People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

It's Not Rocket Science

And it doesn't require a "complex set of solutions" to solve it, as some clueless politicians would have you believe. The problem, and the solution, are as old as civilization itself.

The problem: Scarcity of supply.

The solution: Drill here. Drill Now.

Who's Behind High Prices
By Robert J. Samuelson, the Washington Post

Tired of high gasoline prices and rising food costs? Well, here's a solution. Let's shoot the speculators. A chorus of politicians, including John McCain and Barack Obama, blames these financial slimeballs for piling into commodities markets and pushing prices to artificial and unconscionable levels.

A better explanation is basic supply and demand. Despite the U.S. slowdown, the world economy has boomed. Since 2002, annual growth has averaged 4.6 percent, the highest sustained rate since the 1960s, says economist Michael Mussa of the Peterson Institute. By their nature, raw materials (food, energy, minerals) sustain the broader economy. They're not just frills. When unexpectedly high demand strains existing production, prices rise sharply as buyers scramble for scarce supplies. That's what happened.

Politicians promise to tighten regulation of futures markets, but futures markets aren't the main problem. Scarcities are. Government subsidies for corn-based ethanol have increased food prices by diverting more grain into biofuels. A third of this year's U.S. corn crop could go to ethanol. Restrictions on oil drilling in the United States have limited global production and put upward pressure on prices. If politicians wish to point fingers of blame, they should start with themselves. (link)

So how do Democrats propose to bring supplies in line with demand? By doing more of the same. Nibbling around the edges of this growing crisis. Like promoting solar energy, for God's sake.

There is, in reality, only one way: Bring more oil to market.

Not from french fry grease. Not from corn. Not from chicken squeezin's. Not from the tooth fairy.

From the ground. Texas Crude.

Drill. Now. Drill now! The human race depends upon it.

Still Stuck On Stupid

Earth to Bristol Herald Courier: We have a growing energy crisis. Get your heads out of the "ozone."

This, coming in the time in which we live, is just pathetic:

Weak Laws Lead to Plant’s Approval

The Virginia Air Pollution Control Board’s approval of a coal-fired power plant in Wise County comes as no surprise.

If there are any honest lawmakers left who aren’t beholden to Dominion and other corporate benefactors, they should rue this development. While other states are stopping coal plants because of mounting concerns about global warming and public health, Virginia is stoking the fires ever higher. At best, coal is a necessary evil. No clever publicity campaign to rebrand it as “clean” can make it so.

We concede that the nation can’t give up on coal entirely, but that doesn’t mean its use should be expanded. Virginia is moving in the wrong direction and is giving short shrift to both environmental and health concerns.

This isn’t just about global warming, which some still regard with skepticism. Conventional pollutants from coal-fired power plants aggravate respiratory ailments and are linked to fatal heart attacks and blood clots. (link)

This leads to my favorite line - perhaps the line of the year:

"Such pollutants degrade the environment in our national parks, like the Great Smoky Mountains, where heavy haze obstructs the views much of the year."

The Great Smoky Mountains are ... smoky.

Did these mental giants ever wonder where the mountains ever got their name?

- - -

* Hint: It wasn't from Virginia coal-fired power plants spewing particulates into the Tennessee mountains:

"The name of the area comes from the natural haze that often hangs over it. As in the neighboring Blue Ridge Mountains to the east, hydrocarbons produced by trees and other local vegetation — as well as higher humidity — produce a bluish cast to the sky, even over short distances.

But that's How Nationalized Health Care Works

First read this Roanoke Times piece from this morning:

Medicare cuts a symptom of failure
A huge cut in Medicare reimbursements would leave the nation's seniors without doctors willing to treat them.

Many people who have Friday off for the Fourth of July holiday are toiling a little harder this week. They try to get ahead -- or at least caught up -- so work does not pile up over the long weekend.

Then there is Congress. Lawmakers are already firing up the barbecues back home even though they left important work incomplete in Washington. They kicked off their holiday vacation without passing a bill that would prevent a huge Medicare cut. Only a last-minute dodge by the Bush administration postponed the damage.

A decade ago, Washington capped annual Medicare spending, and the cap rises much more slowly than inflation in the medical industry. Congress regularly closes the gap, though it never repeals the original law.

This year, the stopgap bill overwhelmingly passed the House, but Republicans in the Senate blocked it. As a result, doctors who treat Medicare patients faced a 10.6 percent cut starting Tuesday.

Many doctors said, "To hell with that." They announced they would stop taking new Medicare patients rather than eat the cut. Those who continue seeing Medicare patients say they would have to shift the costs onto other patients and insurance companies.

For now, the best anyone can hope for is that Senate Republicans will back off their obstructionism and ensure seniors have the medical care they need this year. (link)

This provides for an opportunity to educate the kids at the Times. That which you decry today affords a picture window into that which you champion on another - nationalized health care. The following appeared in a prominent Canadian newspaper in January:
Curing Canada's doctor shortage
National Post editorial

It's clear we have a problem. The country has approximately 15,000 too few doctors, a figure roughly double the total number of students in all years of study at our 17 medical schools combined. At a doctor-patient ratio of just 2.3 per 1,000 population, we are 24th on the list of 28 industrialized countries. Approximately 1.5 million Canadians cannot find a family physician as a result.

The doctor shortage began in the mid-1980s -- not coincidentally, at the same time the last Trudeau government passed the Canada Health Act, which forbade user fees, balanced billing by doctors and private clinics and hospitals. Immediately, doctors began moving to the United States by the hundreds every year.

Over the quarter century since the Canada Health Act became law, approximately 12,000 Canadian doctors have moved south. According to another article in the CMAJ last winter, "this is the equivalent of having two average-sized Canadian medical schools dedicated to producing physicians for the United States" every year for 25 years. (link)
To the boys over at the Roanoke Times I make the following suggestion: When doctors here in the United States start saying "To hell with that," (see above) when faced with the burdens placed on them by the government, listen.

Your response, probably, will be to suggest that the government should pour more taxpayer money into the federal program. More money ... more regulation ... more restrictions ... still fewer doctors ...

... welcome to Canada.

So What Happened In Iraq Today

Who cares? The press has MovedOn:

U.S. Deaths Rise in Afghanistan

These people know no shame.

The Ghouls At The NY Times Are Happy Again

Afghan Death Toll Up as Iraq’s Falls

It Must Be Wednesday

Barack Obama has changed his mind again:
Obama rejects proposed California gay marriage ban
By Aurelio Rojas, Sacramento Bee

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who previously said the issue of gay marriage should be left up to each state, has announced his opposition to a California ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriages.

In a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club read Sunday at the group's annual Pride Breakfast in San Francisco, the Illinois senator said he supports extending "fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law."

"And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states," Obama wrote.

Obama had previously said he opposes same-sex marriage but that each state should make its own decision. (link)
So where does this guy stand on any given day? Nobody knows. Including the man himself. The future leader of the free world. Frightening.

Let's Get To Know Barack Obama

Judge a man by the friends he keeps:

Very damning.

Typical Webb

This is grossly offensive. But then it was uttered by James Webb so it's par for the course:
Webb: McCain Should 'Calm Down' on Using Military Service
By Walter Alarkon, The Hill

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) waded into the debate over John McCain's military service Monday to say that the Republican should avoid using military service in politics. [jf: That's not at all what Webb said. The characterization is completely off the mark. See below.]

Webb, a Barack Obama supporter, was on MSNBC's "Countdown" to talk about his G.I. Bill to increase education benefits for returning veterans which is now law. Webb criticized both McCain and President Bush for not supporting the bill. Then, unprompted, Webb weighed in on the debate over retired Gen. Wesley Clark's remark that "riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down" isn't "a qualification to be president."

"I think what we really need to work on over the next four, five months, and it goes back to the speech that Sen. Obama gave [Monday] and this little fight that I've been watching and that is, we need to make sure that we take politics out of service," Webb said. "People don't serve their country for political issues."

He continued: "And John McCain's my long-time friend, if that is one area that I would ask him to calm down on, it`s that, don't be standing up and uttering your political views and implying that all the people in the military support them because they don't, any more than when the Democrats have political issues during the Vietnam War. Let's get the politics out of ... (link) (my emphasis)
Someone show me an instance where John McCain has stood up and implied that all the people in the military support him. Ever.

You can't. Because it never happened. Nor would it. Unlike Webb, a man who has truly become a Democrat in every sense of the word, McCain has a great deal of class. He'll tell you his biography, if pressed, but at no time has he used his military background to try to hold sway over the soldiers, sailors, and airmen in the armed services, nor boast of support he may or may not have.

Jim Webb should be ashamed of himself. Again.

My Back Hurts. Call The Dentist.

What's wrong with this story:
Midwest floods show signs of global warming
By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent, Reuters

Washington (Reuters) - Floods like those that inundated the U.S. Midwest are supposed to occur once every 500 years but this is the second since 1993, suggesting flawed forecasts that do not take global warming into account, conservation experts said on Tuesday. (link)
This "reporter" goes to a conservationist to get an expert opinion on climate? Is that like going to a General Mills factory worker to get expert advice on cooking?

For the love of God.