Wednesday, July 14, 2010

drill, baby, drill

In case you’ve forgotten, one of the main rallying cries at the Republican National Convention in my hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota in 2008 was “drill, baby, drill”.

The link below will allow you, once again, to re-live those thrilling days of yesteryear:

On April 23, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico caught fire and exploded. Early on in the disaster, oil was flowing into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of 6,000,000 gallons a day. After several failed attempts to stem the flow, BP is currently in the process of installing a new type of cap to seal off the well, nearly three months after the original explosion.

we had leakers in Wisconsin, too

On June 2, 2010, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin posted the following message on her Facebook page:

where is Joe McCarthy now?

Ms. Palin apparently is of the opinion that the Deepwater Horizon incident is proof that we need to do MORE drilling in “safer areas” of the United States, one of which is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, commonly known as ANWR.

The only intelligent comment that I can add to her post is two words:

Exxon Valdez

On March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, and released somewhere between 11 and 32 million gallons of crude oil. Although Exxon Corporation spent an estimated $2 billion in clean up costs, and $1 billion in legal costs, a significant portion of those expenses were covered by insurance policies, and several punitive damage awards were reduced dramatically in later years. Ultimately, the Exxon Valdez was repaired, at a cost of $30,000,000. It is still in operation today, and it is now owed by a Hong Kong company, which has renamed it Dong Fang Ocean. As of January, 2010, it was registered in Panama.

The Exxon Valdez incident led to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and also caused major changes in the physical characteristics of oil tankers, as well as their escorts.

The economy of the city of Cordova, Alaska was adversely affected after the spill damaged stocks of salmon and herring in the area. Several residents, including one former mayor, committed suicide after the spill.

Last year, scientists at the University of South Carolina estimated that it would take ANOTHER ten years for the wildlife in the area of the spill to recover.

well, isn’t that slick?

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform is a far GREATER catastrophe. The amount of oil that is flowing into the Gulf is equivalent to 4 Exxon Valdez spills EVERY WEEK.

Although George W. Bush may well have been one of more unpopular presidents, he was a surprisingly well-read leader, as evidenced by the link below:

run, Spot, run

It’s been argued that the only book that Sarah Palin has read is her own, and perhaps that’s what being a rogue is all about. However, I would encourage her to read at least some of the books written by Thomas Friedman (of the New York Times) since he has a far better idea about how to handle America’s energy crisis than she does.

In closing, I’d like to offer Ms. Palin a few kind words of advice:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Three Cups of Tea

I’ve told our H.R. manager that the initial “T” on the dealer plates that I’ve been issued by The Autobarn stands for “tough old bird”.

In my 62 years, I’ve lost jobs, had close experiences with life-threatening illnesses, crashed on the way to Hell, been robbed in China, suffered numerous financial hardships, and I currently owe the I.R.S. almost as much as I paid for my first house.

In spite of all that, though, I’m probably one of the most optimistic people that you’ll ever met.

I’ve also read hundreds of books in my lifetime, and until this morning, I don’t remember reading ANY that brought tears to my eyes.

In May of this year, I read Greg Mortenson’s second book, Stones into Schools, and published a post about the book on this blog site on May 16. As I finished reading his first one, Three Cups of Tea, this morning, the closing pages brought tears to my eyes simply due to the fact that his story, and the initial success of some of his students, is simply unbelievable

When it was first published, in 2006, the book was the #1 best seller for 14 straight weeks on the New York Times book list. Since its publication, it has been required reading for freshman, honors or campus-wide reading in over eighty universities, and hundreds of schools. It is also required reading for senior U.S. military commanders, Pentagon officers in counter-insurgency training, and Special Forces deploying to Afghanistan.

As of today’s date, Mortenson’s company, the Central Asia Institute, has built 141 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Arguably, he is the one person who is the MOST responsible for peace in that part of the world.

None of us would be willing to endure the sacrifices that this modern day peace keeper has endured over the years (including being kidnapped by the Taliban), but we CAN make a contribution to world peace at a far lower cost. All you need to do is click on the link below:

Three Cups of Tea

Believe me when I tell you that even a $10 contribution will do a LOT more for peace in Afghanistan than a $5,000,000 Predator missile.

If you only read one book for the rest of the year, make sure that it’s this one.