Speaking at Holocaust Memorial and Museum Yad Vashem, Obama declares that the Holocaust was won because people rose up and spoke with one voice. Somehow, the 14 million allied military who lost their lives were forgotten. To my mind, this is an absolute outrage that, as of yet, is getting absolutely no play in the media.
Obama: WWII won by speaking out as one voice.
Speaking at Holocaust Memorial and Museum Yad Vashem, Obama declares that the Holocaust was won because people rose up and spoke with one voice. Somehow, the 14 million allied military who lost their lives were forgotten. To my mind, this is an absolute outrage that, as of yet, is getting absolutely no play in the media.
Obama Admits He'd Rather See Failure In Iraq Than Say He Was Wrong On The Surge
Today, Obama Said That Even Knowing What He Knows Now, He Would Not Have Supported The Surge:
Obama Told ABC's Terry Moran That, Despite The Progress That Has Occurred In Iraq, He Would Not Have Supported The Surge. Moran: "'[T]he surge of U.S. troops, combined with ordinary Iraqis' rejection of both al Qaeda and Shiite extremists have transformed the country. Attacks are down more than 80% nationwide. U.S. combat casualties have plummeted, five this month so far, compared with 78 last July, and Baghdad has a pulse again.' If you had to do it over again, knowing what you know now, would you -- would you support the surge?" Obama: "No, because -- keep in mind that -" Moran: "You wouldn't?" Obama: "Well, no, keep -- these kinds of hypotheticals are very difficult . Hindsight is 20/20. I think what I am absolutely convinced of is that at that time, we had to change the political debate, because the view of the Bush administration at that time was one that I just disagreed with." Moran: "And so, when pressed, Barack Obama says he still would have opposed the surge." (ABC's "World News," 7/21/08)
When The Surge Was Announced, Obama Said It Would Not Work And Would Potentially Increase Sectarian Violence In Iraq:
In January 2007, Obama Said He Did Not Know Of Any Middle East Expert Or Military Officer That Believed That The Surge Would "Make A Substantial Difference On The Situation On The Ground." Obama: "We cannot impose a military solution on what has effectively become a civil war. And until we acknowledge that reality -- we can send 15,000 more troops, 20,000 more troops, 30,000 more troops, I don't know any expert on the region or any military officer that I've spoken to privately that believes that that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground." (CBS' "Face The Nation," 1/14/07)
Obama: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse." (MSNBC's "Response To The President's Speech On Iraq," 1/10/07)
After The Surge Was In Effect, Obama Said It Had Potentially Worsened The Situation In Iraq:
In July 2007, Obama Said The Surge Had Not Worked In Iraq. Obama: "Well, actually, I think there was a very serious debate, and it's based on some fundamental differences. I think reasonable people can differ on this issue because there are no good options in Iraq. We should not have gone. At this point we have bad options and worse options. But we are facing a choice. My assessment is that the surge has not worked and we will not see a different report eight weeks from now." (NBC's "The Today Show," 7/18/07)
In November 2007, Obama Said The Surge Has Not Worked, And Had Potentially Worsened The Situation In Iraq. Obama: "Finally, in 2006-2007, we started to see that, even after an election, George Bush continued to want to pursue a course that didn't withdraw troops from Iraq but actually doubled them and initiated a search and at that stage I said very clearly, not only have we not seen improvements, but we're actually worsening, potentially, a situation there." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 11/11/07)
A Year After The Surge Was Announced, Obama Admitted That It Had Improved Security And Claimed That He Always Said It Would Do So: In January 2008, Obama Claimed That He Always Said That Increasing The Number Of Troops In Iraq Would Improve Security. Obama: "Now, I had no doubt, and I said at the time when I opposed the surge, that given how wonderfully our troops perform, if we place 30,000 more troops in there, then we would see an improvement in the security situation and we would see a reduction in the violence." (Sen. Barack Obama, Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Manchester, NH, 1/5/08)
In February 2008, Obama Said That It Was "Indisputable" That Violence Had Been Reduced In Iraq." CNN's Campbell Brown: "Senator Obama, in the same vein, you were also opposed to the surge from the beginning. Were you wrong?" Obama: "Well, I think it is indisputable that we've seen violence reduced in Iraq. And that's a credit to our brave men and women in uniform." (Sen. Barack Obama, CNN/ Univision Democrat Presidential Debate, Austin, TX, 2/21/08)
Despite Admitting That The Surge Had Reduced Violence, Obama Said That "We Don't Need More Spin About How The Surge Is Succeeding":
In May 2008, Obama Said "We Don't Need More Spin About How The Surge Is Succeeding." Obama: "We don't need more spin about how the surge is succeeding in doing what it was supposed to do which is to get the Iraqi's to stand up and take responsibility for their own future, so we can start sending our troops home." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At A Town Hall, Rapid City, SD, 5/31/08)
Obama Recently Admitted That The Surge Has Improved The Situation In Iraq:
In July 2008, Obama Said He Was "Pleased To See The Reductions In Violence That Have Occurred" In Iraq. Obama: "Now, that does not detract from the extraordinary work our troops have done. They have performed brilliantly throughout the process. And obviously, I am very pleased to see the reductions in violence that have occurred over the last several months. There's no doubt that because of their heroism and their outstanding work, we had the opportunity to salvage the situation in Iraq." (Sen. Barack Obama, Interview With Military Times, 7/2/08)
A Product Of The RNC Research Department
From the Baltimore Sun, we have a story about companies vying to get oil from a small section of the Florida panhandle where OCS drilling is currently allowed. Four companies have snatched up leases, but the difficulties are great. According to Stuart Strive, an executive with one of the companies, "Three-dimensional mapping of the ocean floor, which must happen before any drilling, could take up to two years...If a promising site is found, engineers must drill up to three miles below the ocean surface to extract the oil or natural gas. And it will take years before the company begins producing anything at the site - and there is no guarantee of success. A company can have as much as $4 billion invested and a wait of up to five years before seeing any return on the investment."
That's a lot of time and money for companies to invest, but with oil prices high, they are especially willing to go for it now, even if it takes up to five years to get the oil to market and see any cash spilling forth from those platforms (notice how the oil executive is under the false impression that it only takes up to 5 years and not the 7 to 12 you keep hearing from liberal oil opponents).
And from the Wall Street Journal, we have the story of McMoRan Exploration Co, which is returning to a long abandoned area which Exxon abandoned in 2006 after drilling to 30,000 feet without hitting pay dirt. It's a reach, but people are beginning to look even in the unlikeliest of places--given that the likely places are off limits.
If only Bush and these oil companies would get off their hindquarters and do some work we could be out of this mess that the Democrats and the environmental lobbyists have nothing to do with.
Now we really have a cause to get behind. It's called Operation Go Green! In case you missed it, the Green Party nominated two asylum escapees, Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, to run for President and Vice President in 2008. They hope to be on 40 state ballots plus D.C.
If you know anything about these women, you know what kind of opportunity is presented here. As Obama moves to the center, more and more crazy people, the Democrats' biggest "special" interest group, will begin looking for alternatives. If these two can get the 5% of the popular vote they are looking for, which is possible, then we can expect to see the Green Party as a fixture of American politics for years to come, tossing wrench after wrench into the Democrats' machine.
First we had Hillary announcing that hard working white Americans weren't going to vote for Barack. Then it was Barack Obama, himself, reminding everyone in a speech how scary he was--then adding that he was black. Ralph Nader followed, attempting to guard America's black consumers by questioning Obama's blackness. Now we have The New Yorker, my favorite liberal rag, putting Obama in Islamic clothes and Michelle Obama in radical military gear. (see here)
Of course, The New Yorker claims it is all a satirical representation of what Republicans are thinking. Imagine that. Republicans have still not brought up the race issue--except for one amateur Obama smear site that I know of--but The New Yorker knows what we're doing even when we aren't doing it. We are, after all, a bunch of racists by their definition.
It is unremarkable that the closed-minded left would carry on this way without any exterior evidence to back their thinking. After all, they like to fight the same battles for decades, trapping their constituencies in a sort of retro-victimization long after the rest of the world has moved on. That's how they maintain their voting blocks.
What is remarkable is that more people don't catch on to the nonsense. The African-American community needs to realize that the Democrats have nothing left to offer them but perpetual victim-hood.
I don't expect the black community to snap out of it this election. The opportunity to elect an African-American is understandably a draw that is nearly impossible for the average voter to overcome. But while you are voting Democrat this election, keep a critical eye on them and the Republicans. You may notice some things, that the only ones making race an issue are the so-called enlightened ones.
For the purpose of this piece we are going to use the plans put forth by the presidential candidates, Barack Obama (Democrat) and John McCain (Republican), as these are the presumptive de facto leaders of their parties.
Sources: http://www.barackobama.com/ , http://www.johnmccain.com/
Both plans have as their eventual goal American energy independence and a move to clean energy, and both plans begin by addressing the current energy crisis.
Current Energy Crisis
The Republican plan for addressing the immediate crisis places emphasis on allowing new oil and gas exploration, reducing or eliminating tariffs and subsidies for alcohol-based fuel, and reforming the laws and regulations governing the oil futures market
Allowing new oil and gas exploration: This is almost certainly the most effective, short-term solution to driving the oil markets down. America has somewhere between 60 and 200 years worth of untapped oil depending upon the estimate you use (it probably lies somewhere in the middle). While it is true that it would be from 2 to 7 years before a lot of this oil could start hitting the market, the mere intention to drill would decimate the oil futures and bring prices down significantly.
Reducing or eliminating tariffs and subsidies for alcohol-based fuel: Some of the problems we have in the food and ethanol market right now are that we are protecting our corn farmers via subsidies. While this seems like a noble idea, it is causing vast amounts of corn to be grown and sold at inflated rates. Countries like Brazil have the capacity to provide significant amounts of ethanol at cheap prices and create true market-based competition in the ethanol market. Today there are already many flexible fuel vehicles on the roads in the U.S.
Regulations governing the oil futures market: For Republicans, this means that they want to reform the laws and regulations governing the oil futures market, so that they are just as clear and effective as the rules applied to stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments. There are serious questions as to whether this would actually make any significant change. Most trading will still take place and as long as there are fears of a supply and demand problem the oil futures are going to rise.
Gas tax holiday: This plan would most likely reduce the price of gasoline briefly; however, critics think it would likely cause more consumption without creating greater supply, thus causing prices to go even higher in the long run.
Though there are no plans on Barack Obama's official site to address immediate energy concerns, there have been talks for a windfall profits tax of the oil companies and looking at the regulations governing the oil futures market.
Windfall profits tax: This is only getting minor support from some quarters as it is generally recognized that punishing the oil companies will diminish their ability to improve infrastructure and increase production. The companion idea is that you could use the "extra" tax income to aid the consumer. One problem with this would be that due to deficit spending, the "extra" money would be imaginary.
Regulations governing the oil futures market: (see above)
Intermediate and Long-Term Plans
The intermediate and long-term plans laid out by Barack Obama have a primary emphasis on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and addressing global warming. The plans are copious and varied. The principle goal being to address global warming, most of the proposals are a sort of "tough love" program designed to move us away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible with a target of reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050. It is difficult to determine at what point we might reach a threshold and expect to see a positive impact on energy prices because the worldwide demand for energy is expected to rise exponentially through the intervening years, playing as a sort of counterbalance to our initial efforts to conserve.
Cap and Trade: This is being proposed by both presidential candidates. There are a variety of problems with Cap and Trade. One is that it is essentially a business tax and therefore not conducive to companies making efforts to convert to green energy. In Europe, where cap and trade programs have been under way for years, there have been zero reductions in carbon emissions. People who are trying to redesign the program are looking at making energy costs much more prohibitive, thereby creating a greater incentive for going green. Critics argue that this new reformulation will cause an economic drain and inflation. Additionally, quickly developing countries with enormous populations, such as China and India, are putting out much more CO2 every year. All in all, this is widely viewed as a failed program.
Invest $150 Billion over 10 Years in Clean Energy: Rather expensive, yet somewhat effective--this plan has a variety of components that would encourage research, the development of greater biofuel infrastructure, and the advancement of such technology as plug-in hybrids. If affordable within the constraints of the budget, this is likely a plan that will work in the long term. Critics, however, say that the private sector is already moving in this direction and these types of financial incentives are unnecessary and tend to limit the private sector's creative ability to problem solve. Also, you will have critics of how the money is spent and who gets it.
Double Energy Research and Development Funding: This is primarily for biomass, wind and solar. Most feel that these technologies need increased governmental support to realize their potential. Others believe in letting the market take care of it naturally.
Convert our Manufacturing Centers into Clean Technology Leaders: This proposal is somewhat vague, yet appears to be a sort of tax credit for adopting green practices. This would be almost a necessity if great changes are to be expected from America's businesses without putting them at a trade disadvantage.
Clean Technologies Deployment Venture Capital Fund: A $50 billion venture capital fund for developing green technology companies. Again, this depends upon whether you have the $50 billion and your view on governmental involvement in developing private sector companies. I can imagine that critics will question who gets the money and why. For instance, will it always go to the most promising young tech companies or will it sometimes go to companies because they are minority owned? This is a massive distribution of money that could, like the $150 billion above, lead to serious ethical questions.
Require 25 Percent of Renewable Electricity by 2025: With our current levels hovering in the low single digits and electricity demand rising, this will take some work but is doable. Perhaps with all the investment money in the programs above some new technology will lead the way to make it easier.
Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology: It includes provisions for halting production on new "non-clean" coal facilities to encourage bringing the clean facilities online. The difficulty is that it is anticipated that clean coal technology will take 15 years to come online. If building traditional plants is halted, it could create a serious electricity crisis if not replaced in some way.
Deploy Cellulosic Ethanol: Cellulosic ethanol is generally seen as more efficient and less costly to food production since it is produced from non-edibles. The plan is to get a small amount online by 2013 and continue to grow the resource from there. This seems to be moving in a good direction to solve some of the current problems with ethanol. Critics may wonder what the purpose is as the car makers are turning to electric and hydrogen.
Expand Locally-Owned Biofuel Refineries: This would be the old type of ethanol, not the cellulosic mentioned above. Again, critics will complain of a scattershot method. This would be, as the entire ethanol movement has been so far, very good for farmers.
Confront Deforestation and Promote Carbon Sequestration: According to the Obama website, "Obama will develop domestic incentives that reward forest owners, farmers, and ranchers when they plant trees, restore grasslands, or undertake farming practices that capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere." That is as specific as the plan gets right now. There are too many questions to really comment on it at this time.
Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard: Sets a goal of reducing fuel carbon emits by 10% by 2020. If this doesn't include biofuel additives, it will require special blends that will further assist reducing emissions by driving up gasoline prices.
Increase Renewable Fuel Standard: Requiring 36 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2022. By current fuel usage, that would amount to about 20% of all gas used. One would assume that in combination with other programs designed to improve mileage this could potentially represent an even greater percentage in 2022.
Increase Fuel Economy Standards: Doubling fuel economy in 18 years with an emphasis on helping American car companies meet these goals. I'm not certain what the conditions of this will be, whether it be by fleet or by class. It does seem feasible as an average with many companies planning on bringing all-electric vehicles online soon.
Set National Building Efficiency Goals: Making all new buildings carbon neutral, or produce zero emissions, by 2030. Democrats will also establish a national goal of improving new building efficiency by 50 percent and existing building efficiency by 25 percent over the next decade to help meet the 2030 goal. Critics will argue that building costs will soar, but this could be a key component to aiding the requirement, "Require 25 Percent of Renewable Electricity by 2025", above (or surpassing the requirement). Additionally, the construction business has always adapted to new building standards before, such as earthquake and hurricane codes.
Establish a Grant Program for Early Adopters: This is for states and localities that adopt the above building codes early. This will help to keep early adopters competitive with late adopters as far as economic recruitment, etc. Likely this is necessary to get any significant early action on the above proposal.
Invest in a Digital Smart Grid: Will pursue a major investment in the utility grid to enable a tremendous increase in renewable generation and accommodate modern energy requirements, such as reliability, smart metering, and distributed storage. I think nearly everyone would agree that this is far overdo, though some might claim the benefits don't justify the cost.
Create New Forum of Largest Greenhouse Gas Emitters: By wanting to include China and India, Democrats have the right idea. Unfortunately, neither China nor India have shown an interest in doing a lot in this regard.
Re-Engage with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change: Though worded vaguely, I assume this means accepting more U.N. environmental plans than we have in the past. Positives and negatives would depend upon which plans we agreed to.
Called the Lexington Project, the Republican plan does not have nearly as many components as the Democrat plan, though it does include plans to quickly drop energy prices (above) and has similar overall goals to the Democrat plan and some of the same features.
Cap and Trade: (see under Democrat Plan above)
Clean Car Challenge: "will commit a $5,000 tax credit for each and every customer who buys a zero carbon emission t car, encouraging automakers to be first on the market with these cars in order to capitalize on the consumer incentives. For other vehicles, a graduated tax credit will apply so that the lower the carbon emissions, the higher the tax credit." As a tax credit instead of spending, this might win over some conservatives. Critics might say that it will encourage businesses to price gouge, though such a coordinated effort would be unlikely.
$300 Million Prize To Improve Battery Technology: This is like the space related X-Prize on steroids. That kind of money would almost certainly draw interest and have an impact. Critics have already said that the money could go to advanced technologies just now coming onto the market; however, these technologies would fall under the "current technologies" heading and thus be the score that must be beaten.
Flex-Fuel Vehicles Should Play A Greater Role In Our Transportation Sector: This would be biofuel vehicles like ethanol and biodeisel. Unfortunately, if there is a plan here, it isn't listed. This is more a statement of belief.
Alcohol-Based Fuels Hold Great Promise As Both An Alternative To Gasoline And As A Means of Expanding Consumers' Choices: See above on the 'no plan listed'. However, it should be pointed out that Republicans are in favor of aiding alcohol based fuels by removing restrictions, tariffs and subsidies which may make the ethanol business more competitive.
Effectively Enforce Existing CAFE Standards: Believes in substantially increasing the penalty to car manufacturers who fail to meet the standard. Today companies pay a nominal fee. It is difficult to argue against this. If you are going to have CAFE standards, they need to be enforced. As it is now, the program is more a source of revenue (taxes).
Become A Leader In A New International Green Economy: No plan for this is given.
$2 Billion Annually To Advancing Clean Coal Technologies: This plans to help bring the technology online sooner than the 15 years analysts say. Critics may claim this is an insufficient investment and does nothing to curb the continued build-out of traditional coal plants.
Construct 45 New Nuclear Power Plants By 2030 With The Ultimate Goal Of Eventually Constructing 100 New Plants: This is the biggie besides drilling for new oil. Nuclear energy is the obvious answer to CO2 emission problems from power plants. Critics will say that it is dangerous and that the waste is difficult to store; however, America is about the only developed country that still clings to these nuclear energy wives' tales. We are way behind the rest of the industrialized world.
Establish A Permanent Tax Credit Equal To 10 Percent Of Wages Spent On R&D: This does not appear to be related only to energy/clean energy fields. Critics might say it isn't directed enough, yet it does eliminate the problem of who gets the windfall. Everyone with R&D will get it.
Encourage The Market For Alternative, Low Carbon Fuels Such As Wind, Hydro And Solar Power: Again, instead of money going in, Republicans want to keep the money from going out in the first place, suggesting modest tax incentives to companies in these industries. And, again, critics will likely argue that it won't be enough.
Despite being extremely partisan, myself, I have tried very hard to present an honest and unbiased review, above, of the two plans. Hopefully you can mull it over and make your own conclusions.
For me, the Democrat plan is scattershot and wild with its money, throwing many hundreds of billions of dollars in all different directions, seeming even to have redundancy built in. For instance, requiring 25% renewables for electricity and new building codes that will make buildings zero emission. A great difficulty, however, with the Democrat plan is that it has no solutions to the current crisis and ignores obvious and currently available solutions like drilling for oil and building nuclear power plants. An even greater difficulty, however, is that the plan is likely to increase the current crisis by making the use of oil and electricity more difficult and expensive.
Republicans, on the other hand, favor easing into the renewable/green era by creating a greater supply of energy now while encouraging development of new businesses and technology through tax incentives and structured goals. Meanwhile, by embracing nuclear power, they hope to drastically reduce the amount of renewables needed and create a cheap and clean energy source.
Both plans get us where we want, or need, to be, but the Democrat plan does it with only the environment in mind, heedless of the economic and social destruction the plan would leave in its wake. Even the vast amounts of deficit spending proposed will cause energy prices to go up as the falling dollar continues to buy less and less of the foreign oil they will force America to continue to rely upon.
My grades: Republican = B+. They have most of the bases covered but should be pushing harder for the opening of the oil shale fields or ANWR. The plan will greatly benefit the struggling economy and cause an immediate and drastic reduction in the cost of gasoline while still leading us to clean, renewable energy. It should be pointed out, however, that a windfall of new oil should not be allowed to stop the progress currently being made toward renewable/green energy. Whatever your views of global warming, this is the direction of the world economy and America cannot afford to stay put with old technology.
Democrat = D. They leave the economy to potentially collapse under the burden of ever increasing energy costs and environmental demands. As for the long term, they have covered too many bases, taking an almost hysterical approach that includes redundant plans and vast amounts of give-aways that are likely to become more political than practical. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that a significant shift to renewable/green energy would occur.
Cross Posted to American Sentinel
In Britain, the National Children's Bureau has issued a set of guidelines to
nursery teachers to be alert for racism by children as young as three, according
to the Brussells Journal.
While some communities fight over a climate change levy tax and others plan about which towns to save and which to let drown, news reports of potential solutions--like floating cities to house "climate change refugees" and new forms of plant energy that could save the world--are making the headlines.
(as an aside, here's a quote about the new plant
energy "NASA has estimated that halophytes planted over an area the size of the
Sahara Desert could supply more than 90% of the world's energy needs."
Gee-only the entire northern continent of Africa will be
Clearly we all need to be involved in finding solutions to this dastardly problem; otherwise, freaking lunatics are going to end up screwing up the world by planting halophytes all over it, or screwing up the view from my favorite beach house by building enormous contingency cities. Never mind the protesters out marching against nuclear power, there are other things we can do besides stopping that menace, and I'm here to propose a series of them.
Should you vote Democrat? Many people shouldn't even consider it, but if you are a member of one of these groups, voting straight along the Democratic Party line might be in order.
1) You don't own a car and don't intend to own a car. This might be someone in a large metropolitan area with a fantastic public transportation system. In this case you may not care that the Democrat solution to high gas prices should take effect in about 30 years.
2) You're fat and just can't seem to get the weight off. As Obama says, you can't keep eating as much as you want or France might get mad. Having a bunch of wine-swilling Frenchmen coming after you (miming your imminent demise) will surely have you on the road to health.
3) You want to learn Spanish. Barack Obama is embarrassed by Americans and their lack of bilingualism. He thinks we need to learn Spanish and he's going to help.
4) You are dead. No one encourages the dead to get their voices heard like the Democrats, particularly those from Illinois.
5) You are, or were, incarcerated. (See number 4)
6) You have too much time on your hands and need to be given jobs to do. Pharaobama has an enormous, and sometimes required, public works program. Get ready to build monuments! ...or something.
7) Someone else is keeping you from succeeding. You know who you are and what they are up to. Democrats will be sure to put an end to it.
8) You have nightmares about livestock flatulence. And not the normal kind we all have--the really scary kind that involves climate disaster.
9) You were born in a terrorist supporting nation, have a history of questionable behavior, are building bombs in your basement and like talking on the phone about it. Where the hell are your civil rights? Why should these people be allowed to tap your phone without just cause?
10) Because, dammit, you believe. You aren't sure what, but you know it makes you well up with tears. When you hear all these vague plans about change, you don't ask how or what's the cost. You are too dizzy with love to think about it. Liberalism is the opiate of the masses, and you can never get enough opiates.
It is quite the confusing religious world that we live in these days. Christianity seems to be changing by the minute, and the factions that line up against each other are stranger and stranger. I'm not going to get into a full theological discussion at this point, but what is the benefit to liberal Christianity? A Christianity that denies that Christ is the way to God is not even a religion any more.
It has been argued for some time that everyone is responsible for their faith to the level that they have had the Gospel revealed to them. This is a part of Revelation and many use it to neatly dance around the problem of having people in China who have never heard of Christ going to Hell. That doesn't quite seem fair, after all. Being a staple passage in the Bible, this doesn't really qualify as a wholly liberal theology. I've heard many conservative apologists (the ones who think the world is 6000 years old) use it as proof of God's love and mercy. Fine, I'm untrained in theology, so I'm not going to argue with them.
Yet it is another thing altogether to claim that people who specifically reject Christ are rewarded with eternal life, as Barack Obama recently suggested. It seems to me that this leaves Christianity with nothing at all.
And this is only one of the strange stories with liberal interpretations of the Bible that I've read lately. Yesterday, for example, I read an op-ed on Real Clear Politics that began with these lines:
In her 2001 memoir of seminary life, Episcopal priest Chloe Breyer expressed befuddlement that the Rikers Island inmates to whom she was ministering mocked her liberal approach to religion.
"They want answers, not questions," Ms. Breyer wrote in frustration. "The more contradictions I point out in the Bible, the more the inmates decide there is no point in wasting their time with a religion that lacks answers."
Pardon me, but what the hell? Who decided the proper way to minister to people, much less convicts at Rikers Island, was to point out contradictions in the Bible? After Pentecost when the Apostles and disciples of Jesus went out into the world to spread the Gospel, they anticipated that people would need proof in order to convert--thus the need for "witnesses", people who had seen the risen Christ. The last thing these men would have done was to spend a great deal of time casting doubt upon their own story.
A liberal approach to religion renders the religion impotent and meaningless, much as a liberal approach to the constitution renders law impotent and meaningless. Either it is or it is not. For Obama and those on the left wing of Christianity, it is not, and neither is our constitution and neither is our liberty. The principle difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals bring chaos while conservatives bring order. Think that is going too far? Ask Christ who has been thrown out of his own religion.
These days getting lectured by a talking head about taking mass transit is nearly a constant punishment. With implied finger wagging, we are told that our refusal to hop on the train or bus is adding to anthropogenic global warming and leading to our eventual destruction. Of course, these television versions of the village idiot always have New York, Chicago or some other major city in the background. It matters little to them where the viewers live. We are supposed to find a train or a bus somewhere and hop on. So let me give them a little lesson in midsized town mass stupidity transit.
I live in Knoxville, TN. The county has a bit more than 400,000 people and the CSA has a bit over 1 million. We are often held up as an example of an area that desperately needs public transportation. Our residential and business districts are spread out in a sort of hyperbolic demonstration of the principles of urban sprawl, and we consistently show up in lists of the Top 10 Most Polluted Cities in America. This has more to do with geography than anything, as we border the Smoky Mountains–and not on the lee side. In any event, air quality is an issue here, so our good ole boy network of politicians has seen fit to take a series of steps to address it.
First we have our “Bike to Work” week, which usually takes place in the middle of May. By then, our temperatures are usually in the 80’s and that 40 minute commute in the car (see urban sprawl above) turns into a 4 hour ride/walk/push (see mountains above) that no one with any sense is willing to undertake. Much better is the “Park and Ride” lots where you can leave your car behind and either commute with your buddies or catch a bus. But as far as good ideas go, that’s as good as our mass stupidity transit gets.
A few years ago we started getting daily air quality alerts. If the day was going to be particularly bad for your health, it was announced publicly. The response of our mass transit folks was to offer incentives based on this. If it was a dangerous air day, you got to ride the bus for free (or at a deep discount–I honestly can’t remember). Think about it for a moment. The air is so foul that people are going to emergency rooms with respiratory problems and KAT (Knoxville Area Transit) is encouraging you to stand around outside at a bus stop for 20 minutes.
But that was only stupid. It turns out that there is mass insanity behind the scenes that usually doesn’t see the light of day.
With ridership up this year by over 10% due to rising gas prices, KAT is preparing to sharply reduce the number of routes it serves. Why? Of course it’s the rising cost of diesel and the resulting financial crisis. I wondered, can’t we just pass this rising cost of fuel to the rider like every other business does these days? Like many others, I was baffled. Unlike most, I decided to look into it.
According to a report by NBC affiliate WBIR, “The city pays about half of KAT’s $16,000,000 annual operating budget. State and federal grants cover a quarter. The rest comes from revenue partners like the University of Tennessee and fares from riders.”
Stop and read that sentence again. Less than 25% of the costs to run the program comes from fares. Naturally, this got me to thinking, what are the fares (no, I’ve never ridden the bus)? From another story on WBIR, I discover that the Farragut to Knoxville Express, which is one route under discussion to be cut, costs $1.25. The average distance from Farragut to Knoxville is, according to Mapquest, 15.68 miles. So let’s do some math.
Getting an idea of the mpg that the average KAT bus gets is a rather tricky undertaking and likely for good reasons. The only study I found on the subject showed that a few hybrid electric buses KAT uses get 3.22 mpg. Most of the fleet, however, is just plain diesel. From various sites I read that the average American car gets about 20 mpg. So let’s say I hop in my average car and drive from my home in Farragut to my job in downtown Knoxville. With $4 per gallon gas, it’s going to cost me $6.27 for the day to get to work and back.
According to readily available figures 17,500 people ride the Farragut express every year and there are approximately 2200 trips. This averages out to 7.95, or 8, passengers per bus trip. That means that if you say the average automobile is carrying 1.5 passengers (another readily available figure) then you will end up with these figures:
The car carrying 1.5 passengers is getting essentially an adjusted 30 mpg because of the added half passenger. The bus carrying 8 passengers (the driver doesn’t count because he wouldn’t necessarily be taking the trip if he weren’t employed to do so) at 3.22 mpg is getting essentially 25.76 mpg. Even counting a full extra rider for this year’s ten percent increase (My figures were based on last year), the addition only gets you to 28.98 mpg. And this is assuming that the Farragut line is using one of the hybrid electric buses, which is not at all likely given that most of the buses are not hybrid electric. If the Farragut Express bus is getting, for instance, only 2.5 mpg, then the numbers get ridiculous, with the bus wasting 7.5 mpg over automobile transportation.
Let’s not even get into the fact that the 8 passengers are paying $11.20 for the $19.48 worth of gas (on the hybrid model) it takes to get them downtown. Then you have the driver’s salary. The mechanics. The managers. The marketing department. The accountants. No wonder citizens are up in arms over the idea of ending the route. It’s the best darn deal in town.
Built up into an irrational, global warming frenzy, we in Knoxville are practically ready to take to the streets in order to save the Farragut Express. The reality is something different entirely. KAT is so subsidized that it is virtually an entitlement program, and the CO2 savings are imaginary.
Though I didn’t do the math behind the other proposed route cuts, I’m betting it would come out much the same or worse. And given where KAT’s money comes from, one has to wonder whether some marginal savings in CO2 emissions (given that most buses are not hybrids, I seriously doubt there are any CO2 savings at all) is worth $12 million in federal and state money–and the University of Tennessee, which provides a portion of the funds not counted in the $12 million is also partly funded by state and federal money.
What I thought was going to be an article pointing out the stupidity of cutting bus routes as gas prices go up, became an article questioning whether we needed most bus services at all. These hulking road dinosaurs are a useless money drain. And while I don’t buy into the nonsense surrounding anthropogenic global warming, if I did it would be an even greater reason to question the service. I’m not completely against the idea of public transportation, but I’m definitely of the mind that it needs to be reexamined and retooled or just trashed altogether in mid-sized towns–at least in this one.
Meanwhile, if you are really wanting to save the planet, Superman, consider carpooling. Janet in her 10 mpg Hummer with 6 passengers is blowing that KAT bus away.
I've actually seen a few liberal blogs, which I refuse to link to, who are now making the claim that Republicans are "swiftboating" the Democrats on energy.
Let's get this straight, Republicans are partially to blame for the current crisis. They sat back for years and let the global warming hysteria and anti-drilling movement go uncontested. But that is where the heart of this energy and economic crisis is--environmental activism driving down supply. Which political party do you think is leading that charge?
And which party do you think is leading the mass ignorance about nuclear power? We are the only major economy that treats nuclear energy with the same superstitious wariness usually reserved for black cats and walking under ladders. And it can all be traced to Democratic fear mongering, Democratic politicians "looking out for you" in order to get your vote.
One can only wish that the entire country would wake up as the people of West Virginia woke up. It wasn't that long ago that West Virginia used to vote Democrat in the presidential election with great regularity. Finally, the people realized that the candidates they were voting for were against West Virginia coal production, and they voted for G.W. Bush twice and are leaning to McCain in this election. Now it's not just a matter of local coal production. No matter where you live, you have good reason to vote the energy nay-sayers out of office.
Drill Here, Drill Now
Using his strategist, David Axelrod, Obama now is backtracking on his Iraq stance, saying that he will certainly listen to military advisers as to when he will pull out.
Obama Flip-flops on Iraq