Saturday, August 23, 2008

Drill Here; Drill Now!

Both presidential candidates are pandering on energy policy, and a gullible public, sick of high gas prices and who have little understanding of economics, is buying it.

If we lift the Congressional ban on most oil drilling off our coasts and in ANWR, this would do nothing in the short term to lower gas prices. It would take ten years before new oil would come to market even if we started today. OK, some will say, if we would have started ten years ago, we would be better off today. If we start now that oil will be coming to market in ten years; so get started!

I agree we should drill offshore and in ANWAR, but it will have no impact on oil prices now and probably none in the future. Drilling in ANWR and offshore will have minimal environmental impact. The drilling site footprint in ANWR is the equivalent of putting a postage stamp on a football field. Offshore drilling is environmentally safe. There is a greater danger of an oil tanker springing a leak than there is of accidental spillage from an oil derrick.

I think we should have a national objective to wean ourselves off of oil and transition to clean energy. For the foreseeable future, however, as we increase our use of other alternatives, we will still need oil. If we are going to continue to need oil, I would prefer for more of that oil to be drilled at home.

Many chatter and bloggers and pundits advocating “drill hear; drill now” claim that if we would only drill we could return to $1.50 gas prices and achieve energy independence. Opening these oil fields will do little to lower gas prices.

We do not have a National Oil company that is required to sell oil drilled in America to Americans at a discounted price. We are not Venezuela or Mexico. Oil taken from ANWR or offshore will not belong to the American people but will belong to the company that drills it. That oil will not be cheap oil and there is a worldwide market for oil, not just an American market. The value of oil drilled in America will still be valued at the market price for oil. While any increase in supply will have some impact on prices, the new contribution to oil supply will be minimal. ANWR oil would add only 1 to 2 percent to the overall world oil supply. The oil cartel can simply cut production to match any new supply from these oil fields and prices will not be affected.

The new oil drilled in ANWAR and offshore, may not even serve American markets. If the oil companies find it more cost effective to sell the oil in Japan than in America, that is where the oil will go. While we should not expect new oil from ANWR or offshore to lower prices, there are two advantages to drilling American oil. One advantage is the balance of trade. When we buy oil or anything else from foreign markets dollars flow out of America. Increasing domestic oil production will lower the U.S. trade deficit and strengthen the dollar.

The other advantage is that American production of oil will enhance American security. While most of our imported oil comes from our friends Canada and Mexico, much of it comes from unfriendly regimes. By purchasing oil from these unfriendly countries we fund Muslim terrorist and hostile states. Also, in time of crisis these countries could shut off the oil spigot and wreck our economy and hold American foreign policy hostage to their oil.

For balance of trade reasons and national security reasons, increasing production of American oil makes sense, but don’t expect offshore drilling or ANWR to lower the price at the pump.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

The Idiocy of Energy Independence

John Stossel Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's amazing how ideas with no merit become popular merely because they sound good.

Most every politician and pundit says "energy independence" is a great idea. Presidents have promised it for 35 years. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were self-sufficient, protected from high prices, supply disruptions and political machinations?

The hitch is that even if the United States were energy independent, it would be protected from none of those things. To think otherwise is to misunderstand basic economics and the global marketplace. (link)

Comment: While reducing dependence on foreign oil is an admirable goal, energy independence is neither desirable nor achievable. Stossel explains why.

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Are Illegal Mexican Immigrants Causing a Crime Wave?

In any discussion of the immigration issue, someone is bound to mention all the crime committed by illegal immigrants. Likewise, if the discussion is about crime, someone will always bring up illegal immigration as a cause. In Nashville, we have had several news stories in the last few years in which illegal immigrants were perpetrators of horrific crimes. There is a perception that illegal Mexican immigrants commit a lot of crime and should be feared. It may be considered "common knowledge," but it is completely untrue that illegal immigrants are causing a crime wave in America.

First, people are simply wrong in thinking we have a crime wave. Violent crime has been steadily declining since 1993, and in 2005 it reached its lowest level ever recorded. Property crime has been on a downward trend since 1973. Within the last two years, there has been a slight increase in crime. It is still too early, however, to say the downward trend is reversing or even leveling off. One can certainly not conclude we are experiencing a "crime wave." For some reason, it seems like people simply do not like good news; they always want to believe things are "worse than ever." In regards to crime, as in many other areas of life, we have never had it so good. When it comes to crime, these are the "good ol’ days." (To see crime stats go to: Bureau of Justice)

Secondly, immigrants, whether legal or illegal, are more law abiding than your average citizen. The article posted below from the Arizona Star examines a study on the issue of crime and immigration. It concludes that the statistics do not support the widely held belief that greater immigration means more crime. Another article published in the current issue of Newsweek, also posted below, examines immigration and crime. It finds that the safest American cities are cities with many of immigrants.

It is surprising that immigrant crime is as low as it is. Crimes are most typically committed by young, single men; Among immigrants, there are more young, single men than compared to the general population. Because of this, it seems like one should expect the crime rate among immigrants to be higher, not lower. This does not intend to imply, however, that illegal immigration is problem-free. Like most people, I believe we need to control our borders, and we need to know who is in our country. We need to address the immigration issue. We have a problem with immigration, but this does not mean we should let myths become common knowledge. We must also guard against nativistic bigotry, which may keep us from thinking logically about the important issue of immigration.

Some will say all illegal immigrants are criminals because they committed the crime of entering the country illegally. This statement is clever, but we know that the misdemeanor crime of illegal-entry into the country is not what people are talking about when they complain about crime committed by immigrants.

With all of this said however, one area that is of legitimate concern is the high incidence of drunk driving by illegal, Hispanic immigrants. While hard numbers on this issue are hard to find, it seems undeniable this is a serious problem. Exactly why though is not clear. Possibly there are no social stigmas, or perhaps no strict DUI laws established or enforced, within their country of origin. Maybe they are unaware of American, DUI laws. What ever the reason, there does seem to be a DUI problem associated with Hispanic, illegal immigrants, and the DUI laws should be strictly enforced. In Nashville, the Sheriff now has the authority to act as an enforcer of immigration law. As a result, an arrest for drunk driving could lead to the deportation of the caught illegal immigrant. I feel this is a positive development.

Illegal immigrants may be know to have too many cars parked on the lawns of single, family homes. They may violate housing codes by having too many people share an apartment. But when it comes to violent crime, it is a myth that illegal immigrants are responsible for an increase in American crime rates.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Great Movie: Mad City

I have become a real movie buff and watch a lot of movies. Most of them I think are “pretty good” but few would I go out of my way to recommend. Last night I watched a great flick. If you are looking for something to add to your Netflixs or Blockbuster queue, let me suggest Mad City.
Mad City is essentially a story of media manipulation. Here is the review as reported by

Investigative TV journalist Max Brackett (Dustin Hoffman) suffers setbacks and winds up filing routine reports from Madeline, California. Max and his eager intern Laurie (Mia Kirshner) are doing a story at the local Museum of Natural History when a bigger story erupts. The Museum's director, Mrs. Banks (Blythe Danner), refuses to talk to former museum security guard Sam Baily (John Travolta) about his firing due to budget cuts. Angered, Sam shoots a shotgun, accidentally hitting another security guard. Realizing he's in the middle of breaking news, Max phones his supervisor (Robert Prosky) and goes to live coverage. A class of young children is visiting the Museum, and Sam holds them hostage. Sam's link to the outside world is the opportunistic Max, who manipulates the situation, telling Sam what to say on
camera. Within hours, as the event escalates to national interest, vendors
arrive to hawk products at the museum grounds, while the entire country tunes in
the ongoing coverage.
This film in some ways echoes some of the same themes of another great movie, Dog Day Afternoon. Both films deal with a tense situation, hostages, and the roll of public relations and the impact of a media circus.

When is reporting the news, making the news? This is an intense riveting story that explores important issues. Hoffman and Travolta are great! This movie will keep you on the edge of your seat. See this movie.

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Learn Chinese in 5 Minutes

(You MUST read them aloud)

English ---------------------Chinese

That's not right!------------ ----Sum Ting Wong

Are you harboring a fugitive? ---Hu Yu Hai Ding

See me ASAP -------------------Kum Hia Nao

Stupid Man ---------------------Dum Fuk

Small Horse ---------------------Tai Ni Po Ni

Did you go to the beach? ---------Wai Yu So Tan

I bumped into a coffee table! -----Ai Bang Mai Fu Kin Ni

I think you need a face lift! -------Chin Tu Fat

It's very dark in here! -----------Wai So Dim

I thought you were on a diet! ----Wai Yu Mun Ching

This is a tow away zone! ---------No Pah King

Our meeting is scheduled for next week!- Wai Yu Kum Nao

Staying out of sight --------------Lei Ying Lo

He's cleaning his automobile -----Wa Shing Ka

Your body odor is offensive ------Yu Stin Ki Pu

Great ----------------------------Fa Kin Su Pa

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Monday, August 18, 2008

English Only

I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women,
French to men and German to my horse

~Holy Roman Emperor Charles V

I don't know about that accent son
Just where do you come from

~From Where I Come From, by Alan Jackson

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English-only law would risk lives

by Gail Kerr, The Tennessean, August 17, 2008- As election commission officials count the signatures that may lead to a vote on offering city services only in English, a recent memo serves up some startling information about the resulting dangers. (link)

Rod's Commentary

I think Gail Kerr's argument is undeniable; approval of the English-only proposal will endanger public safety.

For public safety and public health, I think certain government services should be provided in languages in addition to English. I am grateful the Health Department can brief food service workers in a language they clearly understand. I am glad that if a Spanish-speaking person is diagnosed with a communicable disease, such as highly contagious tuberculosis, that a Spanish-speaking person can question them about who they have come in contact. When a crime is being investigated and a witness's primary language is Spanish, I want the police to be able to question them in Spanish. If my house is on fire and I am away and my next-door neighbor reporting the fire speaks only halting English, I want there to be a Spanish speaking person at the 911 call center. The proposed English-only bill, which, apparently will be on the ballot as a proposed charter amendment, will cost the city in lives, dollars, and reputation if it becomes law. It deserves to be defeated.

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