Saturday, November 25, 2006

Oil and Gas-We Have It, Let's Use It

American consumption of gasoline is up, so is China's which is fueled by their incredible growth. In fact the whole world's need for oil is rising. So what should Americans do about our growing need for more oil? Should we bury our heads and become anti-growth and deny future generations the comforts, inventions and medicines brought about by a booming economy fueled by energy as the environmentalists would have us do? Makuben T. Owens writing for the Ashbrook Center (read) asks the same question and then answers it with the obvious - WE HAVE OIL ON AMERICAN LAND!!! LET'S USE IT!!!

"What can we do? Conservation—like the improved fuel efficiency so beloved by environmentalists and politicians—can get us only so far. We need to tap our domestic supplies, too. This will not only offset price hikes caused by ever-growing global demand, it will reduce our dependence on imported oil and gas—a boost to national security. "

"The U.S. Minerals Management Service (a branch of the Interior Department) estimates 102 billion barrels of oil and 635 trillion cubic feet of gas beneath federal lands and coastal waters. By way of comparison, the reserves lying beneath the North Sea, a major source of oil for Europe, are believed to contain a total of 18 billion barrels of oil.

"Geologists estimate that another 300 trillion cubic feet of gas and 50 billion barrels of oil are waiting, yet to be discovered, off the "Lower 48" states. The American Petroleum Institute (API) notes that this is enough oil to replace current imports from the Persian Gulf for 59 years.

"Overall, experts estimate that the undiscovered resources on the federal Outer Continental Shelf that could be recovered with today’s technology are some 420 trillion cubic feet of gas and 77 billion barrels of oil—as much oil as Canada and Mexico combined, and almost three times their gas resources. (Generally, the OCS begins three to nine nautical miles from shore, depending on the state, and extends 200 nautical miles outward.)

"Yet almost 90 percent of the OCS acreage is off-limits to production—on essentially spurious environmental grounds. With a peak output of 6 million barrels of oil a day in 1999, North Sea production has not caused environmental degradation; there is no reason to believe that OCS production would be any more environmentally damaging. "

The environmentalists have a history of wanting to take us back to the Pleistocene (pleistocene). It is time we take them forward to the 21st century

Friday, November 24, 2006

Immigrants Today are Still the Immigrants of Yesteryear

Today's "Review and Outlook" section of the Wall Street Journal, Immigrant Entreprenuer, deserves a read. The anti-immigration hysteria whipped up by our politicians deserves nothing but derisive laughter and calling these fools for what they are. Imposters. The fact that the history of the United States is based on immigration and immigrants building this country seems to slip their hypocritical brains.

"Everyone knows that Intel, Yahoo, Google, eBay and Sun Microsystems are wildly successful U.S. technology companies. Less well known is that immigrant entrepreneurs played a role in founding each one -- and a whole lot of others."

"Titled "American Made: The Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Professionals on U.S. Competitiveness," the report found that "Over the past 15 years, immigrants have started 25 percent of U.S. public companies that were venture-backed." These businesses employ some 220,000 people in the U.S. and have a current market capitalization that "exceeds $500 billion, adding significant value to the American economy."

"The authors surveyed smaller, private venture-backed companies as well and discovered that nearly half of the founders also were immigrants. Protectionists insist that immigrants "steal" jobs from native workers, but this survey found evidence that these newcomers are more likely to expand the job pool. "[A]lmost two-thirds (66 percent) of the immigrant founders of privately held venture-backed companies have started or intend to start more companies in the United States," according to the report.

"Despite these contributions, and the potential for more, U.S. policies today have made it increasingly difficult for foreigners to come here and start businesses...

"The U.S. currently grants just 65,000 visas annually to foreign professionals in certain fields, such as computer science and biotechnology. This year, as in nine of the past 11, the cap was reached well before the beginning of the fiscal year in which the visas can be used. Earlier this year, Republican Congressman John Shadegg of Arizona introduced a measure that raises the limit and allows it to fluctuate with market demand. The Shadegg bill also would shorten the average wait for a green card, which is currently between five and seven years and a disincentive for these skilled workers to stay in the U.S."

We don't need less immigration - we need more of these hard working people who have what too many Americans don't often have anymore: the yearning for a better life or as Robert Tracinski puts it in his article (TIA) a "normal life".

In nations struggling for liberty, and especially for those struggling to acquire the last institution of a free society, representative government, I found this yearning expressed in an unexpected form: young people talk about their longing to live a "normal life." ...What seems to be contained in the phrase "a normal life" is not the details of what constitutes a free society, but rather a vision of what kind of life is possible to man when he lives in such a society: prosperity; a profusion of opportunities for education , for expression, for advancement; a life free of physical fear.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Temples of Learning

Schools are not places for indoctrination. That's better left to indoctrination camps and at the discretion of the parent. What our schools should be are temples of learning - a place where the student is made aware of the chronological order of knowledge that is, how knowledge has been painstakingly gained during mankind's existence on earth and the major discoveries made along the way that led us to where we are today. Learning the story of the history of knowledge is crucial for a child in order that he may understand how one goes from the particular to the abstract or from observation to a principle.

But today's schools are not much more than babysitting centers that basically throw a massive text book at the kid and command them to study and regurgitate. Today there is an added twist. Students must sit there and listen to their teacher's political diatribes and rantings.

Thomas Sowell in an article written on March 13, 2006 pointed out this disturbing trend.

"Governor Bill Owens of Colorado has cut through the cant about "free speech" and come to the defense of a 16-year-old high school student who tape-recorded his geography teacher using class time to rant against President Bush and compare him to Hitler….

"Unfortunately, there is much confusion about both free speech and academic freedom. At too many schools and colleges across the country, teachers feel free to use a captive audience to vent their politics when they are supposed to be teaching geography or math or other subjects.

"The public occasionally hears about weird rantings by some teacher or professor, what seldom gets any media attention is the far more pervasive classroom brainwashing by people whose views may not be so extreme, but are no less irrelevant to what they are being paid to teach. …

"Nowhere else do people think that it is OK to engage in politics instead of doing the job for which they are being paid. When you hire a plumber to fix a leak, you don't want to find your home being flooded while he whiles away the hours talking about Congressional elections or foreign policy." (Read)

Indeed I don't. I want my children to LEARN HOW TO THINK. I want them to know the history of man's challenge to know the world around them and the discoveries the great men of the past made to tame it. For that you have to have teachers who KNOW HOW TO TEACH, in a chronological and orderly fashion, the big ideas that were discovered in the past in such areas as physics, biology, math, history and art.

Our schools today are nothing more than holding grounds or prisons...prisons of the mind...for our children where their potential is stunted by the unbearable boredom of listening to "teachers" who don't know how to teach. VanDamme Academy seems to be a school where the mind is considered sacred and to be carefully nurtured and developed through a rational curriculum. Certainly, I've never heard of a school taking this approach to learning. (View) Maybe there's hope for a better school.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The "Kerry Soul" of a Politician

I will not write a long piece on the lightweight John Kerry - he isn't worth my time or effort. But his latest gaffe proves that the Swiftboat veterans who battled against him during the 2004 Presidential elections were right about his phoniness. Kerry is a man of little substance. At his core there is not much there and as such he truly symbolizes many of today's politicians.

"John Kerry stands alone, to be judged by his words. He has given us the rare opportunity to look into the soul of a politician, and he has shown himself wanting, especially in view of the fact that he asked us to allow him the honor and privilege of leading our gallant military at a time of war. It is rare in life to be able to know the consequences of both sides of a decision. Mr. Kerry has clearly demonstrated what manner of president he would have been. Fortunately the American electorate denied him that high honor." (read)

This excerpt by the father of a young soldier killed in Irak says it all. This is the "Kerry Soul" - the soul of a shallow, unthinking, unprincipled politician.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

United States Creationists Spread Seductive Lies

The United States doesn't just export good ideas like freedom of speech, religion and good government. It also exports fraud. In a little reported story, it appears that we also export Creationism to countries all over the world (Creationism).

"Creationism is a worldwide phenomenon, in which antievolutionary materials produced by the centers of creationism in the United States are exported overseas, either wholesale or with modifications to suit the local milieu; often there is reimportation, as creationists overseas become major players in their own right and are then welcomed by the legions of creationists in the United States. (The young-earth creationist ministry Answers in Genesis is a case in point: based in Florence, Kentucky, its chief executive officer is the Australian Ken Ham.) Perhaps owing to the spate of media coverage of recent defeats for creationism in the United States -- the decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover in December 2005, the Ohio state board of education's removal of the "critical analysis of education" lesson plan in February 2006, and the primary election results for the Kansas state board of education in August 2006 -- stories about evolution education and attempts to compromise it have been in the news around the world.

"In Canada, the Quebec Ministry of Education is launching a crackdown on unlicensed evangelical schools, following a complaint from Pierre Daoust, director-general of the Commission Scolaire au Coeur-des-Vallees in Thurso, Quebec, about the failure of such schools to follow the provincial curriculum.

" In neighboring Ontario, the National Post reported, independent schools are not required to teach either evolution or sex education."

There are a multitude of "creation stories" around the world - mankinds early attempts at trying to understand their place in the universe. (Stories)

Now I have no beef with our early ancestors who were trying to make SENSE of the hostile world around them in order to survive - they did not have the benefits yet of science and logic. But today? What excuse have we today with all the knowledge gained by the keen insights and hard work of our great men of science and philosophy? Are we still to believe that we were spontaneously created by a supreme being (who never seems to be there when you need him).

Maybe, mentally we're still psychologicaly underdeveloped - in that we just cannot stand to look at the fact that each one of us exists for a short time and after that one IS no longer. And it sure doesn't help that our disgraceful public schools do not do a decent enough job to teach us about the nature of nature and man with all that it entails - the teaching of evolution and how Darwin's discoveries explain why we are on earth. The seductive lies of Creationism are appealing - but the truth of Evolution will always be there regardless of what tricks our mind wants to play.