Monday, May 31, 2010

The Oil Spill - What no one is saying...

It's interesting that many on the Left want to use the Gulf oil spill as a justification to ban all off-shore drilling. Not surprisingly, Charles Krauthammer sets them straight.

However, while this is a good argument for shallow-water drilling as well as drilling off the Alaska coast, I find it neglects land-based sources of energy. These sources including oil from oil sands, natural gas and coal (taking into account the recent Massey mine tragedy of course) would generally be safer for workers and problems that do occur could be much more easily confined rather than sloshing up and down coastlines. (In econ speak, we could reduce the externalities.)

If the Obama administration was serious about increasing energy production at home, they would use this disaster as justification for increased energy exploration on-shore. Instead we get the same old bromides about cap-and-trade and carbon emissions about an "danger" that fewer and fewer people believe exist. Thanks, President Obama for always having your priorities straight.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Critz wins. But wait, there's hope...

Well Mark Critz won this round. One encouraging sign is that Republican turnout has room to grow in November. The Democrats had the more interesting statewide primary races for the U.S. Senate and Governor. That will NOT be a factor in November.

As for the other races, I'm pleased by the results. While Spector would have been an easier target in the General; I take some satisfaction that he has lost in the Primary to, what appears to be, a decent human being.

Who did the other 2% vote for?

Early results (on Hannity of all places) show Critz with a 58-40 lead with 20% of precincts reporting.

Who did the other 2% vote for? If it's Russell and the difference results in a Critz win it will be a shame.

Election Day - A good one so far...

This has been a special day for an unlikely reason. My father had surgery today and pulled through better than anyone expected. I'll spare the details, but I was pretty concerned going in...

We also have a good friend, who will be having a complicated surgical procedure done tomorrow. We're praying for the best news...again.

Hopefully the good news will continue as results are reported in tonight's Special Election between Tim Burns and Mark Critz. Latest polls showed the race too close to call. I'm guessing nothing will be known for sure until morning.

As for the other races - for Senator, I am supporting Pat Toomey. He's is the type of fiscal conservative that we need more of in Washington.

For Governor, I believe Tom Corbett is the best choice. His actions as PA State Attorney General show integrity and a commitment to reform in the State Capitol.

Wow! A short post. Didn't think I had it in me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Open Letter to Bill Russell Supporters

A recent poll from Susquehanna Polling and Research shows the Democrat, Mark Critz, building a lead on the Republican nominee, Tim Burns in next Tuesday's Special Election for the 12th Congressional District. The margin listed was 44 to 38 in favor of Critz. It's important to remind those supporters of Bill Russell who are considering writing him in what is at stake.

The Democrat, Mark Critz, will most likely go along with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat leadership in voting for amnesty for illegal immigrants, a revised cap-and-trade bill and other items destined to increase our debt and further strip away our freedoms. Considering the narrow margin that passed the much-maligned health care bill, it is possible that Mr. Critz could be a deciding vote on at least one major piece of legislation between now and January 2011.

A write-in vote for Bill Russell in the Special Election, in a majority Democrat district, will only split conservative and independent votes; throwing the election to Critz. To Mr. Russell's credit, his campaign ads have been focused on the Republican primary.

The rationale for writing in Mr. Russell seems to be based on a perceived lack of fairness in how Mr. Burns was selected for the Republican nomination. Let's review a few issues relating to this process:

1. Mr. Murtha passed away February 8th. With the primary already scheduled for May 18th, that's only little more than a 3 month time span. So we are dealing with a tight time frame and a term that is already over 50% complete.

2. Governor Rendell, for once, made the prudent decision to schedule the Special Election on the same day as the primary. Considering the current fiscal situation in the state, Murtha's passing was actually well-timed (if such a thing can be said) from the taxpayers' standpoint. Had Mr. Murtha passed on a few months prior, the pressure to hold a stand-alone special election would've been enormous and costly for taxpayers.

3. Mr. Russell ran a spirited campaign against John Murtha in 2008, a very difficult year for Republicans.

4. Mr. Burns announced his campaign for the Republican nomination several months before Mr. Murtha showed signs of ill health.

And yet, some Russell supporters are apparently not satisfied with just pursuing the Republican nomination for a full term. While allowing all Republican voters their say in the Special Election nomination would've been ideal, for the reasons stated above, it just wasn't practical or cost-effective for taxpayers.

Had John Murtha lived, we would simply be left with a spirited primary race between two dissimilar candidates with similar views.

Instead we have a truncated process and hard feelings from a substantial block of conservative voters. If Mark Critz prevails over Tim Burns in the Special Election due to write-in votes for Mr. Russell, Murtha will be laughing at his conservative constituents from the grave, knowing that if he had to move on to his final reward when he did, at least the timing would throw his opponents into disunity and chaos.

While it is considered rude to speak ill of the dead, I believe having Mark Critz win this race solely because of divisions within the Republican Party would be Mr. Murtha's final insult to the principled citizens of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Obama Administration expands Affirmative Terrorists?!?!

In a not-so-startling development, the Obama administration announced a new program designed to "increase diversity among those who seek to implement man-caused disasters within our borders."

The program will be implemented in phases and overseen by Department of Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano. "There is a tremendous need to increase the diversity of man-caused disaster makers beyond the typical adherents of the religion-we-can't-name who's prophet-can't-be-seen-shown-or-ridiculed. We need more white, African-American, Latino and east Asian targets for predator drone attacks. The Jonas Brothers just aren't enough."

Applicants will be trained in various tactics including bomb-making, IED placement and target shooting at military installations across the United States. Of particular interest will be white, Anglo-Saxon males who have attended Tea Parties in the past 12 months. "This is a target demographic," according to the Secretary.

Evading airport security will also be emphasized. "We have to prove that our policy of targeting grandmothers and infants for greater inspection at airports is sound, so any retired folks that are bored at home we encourage to apply. Especially if they're white."

But the program isn't just seeking to increase ethnic diversity among man-caused disaster makers. Religious diversity is very important too. "Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus -- all will be welcome. But no atheists or Wiccans, please. We do have a reputation to uphold."

Reaction to the new program was mixed with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell decrying the added expense to increase the diversity of individuals who try to kill us. MSNBC's Contessa Brewer however was upbeat in her assessment:

"I'm glad our government has finally realized that it isn't whether an attempted man-caused disaster is successful or not, but that the perpetrators reflect the diversity of our society. The fear I have of outdated bigotry has subsided and my frustration has finally been abated."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Left's weird relationship with risk and the misery that results...

While I was on vacation a couple stories broke that crystallize how the elite Left views risk of various types. The first of these was the Icelandic volcano eruption and resulting ash cloud that enveloped much of Europe. Much of the airspace over Europe was closed for up to six days stranding travelers and wreaking havoc on commerce and the European airline industry. (Fortunately my own European vacation was not affected as my wife and I arrived in Paris a few hours before the eruption and returned a few days after the bans were lifted.)

If such an event had happened in the US, the Federal Aviation Administration would have informed the airlines of where the ash cloud was and advised against flying into it. Individual airlines, and subsequently their passengers, would have been able to decide for themselves if the risk merited grounding their aircraft. Not so in Europe, where bureaucrats know to play the "c.y.a." game that is.

It took British Airways, KLM and Air France to send up test flights 3-4 days into the ban, showing no damage to the plane engines, before the regulators would relent. In the meantime, those airline and others have lost hundreds of millions. Stranded passengers have lost thousands as they've racked up credit card debt and dipped into savings to sustain themselves in airports all over the world.

Now to be fair, this event was unprecedented, however test flights should have began within a day or two. A day or two closure was probably prudent, but the individual airlines should have been permitted to assume the risk and consequently their passengers as well.

Meanwhile, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has sparked outrage from the Left with one democrat congressman proposing suspending all current offshore drilling. This is a wonderful idea if your idea of a good time is paying $5/gallon for gas. I suppose the next time there's a fatal traffic accident all automotive traffic should be suspended as well.

BP, and other energy companies, assume considerable risk when drilling. Obviously, considerable fines will be levied against BP (assuming they are at fault and this isn't a bizarre "ends justify the means" form of eco-terrorism) and steps must be taken to minimize the chances of an event like this happening in the future.

On a related matter, John Kerry and others continue to push their cap-and-trade scheme, ostensibly to save the world from Global Warming, a phenomenon that has been widely discredited since the Climategate emails story broke in November. On an unrelated matter, the Obama administration apparently thinks Iran will just hold a giant fireworks display (Location: east coast of the Mediterranean) when they master nuclear weapons. Oddly, they think nothing could possibly go wrong while taking over 1/6th of the economy with a massive health care bill that many of their Congressional supporters didn't even read.

So to sum things up, the Left believes any risk regarding the environment as too great, but hostile radical Islamic regimes having nukes is just something we need to learn to live with. Those Islamic terrorists that want to kill and subjugate everyone that doesn't worship Allah the way they do? Well, they're just misunderstood. At least European bureaucrats just want to cover their own asses.