Thursday, July 31, 2008

Don't Pick A Fight With An Old Man

#1 Gun rule:

'Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you.'

Well, here's the proof.

The 71-year-old retired Marine who opened fire on two robbers at a Plantation, FL, sub-shop late Wednesday, killing one and critically wounding the other, is described as John Lovell, a former pilot for two presidents. He doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke, he works out everyday. Lovell was a man of action Wednesday night.

According to Plantation police, two masked gunmen came into the Subway at 1949 N. Pine Rd. Just after 11 p.m. There was a lone diner -- Lovell, who was finishing his meal.

After robbing the cashier, the two men attempted to shove Lovell into a bathroom and rob him as well. They got his money. But then Lovell pulled his handgun, opened fire, shooting one of the thieves in the head and chest and the other in the head.

When police arrived, they found one of the men in the shop. K-9 units found the other in the bushes of a nearby business. They also found cash strewn around the front of the sandwich shop according to Detective Robert Rettig of the Plantation Police Department.

Both men were taken to Broward General Medical Center, where one, Donicio Arrindell, 22, of North Lauderdale died. The other, 21-year-old Frederick Gadson of Fort Lauderdale is in critical but stable condition.

A longtime friend of Lovell was not surprised to hear what happened. "He'd give you the shirt off his back, and he'd be mad if someone tried to take the shirt off your back,'' he said. Lovell worked as a pilot for the Marines, flying former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

He later worked as a pilot for Pan Am and Delta. Lovell is not married and does not have children. He is not expected to be charged, authorities said ''He was in fear for his life,'' Rettig said. 'These criminals ought to realize that most men in their 70's have military backgrounds and aren't intimidated by idiots.

The only thing he could be charged with is participating in an unfair fight. One 71 -year young Marine against two punks.

Two head shots and one center-body-mass shot - good shooting! That'll teach them not to get between a Marine and his meal. Don't you just love a story with a happy ending?

(Florida law allows law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon.)

George W.'s War

No one likes war. War is a horrific affair, bloody and expensive. Sending our men and women into battle to perhaps die or be maimed is an unconscionable thought.

Yet some wars need to be waged, and someone needs to lead. The citizenry and Congress are often ambivalent or largely opposed to any given war. It's up to our leader to convince them. That's why we call the leader 'Commander in Chief.'

George W.'s war was no different. There was lots of resistance to it. Many in Congress were vehemently against the idea. The Commander in Chief had to lobby for legislative approval.

Along with supporters, George W. used the force of his convictions, the power of his title and every ounce of moral suasion he could muster to rally support. He had to assure Congress and the public that the war was morally justified, winnable and affordable. Congress eventually came around and voted overwhelmingly to wage war.

George W. then lobbied foreign governments for support. But in the end, only one European nation helped us. The rest of the world sat on its hands and watched.

After a few quick victories, things started to go bad. There were many dark days when all the news was discouraging. Casualties began to mount. It became obvious that our forces were too small. Congress began to drag its feet about funding the effort.

Many who had voted to support the war just a few years earlier were beginning to speak against it and accuse the Commander in Chief of misleading them. Many critics began to call him incompetent, an idiot and even a liar. Journalists joined the negative chorus with a vengeance.

As the war entered its fourth year, the public began to grow weary of the conflict and the casualties. George W.'s popularity plummeted. Yet through it all, he stood firm, supporting the troops and endorsing the struggle.

Without his unwavering support, the war would have surely ended, then and there, in overwhelming and total defeat.

At this darkest of times, he began to make some changes. More troops were added and trained. Some advisers were shuffled, and new generals installed.

Then, unexpectedly and gradually, things began to improve. Now it was the enemy that appeared to be growing weary of the lengthy conflict and losing support. Victories began to come, and hope returned.

Many critics in Congress and the press said the improvements were just George W.'s good luck. The progress, they said, would be temporary. He knew, however, that in warfare good fortune counts.

Then, in the un likeliest of circumstances and perhaps the most historic example of military luck, the enemy blundered and was resoundingly defeated. After six long years of war, the Commander in Chief basked in a most hard-fought victory.

So on that historic day, Oct. 19, 1781, in a place called Yorktown, a satisfied George Washington sat upon his beautiful white horse and accepted the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, effectively ending the Revolutionary War.

What? Were you thinking of someone else?
An Open Letter

To corporations that use automated dialing. I have wasted enough time answering my telephone only to wait until your customer service representative finishes with one call and is assigned to me. Take my number off your list and don't bother to call me again because I won't be buying your product.

I don't blame the CS reps as they are only doing a job, just like I do mine. I actually feel sorry for them having to deal with the public. But on the other hand, they are the ones making cold calls trying to sell a product. It's a job they chose and for which they receive a paycheck and some sort of benefit. Don't tell me this is the only job they could find. Even in this job market, I'd rather be flipping burgers at the corner fast food restaurant than working as a telemarketer.

I just went ballistic on a woman just trying to do her job. I'm tired of wasting my time answering the phone then waiting for someone to come on the line to offer me some great deal. I explained how tired I am of wasting my time this way; that I know it's an automated system and not at all her fault (but she's the one who will have to deal with my anger). I went on to explain that my time is as valuable as hers and that, in my opinion, it's very rude to call someone to sell them something and then to make them wait while someone on the other end picks up. It does little to make me want to buy their product. It was about that time she broke in telling me it was an automated system and the reps don't even know the customer has been waiting. I have no idea what else she had to say as I hung up about that time when I couldn't get in another word. I know she's probably calling me everything but a Child of God, and I really don't blame her. However, she's the one who is getting the paycheck for that job and she either needs to deal with it, tell me off as she tried to do, turn me over to a supervisor, or quit that God forsaken job.

Automated dialing and the automated telephone system should both be delegated to the deepest expanses of Hell as they are agents of Satan.
McCain backs off his no-new-tax pledge
Associated Press
July 29, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain drew a sharp rebuke Monday from conservatives after he signaled an openness to a higher payroll tax for Social Security, contrary to previous vows not to raise taxes of any kind.

Speaking with reporters on his campaign bus on July 9, he cited a need to shore up Social Security, saying: "I cannot tell you what I would do, except to put everything on the table."

He went a step farther Sunday with his reponse on a nationally televised talk show to a question about payroll tax increases.

"There is nothing that's off the table. I have my positions, and I'll articulate them. But nothing's off the table," McCain said. "I don't want tax increases. But that doesn't mean that anything is off the table."

That comment drew a strong response Monday from the Club for Growth, a Washington anti-tax group. McCain's comments, the group said in a letter to the Arizona senator, are "shocking because you have been adamant in your opposition to raising taxes under any circumstances."

Indeed, McCain frequently has promised not to raise taxes.

At a July 7 town-hall meeting in Denver, he said voters faced a stark choice between him and Democrat Barack Obama.

"Sen. Obama will raise your taxes," McCain said. "I won't."

In a March 16 interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, McCain said he would cut taxes where possible, and not raise them.

"Do you mean none?" Hannity asked.

"None," McCain replied.

Both candidates have said Social Security's funding formula needs to be changed to ensure the program's long-term viability. Obama has called for imposing a new payroll tax on incomes above $250,000. Currently, only incomes up to $102,000 are subject to the 12.4 percent payroll tax, which employers and employees split evenly.

When Obama announced his plan June 13, McCain's top economic adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, told reporters that as president McCain would not consider a payroll tax increase "under any imagineable circumstance."

McCain has made no specific proposals for Social Security, refusing to rule in or out anything to strengthen the benefit program for retirees and the disabled. Both candidates have said that, if elected, they would try to work out details with Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Asked for an explanation of McCain's latest comments, campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said the Arizona senator "has a clear and demonstrated record of opposing tax increases. John McCain is going to cut taxes" and improve government discipline, he said.

Promises never to raise taxes have bedeviled past Republican officeholders. Before being elected president in 1988, George H.W. Bush said, "Read my lips, no new taxes." But facing severe budget problems, he reneged on the promise. Some conservative groups never forgave him.


McCain will find, as George H W Bush did, that you can't first say you won't raise taxes, then go back on that promise, expect the taxpayers to develop amnesia, then vote for you.

Senator McCain, I say to you as I say to all candidates: pick your stance and stay with it. If you change your opinion, that's your right, but you'd better have a good explanation for taking money out of my paycheck when you first promised you wouldn't.

I might be a stupid American (remember, I'm one of the approximately 262 Americans who Nancy Pelosi apparently thinks needs a keeper), but I still vote.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The political transformation is underway. The world is hungry for change ... or maybe it's just a bunch of screaming Germans hungry for sausages and beer.

Make no mistake: Barack Obama's speech in Berlin's Tiergarten park was one of the most revealing and, frankly, terrifying moments of the campaign so far. We witnessed a man who may very well be the next president of the United States APOLOGIZE to a bunch of foreigners for his own country's failings! He told the crowd of 200,000 that he addressed them "as a fellow citizen of the world" and then dropped this bomb: "I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions."

Apparently lost on Obama and the crowd was the incredible irony that a Nazi flag would be flying over Berlin at this very moment if it weren't for the sacrifices made by the United States and our allies in WWII; hundreds of thousands of Americans died to liberate Europe and prevent the spread of tyranny around the world.

The crowd, of course, was enthralled with the speech. But there's a very simple reason why Obama's been received like a rock star everywhere he goes in Europe: the European people have no desire to see America remain the world's number one power!

Here's the bottom line: The United States can't afford a commander-in-chief who travels to other countries with his hat in his hand and begs for some understanding. We need a president who will stand up for America, not apologize on her behalf. And if Obama had no qualms about delivering this speech to the European public, what's to stop him from doing it in private with Ahmadinejad in Iran?

Say goodbye to America, the superpower; say hello to America, the good global citizen.

From Laura Ingraham


A lot has been made of the comment, "We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions."

Many have said Obama should not apologize for America's actions. Well, while I wouldn't say apologies should or shouldn't be offered, it's true we haven't lived up to our best intentions. May I submit the Bay of Pigs as an example?

That's just one. I won't offer more, but there are others. America, like it's people, isn't perfect. But most of what we've done has been with the best of intentions. We've liberated people from oppressive dictatorships. We've liberated people who were being murdered by their governments. We send aid to countries only to have that aid confiscated by the government and used for purposes other than our intentions. America sees a problem and acts. Europe sees a problem and considers the ramifications of what must be done and who must do it.

We've often been accused of being "the world's policeman", but what country responds when called? And before it's called is ready and waiting for the call? What country gives aid at the drop of a tsunami? What country forgives debts when their own economy is struggling? What country allows ridicule and derision by foreign it's own country? And doesn't throw the person under the jail? What country is it that people want to move to so that their children can have a better life?

No, America isn't perfect, but as imperfect as it is, people want to live here and to achieve the American dream. Our standard of living is such that our poor live as well as or better than the middle class of most European countries.

As imperfect as America is, it's still better than any other country in the world. Bar none.
Random Thought

Isn't it unfortunate that Barak Obama has those initials?

"Barack Obama will not be coming to us," a spokesperson for the US military hospital in Landstuhl announced. "I don't know why." Well, Barack Obama clearly has his priorities in the right place during his time in Germany. A planned visit with wounded U.S. troops at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center was abruptly canceled today, but "citizen of the world" Obama still managed to squeeze in a workout at (where else?) the Ritz Carlton in Berlin. The campaign's pathetic excuse for the change? Obama adviser Robert Gibbs tried to spin the situation faster than Barack Obama on his elliptical machine, claiming it "would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign." Wow, how ethical of him.

Laura Ingraham


I gotta agree with John McCain here: It's never inappropriate to visit the troops.

Those who aren't Obama fans have said he didn't visit the injured troops because the press couldn't go in with him and tape him meeting with and shaking hands with the injured. Others have said he would have known the press couldn't go in because the press is never allowed in the Medical Center - no exceptions.

My question is, if he knew that, or cared about the troops, why didn't he go in anyway? The press could have filmed him going in and coming out and he could have gotten great mileage of his visits with the injured.

I have to believe that he thought an exception to the press ban would be made because he's Barak Obama. When it wasn't, he couldn't be bothered to go in.

Or maybe it cut into his workout time.


Our prayers are with Danielle Bologna, the San Francisco woman who joined us on today's show. Danielle's husband and two sons were senselessly and brutally murdered last month by Edwin Ramos, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador. Thanks to San Francisco's "City of Refuge" policy, Ramos remained in the United States despite TWO prior convictions for gang-related felonies. And as if two felony convictions weren't reason enough to deport him, Ramos was also arrested on a gun charge in March, but authorities again failed to place an immigration hold on him.

The blood of Anthony, Matthew and Michael Bologna is on the hands of San Francisco officials and Mayor Gavin Newsom in particular, a staunch defender of the city's sanctuary policy.

From the ashes of this tragedy we see a real Power to the People opportunity, and over the coming days and weeks we will keep you updated on what you can do to make your voice heard to leaders around the country. In the meantime, click
here to contact Mayor Newsom's office.


I usually don't advocate litigation, but I wonder if Ms. Bologna can sue the City of San Francisco, the mayor, city council, and any others who were involved in making a refuge city of San Francisco. Something must be done to ensure that this tragedy doesn't happen to anyone else.

I saw Ms. Bologna on a TV show and she was absolutely heart-broken. This was a tragedy that should never have happened in the first place. A law suit wouldn't bring her family back, but it might bring some measure of closure that she so desperately needs and may stop this from happening to someone else.

I actually heard a lawyer on one of the TV commentary shows say that it made no real difference that this was an illegal alien; the shooter could have been American-born. What the frick??? We know American-born people kill other people. I thought when I heard it that was a stupid-lawyer type answer when he couldn't bring himself to agree that the "sanctuary city" concept is wrong. He went into automatic lawyer mode and was attempting to shift focus onto another point. We're not talking about "could have been"; we're talking what actually happened. This shooter was an illegal alien and does no good for the illegals who are not committing crimes. Middle-class America sees Ramos as a criminal who benefitted from the "sanctuary city" concept and that's all they see.

As happens, a policy that was meant to do one thing evolved into something else entirely. From what I understand, the policy was meant to protect (illegal alien) kids from being deported and invoked this policy. Unfortunately, in Ramos' case, a policy to help juveniles grew into a policy to shield all illegals aliens.

A good deed never goes unpunished. Unfortunately, it was the Bologna family who faced the punishment.
Kumbaya Falls Flat In Berlin
By Star Parker
July 28, 2008

The headline on the website of German magazine Der Spiegel about Barack Obama's speech in Berlin: "Huge Crowds Left with Mixed Feelings."

Two hundred thousand turned out for the speech, but CNN's Candy Crowley reported an "absence of euphoria" at the event.

As Senator Obama went global with "Yes, we can" and "Change we can believe in" he left at least some of the horde in Berlin scratching their heads. Perhaps these Germans, out to hear what all the excitement was about, were looking for leadership and substance rather than kumbaya.

What they got was the global version of "There is not a White America and a Black America and Latino America and Asian American America -- there is the United States of America."

Obama spoke not just as a "proud citizen of the United States but a fellow citizen of the world."

His message: "The walls between races and tribes, natives and immigrants, Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down."

At least some of the Germans listening to Obama surely sensed there was something problematic with what he was saying. His analogy of the tearing down of the Berlin wall to tearing down all lines of distinction between nations and religions was obviously fractured. The Berlin wall was a political wall that divided one people. It separated Germans from other Germans, a far cry from distinctions between nations and religions that Obama apparently wants to obliterate.

The German, French and British each have a strong sense of national history and identity.

Efforts for a European Union constitution that would establish links in Europe going beyond economics and extending to politics have thus far failed.

Perhaps the realities of Europe delivered an unanticipated surprise to the slick marketing machine driving the Obama presidential campaign.

Unlike in the United States, where you drive coast to coast and hear one language, where national culture is at least as influential and pervasive as regional differences, Europe consists of different countries. When you get to national borders, languages and cultures change.

For Obama, differences seem to be what cause the world's problems. We endlessly hear the story of his mixed-race background and his translation of his personal history into a message of the meaninglessness of difference.

It may come as a surprise to Obama, but for Christians, for Muslims, and for Jews, their differences do not amount to barriers to a better world but sources of meaning that define themselves and the world.

They want to be Christians, Muslims, and Jews. They just want protection. They want to be able to be who they are and live peacefully and securely. Those disturbing this security are the problem. Not the differences.

Which gets to Obama's very problematic idea about freedom.

He does not seem to grasp that the beauty of freedom is its respect for differences and creation of conditions, legal and political, which allow them to exist, flourish, and provide benefits to all. In fact, politicians with agendas to "unify," who think they know who and what everyone should be, are invariably those who threaten freedom.

Obama used the occasion of this speech to apologize to Europe about his country. "We've made a lot of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions." But, covering his bases, he made a point to follow up and assure the crowd that ". . . I know how much I love America."

What every American should demand from Obama is clarification of what, if anything, he sees unique about the America that he claims to loves so much. For a man whose ideal seems to be the global village, with no barriers or differences, is there anything special about the United States that makes it distinct from other nations -- that defines it as uniquely great?

What is the distinction between the "proud citizen of the United States" and the "fellow citizen of the world." Those in Berlin heard none and many went home legitimately confused.


Star Parker is president of CURE, Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education ( and author of three books. She can be reached at parker(at)
Better Than Chewing Gum

During a commercial airline flight a Army Pilot was seated next to a young mother with a baby in arms. When her baby began crying during the descent for landing, the mother began nursing her infant as discreetly as possible. The pilot pretended not to notice, and, upon debarking, he gallantly offered his assistance to help with the various baby-related articles.

When the young mother expressed her gratitude, the pilot responded, "Gosh, that's a good looking baby...and he sure was hungry!"

Somewhat embarrassed, the mother explained that her pediatrician said breast-feeding would help alleviate the pressure in the baby's ears.

The pilot sadly shook his head, and in true pilot fashion exclaimed........"And all these years I've been chewing gum."
The Future of Mastectomies...

From a nurse's perspective:

I'll never forget the look in my patient's eyes when I had to tell them they had to go home with the drains, new exercises and no breast. I remember begging the doctors to keep these women in the hospital longer, only to hear that they would, but their hands were tied by the insurance companies. So there I sat with my patients, giving them the instructions they needed to take care of themselves, knowing full well they didn't grasp half of what I was saying, because the glazed, hopeless, frightened look spoke louder than the quiet 'Thank You' they muttered.

A mastectomy is when a woman's breast is removed in order to remove cancerous breast cells/tissue. If you know anyone who has had a mastectomy, you may know that there is a lot of discomfort and pain afterwards. Insurance companies are trying to make mastectomies an outpatient procedure. Let's give women the chance to recover properly in the hospital for 2 days after surgery.

It takes 2 seconds to do this and is very important. Please take the time and do it really quickly! Please send this to everyone in your address book. If there was ever a time when our voices and choices should be heard, this is one of those times. If you're receiving this, it's because I think you will take the 30 seconds to go to this website and vote on this issue and that you will recruit others to lend their support to this vital cause.

There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It's about eliminating the 'drive-through mastectomy', where women are forced to go home just a few hours after surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.

Lifetime Television has put this bill on their Web page with a petition drive to show your support. Last year over half the House signed on.

PLEASE!! Sign the petition by clicking on the Web site below. You need not give more than your name, e-mail, and zip code number.


This bill is in Congress as HR 119 and S459

AMA Letter to Representative Rosa DeLauro Supporting HR 536, the "Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2001"

May 3, 2001

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
U.S. House of Representatives
2262 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative DeLauro:

On behalf of the American Medical Association (AMA), I am writing to express our appreciation for your introduction of H.R. 536, "Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2001." The AMA applauds this bipartisan effort aimed at providing coverage for the reasonable treatment of breast cancer.

Your bill focuses on the fundamental concept that medical decisions should be made by patients and their physicians, rather than by insurers. The AMA feels that decisions regarding medical matters, including a patient’s length of stay in a hospital, must reside with patients and physicians. Moreover, decisions impacting an individual patient must be determined by the specific circumstances affecting that patient. We believe that H.R. 536 meets these objectives.

The AMA will continue to work to ensure that appropriate medical decision making is left in the hands of physicians in consultation with their patients.


E. Ratcliffe Anderson, Jr., MD


Of course, that was in 2001. The bill was introduced four times (199, 2001, 2003, and 2005) and languished in Congress every time. Online petitions usually don't get very far, as it is impossible to verify the signature of the signers. I think that petitions may have some usefulness in addition to email, telephone calls, snail mail, faxes, and presenting questions about the bill at campaign events, in that they can bring a cause to light. Remember thought, I did a post not long ago about how people will sign petitions not knowing much about the cause.
Citizens for Affordable Energy Update

Dear Fellow Citizens:

Thank you for the many comments and messages of encouragement, advice and concern, that you have sent thus far. Based on my reading of many thousands of your inputs, it is clear to me that Citizens for Affordable Energy touches a nerve among our fellow citizens and offers content and direction which we should vigorously develop and pursue. I look forward to working with you. Our first priorities are education of our citizens and advocacy of sound energy policy through them for the nation. We will need to build understanding and purpose across a broad and deep membership base. For the present time we must hold off asking people to join. We do not yet have tax-exempt status and therefore contributions would not be tax deductible. However we can communicate with one another over the coming weeks and months, awaiting such status.

This thank you extends across the country and touches many seniors, students, managers, workers, unemployed, teachers, truckers, small business owners, farmers, corporate professionals, service workers, and people from all walks of life who live in virtually every state in the nation who have sent emails. And we are only just getting underway.

There are many references in your notes about individuals and organized groups that have turned energy and climate issues into partisanship or ideology. As such they present an image of being either "for" or "against" specific actions and solutions, predicated on their strongly held beliefs. In other words depending where a person stands on matters like drilling for oil and gas or whether or not they believe or accept the predictions coming from climate scientists (on both sides of the issues), there is intolerance for any other point of view. You describe how they tend to "shut down" wider discussion of alternatives, regardless of the short, medium or long term implications and impact on real people during such time frames.

It is my hope and expectation that in the coming months people who are interested in Citizens for Affordable Energy will see our efforts as "pragmatic" and having impact in real time. That is we will be neither partisan as regards any political party nor ideological as regards any particular belief system on the right or on the left. We simply work on what works. We know hydrocarbons, e.g. gas, oil and coal work. Yes, we also know they have emissions implications, which need to be addressed over time. We also anticipate the development and support many alternatives which deserve the chance to work, as well. We also know that we need to distribute energy to where it is needed. And so our practical approach is to be inclusive of sensible solutions that make energy affordable.

In my last note I described briefly the "Four Mores" of Citizens for Affordable Energy. Many have responded to them in a variety of ways. Many also have urged greater urgency, saying that we have no time to waste.

As a reminder the Four Mores include: more energy supply from all sources to improve near, medium and long term affordability; more efficiency in the use of technology and conservation to extend the life of our energy supplies; more environmental stewardship to ensure future generations enjoy the benefits of sustainability; more physical and legal infrastructure to move energy to where consumers need it.

We sense the urgency and will move forward as fast and as prudently as we can. We have had advice from all quarters to "stay out of election politics," if you want to succeed. I believe in that advice. Because the parties and the candidates are essentially locked into their positions for now, we are too small and new to make an impact on them for the next several months. Our timing to launch ourselves nationally between the election outcome and the new Administration and Congress in January should be about right, even though to many of you we will have lost several months. Reality suggests that no new legislation will be forthcoming in those months, given the "politics of partisan paralysis" that surrounds us. And so perhaps we will not lose ground and will instead position ourselves to move quickly with our new government.

Citizens for Affordable Energy will not endorse a Presidential or Congressional Candidate in this election. In the interests of non-partisanship, we will instead support the American political process. This does not however prevent employees or supporters of our Company from personally being involved in or supporting the candidates of their choice. In the spirit of full transparency my own personal funds will support candidates in both parties, including both Presidential candidates, in amounts roughly equal between the two parties. It is the way that I conducted my contributions during my time as President of Shell Oil Company and it enables me to give voice to my non-partisan views then and also in my new role as Founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy.

Some of you have asked how T. Boone Pickens' plan compares to Citizens for Affordable Energy. Certainly our motivations are similar. We should produce our own energy rather than transfer our dollars and wealth to oil-exporting countries in the manner that we are currently doing so. We should invest in our own economy rather than in the development of countries who don't like us. We should develop our own workforce of the future to deliver energy to the U.S. rather than rely on continued imports. We should consider all alternatives, including wind, solar, hydrogen, natural gas, etc. We don't differ too much. So therefore we compliment T. Boone Pickens for the work he is doing. I do however have doubts about the availability of natural gas to fuel tens of millions of automobiles for two reasons: we don't yet have the ability to drill for it in the quantities that would be needed; secondly in countries where compressed natural gas is available, it is not popular with consumers. Also we have so much invested electric power production in natural gas today and plans for more in the years to come that it is questionable whether we can produce enough of it to both power our electricity plants and fuel cars with the same product. We also must be concerned about the price of natural gas for both uses. Currently natural gas prices are four to five times higher than the previous ten year average due to restrictions on drilling and prohibitions on importing liquefied natural gas. We are seeing the price increase in our electric bills today. In addition it would require an entirely new infrastructure in gas stations across the country, at the same time gas station owners are being asked to put in infrastructure for bio-fuels (ethanol and bio-diesel) and possibly hydrogen, for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. At some point gas station owners and car manufacturers may run out of space and ability to supply so many different platforms and products. Another difference is that the goal of T. Boone Pickens' plan to build a wind farm and transmission system in Texas, a worthy cause indeed, is on a for-profit basis. This is his unquestionable right as a business person, and he should be commended for his willingness to fund it himself. Citizens for Affordable Energy alternatively seeks to benefit all Americans on a not-for-profit basis across the entire spectrum of energy supplies. So we support the work that T. Boone Pickens is doing, wish him well and hope that we can work together with him in the future to further refine our respective agenda and priorities.

A few updates in closing: as you may know, Citizens for Affordable Energy is now a registered company in Washington, D.C. So we are legal and can do business. We will begin to seek not-for-profit exemption from the Internal Revenue Service in August with the help of our legal counsel. It may take three to six months to accomplish that objective. Hopefully sooner rather than later. We have turned on legal work to enable memberships in all fifty states and to also enable the establishment of state and local chapters in the months and years to come. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM) who is Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, to explain the purpose of our new company. He was pleased to learn about it and said he hoped we could work together in the future in analyzing and reporting on policy alternatives. Also during August and September we will be seeking capital funding from philanthropic sources to pay for the information technology, marketing and media plans, and critical staff to begin to do work for the future. Likewise in August and September we will be approaching nationally known individuals to invite them to consider becoming Directors of our Company and joining our Board. So as many of you who have started companies and run them well know, the start up work of a new company is time intensive and proceeds as fast as we can obtain the agreements of those we need to help us.

We again thank you for your early support and suggestions and look forward to continuing to keep you informed as we progress.

Best wishes,

John Hofmeister
Founder and CEO

Citizens for Affordable Energy

1302 Waugh Drive No 708
Houston, TX
Judge ruling on Sprint fees is blow to industry

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The fees that cell phone carriers charge customers who break service contracts took a big hit in a California courtroom when a judge said such charges by Sprint Nextel Corp. likely violate state law.

The judge, in a tentative ruling issued late Monday, said Sprint will have to pay $18.3 million to customers who sued over the fees and credit $54.8 million to those who were charged but did not pay the fees.

The same judge is considering other lawsuits against telecommunications companies over their so-called early termination fees, which can range from $150 to $225. This month Verizon Wireless agreed to pay $21 million to settle an identical lawsuit just as trial was starting.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Bonnie Sabraw rejected Sprint's argument that a state court had no business deciding an issue the company said should be left for federal authorities. And while her ruling isn't legally binding outside the state, it cut to the heart of an ongoing debate in other state courthouses and in Washington, D.C., over the fairness of the fees.

The Federal Communications Commission is enduring intense lobbying over how best to handle the fees. Telecommunications companies have asked the FCC to regulate the fees and shield wireless companies from class action lawsuits in state courts, such as the one Sprint is poised to lose.

At a public hearing last month, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin sketched out a plan in which the cancellation fees would be reduced over the life of the contract. Three companies — T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon Wireless — already do that and Sprint said it would begin prorating its fees next year.

Martin said he hoped the commission would make a decision in August.

FCC spokesman Robert Kenney declined to comment on the court decision specifically, but did say it wouldn't affect the agency's plans to address the issue.

Chris Murray, senior legal counsel for Consumers Union, said he hoped the California court decision would "drive a stake through the heart" of the industry's hopes for removing state courts and state regulators from having oversight over the fees.

Scott Bursor, a lawyer for the victorious Sprint customers, added that the "ruling sounds the death knell" for the industry's efforts before the FCC.

Sprint will get a chance to change Sabraw's mind at another court hearing. But it's unlikely the judge will alter her detailed, 37-page tentative ruling, which she issued after presiding over a two-week trial in June.

Customers of six telecommunications companies sued their carriers in 2006 in Alameda County Superior Court alleging that the fees violate California's unfair business practices law.

Wireless carriers say early termination fees are necessary so the companies can recover the cost of mobile phones, which they subsidize when customers sign long-term service contracts.

But the judge in her ruling said the contracts were "implemented primarily as a means to discourage customers from leaving" and that the company gave little regard to the cost of broken contracts.

"There was no evidence at trial that Nextel did a damage analysis that considered the lost revenue from contracts, the avoidable costs, or Nextel's expected lost profits from contract terminations," the judge wrote.

"We"re disappointed," said Sprint spokesman Matthew Sullivan, "but this is a tentative decision and we are focusing now on our response to the court."

Associated Press Writer John Dunbar in Washington contributed to this report.


I don't particularly like Sprint anymore. I had a contact with Sprint which ended after two years. As I recall, in March 2007, I upgraded my phone's services which started a new two-year contract. In October, 2007, I upgraded my phone which extended my contact for two years from that date. In effect, it added approximately seven months onto my existing contract. I have about 14 months to run on my current Sprint contract.

I'm not sure why I stayed with Sprint after my contract ended. If I wanted to upgrade my phone, I could have gone with any cell company to do so. I probably just didn't want to be bothered with starting with another company. Procrastination. Laziness. Whatever.

I've been trying to add a ringer to my phone. It's not that important, so I go to the website when I happen to think about it, usually just after I pay the bill. I just checked my account and found on the overview page that I not only paid the bill on July 24, I overpaid by $.03. I went to my account page and it says I owe the full amount of the bill and it must be paid by July 31, which is tomorrow. So, my account should be considered to be in good standing. At least until one minute past midnight on August 1, when it would be overdue if I hadn't paid on July 24th. So, the upshot is that six days ago I paid my bill, but it isn't showing on my statement. Okay, I can sort of understand that. Sort of.

Since I'm one of the 73 percent of Americans who are stupid (see Pelosi post), I must be pretty stupid. I guess it's stupid to think that once I make a payment, it should show up on my online statement within a reasonable amount of time and that all Sprint departments should know that my account has been paid in full (not to mention overpaid by $.03 for pity's sake!) so that I can purchase a $2.50 ringer. I honestly don't think it's too much to ask.

But then, I'm stupid, remember?


"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN that she would block any vote to allow offshore drilling. This remarkable stance comes in the face of the latest poll that says 73 percent of Americans favor offshore drilling, while only 27 percent oppose it. Nancy Pelosi again displays her contempt for her employer, the American people."

- Columnist Henry Lamb

Update: here is the text of Mr. Lamb's article:

Pelosi Blocks Gas Price Relief

By Henry Lamb
July 29, 2008

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN that she would block any vote to allow offshore drilling. This remarkable stance comes in the face of the latest poll that says 73 percent of Americans favor offshore drilling, while only 27 percent oppose it. Nancy Pelosi again displays her contempt for her employer, the American people. Her arrogance and wrong-headed philosophy have led Congress to an approval rating of a staggering 14 percent, the lowest ever.

The arguments she advances in defense of her position are, at best, silly, and at worst, devious. She says she will not allow additional reserves to be drilled because oil companies already hold leases on 68 million acres of federal land that are not being drilled. She ignores the testimony of oil company representatives who tell her that had they found oil under these lands, they would be pumping it. The oil companies need to drill where the oil is.

There is plenty of oil to drill. Known reserves offshore, in Alaska, the Bakken fields of North Dakota and Montana, and elsewhere, can meet the energy demand for at least 100 years. But Pelosi and her colleagues don't want this oil produced. Pelosi says that it will take 10 years for this new oil supply to reach the pump, and then, it would reduce the price by only two-cents per gallon. This price projection is pure fiction.

As an alternative, she says the president should release 70 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserves, which would provide immediate price relief. Is this silly, stupid, or just more of Pelosi's political doublespeak? This alternative would supply less than four days of the U.S. demand, which would not likely even be noticed at the pump. It would do nothing to solve the underlying problem of too little supply.

Pelosi, like Al Gore, wants to end America's reliance on oil, and switch to new, exotic, yet-to-be-developed energy sources such as wind, solar, hydrogen, and in particular, electric cars. America has been investing heavily in research in all these areas for years. Some significant progress has been made. No one in their right mind -- which includes Al Gore -- can think this new technology can be available within the next ten years, with enough distribution to make hydrogen filling stations and recharging for electric cars viable options. It is certain, however, that by developing known oil reserves, the U.S. energy demand can be met in 10 years, or less.

There is a big disconnect between the rush to convert automobiles to batteries, and the reality that the electricity to recharge those batteries would require a massive new generating capacity. The same flawed excuse of "protecting the environment," has also blocked the expansion of electricity generating capacity. If the self-appointed gods of environmental protection won't allow the expansion of electricity generation, how are the batteries of all these new electric vehicles going to be recharged every night?

Another major disconnect between the rush to replace oil with renewable sources such as wind and solar is the negative environmental impact of these renewable technologies. For example, to replace a single 50-megawatt coal-fired generating plant, which may occupy as much as 20 acres of land,
approximately 3,000 acres of land would have to be occupied by wind turbines. To produce 50-megawatts of electricity from solar panels would virtually cover even more land. How can these protectors of the environment justify blanketing the land with whirling bird-killers and solar panels that block the sun from all forms of life beneath them?

Some environmental purists genuinely want America and the world to return to the stone-age. Nancy Pelosi is no environmental purist. She is a political creature, which is a person so intoxicated by power that the instinct to retain and expand it overwhelms common sense, logic, ethics, morality, or anything else that might get in the way.

By her refusal to even allow debate on proposals to expand oil development -- where oil is known to exist -- she stands like a barricade between thirsty consumers and a new mountain stream. She apparently sees herself as a self-appointed savior; she is, in truth, acting as judge and jury, condemning a nation desperate for more energy to spiraling energy costs for possibly another generation.

This is not a new posture for Democrat leadership. Democrats in the House, the Senate, and the White House have blocked expansion of oil supplies for more than a decade. Had Bill Clinton not vetoed the bill that would have opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge more than a decade ago, gas prices would not be as high as they are today. Millions of jobs would have been created, and every American could have saved the money needlessly paid to foreign sources for oil, simply because one man played God and defied the express will of the people.

Nancy Pelosi is now playing God, standing where Bill Clinton stood more than a decade ago, defying the expressed will of the people by blocking access to the known oil reserves that are so desperately needed by the entire nation.
Henry Lamb is the Chairman of Sovereignty International , and founder of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO).


So much for Democrats governing by poll

Boy, we must be a nation of stupid people. We should get down on our knees and thank God (or whoever or whatever you deem a higher power, if any) that we have people like Nancy Pelosi leading our nation. Something like 262 million people are stupid enough to think that offshore drilling will reduce our dependance on foreign oil.

How stupid can 262 million people be?

"When I worked in the House Republican leadership and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) was a member of the House, I didn't like his style of politics. He seemed unreasonable. He held up legislation. He made us work weekends. He led revolts against the leadership time and time again. He was inconvenient. Now that he is a member of the Senate and I am back in the private sector, paying taxes and worrying about the debt, my view of Coburn has changed. I love the guy.

"Coburn takes his job seriously. He makes his staff actually read the bills. He has a simple rule: If a politician proposes a new law, he demands that the politician also examine what went wrong with the old law. No new laws until we get rid of the old law that hasn't worked. . . . But as everybody knows, it is much easier to start a government program than it is to end a government program. Coburn estimates that the federal government wastes $300 billion a year on programs that don't work.

"...Coburn's jihad against wasteful spending should become one of the top causes for Republicans this fall. . . . John McCain can be expected to bring Coburn's anti-waste attitude to the White House when he becomes president. They would make a pretty powerful team. Coburn identifies the pork and McCain vetoes it. For taxpayers who are worried that their tax dollars are being wasted on stupid spending programs that do nothing except give government bureaucrats jobs, Tom Coburn should be seen as a hero."

- John Feehery, The Hill, 7/29/08


Maybe someone should consider Coburn as a VP candidate?'ll never happen. He makes too much sense.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Food for Thought

Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
—T.H. Thompson
More Medicine

Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right, and the other is usually the husband.

When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to take care of first: the truck, the car, e-mail, fishing, always something more important to me.

Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point.

When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors.

I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house. I was gone only a few minutes. When I came out again I handed her a toothbrush

"When you finish cutting the grass," I said, "you might as well sweep the driveway."

The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.

"Love is contagious, we get it from each other"

As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open. The old man was looking at the engine.

I put my groceries away in my car and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty-five feet away. I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm, walking towards the old man.

The old gentleman saw him coming too and took a few steps towards him. I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade and then turn back to the old man and I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying, 'You shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age.' And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine. He then went to his wife and spoke with her and appeared to tell her it would be okay.

I had seen enough and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight and as I got near him I said, 'Looks like you're having a problem.' He smiled sheepishly and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around I saw a gas station up the road and told the old gentleman that I would be right back.

I drove to the station and went inside and saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them and related the problem the old man had with his car and offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him. The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife.

When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem(overheated engine), I spoke with the old gentleman. When I shook hands with him earlier he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, 'What outfit did you serve with?' He had mentioned that he served with the first Marine Division at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. He had hit all the big ones and retired from the Corps after the war was over.

As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was s topped by me and I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card. He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it and I stuck it in my pocket.

We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye's to his wife. I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then, that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me and I said I would and drove off.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long, time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name......... 'Congressional Medal of Honor Society.'

I sat there motionless looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together, because one of us needed help. He was an old man alright, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage and an honor to have been in his presence.

America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall.

Author unknown

True story? I have no idea, and frankly, I don't care. It's a good story and one we all need to think about. Think? About what?

About whether you are like the three men who came to the aid of the fourth, or whether you're like the guy who drove away without helping.

Oh, did you notice that I emphasized the word "men" and called another male a "guy"? I did that because a "man" steps up and does the right thing, which in this case was at least offering to help another human being. The nicest thing I could think of to call the other male was a "guy".

I don't consider him a "man".
They Say They Have No Agenda

From email (warning: the following has been verified as a hoax [aka: a lie]. I decided to allow the post to remain to show what people will do to make points for or against a candidate. The point is, don't believe everything you get in email, even if it comes from a source you normally trust or sounds like it could be true. That's one reason these hoaxes stay alive: because they give the apperance of being true):

My niece, Katelyn, stationed at Baluud, Iraq was assigned, with others of her detachment, to be escort/guard/watcher for Martha Raddatz of ABC News as she covered John McCain's recent trip to Iraq . Katelyn and her Captain stood directly behind Raddatz as she queried GIs walking past. They kept count of the GIs and you should remember these numbers. She asked 60 GIs who they planned to vote for in November. Fifty-four said John McCain, 4 for Obama, and 2 for Hillary.

Katelyn called home and told her Mom and Dad to watch ABC news the next night because she was standing directly behind Raddatz and maybe they'd see her on TV. Mom and Dad of course, called and emailed all the kinfolk to watch the newscast and maybe see Katelyn. Well, of course, we all watched and what we saw wasn't a glimpse of Katelyn, but got a hell'uva view of skewed news. After a dissertation on McCain's trip and speech, ABC showed 5 GIs being asked by Raddatz how they were going to vote in November; 3 for Obama and 2 for Clinton. No mention of the 54 for McCain.


They say they have no agenda, but when they skew the news like this, it only proves the point that they do. The media thinks the public is too stupid to see what they are doing, but they're wrong. We see it and that's one reason why they didn't get Kerry elected in 2004.

There's an old saying I heard throughout my youth, "numbers don't lie, but liars can figure."

I'll leave it to you to decide what numbers and who's figuring.


I've been advised that this is a hoax. I should have known; it has all the earmarks of a fake and I should have spotted it in a New York minute. I normally check these out at, but I dropped the ball on this one. No excuse, I perpetuated an Internet hoax.

Thanks to both who left comments advising me of my mistake. I'll be wiping egg off my face for sometime.

I also misquoted that old adage. It should be: Figures (not numbers) don't lie, but liars can figure.

I still stand by what I said about the media (or anyone) who skew the news to "prove" their point, though. It doesn't matter what side of the aisle you sit on, or the reason you do so; if you skew the news, you are doing a disservice to your readers, listeners, or viewers. And, as in the case of fraudulent email, once it gets out there, it goes on forever.

Update: Here is more from showing Obama meeting with the troops in Afghanistan
Op-Ed Fuss

Below is the op-ed piece by Senator McCain that the New York Times declined to print even though they had printed an op-ed by Senator Obama on the same topic. Maybe they wanted something different from McCain?? I don't feel the need to post the op-ed by Senator Obama as his was printed. And, no, I'm certainly not comparing this blog to the NYT - for reasons which should be obvious to just about anyone.

Op-ed by Sen. John McCain

In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation "hard" but not "hopeless." Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80% to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.

Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there," he said on January 10, 2007. "In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that "our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence." But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.

Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, "Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress." Even more heartening has been progress that's not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City-actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.

The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama's determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale. In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, he offered his "plan for Iraq" in advance of his first "fact finding" trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months. In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance.

To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.

Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military's readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five "surge" brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his "plan for Iraq." Perhaps that's because he doesn't want to hear what they have to say. During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be "very dangerous."

The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we've had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the "Mission Accomplished" banner prematurely.

I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war-only of ending it. But if we don't win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.

Copyright 2008 GOPUSA News. All rights reserved.
NASA Sees Arctic Ocean Circulation Do an About-Face
November 13, 2007

PASADENA, Calif. – A team of NASA and university scientists has detected an ongoing reversal in Arctic Ocean circulation triggered by atmospheric circulation changes that vary on decade-long time scales. The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.

The team, led by James Morison of the University of Washington's Polar Science Center Applied Physics Laboratory, Seattle, used data from an Earth-observing satellite and from deep-sea pressure gauges to monitor Arctic Ocean circulation from 2002 to 2006. They measured changes in the weight of columns of Arctic Ocean water, from the surface to the ocean bottom. That weight is influenced by factors such as the height of the ocean's surface, and its salinity. A saltier ocean is heavier and circulates differently than one with less salt.

The very precise deep-sea gauges were developed with help from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the satellite is NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace). The team of scientists found a 10-millibar decrease in water pressure at the bottom of the ocean at the North Pole between 2002 and 2006, equal to removing the weight of 10 centimeters (four inches) of water from the ocean. The distribution and size of the decrease suggest that Arctic Ocean circulation changed from the counterclockwise pattern it exhibited in the 1990s to the clockwise pattern that was dominant prior to 1990.

Reporting in Geophysical Research Letters, the authors attribute the reversal to a weakened Arctic Oscillation, a major atmospheric circulation pattern in the northern hemisphere. The weakening reduced the salinity of the upper ocean near the North Pole, decreasing its weight and changing its circulation.

"Our study confirms many changes seen in upper Arctic Ocean circulation in the 1990s were mostly decadal in nature, rather than trends caused by global warming," said Morison.

"While some 1990s climate trends, such as declines in Arctic sea ice extent, have continued, these results suggest at least for the 'wet' part of the Arctic -- the Arctic Ocean -- circulation reverted to conditions like those prevalent before the 1990s," he added.

The Arctic Oscillation was fairly stable until about 1970, but then varied on more or less decadal time scales, with signs of an underlying upward trend, until the late 1990s, when it again stabilized. During its strong counterclockwise phase in the 1990s, the Arctic environment changed markedly, with the upper Arctic Ocean undergoing major changes that persisted into this century. Many scientists viewed the changes as evidence of an ongoing climate shift, raising concerns about the effects of global warming on the Arctic.

Morison said data gathered by Grace and the bottom pressure gauges since publication of the paper earlier this year highlight how short-lived the ocean circulation changes can be. The newer data indicate the bottom pressure has increased back toward its 2002 level. "The winter of 2006-2007 was another high Arctic Oscillation year and summer sea ice extent reached a new minimum," he said. "It is too early to say, but it looks as though the Arctic Ocean is ready to start swinging back to the counterclockwise circulation pattern of the 1990s again."

Morison cautioned that while the recent decadal-scale changes in the circulation of the Arctic Ocean may not appear to be directly tied to global warming, most climate models predict the Arctic Oscillation will become even more strongly counterclockwise in the future. "The events of the 1990s may well be a preview of how the Arctic will respond over longer periods of time in a warming world," he said.

Grace monitors tiny month-to-month changes in Earth's gravity field caused primarily by the movement of water in Earth's land, ocean, ice and atmosphere reservoirs. As such it can infer changes in the weight of columns of ocean water. In contrast, the pressure gauges installed on the sea floor in 2005-2006 directly measured water pressure at the bottom of the ocean. Gauge data were remotely recovered during the first year of the study.

"The close agreement between the North Pole pressure gauges and Grace data demonstrates Grace's potential for tracking world ocean circulation," said study co-author John Wahr of the University of Colorado, Boulder.

"Satellite altimeters, such as NASA's Jason, are ideal for studying ocean circulation but can't be used at Earth's poles due to ice cover," said study co-author Ron Kwok of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Our results show Grace can be a powerful tool for tracking changes in the distribution of mass in the Arctic Ocean, as well as its circulation."

Grace is a partnership between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The University of Texas Center for Space Research, Austin, has overall mission responsibility. JPL developed the twin satellites. DLR provided the launch, and GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Germany, operates Grace. For more on Grace: .

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Other media contacts for this study include: Peter West, National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va., 703-292-7761, ; and Jim Scott, University of Colorado, 303-492-3114, .

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Their Fair Share
July 21, 2008; Page A12

Washington is teeing up "the rich" for a big tax hike next year, as a way to make them "pay their fair share." Well, the latest IRS data have arrived on who paid what share of income taxes in 2006, and it's going to be hard for the rich to pay any more than they already do. The data show that the 2003 Bush tax cuts caused what may be the biggest increase in tax payments by the rich in American history.

The nearby chart shows that the top 1% of taxpayers, those who earn above $388,806, paid 40% of all income taxes in 2006, the highest share in at least 40 years. The top 10% in income, those earning more than $108,904, paid 71%. Barack Obama says he's going to cut taxes for those at the bottom, but that's also going to be a challenge because Americans with an income below the median paid a record low 2.9% of all income taxes, while the top 50% paid 97.1%. Perhaps he thinks half the country should pay all the taxes to support the other half.

Aha, we are told: The rich paid more taxes because they made a greater share of the money. That is true. The top 1% earned 22% of all reported income. But they also paid a share of taxes not far from double their share of income. In other words, the tax code is already steeply progressive.

We also know from income mobility data that a very large percentage in the top 1% are "new rich," not inheritors of fortunes. There is rapid turnover in the ranks of the highest income earners, so much so that people who started in the top 1% of income in the 1980s and 1990s suffered the largest declines in earnings of any income group over the subsequent decade, according to Treasury Department studies of actual tax returns. It's hard to stay king of the hill in America for long.

The most amazing part of this story is the leap in the number of Americans who declared adjusted gross income of more than $1 million from 2003 to 2006. The ranks of U.S. millionaires nearly doubled to 354,000 from 181,000 in a mere three years after the tax cuts.

This is precisely what supply-siders predicted would happen with lower tax rates on capital gains, dividends and income. The economy and earnings would grow faster, which th
ey did; investors would declare more capital gains and companies would pay out more dividends, which they did; the rich would invest less in tax shelters at lower tax rates, so their tax payments would rise, which did happen.

The idea that this has been a giveaway to the rich is a figment of the left's imagination. Taxes paid by millionaire households more than doubled to $274 billion in 2006 from $136 billion in 2003. No President has ever plied more money from the rich than George W. Bush did with his 2003 tax cuts. These tax payments from the rich explain the very rapid reduction in the budget deficit to 1.9% of GDP in 2006 from 3.5% in 2003.

This year, thanks to the credit mess and slower growth, taxes paid by the rich may fall and the deficit will rise. (The nonstimulating tax rebates will also hurt the deficit.) Mr. Obama proposes to close this deficit by raising tax rates on the rich to their highest levels since the late 1970s. The very groups like the Congressional Budget Office and Tax Policy Center that wrongly predicted that the 2003 investment tax cuts would cost about $1 trillion in lost revenue are now saying that repealing those tax cuts would gain similar amounts. We'll wager it'd gain a lot less.

If Mr. Obama does succeed in raising tax rates on the rich, we'd also wager that the rich share of tax payments would fall. The last time tax rates were as high as the Senator wants them -- the Carter years -- the rich paid only 19% of all income taxes, half of the 40% share they pay today. Why? Because they either worked less, earned less, or they found ways to shelter income from taxes so it was never reported to the IRS as income.

The way to soak the rich is with low tax rates, and last week's IRS data provide more powerful validation of that proposition.

Irena Sendlerowa

May 12 marked the death of a 98-year-old lady named Irena.

During WWII, Irena received permission from the Nazis to work in the Warsaw ghetto as a plumbing/sewer specialist.

She had an ulterior motive...

Being German, she knew the Nazis' plans for the Jews and smuggled infants out in the bottom of the large tool box she carried. Larger children were placed in a burlap sack in the back of her truck. Also in the back was a dog that she had trained to bark each time the Nazi guards allowed her out of the ghetto and back in.

The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog, and its barking c overed any noise made by the infants and small children. Irena managed to smuggle out approximately 2,500 children before she was finally caught. When she was captured, the Nazis beat her severely, breaking both her arms and her legs.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the children she smuggled out of that Warsaw ghetto and kept them in a glass jar buried under a tree in her back yard.

After the war, she tried to locate any parents who may have survived so she might reunite the child with its family. Most, of course, did not survive the Holocaust, and the vast majority of the surviving children were placed in foster homes or adopted.

Last year Irena was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but she lost to Al Gore, who won the award for presenting a slide show on Global Warming.

True story.

Check it out at



Apparently, it can't be proven that Irena was even nominated for the Peace Prize as the Committee keeps the names of nominees secret for 50 years. If it is true, the Nobel Committee should be very proud of themselves for the selection of Al Gore.

Sure, a woman who saved 3,000 people from being murdered is less deserving of recognition of any sort than a man who has made his name on a contrived global warming issue which has been pretty well debunked as junk science.

Before anyone gets their boxers in a bunch, while I don't believe in the "global warming" issue, there are problems that need to be addressed such as energy conservation. But in order to address such issues, Al would have to get his own house in order or be labeled a hypocrite. But, that's not the issue of this post. Irena Sendler is.

And they say the Nobel Peace Prize isn't political.