Saturday, June 30, 2007

Good News for Drivers

Several processing units at a number of American oil refineries are coming back online to near-full productivity after mulitple incidents at various plants caused serious reductions in output and decreased the stockpiles of gasoline...which has contributed to the high gas prices we currently face. With Independence Day just around the corner and the summer driving season kicking into full swing, this is coming at the best possible time for motorists.

Among those being restarted by the July 4th holiday...a 240,000 barrel-per-day crude processing unit at the Exxon Mobil plant in Beaumont, Texas and a 75,000 barrel-per-day unit at BP's plant in Whiting, Indiana. A second unit at the Whiting plant is still under repairs due to a fire that occurred there in April.

Expect gas prices to decrease.

Kurt Loder of MTV Criticizes Michael Moore

The normally left-leaning Loder sees Michael "Sicko" Moore for what he is...a fact-skewing, statement-doctoring Upton Sinclair wannabe.

Loder admits that bringing up the fact that some people have been failed by the health care system is a good thing, but then decries Moore's statements, tactics, and attempts to slam various companies.

"Unfortunately, Moore is also a con man of a very brazen sort, and never more so than in this film. His cherry-picked facts, manipulative interviews (with lingering close-ups of distraught people breaking down in tears) and blithe assertions (how does he know 18 million people will die this year because they have no health insurance?) are so stacked that you can feel his whole argument sliding sideways as the picture unspools. The American health-care system is in urgent need of reform, no question. Some 47 million people are uninsured (although many are only temporarily so, being either in-between jobs or young enough not to feel a pressing need to buy health insurance). There are a number of proposals as to what might be done to correct this situation. Moore has no use for any of them, save one.

As a proud socialist, the director appears to feel that there are few problems in life that can't be solved by government regulation (that would be the same government that's already given us the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Motor Vehicles). In the case of health care, though, Americans have never been keen on socialized medicine. In 1993, when one of Moore's heroes, Hillary Clinton (he actually blurts out the word 'sexy!' in describing her in the movie), tried to create a government-controlled health care system, her failed attempt to do so helped deliver the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives into Republican control for the next dozen years. Moore still looks upon Clinton's plan as a grand idea, one that Americans, being not very bright, unwisely rejected. (He may be having second thoughts about Hillary herself, though: In the movie he heavily emphasizes the fact that, among politicians, she accepts the second-largest amount of political money from the health care industry.) "

Loder then runs Moore's entire promotion of socialist health care through the meat grinder with references from various sources, and closes with the following...

"Fidel Castro's island dictatorship, now in its 40th year of being listed as a human-rights violator by Amnesty International, is here depicted as a balmy paradise not unlike the Iraq of Saddam Hussein that Moore showed us in his earlier film, 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' He and his charges make their way — their pre-arranged way, if it need be said — to a state-of-the-art hospital where they receive a picturesquely warm welcome. In a voiceover, Moore, shown beaming at his little band of visitors, says he told the Cuban doctors to 'give them the same care they'd give Cuban citizens.' Then he adds, dramatically: 'And they did.'

If Moore really believes this, he may be a greater fool than even his most feverish detractors claim him to be. Nevertheless, medical care is provided to the visiting Americans, and it is indeed excellent. Cuba is in fact the site of some world-class medical facilities (surprising in a country that, as Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar noted in the Los Angeles Times last month, 'imprisoned a doctor in the late 1990s for speaking out against government failure to respond to an epidemic of a mosquito-borne virus'). What Moore doesn't mention is the flourishing Cuban industry of 'health tourism' — a system in which foreigners (including self-admitted multimillionaire film directors and, of course, government bigwigs) who are willing to pay cash for anything from brain-surgery to dental work can purchase a level of treatment that's unavailable to the majority of Cubans with no hard currency at their disposal. The Cuban American National Foundation (admittedly a group with no love for the Castro regime) calls this 'medical apartheid.' And in a 2004 article in Canada's National Post, writer Isabel Vincent quoted a dissident Cuban neurosurgeon, Doctor Hilda Molina, as saying, 'Cubans should be treated the same as foreigners. Cubans have less rights in their own country than foreigners who visit here.'

As the Caribbean sun sank down on Moore's breathtakingly meretricious movie, I couldn't help recalling that when Fidel Castro became gravely ill last year, he didn't put himself in the hands of a Cuban surgeon. No. Instead, he had a specialist flown in — from Spain."

I love it when the truth is told.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Gimme A Break

Here come the "it's all over for the Republicans" chants from the Dems. The same chants being shouted in 1993, as well as in 1977, that predicted "the end of conservatism".

Unsurprisingly, Lowell and Kenton Ngo are leading the way. Lowell, as usual, speaks as if the Republican Party is destined to die soon, and there is no way for them to fix it, because conservatism (to them) is some sort of incredible evil. Kenton is at least a bit more analytical, and doesn't seem to believe that the Democratic Party is in such great shape, either.

Lowell, in quoting and hyping Ngo's blog post, opines...

"OK, so the Republican Party and conservatism have failed"

Really? An economy that has been growing steadily, low unemployment rates, interest rates have been steady for loans and mortgages...that's failure? I've noticed that since the Dems took control of Congress in January, worries about the economy have begun to form in various circles in the various sectors of the investment world. These are worries that were not nearly as prevalent before the new Dem majority (except amongst Dems attempting to win votes).

Nonetheless, that's not my point. I truly believe that Lowell has a serious misunderstanding of the basis of conservative ideology, and what it really opposed to the "moral majority" wing's ideology, which focuses on less important issues (gay marriage, abortion), as opposed to more important issues (national security, economy). Despite the depictions of Ronald Reagan as some Jerry Falwell puppet by the left...Reagan did not really push anti-gay marriage or anti-abortion initiatives. Reagan, like many true conservatives, believed that those were issues for the states to decide upon.

Conservatives need to realize that, because for the federal government to come in and do what the states themselves should be doing individually...that's the opposite of what conservatism is supposed to accomplish.

Where the Republicans went wrong was not because of was because they (Bush and the GOP-controlled Congress) went into unprecedented power, and acted like Democrats in their habits. The Falwell/Robertson wing is losing it's grip on the party itself. The fracture you're seeing in the Republican Party is a shift in ideological direction. Once that shift is complete, you'll see a renewed interest in the party and in the great things conservatism has to offer.

To be honest, I believe these comments are both wishful thinking and spiteful hatred. As much as I strongly disagree with most liberal positions, I would never sit and opine gleefully about the "death" of the Democratic Party. Even if the party were on the brink of extinction, I still believe that there needs to be that balance...just a balance that leans to the conservative side of the scales, of course.

What Dems need to realize is that one disasterous election isn't the end of days for a political party. They should know this, they were in the same position after 1994.

Creigh Deeds Interview

Courtesy of Ditzy's a good laugh, kudos to Deeds for having a sense of humor. Check it out if you haven't already.

See, I don't always bash Democrats :)

Some Things Cannot be Forced

Though some people (especially many liberals) believe differently.

Example 1: The Immigration Bill, and the attempts to railroad it through by Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and George W. Bush. The American public thought it was flawed. Over half of the Senate thought it was flawed, and a growing number of those in the House thought it was flawed.

It failed, it's done and over with, and maybe now we can get to creating a more sensible, secure series of reforms on immigration.

Example 2: You can't force integration when it's not sensible. The Supreme Court's ruling on the "racial integration" plans in Louisville and Seattle was the right ruling. It's a waste of money to bus kids all over the place just to simply meet certain "race quotas". It is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and is not a sensible plan.

How about this...why not bus kids to the school closest to their residential area. The exceptions being due to students who are expelled from one school and are forced to go to another, private/religious schools (who should have their own bus system if possible), and students attending magnet/TAG schools...which are few and far between compared to regular schools.

Attorney Teddy Gordon, who argued against the Louisville school district's policy, said it best...

"Clearly, we need better race-neutral alternatives. Instead of spending zillions of dollars around the country to place a black child next to a white child, let's reduce class size. All the schools are equal. We will no longer accept that an African-American majority within a school is unacceptable."

Exactly, in this day and age...we need to start finding race-neutral policies, and put everyone on equal ground. That is the goal of racial equality, isn't it?

What In The Hell...?

I missed last night's Dem Debate, but I understand that Joe Biden was talking about getting an AIDS test, and mentioned that he knew Barack Obama had once gotten one, too. Apparently, this visibly irritated Obama.

My question is: Why? Why is Joe Biden getting tested for HIV/AIDS? Obama stated he got one with his wife (ok, I can somewhat understand that). However, how come nobody said "why did you, Sen. Biden, feel the need to get tested for AIDS?" The only reason I can think of is that it would invoke a question of character, and we all know how that tends to go for Democrats (especially with all of the "question-askers" being liberal journalists).

Also, John Edwards is OFFICIALLY a nutcase. He believes we should start kids in school much earlier than kindergarten. Is he CRAZY? I personally believe that 13 years + college is MORE than enough "education" for anyone.

In last night's debate, Edwards stated that he wants to increase the number of years kids are in our public school systems, invoke universal (government-paid) healthcare, and give wage increases to public school teachers (which is just the tip of the iceberg as far as his spending agenda goes). Hmm, I wonder where he plans to get the funds to pay for all of that...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Virginia Viewpoints" Cancelled

Yes, you heard it right. "Virginia Viewpoints" is being cancelled as part of a schedule cutback. It seems that WVPT will be focusing on national programming instead of more locally-focused programs.

I will always remember my experience on the show (and relive it on DVD often). I appreciate the fact that Chris Graham attempted to bring average Virginians together to discuss issues that were important to people in the Valley. His work is to be commended.

So go check out The New Dominion, Graham's publication and where my weekly column can be read, as well.

5 of the 8 Swing-Voters in the "No" Column?

Apparently, since last night, Senators Richard Burr, Jim Webb, Kit Bond, Ben Nelson, and John Ensign have all either made passing and/or official statements that they will vote no to the final cloture vote on this immigration bill. Add in the switch by Pete Domenici, and this already puts cloture down to 58 votes, 2 below the 60 necessary to continue with the bill. With a few others that are looking to drop support, this thing may finally die.

In other Immigration Bill news...

- It also appears that the "clay pigeon" amendment is full of pork-barrel spending, which is being used to buy votes for cloture.

- House GOP passes an anti-Amnesty resolution, 114-23. Even if it passes the Senate, it will probably die in the House.

- Colorado Representative, and presidential hopeful, Tom Tancredo sends Michael "Idiot" Chertoff a head of lettuce and a small fruit basket in response to Chertoff's comment that "We’re living in a world in which lettuce and fruit is not being picked because we are enforcing the law." So what I gather is that Chertoff believes immigrants are good for nothing other than providing him with 1 of the 4 basic food groups. I believe immigrants can, and do, achieve more than that.

- Michelle Malkin reports that the opponents of amnesty are being forced to rush through their speeches against the bill, as they have been alloted a total of 10 minutes...those in favor of amnesty get 50 minutes. So much for Harry "Weasel" Reid allowing fair debate. Jeff Sessions states that the Senate telephone system has shut down and crashed due to "overwhelming public feedback"...aka angry American citizens.

The public is overwhelmingly this bill. What is so hard to understand about that?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Watching Some GOP Senators Lynch Themselves...

Namely...Trent Lott, John Warner, Sam Brownback, Lindsey Graham, and John Kyl.

Michelle Malkin reports that the NRSC (National Republican Senatorial Committee) is feeling serious heat because donors are dropping their support for GOP senators who are voting for cloture and amnesty.

I hope (I mean seriously hope) that many of these senators voted for cloture only to vote against this bill and kill it once and for all. That would make my day. This is getting to be very tiring. For members of the GOP to push this over and over, and wear out the support of their base, is very irresponsible...especially considering that the House GOP is a bit more united in their denounciation of this bill, and the American public (Dems and Pubs alike) don't have faith in this bill.

Kill The Bill!

Farewell to "The Crippler"

This post isn't about politics.

Those who know me know my love for professional wrestling. I've stepped into the ring a few times, I know the moves, the bumps, the basic tricks of the trade. I studied the in-ring greats. Watched matches over and over again. I get a certain amount of entertainment from pro wrestling than you can't get anywhere else. Personally, I believe it's the suspension of disbelief that allows me to depart from reality for a few hours while watching these athletes put on a performance that, despite the scripted endings and the "saw it coming" moments, still manages to keep me watching.

However, sometimes you attempt to depart from reality, and reality seeks you out anyway. That's what happened to me last night.

I turned on "Monday Night RAW", as usual, and I find out that the scheduled show was cancelled. Former World Heavyweight Champion Chris Benoit had been found dead on Monday.

Benoit, whether "babyface" or "heel" in character, was always a spectacle to watch. He didn't do the death-defying stunts. He wasn't the 7-foot powerhouse. He was a hard-nosed, technically-sound, blue collar wrestler. He did all of the little things, and the big things, to pull you into a match and never leave your seat. He made some of the worst performers in wrestling look like gold. He had the nickname of "The Crippler", due to his vast knowledge of painful submission manuvers and the intensity behind the execution of his various moves.

More than that, Benoit was a man who commanded respect through his work ethic, humble demeanor, and dedication to this job. Well-liked by almost all in the wrestling business, as well as the fans in arenas all over the world.

Benoit was found dead yesterday, along with his son Daniel (age 7) and his wife Nancy. The cause of death is apparently known, but has not been released. It is believed that, due to the strange and curious nature of several of Benoit's last text messages, that this may have been a double murder-suicide. Should this be proven true, I'm even more saddened to hear that something had been haunting Benoit to such a point.

R.I.P. Chris Benoit, the fans will never forget you.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Virginia Dems Might Want to Hold the Phone

And Creigh Deeds knows it. In yesterday's Times-Dispatch, Deeds stated, "A 20-20 Senate is a 21-20 Republican Senate".

This is true, as Lt. Governor Bill Bolling would become the tiebreaker. Bolling, as many of you know, is also a Republican. However, the article goes on to further state that this has farther-reaching implications than just the balance of power in the State Senate. The article goes on to talk about what this means for the conservative wing of the GOP in Virginia.

"Bolling has said he believes that the lieutenant governor, the constitutionally designated tie-breaker, can even vote on organizational issues -- and he is prepared to do so. But Bolling is more than a single vote. He is an insurance policy for fellow conservatives, who could finally dominate the Senate GOP caucus and, with Bolling's "aye" or "nay," the entire Senate.

This would be a remarkable turn for Bolling, whom centrist Republicans marginalized in 2006 by limiting his say on procedure and denying him a secretary, and this year, a Capitol office. His stature for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2009 could grow, possibly at the expense in 2008 of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine."

Should Bolling's popularity and stature within the party (and the state) grow from this possible situation, it would definitely increase the visibility of the conservative wing of the GOP, and would not bode well for centrist Republicans in pushing their own agendas in close votes.