Robert C. Byrd: Peckerwood Potentate of Pork

When Senator Robert Byrd died on June 28, Tom Schatz, President of Citizens Against Government Waste joked that the watchdog organization now can shut its doors.

CAGW has long criticized the many wasteful projects completed in West Virginia with Federal tax dollars. More than 30 of the projects carry the late Senator's name. On NPR in 2001, Byrd called CAGW "a bunch of peckerwoods."

Byrd's comment came in response to criticism of the senator's love of big spending and pork-barrel projects by the taxpayer group.

"Peckerwood is a derogatory term for a rural white southerner," Schatz ... said. "This is the second time this year Byrd has given the rest of us a primer on racial epithets. Obviously the senator's prodigious command of the lexicon has abandoned him. We've got his goat."
You can read the NY Times extensive obit on Byrd with a liberal slant here or take a conservative look at the man from Power Line here. Conservative blogger Don Surber who writes for the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail gives us a West Virginian view of their senator of 51 years.

Obviously, Robert Byrd was well liked in his state, but old age befuddled the former member of the KKK in December of last year, when he turned his back on the Mountaineer State's lifeblood ... the coal industry. As Politico reported:
Byrd argued that resistance to constraints on mountaintop-removal coal mining and a failure to acknowledge that “the truth is that some form of climate legislation will likely become public policy” represent the real threat to the future of coal.

“Change has been a constant throughout the history of our coal industry,” Byrd said in the 1,161-word statement. “West Virginians can choose to anticipate change and adapt to it or resist and be overrun by it. One thing is clear: The time has arrived for the people of the Mountain State to think long and hard about which course they want to choose.”

In almost any other state, Byrd’s remarks might not have caused such a stir. But in West Virginia, where the coal industry — even in its currently diminished form — accounts for 30,000 jobs and more than $3.5 billion in gross annual product and provides roughly half of all American coal exports, according to the state coal association, his statement reverberated across the political landscape.
To demonstrate the total senility of Senator Byrd in his final days, we need only look back to February when Byrd joined seven other Democrat lawmakers who wrote a letter to EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, questioning the agency's fast-tracking the enforcement of greenhouse gas regulations. On June 11, just 17 days before his death, Byrd voted against a Senate resolution which would have severely restricted the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to go after CO2 emitters.

For the sake of his loyal WV hillbilly supporters, it was now indeed past time for "Sheets" Byrd to meet his maker.

Gangrene Economics

This blurb from Energy Probe caught my attention:

There appears to be a never-ending green light for policies supporting green jobs—which would be fine, if these jobs were real. Yet, a number of critics and private research have shown they are not. The latest example comes from Pennsylvania.

According to recent stories, the state could create as many as 129,000 green jobs if it simply increased its alternative-energy mandates.

But, says one critic, the supposed green jobs were really "job years" over a 15-year period—and still that number was overestimated by 93,000 job years. The real number of sustainable jobs that would be created from higher alternative energy mandates is around 2,000.

And the cost of those jobs? The higher alternative-energy standards are expected to cost $1-billion a year over the next 12 years—meaning each new job would actually cost $6-million.

What would you buy for $6-million?

Under The Cover Of The Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone - Wanna see my picture on the cover
Rolling Stone - Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Rolling Stone - Wanna see my smilin' face
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

Today Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan offered, and President Obama accepted, his resignation because the press reported that the general had disparaged Obama in an article to published in the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, strangely titled "The Runaway General." First of all, Americans have never witnessed McChrystal running away from anything and secondly, the teaser line that follows the title is designed to denigrate one of America's premier soldiers.
Stanley McChrystal, Obama's top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House.
As usual, the White House was only interested in exploiting another crisis, so neither Obama nor anybody on his staff bothered to read the article which quotes not a single disparaging remark, that could be interpreted as insubordination, from the mouth of Gen. McChrystal.

To even begin to understand this "non-event" event, we need to look behind the magazine style of Rolling Stone. According to Wikipedia, the magazine began publishing in 1967 but in 1970, a new theme was born:
The magazine was known for its political coverage beginning in the 1970s, with the enigmatic and controversial gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. ... In recent years, the magazine has resumed its traditional mix of content, including in-depth political stories, and has seen its circulation increase.
Indeed the magazine lost its cult leader when he committed suicide in 2005, but Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo journalism and his followers continue to live through the pages of Rolling Stone. What is gonzo journalism? HST's suicide note, entitled "Football Season is Over" shows the style:
No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun - for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax -This won't hurt.
The writing style used by Michael Hastings in "The Runaway General" fits this general description of gonzo journalism:
Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism which is written subjectively, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first person narrative. ...

Gonzo journalism tends to favor style over accuracy and often uses personal experiences and emotions to provide context for the topic or event being covered. It disregards the 'polished' edited product favored by newspaper media and strives for the gritty factor. Use of quotations, sarcasm, humor, exaggeration, and profanity is common.
In my opinion , Michael Hasting's gonzo style is used effectively in his hit piece to effect yellow journalism. It has all the elements, sensationalism, distorted stories, and misleading images. The story is full of second-party stories about what the General thought, or how he reacted, but there is no substance. The stories attributed to unnamed sources are deliberately provoctive. Here is an example:
According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked "uncomfortable and intimidated" by the roomful of military brass.

Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn't go much better.

"It was a 10-minute photo op," says an adviser to McChrystal. "Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was. Here's the guy who's going to run his fucking war, but he didn't seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed."
And here is another incident to show the deliberate slant of the piece:
Now, flipping through printout cards of his speech in Paris, McChrystal wonders aloud what Biden question he might get today, and how he should respond.

"I never know what's going to pop out until I'm up there, that's the problem," he says. Then, unable to help themselves, he and his staff imagine the general dismissing the vice president with a good one-liner.

"Are you asking about Vice President Biden?" McChrystal says with a laugh. "Who's that?"

"Biden?" suggests a top adviser. "Did you say: Bite Me?"
Finally the coup de tat:
McChrystal has issued some of the strictest directives to avoid civilian casualties that the U.S. military has ever encountered in a war zone. It’s “insurgent math,” as he calls it – for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies. He has ordered convoys to curtail their reckless driving, put restrictions on the use of air power and severely limited night raids. He regularly apologizes to Hamid Karzai when civilians are killed, and berates commanders responsible for civilian deaths. “For a while,” says one U.S. official, “the most dangerous place to be in Afghanistan was in front of McChrystal after a ‘civ cas’ incident.” The ISAF command has even discussed ways to make not killing into something you can win an award for: There’s talk of creating a new medal for “courageous restraint,” a buzzword that’s unlikely to gain much traction in the gung-ho culture of the U.S. military.

But however strategic they may be, McChrystal’s new marching orders have caused an intense backlash among his own troops. Being told to hold their fire, soldiers complain, puts them in greater danger. “Bottom line?” says a former Special Forces operator who has spent years in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I would love to kick McChrystal in the nuts. His rules of engagement put soldiers’ lives in even greater danger. Every real soldier will tell you the same thing.” …

McChrystal may have sold President Obama on counterinsurgency, but many of his own men aren’t buying it.
So now we have "General Betray Us" and the left wing faithful will be furious with Prez Zero ... but that is a story for another day.

Corn Ethanol's Sordid History

In the United States, socialism has found its way into the supposed free market for the crops produced in "the world's breadbasket". The American farmer's income has been linked (seemingly irreversibly) to a conglomeration of federal farm subsidy payments which continue, year after year ... even in the good times. In 2008, net farm income soared to a near record-setting $87.2 billion principally because the price of corn that was tied to record-high oil prices through corn ethanol usage in gasoline blends. The table below indicates that a total of almost $7 billion dollars were paid out in 2007, $2 billion went to the farmers and another $3.5 billion went to the oil companies to blend the liquid fuels. so we can conclude that every time we fill up at the pump, we pay eleven cents for every gallon of gas to cover ethanol subsidies.

The subsidies in place are designed to equalize the prices of the fuels to ensure that ethanol is used. Without subsidy, the consumer would not buy non-competitively priced E85 ethanol over gasoline ... and without subsidy, the oil companies would have no incentive to blend gasoline with 10% ethanol (except in markets influenced by government interference, such as when gas prices pushed over $4.00 per gallon).

The concept of an unfettered market, where energy demands would be met by entreprenuers competing for profits has been replaced by the government-can-fix-it attitude of of socialist politicians. Like all socialist programs, the ethanol scam will revert to chaos because of government control of price levels.

Corn ethanol is bad for reasons other than  subsidies.  When I happened upon this piece from Mises Institute, I felt compelled to share it with you.
According to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, the
increased use of ethanol is responsible for a rise in food prices
of approximately 10 to 15 percent.


We're turning corn into fuel — a highly inefficient one, at that —
instead of food.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy points out that "mixing food and fuel markets for political reasons has done American consumers no discernible good, while producing measurable harm."

However, perhaps summing up the issue most succinctly is Mark
J. Perry
, professor of economics and finance at the University of
Anytime you have Paul Krugman agreeing on ethanol with such a diverse group as the Wall Street Journal, Reason Magazine, the Cato Institute, Investor's Business Daily, Rolling Stone Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, John Stossel, The Ecological Society of America, the American Enterprise and Brookings Institutions, the Heritage Foundation, George Will and Time Magazine, you know that ethanol has to be one of the most misguided public policies in US history. But Brazil seems to have made it work. Using just 1 percent of its arable land, Brazil produced 6.57 billion gallons of sugar ethanol last year, roughly half the annual oil production of Iraq. Ethanol accounts for about 50 percent of Brazil's automotive fuel.
So, what's Brazil doing right?

The answer is simple. Unlike the United States, Brazil makes its ethanol from sugar, which yields over eight units of energy for each unit invested, whereas corn-based ethanol yields a paltry one and a half units of energy for each unit invested. Sugar-based ethanol is also cheap to produce, at only 60 cents a gallon.

It seems so obvious. An alternative fuel that works already exists. What's stopping us from using it?

What's stopping us is a decision made ... years ago by a man named Rusty Butz, before ethanol was even a blip on anyone's radar.

In 1973, Earl "Rusty" Butz, President Nixon's USDA chief, did away with the agricultural price supports introduced by the Roosevelt administration. These supports were intended to protect farmers' finances by limiting supply when bumper crops would have otherwise flooded the market and to avoid squeezing consumers by releasing the warehoused grain when crop yields were low and prices would naturally spike.

Butz ginned up political support for the administration by encouraging farmers to plant "fencerow to fencerow" while the government provided them with subsidies to cover the difference between market prices and production costs.

Of course, growing "fencerow to fencerow" did exactly what one would expect: production exceeded demand, and prices took a dive. This didn't sit too well with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), the nation's largest corn refiner.

Now, there's only so much corn one person can eat. ADM suddenly needed to figure out how to somehow stimulate sales of all that excess food. Then a Japanese technique called "wet milling" caught the company's eye. Wet milling turned corn kernels into what ADM hoped would be a low-cost alternative to sugar — the now-ubiquitous high-fructose corn syrup.

While high-fructose corn syrup was an alternative to sugar, it still wasn't possible to manufacture cheaply enough to make it a low-cost alternative.

Enter Dwayne Andreas, who, at the time, was ADM's CEO.

It just so happened that Florida sugarcane growers were in the middle of a push to get Congress to impose a tariff on foreign sugar, which was exerting downward pressure on market prices. Andreas decided to help fund lobbying efforts by Florida sugarcane growers to convince Congress to impose a quota on non-US sugar, which had been flooding the US market and keeping prices down.

In short, ADM backed its competition's political agenda and, when Ronald Reagan took office, the sugar tariff was swiftly ushered into place. Naturally, sugar prices escalated, eclipsing the cost of ADM's high-fructose corn syrup. Soft-drink makers like Coca-Cola and Pepsi switched to the cheaper alternative in short order.
Perhaps this is why a statue of Ronald Reagan stands at ADM headquarters. It is a token of appreciation from one free marketeer to another for promoting what is, essentially, a socialist policy.

From the looks of things, "socialism" has done well for Dwayne Andreas. A report by James Bovard of the Cato Institute notes, "At least 43% of ADM's annual profits are from products heavily subsidized or protected by the American government. Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by ADM's corn sweetener operation costs consumers $10."

Minyanville professor and Houston fund manager Ryan Krueger says, The sugar tariff is the biggest scam since one hour Martinizing. For the first time in human history, more than a billion people this year will be classified as 'chronically hungry.' We'll artificially sweeten prices for US farmers, bankrupting poor farmers in Africa or South America and then turn around and send them food aid.

He continues, The world sugar price is 22 cents per lb. The US price because of the tariff? 44 cents. Want to make candy and buy sugar for 22 cents? Sorry, no can do — it's illegal. If sugar prices plummet? Don't sweat it, Washington's got that covered, guaranteeing a price of no less than 18 cents.

Surely, there must be more to this story.


In Krueger's words, I'd love all the upside and none of the downside in a game where my competitors are barred from playing against me, yet if I still somehow fail to perform the scoreboard operator nonetheless puts up points for me — as long as I vote for the right referee when his contract's up.

Okay, so ADM hijacked the sweetener market. What does this have to do with Brazilian ethanol and our country's insistence on forging ahead with sub par ethanol made from corn, even though tariff-free cane ethanol would cut gas prices significantly?

The path leads directly to good old political back-scratching. You'd be correct to assume that demand for soft drinks drops during the cold winter months. What would ADM do with idle wet-milling equipment during high-fructose corn syrup's "off season"?

It turns out that wet-milling machines also make ethanol.

The federal government provides a 45 cent per-gallon subsidy for domestically produced (corn-based) ethanol. Add to that the crippling sugar policy, plus a 54 cent per gallon tariff placed specifically on foreign ethanol (sugar based, from Brazil), and bang — ADM corners the domestic ethanol market. Pretty crafty, huh?
More than 30 years have passed and nobody has made a move to fix this problem. Today I heard on the radio that farmers think that the ethanol subsidy may be reduced or eliminated this year. The farm coops are suddenly bemoaning the fact that the subsidy must continue in order to encourage America's ethanol plants to convert to cellulosic ethanol. Interestingly, we do import sugarcane ethanol from Trinidad because of a loophole in the sugar tariff, but year after year, the tariff is renewed. You would think that our sugar cane farmers would be interested in potential higher prices for their crop, but the lure of the government safety net is too appealing.

My much simpler solution is to eliminate the rent seekers. Quit adding ethanol to gasoline, dump the sugar tariff, fire ADM, quit paying ethanol subsidies and "Drill Baby Drill! Oh, and we consumers might want to demand "C & H Pure Cane Sugar, from Hawaii, growin' in the sun."

Alabama's Fall Elections Are Heating Up

For auld lang syne

H/T: Curmudgeonly & Skeptical

The Return of the Deutsche Mark

Gerald Baker writes in the UK Spectator that Germany is about to save itself from the eurozone collapse being fueled by a common currency and uncommon and uncontrolled budgetary policies among the member states.
As the euro continues to dance on the brink of calamity, the people responsible for the deepening debacle have finally come up with a scheme that will save it once and for all. It’s a cunning plan that draws heavily on that old joke about a European heaven and hell. You’ll be familiar with it: in heaven the police are British, the cooks are French and the engineers are German; while in hell, the police are German, the cooks are British and it’s all organised by the Italians.

The euro version goes like this: fiscal policy is run by the Greeks, the Spanish and the Italians; interest rates are set by a central bank in thrall to politicians in France and Italy, and it is all organised by a Portuguese socialist and a Belgian. The idea will go down a treat in places like France, Greece and Portugal. But if you’re German — an increasingly disgruntled citizen of Europe’s largest and most productive economy — you might be starting to think it represents a final signal to get the hell out of there.

I exaggerate, of course. The EU summit is destined to break up without any firm plan being agreed. The hope in European capitals is that the E750 billion bailout plan announced early last month will provide enough sticking plaster to get them through the next few months and perhaps into some kind of tolerable recovery.

But it’s a forlorn hope. The euro continues to plummet on foreign exchanges. This week all eyes are on Spain, where investors are betting a Greece-style bailout is coming down the tracks. As various disaster scenarios are pondered, a consensus is forming among moneymakers and policymakers: the euro, in its current form, cannot survive.
Right now the EU summit is attempting to to form a "budgetary federation " among eurozone members to keep spending in line in the weaker economies of Greece, Spain and Portugal. The result would be a powerful centralized agency to bring even more bureaucracy to the European socialist countries ... not a very good bet for success.

To the Germans, their correct course of action, possibly to the gain of all eurozone member states, may be to remove Deutschland from the eurozone treaty.
If Germany left the eurozone itself, it would at a stroke free itself from an increasingly intolerable fiscal burden and leave the weaker countries with some chance of managing their way out of crisis. The euro would presumably decline sharply against the deutsche mark, but that would not necessarily bankrupt the Greek government and companies, because their debts would still be payable in euros.

A strong deutsche mark would help the weaker European economies through a vastly improved balance-of-payments outlook. True, it would be tough on German industry, whose exports would cost more, but the Germans have already demonstrated their ability to hold down costs and restore competitiveness quickly. And the German people would once again be assured that their currency will not be debased by vast economic disparities within Europe or a central bank under the thumb of politicians in Paris and Brussels.

A number of countries might choose to leave with Germany: Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are already more or less fully integrated within the greater German economy. France would face a difficult decision whether to stay with the southern and eastern Europeans or join the Germans.

None of the options facing the euro members looks attractive. There is no sure route out of this crisis towards a heavenly outcome of sustained prosperity and growth. But a voluntary German departure might be the least painful way of avoiding what will be an economic hell for anyone caught up in it.

State of the Economy Demands More CO2

George Will will take us to the sujet du jour:

A corollary of Murphy's Law ("If something can go wrong, it will") is: "Things are worse than they can possibly be." ... Gregg Easterbrook's "Law of Doomsaying" [says]: Predict catastrophe no sooner than five years hence but no later than 10 years away, soon enough to terrify but distant enough that people will forget if you are wrong. ...

Because of today's economy, another law -- call it the Law of Clarifying Calamities -- is being (redundantly) confirmed. On graphs tracking public opinion, two lines are moving in tandem and inversely: The sharply rising line charts public concern about the economy, the plunging line follows concern about the environment. A recent Pew Research Center poll asked which of 20 issues should be the government's top priorities. Climate change ranked 20th.

Real calamities take our minds off hypothetical ones. ...
Despite real evidence to the contrary, the world continues to hum along with rent seeking climatologists who have turned the earth into a nightmare flick about anthropological global warming brought on by rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere resulting from man's advancement from stone-age caves. The prospect of a warming climate is understandably not feared by the sane people of the world who know that the earth heats and cools primarily as a result of the sun's activity.

Professor Frank J. Tipler, in a Pajamas Media article, explains the importance of CO2 to our biosphere:
Carbon dioxide is first and foremost a plant food. In fact, plants take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use the energy from sunlight to combine the CO2 with water to yield glucose, the simplest sugar molecule. Carbon dioxide is also the source of all organic — this word just means “contains carbon” — molecules synthesized by plants. Without carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, there would be no organic molecules synthesized by plants. The less carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the fewer organic molecules synthesized by plants. All animals depend on plants to synthesize essential organic molecules. Without the organic molecules synthesized by plants, the animal world could not exist. Without plants, there would be no biosphere.
Tipler goes on to explain that high prehistoric levels of CO2 were mysteriously depleted to levels of about 200 ppm before man was upon the planet.  As a result, plant life receded in size and bounty until man began to release CO2 from its burial place in the earth when carbon fossil fuels were mined and vented to the atmosphere.  Carbon dioxide has risen from 200 ppm in the Carboniferous period to 390 ppm today but temperature fluctuations have preceded, not followed, CO2 changes.  Temperature recordings since the late 19th century have corresponded to changes in in the sun's radiance.

So I asked myself:  "Self, how much money has the United States, and its citizenry, spent chasing this junk science fabrication?"  After all, this whole controversy did not really "heat up" until after the fears of "man-made global cooling" in the mid-1970s were "cooled."  In other words, even if I acknowledge that the science is not settled (and I do not), in favor of more carbon dioxide being good for the biosphere, what economic gain can be had by simply stopping work on hokey renewable energy schemes, carbon capture and the like ... in favor of not throwing money away on projects to forestall unprovable future catastrophes?

Even before the Obama stimulus and the subsequent decision of the administration to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce carbon abatement, spending to promote "carbon dioxide as a pollutant" was enormously high.  Arthur Lemay discusses the prodigious monetary effort expended by climate alarmists before December 2007 just to sell the junk science.
There are estimates that the funds spent on studying and supporting this theory now exceed 40 billion dollars, and all of it seems to have spent to endorse this theory, not to question it.
Add to that pot of gold (that would go a long way toward ending third-world hunger and poverty) the costs imposed on energy companies and taxpayers in order to comply with arbitrary and unneeded CO2 target levels and we end up with far more than a serious poker pot. Enter the Obama Stimulus package with $3.4 billion targeted just for a carbon capture demonstration project. Yes, there are funds for everyone; even rent seeking Michael Mann of ClimateGate's infamous "hide-the-decline" got $500,000.

Finishing this appeal for sanity and reason in our energy policy, brings me to emphasize the enormity of any global effort to actually change the biosphere and the impracticality of even contemplating changing the the way that man interacts within his environment. I always start with Michael Crichton's words from "Prologue to Jurassic Park."
You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity. Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There's been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. ...

This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can't
imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven't got the humility to try.  We've been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we're gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
All the words that follow apply to the mentality of todays climate alarmists: hubris; arrogance; overbearing pride or presumption; man's inhumanity toward man. And all the words go before the fall.  Here, James R. Fencil puts the small, supposedly intelligent homo sapiens living on the earth in their place:
Over time the earth has seen gaseous CO2 levels fall from the original 0.80% to our current 0.04%. Photosynthesis has been busily productive but the unremitting tectonic conveyor apparatus has carried away and stored life’s solidified carbon-containing products, leaving them in largely inaccessible locations awaiting mankind’s recent efforts to disinter some fraction of these vast stores to use as fossil fuels and thus to regenerate CO2. Asserting that both the mammoth planetary tectonic plate mechanisms and the immense outer space radiant input mechanisms are grandly unconcerned by either life’s strenuous CO2 burial efforts or man’s trivial recent fossil energy use is surely one of the great understatements of all time. These earth/space processes acted to warm and to cool the planet and to rearrange its surface map long before life began and will continue to perform their accustomed activities long after life completes its self-extinguishing journey.
Lest we forget, this piece is about finding a way to turn off the money pump that will most certainly bring the prosperous, productive societies on this planet to ground. All but the rich and powerful will be relegated to the misery and hard times of the past. It is time to tell our politicians, the mainstream media and the environmentalism religion to buzz off. Hell no, we won't go! After the fall elections, this would be a great project for our Tea Party organizations. We are indeed, "Taxed Enough Already."

The Last Best Excuse Takedown

When Prez Zero whined to Politico about the hypocritical pundits who berated the White House's handling of the oil crisis, Bruce McQuain over at QandO and Ragspierre at the Hindenblog unleashed their impeccable reasoning and writing talents.   I will set this up by giving you teh won's whinings but you have read the posts to fully appreciate the exceptional blogging.
In an interview with POLITICO, the president said: “I think it’s fair to say, if six months ago, before this spill had happened, I had gone up to Congress and I had said we need to crack down a lot harder on oil companies and we need to spend more money on technology to respond in case of a catastrophic spill, there are folks up there, who will not be named, who would have said this is classic, big-government overregulation and wasteful spending.”

“Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying ‘do something’ are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much,” Obama said.

“Some of the same people who are saying the president needs to show leadership and solve this problem are some of the same folks who, just a few months ago, were saying this guy is trying to engineer a takeover of our society through the federal government that is going to restrict our freedoms.”
McQ places the blame firmly in Obama's lap (you have to read it to believe it) and Ragspierre documents the failings of Obama and his Homeland Security puppet. Read it all and be sure to check out Hindenblog's backlinks.

Indiana's Energy Policy

On Saturday, I became aware of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniel's convoluted approach to "protecting" Hoosiers from suffering higher energy costs. A young man from the Citizens Action Coalition stopped by my house to ask for my signature on a petition to oppose the building of a pipeline through Indiana for the transporting of carbon dioxide from Indiana power plants to Mississippi and elsewhere in order that the life-giving gas can be buried in oil and gas wells to "prevent global warming". Puzzled, I signed the petition and then began research on the governor's public policy statements on energy. I found that he opposed cap-and-trade because of its effect on costs but that he was bending over backwards supporting energy policies to promote expensive "renewable" energy to save the planet from a scientifically unfounded hoax. First let's review Gov. Daniel's opposition on March 30, 2009 to that awful tax on CO2 generation.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, in the GOP's weekly radio and Internet address, said the House's climate bill was "a classic example of unwise government." The address culminated a week of coordinated Republican attacks on the Democratic proposal, which would require the first nationwide reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

The proposal to cap greenhouse emissions "will cost us dearly in jobs and income and it stands no chance of achieving its objective of a cooler earth" because other nation's such as China and India will not have to follow, Daniels said.

"The cost for all American taxpayers will be certain, huge, and immediate. Any benefits are extremely uncertain, minuscule, and decades distant," he contended.

"The national energy tax imposed by Speaker Pelosi's climate change bill would double electric bills here in Indiana, working a severe hardship on low income families, but that's only where the damage starts," Daniels said. "In a state where we like to make things, like steel and autos and RVs, it would cost us countless jobs. ... Our farmers and livestock producers would see their costs skyrocket. and our coal miners would be looking for new work."
Reviewing additional public utterances from Governor Daniels convinced me that he understood the terrible economic burden of cap-and-trade on Indiana residents, but he has not a clue, nor does he seem to want to know about climate change science. In a WSJ editorial from May 15, 2009, Daniels wrote:
... I've approached the "climate change" debate with an open-mind. But it's clear to me that the nation, and in particular Indiana, my home state, will be terribly dis-served by this cap-and-trade policy on the verge of passage in the House.

The largest scientific and economic questions are being addressed by others ...

No one in Indiana is arguing for the status quo: Hoosiers have been eager to pursue a new energy future. We rocketed from nowhere to national leadership in bio-fuels production in the last four years. We were the No. 1 state in the growth of wind power in 2008. And we have embarked on an aggressive energy-conservation program, indubitably the most cost-effective means of limiting CO2.

Most importantly, we are out to be the world leader in making clean coal -- including the potential for carbon capture and sequestration. The world's first commercial-scale clean coal power plant is under construction in our state, and the first modern coal-to-natural gas plant is coming right behind it. We eagerly accept the responsibility to develop alternatives to the punitive, inequitable taxation of cap and trade.
Well, Governor, let's talk about this. Ethanol is not the answer to replacing gasoline because it is too expensive to make, it is too inefficient in its burning and it requires that taxpayer's heavily subsidize all levels of operation including farmers, production and pricing at the pump.  If the industry cannot be self sustaining, then we need to abandon this fool's game.  Even with subsidy, the industry is in tough financial straits witnessed by the closing of several plants in Indiana in the past year.  Wind turbines are a joke since they operate less than 30% of the time and require coal-fired plants to backup their place in the electrical grid ... and the turbines in the coal-fired plants have to be turning at all times, so what's the point?  In addition, electricity produced by the wind farms is several times more expensive than from coal plants.

The environmentalists (including the aforementioned Citizens Action Coalition), backed by politicians, have the power industry on the run.  Check out AEP and Duke websites and you find them saying all the words that enviro-weirdos want to hear, including carbon capture, climate control and cap-and-trade.  You, Governor Daniels, are going along for the ride in times when we cannot afford the taxi.

Pay attention now, Mitch, and I will pass along the facts, compliments of The Energy Tribune, that you need to know about regarding climate change and CO2.
1 Temperatures have been cooling since 2002, even as carbon dioxide has continued to rise.

2 Carbon dioxide is a trace gas and by itself will produce little warming. Also, as CO2 increases, the incremental warming is less, as the effect is logarithmic so the more CO2, the less warming it produces.

3 CO2 has been totally uncorrelated with temperature over the last decade, and significantly negative since 2002.

4 CO2 is not a pollutant, but a naturally occurring gas. Together with chlorophyll and sunlight, it is an essential ingredient in photosynthesis and is, accordingly, plant food.

5 Reconstruction of paleoclimatological CO2 concentrations demonstrates that carbon dioxide concentration today is near its lowest level since the Cambrian Era some 550 million years ago, when there was almost 20 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere as there is today without causing a “runaway greenhouse effect.”

6 Temperature changes lead, not lag, CO2 changes on all time scales. The oceans may play a key role, emitting carbon dioxide when they warm as carbonated beverages lose fizz as they warm and absorbing it as they cool.

7 Most of the warming in the climate models comes from the assumption that water vapor and precipitation increase as temperatures warm, a strong positive feedback. Water vapor is a far more important greenhouse gas than CO2. However, that assumption has been shown in observations and peer reviewed research to be wrong, and in fact water vapor and precipitation act as a negative feedback that reduces any small greenhouse warming from carbon dioxide.

8 Indeed, greenhouse models show the warming should be greatest at mid to high atmosphere levels in the tropics. But balloon and satellite observations show cooling there. The greenhouse signature or DNA does not match reality, and the greenhouse models thus must greatly overstate the warming – and in a court of law would have to be acquitted of any role in global warming

9 The sun has both direct and indirect effects on our climate. Solar activity changes on cycles of 11 years and longer. When the sun is more active it is brighter and a little hotter. More important though are the indirect effects. Ultraviolet radiation increases much more than the brightness and causes increased ozone production, which generates heat in the high atmosphere that works its way down, affecting the weather. Also, an active sun diffuses cosmic rays, which play an important role in nucleation of low clouds, resulting in fewer clouds. In all these ways the sun warms the planet more when it is active. An active sun in the 1930s and again near the end of the last century helped produce the observed warming periods. The current solar cycle is the longest in over 100 years, an unmistakable sign of a cooling sun that historical patterns suggest will stay so for decades.
Governor, even though the Citizens Action Coalition was wrong about why you wanted the CO2 pipeline, you need to abandon it anyway because carbon sequestration will not work.  The state of Indiana then can get back on track to keep energy cost in line by cutting back on regulations (especially with regard to CO2), approving new coal-fired plants when needed (since CO2 is not a pollutant), and by following your natural instincts toward minimizing government spending and assuring that government stays out of the private sector.  I suggest that you begin immediately to make it easier and cheaper for energy companies to do business in Indiana.

Indiana can begin the counter-revolution that allows us to return to the normal use of fossil fuels without being required to finance junk science ideas like carbon capture.

Stalin Honored At D-Day Memorial

D-Day began just before dawn on June 6, 1944 as a great Allied armada appeared off the Normandy coast of France consisting of "9 battleships, 23 cruisers, 104 destroyers, and 71 large landing craft of various descriptions as well as troop transports, mine sweepers, and merchantmen; in all, nearly 5,000 ships of every type."  175,000 troops entered the fray consisting of the 1st US Army under Gen. Omar Bradley, the 2nd British Army (including Canadian and Free French troops) under Gen. Sir Miles Dempsey and the US 3rd Army commanded by Gen. George S. Patton.  British and American glider and paratroop forces also participated as did the American and British air forces. The battle that was the beginning of the end of World War II was thus initiated  ... and there were no Russian troops involved.  The Allies suffered 9,758 casualties, among them 6,603 from the United States.

In 1996, a Presidential decree established the National D-Day Memorial to honor the valor, fidelity and sacrifice of our military in that great battle.  The Interior Department later described the memorial in this way:
The National D-Day Memorial is located on an 88-acre site in Bedford, Virginia. It rises from a hill overlooking the community and commemorates the sacrifices of all who lost their lives on June 6, 1944. It consists of a series of plazas and architectural and sculptural features commemorating the planning of Operation Overlord, the English Channel crossing, the landings, and the march into France and ultimate victory. The major feature at the center of the memorial is the 44.5 foot granite veneered Overlord Arch. A water feature depicting the landing approach is designed to emit spurts of water simulating the gun fire encountered by those approaching the beaches. Numerous bronze plaques devoted to involved military units and individuals, as well as memorial donors, are placed against walls. The names of those who died on June 6, 1944 are contained on a separate necrology wall. A small visitor contact station and book store is adjacent to the memorial.
Now the D-Day Memorial has added a bust of arguably the second greatest mass murderer in history (eclipsed only by the murderous Mao Zedong in this regard) ... Josef Stalin.  The Russian dictator is credited with the murder of some 20 million of his people.
William McIntosh, president of the memorial in Bedford, Va., insisted "the function of this sculpture is not to honor Stalin."

Stalin is included with the busts of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill because the Soviets "secured the eastern front and helped win the war," he said.

Richard Pumphrey, the sculptor who created the Stalin bust, wrote on the memorial's Web site that leaving out the "reviled dictator" would be like leaving Judas out of "The Last Supper" by Leonardo Da Vinci.
My conclusion is that the D-Day Memorial is established to honor the battle participants ... and Joe Stalin was not one of them.  Let him continue to rot in Hell.  All of the statues of Josef Stalin have been removed from the former Soviet Union and its European satellites.  We need to take a lesson from the oppressed peoples who toiled under his rule.

We Con the World