Friday, December 31, 2010

Huskers STUNK

Early yesterday evening, before the Holiday Bowl, my wife asked me if I thought NU would beat You-Dub. I answered that it shouldn’t be a problem except for one thing. I wondered in the Huskers wanted to be in San Diego, playing in a mid-tier bowl game after winning the Big-12 North and giving UO all it could handle in the Big-12 Championship Game. Plus there had been some rumors that the Huskers were supposed to go to the Insight Bowl, which is actually a little higher in stature. Since I don’t live in Omaha anymore I don’t get a read on the team based on news reports.  As the UT/NC game was running long and UW scored I really didn’t think too much about it.  But when ESPN switched over the Holiday Bowl it took me about five minutes to see that NU DID NOT want to be there.  If you take a team that isn’t really interested in playing and put them against a team that is really hungry, has improved over the season, and wants to avenge an embarrassing lose, it is a recipe for disaster for the “better” team. NU got their butts handed to them and they deserved to lose. I certainly hope the Omaha and Lincoln media take them to task over their performance last night.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

How 'bout Them Catholics, or Baptists, or...

In my profile I mentioned that I was born again, but wasn't going to be "in your face" about it. I also mentioned that occasionally I would post some of my thoughts. As it has been the Christmas Season, the time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, my posting on this subject are a little more plentiful as the mood has come over me. This post is probably the most "preachy" I have gotten.  If you are offended by these types of post, I don't apologize since this is my blog and you have chosen to read it. But I do want you to continue reading my blog so I will keep these posts to a minimum. Or maybe not.

Over the course of my years I have continuously run into people who are opposed to Baptists, or Catholics, or Seventh Day Adventists, or Lutherans. I know there are some philosophical and some doctrinal reason for the one going feuds between the various Christian “clics”. Most believe the only way to heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and dedicate their life to living as close to Him and like Him as possible. But there is always one thing that keeps them arguing. Each church believes this acceptance must come through that particular church. I don’t agree with this at all.

While I most certainly am not a bible scholar, I have done some reading and have listened to the teachings from various pastors and priests. None of them have been able to point out to me the bible says XYZ Church is the only to Christ. The bible does make it clear many times over and through many different verses that there is only one way to heaven and that is to accept and embrace Jesus Christ was sent to earth to die for our sins, he did just that, and then rose into heaven three days later. Because of His unconditional Love for us he was willing to sacrifice so that we may have a path to heaven. We are all sinners and needed this sacrifice to be forgiven.

I personally believe all the rest is just fluff. Whether you use a priest to confess your sins, or ask for forgiveness through prayer in the privacy of your own home doesn’t really matter as long as you believe as John 3:16 instructs. Does it really matter whether you believe Mary was a truly remarkable person to be the mother of God, or if Mary was only a vessel for God? It all comes down to whether you have accepted Jesus Christ die for our sins and you accept Him as you personal Savior.

Before everyone goes off on me over this view, please keep in mind that I am not “humanist” or a “naturist” or whatever “ist” you want to call me. If you read the Bible through, and especially the New Testament, I think you’ll see that God wanted to make everlasting life as simple on us as possible. It certainly wasn’t easy on Him or on Jesus. But for us, it really is simple when you boil it down. You must accept.

This Picture Says It All

I found this image on the JustOneMinute web site. Click the image for a larger pix. I think it says it all about the type of people that populate our military and those that we are fighting against. The article this image came from is also well worth a read regarding the repeal of DADT and how liberal colleges are now going to have to rethink their illegal ban on ROTC units on campus. The colleges can no longer claim their opposition is based on the perception the military is against gays serving. I am sure they will come up with something. Most likely the next hurdle will be our presence in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. After that, it will be because the military wears camouflage uniforms.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Awesome Blizzard Video

This time-lapse video is beyond cool. Really gives you an idea of how fast the snow piled up. If the embed does not work, just click this link then view the video.



December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Terror in Denmark

Looks like the muslim terrorists still have their knickers in a knot over the stupid cartoons published by a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, a few years ago. The police say they have thwarted a possible attack targeting the newspaper publishing room.

The first paragraph from Yahoo News. Click here to read the rest of the story.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Police in Denmark and Sweden said they thwarted a terrorist attack possibly hours before it was to begin Wednesday, arresting five men they say planned to shoot as many people as possible in a Copenhagen building housing the newsroom of a paper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

At the risk of repeating myself, which I will do, there are two issues that immediately pop into my mind.

1)  When will the “moderate” muslims put a stop to this? Where is the cry from the so-called moderates to have the muslim extremists cease and desist? So far, the cry could only be heard in a vacuum.

2)  When will our current administration take the threat seriously? I know this was not on our own soil, but there have been too many attempts in the recent span of time. From the underwear bomber, to Richard Reid, to young bomber in Portland, OR there continues to be one thing that links them all. They are muslim! As long as our current administration continues to call these terrorist anything but muslim extremist (remember man-made disasters?) we will be in danger.

Monday, December 27, 2010

More Christmas Stories

While it doesn’t necessarily qualify as Christian persecution here is an excellent column titled “Stop Offending Me” on WND that covers some of the examples of how Christianity continues to be pushed into a back alley by atheists, non-believers, and muslims. I would be surprised if other than the gift exchange the meaning of Christmas still exists 50 years from now. The Left and Progressives continue to busy themselves with crushing any outward display of celebration of the birth of our Savior.

Repeal of DADT (Update)

I covered the topic of repealing the DADT policy in a previous post. In that post I mentioned there might be some trouble with retention due to the policy change. I also expressed my concerns there will be mandatory “sensitive” training that will forced on military members and I was concerned this would be a one way street.

It seems the fall out from the change in policy towards homosexuals serving in the military has claimed its first casualty. The World Net Daily is reporting a Lt Col in the Army Guard is going to resign his command over this change in policy signed by President Obama last week. He “has asked to be relieved of command rather than order his troops to go through pro-homosexual indoctrination…”

Here is part of the letter he sent to his superior officer as posted on the WND website:

I respectfully request to be relieved of Command of XXX Squadron, XXX Cavalry prior to new policy implementation subsequent to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." My personal religious beliefs and moral convictions do not permit me to treat homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, compatible with military service, any more than adultery, illicit drug use, or criminal activity. I believe this lifestyle runs counter to good order and discipline in military units, and I refuse to sacrifice my belief system, protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, in order to fall in line with the command policy that will logically follow.


He also mentions there is concerns there will be retention issues as this policy get implemented, which could impact readiness and national security.

I'm Back

It was a wonderful Christmas. Went down to my parent house to celebrate the birth of Christ. Although this year was a little bare in terms of gifts, it wasn't bare in terms of celebration. My boys and I read from Luke, Chapter 2 before Christmas Eve dinner while their cousin read a prayer that she had prepared. We ate are traditional clam chowder (from Mo's) and Lasagna made by one of my sisters.

One of the best happenings from this year was my boys did not seem to mind this year was a little bare in the gift department. In years past we have some times gone way overboard. We had prepared them since I retired that unless I was working again we’d be limiting the gifts. They were real troopers, understanding what is important about this time of year.

Of course I ate WAY too much and now I have to get the extra tonnage off. Pants are a little tighter this morning.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Slow Blogging

Since it is Christmas, time to thank the Lord for his sacrifice, and time to spend with family, I will be doing both. Blogging will be slow over the next few days as my family spends time together. Hopefully I post once or twice. However it goes, I just want to say Merry Christmas.

Christian Persecution

As the Christmas season is fully upon us and in the next couple of days we will celebrate the birth of the Savior I think the following note is really timely.

With the recent repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy regarding homosexuals in the US military and the passage of the “hate crimes” bill this past summer I have begun to think that maybe there needs to be law passed that protects Christians from persecution.

Over the past several years there seem to be an uptick in the reporting of incidents involving Christians getting arrested, or injured, and even murdered for speaking their beliefs.

In schools it is completely permissible to have portions of classes that teach about Islam, Homosexuality Kwanza, Buddhism, and other “alternate” religions and lifestyles. But try to teach about Christianity, even just to discuss the history and the foundation (not preaching) has become verboten. Why has the ACLU not come to the defense of Christians when they are being forced-taught about these other beliefs? On the other hand, if a teacher decides that Christianity as history should be taught, the ACLU is all over the school and the teacher. A separation of church and state thing. And if a parent wishes to have their child opt-out of a part of the class that teaches about something they feel goes against their Christian beliefs, they are told the child will be expelled if they don’t attend. But have one person protest a Christian event and the whole Christian event or program is thrown out.   A few years ago a San Diego school actually marched in a Gay Pride event. Click here to read the full story. If a school had marched in a Christian Pride event the school board would have been forced to resign. Heck, schools and gov’t building can’t even put up nativity scenes anymore without the ACLU break down their doors.

Christian pastors have been arrested in Atlanta for protesting a “Gay Pride” event. During this event the pastors were arrested for exercising their 1st Amendment Free Speech rights while several protesters who violated Atlanta city ordinance for nudity got off scot-free. It is kind of interesting to note that while the police treated praying as an act worthy of arrest, a bunch of people walking down the street with little to no clothes on gets the “look the other way” treatment. Adding to this, one is illegal by Atlanta ordinance, the other is not.

There have been times when the Christian protesters were arrested the officers doing the arresting were cheered by the homosexual gathering. You would think that the homosexual crowds would boo the officers for attempting to curb the right of free speech.  After all, if the homosexuals didn’t have the same rights of free speech, then they would not be able to have their rallies. The preachers are protected by the same Constitution that allows the gays to speak their minds at their “Gay Pride” gatherings.

It appears the goal of homosexual community in the western world is to silence the Christian voice through the use of laws that make it illegal to voice an opinion that is counter. They are aware that a strong, faith-based argument that says the Bible does not approve of homosexual activity is a very strong case against them. If you can’t win over the people with your facts and reasoning, make sure to silence those that oppose who can present a strong case against you argument.

In Iraq and Iran, Christians are not allowed to discuss their religious beliefs, under penalty of death. Most recently in Iraq, 68 Christians were killed in a siege on a church in downtown Baghdad. The UN was completely silent about this event as was the rest of the Muslim world. Now an Islamic terrorist group is threatening Christian groups again with further attacks.

In Pakistan a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, has been sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy. It turns out that the discussing she had with fellow workers regarding religion may have been significantly overstated by the accusers. Furthermore, a Muslim cleric has put a $6,000.00 bounty on her head if she is released. Ah, the peaceful, serene Muslim religion. In most Muslim countries it is actually against the law to convert to Christianity. You could lose your property, your children, and even your life by converting to Christianity.

There are some folks in the Islamic community that might say Christian (re; The West) is targeting Muslims for elimination. They do have a point. But they are missing the target by a wide margin. Yes, it is true that many Muslims have been killed by “the West” in recent years, but there is a significant difference in the reasons why. For Muslims, targeting Christians and “the West” is for political-religious reasons. They aren’t coming after us because we are systematically killing them because the Bible says we should. They are coming after us because their religious texts say that they should. But we are going after them as a pre-emptive missions. Go get them before they have a chance to come get us. We are not targeting them because they are Muslim; we are targeting them because they are Muslim extremist bent on our destruction. I think we should make every effort to blunt their attempts to kill us.

It is not a crime to be Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or Shinto in all of the western world, yet it is a crime to be a Christian in near all the countries that are predominately Muslim. Yet, they wish us to respect them, to accept them, and to take them as they are.  All of which we do, and should continue to do. But it is high time they offered Christians the same benefits.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Reason for the Season

The following is from The Kings James Bible, the Gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 2, verse 1-11

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2. (And this taxing was first made when Cy-re-ni-us was governor of Syria)

3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and were sore afraid.

10, And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

This is going to be read by my boys and I prior to Christmas dinner.

Letter From Jesus

I just had to post this link. Please take a look at the wonderful “letter from Jesus”. Thank You Patrice Lewis of the website "Rural Revolution".

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Repeal of DADT

During my career in the military the policy on allowing gays to serve has run nearly its full course. I retired before the most recent changes but I do the remember a time when there was no question that being even perceived as being gay was cause for discharge. It was necessarily full policy, but generally speaking if you were gay regardless of homosexual activity you were asked to leave. Later, during the Clinton administration, the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was passed into law. Basically, you could serve as a gay member, you just couldn’t participate in homosexual activities or declare your homosexuality. And the military operated under those laws until now. While the Clinton policy didn’t completely satisfy the LGBT community, it did allow for gays to serve their country as long as they kept their orientation to themselves. You couldn’t be kicked out of the military just for the perception of being gay as had been the case prior to DADT.

Now that the House and the Senate has repealed the DADT policy and will allow gays to serve openly I am going to look at this from two different angles. First is how will the policy impact the run of the military service member and how different viewpoints will be handled. Secondly, I will be looking at this from a little darker angle.

For the past 17 years, gays have been allowed to serve their country with honor and distinction as long as they kept their orientation to themselves or didn’t become involved with homosexual activity. For the most part, I think the policy worked. It allowed gays to serve and it allowed for those who oppose homosexual activity based on their personal beliefs to remain blissfully unaware. I happen to firmly believe that most members of the military didn’t really mind serving alongside gay individuals. Even those morally opposed know that most of LGBT orientation don’t make a choice to be gay. Even those who opposed the gay lifestyle based on a moral principle didn’t feel it was right to systematically or institutionally discriminate against gays. In fact, I think most of us knew several members who were gay. While serving in Alaska I personally knew a couple of lesbian members whom I called my friends. As far back as my first duty assignment back in the early ‘80s the guy I shared a bathroom with was gay Nobody really got their knickers in knot over them serving. As long as they kept their orientation “close-hold” and were not in your face about it and didn’t want special treatment there were minimal problems.

Now that the DADT policy has been rescinded there is cause for concern about gays receiving special treatment and that could very well cause problems, especially between those opposed based on the morals and the gay member. In the previous paragraph I wrote against systematical or institutional discrimination. But I also vehemently oppose systematic or institution treatment to raise them above the others which this policy will most assuredly do. During the DADT era, we received annual briefings on the treatment of gays. As moved higher in rank, the briefings became more detailed and much heavier handed. While not allowed to serve openly, gays were treated with kid-gloves. There had to be a preponderance of evidence against them to be kicked out. I read somewhere in recent days that 80,000 gays were kicked out during the DADT era. They didn’t mention that to be kicked out for being gay was to be either caught “in the act” or to self identify. So if you didn’t get caught in bed with your same sex partner or didn’t go to the Commander and say “hey, I’m gay”, then there were minimal problems and no cause for termination of service within the military. Even if you were caught, heaven and earth had to be moved to kick the gay member booted. Investigations were initiated, statements taken, and interviews were conducted to determine to validity of any charges. If a military member reported they had seen John walking into the local gay hang out, the reporting member could actually get into trouble. So even though gays were not allowed to serve openly, the system did work in their favor unless they self identified or activity was verified through a painstaking investigation. The last 10 years of my career as a superintendent or additional duty First Sergeant I was in a position to know when “things were happening” when involving people. I can only recall one incident where we kicked out an individual for being gay and he self ID’d.

Once the new policy is put into place by the Pentagon, where do we go from here? How is the military going to handle the influx of personnel serving openly? Are they going to receive special treatment? The military brass will tell you there will be no special treatment for gays, but I can’t see how special treatment is not going to happen. The military population at-large will receive briefing after briefing on how to treat the gay military population. That right there is special treatment. This could lead to rifts developing. For most of person military career they have had it drummed into them that no one is to be discriminated against based on race gender or religious affiliation. But now briefings will be presented on how to interact with gay service members. I don’t recall ever seeing a brief that told women or any other minority group how to interact with white Christian service members.

 Will they have their own dorms? Unless you have served in the military you really have no idea what it is like to live, work, and sleep with the same people 24/7. For most services, the barracks are set up with unit integrity in mind. In other words, if you belong the Alpha Platoon, Charlie Company, you will quite likely bunk with the same people you see while on-duty. Some have said dorm life is similar to dorm life in college, but I disagree. For one thing, if you really don’t get along with your college roommate, it is fairly simple to get moved to another room. Not so in the military. Generally rooms are hard to come by and space is very limited and moving doesn’t happen easily. According to the study conducted by the Service Chiefs, a Commander will have the ability to move someone to maintain good order and discipline. But if there is no place to put them, this option is not worth the paper it is written on. And if special accommodations are made for gay members will special considerations be given to those who oppose based on moral grounds? If the flaming left wing has their way, then the answer is NO. Will the gay service member be briefed that there are those who oppose their lifestyle? Most likely not. Will the gay service member asked (told?) to be understanding that there will be many who oppose the gay lifestyle. Probably not. Based on past experience, this will mostly likely be a one way street. Those who oppose will be forced to adjust, no matter what they believe, even if it is based on God’s demands. There is a definite undercurrent out there from the more liberal portion of society that feels it’s just too dang bad that you oppose the lifestyle, get over it. No concessions to be made in the other direction.

I agree this is not the end of the republic as we know it, at least not completely. But it is a massive change for the people who serve our country. The implementation needs to be handled correctly or there will be far-reaching issues. The gay community is a very small portion of our nation’s population and the percentage of gay population willing to serve is probably quite small. While not trying to stereotype, gays tend to be very liberal (there are exceptions to every stereotype) and liberals do not join the military in large numbers. For the very vast majority of mostly conservative service members to be willing to accept this very significant change, there is has to be some give by the gay rights faction. The gay rights community needs to understand there will be some bumps in the road and they cannot have the attitude that it is their way or the highway. There are many very honorable men and women currently serving who oppose this change. BUT, they are service members first and will salute smartly and carry on the best that they can do implementing the changes because it is what they were ordered to do and those orders are lawful.

The implementation must be done with a sharp eye open for unintended consequences and unseen trends. If heed is not paid to conventional wisdom, there will issues on the other end of this new program. It would not surprise me to see a downward trend in enlistments, re-enlistments, and commissions after this takes effect. There will be some who will not serve or continue to serve with gay members because it goes against their moral fiber. For those who oppose and choose to remain, honest efforts to accommodate their beliefs will also have to be made. To make this work, it has to be a two way street.

Strong leaders are going to be needed to tell the military community this is the policy and law of the land and it will be implemented AND they are going to have to let the gay community know there will be rough spots and there will be times when the outcome won’t always fall in their favor.

The darker angle will be addressed very soon so come back.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Western Land Grab

Ken Salazar and his group are planning on locking up even more of the West, banning drilling, mining, oil exploration, logging, and roads. The idea of the federal government taking over even more of our lands and making it wilderness and limited access bothers me a great deal.

  Do I think we need more? NO!  Even today, if someone wants to get "lost" in the wilderness and not see anyone for days, they can do it.  No cars, no TV, no radios or cell phones.  Why do we need to lock up more?

The more land we lock up, the less there is available for the multitudes. At my age I can no longer spend the time or effort getting into the back-country. If more lands are made wilderness, the fewer people that will be able to actually use it. And if my tax money is going to be used for any sort of wilderness up-keep (trail maint., Ranger salaries) then I should have the ability to get to at least some of it. I don’t suggest building a road to the China Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. But locking up more land has a way of excluding a lot of people. I remember years ago being able to get nearly to the Trinity Alps in northern California by using the network of logging roads. No longer with all of the other areas around the wilderness locked up via road-less designations.  People could at least get near enough to really enjoy the views, but no longer. Now only the youngest and hardiest can get there. It is getting to the point where the only way most of us can see much of the wild areas of our country is from the pictures that some intrepid environmental photographer brings back. Somehow I think this might actually be what the goal is for the enviro-wackos. Lock up lots of USA land so as to reduce the usage to nearly nothing and the elite can wander about and dream of what it was like when the American Indians roamed the land. All of this enjoyment of vast tracts of our western lands for a few elites, all on the taxpayer dime. Somehow, I don’t think that is fair.

Some will point out that we need to protect these areas form development by the resource extraction companies. Why would we want to do that when we are in need of these resources? While no resource extraction is completely benign to the environment, we have evolved to a point where we can minimize the damage to a localize issue. Gov’t regulations can keep the companies reined in enough to minimize the damages while at the same time making us more energy independent. If we begin to run out of resources do you really think that the federal gov’t will keep those areas locked up forever, never touching them when there is oil, gas and other resources available? If we are still an oil based economy (and we mostly likely will be to some degree), the feds will open up those lands. And if we are desperate for these resources, will we care what condition the resources extractors leave the land once they are finished? Wouldn’t it be better to get to those resources under strict rules and regulations well before those are thrown out in a last minute grab of those resources? Now is the time to make the companies act like good stewards of the land. Make them impact the area a little as possible that technology allows. Make them clean up once they are done. Because if we need those resources at a time when we are desperate, the extractors won’t do it on their own and the gov’t won’t require it.

It is kind of like danged if you do and danged if you don’t. But if we allow it now, then the enviro-wackos can control how it is accomplished and they won’t be afforded that opportunity later on.

High Speed Rail Saving the World

4. A Major step toward solving global warming by reducing our oil consumption and emissions
  --OK, first of all, one has to actually believe that global warming/climate change/whatever term is fashionable today is really occurring. We have to actually believe the changes that are occurring are not the natural cycle of the planet. Then we have to really believe that building and riding a train will save the world. Train travel is heavily used in China and they are the world’s largest producer of CO2 emissions. India is also a heavy user of trains and they produce CO2 in VAST quantities. And before you say “just because they have issues doesn’t mean we can’t do our part”, try a different tact with me. I don’t believe in man-made global warming and most Americans don’t believe it either (you shouldn’t of had that snake oil salesman, OwlGore, as your spokesman). But if you say it will save resources without all the preaching, I’m down with that. I like saving money as much as the next guy and I like doing my part to make things better.  Heck, I recycle like the dickens. Train travel does save resources, if it is used near capacity.  A train traveling 200MPH to LA sucks down the gas, so to make it efficiently; it needs to have passengers to bring the cost per energy unit used below a car traveling the same distance.  An empty train doesn’t save resources.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tax Bill

Not quite sure haow I feel about the House passing the bill to continue the Bush tax cuts. On the one hand, it does mean our taxes won't go up on 1 Jan 2011. On the other hand, we'll have to have this fight all over again in two years. At least it will give the folks a reasonable gauge on what their income will be for the next two years.

I am also not liking the "death tax", but at least it was held at 35%. What right does the gov't have to money and property that was already earned and taxed? One congress-critter tried to make the argument that since the person was dead, the money was no longer theirs. True enough. But it has already been taxed once already from a variety of different money-grubbers. The death tax can be a burden on the family who receives the property. If the it is a business or land (say a farm) that is involved, the heirs are required to pay the death tax, which will stand at 35%. If the property owner and the heirs are land rich but cash poor, they will be forced to sell the property to pay off the tax burden. And will they also be required to pay income taxes on the proceeds after the death tax is paid? I don't know the answer to that question but it sure sounds like something the gov't would do.

I wish the republicans had held out for a longer deal on the tax cuts. Maybe they could have put a bill together after the New Year. But the risk would be that President Obama would veto the bill. He is not a fan of the "wealthy", having already stated that at some point you have already earned enough money. So taxing the rich is something he really wants to make happen. But at least it has been held off for a couple of years and can be re-engaged at a later date. Hopefully we'll not wait until the last minute next time around.

I am also not a fan of the unemployment benefits extensions. I know there are lots of people hurting out there and there has to be something to protect them. But we now have people on the unemployment dole for more than two years. There are jobs out there to be had, you just have apply/submit your resume.

Tax and Spend

"Good grief!", said Charlie Brown. Now the American taxpayers are saying the same thing, although I have afeeling some of them are using words that good old Charlie would never utter. $1.1T spending bill that Prince Harry says if not passed old people and children will die. One really gets the feeling that the current lame duck Congress doesn't give a rat's backside what the American people want. I guess the landslide change in the House and the near flip of the Senate wasn't enough for these goof-balls to get the point. $6B in earmark, prok-barrel spending that even some republicans have placed in the bill. Jees!

UPDATE: It looks like the Senate has pulled the bill from the floor and will now go with a continuing resolution to fund the gov't over the next 45 days or so. This will give the republicans a chance to walk the talk. I sure hope they have their heads pulled out of their butts. Did you notice that two RINOs from Maine and tow outgoing Republican Senators were going to suppor this bill? I expected that from Snow and Collins but not from Bennett and the other dude (name escapes me). But maybe their thinking was I didn't even make it through the primaries so screw you all.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Illegal War and $800B?

Here is another installment of "when do you get mad?
You didn't get mad when we spent over 800 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.

-Don’t you get mad when Obama and Nancy spent more than that with the stroke of a pen, signing into law the quite possibly unconstitutional health care bill? (UPDATE: A federal Court in VA has deemed part of the bill unconstitutional)  This would be the first time in our history that the federal government has forced the American people to purchase something against their will.

-I love it when lefties state the war was illegal without any evidence to back up their charge. So far, all I have heard is how Bush used intelligence as justification for the war and because the intelligence was later found out to be faulty, that automatically makes the war illegal. In the minds of some, it also makes Bush a criminal. Based on that reasoning, the leaders of France, Great Britain, Germany, and Russia (just to name the major players) are all criminals since the intelligence apparatus in those countries also felt that Iraq was continuing to produce and stockpile WMDs. Bush had the authorization from Congress to invade, and Congress continues to fund the effort. Nothing illegal here, move along now and get a life.

-Going back to the $800M, Obama and his group seem to think that all we need to do is print more money and lo and behold, we can spend it anyway we want and on anything we want. $1T Health Care bill? Done. $800M on “shovel ready” projects that actually turned out to be the mother of all pork-barrel earmark spending. No shovel ready projects, but plenty of money for Chinese companies to build wind turbines in China, studying the habits of ants, watching bears mate in Northern Rockies, and other worthwhile, shovel ready projects. The only shovel ready about the $800B stimulus bill is all the bullcrap that needs to scooped up.

Do You get Offended?

Do you want to go through life never being offended? Do you always want sweet and kindness directed your way? Do you never want to hear anything that might offend your ears or your sensibility? Then people like the Rev Al Sharpton are for you. Right now, he is pressing the FCC to deny Rush Limbaugh a renewal on his EIB Radio Network license. Apparently, Sharpton has his knickers in a knot over something Limbaugh said a while back about then-candidate Obama, using the term the “Magic Negro” in a parody. Negro is an old, out of date term of address for Black people that had not been used since the early 60’s. Generally, it was uttered by people that didn’t want to use the “n-word” but also didn’t want to use the proper term of black or African American. The word was used extensively throughout the south and was considered a proper form of address, at least by people who might be thought of as racist. Fortunately, society has moved beyond using that word, going with Black or African American. Personally, I’d like to see both terms left behind and just stick with Americans. I am proud of my Irish heritage, but don’t use the term “Irish American”. I’m just plain old American.

I will be the first to admit that I have not heard Limbaugh utter the words “Magic Negro” in any form other than from the mainstream media’s playback. But to foist this on Limbaugh as proof of his racist thought is just drive-by journalism. The whole “magic negro” thing was at the beginning of Limbaugh’s rhetoric against Obama and the policies he would implement if elected. Not long after that, Limbaugh also happened to mention (OK, mentioned more than once) that he hoped Obama would fail. He meant Obama’s policies, of course, which was not widely reported. During this period Limbaugh would play a song parody titled “Barack, The Magic Negro” and the leftist press went absolutely bonkers, trying to use it as a way to marginalize Limbaugh’s input to the debate, calling Limbaugh all kinds of names, including racist. The one thing that the caterwauling press neglected to mention was Limbaugh was reading from a story written by LA Times reporter David Ehrenstein and also referring to a song written by Paul Shanklin, someone somebody. In fact, the title of the story was Obama, The Magic Negro. Sharpton is using this as a hammer to try and get Limbaugh off the air because Sharpton was offended. Never mind that one of his water-carrying leftist reporters was the one to use the term first.

Do you really expect to go through life without ever being offended? There are commercials that air on radio and TV advertising jells, creams, and pills that can improve sexual performance. I am not personally offended by these commercials but I do know people that are offended.  Should they file a grievance with the FCC against the radio or network TV station that airs the commercials? Should the FCC even take this seriously? Two things are certain: If Sharpton gets his way, this will open the doors for all kinds grievance-mongers out there. Heck, I might even file a complaint against Keith Obermann since his face offends me (I know, he is on cable and the FCC doesn’t “do” cable). Secondly, I certainly don’t recall it being written anywhere in the constitution that you are guaranteed to make it through life not being offended. In fact, there is this little thing in the constitution that guarantees freedom of speech and the press that trumps you personal desire to not be offended.  It’s called the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no laws…” With a free press and free speech, the chances of you being offended at some point in your life are astronomically high.

There are things I agree that should never be said aloud if society is to remain viable and whole. The “n-word” immediately comes to mind (NOT Negro, the other n-word). While I personally find the word beneath contempt, I do not want Congress to pass any laws or the FCC to regulate its usage. Heck, if the word was banned, Chris Rock would lose half of his material. If a law or regulation banning the n-word were to be enacted (and I think most would agree this word ranks pretty high on the offensive list), what would be the next step? What words or phrases would be banned? If I were on the radio and said I don’t like Obama Care, and certainly someone would find that offensive, could I get kicked off the air? Who would decide? During the Obama Care debate, there were calls for certain radio stations and personalities to be removed from the airwaves just because they didn’t agree with Princess Nancy and Emperor Obama.

If Limbaugh was truly racist, does anyone in their right mind really think he could have survived on air as long as he has? I’d think he be driven off the air due to low ratings because most people are good people and they wouldn’t listen to him. Does anyone remember David Dukes, the former Klansman who ran for a Congressional seat in Louisiana several years ago? The guy was a confirm racist and even in the deep south, in a semi-rural district, he couldn’t muster enough votes to get elected dog-catcher. Someone who spews racial indignities is going to be cut from the herd very quickly and likely not welcomed back.

High-Speed Rail Convenient?

3. Offers and convenient, comfortable way to travel without hassles or delays
--There are some truths here. I ride the Amtrak Cascades route on occasion and have found it a great way to travel. It is comfortable, and it is nice to be able to get up and walk-about while doing 70MPH along the Columbia River. But to say train travel is without hassles or delays has very limited exposure to the troubles Amtrak experiences especially with long distance trains. Even the Cascades had recent troubles. Last week, after several days of torrential rain, mudslides closed down the tracks to ALL traffic.  And get this, the railroads primary concern was to get the rail line open for FRIEGHT traffic, not the Cascades trains. I have a friend that routinely travels the Empire Builder to the Midwest. He truly does enjoy traveling by train, but hates all the delays he runs into while traveling. I don’t recall if he has ever reached his destination at the designated time. And God forbid if you have to make a connection in Chicago or one of the other hubs.  With all the enroute delays, making the connection can be an iffy bet.

I know the high-speed rail will be on dedicated tracks, in many locations. For some routes however, existing lines will be upgraded for higher speeds. Reading through all the information that I can find, the Cascades and Wisconsin Routes will be on existing lines. Will the high-speed rail be delayed by higher priority freight trains on these existing lines? Based on what I read, the official answer is no, but have they consulted with the actually companies that own the rails? People keep referring to the great performance of the high-speed lines in Europe and Asia. What they don’t bother to mention are those line are dedicated from station to station. And the distances between stations is generally long. On the Cascades, there are 19 stops along a 200+ miles route. Barely enough distances to get the train up to top speed before having to slow down for a stop at Kelso, WA. In Japan, the distance between stops is much greater. Once you arrive in Tokyo for example, there are options galore, from riding the subway, to a bus system, to hoping on another train to get to the outlying areas.

Hawaii

As you alerady aware, I am retired Air Force. Probably the thing I miss the most about being acitve duty is going out to the field to visit the folks. There is no question that I was lucky in the last two years of my career to be able to travel to Japan, Alaska, Hawaii since that is where our people are located. A couple of days ago a friend of mine (he also took my place when I retired) sent me a couple of images of from Hawaii. The trips were meant to be "meet and greets", but there were some fringe benefits.
Sorry the image is so small.  I'll try to fix it later. Still trying to figure out how to post a thumbnail. The small script at the bottom of the photo basically says I have permission to use the photo and you need it too.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Health Care Ruled Unconstitutional

Well, it’s about dang time. A federal court in Virginia has finally ruled that a portion of the Obama Care bill is unconstitutional under the commerce clause. Basically, the judge ruled that Congress does not have the authority to mandate the American people purchase something they do not want. Why it has taken this long is beyond me. But I guess the wheels of justice can sometimes rotate a little slowly. There were many who thought this unprecedented power-grab by the democrats was a bridge too far. Mandating that Americans MUST purchase a good or service had never happen in our history. I know that many will point to auto insurance has a mandate but that is a no-starter. You don’t have to drive. You purchase insurance for the privilege to drive.

The unconstitutional aspect of this law has been covered in the past, mostly around the time the bill was being discussed and passed. While the democrats were claiming there was nothing unconstitutional about forcing someone to purchase a good or service. Some, such as Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), claimed that “health care is a right”.  Many others, such as Jim DeMint, were trying to get Congress to see that they were taking Americans down a road that had never been traveling, nor was not meant to be traveled.
Here are some examples:

Glad to see that that there is a judge out there that can see this health care bill needs to be struck down. The only quibble I have is while it was struck down, there was no injunction preventing the provisions of the bill to continue to march forward. It needed to be stopped in its tracks which would allow everyone a moment to catch their breath, and look at this from another angle.

Many will call me a cold-hearted jerk for wanting to see this bill struck down. But I don’t feel that I need to cover someone else’s lifestyle choices. I know there are discrepancies between in the level of health care received between the “rich” and not rich, but this is where life style choices come in for me. People don’t have to choose to have unprotected sex and have kids out of wedlock. They don’t have to choose to do the drugs that give them AIDS and Hep C. They don’t have to choose to live a life of poverty; they can do the work that is necessary to get themselves out of the life. They don’t have to choose a fancy cell phone and awesome car over purchasing health care.

Heisman Trophy

Cam Newton took the Heisman Trophy this past weekend in a landslide. Not unexpected. The dude is a stud. But the pay-for-play allegations are troubling for me. I was a little disappointed that LaMichael James didn’t do better in the balloting. He was the leading rusher and scorer in college football this year. And he did play on the team that Gave Andrew Luck his only loss of the season. Hopefully he’ll also lead the Ducks to a win over the Auburn Tigers.

Raiders and Cowboys

Both my Raiders and Cowboys lost today.  The Raiders lost in heartbreaking fashion. Tied the game up with just a couple of minutes to go and then they allow a long kick return to set up the go-ahead touchdown. I’ve given up on the ‘Boys until next year. They are a team in need of some serious butt kicking by a coach. I’d like to see Cowher take the sidelines next year. But I don’t think Jones will allow a high profile coach because it would take the spotlight off of Jones.

Weather

The past 24 hours have brought some interesting weather to our little corner of the world. On Sat it was a cold rain with nearly a foot of snowfall in the mountains.  But come Sat evening, here comes the wind and torrential rainfall and warmer temperatures.  It got so warm the snow-level climbed to above 6,000 feet. In fact, most of the Cascade ski areas were either running limited operations, or were shut down completely.  Going to church this AM, the river was running pretty high. I have not seen any reports on major flooding, but I am sure the usual areas have been causing some problems.

Friday, December 10, 2010

He is Tired

"I'm 63 and I'm Tired"
by Robert A. Hall
I am not sure where I came across this but, with apologies to Mr. Hall and whomever presented this piece, I am going to place it on my blog. If you know who is responsible (or if you are), please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due. For those who have followed my blog you are aware that I am nowhere near as eloquent as Mr. Hall.

I'm 63.  Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I've worked hard since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven't called in sick in seven or eight years.   I make a good salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am.  Given the economy, there's no retirement in sight, and I'm tired. Very tired.

I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

I'm tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to "keep people in their homes." Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I'm willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money.

I'm tired of being told how bad America is by left-wing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood Entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers.  In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of Zimbabwe, the freedom of the press of China the crime and violence of Mexico, the tolerance for Christian people of Iran, and the freedom of speech of Venezuela.

I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari'a law tells them to. 

I'm tired of being told that "race doesn't matter" in the post-racial world of Obama, when it's all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of U.S. Senators from Illinois. 

I think it's very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less arrogantly of an all-knowing government.

I'm tired of a news media that thinks Bush's fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but thinks that Obama's, at triple the cost, were wonderful; that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress; that picked over every line of Bush's military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his; that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years (about 140 actual days on the job) as senator as potentially the best president ever. Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News?  Get a clue.  I didn't vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004. (added dialogue mine)

I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America, while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.

I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore's, and if you're greener than Gore, you're green enough. 

I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off?  I don't think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I #@*# sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I'm tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana.

I'm tired of illegal aliens being called "undocumented workers," especially the ones who aren't working, but are living on welfare or crime. What's next? Calling drug dealers, "Undocumented Pharmacists"? And, no, I'm not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic, and it's been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. I'm willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person, who can speak English, doesn't have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military.... Those are the citizens we need.

I'm tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years and still are? Not even close.  So here's the deal. I'll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims, who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we'll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear. 


I'm tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. And I'm tired of people telling me we need bipartisanship. I live in Illinois, where the "Illinois Combine" of Democrats has worked to loot the public for years.  Not to mention the tax cheats in Obama's cabinet. 

I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

Speaking of poor, I'm tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn't have that in 1970, but we didn't know we were "poor." The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.

I'm real tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions.  I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

Yes, I'm #@*% tired.  But I'm also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I'm not going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for my granddaughter.

Hopefully you all enjoyed Mr. Hall's take on how things are today. While I am not yet 63 and will have to live through some of these issues, it is my hope that we are able to cut them off before they destroy us.

High-Speed Rail and Oil Imports

2. Pays for itself by significantly reducing our $700B and year oil purchase trade deficits.

--We could probably put a big dent in that trade deficit if we opened up ANWR and inner continental shelf to drilling and at no cost to the taxpayer. There are some estimates floating around out there that the oil companies could see $1T in profits. The oil companies would willingly open up their coffers to drill in those locations to get at that level of return. No taxpayer funding necessary to get the oil out of the ground. But that would mean we’d have to let the “evil” oil companies make those profits and we can’t have that, now can we?

I have read some reports that opening ANWR and the continental shelf for drilling and extraction would only give us an additional 2.5 years of crude oil. Based on the way I crunch their numbers, it looks like they are assuming that ANWR would replace all of our imported oil. I don’t see it that way but I could be incorrectly looking at the number provided. I’d guess there would be a dent put into the import trade deficit. Of course, since oil is a world commodity, it all goes into the same “pot”, it’s just that our contribution to the pot would be larger, and our demand on the Middle East’s contributions to the pot would be reduced.

Here are two viewpoints, one “for”, one “against”, on opening up ANWR.

  The “against” essay has a few points in it that might rile up some folks such as “most American’s agree the Iraq War is about oil” I don’t think most Americans share that view. But he does provide some interesting data on wind harvesting. Another point he makes that has already been proven false is that wind energy development would create jobs here and they can’t be out-sourced. I think he is glossing over this subject. It is true that operations at a wind field would be done here, but that actual construction of the equipment used to harvest the wind would not be built here. This has already happened.

The “for” essay also has a few weak points. The one that stuck out for me was the “only 8% of ANWR” would be impacted. The tree-huggers (or tundra-huggers in this case) would be up in arms over this amount. In fact, they would be all-a-titter if there was an .0000008% impact on a region that sees maybe a 1000 visitors a year. While I have not been to ANWR, based on the reading that I have done on this subject, it looks like the region where the drilling would take place is on the plains, an area seldom visited. It is great and noble to protect our wild areas and wildlife, and lines do have to be drawn. But I think the line in this case is too far left.

I kind of went off track here, as I have a tendency to do, so I’ll bring it back on point. If these high-speed rail lines are to be built, they will also need energy to power the system. This energy has to come from somewhere.  Solar and wind power are not yet up to snuff. We have the ability to generate the energy with solar and wind, but we don’t yet have the storage capacity or the means to transfer the energy efficiently. Until these problems are solved in 10 years or more, we need the means to generate the power to run these trains. And that is either going to come from imports or from our own domestic resources.

The Iraq War and Questions of Legality

You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

My response:
How did you come to the conclusion that we invaded a country illegally? Just because you disagree with the war in Iraq doesn’t make it illegal.  I disagree with dudes wearing pink collared shirts, but that doesn’t make it illegal. Congress gave President Bush the authorization to invade.  By the Constitution the President is the Commander in Chief, which means he commands the Armed Forces. Once Congress gave Bush the authority to wage war, the only way to stop it was to either defund the efforts or cancel the authorization, none of which happened.

If you are going to go down the road of making up the intelligence briefs then using those false intel briefs as justification for the invasion, keep in mind that there was not a dissenting opinion around the world or at the UN against the argument that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Even the French, who would at best be considered a flaky ally and stood a lot to lose, agreed that Iraq still had WMDs, and the capability to make WMD. Just because something turns out to be incorrect doesn’t mean it is lie.

As for Iraq being a threat to us I don’t think you can come up with a reasonable argument Saddam wasn’t some sort of threat. Maybe we didn’t have to worry about the Iraqi Republican Guard storming ashore in South Carolina, but they certainly were a threat to our interests. They proved that in 1990 by invading Kuwait. Why they didn’t turn south towards the Saudi oil fields is still a mystery but Saddam had intended to do just that eventually. Whether you like it or not, that region is VITAL to American interests. More than 40% of our oil comes from that region and having a mad man in control of the Persian Gulf would do us not good. Almost as soon as the Coalition forces pushed the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait, then he started his saber rattling. He constantly violated the “no-fly” areas. He had several 100,000 of his own citizens killed or injured. He continued to build up his Army.

So I guess the answer is no, I do not get mad that we invaded Iraq. The invasion, while based on faulty intelligence, was not done illegally or based on lies.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Blood for Oil?

You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate Energy policy and push us to invade Iraq.

-How come US Oil companies are not getting the contract to pump and explore for oil in Iraq?  So far, I have not seen any US company receiving any of these coveted “oil for blood” drilling contracts.  Correct me if I am wrong. And to think that Bush and Cheney would send young men and women to their deaths for some additional money goes beyond the pale.  I think you have been watching too many James Bond movies. While there is no question that evil people do exist, to put Bush and Cheney in the same group as Hitler and others does nothing to further the conversation.

-On the subject of oil policy, you might actually have a basis for an argument although probably not along the lines that you are trying to push. Bush and the other wanted to open up areas now closed area for drilling and exploration. I personally think this is a great idea. We need more oil, lots of it. Places like ANWR and deep drilling in the waters off the California and Florida coasts makes sense to me (yes, even after the BP disaster). But there does need to be a focus on what comes next, after oil. Research needs to continue on alternative means of generating the power we need to run the nation’s industries and homes. All of the alternative “green” power sources are still much too expensive to be useful.
--Solar power is 10X more costly for generating an equal amount of energy. There are other concerns. How many wind turbines does there need to be to replace a coal fired plant? 100’s?  1,000s? And while a coal fire plant might be pretty ugly, how ugly would thousands of wind turbines be? Just think about turbines all across the landscape that would be needed to replace the coal fired plants.
--Solar power presents the same dilemma. How large would the panel field have to be to generate the same amount of power as one coal fired plant? There is a huge solar field in the Mojave Desert right generating power, but I have not heard of any coal plants being torn down or dams being breached since it began operations.
--Bio-fuels are not the answer just yet. Right now farmers who are growing corn for bio-fuel production and the producers of bio-fuels are being subsidized with taxpayer money. A gallon of gas with bio-fuel additive is just too expensive to compete with the price of straight gas. With nearly 40% of corn grown in the USA going towards bio-fuel production the price of near everything associated with corn has gone up.
--While I think nuclear power is the way to go, it has its own problems, mainly what to do with the waste. Especially since Prince Harry shut down Yucca Mountain. Another point to consider with nuclear power is that we have come a long way since Three-Mile Island. Plus, we you get right down to it, the events at Three-Mile Island were actually a success. The fail-safe systems worked. The plant shut down, and it appears there was minimal damage to the surrounding area.

We still have a ways to go before we can replace fossil fuels with renewable energy unless we are willing to pay a steep price in how much we pay for the production and use of the power generated via renewable sources.

-Before you go off on how Cheney made Billions off of the Halliburton contracts I just want you to know this is a non-starter for me. While serving as Vice-President Cheney was required to put his interest in any business in some sort of stewardship/trust that he was unable to touch. I am not so na├»ve to think that he didn’t exercise some sort of influence but before you go all ape-$h!t over that, keep in mind that nearly all politicians have their hand in the cookie jar. Harry Ried was barely worth $1M when elected the Senate 12 years ago, now he has moved past $10M.  How did he do that on his salary? Even if he saved every penny form his paycheck ($174,000.00, 2010) for the past 12 years he’d have only $3.3M. He is getting that money from some place/someone. I will remind you that most of that money paid to Halliburton was spent on the troops. As someone who has deployed several times over the years, we are well taken care of in the deployed environment. Comfortable trailers to live in, good exercise facilities, outstanding food. All of this costs A LOT of money. And Halliburton is not a charitable organization. They have share holders to answer to. They need to make a profit just like every other private business. And those linked to the federal government make better profits than those not linked to the feds just do to the inherent nature of doing business with the government (massive waste).

-In my opinion we should continue to drill for oil where we know it located and let the free-markets develop these renewable sources. If there is money to be made in renewable energy you can bet there will be people willing to take the risk to develop these sources. Wind and solar farms can be successful once the costs are reduced to a level that doesn’t require taxpayer funding.  Nuclear power can be successful as it has been in the past. We just need to cut through the red-tape during development and have strict guidelines established and ENFORCED once the plant is in operation.