Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Columbia Free Trade Agreement

President Bush notified Congress of his intent to sign the U.S.-Colombia TPA on August 24, 2006. The U.S. and Colombia signed the Agreement on November 22, 2006. Both countries need to pass implementing legislation before the U.S.-Colombia TPA can enter into force.

Colombia: On a Path to Peace, Justice and Prosperity
Seven years ago, Colombia was nearly a failing state. Violence was rampant, investors were fleeing the country, and economic activity was plummeting. Since then, Colombia and the United States have worked together to combat violence and instability. Together we have made extraordinary strides in a few short years. U.S. assistance and tariff preferences under the Andean Trade Preference Act have been key elements of our joint strategy to promote peace, justice and prosperity. (Fact Sheet)

Why a Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement?
The U.S.-Colombia TPA is a tremendous opportunity for U.S. exporters. It will give U.S. companies improved access to a strong market and improve the business climate in Colombia as the country enacts the necessary domestic legal and business reforms required to implement the Agreement.

• The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) will deliver economic opportunity to Colombians through sustained economic growth, increased investment, new employment, and anti-corruption reforms.
• The historic U.S.-Colombia partnership is yielding real results in Colombia’s stability:
o Violence in Colombia has plummeted – homicides down 40% in last 5 years.
o Over 9,400 individuals benefit from Colombia’s Protection Programs (a fifth are trade unionists).
o In 2008, the Government of Colombia increased the budget for the Prosecutor General's Office by $40 million – more than half will fund the Justice and Peace and Human Rights Units in pursuit of justice for victims of violence.

• 91 percent of Colombia’s exports to the United States enter duty-free under unilateral trade preference programs, while U.S. exports to Colombia face an average tariff exceeding 11 percent. • The CTPA levels the playing field for U.S. manufacturers, farmers, and service workers by opening up Colombia’s market.

• U.S. merchandise exports to Colombia exceeded $8.5 billion in 2007, a 28 percent increase from 2006. Colombia now ranks as our 26th largest export market.
• In 2007, U.S. farmers and ranchers shipped $1.2 billion in agricultural goods to Colombia, up 41 percent in a single year, making Colombia the largest export market for U.S. farm products in the Hemisphere outside of NAFTA.
• The FTA offers U.S. exports a permanent competitive advantage in the Colombian market. • Our market share in Colombia is falling—in 2007, U.S. merchandise held a 26.5 percent share of Colombia’s import market, a steady decline from 28.3 percent in 2005 and 34.4 percent in 2001. • Already, U.S. products are losing market share to competitors with whom Colombia has free trade agreements, such as Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. U.S. products also face increasing competition from Colombia’s other fast-growing partners such as China and South Korea.

Jobs and Energy For America - ANWR

Top ten reasons to support ANWR development

1. Only 8% of ANWR Would Be Considered for Exploration Only the 1.5 million acre or 8% on the northern coast of ANWR is being considered for development. The remaining 17.5 million acres or 92% of ANWR will remain permanently closed to any kind of development. If oil is discovered, less than 2000 acres of the over 1.5 million acres of the Coastal Plain would be affected. That¹s less than half of one percent of ANWR that would be affected by production activity.

2. Revenues to the State and Federal Treasury Federal revenues would be enhanced by billions of dollars from bonus bids, lease rentals, royalties and taxes. Estimates on bonus bids for ANWR by the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Interior for the first 5 years after Congressional approval are $4.2 billion. Royalty and tax estimates for the life of the 10-02 fields were estimated by the Office of Management and Budget from $152-237 billion.

3. Jobs To Be Created Between 250,000 and 735,000 ANWR jobs are estimated to be created by development of the Coastal Plain.

4. Economic Impact Between 1977 and 2004, North Slope oil field development and production activity contributed over $50 billion to the nations economy, directly impacting each state in the union.

5. America's Best Chance for a Major Discovery The Coastal Plain of ANWR is America's best possibility for the discovery of another giant "Prudhoe Bay-sized" oil and gas discovery in North America. U.S. Department of Interior estimates range from 9 to 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

6. North Slope Production in Decline The North Slope oil fields currently provide the U.S. with nearly 16% of it's domestic production and since 1988 this production has been on the decline. Peak production was reached in 1980 of two million barrels a day, but has been declining to a current level of 731,000 barrels a day.

7. Imported Oil Too Costly In 2007, the US imported an average of 60% of its oil and during certain months up to 64%. That equates to over $330 billion in oil imports. That’s $37.75 million per hour gone out of our economy! Factor in the cost to defend our imported oil, and the costs in jobs and industry sent abroad, the total would be nearly a trillion dollars.

8. No Negative Impact on Animals Oil and gas development and wildlife are successfully coexisting in Alaska 's arctic. For example, the Central Arctic Caribou Herd (CACH) which migrates through Prudhoe Bay has grown from 3000 animals to its current level of 32,000 animals. The arctic oil fields have very healthy brown bear, fox and bird populations equal to their surrounding areas.

9. Arctic Technology Advanced technology has greatly reduced the 'footprint" of arctic oil development. If Prudhoe Bay were built today, the footprint would be 1,526 acres, 64% smaller.

10. Alaskans Support More than 75% of Alaskans favor exploration and production in ANWR. The democratically elected Alaska State Legislatures, congressional delegations, and Governors elected over the past 25 years have unanimously supported opening the Coastal Plain of ANWR.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oil and Fuel Standards

Plan would hasten better fuel efficiency
Bush administration pushes for vehicle average of 31.6 mpg by '15
Wednesday, April 23, 2008 2:57 AM

By Ken Thomas
WASHINGTON -- The next generation of cars and trucks would need to meet a fleet average of 31.6 miles per gallon by 2015, according to a proposal the Bush administration announced yesterday. The measure seeks more-fuel-efficient vehicles in the face of high gasoline prices and concerns over global warming.
Transportation Secretary Mary Peters outlined the plan on Earth Day, setting a schedule that is more aggressive than the auto industry expected. The plan responds to a new energy law that requires new cars and trucks, taken as a collective average, to meet 35 mpg by 2020.
"This proposal is going to help us all breathe a little easier by reducing carbon-dioxide emissions from tailpipes, cutting fuel consumption and making driving a little more affordable," Peters said.
New cars and trucks would have to meet a fleetwide average of 31.6 mpg by 2015, or about a 4.5 percent annual increase from 2011 to 2015. By 2015, passenger cars would need to achieve 35.7 mpg; trucks, 28.6 mpg.
The rules were designed to push companies to boost fuel efficiency across their entire lineup. Manufacturers would have different requirements for cars and trucks of different sizes, based on vehicle sales. Collectively, the fleet of new vehicles would need to meet the rules.
Among individual manufacturers, passenger cars built in 2015 by General Motors would need to average 34.7 mpg; Ford's cars, 35.5 mpg; and Toyota's cars, 34.6 mpg.
For light trucks, GM would need to reach 27.4 mpg by 2015; Ford, 28.8 mpg; and Toyota, 28 mpg.
The plan is expected to save nearly 55 billion gallons of oil and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 521 million metric tons over the life of the new vehicles built between 2011 and 2015. It would add an average cost of $650 per passenger car and $979 per truck by 2015.
Environmental groups and their allies in Congress, who have criticized the Bush administration's handling of the requirements, said they were mostly encouraged by the proposal.
"After years of fighting a fuel-economy increase, the Bush administration is showing faith in the American auto industry's ability to reform," said Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., who sought the higher standards.
Automakers opposed increases to the regulations in previous years but supported a compromise version of the legislation in Congress. The changes would require the industry to implement more than half of the fuel-efficiency requirements by 2015 and push them to build more gas-electric hybrid cars and diesel-powered trucks and sport-utility vehicles.
"Congress has set an aggressive, single, nationwide standard and automakers are prepared to meet that challenge," said Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co. and others.
In keeping with the new law, however, automakers will continue to receive a 1.2 mpg credit for producing flexible-fuel vehicles that that run on ethanol blends, but the credit will begin phasing out in 2014.
Congress sought the tougher standards last year, arguing that an increase in fuel efficiency would help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and the nation's dependence upon imported oil. The law, which ushers in the first major changes in three decades, requires the nation's fleet of new vehicles to increase its efficiency by 10 mpg from its current average of 25 mpg, or a 40 percent increase.
The fleet of new passenger cars is currently required to meet a 27.5 mpg average; SUVs, pickup trucks and vans must hit a target of 22.5 mpg. Among the current fleet, passenger cars average about 31.3 mpg while light trucks get about 23.1 mpg.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Borowitz Report - Bitter Americans

Poll: Majority of Americans Bitter, Clingy
Numbers Could Help Obama

With less than a week to go before the Pennsylvania primary, a new poll released today hints that Sen. Barack Obama’s controversial remarks in which he called Pennsylvania voters “bitter” may actually be helping him with a key constituency: bitter voters.According to a new poll released today by Newsweek, 54 percent of likely voters in Pennsylvania describe themselves either as “bitter,” “sometimes bitter” or “bitter most of the time.”Drilling down beneath those numbers, the results of the poll get even better for Obama, especially when the respondents answered the question, “When you are bitter, what do you cling to?”According to the poll, 35 percent said they clung to “religion,” 34 percent said they clung to “guns,” while 28 percent said they clung to “antipathy towards people who are different from me.”In a sign that voters who describe themselves as bitter are ready to mobilize in support of Sen. Obama’s presidential bid, over a million bitter voters took to the streets of Philadelphia today in support of the Illinois senator.The demonstration, which organizers were calling The Bitter Man March, suggests that bitter voters had found something new to cling to.According to Tracy Klujian, 35, a bitter florist from suburban Philadelphia, “When I’m not too busy clinging to guns or religion, I’m going to cling to Barack Obama.”Elsewhere, in a new effort to relate to voters, Sen. Hillary Clinton did five Jell-o shots at a bar in Pittsburgh.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Lieberman willing to star at Republican convention
By Manu Raju
Posted: 04/15/08 08:06 PM [ET]

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the Democratic Party’s 2000 vice presidential nominee, is leaving open the possibility of giving a keynote address on behalf of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) at the Republican National Convention in September.
Republicans close to the McCain campaign say Lieberman’s appearance at the convention, possibly before a national primetime audience, could help make the case that the presumptive GOP nominee has a record of crossing the aisle. That could appeal to much-needed independent voters.
McCain has yet to ask Lieberman to speak, either in primetime or elsewhere, at the convention. But if McCain thinks it will help make his case for the White House, as some of his allies suspect, Lieberman would be willing to speak on his behalf.
“If Sen. McCain, who I support so strongly, asked me to do it, if he thinks it will help him, I will,” Lieberman said in a brief interview.
Lieberman said he doubts McCain will ask him to give a keynote address, but acknowledges the subject has yet to come up in the two senators’ discussions.
A Lieberman aide said even though there are no plans for the Independent to give a speech at the convention, it is a “likely possibility” he will address the Republican audience in some form.
Appearing before the Republican convention carries some risk for Lieberman. His Democratic colleagues could seek retribution by taking away his gavel on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee next Congress.
Lieberman has had a long leash this Congress because his decision to caucus with Democrats — despite losing Connecticut’s 2006 Democratic primary — allows them to hold their narrow 51-49 majority. If Democrats pick up more seats as expected in November, and Lieberman angers Democrats along the campaign trail, some privately expect there might be an attempt to deny him his bid to retain his chairmanship.
One Democratic leadership aide said losing his chairmanship could happen in that scenario, but “the bar would have to be very high.”
That’s because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has a close relationship with Lieberman.
Unlike a number of Democratic colleagues who backed Lieberman’s challenger Ned Lamont after the 2006 primary, Reid offered words of praise for the senator, saying he would not “turn on Joe.” Reid called Lieberman and promised him a chairmanship if he won reelection, a move that angered some Lamont supporters.
Even though Reid may not need Lieberman next Congress to claim a Senate majority, he told Lieberman in private conversations that he would protect his seniority.
“I can tell you Sen. Reid had talked to me a few times and said he knows there will be talk if we get more than 51 Democrats next year,” Lieberman told The Hartford Courant this month. “As far as he is concerned, I will retain my seniority, et cetera, no matter how many Democrats there are next year.”
Jim Manley, a Reid spokesman, said he would not comment on the senator’s private conversations, but acknowledged that the two men spoke.
When asked Tuesday if Lieberman’s chairmanship was at risk next Congress, Reid said succinctly: “No.”
“We have one difference of opinion, maybe two with Sen. Lieberman,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a prominent supporter of Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) presidential candidacy. “As a whip, I can tell you time and again, he’s been there when we’ve needed him.”
Lieberman, a staunch Iraq war supporter, has taken the Democratic Party to task for its push to withdraw from Iraq, likening that approach to surrendering to al Qaeda. He has called for aggressive action against Iran and pushed measures that some Democrats have likened to war-mongering.
He continues to criticize the Democratic candidates for their foreign policy positions, and says the party has jettisoned its tradition of being strong on defense by pandering to its liberal base.
Making those points to a Republican audience in front of national primetime viewers would make a strong case for McCain’s candidacy, which is based largely on his national security experience, Republicans say.
“I think it would be a great idea,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), McCain’s closest Hill ally. “If you looked at economic issues and social issues, I bet you we disagree a vast majority of the time. But when you look at what the primary job of what a United States senator is in the age in which we live, we have pretty much universal agreement — and that’s to protect the homeland.”
“I think Sen. Lieberman would be a very powerful spokesperson,” said Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla.), a former general chairman of the Republican National Committee. “I think he really is someone who helps Sen. McCain break through to independent voters.”
Lieberman’s presence could potentially anger some social conservatives because of his positions supporting abortion rights and other liberal values. But Lieberman’s arguments that McCain is best suited to lead the country at a time of war would override those objections, said Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), a hero of the religious right.
“If he’s talking about security issues, Iran, Joe is fabulous on those issues,” Brownback said.
But the extent of his criticism on Democrats could bring back memories of 2004, when Georgia Democratic Sen. Zell Miller gave a scathing keynote speech attacking Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the party’s presidential nominee. Miller, who was planning to retire from the Senate at the end of 2004, had little to lose by crossing his party.
Kerry declined to comment on Lieberman, but called Miller’s speech “hysterical and inaccurate.”Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said he doubts Lieberman would give a Miller-like speech.
“I don’t think he’s going to act like that if he does that,” Brown said. “But of course, I would be disappointed if he does that.”

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Conoco Supplying Gas To The US

ConocoPhillips willing to build gas pipeline from Alaska
By John Porretto, AP Business Writer

HOUSTON — Oil exploration and production company ConocoPhillips (COP) said Friday that it has proposed to develop a multibillion-dollar pipeline that would transport natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to the lower 48 states and Canada.
The company said it's "prepared to make significant investments, without state matching funds, to advance this project."
ConocoPhillips spokesman Charlie Rowton said the company's best estimate for the entire project, including the pipeline from Alaska's North Slope to Chicago, is between $25 billion and $42 billion.
The pipeline would provide an important avenue for bringing Alaska's massive stores of natural gas to U.S. markets that rely on it for fueling home heaters and other uses. It would move about 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.
The North Slope has 35 trillion cubic feet of known natural gas, and is believed to hold many more times that in undiscovered reserves. But there is no method for shipping natural gas and the staggering cost of such a project has left the resource stranded thousands of miles from markets.
Now with natural gas prices high, a national market eager for cleaner-burning energy, Alaska seeking new participants in its energy industry and mature North Slope oil fields ripe for conversion to gas production, the time may be finally right for the long-desired project, said Marty Rutherford, deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.
The state's Alaska Gasline Inducement Act calls for competitive proposals from energy companies for the right to launch what residents hope will be the next Alaska pipeline boom.
In a statement, ConocoPhillips Chairman and Chief Executive Jim Mulva said the company hopes to work directly with the state to advance the project as quickly as possible.
"We also expect to approach other parties to explore ways through which their participation could add value to this effort," Mulva said.
Specifically, Rowton said ExxonMobil and BP would be logical participants as the project moves forward. "We think it makes sense for their to be other owners," he said.
ConocoPhillips said it is already gathering data to support the pipeline permit application.
During the initial phase of the project, Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals will provide construction and design support, the company said.

Do you see the numbers? $25-42B to build the pipeline. Yet the Democrat party wants to tax excess profits, whatever that means. Those profits go toward projects like this one. They're expensive and risky but will enable us, along with other efforts, to become energy independent. Now what would the democrats do with the excess profits? More social engineering, more redistribution of wealth and more interference with market forces? (Tim)

Conoco - What A Gas

BP and ConocoPhillips Join on the Alaska Gas Pipeline
Work to Begin Immediately on New Joint Pipeline Effort to Bring Alaska Gas to Market

ANCHORAGE, April 8, 2008 - BP [NYSE: BP] and ConocoPhillips [NYSE: COP] today announced they have combined resources to start Denali – The Alaska Gas Pipeline. The pipeline will move approximately four billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to markets, and will be the largest private sector construction project ever built in North America. The project combines the financial strength, arctic experience and technical resources of two of the most capable and experienced companies in the world. BP and ConocoPhillips plan to spend $600 million to reach the first major project milestone, an open season, commencing before yearend 2010. Following a successful open season, a process during which the pipeline company seeks customers to make long-term firm transportation commitments to the project, the companies intend to obtain Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and National Energy Board (NEB) certification and move forward with project construction. The FERC and NEB certificates are the critical permits that provide government authorization to construct a pipeline. “This project is vital for North American energy consumers and for the future of the Alaska oil and gas industry. It will allow us to keep our North Slope fields in production for another 50 years,” said Tony Hayward, BP Group Chief Executive. “The Alaska gas pipeline will be an historic project and we are pleased to be working with ConocoPhillips to move it forward.” “Our goal of bringing Alaska’s North Slope gas to market is becoming a reality. Denali – The Alaska Gas Pipeline project will deliver natural gas to meet North America’s growing energy needs,” said Jim Mulva, ConocoPhillips chairman and chief executive officer. “ConocoPhillips is pleased to be working with BP on this project; our companies have a long history of successfully developing projects on Alaska’s North Slope, in Canada, and around the world. The time is right to start moving this project forward.” The project consists of a gas treatment plant on Alaska’s North Slope and a large-diameter pipeline that travels over 700 miles through Alaska, and then into Canada through the Yukon Territory and British Columbia to Alberta. Should it be required to transport gas from Alberta, the project will also include a large diameter pipeline from Alberta to the Lower 48 states. BP and ConocoPhillips will seek other equity partners, including pipeline companies, who can add value to the project and help manage the risks involved. The companies already have assigned staff to the joint project team which will be ramping up over the coming months. A new project headquarters in Anchorage will be identified and a new company formed to manage the project. The project will provide jobs and business opportunities. ConocoPhillips’ previously announced intent to conduct summer field work in Alaska will be rolled into the joint effort.

Brazil's Gusher Of Oil

In Brazil, Another Gusher (by Joshua Schneyer)
If its size is confirmed, a vast new oil find would catapult Brazil into the world's oil-producing elite. But extraction will be difficult.

Among energy investors, they are becoming known as Brazilian bombshells: a barrage of announcements about oil and gas discoveries—some confirmed, others speculative, and each more spectacular than the one before. Together, they suggest that Brazil could be on the cusp of transformation, from a once energy-poor developing nation into a major oil exporter.
The latest of the announcements came Monday, when the head of ANP, Brazil's government oil regulator, revealed "unofficial" figures from a new reservoir, known as Carioca, which may hold 33 billion barrels of oil and gas. If confirmed, it would be the world's largest discovery in at least 32 years. Carioca, which is located in the Santos Basin, 170 miles from shore underneath 2,000 meters of water, would follow on the November mega-discovery by state oil company Petrobras (PBR) of the offshore Tupi field, with its already confirmed reserves of 5 billion to 8 billion barrels, and a later discovery known as Jupiter, a natural gas area that Petrobras says is as big as Tupi and perhaps even more important for gas-hungry Brazil.

Unconfirmed Estimates
If confirmed, a 33-billion-barrels find would trail just two larger oil reservoirs, in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Those fields were each discovered more than 60 years ago, but together still account for nearly 8% of global oil output. With a single field, Brazil could potentially top all the proved reserves in the United States, estimated at 29.9 billion barrels, according to BP's 2007 Statistical Review of World Energy. Mexico's 35-billion-barrel Cantarell field, discovered in 1976, was largely responsible for that country becoming the world's fifth-largest oil producer.
"Carioca would be the third-largest oil field in the world," said Haroldo Lima, director of ANP, at an energy seminar Monday.
But, unsurprisingly for the oil business, which is fueled by industry rumor, the facts about the Carioca discovery are, at best, hard to pin down.
Start with the report itself. Lima claimed he got the 33-billion-barrel estimate for Carioca "in a nonofficial way, through back channels, but from people at the company (Petrobras)." On Tuesday, Brazil's securities regulator, CVM, chided Lima for a potential leak of insider information. Lima claimed the Carioca figures had also appeared elsewhere, including in magazines, making them public domain.

More Recoverable?
Typical for Petrobras, which often initially downplays discoveries but has sometimes leaked discovery data, the company said that Lima's estimate was premature and further drilling was needed to quantify Carioca reserves. "We've got a discovery, but more work is needed before we have a full account of reserves," said Jorge Zelada, Petrobras international director, at a breakfast Tuesday. Just two months ago, Spain's Repsol YPF (REP), a 25% partner in the Carioca discovery, released a far more tempered assessment, saying it expected Carioca contained "at least 500 million barrels."
Lima hinted Monday that Carioca's alleged 33 billion barrels were all recoverable reserves, saying Carioca appeared five times larger than Tupi (which itself holds between 5 billion and 8 billion recoverable barrels). The distinction would be vital, since in most offshore reservoirs only around a third of oil is recoverable.
But analyst reports, including from Citibank (C), largely dismissed the idea, saying Brazil's Carioca field would then top even the largest Saudi reservoir in terms of total oil. Experts said even a figure of 10 billion recoverable barrels at Carioca would be remarkable. Combined with the other recent discoveries, it could vault Brazil, which currently has proved reserves of 12 billion barrels, into the world's oil elite, perhaps between Nigeria (36 billion) and Venezuela (80 billion).

Brazil's Golden Oil

We are likely to see an ever increasing supply of ethanol from Brazil to meet the US requirements for clean fuel. This could bring the price of US corn down in 2009 and on. (Tim)

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Brazil will likely ship up to 700m gal (2.6bn litres) of ethanol to the US through Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) countries in 2009, as the US will need it to meet domestic demand, a US producer said on Friday.
The projection is based on US ethanol production reaching 10bn gal in 2008, the source said.
Under US law, the equivalent of up to 7% of US annual production can imported tax-free in 2009 via the 19 CBI countries, which include Jamaica, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago.
Although the CBI is a US initiative to foster development in the Caribbean, it allows Brazil to bypass a 54-cents/gal tax imposed on its ethanol exports when the product is shipped directly to US shores.
The import restriction kept the arbitrage closed for Brazil during most of 2007, as the weaker US dollar and a drop in US ethanol prices made the Brazilian product too expensive.
In 2006, half of Brazil’s exports of 3.4bn litres were shipped to the US, but exports fell significantly last year, as Brazilian ethanol became less competitive and US demand for the imports of the biofuel dropped.
US ethanol prices fell below $1.70 (€1.16)/gal in the third quarter of 2007, but spot values have rebounded since then, trading this week at $2.40/gal FOB (free on board) New York Harbour, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
US spot prices have steadily climbed since December, bolstered by an expected surge in US demand for the biofuel due to the new Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
The new RFS will require the US to use 36bn gal of renewable fuels annually by 2022, but the perception that demand will surge already in the short term was pushing up prices, two producers said.
The RFS will generate a market for 9bn gal/year of ethanol in 2008, and 11bn gal/year in 2009, one source said. US producers would have to scramble to meet demand in the next two years, the source said.
US ethanol demand in January-October 2007 was at 5.5bn gal, while output was 5.2bn gal, based on the latest data from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
According to one source, Brazilian ethanol would likely flow to markets on the US East Coast, particularly to southeastern states, such as Florida, which is considering a proposal to further encourage the use of biofuels in its gasoline market, one of the largest in the country.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist was quoted as saying during a recent trip to Brazil that he was determined to fight the US tariff on ethanol, while making Florida a gateway for US imports of the Brazilian biofuel.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Obama's Elitist Foot In Mouth Disease

Sunday meditation: Obama and the punishment of unborn life
By Michelle Malkin • March 30, 2008 11:24 AM

I wonder how pro-life Catholic Democrats will react to Barack Obama’s pregnancy-as-punitive and pregnancy-as-inconvenience-on-par-with STDs rhetoric? There’s a careless callousness in Obama’s phrasing yesterday that’s definitely not going to sit well with the staunch Pennsylvania pro-life voting bloc. What do you think?

Out in western Pennsylvania, the issue of abortion can strike a nerve. Democrats there often describe themselves economic liberals and social conservatives who favor gun rights and oppose abortion rights.
So, it was not unusual to see a woman stand near the end of Barack Obama’s town hall meeting in Johnstown, Penn., and offer a hurried, passionate plea for him to “stop these abortions.”
…The exchange appeared to be prompted by Obama’s earlier comments that he does not favor abstinence-only education, but rather comprehensive sexual education that includes information on abstinence and birth control.
Obama's Quote
“Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old,” he said. “I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at age 16, so it doesn’t make sense to not give them information.”

Comment 1
Huh? Who thinks of babies as “punishment”?
Better yet, what kind of father would describe babies as “punishment”? As a father of six children (three of them teenagers), I was dumbfounded by Obama’s use of this phrase. Of course, this being a Democratic primary, there’s really no difference between Obama and Hillary on the abortion issue, but Obama’s bizarre phrasing is still remarkable.

Comment 2
Regardless of your feelings on sexual education, this statement oozes with animosity. It also reveals the true heart of Barack Obama. Despite his so-called “understanding” of both sides of the abortion issue, any person that could utter such cold, abhorrence when discussing a fellow human being has no intention of displaying any goodwill to pro-lifers.

McCain's Big Picture

By Reuters 15 Apr 2008 01:41 PM ET

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain on Tuesday called for a summer gas tax holiday for Americans wincing at high pump prices as part of a wide-ranging plan to help the ailing U.S. economy. Arizona Sen. McCain, accused by Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton of seeking to extend the economic policies of President George W. Bush, proposed middle-income tax cuts, accused the Democrats of backing big tax increases and distanced himself from the Bush government.
Of most immediate effect to consumers was his appeal to the U.S. Congress to suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day at the end of May to Labor Day in early September. The candidate will discuss his economic plan in further detail during an appearance on CNBC's "Kudlow & Company" at 7 p.m. New York time Tuesday. Americans are spending more than ever to fuel their cars as the average price for gasoline has climbed to a new high of $3.39 a gallon and is projected to go higher this summer. "The effect will be an immediate economic stimulus — taking a few dollars off the price of a tank of gas every time a family, a farmer or trucker stops to fill up," McCain said in a major speech on the economy. During the same period he would suspend U.S. purchases of oil for the emergency stockpile known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve because he believes the purchases are contributing to higher gas prices.
McCain proposed establishing a simpler U.S. tax system to serve as an alternative to the current tax code and give Americans a choice of which one to use. (See McCain's speech on tax cuts in the CNBC videos 1 and 2 at left.) As in the past, he pledged to seek a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent because "high tax rates are driving many businesses and jobs overseas." McCain also proposed a phase-out of the alternative minimum tax, a tax originally set up to ensure that rich Americans with a lot of tax deductions pay a minimum amount of tax but that is now requiring millions of Americans to pay more taxes. He said he wanted to save more than 25 million middle-class families more than $2,000 every year. He also proposed relief for student loans and would double the personal tax exemption for dependents from $3,500 to $7,000.
Obama, speaking to a labor gathering in Washington, accused McCain of trying to extend the Bush tax cuts that he had originally opposed. "John McCain seems to think that the Bush years have been pretty good," Obama said. "In fact, he's running for a third Bush term. He's offering more of the same." McCain used his speech not only to put some distance between him and the Bush administration but also to say both Democrats and fellow Republicans are guilty of spending excesses. He criticized his Democratic rivals for ambitious spending plans that he said would causes taxes to rise for "Americans of every background," totaling $1 trillion over a decade. He poked fun at Obama's book title, "The Audacity of Hope," by saying: "All these tax increases are the fine print under the slogan of 'hope.' They're going to raise your taxes by thousands of dollars per year — and they have the audacity to hope you don't mind." McCain said it is possible to save $100 billion by ending wasteful spending and weeding out unneeded government programs and other "budget reforms," and use the savings to pay for the business income tax cut. McCain proposed reducing spending in the federal government's Medicare prescription drug program by requiring older couples making $160,000 to pay higher premiums for the benefit if they are enrolled in the program. Many conservative Republicans have criticized the drug program, a product of the Bush administration, as too large a benefit and believe it should be scaled back.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Obama's Out Of Touch With Real Americans

Mike Allen Sat Apr 12, 6:04 PM ET

A Clinton comeback was looking far-fetched. But operatives in both parties were buzzing about that possibility Saturday following the revelation that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told wealthy San Franciscans that small-town Pennsylvanians and Midwesterners “cling to guns or religion” because they are “bitter” about their economic status.

Obama at first dug in on that contention Friday after audio of the private fundraiser was posted by The Huffington Post. Altering course, on Saturday in Muncie, Ind., he conceded that he “didn’t say it as well as I should have.” And he told the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal that “obviously, if I worded things in a way that made people offended, I deeply regret that. ... The underlying truth of what I said remains, which is simply that people who have seen their way of life upended because of economic distress are frustrated and rightfully so."
Here is what he said April 6, referring to people living in areas hit by job losses: “[I]t’s not surprising, then, that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
The Obama campaign contends that coverage of the San Francisco remarks is overheated and distorted. One aide said that “any logical analysis” would make it obvious that the brouhaha will not “change the pledged delegate count” — the key to the Democratic presidential nomination.
In fact, this is a potential turning point for Obama’s campaign — an episode that could be even more damaging than the attention to remarks by his minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, since this time the controversial words came out of his own mouth.

Here are a dozen reasons why:
1. It lets Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) off the mat at a time when even some of her top supporters had begun to despair about her prospects. Clinton hit back hard on the campaign trail Saturday. And her campaign held a conference call where former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Pittsburgh native, described Obama’s remarks as “condescending and disappointing” and “undercutting his message of hope.”
2. If you are going to say something that makes you sound like a clueless liberal, don’t say it in San Francisco. Obama’s views might have been received very differently if he had expressed them in public to Pennsylvania voters, saying he understood and could alleviate their frustrations.
3. Some people actually use guns to hunt — not to compensate for a salary that’s less than a U.S. senator’s.
4. Some people cling to religion not because they are bitter but because they believe it, and because faith in God gives them purpose and comfort.
5. Some hard-working Americans find it insulting when rich elites explain away things dear to their hearts as desperation. It would be like a white politician telling blacks they cling to charismatic churches to compensate for their plight. And it vindicates centrist Democrats who have been arguing for a decade that their party has allowed itself to look culturally out of touch with the American mainstream.
6. It provides a handy excuse for people who were looking for a reason not to vote for Obama but don’t want to think of themselves as bigoted. It hurts Obama especially with the former Reagan Democrats, the culturally conservative, blue-collar workers who could be a promising voter group for him. It also antagonizes people who were concerned about his minister but might have given him the benefit of the doubt after his eloquent speech on race.
7. It gives the Clinton campaign new arguments for trying to recruit superdelegates, the Democratic elected officials and other insiders who get a vote on the nomination. A moderate politician from a swing district, for example, might not want to have to explain support for a candidate who is being hammered as a liberal. And Clinton’s agents can claim that for all the talk of her being divisive, Obama has provided plenty of fodder to energize Republicans.
8. It helps Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) frame a potential race against Obama, even though both of them have found support among independents. Now Republicans have a simple, easily repeated line of attack to use against Obama as an out-of-touch snob, as they had with Sen. John F. Kerry after he blundered by commenting about military funding, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”
9. The comments play directly into an already-established narrative about his candidacy. Clinton supporters have been arguing that Obama has limited appeal beyond upscale Democrats — the so-called latte liberals. You can’t win red states if people there don’t like you. “Elites need to understand that middle-class Americans view values and culture as more important than mere trickery,” said Paul Begala, a Clinton backer. “Democrats have to respect their values and reflect their values, not condescend to them as if they were children who’ve been bamboozled.”
10. The timing is terrible. With the Pennsylvania primary nine days off, late-deciding voters are starting to tune in. Obama and Clinton are scheduled to appear separately on CNN on Sunday for a forum on, of all topics, faith and values. And ABC News is staging a Clinton-Obama debate in Philadelphia on Wednesday. So Clinton has the maximum opportunity to keep a spotlight on the issue. Besides sex, little drives the news and opinion industry more than race, religion, culture and class. So as far as chances the chattering-class will perpetuate the issue, Obama has hit the jackpot.
11. The story did not have its roots in right-wing or conservative circles. It was published — and aggressively promoted — by The Huffington Post, a liberally oriented organization that was Obama’s outlet of choice when he wanted to release a personal statement distancing himself from some comments by the Rev. Wright.
12. It undermines Democratic congressional candidates who had thought that Obama would make a stronger top for the ticket than Clinton. Already, Republican House candidates are challenging their Democratic opponents to renounce or embrace Obama’s remarks. Ken Spain, press secretary for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said: “There is a myth being perpetuated by Democrats and even some in the media that an Obama candidacy would somehow be better for their chances down ballot. But we don’t believe that is the case.”
Politico's Jonathan Martin, Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris contributed to this story.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Cintons Can't Stop Lying

WASHINGTON - Former President Clinton has added to the falsehoods surrounding his wife's tale of her trip to Bosnia 12 years ago.

In Indiana on Thursday, Bill Clinton defended his wife's mistake in claiming that she landed under sniper fire in Bosnia, accusing the media of treating her like "she'd robbed a bank" for confusing the facts.
The New York senator had repeatedly described a harrowing scene in Tuzla, Bosnia, in which she and her daughter, Chelsea, had to run for cover as soon as they landed for a visit in 1996. Video footage of the day instead showed a peaceful reception in which an 8-year-old girl greeted the first lady.
Hillary Clinton has acknowledged that she got the facts wrong in retelling the tale. Bill Clinton's inaccuracies don't involve long-ago memories, but misstatements about how his wife has handled the story.

"A lot of the way this whole campaign has been covered has amused me," Bill Clinton said in Boonville, Ind. "But there was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it, what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995.
"Did y'all see all that? Oh, they blew it up," the former president continued. "Let me just tell you. The president of Bosnia and Gen. Wesley Clark — who was there making peace where we'd lost three peacekeepers who had to ride on a dangerous mountain road because it was too dangerous to go the regular, safe way — both defended her because they pointed out that when her plane landed in Bosnia, she had to go up to the bulletproof part of the plane, in the front. Everybody else had to put their flak jackets underneath the seat in case they got shot at. And everywhere they went they were covered by Apache helicopters. So they just abbreviated the arrival ceremony.
"Now I say that because what really has mattered is that even then she was interested in our troops," he said. "And I think she was the first first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to go into a combat zone. And you would of thought, you know, that she'd robbed a bank the way they all carried on about this. And some of them when they're 60 they'll forget something when they're tired at 11 o'clock at night, too."

Bill Clinton has many of the facts wrong.
His wife didn't make the sniper fire claim "one time late at night when she was exhausted." She actually told the story several times, including during prepared remarks on foreign policy delivered the morning of March 17.
It's also not true that she "immediately apologized for it." Clinton has never apologized for the comments and only acknowledged that she "misspoke" a week after the March 17 speech when video of her peaceful tarmac reception emerged.
It's also not true that she was the "first first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to go into a combat zone" — a claim that Hillary Clinton has also made when talking about the trip. Pat Nixon traveled to Saigon during the Vietnam war and Barbara Bush went to Saudi Arabia two months before the launching of Desert Storm.
The trip also was not in 1995, but 1996.
Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer responded to the former president's remarks Friday by saying, "Senator Clinton appreciates her husband standing up for her, but this was her mistake and she takes responsibility for it."
She's also told her husband to quit talking about it.
"Hillary called me and said 'You don't remember this. You weren't there, let me handle it.' I said, 'Yes ma'am,'" Bill Clinton, who was in Indiana campaigning for his wife Friday, told reporters.
By Nedra Pickler

Thursday, April 10, 2008

McCain Opens Up

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Sen. John McCain on Thursday offered his most detailed ideas to date for easing the strains of the economic downturn and the mortgage crisis.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee's speech touched on jobs, gas prices and the need to make loans more affordable for homeowners. He addressed a small business roundtable in Brooklyn, N.Y.
McCain introduced what he is calling his "HOME Plan," which blends elements of mortgage rescue proposals by the Bush administration, the Office of Thrift Supervision, House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn.

"It offers every deserving American family or homeowner the opportunity to trade a burdensome mortgage for a manageable loan that reflects the market value of their home," McCain said. "People decide if they need help, they apply for assistance and, if approved, the government under my HOME Program supports them in getting a new mortgage that they can afford."
To qualify for McCain's HOME Plan, a borrower's home would have to be a primary residence. In addition, the government would verify that the owner told the truth about his financial situation when he applied for the original mortgage and was able to make a down payment when getting his original loan, according to a campaign adviser.
Lenders would voluntarily write down the loans based on the home's current market value and give the borrower at least a 10% equity stake. If the borrower later sells the home at a price higher than the refinanced loan, the lender and the federal government each would receive a portion of the sales price. They would be entitled to as much as one third of the loan's reduction in principal.

So under McCain's plan, if a borrower owes $150,000 on a home worth only $100,000, the lender would have to reduce the loan to $90,000. The $60,000 difference in principal would be split three ways: The lender and federal government would get as much as $20,000 each, depending on how much the home sells for when the borrower moves, and the owner would get the rest.
The new mortgage would be a 30-year fixed rate loan, and the government would back 80% of the new loan.
McCain said he opposes funds to purchase homes in foreclosure and tax breaks for homebuilders - both features of a Senate proposal passed Thursday.
McCain also called for the creation of a Department of Justice task force to investigate mortgage crimes involving lending and securitizing home loans.
"If there were individuals or firms that defrauded innocent homeowners or forged loan application documents, then the punishments of the market are not enough, and they must answer for their conduct in a court of law," he said.

Focus on jobs, gas prices
McCain proposed a revamp of unemployment benefits. Rather than have a fixed amount of time during which workers can collect unemployment benefits - currently up to 26 weeks - McCain recommended that the taxes workers pay into the unemployment insurance system be set aside in their own account "a buffer ... against lost earnings."
To help keep the price of gas down, he pledged to stop adding to the country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve - which the Bush administration has been adding to in order to prevent a disruption in the oil supply. By suspending the stockpiling of oil, McCain believes it would lessen worldwide demand for oil and push down the price.

How To Combat High Oil Prices

Wind Energy + and -
Wind farms will generate more than 1 percent of U.S. electricity this year. The only reason projections aren't higher? The industry grew 45 percent last year and now it's running out of turbines. The American Wind Energy Association speculates that this barely tapped resource could provide 20 percent of U.S. power by 2020.
That will only happen if the money is right: Congress approved a 2-cent-per-kilowatt-hour federal tax credit for wind installations in 2005, but the credit is set to expire at the end of this year. In 2004, the last time the subsidy lapsed, construction of new installations fell 77 percent.

Solar Energy + and -
The U.S. solar industry grew nearly 60 percent last year—but still ranks below the wind sector. Google and Wal-Mart made headlines with workplace installations, and residential use continues to grow. The industry hopes solar can supply 200 gigawatt-hours per year by 2030—enough to power 20,000 households.
Money remains the issue here, too. It can cost $25,000 to retrofit a home with a basic 3-kilowatt solar system, and while prices for panels have dropped in the past 30 years, they'll have to keep coming down to meet those industry goals.

Ethanol Production + and -
This biofuel may become a crucial bridge to electric cars, and engineers at Coskata, a startup company in Warrenville, Ill., say they can create ethanol for less than $1 per gallon. The company hopes its first commercial plant will produce 100 million gal. of ethanol per year by 2011.
Coskata engineers claim that each unit of energy input generates 7.7 times as much in output, so they may have solved ethanol's sluggish energy balance issue. Still, one major hurdle remains: Fewer than 1 percent of the nation's gas stations are equipped to dispense ethanol.

The Case For Conservation +++

Better Mileage 1 Billion Barrels Saved Per Year
From 1975 to 2000, American cars cut their fuel use by the equivalent of 2.8 million barrels of oil per day, spurred largely by Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) laws. Then progress stalled. December's energy law will raise CAFE standards to 35 mpg by 2020, but pushing them to 40 mpg would cut oil demand by 1 billion barrels per year, roughly our current imports from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Venezuela combined.

Improved Mass Transit 45 Million Barrels Saved Per Year
Public transportation ridership has risen 25 percent since 1995. The savings if one-third more people rode mass transit: 45 million barrels per year. (This won't happen - Tim)

More Energy-Efficient Homes 30 Million Barrels Saved Per Year
One recent study found that weatherizing oil-heated houses produced average savings of nearly 18 percent. If all oil-heated homes achieved this level by 2013, the National Resource Defense Council estimates it would save nearly 30 million barrels per year.

Streamlined Air Traffic 18 Million Barrels Saved Per Year
The Federal Aviation Administration's NextGen GPS-based air traffic control system is expected to reduce delays and speed takeoffs and landings. A Department of Energy study estimates those measures could save the equivalent of 18 million barrels per year by 2013.

Congressional Concern About Gushing Oil Prices

Once again, Big Oil executives were forced to sit for another round of abuse from Congress.
This latest public pillorying of Big Oil appropriately occurred on April Fool’s Day.
Congress can be counted on to replicate this charade whenever gasoline prices spike.
Normally, Congress will angrily order a thorough investigation into price gouging and other skulduggery by Big Oil following one of these Capitol Hill floggings.
This latest televised excoriation of Big Oil occurred before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
If the rich history of these events can be a guide, Congress will order another congressional investigation. The public should expect the same result — nothing.

Inevitably, the much-ballyhooed investigations into Big Oil come back with the same findings — market forces, not price gouging, are the reason for the rise, and fall, in the cost of gasoline.
That same finding was reported last year by the Federal Trade Commission after Congress members accused oil companies of conspiring to restrict supplies when gasoline hit $3.02.

Now that gasoline prices are approaching $4 in the midst of a housing crisis, an economic slowdown and a falling dollar, oil executives knew it was time to be ordered back to Washington so Congress members could grandstand for their constituents who want low gasoline prices, no new refineries, low diesel prices, no new drilling, low heating oil prices, no oil company incentives, no new nuclear power plants and a bountiful supply of alternative energy.
That would be nice. Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in.

This time, Congress had the additional ammunition of record oil company profits.
Profits of the five largest oil companies — Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell, BP and Conoco Phillips — topped $123 billion last year, up from $30 billion in 2002.
“Your approval ratings are lower than ours — you are down low,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., told the oil company executives.
That’s saying something since Congress’ approval ratings have been consistently lower than those of President Bush, who has racked up some impressively low approval ratings.
Once again it was left to the oil company executives to explain to Congress that they do not control the price of oil, as umpteen congressional investigations have reported.
Oil prices are controlled on the world market by oil supplies that vary widely based on access, disruptions and the hit-and-often-miss search for new supplies.
In addition, the price of oil varies as the demand for the commodity goes up and down.
The well-known forces of supply and demand govern the price of oil, and subsequently the price of gasoline and millions of other products that come from oil.

Congress members have been told this repeatedly from their own investigations. Hope springs eternal, however, that some day America’s most investigated and scapegoated industry will someday be caught cheating and finally justify the periodic drive-by shooting of Big Oil.
This time Congress is threatening to strip the U.S. oil companies of their $18 billion in “subsidies” and require that the money be spent on renewable and alternative energy.
Investing in research and development of renewable and alternative energy is good idea. But trying to fund something based on the volatile commodities market would be unreliable.
Besides, according to the Wall Street Journal, the $18 billion in question actually came from tax deductions authorized by Congress to all manufacturers, not just Big Oil.
Other nations aggressively pursue the development of new oil supplies to fuel their expanding economies. Congress prefers to blame America’s oil companies for the nation’s problems.
Congress can tax and investigate Big Oil until the cows come home. At the end of the day it will have no impact on the price of gasoline.

Rowland Nethaway

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Jay Rockefeller- Idiot

From the Charleston Gazette

Rockefeller criticized Sen. John McCain, the presumed Republican nominee for president. "Senator McCain does have a temper. But today, he speaks in a monotone on the campaign trail."
Rockefeller believes McCain has become insensitive to many human issues. "McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit.
"What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues."

Later he had this to say;

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., apologized Tuesday for a comment he made about Sen. John McCain on Monday.
During an interview with Gazette editors on Monday, Rockefeller said the next president must focus on the needs of everyday people. McCain's policies on health care, education, the economy and retirement security, he said, do not put real people front and center.
Rockefeller said he made an "inaccurate" analogy on Monday when he compared McCain's past role as a fighter pilot to his ability to connect with real people on the ground.
"I have extended my sincere apology to him. While we differ a great deal on policy issues, I profoundly respect and appreciate his dedication to our country, and I regret my very poor choice of words."

More Hillary Lies

Over the last five weeks, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has featured in her campaign stump speeches the story of a health care horror: an uninsured pregnant woman who lost her baby and died herself after being denied care by an Ohio hospital because she could not come up with a $100 fee.
The woman, Trina Bachtel, did die last August, two weeks after her baby boy was stillborn at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens, Ohio. But hospital administrators said Friday that Ms. Bachtel was under the care of an obstetrics practice affiliated with the hospital, that she was never refused treatment and that she was, in fact, insured.
“We implore the Clinton campaign to immediately desist from repeating this story,” said Rick Castrop, chief executive officer of the O’Bleness Health System.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lock and Load

Barack and Load
By Robert VerBruggen
Published 4/8/2008 12:08:52 AM

Much has been made of Barack Obama's audacious embrace of Second Amendment rights for rural Pennsylvanians. Since entering the national scene, the Illinois senator has kept mum about his undeniably anti-gun voting record. Now he's actively courting firearm-rights supporters.

According to the Politico Obama is "highlighting his background in constitutional law," "downplaying his voting record," and assembling a set of pro-gun Democrats' endorsements. He's even sent an e-mail to a sportsmen's group asking for their support.

There are several overlapping phenomena at work here, none of which should encourage -- or really surprise -- supporters of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

One, he's not courting pro-gun voters per se but pro-gun Democratic primary voters, a demographic that will likely recede to insignificance before the general election. Two, even if these voters aren't convinced just yet, this outreach can garner endorsements from figures the demographic does trust. Three, Obama's efforts are a change in tone, not direction, from his life of anti-gun advocacy. This is politics as usual.

The briefest glance at the road ahead reveals why Obama and Clinton have become gun-totin', NAFTA-hatin' small-town folks of late. The two are (red)neck-and-neck in the delegate count. While the superdelegates could turn down the voters' pick, the two remain locked in a fierce competition for every last ballot.

The states that haven't voted yet? Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota. Plus Guam and Puerto Rico, for what they're worth.

It's not hard to see why a battle rages for the working-class white vote, and how a little gun love could pay off in the months ahead. Come November, though, Obama will need to focus on independents and disgruntled Republicans, which will require dropping the gun issue or at least presenting it through a whole new prism of deception.

After all, it's easier to run to Hillary's right than John McCain's -- on guns, at least.

IN THE SHORT TERM, will pro-gun Democrats fall for the ruse? Quite possibly. In a race with virtually no political differences between the candidates, voters have to use whatever criteria they can drum up.

Mild gestures toward a voter's values can serve as a place to hang one's hat, as can endorsements from trusted figures. Obama already has the support of Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. and state representative Dan Surra -- pro-gun Democrats both.

And mild gestures these are. A serious effort to court the general pro-gun vote would require some outright flip-flops from Obama -- who, in the Politico's summary, "long backed gun-control measures, including a ban on semiautomatic weapons and concealed weapons, and a limit on handgun purchases to one a month. He has declined to take a stance on the legality of the handgun prohibition in Washington, D.C., which the U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing..."

Obama can refuse to "take a stance" on the DC ban all he wants, but he had to choose sides regarding Illinois senate bill 2165, which related to similar laws in his home state. The legislation came about in response to the case of Hale DeMar, who shot a home invader, only to find himself with a $750 fine from the Village of Wilmette for owning a handgun.

The bill allowed self-defense as a legal defense against local firearms charges. Obama voted against it. In 1996 he (or maybe "a campaign aide") also indicated on an interest-group survey that he supports handgun bans. Obama has yet to change his mind about any of this publicly, or even in e-mails to sportsmen's groups.

The bottom line is that if Obama manages to dupe anyone, he'll simply take votes from another anti-gun candidate in a primary between two anti-gun candidates. Only as November approaches are non-Democrat Second Amendment supporters likely pay any attention, because only the Republican candidate has made any serious effort to earn their votes.

Unsolicited advice for Second Amendment supporting Democrats in states that have yet to hold primaries: Don't let him fool you. Flip a coin.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Obama's Pandering

Is this more pandering by Obama and the Democrats or does he really believe the stuff he says? (Tim)

Obama tries to pump up Pennsylvania
Fortune writer-reporter Jia Lynn Yang writes:

Barack Obama may not pump gas for his own motorcade. But he wants Pennsylvania to know that he too has noticed the rising prices.
“We are paying record prices,” Obama told a capacity crowd at the Dunmore Community Center Gymansium in Scranton last week. “I don’t have to tell you: $3.50 a gallon?” The crowd starts shouting back numbers: “$3.25! $3.55!” until the whole gym sounds like a cattle auction.
Obama stands in the middle listening, allowing the crowd to vent. He pauses. “A lot,” he says, to laughs. “Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil (XOM) made $11 billion last quarter.” Cue loud booing.
Throughout Pennsylvania, especially in economically depressed former mining towns such as Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Obama has been sounding some John Edwards-like notes about the contrast between Americans who work hard and struggle to pay for gas, and the corporate titans who make millions in bonuses.
It’s a traditional message for Democrats - Hillary Clinton’s been using it for months - but Obama’s ratcheted up the volume lately, in part because of his audience. He has to connect withworking-class voters in order to beat Clinton, not just in the April 22 primary in Pennsylvania but in Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Montana, Oregon, and South Dakota, all states that are coming up between now and June 3. (Maybe not so much in Guam.)
So Obama has begun to weave lines like, “A CEO makes more money in 10 minutes than a worker makes in a whole year” into his stump speech. And Countrywide Financial Corp. (CFC) usually gets a mention too for awarding its CEO and president $19 million in bonuses after the mortgage lender’s sale to Bank of America.
Is the extra populist juice working? The latest polls in Pennsylvania, where Obama spent much of last week, show some gains. Quinnipiac shows Obama getting closer but still 9 points behind Clinton. Public Policy Polling has Obama creeping ahead of Clinton, though only by 2 points. Other polls have yet to come out corroborating his new lead.
As for what Obama will do exactly about gas prices, he does go out of his way to say that as president he won’t wave a magic wand that will instantly lower the cost. At a press conference staged at a gas station in Manheim, Pa., last week, he promised a three-pronged approach.
In the long term, Obama favors investing in fuel-efficient car technology and developing more alternative energy sources like cellulosic ethanol. In the short term, he wants to cut to the payroll tax for the working class, which he says will translate into $1,000 back per family.
And Exxon? You’ve been warned. Says Obama: “I think we can look at going after windfall profits in a serious way.”

Hillary Wrestles Bin Laden

From humorist Andy Borowitz,
a twisted take on the news of
the day:

Hillary 'Misspoke' on Wrestling Bin Laden
She Was Greeting Students Instead, Clinton Acknowledges
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has been accused of padding her foreign-policy resume while first lady, acknowledged today that she might have exaggerated an encounter she said she had with al-Qaeda terror mastermind Osama bin Laden in 1998.
In an appearance Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Sen. Clinton told host Tim Russert, "I wrestled bin Laden in his cave in 1998 and had him pinned to the ground before the bastard got away."
But a review of Clinton's official White House schedule revealed that the then-first lady was nowhere in the vicinity of bin Laden that day but was instead greeting a group of honor-roll students at Disney World near Orlando, Fla.
"I may have misspoken about what went on that particular day," Clinton said today. "But it was a very busy time for me, what with having that knife fight with Kim Jong Il and all."
Reporters peppered Clinton's new spokesman with questions about another exploit -- in which the senator claimed that she and a ragtag team of blue-collar drillers deflected an asteroid on a collision course with the Earth.
"Everything Hillary Clinton says is true," said her new spokesman, author James Frey.
Elsewhere, in his first comment on the Eliot Spitzer scandal, Vice President Dick Cheney said he has never hired a prostitute because "I've been screwing the country the past seven years."

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Hillary Clinton Chronicles Of Lies - Part 2

Saturday, Clinton campaign officials acknowledged that an anecdote Clinton has made a staple of her stump speech in recent weeks may not have been true and wasn't thoroughly checked for accuracy before she began repeating it on the campaign trail.
Since competing in Ohio's March 4 primary, Clinton has shared the story of an Ohio woman who worked in a pizza parlor and died after giving birth to a stillborn child. The woman was uninsured, Clinton said, and twice denied medical care at a local hospital because she couldn't pay a $100 fee.
Clinton said she learned of the story from a deputy sheriff whose home she visited while campaigning in Ohio. She told the story as recently as late Friday, at a rally in Grand Forks, N.D.
Officials with O'Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens, Ohio, have disputed the story, saying the woman, Trina Bachtel, was insured and did receive care through an obstetric practice affiliated with the hospital, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Hospital officials did not immediately return phone calls Saturday from The Associated Press.
Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee acknowledged that the campaign had tried but hadn't been able to "fully vet" the story before she began repeating it on the campaign trail.
"She tells the story as it was told to her by the deputy sheriff. She had no reason to doubt his word," Elleithee said. "If the hospital claims it didn't happen that way, we certainly respect that and she won't repeat the story. She never mentions the hospital by name and isn't trying to cast blame."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Hillary Clinton Chronicles Of Lies - Part 1

During an April 1995 visit to Tibet, Hillary Clinton met New Zealand’s Sir Edmund Hillary, co-first-climber of Mount Everest. Clinton remarked that her mother, Dorothy Emma Howell Rodham, had told her that she was named after the famous climber. “It had two L’s, which is how she thought she was supposed to spell Hillary,” Clinton said at the Tibet meeting. “So when I was born, she called me Hillary, and she always told me it’s because of Sir Edmund Hillary.”
However, the Everest climb did not take place until 1953, more than five years after Clinton was born. Clinton opponents have used the discrepancy as evidence towards the charge that she is prone to fabrications. Clinton said that her mother read about beekeeper-turned-mountaineer Edmund Hillary in a publication while pregnant in 1947 and liked the name and thus used the two L’s form. Some searches of prominent U.S. publications show no publicity given to Edmund Hillary before the Everest climb, so it is unlikely that Dorothy Rodham (who has not publicly spoken about the issue) would have heard of him. Furthermore, Hillary with two L’s was not that unusual a spelling at the time. Snopes.com concluded that Hillary Clinton probably made up the naming story as “a little white lie concocted for a special occasion.” Finally, in October 2006, a spokeswoman for Senator Clinton’s re-election campaign explained that she was not in fact named after the mountain climber, stating rather that “It was a sweet family story her mother shared to inspire greatness in her daughter, to great results I might add.”

Obama, Obama, Where Art Thou Obama?

Barack Obama Is Just Another Liberal
by Amanda B. Carpenter

As Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) gathers increasing attention as a potential rival to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, remarkably little attention has been paid to his record, which reveals him to be at least as liberal as Hillary.While Obama has a knack for portraying himself as an even-handed politician, who is inspired by traditional religious values, he has earned 100% ratings from Americans for Democratic Action, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Organization of Women, the NAACP and the NEA.

To drum up support for his Senate bid in 2004, Obama wrote a letter to the Windy City Times, a publication targeted to Chicago’s gay community. “I opposed DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] in 1996. It should be repealed, and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor,” he vowed. “I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying” (see page 3).Obama told the paper that constitutional marriage amendment proposals were merely “an effort to demonize people for political advantage.” At the same time, he pledged to work to “expand adoption rights” for same-sex couples.In 2006, he followed through by voting against the Federal Marriage Amendment. “Personally, I do believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said, as he voted against defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Obama has similarly hedged his pro-choice rhetoric, while consistently supporting the pro-choice cause. As a state senator in Illinois he twice voted “present” on an Illinois ban on partial-birth abortion and was “absent” on a third vote. In 2001, he voted “present” on a parental notification bill for minors and in 2002 he voted against a bill to protect babies that survived failed abortions. In his 2004 race Senate, Obama accepted $41,750 in campaign contributions from pro-choice interest groups.

As an Illinois state legislator, Obama also supported raising taxes on insurance premiums and on casino patrons, retaining the state death tax and levying a new tax on businesses. He voted against a bill that would add penalties for crimes committed as a part of gang activity and against a bill that would make it a criminal offense for accused gang members, free on bond or probation, to associate with other gang members. In 1999, he was the only state senator to oppose a bill that prohibited early prison release for criminal sexual offenders. In 2001, he voted “present” on a measure to keep pornographic books and video stores 1,000 feet away from schools and churches, and in 1999, he voted against a requirement to make schools filter internet pornography from school computers.

Obama's is just a radical liberal in sheep's (moderate) clothing. (Tim)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Global Warming 2007 - Not!

By Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker

When Scott and I wrote "The Global Warming Hoax" in 1992, a group of Danish scientists had just published a paper that compared solar energy output (as measured by sunspot activity) to global temperatures, and found a striking correlation. No surprise there: just about all energy on earth comes from the Sun. Investors' Business Daily recalls that research and notes that the Sun has been quiet lately:
Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century.
Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle.
This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.
[Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council] reports no change in the sun's magnetic field so far this cycle and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere. ***
R. Timothy Patterson, professor of geology and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Center of Canada's Carleton University, says that "CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales."
Patterson, sharing Tapping's concern, says: "Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth."
I suspect that many global warming alarmists are well aware that time is running out for them. If nothing is done and global temperatures decline in coming years--as they inevitably will, the only question is when--the alarmists will have been refuted. On the other hand, if they succeed in pushing through industry-destroying caps on carbon emissions around the world, and especially here in the U.S., they will take credit for the cooling when it comes, claiming it as vindication of their theories.
In that context, the 2008 election shapes up as very important. I don't worry too much about John McCain's acknowledged lack of economic expertise, as his instincts on the economy are generally conservative. But McCain badly needs to educate himself on the debate currently raging over the climate. "Global warming" represents the Left's most ambitious power grab since the fall of Communism, and if a Republican President doesn't stand it its way, who will?
If McCain is looking for a sensible energy policy, he might start with these recommendations from the Science and Environmental Policy Project:
Our policy recommendation is to phase out natural gas (methane) for electric power generation (now about 20% in US and 40% in UK), replace it with coal/nuclear, and use gas as a clean transportation fuel (in the form of Compressed Natural Gas -- CNG) for buses, trucks, and all fleet vehicles. In the US case it would cut oil imports by 30%. Further cuts would come from the use of plug-in and hybrid-electric cars.
There is lots of good work being done in climate science, a discipline that is still in its infancy. There are also plenty of creative proposals for how to address our energy needs. But if the Republican Party mindlessly signs on to the fake-science of anthropogenic global warming, those ideas will never see the light of day. Someone please get the word to John McCain.

Jeremiah Wright's Heaven On Earth Home

By Jeff Goldblatt

This was supposed to be the week that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. returned to the pulpit to preach for the first time since his anti-American sermons generated nationwide outrage and drew condemnation from his longtime parishioner, Barack Obama.
But, citing security concerns, Wright canceled his speaking engagements in Florida and Texas. A spokeswoman at his former church in Chicago said his schedule is pending.
A two-week FOX News investigation, however, has uncovered where Wright will be spending a good deal of his time in retirement, and it is a far cry from the impoverished Chicago streets where the preacher led his ministry for 36 years.
FOX News has uncovered documents that indicate Wright is about to move to a 10,340-square-foot, four-bedroom home in suburban Chicago, currently under construction in a gated community.
While it is not uncommon for an accomplished clergyman to live in luxury, Wright’s retirement residence is raising some questions.
“Some people think deals like this are hypocritical. Jeremiah Wright himself criticizes people from the pulpit for middle classism, for too much materialism,” said Andrew Walsh, Associate Director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life with Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.
“So he’s entitled to be tweaked here. So the question really is, how unusual is this? Somewhat unusual,” he said.
According to documents obtained from the Cook County Register of Deeds, Wright purchased two empty lots in Tinley Park, Ill., from Chicago restaurant chain owner Kenny Lewis for $345,000 in 2004.
Documents show Wright sold the property to his church, Trinity United, in December 2006, with the proceeds going to a living trust shared with his wife, Ramah.
The sale price for the land was just under $308,000, about $40,000 less than Wright’s original purchase two years earlier.
Public records of the sale show Trinity initially obtained a $10 million bank loan to purchase the property and build a new house on the land.
But further investigation with tax and real estate attorneys showed that the church had actually secured a $1.6 million mortgage for the home purchase, and attached a $10 million line of credit, for reasons unspecified in the paperwork.
There is apparently nothing wrong with that, according to non-profit tax expert Jack Siegel of Charity Governance Consulting, who examined public documents FOX News obtained from the Cook County Register of Deeds and the Village of Tinley Park.
“At least looking at it from a public document standpoint, there’s clearly not a problem that jumps out or some sort of wrongdoing,” Siegel said.
Siegel characterizes the transaction as unusual, however, because of the way Wright sold the property to Trinity and the way the deal was financed, with the attached $10 million line of credit.
Because churches are classified as private businesses, Trinity isn’t required to reveal its intended use for the line of credit. Nor, because it’s a non-profit entity, is it required to provide that information to the IRS.
A spokesman for ShoreBank, the Chicago-based financial institution that secured mortgages for the loans, said the deals were aboveboard.
Wright did not respond to repeated calls for comment, and Trinity United refused to discuss the specifics of the home it is building for him and the way the deal was financed.
The church referred FOX News to its denominational headquarters in Cleveland, which provided a statement of support:
“It is customary and appropriate in many Christian denominations, including the United Church of Christ, for local churches to offer housing provisions for retiring clergy, especially in cases where pastors have served long-term pastorates. We support efforts by our 5,700 local churches to ensure that retiring pastors and spouses have continuing housing, adequate pension and health care, as an expression of our continuing appreciation for their years of service. Each local UCC congregation is free to honor a retiring pastor in ways it feels most appropriate to address the needs of that clergyperson’s circumstances,” wrote the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, spokesman for UCC’s national office.
“This is about how these kinds of churches work,” notes Walsh. “These pastors who made big successful churches are real valuable commodities. Is it morally wrong? Well, Protestants don’t have the idea that their religious leaders should live modestly or aesthetically. We’re not talking Buddhist monks or Catholic priests here. There’s no tradition that says they have to live poor.”
Tradition at Trinity United centers on a congregation that’s unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian, according to the church’s website. There are also no apologies from the church for the home it’s building for its former senior pastor, who nurtured a religious empire that grew to have more than 8,000 congregants.

I don't care if my pastor was the next coming of Billy Graham, no way, no how would I ever approve of a $1.6m retirement home. I wonder what his pension and allowance is? A church should pay a pastor a salary that would enable him or her to retire into a decent home but surely $1.6m is going overboard. Once again Barack Obama and other parishioners should quit or hold the board accountable for this decision - Tim.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Jeremiah Wright's Earthly Mansion

Wright Moves On Up
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted Monday, March 31, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Barack Obama had hoped the retirement of his fire-breathing pastor would put the controversy to rest. But the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is retiring in luxury — with all the trappings of the white "middleclassness" he warns his flock to avoid.
Wright is forsaking South Side Chicago and the black ghetto for a gated golf club community in Tinley Park, an affluent suburb. The area has seen a boom in growth from mostly non-Hispanic whites buying upscale homes in new subdivisions like Wright's adopted Odyssey Club neighborhood, which boasts some of Tinley Park's largest homes and a mix of townhomes. It adjoins the Odyssey Country Club and golf course.
"It's really suburban sprawl," said Michael Mertens, Tinley Park's economic development director. "It's a lot of people wanting their own homes and more space."
Nothing wrong with that; it's the American dream. Except that Wright has condemned that dream (along with America) in sermons he's delivered to the 8,000 mostly black congregants of Trinity United Church of Christ. He says it's all part of a white conspiracy to get blacks hooked on middle-class materialism and separate them from the inner-city and their African roots.
He also preaches the gospel of "Black Liberation Theology," a false Christian doctrine promulgated by Marxist-leaning black writers of the 1960s that espouses "economic parity" and other collectivist claptrap.
The concept of practicing what you preach is apparently lost on Wright.
After decades of lecturing blacks to remain loyal to the black ghetto and eschew the white suburbs, he's now building a 10,340-square-foot mansion in the white suburbs. Among its amenities: an elevator, a rubberized exercise room and room for a future theater and indoor swimming pool.
Wright has made a lucrative career of convincing other blacks they can't succeed on their own. For decades, he's collected their alms in exchange for a steady diet of bitterness and resentment.
Shouting "God damn America" for its treatment of blacks, Wright got his parishioners hooked on misplaced anger in the South Side so he could cash out in Tinley Park.
Perhaps this is "sharing in the prosperity," as Obama has so eloquently rephrased redistribution of income. Funny how those who demand economic parity end up taking the biggest share.