel that the Gulf oil leak is a tragedy of epic proportions. There are millions of lives that will be disrupted, livelihoods that will be ruined and countless miles of pristine shoreline that will be scarred for a long, long time. And then there is the cost to the wildlife in the area. How many creatures will suffer and die due to the effects of the entrapping oil? It is heartbreaking and it is frustrating.

But let’s not forget what got us to this disaster in the first place. It was government regulations and restrictions that forced oil exploration and recovery into deeper waters. Just on first analysis it is counter intuitive to encourage oil exploration into deeper water without a proven, reliable and foolproof  fail-safe method of preventing such leakages from occurring. This one simple qualification should have been the key to allowing drilling to commence, and should have been the government’s job one. Alas, it wasn’t — just the push to stay away from the shoreline for whatever political reasons. But in life, isn’t hindsight always 20/20??

So now we have a full-blown disaster on our hands. And rather than step back and analyze the root cause of the disaster as a nation, we are taking the easy and expedient path towards a ‘solution.’ We are making a hasty retreat. But history has taught us time and time again, that for every great risk, there is a great reward. But we ned to be acutely aware that associated with every risk is the corresponding disaster that may occur. This is the course of human learning and understanding. Humans (usually) learn from their mistakes, and many of the improvements and advancements to our lives have been accompanied by disasters, and the incremental improvements from this knowledge. In the past, did we experience disaster or failure and quit? Did we abandon our national interests in favor of sniveling political expediency? Did the nations of the world abandon sea travel because of the Titanic disaster? When so many brave men were killed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day during WWII, did we retreat? Did the US abandon space travel after the dual space shuttle disaster — when the ships Challenger and Columbia evaporated before our eyes?

Hell NO!

We grieved the dead, took full measure of the consequences and sought a better way to do things. We took our collective lumps, fixed the problems, re-calibrated our techniques and moved forward. We didn’t retreat — we thought our way out of the problem, and we survived despite the failures and he disasters. Unfortunately, the real world and life are like that.

From here on, before we do any further deep water oil recovery, we need to have a well-thought out method of capping a deep water well if the unthinkable happens, like the explosion and destruction of the Deep Water Horizon oil rig. Isn’t this the most important thing we’ve learned from this tragedy of events? And we desperately need to re-think the manner in which the government ‘regulates’ and ‘restricts’ oil exploration and recovery. Rather than being a tool of political gainsay, the restrictions should focus on safety and economy. Not on cosmetic or NIMBY reasons. We’re presently living through the failings of this flawed thinking.

Until that day happens, then we must substitute shallow water drilling for its highly risky (as we’ve all become oh-so-aware) deep water counterpart. If we are to prosper as a nation and as a people, we need petroleum and petroleum products.

We need to drill baby, drill!