Saturday, May 22, 2004

Fair and Balanced

What have you been hearing on the news and in newspapers lately about Iraq? Not the war in particular, just about Iraq itself. Have you heard that the economy is improving? Did you know that shopping commerce is up? How about new schools and houses being built? Have you heard about new electric service and satellite TV?

I'll bet you haven't heard any of this, especially if you watch network news or mainstream newspapers. The only news fit to print or broadcast seems to be the bad things that are happening. Especially photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison. Don't get me wrong. Those things happened. Do you know when the abuse happened? Last fall. Almost a year ago. But photos are still coming out.

It's despicable that American military personnel was involved. There are some who are supporting the few people involved in this disgrace because they were using tactics designed to get information, or to "soften" them into giving information. Sorry, I can't buy that. Wrong is Wrong period. The object, as I understand, of the military police, in prison situations at least, is the same as civilian corrections officers in the US: care and custody. Keep the prison secure (custody) and be sure that they are not mistreated.

When we mistreat prisoners, whether they are enemy combatants, or being held as material witnesses, we lower ourselves to the level of our enemies. We should take the high road. I'm not saying we should treat them like kings; far from it. But there is no need to treat anyone as they were in Abu Ghraib.

I'm getting off my point. The networks and mainstream newspapers should understand that they are oversaturating the public with Abu Ghraib. The American public will just get tired of hearing of, and seeing it. Show us that the investigation was done, the people involved have been or are being sanctioned, and get on with the next story.

Dwelling only on one side, the negative, is counter-productive. It gets old, it gets boring, and the American public starts to tune it out. Conversly, reporting only the good news can be just as bad. People start wondering what's wrong and what's being hidden.

My point is this: tell us what's wrong, but show us what's right, too. That's fair and balanced. And keeps the public coming back for more.
Oil Consumption

Pop Quiz

1. Do you have any idea of how many barrels of oil we use each and every day?
2. What percentage of our oil is imported from Saudi Arabia?
3. Where does the other 85% of our oil come from?
4. When was the last oil refinery built in the US?
5. Is gasoline the only thing refined from imported oil?


1. 20 million barrels.
2. 15%
3. The US, Canada, and Mexico
4. 20 years ago
5. No - heating oil is also refined from imported oil

We can increase our oil imports to 100 million or 200 million barrels a day, but we don't have enough refineries to refine that oil into gasoline. If we don't have the refineries, it doesn't make any difference how many barrels we send to the refineries, they can't do anything with it.

I just learned these facts myself. Interesting.

I don't know the answer to this, but here's a question: how much of the price of gas per gallon is comprised of taxes? I know there's federal, state, and local taxes involved.

Here's a question I do know the answer to: what US senator voted to increase gasoline taxes by $.50 per gallon? It was defeated, but who voted for it?

Answer: John Kerry - but maybe he voted for it before he voted against it.
Gas Prices

For a change, I didn't receive the email that's going around suggesting another gas boycott. The first one I got, I sort of boycotted the pumps, but it was because I had just filled up and didn't need gas on the suggested day.

After thinking about it, I realized that boycotting gas pumps for one day is stupid. If you follow the boycott, you'll gas up the day before, or the day after. What difference will that make? The gas companies still get their money, whether it's the day before, the day of, or the day after the boycott. It won't make a difference.

I paid $1.899 for gas last week and it's already $1.999 and higher here. So by the time I have to fill up again next week, I'll pay $2.00 a gallon. I have to, I need the gas to get to work. No gas, no work, no paycheck. I won't have to worry about boycotting gas pumps because I won't have a car to get to the work I no longer have. Much less a house, food, and so on.

The only way to bring gas price down is to either increase supply or lower demand. The American people aren't going to give up their SUV's for smaller, more economical vehicles. The American pyche tells us that bigger is better. If I have a bigger vehicle (or anything else), I'm doing well. Now, before you go off on safety and so on, that's not the issue here - that's one of the excuses for buying the bigger vehicles.

I drive a van. In my case, I bought the van because it's easier for my husband to get in and out of because of his physical limitations. He also has a van, but we've had car problems and been down to one vehicle. I need to know that if that happens again, no matter which car is down, he'll be able to get in and out of it with as little difficulty as possible.

So, back to the laws of supply and demand. I've established that the American public isn't going to downsize their vehicles. That leaves supply and my next point. We need to become less dependent on foreign oil supplies. It's just that simple. We need to be drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and in ANWR.

For Florida readers, there is an ad campaign telling you that drilling off the coast of Florida is going to kill marine life and destroy the environment. Listen carefully, there is no drilling going on off the coast of Florida right now. There are no oil rigs, no drilling, no nothing. The ads are a lie. Don't believe everything you hear just because it's on TV. If you don't believe me, and I hope you don't believe it just because you read it here, prove it to yourself and do your own research.

As for ANWR, we're talking about a postage stamp sized area in the Alaskan wilderness. It was explained to me like this: look at the fingernail on your little finger. See the size of it? Now compare it (sizewise) to the rest of your body. Not very big, is it? Now, if you hit that fingernail with a hammer, it would hurt the finger, but would your toe be effected? Not unless you dropped the hammer on it when you hit the finger. Does the fingernail eventually return to normal? Unless there are other considerations, such as diabetes, yes, it will regain it's color, shape, and former appearance.

There aren't many animals in that area in the first place and in the second place, they would simply move to another area. What happens when a developer starts building new houses in a pasture? The snakes, squirrels, and whatever other animals are there move. When the houses are finished (and even before) the animals start coming back. It happens every day. When the pipelines are in place, the animals will come back and cozy up to the pipelines for warmth, just like they now do along the Alaskan pipeline. That didn't hurt the wild life. In fact, I seem to remember that because of the heat generated by the pipeline, the wildlife returned to the area in higher numbers. I could be wrong, so don't quote me.

I am all for saving the environment, but, drilling in ANWR isn't going to create the environmental disaster that the environmentalists would have you believe.

Iraqi Wedding Party

You've all heard the story about how US Forces fired on a wedding party in Iraq killing between 40-45 people. This may be the rest of the story...

An investigation uncovered these facts:

This party was
1. Ten miles from the Syrian border
2. 80 miles from the nearest city
3. 3:00 in the morning

I'm ignoring that there were 30 men of military age and that there were shotguns, handguns, Kalishnikov rifles and machine guns found at the scene. I'm ignoring these "facts" because wedding parties usually involve relatives. I don't know what constitues "military age" in Iraq, but it could be anywhere from 15-60. And the weapons? I understand that Iraqis fire weapons into the air in celebration. Of anything, including weddings, government overthrows and everything in between.

The time can also be explained. Most weddings I've been to break up long before 3 am, but that's in the US. Maybe Iraqi weddings go on for hours. Seems to me I've heard they can go on for days, but maybe that's another culture.

I have questions about the location, however. I don't know many wedding parties that are held 80 miles from the nearest city. That combined with being only 10 miles from the Syrian border gives me pause for thought.

I did hear a listener on the Boortz show ( say that he had spent time in Iraq and weddings are held only on Thursday. This happened on Wednesday. Don't know if what the caller said is true; no one called in to confirm or challenge the statement (that I heard anyway). Until I hear this is incorrect, I'll assume it to be true. If so, this opens up another can of worms and combined with the location, well, my questions stand.

Thursday, May 20, 2004


My brother called this evening to let me know I'm a great (grand?)-aunt again! Of course, I always knew I was a "great" aunt, but this isn't about me.

Nephew Jeffrey is the proud father of Nicholas Olin. Nicholas was born at Sarasota Memorial Hospital this evening about 730p (EST). He weighed in at a hefty 10-plus pounds! God bless Mom Nikki! I love the name Nicholas and Olin is for my dad who passed away almost two years ago. Nicholas is the third generation to bear the middle name of Olin. The 27th would have been Dad's 84th birthday. Hugs and kisses all around!

Brother John is obviously a proud grandpa (or Papa John, as he is called by the other grandkids). Nicholas is local, so we can all have a hand in spoiling him! And I plan to do my fair share! It's so much easier to do when they are right here.

Welcome Nicholas! It really is a great world!

Okay, Todd and Nicole - it's your turn!

Other News

In my quest to keep this site interesting, you will note that I've added a feature to the sidebar. I found a site that will allow a news feed. It may stay, it might not, but I thought it would be an interesting feature. Let me know what you think.