Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Supporting the Troops by Supporting the USO

Since before the United States entered World War II, the USO (United Service Organizations) has been the bridge between the American public and the U.S. military. In times of peace and war, the USO has consistently delivered its special brand of comfort, morale and recreational services to the military. The USO, a congressionally chartered, private, nonprofit organization, relies on the generosity of individuals and corporations to support USO activities.

Today, the USO delivers its programs and services at more than 130 locations around the world. In recent years, the USO opened centers in Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan to support service members participating in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, as well as centers in Vicenza, Italy, and at the Dallas/Fort Worth, Raleigh/Durham and Denver International Airports.

Military personnel and family members visited USO centers more than 5.3 million times last year. Services include free Internet and e-mail access, libraries and reading rooms, housing assistance, family crisis counseling, support groups, game rooms and nursery facilities.

What We Do:

The USO is perhaps most famous for bringing top flight performers from Bob Hope to Robin Williams to Kid Rock directly to the Front to entertain the troops. But we also provide essential services that support not only our GIs around the world, but also their families left behind at home.

We hand out pre-paid phone cards so troops can call home for free.

We give them care packages of hard-to find personal items.

Our airport centers provide invaluable travel assistance.

Our mobile canteens can travel virtually anywhere with snacks, games, and internet access.

Our front line centers in Iraq and Afghanistan offer a welcome respite from the stress of combat.

USO Volunteers send troops off when they leave, support them along the way, and welcome them home when they return.

Our special programs benefit the children and families of soldiers overseas.



My dad always said that he got trenchmouth from USO coffee, but he always supported the USO anyway. It's a very worthy organization and is not government supported. They rely on donations to benefit our troops, both oversees and at home. The USO helped bring my brother home from Vietnam when we didn't know whether my dad would live or not (he did, by the way).

We all say we support the troops (whether we support the war or not), but how many of us will put our money where our mouth is? One of the best ways to support the troops is to support the organizations that support the troops.

My question is - Why should any government entity ever be spending taxpayer money on stadiums? There are tickets and promotions and things that raise mucho dinero for franchises. Top players scoop up millions in salary. If big-time sports are not financially viable operations, what could be? And if sometimes owners lack as much money as they might like to spend on a stadium, why should a taxpayer who never watches a game have to pay for it?"

- Paul Jacob of the Sam Adams Alliance


Why do government entities spend taxpayer money on sports stadiums? Because it brings in revenue in the form of....can you guess? Taxes!

Sure, the franchise itself is often, if not always tax-exempt, but the revenue is there. Look at the cost of the ticket, concession stand food and drink, parking tickets, souvenirs like t-shirts, hats, foam fingers and the like. Every one of the them has a tax attached to it.

Then there is revenue that comes to local businesses around the stadium or connected to the stadium. restaurants, hotels, airports, transportation and more make money when a stadium is built in the area. Again, taxes are imposed on the sale or use of something such as food, housing, bus, cab and car rentals. Have you ever gone to another city for anything, much less a sporting event and not bought something? Hello taxes

And don't forget, football stadiums don't have *just* football played there. They are also used for rock concerts, Billy Graham crusades, political events, and other events I can't think of right now. And what do they *sell* at these events? Tickets, food and drink, souvenirs, and so forth - the same things they usually sell at sports events, except geared to the current event.

There it is in a nutshell...tax revenue. Invest in the team by giving money or tax-exempt status (or at least a sweetheart of a tax discount) and the city, county, state, and Federal government enjoy of having the sporting venue that you, the taxpayer will pay for buy buying the ticket, the parking ticket, the hot dog, nachos, and beer (or whatever you prefer), the t-shirt or hat, to the event.

Just remember...follow the money trail.. Not even a government entity is going to allow a sports venue to be built unless the bottom line is enhanced.

"Megan Kristen Lewis of the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat thinks is 'responsible' is to put global positioning tracking devices (GPS) in every gun," writes blogger Warner Todd Huston over at NewsBusters. "That way the government could track down your firearm if it is 'stolen' or used in a crime."

Read all about this latest stupid idea by the gun-grabbers

Tallahassee Democrat

I wonder if Ms. Lewis has thought about putting GPS devices in children so they can be tracked if lost or stolen.

"Americans of all political parties have signed the 'Drill Here, Drill Now' petition. Here's what they're saying: The 1.1 million Americans who have signed the petition are appealing to Congress to allow environmentally responsible ways to produce more energy here, at home.

"They're not calling for higher taxes on oil companies. They're not blaming foreigners for our energy problems. They're not begging the Saudis to sell us more oil. And so my message to the party that controls Congress is this: The American people have spoken. Are you listening?

"Through our polling at American Solutions we have long known that a whopping 81 percent of Americans support developing more domestic energy, including oil and coal. And this 81 percent majority is made up of 85 percent of the Republicans, 83 percent of the independents and 76 percent of the Democrats surveyed."

- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

Monday, June 23, 2008

Big Oil Appears Before Big Brother

Executives from the five top US Oil companies appeared before the Judiciary Committee faced Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill), who asked, "Where is the corporate conscience?"

The senators only wanted to discuss the public anger over $4-a-gallon gasoline while the executives tried to debate new areas for drilling.

I just paid $59.90 to fill my own gas tank yesterday. It wasn't pleasant by any means. I kept flashing back to my anger at paying $1.99 for a gallon of gas. Oh, for the good old days.

"People we represent are hurting, the companies you represent are profiting," Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told the executives. Gee...a company in business to make a profit. What a concept!

I hate the high price we're paying for oil these days, but businesses are in business to make a profit. That's why the founders of the company went into business. Some businessmen (businesspeople? Nah, not gonna be PC, you know what I mean) will use a business that is just getting by to offset a business that is making a profit. That's economics.

Big Oil is making too much of a profit? Who can say how much is too much? Price too high? I can say that about any business, even one that is about to close down.

Do you want to tell the Avon Lady that she's making too much money? How about the Girl Scouts? The person (adult or kid) who delivers your newspaper? I'm not being facetious, if we start telling businesses that they're making too much money, what's to stop government there?

The way to lower gas prices is to stop our dependence on foreign oil. And to do that, we must start drilling places that we consider to be almost sacred, we must build more refineries and we have to get rid of the onus of the current tax structure.

Oh, that brings up taxes. Some are suggesting levying high taxes on Big Oil. Who do you think pays the taxes levied on businesses? It's not the business, they pass all expenses off to...the consumer. So if higher taxes are imposed, they'll just include it in the price of doing business and you and I will pay it. Businesses do not pay taxes...the consumer does. Remember that. It's Economics 101.

Getting back to drilling and building refineries. Okay, one argument against is that it will take years to see the result of drilling and refining because we have to start drilling and build those new refineries (note: did you know it's been over 25 years since the last oil refinery was built?). Guess what? If we had started drilling and building, oh, even ten years ago, we'd be ten years closer to seeing the petroleum products coming out of the refineries than we are now.

And where should we drill? ANWR comes to mind. It's not the pristine area that liberal treehuggers want you to believe. ANWR is an area the size of South Carolina and the drilling area is a tiny part of that. Here's a map you may need to see:

And it's not the pristine, caribou nature park you have been led to believe it is. Most of the year it's just ugly tundra, no animals to be seen. I used to have pictures, but I've lost them somewhere. If I ever find them, I'll post them to show you just what ANWR really looks like.