Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where are the imaginations, the dreams?

Last week I was kayaking down the Rio Grande with the Critters and Crayons blogger, and Eric of Big River Outfitters.  One of the great things about the trip was the peaceful time just floating thinking of nothing but the flowing river and the people who first set eyes on the area.  I used my imagination to see the native North Americans who must have seen Laredo for what it would become, a very good place to cross the river for decades to come.  I wondered if those native pioneers could have ever versioned that over 1,000 motor driven carts and trailers hauling billions of dollars of freight would be crossings a manmade bridge every day.  Maybe one of the did have that imagination, and he/she passed that vision on down to the tribe, and that is how Laredo became what it is today.
No, this post is not about what Laredo is today, but about how people use their imagination and are our kids being robbed of the need to use their imagination.
I am not sure that all the technology that three and four year olds are exposed to today are really helpful in their ability to use their imaginations.  Reading a book, without illustration, requires the full use of your imagination.  You must base the objects and subjects in the books on places, things and people you are familiar with and yet at the same time you also will use your imagination to create a combined picture the author paints with their words.
How can kids today do that if they are reading only from the internet, or e-books that offer interactive connectivity?  And how often do parents just send their kid outside to be alone with no formal activity assigned, so the youngster can look at the sky and see people and things in the clouds.  Where a kid can look at a leaf floating down the stream and wonder if it will make it to the ocean?  When do today’s kids have the time to just sit alone and dream of things we as adults cannot imagine?
I was lucky.  I grew up when television was first coming of age.  I had parents who both worked and allowed me lots of free time (as they were too tired to play with me) to dream and imagine.  I hope that kids still have this time to themselves.
It bothers me to see kids under 10 years old with cell phones texting their friends.  Texting, now that the cost is almost nothing, consume what I see as an enormous amount of time and energy. As does surfing the internet.  Now don’t get me wrong, I think the internet is great for kids and adults.  Yet, like any good thing, it needs to be used in moderation.
So, I ask you, the parents of kids today; Do kids still imagine, and dream?  If you don’t know, you better find out and fix it, or we may never put another man on the moon, or see another new fangled Frisbee.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Perry, The Simplistic Politician with a Small Intellect - A liberals view

Here is an example of an anti-Texas/Perry article which appeared in today’s San Antonio Express News.  The article is in black, italics, and my comments appear in red.  Add your own comments below.

Governor Rick Perry

Intellectually suspect but politically brilliant
By O. Ricardo Pimentel/
Updated 12:34 a.m., Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry might have confined his remarks to a critique of the Fed's policy of quantitative easing, buying bad assets by printing more money.
He might have just expressed a fear that putting more money into circulation can cause inflation.
He might have just said that such election-year infusion will mire the Fed in politics.
But our newest presidential candidate doesn't do wonk. He does Texas plain talk. Good, a plain talker is what we need now. And now, upon formal introduction to coyote-shooting Perry, much of the national electorate is mulling which is scarier: That Perry believes what he says or that there is calculated purpose afoot.


Perry said last week in Iowa that if Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke were to print more money before the election, it would be “almost treasonous” and that Texas “would treat him pretty ugly.”

This was pounced upon as everything from a rookie mistake to rich irony. Perry had suggested earlier that Texas might secede from the union. Suggested, of course, without actually proposing it.

And this points to a cool calculation that merges belief and cynical purpose. He knows he espouses outlier views and figures he gets more points by espousing them with folksy flourish than by politicking around them. He certainly can't hide from them. There's a matter of the public record.

Underestimate Perry as a hick if you want. He isn't. There is more than a bit of preacher in him but mostly he knows what's worked. Brash talk sells. It marks him, he believes, as the American everyman.

So, climate change is “a scientific theory that has not been proven and ... is more and more being put into question.”  Rick Perry nailed this one.  And since man made climate change legislation is a multi-billion dollar sump pump on the US economy and lifestyle, it makes Perry one of my top picks for President.  He is the first to come out and expose the bad science for what it is.  PS, for those that don’t know, the ice is not melting any more than normal, the temperature is not going up to a point that we will all be burning and the world as we know it will end, and carbon dioxide IS NOT A POLLUTANT.

Evolution is just a theory “that's out there.”  Ah, Ricardo, evolution is a theory.  That is a fact.  And Ricardo, here’s a question for you, how was the universe created?  What came first, and how?  There are no simple answers and to make fun of, and despise, those who have religious beliefs shows how small an intellect you and the secularist really possess.   

Handlers might even now be trying to rein him in. But here's the Perry calculation. Taking on inconvenient science — and the Fed — plays well. It does in this state, where contrarianism and notions of Texas exceptionalism have long homesteaded along the Brazos.  Is Rick Perry a politician, yes, and a good one as you point out.  But he is only repeating what millions of Americans believe.  Yes Ricardo, millions of people can’t wait to see the current intellectual president unemployed Jan. 20th 2013.    And Texas is an exceptional state, well most of it anyway.  Run the metrics without the areas controlled by democrats and see what you get.  One day, the downtrodden will figure out that government is not their savior and learn that hard work and independence are what lead to the American Dream.  I think you need to look at what shape the other big states are in and do a real side by side comparison.  Then report.

Perry, more than Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are able, will put to the test whether what sounds true sells better than what is true. Simply, Texas' economy makes him more marketable. Mitt Romney is his GOP competition.

Perry is banking on the right wing's discomfort with Romney and that Texas, home to a long and unbroken string of Perry election successes, is more a microcosm of the country than is Massachusetts.  Texas is much more mainstream than Massachusetts will ever be.

Not everyone, of course, even in plain-talking Texas, likens a difference of opinion on monetary policy and election-year timing to treason. But, hey, he's taking on the federal government. That's what counts.
Ricardo, I would love to hear you opinion on this man.
He most likely would be the smartest man in the world,
well at least in your world.

Perry isn't a hick. Neither is he an everyman. He is an ambitious politician campaigning with a tried-and-true playbook — one who is betting that Texas' economic “miracle” will bring all the non-believers on these other issues along for the ride.

But faith — not fact — drives belief in creationism and intelligent design. Denial is all that is required to dispense with inconvenient climate change science.  Ricardo, here you show your lack of intellect.  You say that climate change (I have to assume here you mean man-made climate change) is a fact.  Man made climate change is not a fact, and is a much weakened theory at best.  Everyday more evidence is revealed that reduces the validity of the man made global warming theory.  And the fact that you fail to see that defines you as the one lacking in intellect.

Perry cannot rely on either to convince the skeptics that low taxes and light regulation are responsible for Texas job growth. It's just not that simple.  Newspapers and the media are ones who deal in simplicity.  Your papers rarely tell whole stories.  The main stream media deal in snippets of information usually providing the reader with only a view that is reflective of the person writing the story.  Gone are the days of hard news only.  Now, reporters are mere columnist.  Hence,  the love of the internet.

And, still, no one should count Perry out. Sadly, what might be intellectually suspect can still perhaps be politically brilliant.  You closing hear can only mean that anyone who votes for Perry must be a simpleton.   Well good for you Ricardo…keep that up, it sells papers in some circles.
Read more:

Democrats Refuse to Stand Up for Texas.....Why?

It’s that time of the year again when national politics start to take shape.  And just to show you how much history repeats itself, (kids, this is why we teach history), the national news media and the national Democratic Party have started another anti-Texas campaign.
All of these attack news articles and comments (In 3 days I counted 15 anti-Perry/Texas articles in the SA Express News and Laredo Morning Times) are happening because Texas Governor Rick Perry entered the race and took the early lead in the polls.  Now, I have nothing against these types of articles if they are truthful (topic for another blog) as this is politics.  There will be plenty more to come.
What I do find offensive is that NO Democrats are questioning any of the statements being made by the national news media, or the Presidents political team.  This is reminiscent of the campaign in 2000 when national Democrats attacked Texas and the local Democrats just sat on their hands and took it.  No pride, no desire at all to defend the home front.  They pulled their heads back into their shells. 
Kind of like when things got tough in 2003 and instead of staying in the state to fight legislation proposed by the Republicans, they fled the state to hide in Oklahoma.  Later, they again fled the state, this time to hide in Arizona.   Cowards?  You decide.
Now this hiding in the shell might be understandable if the attacks on Texas weren’t an attack on the areas managed by Democrats.  Yep, you heard it right.  Most of the poverty and poor education results come from the areas where Democrats have been in charge for well over 20 years. 
When the Secretary of Education states that too few Texas kids are ready to go to college, he is talking about the high percentage of minority kids who cannot pass the entrance exams.  The majority of these minority kids go to schools in districts that have been controlled by Democratic political office holders (machines) for decades.  The border region comes to mind.  Now you can whine and complain that the Republicans are responsible for these results, but the fact is local Democratic politics that decide on how schools operate along the border.   They decide to pay administrators and what programs to implement.  They decide on the day to day operation of the education system. 
Take the news this week that LISD is giving teachers a raise (good for them, I am always for teachers, versus administrators getting more) and the new additions to UISD, a brand new $ 1 million IT studio and LISD spending millions on a new food preparation center, football stadium and the moving of a magnet school.  Democrats you should be boasting that Laredo is doing these things and paying for it with local money. 
Yet, because you would rather sit on your hands and support your political party and it’s attacks on Texas, you say nothing.
Pretty weak if you ask me.  Are there any real Texans left in the Democratic Party?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Rio Grande Kayak Trip...I saw the river as our founders did.

Small rapids

Saturday morning I did what I promised to do last fall, take a trip down the Rio Grande on a kayak with Eric Ellman and Stephanie Dolanskey-Mathahey from Big River Outfitters based at the Rio Grande Plaza hotel.  You know the big round hotel on the banks of the Rio just down from bridge one.
I went with a fellow blogger, Patricia Driscoll, whom I met last year when she came to the Laredo Rifle and Pistol Club with a group wives who wanted their husbands, who are avid shooters, to teach them how to shoot.  Trish is a fellow blogger who has the very popular Critters and Crayons blog.   Anyway, Trish’s husband had the kids and we headed for the river after a short pre-float meeting at Starbucks.  Nope, they had no whiskey for courage, and I don’t drink anyway, so it was cold turkey bravery that we relied upon to get us on the river.

In case of drowning, just stand up
After a training session on how to paddle  and make the kayak respond to your every command. Kayaking is not just pulling a paddle, but you actually use a pushing motion which is more efficient and easier.  Then Eric trotted (actually a slow walk) us to the river bank for instructions on how to board a kayak. 

Now I have lived here 19 plus years and have been to the river banks many times at many different places.  But never have I been on or in the waters of the Rio Grande.    I explained to Eric though I appear to be very buoyant, that looks are deceiving and I sink like a bag of wet cement. 
Eric then proceeded to jump in the river and show me the best way to save yourself in you fall overboard.  JUST STAND UP.  Yep, it really is that simple.  Right now the river is not very deep which the photo illustrates very well.  There are some deep parts, but not many at least at this flow level. 
No wonder Laredo became the town it is today.  A running river that has plenty of shallow areas for fording commerce was a great place to settle.  In fact the original crossing, "El Paso de los Indios,” is located near LCC.  I am not sure of the exact location as the City of Laredo has a very poor reputation for noting and celebrating their landmarks.  This crossing point was the basis for Tomas Sanchez to establish Laredo on May 15, 1755.  And now, 256 years later, Laredo is one of the largest commercial crossing points in the country.  So, when you see the line of 1,000 trucks a day, hauling billions in commerce, crossing between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, just remember it all started with cattle crossing in 1755.
So, city, community, and retail leaders in this city, why isn’t the original crossing point well defined and accessible to all Laredoans?  At least there should be some sort of historical marker.  Oh well, off my soapbox, and back to the trip.  Update:  Eric has told me there is a marker for the El Paso de los Indios located behind the environmental center at LCC.  I will hunt that down and post the photo later this week.

Heading towards CPL power plant
Once in the river we moved at a very leisurely pace and took in the sights along the river.  The current is not very strong right now, yet it was enough to keep you moving down stream with very little physical effort.  You will see lots of wildlife and even some domesticated animals, such as horses and cows drinking from the river.  There were lots of varieties of birds crossing the river all along the 2 ½ hour trip. 
One thing I didn’t even think about was that we were traveling along an international border.  Except when US Border Patrol came by on the fan boat, we were traveling on a nice quiet river, the only sounds being water passing over the rapids, birds, and the distant noise from trains crossing the bridge.
Snowy Egert at Casablanca, but they are on the river also
Kingfisher I saw on river late last year
Scissor Tailed Flycatcher, They were also seen by us on the river
Eric even took the time to take us up Manadas Creek (crosses Mines Road ¼ mile west of I-35.  We paddled up about a ¼ mile and saw the carved out bluff that is the south side of the creek.  There are some interesting features that would require a geologist to explain.  There is some rare moss located here according to Eric.  Not sure if those are the ones in my photo.   I did not take my best camera, only a pocket shooter as I figured I would fall in the river a few times during my excursion.  I never did, even though I did get stuck in one of the rapids.  Go figure.

Manadas Creek, Eric and Trish
And if any rumors surface saying that I had some back issues, well just remember, I am getting old, and after 19 years of consuming every Mexican food ever made, not in the best of shape.  But I made it and am 100% this morning.
 If you want to escape the hectic day to day business of Laredo, and maybe even the hectic outings at a park or the lake, a river kayaking excursion is just the thing.  You will see Laredo like our forefathers did.  You will see the banks, bluffs, and tree/cane lined shores.  You will see the flat rock spots, the small rapids that are prevalent along the river.
We put in at Father McNaboe Park and exited the river about 4 ½ miles downstream.  It took about 2 ½ hours to complete the trip.  Trish and Eric discussed the idea of having some activities on the big flat rock, such as early morning yoga, or maybe even a wine tasting event.  Yoga, wine tasting, not on my list, but if there is a chili dog day, sign me up.
In conclusion, if you want to do something that very few Laredoans have ever done, contact Big River Outfitters (956-209-1879) and make reservations for a kayaking trip.  Talk with Eric and Stephanie beforehand and understand the physical requirements on making the trip.  They are great people who really appreciate (unlike some of our local leaders) the Rio Grande and what it means to our community.  They will do everything they can to make your trip an experience you will share for a long time.
Thanks Trish, Steph, and Eric for a fun day.

More photos on my Facebook Page, see Tom Wade Laredo.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Race Relation Poll Results from USA Today

It always bothers me when I write a story about race relations (see below) in this country that I am going to be labeled a racist no matter what I said because I am a Republican member of the Tea Party.  But, what the heck, Richard Raymond, Henry Cuellar, here I go.

Why do politicians and the government work so hard at trying to label Americans based on race?  Is this in itself not causing some of the racial tension that still exists in this country?
The United States Federal Government is the worst at race relations.  They want to label us by race when they count Americans; they want to label Americans by race when they apply for anything the government provides.  Why?  Will the government not serve me if I am white?  I thought all the welfare type programs were based on economic condition.  I thought the same on qualifying for student loans or any other program that passed out money. 

The politicians (and media) have done everything in their power to promote the idea that a specific race must be represented in politics by a person of the same race.  Why?  What is difference between a black, white or Hispanic issue?  Is immigration not important to all races of Americans?  Aren’t taxes and deficits important to all?  Aren’t we all concerned about the welfare of America. 

Why shouldn't I be allowed to pick the best candidate no matter what color his/her skin?  Why must I be represented by whites?

Poll respondents chart racial progress since MLK

By Susan Page, and Carly Mallenbaum
Updated 16h 46m ago
WASHINGTON — On this, blacks and whites overwhelmingly agree: Martin Luther King Jr. changed America, and for the better.
"When I went to work in the government in 1958, they didn't have black and white signs on the toilets, but they had one toilet that was unlocked and the other toilet you had to have the key for. The only ones who had the key were the white supervisors," recalls Carl Allen, 70, of Washington, D.C., who is black. He worked as a landscape gardener for the city's highway department. "There weren't black supervisors."
Over time, "all of it changed," says Allen, who was among those called for the survey. "Before I retired, we had full representation, black supervisors. We had everything we should have had years before."
Benjamin Cardenas, 42, of Santa Clara, Calif., a distribution manager for a pharmaceutical company, says interracial couples are now the norm in his community. With California's diversity, he says, "people have a tendency to look beyond the race of the person and look at the person."
A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of more than 1,300 people nationwide finds that about nine of 10, black and white, say civil rights for African Americans have improved in their lifetimes.

Tea Party at it Again?

President on Vacation
Inflation rising fast...
European Shares Closing With Biggest One-Day Decline in Three Years.....

These were some of the headlines on the Drudge Report.  I am trying to figure out how to blame the Tea Party for this.  Never mind, some left winger or RINO will find a way I am sure.  I don’t think the guy in the photo cares.  Opps, I forgot, none of the above is his fault.  In fact, nothing is his, or his administrations fault.  Just ask them.

I wonder who will be first to put the blame on those that only want to fix this mess and not those that are causing our economic problems.

Mr. President, here is your chance……..

I love this story.  I took it off Facebook and am sharing it with you.  It is a post by my friends over at Big River Outfitters.

If you don't know about them, check out their website and take a trip down the Rio with them.

Big River Outfitters Webpage

Current joke people are emailing, and which explains just why we created Big River Outfitters:

"This happened on a flight getting ready to depart for Laredo. Jim was sitting on the plane when a guy took the seat beside him. The guy was an emotional wreck, pale, hands shaking, moaning in fear.

"What's the matter?" Jim asked.

"I've been transferred to Laredo, there are crazy people there. They've got lots of shootings, gangs, race riots, drugs, poor public schools, and the highest crime rate in the nation."

Jim replied, "I've lived in Laredo all my life. It's not as bad as the media says. Find a nice home, go to work, mind your own business, and enroll your kids in a nice private school. It's as safe a place as anywhere in the world."

The guy relaxed and stopped shaking and said, "Oh, thank you. I've been worried to death. But if you live there and say it's OK, I'll take your word for it. What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a tail gunner on a Budweiser truck."

How Much is Too Much Money for Any Person to be Paid?

Payton Manning
These are some comments on a story about Indianapolis Colt’s quarterback signing a $90 million contract for 5 years service.  Each paragraph represents an individual’s comments.  I have not edited the comments, only removed the name of the commenter.    I have put some of my comments to the comments in red.  Jump in and comment on your own.

This is why I don’t like American football anymore. Yes, it’s American to ‘go for the gold’, but it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth that salaries of players have no reality to a life-time salary for say, an upper middle class,, male executive over his working life. Even when you factor in ‘physical depreciation of the asset’ (Manning’s body being savaged during his career by defensive backs) it is an astronomical salary.
I agree, it is a high price to pay for a football player.  But I would not want to restrict the process that allowed him to negotiate it.

It may be that part of the problem with the USA economy is that over the past decade huge salaries have concentrated a large amount of dollars in the hands of high salaried people who cannot possibly spend that money as quick as they get it … hence money is taken out of circulation (sitting on the sidelines and not doing what money is meant to do, ie, circulate). And if the money is spent, it is spent on high end items that just keeps the money in a rarefied space, ie, not returning the working / middle classes that actually provide the bulk of the salaries.
Money out of circulation?  Of course the money is not out of circulation.  Money never rests unless you bury it in your back yard.  This is a socialist view of America.

Manning is a good fellow from what I have read — perhaps he will understand that the money is paid not just for football performance but also with the understanding that he will put it too good use (which means spend some of it on fans, kids, health care for others).
The key here, is that it is “his” money to do with as he pleases.  Thank God for America.

Now tell me, when the game is over what product has this person put on the shelf that you can take home to Feed, Cloth, Shelter or Protect your Family? We have farmers, Ranchers, Craftsmen, Doctors, Scientists, etc. that feed , cloth, heal and built this country and won’t 1/10 in a lifetime of what this player of a Schoolboy Game makes in a year. There is no person in the world that is worth this kind of money. Disgusting, and a waist of good resources. The truly sad part is that he will most likely be involved in something in the future that will either be illegal, immoral or destructive because this kind of money alway brings that on…and or kids will follow him because of his popularity,
Class envy at the extreme.  Note, that no matter how good a person Manning is, he will spend the money on something illegal, immoral, or destructive.   This is what the Democrats are trying to sell you on the issue wealth in America.  Only they (the Democrats and government) can spend money wisely.

Ok, So: Middle Class America do you not see why we are in such a mess culturally? when our priorities are so out of whack and we allow ourselves to idolize a guy who can throw a stupid football more than a scientist who could cure disease. Don’t get me wrong, I love all sports but I am against our society putting athletes, actors/actresses, rappers etc… on a pedestal as our we allow our social moral decay to destroy our culture from within. There needs to be a balance here, no one including Corporate CEO’s should make so much more money than all others around them. You cry out against the rich then you willing fork over money you don’t have to support criminals in the off season by buying their season tickets, sports memorabilia, sports clothing, albums, movies etc… I would rather support little league or my local school bands then these highly overpaid prima-donnas but hey that’s just me. I love capitalism, but if you’re going to bad mouth the rich you need to look in the mirror and ask where are your priorities? Doctor’s and Scientist’s who could help society on a far great scale or athlete’s and music stars who entertain the couch potato zombies???
This guy/gal is on both sides of the class warfare/morality issue.  I would just tell him that middle class America seems to support the NFL and it’s sponsors (Sponsors are where the real money comes from) very well.  Hence, big money for those that produce for the NFL, the players.

Peyton brings in much more than $90M in revenue for the Colts. It’s simple math. He deserves this because he’s worked very hard at being the best football QB out there. There’s obviously going to be people that are disgusted by it and the Colts will lose some revenue to that sentiment. However, people in general watch Peyton and watch the Colts – he deserves every cent of that contract. As for his salary relative to hard working upper-middle-class people – who cares? We work hard and get paid what the market demands of us. Peyton works hard (perhaps even harder?) and gets paid what the market demands of him. How much do you need to be happy? That’s relative. Obviously, money doesn’t equal happiness but that’s not for us to judge. Let the market take its course. If $90M is too much all of us will be disgusted and not watch him…
I agree with this one the most.

These salaries are beyond rediculus. It won’t be long until the average family won’t be able to afford to go to a game. Only the well off will be able to go to a game. The owners and the players don’t care about the fans. The only way to fix this is for fans to stop going to the games. Until than, it’s the sky’s the limit.
The NFL priced itself out of the “average family” range years ago.  But, at least for now, you can watch the game on TV for a minimal price.  However, watch out for the NFL network.  I truly believe they want all NFL games to be aired there.  That will be the beginning of their downfall.

I am so sick of these over the top salaries that come at OUR expense! You nor any other player is worth that level of income, which is why anything to do with sports costs so much, tickets, food, drinks, memorabilia, taxes to fund your stadiums! A normal working man could not afford to take his kids to sporting events.
See comment above.  But he is right in saying these salaries affect us “all.”   Everyone who purchases a product advertised is subsidizing these salaries just as much as any fan who goes to a game or supports the team.  You do not have to be a NFL to have financially supported them.  The cost of products advertised are where we all pay for Peyton

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Frac-a-steria....This time they want to end the practice of fraking

To the Frac-A-Sterics in Laredo:  Do you want to stop the process of fracking in the production of natural gas and oil wells?  My bet is yes you do. 
Now, I agree there should be regulation. And there are lots of regulations.  But because the state regulators who oversee fracking in all the states where it occurring have not deemed the practice unsafe the environmental groups are not happy.  Environmental groups want to have Uncle Sam send out the “real” inspectors from the EPA.  But the EPA has even said that the practice of fracking is safe.  But not to be deterred, the environmental groups are getting the politicians involved to have them stop fracking which means reduce natural gas production.
Anything to stop fracking, because this group hates the inevitable results.  The newfound natural gas will make windmills and solar power even less viable than it is now.  Cheap and easily accessible energy is the antithesis of the environmental coalition’s energy policy.   

Here is the opening of a letter sent to the President urging him to do just that.  This letter is appearing all over the Facebook pages of the Safe Fracking Coalition and other local environmentalist.

August 8, 2011
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of Americans who live in every US state and territory, we urge that you employ any
legal means to put a halt to hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), a highly controversial and
dangerous method of “natural” gas exploration, until and unless the environmental and health
impacts of this process are well understood and the public is adequately protected.

The letter was sent by:
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments * Center for Biological Diversity *
Center for Environmental Health * Center for Health, Environment & Justice * Center for Media and Democracy *Chesapeake Climate Action Network * Citizens Climate Lobby * Clean Water Network * DeSmogBlog  *Earth Day Network * Energy Action Coalition * Environment America * Environmental Health Fund *Food & Water Watch * Friends of the Earth * Global Community Monitor * Greenpeace USA *
Health Care Without Harm * Healthy Building Network * International Center for Technology             Assessment *Labor Network for Sustainability * Oil Change International * Psychologists for Social Responsibility *Public Citizen * Rainforest Action Network * Science & Environmental Health Network * *All One Water * Casa Pueblo de Puerto Rico * Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities *Citizens Against Titan * Citizens Campaign for the Environment * Citizens' Environmental Coalition *
Citizens for Water * Clean and Healthy New York * Climate Action Alliance of the Valley *
Climate Protection Campaign * Communities United for Rights and Environment *
Concerned Citizens of Portage County * Concerned Citizens of Ulysses * Damascus Citizens for         Sustainability *Delaware Riverkeeper Network * Empire State Consumer Project * Farmworker Association of Florida *

Take a peak at some of these websites.  You will be amazed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rasmussen has Perry leading GOP candidates

It really is too early for polls, but this is the first one out since Perry joined the race and after the straw poll in Iowa.

GOP Primary: Perry 29%, Romney 18%, Bachmann 13%

Texas Governor Rick Perry, the new face in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, has jumped to a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann with the other announced candidates trailing even further behind.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary voters, taken Monday night, finds Perry with 29% support. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, earns 18% of the vote, while Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman who won the high-profile Ames Straw Poll in Iowa on Saturday, picks up 13%.

Full Story

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bye Bye Evergreen Solar

One of the administrations big “green jobs” creators is folding.  How can you go broke if your product is so good it gets the backing of the state and federal government?  Could it be that solar power cannot stand on its own and will be revealed as the waste of money that it really is?  We can produce energy much cheaper with gas/coal/nuclear than with solar.  Wind is next.

Evergreen Solar files for bankruptcy, plans asset sale
By Herald Staff
Monday, August 15, 2011

Evergreen Solar Inc., the Marlboro clean-energy company that received millions in state subsidies to build an ill-fated Bay State factory, has filed for bankruptcy.

Evergreen, which closed its taxpayer-supported Devens factory in March and cut 800 jobs, has been trying to rework its debt for months. The company announced today it is seeking a reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware and also reached a deal with certain note holders to restructure its debt and sell off certain assets.

The company also said it will lay off another 65 jobs in the United States and Europe, mostly through the shutdown of its Midland, Mich., manufacturing facility. That would leave Evergreen with about 68 workers according to a headcount listed in the bankruptcy filing.

'Magical Misery Bus Tour' - How Mitt Romney Describes the Obama Bus Tour

Ah, you gotta love an early campaign season. I do hope they take a break (lice congress) over the holidays though.   I am pretty excited now that there are three strong republican candidates in the race.  Let the party begin.

Mitt Romney Dubs Obama's Trip the 'Magical Misery Bus Tour'
August 15, 2011 9:45 AM

‘ABC News’ Emily Friedman reports:

A new web video and harsh criticism emerged from the Mitt Romney camp today as President Barack Obama launched his three-day bus tour that will make stops in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

Dubbing the president’s trip the “Magical Misery bus tour,” Romney said in a statement that “it is unlikely President Obama will speak with unemployed Americans, to near-bankrupt business owners, or to families struggling to survive in this economy.”

“He is more interested in campaigning in swing states than working to solve the economic crisis that is crushing the middle class,” said Romney. “Turning this economy around will require real leadership and the experience of someone who has actually worked in the private sector.”

Good Ordinance, or Protectionist Ordinance?

Can I still hire my cousins if they are not "registered"?
I am not sure that I am all in favor of this proposed city ordinance to “register” contractors.  This might be one of those “watch what you wish for” ordinances.  These types of ordinances have a way of becoming protectionist.
I think, without having seen the proposed ordinance (I don’t think there is one yet), I would be concerned how this will impact the cost of construction in Laredo.  No, I am not talking about the big jobs, but the everyday small work you might want done around your house.
What about out of town contractors?  Will they have to register.  How much will this add to the price?  And how will Laredo be affected on biding from out of town contractors?  Will they no longer bid, hence raising our prices here in Laredo? 
Will the ordinance prevent me from hiring my friend, who is a skilled carpenter, but not registered with the city, to build, say a carport?  I am sure the restrictions on contractors will be linked to building permits, and that is my point.  Will I have to pay a higher price, just because I now have to hire a “registered” contractor?  Or, if I was writing the ordinance, will I, the consumer, have a choice?  Knowing the industry, and city council, choice is probably the last thing we will get.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Attempted Bombing of Gas Pipeline in Oklahoma

A 40 year old man has confessed to planting a bomb on a natural gas pipeline in Oklahoma yesterday.  The FBI is handling the investigaion.  The bomb was discovered by pipeline workers and was removed before it detonated. 

It will be interesting to find out why this 40 year old planted the bomb.  Right now, from what I have read the man suffers some severe mental issues. 

Of course, if I wanted to mimic left wing reporters, I could make the leap that this was the actions of a left wing, environmental terrorist, who is out to stop the flow of natural gas.  And I would blame this action on the Frac-a-sterics in this country who are falsely accusing gas companies of trying to poison the drinking water of Americans.

Unlike the response by the liberal press to the Arizona shooting of US Representative Giffords and others, I prefer to wait for the rest of the story.

Check out the story as it stands now.

Perry and Has My Vote

Governor Rick Perry enters presidential race
It’s about time as far as I am concerned.  Rick Perry has entered the race for president.  And so far, I like what I see.
I see a man who is not afraid to speak about how great America is.  His speech yesterday hit on a lot of the issues that we have facing America.

I have said it many times that no government can control the economy.  If you think they can, then why would any government want and have a bad economy? 

Saying that, any government can do things that make an economy worse.  The current president has done just that.  By adding more debt, by creating all sorts of new regulations for American business, and by proposing job killing, economic growth killing legislation, he has assured the United States will continue with high unemployment, and companies fleeing the country.

Rick Perry understands that a stifling regulatory environment is like a predator that if not reduced in volume will eradicate those that want to invest in growth.  If you don’t believe this, look at how many companies in the United States have left to produce goods in other countries.  Say what you want about cheap labor, but regulatory burden is a huge factor in placing manufacturing plants.  And with the plans of the current president and Democratic Party, they want to increase this burden by creating laws that unnecessary and useless. 
For example:
·         Cap and Trade - Job killer extraordinaire designed to regulate carbon dioxide.  You know that life sustaining trace gas, that without we all would die.  It is now listed by the EPA as a pollutant.  Go figure.
·         Card Check -  Instant unions…great idea for job growth, yeah sure.
·         New Clean Air Act rules -  Supposed to reduce air pollution another 5 parts per billion.  Will cost billions for cities
·         Drilling Restrictions -  Yep, help keep the price of oil high, that really helps Americans.  Oh, but it does help GM, right.
·         More Federal (Targeted) Spending -  Give stimulus money to GM and UAW.  How’s that working?  Money to “green” jobs.  Where are they?  Shovel ready projects? 
·         Propose to raise taxes on “rich” -  What does that get us?  Nothing except that liberals can now claim the evil rich are paying more than the 95% of taxes collected from them now.  Boy, that will save the country.
·         “Green” energy -  Just what we need, higher prices for wind and solar energy that will drive up energy cost.  And the left wants to stop fracking, which is really an attempt to stop natural gas production, to keep wind and solar in place.  How’s that help job creation?
·         Health care bill -  According to the democratic sales job, everyone was going to love it.  Why over 1,000 waivers to businesses that the bill will crush?  And how about the provision for 2013 that will make those that have insurance through their company pay payroll taxes on their insurance?  And the bills main proposition (everyone must have HC insurance) will probably be ruled unconstitutional.  Oh, and by the way, it was voted on, late at night, and no congressmen/women were allowed to read the bill before voting.  Compromise I guess you would call it.
This list is longer, but you get the idea. 

Take anyone of these and tell me if they are “really” needed.  Which of these regulations, if not passed, would cause the country irreparable harm?  None of them in my opinion.  Because of that, why pass them and cause harm to our business community?   You know, the ones who create the jobs

Rick Perry understands this, and for that, he has my vote.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Good Technology or Big Brother

Take a look at this new technology.  When you read the story, look at the comments.  Some are scared of government uses (always a concern), but I see some real good possibilities here.  Your thoughts after you read.

Electronic skin tattoo has medical, gaming, spy uses
Aug 11 03:43 PM US/Eastern

A hair-thin electronic patch that adheres to the skin like a temporary tattoo could transform medical sensing, computer gaming and even spy operations, according to a US study published Thursday.
The micro-electronics technology, called an epidermal electronic system (EES), was developed by an international team of researchers from the United States, China and Singapore, and is described in the journal Science.

Electronic skin tattoo has medical, gaming, spy uses

"It's a technology that blurs the distinction between electronics and biology," said co-author John Rogers, a professor in materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"Our goal was to develop an electronic technology that could integrate with the skin in a way that is mechanically and physiologically invisible to the user."

The patch could be used instead of bulky electrodes to monitor brain, heart and muscle tissue activity and when placed on the throat it allowed users to operate a voice-activated video game with better than 90 percent accuracy.

"This type of device might provide utility for those who suffer from certain diseases of the larynx," said Rogers. "It could also form the basis of a sub-vocal communication capability, suitable for covert or other uses."