Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Irony of Epic Proportions

I almost hesitate to start this post because no matter how carefully I craft it, I know some will only look at the pictures.

I was raised in the deep South and I am very well acquainted with what went on there from the middle fifties, into the sixties, and beyond.  I was old enough to start questioning why some things were the way they were.  I got the standard answers that parents gave their children to explain why whites and blacks were separated in some areas and together in others.  I'm sure that black children asked the same questions.  I would imagine there were also answers given to them by their parents.  I was surprised to learn in later life that my mother also asked the same innocent childlike questions when she was a young girl during the thirties.  Life in the deep South during my youth was not totally segregated and people of all races formed bonds of friendship despite the tacit social barriers.  Just as my mother sought to do something as a teen, and was told to let it go, so were many of us who later had the same thoughts and ideas.  The problems were complex and so would be the solutions.  Change is never easy and it always meets with resistance.

The truth is, there was a great chasm, and no solution was going to please everyone.  In the middle sixties, the old barriers were struck down by the courts and people were forced to face and deal with the problems.  Those on both sides, who were educated and at least marginally successful, managed a more peaceful dialog and genuinely worked to make things work.  Those who couldn't articulate the injustices they felt, or perceived, formed groups of like minded individuals and lashed out at those they saw as causing the problem.  It was a time of great tumult in the South.  However, when I was older and traveled extensively in the North and North East, I found out that their racial problems were as bad if not worse than those we encountered in the South.  It made sense to me then that some of the resistance I witnessed was not racial, but rather resistance to people from outside the South who came down to tell us how to solve the problems we had while ignoring their own.  Segments of people on both sides reinforced negative stereotypes by their behaviors and further complicated the arguments being proffered.

The laws and safeguards that were mandated and followed by those who were law abiding, had an impact and helped to bridge the educational and economic chasm.  However, it is human nature to take a good thing and exploit it to the point that it becomes a bad thing.  The government, (that's us) did just that.  For when things got back on an even keel and even started to lean in the opposite direction we failed to adjust the steerage.  In doing so, we increased the injustice in the opposite direction and instead of helping those in need we created a segment of the population that is totally dependent on government for everything they have.  We were forced by government (our elected representatives) to choose from a mixed bag of choices what category we fit into.  By its very nature, this type of pigeon holing is divisive.  We should never have to mark these boxes again.  We are all citizens of the United States of America.  I wish someone in the legislature would move to have all reference to race, skin color, national origin, language, or any other arbitrary and unnecessary classification removed from all government documents.

The great irony here, as I see it, is that people who were once singled out by their skin color, and in some cases persecuted and prosecuted unjustly, have taken to using the same tactics to further a racially biased agenda.  They above all people should be the keenly sensitive as to how wrong this is.  The New Black Panther Party, Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, and others are deriving their livelihoods from stirring up trouble and acting outside the law.  They are no different than any trouble maker the KKK ever had, and they should be dealt with as severely.  It is not about hoodies folks.  It is about letting our legal system work.  The case in Florida involves two individuals and only two individuals.  When the investigation is done and all the available evidence gathered, the case will be presented to a jury and a decision will be rendered.  Until that time, the president of the United States, talking heads from all our media services, neighbors, friends, schoolmates, legislators, sports figures, and law enforcement should refrain from speculating and commenting on what happened.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring has Sprung

April Impressions

Zephyrs stir miniature
soldiers of lavender
and salmon pink
standing at attention
on a carpet of pastel green.

Purple tendrils
surround a phone pole.

Splashes of white and pink
peak out from
Winter’s stark remnants.

An ice blue sky
domes the hillsides
carpeted in yellow and blue.

Songbird fugues
pierce the air
backed up by the
steady gurgle of a
crystal stream.

Subtle hints of perfume
carried on the breeze
refresh and revive
my wakening spirit.

Dennis Price

Monday, March 12, 2012

Obama's Oil Plan

10 Things You Need to Know About High Gas Prices and Obama’s Oil Policy

This week the media’s attention is finally focused on oil prices. After two years of continually rising consumer gas prices in America, the oil futures market has captivated the Mideast storyline. And attention is much needed. December 2010 saw the highest gas prices for the month of December in our nation’s history. This month, we’re setting similar records with the national average of $3.14/gallon–fifty cents higher than it was a year ago. If this trend continues, the summer of 2011 will hit consumers much harder than in the summer of 2008 when prices soared above $4/gallon.
But if you only read, hear or see this week’s news reports, you would think that oil and gas prices were doing just fine until the historic events in Egypt, Libya and across the Middle East unfolded this past month and caused spikes in the futures market. Unfortunately, that is not the case. President Obama has been unilaterally taking steps to increase the cost of gasoline for two years. Here are ten things you need to know about gas prices that you may not hear reported elsewhere:
  1. Gas Prices Are Skyrocketing Under President Obama: The oil futures market is just that, a futures market. The price-per-barrel spikes in oil this week have not affected the domestic market yet. In fact, former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister made the prediction in December 2010 that America would face $5/gallon gasoline by 2012, a full month before the revolution in Egypt began. At the end of President George W. Bush’s two terms in office, prices were 9% lower than when he took office (adjusted for inflation). The day before President Obama was inaugurated; the average price of a gallon of gas was $1.83. Today, that average is $3.14.
  2. President Obama Has Crippled Domestic Oil Exploration: Putting aside calls from some who want to increase domestic exploration to areas in Alaska and elsewhere, President Obama has completely shut down the existing oil drilling infrastructure in the U.S. At least 103 permits are awaiting review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. The federal government has not approved a single new exploratory drilling plan in the Gulf of Mexico since Obama “lifted” his deepwater drilling moratorium in October 2010. Obama also reversed an earlier decision by his administration to open access to coastal waters for exploration, instead placing a seven-year ban on drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and Eastern Gulf of Mexico as part of the government’s 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf Program.
  3. The Obama Permitorium is Costing the Government Much-Needed Revenue: The Gulf accounts for more than 25 percent of domestic oil production. With production in the Gulf expected to drop in 2011 by 220,000 barrels per day, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates the U.S. will suffer $3.7 million in lost revenue per day as a result of lost royalties. If that holds, the federal government would lose more than $1.35 billion from royalty payments, just this year.
  4. The Obama Administration Has Been Held in Contempt of Court: Federal District Court Judge Martin Feldman held the Obama Interior Department in contempt of court on February 2, 2011, for dismissively ignoring his ruling to cease the drilling moratorium which the judge had previously struck down as “arbitrary and capricious.” Judge Feldman has since given the Administration 30 days to act on permits it has needlessly and purposefully delayed saying inaction was “not a lawful option.”
  5. Jobs Are Being Killed by Obama’s Oil Policies: As a direct result of Obama’s oil policies, companies that help supply our domestic energy needs are going out of business. Most recently, Houston-based Seahawk Drilling filed for bankruptcy. The Chief Operating Officer of the offshore drilling company, Randy Stilley, stated: “The decision by regulators to arbitrarily construct unnecessary barriers to obtaining permits they had traditionally authorized has had an adverse impact not only on Seahawk, but on the sector as a whole.”
  6. And More Jobs Are Being Killed: Vendors, suppliers, even restaurants and retailers are losing ground or going out of business as a result of the economically crippling policies Obama has unilaterally imposed. According to Reuters, many of the thirty-plus deepwater rigs in the Gulf have moved to other markets. Each rig directly employs approximately 200 people, but that doesn’t even count the ripple effect across the nation. One industry official told CNBC that the industry was on “life support.” But President Obama is spending billions to finance offshore jobs…in Brazil. The Obama Administration committed at least $2 billion in 2009 towards Petrobras, one of the largest offshore oil drilling companies in the world.
  7. Decreasing Our Domestic Supply Increases Foreign Dependence: Even Energy Secretary Steven Chu admits that “any disruption in the Middle East means a partial disruption in the oil we import. It’s a world market and [a disruption] could actually have real harm of the price.” If this is the case, then cutting our domestic supply hardly seems like an appropriate response. Rather than face this reality, Secretary Chu ridiculously called for an increase in renewable energy investments, which is a complete non-sequitur.
  8. Renewable Energy Is Not the Answer to Mideast Turmoil: According to the EIA, petroleum accounts for less than one percent of electricity production. So wind and solar, which do not produce transportation fuel even if Obama’s $40,000 Chevy Volt quadruples production, can only replace coal and natural gas, of which America has an abundant supply. As for biomass, over 40 percent of domestic corn consumption goes to ethanol, which provides less than 10 percent of our transportation fuel and causes food prices to increase. Three large production platforms in the Gulf could provide an amount equivalent to all of the biofuels produced in the U.S.
  9. Regulations and Delays: The Obama EPA has added costly new regulations to refineries in the name of global warming, while the Obama Interior Department issues new rules that make it much harder to develop natural resources on government land. The EPA is also denying approval of the Keystone pipeline which would increase the amount of oil the U.S. receives from our friendly neighbor Canada by over a million barrels per day.
  10. The Middle East Is Not the Sole Cause of Rising Oil Prices: Global oil prices have been rising steadily for months based on variety of factors including those listed above and as the world economy pulls out of a recession. In fact, Egypt is not a major producer of petroleum, and only 2-3 percent of the world’s supply moves through the Suez Canal. Certain spikes are not abnormal and can be more easily weathered with a smarter domestic energy strategy.
This week, Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman told Bloomberg Television: “We’re hoping capacity will be brought to bear so it will continue to support our economic recovery.” Mr. Poneman needs to head down his hallway to meet with his boss Secretary Chu and explain how energy prices affect an economic recovery. Because it was Chu who, in the name of environmental radicalism, stated in 2008: “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” It would seem President Obama and Secretary Chu are getting their wish and you are paying for it every day.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sometimes I Just Want to Kick a Horse Apple.

I just took a motorcycle trip out west of San Antonio, Texas and for most of the 300 plus miles I had to navigate a solid line of vehicular traffic composed primarily of trucks related to the production of oil and gas.

It was an annoying trip at times, but I was very happy that we had Americans employed here in Texas, and that we were doing our part to support bringing down our dependence on foreign oil.  I have posted previously on the fallacy of current efforts to create what has become known as "Green Energy".  I believe the only thing green about the industry is the amount of tax dollars we are pouring into companies that produce very little and employ very few.  Recent scandals and bankruptcies in these tax supported scams have shown that much of the money has gone to political supporters of Barack Hussein Obama.

I am for a dual program that uses solid research and development of  new energy resources along side of the streamlining and updating of our current energy resources.  We need to free ourselves of any dependence on oil from the middle east.  We also need to take an honest look at what has been touted by democrats as the way out of our economic woes.  Read the following article and pay particular attention to the real story of job creation for American workers as it relates to "Green Energy."

The Obama administration has consistently promoted subsidies for “clean” energy technologies like wind and solar while charging that the oil and gas industry benefits from excessive taxpayer support.
But in fact subsidies for the oil and gas sector aren’t all that large when compared to the amount of energy being produced, while the “green” economy is not creating large numbers of jobs, according to a new report by Robert Bryce, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
President Barack Obama’s budget proclaims: “We should not devote scarce resources to subsidizing the use of fossil fuels produced by some of the largest, most profitable companies in the world. That is why the Budget eliminates inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to address the threat of climate change.”
The reference to the “largest, most profitable companies” reflects the administration’s antipathy toward the hydrocarbon sector, Bryce asserts.
Apple Inc. has a market capitalization of $475 billion and a profit margin of 25.8 percent. Meanwhile, BP, the biggest producer of domestic oil, has a market capitalization of $147 billion and a profit margin of 6.8 percent.
Apple is three times as large and nearly four times as profitable as BP. Apple has virtually no manufacturing jobs in the United States and imports nearly everything from China. Meanwhile the domestic oil industry last year exported about 1 billion barrels of crude oil and refined products.
The administration shows no such antipathy toward the “clean” energy industry. In fact, between 2009 and late 2011, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the administration handed out $2.6 billion in tax-free grants to just four companies, all them board members of the American Wind Energy Association, Bryce discloses.
Two of those firms are foreign-owned — the Spanish energy company Iberdrola, which got $1 billion in grants, and German giant E.ON, which received $542 million.
A third firm, Terra-Gen, is building a wind farm in California that will create only about 50 permanent jobs — that works out to around $9 million per job.
The oil and gas industry, on the other hand, received “subsidies and support” totaling $2.82 billion, and that was spread among the 14,000 oil and gas companies operating in the United States.
The report notes that domestic oil production is now increasing, natural gas production is surging, driving down prices, and over the past five years about 158,000 new oil and gas jobs have been created, many of them high-paying.
Bryce concludes: “The Obama administration continues to vilify the very industry that’s helping spur eco¬nomic growth. America doesn’t need more slogans about ‘clean’ energy. It needs more cheap, abundant, reliable energy.”

 To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.  - Thomas A. Edison