Saturday, December 09, 2006

Jeane Kirkpatrick

As indicated in a Featured Article inOpinionJournal Jeane Kirkpatrick, who died yesterday at 80, was that rare thing--a public intellectual and a public figure. She excelled at both.

She died at a particularly inopportune time. If Bolton can't be confirmed as UN Ambassador, then Jeane Kirkpatrick is the only other person I think that could have done the job that needs to be done to straighten out the UN
Ms. Kirkpatrick is known to the public at large because Ronald Reagan, after defeating Jimmy Carter for the Presidency in 1980, appointed her U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. It is worth mentioning in this context that earlier this week Senate Democrats succeeded finally in driving John Bolton from the U.N. ambassadorship. The mind's eye recalls the televised image in the early 1980s of Ambassador Kirkpatrick, a Democrat then, seated at the U.N. Security Council table and publicly defending U.S. interests against the Soviet Union with an articulate, no-nonsense bluntness that makes Mr. Bolton sound like Little Bo-Peep by comparison. That style--American interests made perfectly clear--will be missed.


Democrats frustrated by Bush's reaction to Iraq report

McClatchy Washington Bureau reported Top Democrats in Congress left a White House meeting with President Bush on Friday frustrated over what they perceived as his reluctance to embrace major recommendations from the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

Gee, maybe the fact that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Supreme National Security Council headed by Ali Larijani, as well as other senior Iranian officials like the idea might have something to do with why Bush does not totally embrace the report. He may even agree with the NY Post that Baker and Hamilton are 'Surrender Monkeys'
Democrats stressed to Bush in separate meetings the dire need for the administration to revamp its Iraq policy, but they don't expect him to embrace all 79 recommendations made this week by the panel, which was chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind.
That is good, we don't want then to be too disappointed.
Bush said he talked about "the need for a new way forward in Iraq" in his morning session with leaders from both parties and chambers of Congress, "and we talked about the need to work together on this important subject." But some Democrats came away unconvinced that major changes were coming.
I suspect that major changes are coming, but hopefully they will not mean abandoning Iraq to become another terrorist training ground like Afganistan was. I would much rather see our military confront the Islamoterrists in Baghdad and Basrah rather than Boston, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Bismarck, Boise, Buffalo, Broken Arrow, or Beaumont; in Mosul rather than Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Mobile, Memphis, Muskogee, or Mesquite; in Karkuk and Karbala rather than Kansas City, Knoxville, Ketchum, or Kilgore; in Tall Afar and Tikrit rather than Tulsa, Tallahassee, Tampa Bay, Terre Haute, Toledo, Topeka, Tucson, Tahlequah, Texas City, or Texarkana. What? You don't believe they would come here? Did you think that 19 al Qaeda could come from training camps in Afganistan and use airplanes to take down the Twin Towers in 9/11/2001? Want to see what a lot more Islamoterrorists can do, dispatched from a country much more accessable to transportation anywhere in the world than Afganistan.


Home from the Hospital

Well I am home from the hospital (12/5 - 12/8) and it sure was nice to be able to sleep in my own liftchair again. It may take me some time to wade through the 305 messages in my inbox, the 100 messages in my apcug folder, the 16 in my blog folder, 16 in HelpingTulsa folder, and 9 others in other folders but I will get back to you as soon as possible. If anything is urgent send it priority.

I want to thank my Guest Blogger Greta Perry from Hooah Wife for filling in for me so my blog did not "go dark", and I welcome the commenters from her blog who visited too, and hope they will continue visiting my blog as well as Greta's. I also want to tell Deb at EIMC, who is contemplating similar surgery in January, that it is nothing to worry about.

I was able to get internet connectivity in the hospital, at least for a while (they put the power brick for my laptop on a bar on the bed, and it got smashed when the bed was lowered, so I was working on battery most of the time.

Fortunately I got two when I got the laptop. I tried to respond to some messages, but webmail to cox kept timing out and I dont know whether any of them made it out.

For others thinking about accessing wifi at St Johns, it is very simple. When you try to go to any page, you will get this screen:

Click on the box Click here for Internet Access and you will be connected. The really amazing thing is the text at the bottom of that screen: This service is provided free of charge (when did you ever get anything free in a hospital; I was afraid they would charge a lot, and that Medicare would not cover it but I took a chance because I wanted internet access) by St. John Health System as a courtesy to our patients and guests. St. John reserves the right to deny access to any sites for any reason. (I did not try to access any porno sites or anything else that might have been objectionable). St. John is not responsible for any damage to the patient's or guest's computer (I never gave any thought to trying to hold them responsible for the damage to my power brick, even though it was one of their people that put it on the bar under the bed, probably trying to keep it off the floor) and/or its data and St. John reserves the right to terminate access at any time if it determines access is a security risk. (Please don't try to hack into the patient file area; I want them to keep this service available to patients. It makes the long days go much faster if a Net-a-holic like me can get his daily online fix. I just need to figure out a more reliable approach for the WebMail thing. I've got a Gmail account I never use; I probably should have activated it.) St. John Health System is not responsible for helping to configure user's internet browsers. (Reasonable, and I found I did not need any help. I was afraid I might have to ask for a code of some sort, but my laptop automatically found GuestNet which is what it is called. It is supposedly about 50 or 60mb fast, but that is shared by all of the patients in the hospital, and I presume that is why my attempts to access Cox WebMail often timed out. I tried to send several messages, with copies to me, and it turns out only one went out.)

That's about it for the computer oriented portion of this post, so if the medical stuff is not your cup of tea, you can switch to the next message. If you want to read other messages on my blog, feel free. Most are political, from a conservative point of view.

The reason I went in to the hospital was to get kidney stones removed. It turns out my left kidney had hydronephrosis, 7mm proximal left ureteric lithiasis, early left staghorn calculus and multiple additional left renal calculi, probable left renal cyst, and I had Staghorn calculus in the right kidney extending into proximal ureter with right renal atrophy.

What all of that says in laymans term is that I had large stones in both kidneys, one huge one in the right, and some smaller ones in the left. They did a kidney scan and found both kidneys were working, with the left working better than the right, so they decided to start with the left kidney, get it completely working, then tackle the right in 4 to 6 weeks. They did not want to work on both at the same time, because if they had screwed anything up, it would have left me on Kidney Dialysis for the rest of my life.

Initially they were going to go with Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) on the left kidney, where you lie on a table or sit in something like a bathtub and pulses of sonic waves pulverize the stones, which are then more easily passed through the ureter and out of the body in the urine, and save the Percutaneous nephrolithotomy for the larger stone in the right kidney, but then they decided both needed the "Perc" and that the "Lith" would not do the job on the left.

In Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy the surgeon makes a small incision in your back to remove kidney stones. He or she then puts a hollow tube into your kidney and a probe through the tube. In nephrolithotomy, the surgeon removes the stone through the tube. In nephrolithotripsy, he or she breaks the stone up and then removes the fragments of the stone through the tube. He said he was doing a Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy but there may have been some nephrolithotomy involved.

The first step, done on 12/5/06 involved a radiologist using fluoroscopy to cut a hole in my back and threaded a very long guide wire down into the kidney and through each stone and passed down to the ureter. This was done with a local anesthetic; I was awake the whole time.

Then on 12/6/06 took place in the operating room with the me under a general anesthesia and was done by my urologist. A scope is inserted through the patient’s side into the kidney and the kidney stone is treated. It may be grasped with a basket and removed or it may be fragmented through the scope with ultrasound, laser, or electrohydraulic lithotripsy. Fragments are then grasped and removed through the scope. A catheter is left through the side into the kidney until it is certain the kidney is draining well and this perc-tube can be safely removed.

My urologist had my nurse remove the guide wire (it seemed about 5 ft long) and cap the catheter early on 12/8/06 and then he came in later that day, and saw it was draining ok, and he removed the catheter, and said I could go home. This left me with a wound that is about 1cm long and 3mm wide.

I told him that when I was under the anesthesia an injury to my left arm that had occurred in September, when the stones were first discovered, and a stent was inserted to drain the infection, had occurred again. I could not lift my left arm all night the night of 12/7 - 12/8. I just wanted him to do an xray to see if there was anything for me to ask my PCP (Primary Care Physician) about, but because the injury happened in the hospital he must have gotten worried that I might sue him, so he had the xray read by an orthopodic surgeon in the hospital, and he wanted to see an MRI.

The MRI machine was very backed up, and I waited for several hours and got more and more worried about getting an MRI of my shoulders using the closed MRI they use at St Johns, because I had an earlier MRI at Premier MRI, and I actually got stuck in it, and it ripped several layers of skin off my arm when they pulled me out.

The next time I needed an MRI I used the Open MRI at Nydic Open MRI of America, and I told him I would really prefer to followup on an outpatient basis with an Open MRI, and then see him at his office. I finally was able to persuade them to discharge me to follow up later.

Since I was to be a new patient at Tulsa Bone & Joint they would not order the Open MRI, and the MRI office would not do it without a doctor's prescription, so I had to get my PCP to fax over a script for the MRI. I will get it done, then take the film to the Orthopod to let him evaluate it. At least I did not have to stay in the hospital another day, and risk getting stuck in their MRI machine.

One other problem. I suffer from Orthopnea which is the inability to breathe easily unless one is sitting up straight or standing erect, and therefore I told my urologist that when I left the OR and went to recovery I needed to have the head of the gurney raised to at least 45 degrees, and preferably 60 degrees, when I was placed in the recovery area. He said "no problem, but remind me the day of the surgery." I did so, and he said "no problem, but tell the anaesthesist and everyone else in the room." I told the anaesthesist nurse, and everyone else that was in the room before I went to sleep. I can't guarantee the anaesthesist was there, but everyone I talked to said no problem, we will take care of it. After the operation I was moved to the recovery area, lying flat, and having a heck of a time breathing. When I became Oriented Times Three when they ask your name, where you are, and what time it is (person, place, time and date), or if they make it Oriented Times Four, and add what's just happened, but I was still in that twilight state (anesthetic amnesia) where it seems like a sort of a dream, I was lying flat on the gurney, or at least not as elevated as they promised me. I insisted on having my head elevated, or being allowed to sit up. They refused. I became very uncooperative. They told me they were going to do several very reasonable things and I refused. All I wanted was to sit up. They had given me their word that they would do something, and they were not doing it, and I was not going to agree to anything else until they did what they said they would do.

I had told the Urologist that I thought the cause of my breathing difficulties might be some of the excessive interstitial fluid I carry moving into my thorasic area and making it hard for the lungs to expand. The reason I thought that was that I felt the same way that I did several years ago when this first started, when I was so fluid overloaded that when they gave me Lasix I dropped 15 pounds the first day, and 9 pounds the second day (unfortunately my doctor at that time was an intern that did not know how to evaluate pitting edema, and he just said I was fat (actually I was morbidly obese, but I also had level +2 or +3 pitting edema), and he took me off my lasix. I was back in the hospital a month later with the same problem, but fortunately this time I got an intern that had not slept through the class on edema. It is certainly nice to have a real doctor as a PCP (technically I guess the interns did have long white coats, but it is stretching things to say they were real doctors). That experience taught me that I needed to take ownership of my own health care, however, and I started then getting copies of my chart when I left the hospital, and doing all of the research I could on the internet, so that I would know what was happening to me.

Anyway, back to 2006. My Urologist did an xray or catscan and said there was no fluid in the thorasic cavity. OK, I was wrong about what what happening, but I still was having trouble breathing, and I knew that if they let me sit up, or at least elevated the head of the gurney 45 to 60 degrees I could breathe, and they would not do it. If they had not promised to do it, I would not have undergone the surgery in the first place.

I tested myself with a Voldyne 5000 Incentive Spirometers, and lying flat the best I can draw in is 800 to 1000ml. If I am sitting up straight I can make 2000ml, and if I am in the position I asked to be placed in, I can draw in 2250 to 2500ml. 800ml may be enough tidal volume to avoid Asphyxia, but if you are used to breathing one way, and you can only get 1/3 to 1/2 that much air, you feel like you are suffocating, and even more importantly they had promised me that they would elevate my head when I was in recovery, and I felt they should have done as they promised.

They went ahead and brought me up to my room, and later the Urologist came up to explain each of the things they wanted to do, and seemed surprised that I agreed to all of them (I had rejected all of them in recovery). Guess what, Doc. I was sitting up in my wheelchair, and I could breath just fine, and so I was much more cooperative. Does this give you a clue as to how to have me more cooperative if I should ever undergo surgery on the right kidney?

What is the cause of my orthopnea? Well I am not a doctor; I don't even play one on TV. But I do read on my chart (I get a copy of it everytime I am hospitalized and go over it page by page, looking up things I don't know, and I do see that in a chest xray I have an indication of atelectasis (the collapse of part or all of a lung by blockage of the air passages), so that is probably a pretty good place to start looking.

I related all of this to my PCP, and while she did not want to select treatment based on the tidal volume study I had done, and while she is skeptical that it could be caused by atelectasis, she asked if I had ever had a pulmanory evaluation, and I said I had not, and she said we need to get you one. I told her that if possible I would like to do it before getting the right kidney treated. She said there were not that many pulmanory docs in Tulsa, so it might be hard to get an appointment soon, so I told her that I would consent to the right kidney surgery if I had written orders from both her and from the Urologist to have me elevated 45 to 60 degrees when I was in recovery, and that I wanted to personally observe those orders being given to the recovery team before I consent to receive any additional anesthesia. She seemed to agree that was a reasonable request.

Now if the wound in my back would just stop leaking. I have been out of the hospital for a little over 24 hours, and I have already had to change my T-shirt three times, because they were soaked with urine that is still seaping out from the wound in my back, but at least I am at home. And being home is good.


Katrina fraud? Say it ain't so.

Hurricane Katrina has come & gone. This should be enough time for NOLA to get its' act together. Were your tax-dollars put to good use? Not at all according to Neal Boortz's letter here.

More Katrina Spending
It's been over a year since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast...displacing thousands from their homes and costing the American taxpayer billions of dollars. Since that time, the government has overreacted to initial complaints about a slow response by throwing huge sums of money at the problem. Katrina refugees have made out like bandits since August of last year. In some neighborhoods, Hurricane Katrina was the best thing that ever happened to the residents. That sure is an insensitive thing to say, isn't it? Too bad.

So for months we've had reports about just how this money is being spent. Millions of dollars spent on trailers by FEMA for temporary housing...wasted. Those poor Katrina evacuees saw fit to destroy the very trailers they were living in. As for the federal assistance....we've all heard the stories about the debit cards. Your tax money has been spent on everything from strippers to jewelry to you name it. So with the passing of one year since the hurricane, the throwing of taxpayer money down the proverbial Katrina rathole has slowed. Or has it?

Not if one judge has something to say about it. U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon cranked out a 19-page ruling saying that the process whereby Katrina evacuees were cut off from free rent this past February was unfair. He said that those who were displaced by Katrina were being denied their Constitutional rights. Excuse me? Would somebody please tell me where in the U.S. Constitution it says anything about free rent for hurricane victims? Doesn't seem to appear in my copy.

So now we'll spend more money on Katrina refugees. It sure has helped up to this point, hasn't it? Oh, and in case you were wondering...and I know you were...Leon was appointed by George W. Bush. So much for conservative judges.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Temporary New Orleans - Part 2

IF you read the previous post, you understand that I am moving my whole family with 3 elementary school-aged children to NOLA. Mandeville, LA to be exact. We are tired of moving around & are considering this to be our permanent place of residence. We are excited to be "Post-Katrina Pioneers." Here is where the temporary stuff comes in :

  • many people working there are being put up by businesses at accommodations with very high rates

  • those people are there to make some money & head back HOME -out of LA!!!
  • INSURANCE - car insurance, home-owners insurance, flood insurance
  • Renters insurance will cost me about $1,000 a year, homeowners will cost about $12,000 a year for a $400K house
  • class="commenthidden">Rent prices will be sky-high so the owner can cover their increased insurance premiums
  • The state run insurance pool is not a sure bet. I am quoted about $4,000 a year instead of $12,000 for the same purchase. That quote is good for ONE YEAR!!!! How much will it go up? Will it be pulled from under us?
  • Will a bank want to loan money to people buying a house in a flood zone?
  • Will toxic mold become an issue?
  • Who will insure owners of previous houses that were flooded, gutted & re-done?
  • Will commercial insurance pull out?
  • If commercial insurance pulls out - what business would be able to survive?
  • How can a middle class family with a decent salary afford to risk the instability of the insurance game in a new frontier for their family?
  • Why would anyone in their right mind consider gambling their finances & safety to go to an area with an uncertain future?
  • Will a mass exodus from NOLA happen soon (quicker if there is another big hurricane)?
  • Will people think of NOLA as a place to visit or earn money in a temp job and then head the heck out?


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Temporary New Orleans- Part 1

These days I try and only write about what I have first-hand knowledge of in the world. If you want to sum this post up, it would be about: a family looking for a permanent spot in a city that has taken a beating from storms, crime, a history of mis-managed funds, a party place, a University town, insurance problems, price gouging, FEMA trailers, people deciding if they should stay or leave and people coming in to be part of the re-birth and settling there with their families forever. It also has to do with many "temporary" people. People who refuse to move their families there, live there temporarily, make a bunch of money & go back to their family.

The past 3 months I have quickly gained knowledge about NOLA. My only experience with this city is driving across country with my hubby 15 years ago and stopping for a drink on Bourbon Street. My husband just finished up 21 years in the Army & took a really great job in NOLA working for a private company that has contracts with the government to get NOLA where it needs to be for its' own good.

Thank goodness for the internet or maybe in this case, it gave me too much information. This could be our landing stop, our forever home & jumping in to this feet first was a little scary. While hubby temporarily lives there, I do the "wifely" research try and tie things up in OK.

I won't bore you with all the details of the "money-pit" house I am trying to sell in OK to get down to "hahem" Chocolate City. Here are a few things that have surfaced during this transition.
Hesitant but excited were my initial reactions (he has been there 3 months now). We've been nomads our whole married life and our kids are up for any new adventure (6, 8 & 10 yo). How cool is this kids, will be "NOLA Post-Katrina Pioneers?"

  • My first PCS (permanent change of station) thoughts as a former public school teacher & huge supporter of public education, was to live in a flooded area, find a great home that had been gutted and re-done and try them out in the new "Charter school" system while I get my foot back into education and help re-build the school systems. If the schools didn't work out - I would put them in private school & teach at the school in exchange for tuition.
  • The more hubby lived there, the more he thought about the future safety of our family. He wants his family to be as safe as they can and seek shelter North of Lake Ponchatrain in the St. Tammany Parish.
  • From my keyboard - I find Slidell (economically diverse - just what I want) to be a desirable area . It has decent schools & so the house-hunting continues from OK . NE of the lake usually takes the brunt of the storms, but I can get a decent house for a pretty good price and hubby can have options on his commute to work. I get a home-owners quote for $6,000 a year for a house we seem to like. Must have been a mistake -right? Wrong!
  • Let's go for Mandeville he decides - a much nicer area - great schools & minor storm damage. The commute to the city would be a PITA, but worth it for safety & decent schools.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cool Christmas Websites

Thought I'd redirect y'all to a cool Christmas site. Now go on...give me your favorites!!!


Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I am blog-sitting this week. Seems like Don figured out how to get himself a nice December surgery & hospital stay. Foolish man (aren't they all), asked me to watch after his blog again. When will he ever learn that his blog-baby would be safer with my 6 year old? I certainly don't write like he does nor do I have the grasp of geo-politics he does. I guess I can be happy to say that I have the keys to a Pajama's Media Blog!

Evil thoughts are going through my tiny head about how to manipulate his readers. I will not blog about any 25 yo ho's without underwear (that just dropped him about 500 spots on PM - evil laugh inserted), I won't blog about the religion of peace, then what the heck should I do here besides waste your dang time?

I must now part with you to go raid the Hershey Kiss dish & kick back a few drinks. I have a BUNCO party tonight & plan to get into the holiday cheer (if you know what I mean). Remember - friends don't let friends blog drunk. Poor Don has no idea what he got himself into now! Falalalalala!

Shameless blog plug here!!!


Monday, December 04, 2006

Online and Hyper-Local NewsPapers

WaPo reported a great experiment [is] being conducted by their corporate parent, McLean-based newspaper giant Gannett, which is trying to remake the very definition of a newspaper. Losing readers and revenue to the Internet and other media, newspapers are struggling to stay relevant and even afloat. Gannett's answer is radical. The chain's papers are redirecting their newsrooms to focus on the Web first, paper second.

Good plan. Print newspapers are a dying breed.
Papers are slashing national and foreign coverage and beefing up "hyper-local," street-by-street news. They are creating reader-searchable databases on traffic flows and school class sizes. Web sites are fed with reader-generated content, such as pictures of their kids with Santa. In short, Gannett -- at its 90 papers, including USA Today -- is trying everything it can think of to create Web sites that will attract more readers.
What we really need now is for the reporters to join into an AP-like service making their news items available to fill several different online newspapers. Rather than liberals being upset if the local paper is too conservative for their taste, or, as we have in Tulsa with the Tulsa World Whirled, if conservatives are upset about the local paper being too liberal, we can have an Online Conservative Paper, an Online Liberal Paper, and an Online Centrist Paper.


Bolton quits as U.N. ambassador

MSNBC reported Unable to win Senate confirmation, U.N. Ambassador John Bolton will step down when his temporary appointment expires within weeks, the White House said Monday.

I am sure the Democrats are celebrating, thinking Bush cannot find anyone that will stand up to the UN. I am sure there must be someone that can do at least close to the good job Bolton did, and Bush should look long and hard to find him.
Sister Toldjah blogged I think he’s one of the greatest UN ambassadors we’ve ever had. He will be missed, not by the people who think we should play nice with evil, but by the people who believe evil should be called for what it is.

Suzie blogged This is totally unexceptable......Un-freakin believable!! Breaking Now!! Lord Help Us....

D.C. Thorton blogged It does not bode well for this country when talented men and women are disqualified from the kind of public service that might actually do this country and the world some good.

Lawhawk blogged The ambassador position is not meant to advance the UN position in the US, but vice versa. Bolton understood this, and this meant tackling the issues of rampant corruption in the Secretariat and pushing for action on Darfur and other human rights crises. It meant standing up for the rights of our allies, including Israel that came under constant attack from Islamic terrorist groups, and the UN General Assembly instead sought to limit Israel's response. Bolton tried to deal with Darfur, and ran into roadblocks in the form of China and Russia. The same thing happened on the issue of Iran's nuclear program, which continues to proceed at full speed.

Gateway Pundit blogged You will be sorely missed Ambassador Bolton!
Good job! Good luck, Darfur.

Pamela blogged What is surprising is how quickly Bush rolled over................... John Bolton was a loyal Bush stalwart. Clearly he was at odds with recent Bush policy decisions that were chock full of carrots but no sticks for savage bullies, but he never said a cross word. Never. Loyal. No wonder Bush is isolated. A very bad day for America. The Bush Doctrine RIP. We're screwed.

Suitablyflip blogged Tyranny of the Outgoing Minority... This is one of those rare filibusters in which obstructionists get to feel good not only about shirking their advise and consent duties, but also about weakening the country's diplomatic stance - not only by virtue of the inevitable perceived instability, but also because Bolton was unusually intolerant of UN malefaction and few candidates (even under a Republican majority) would be likely to measure up.

Stop The ACLU blogged One of the first, after Rumsfeld, casualities of the “new direction the Democrats are taking us in. This is a great loss for the U.S. I’m sure the appeasers and criminals at the U.N. are celebrating.


Tom Daschle

KeloLand reported Tom Daschle was expected to make a decision about running for president by the end of the year, and Saturday afternoon, he told KELOLAND News he has decided not to seek the United States' highest office in 2008. “I've made a decision that I will not seek the presidency of the United States,” Daschle said.

For the record, I also have made a decision that I will not seek the presidency of the United States.


Drilling in Bristol Bay

Yahoo! News reported President Bush is deciding whether to lift a ban on oil and gas drilling in federal waters off Alaska's Bristol Bay, home to endangered whales and sea lions and the world's largest sockeye salmon run. Leasing in a portion of the area rich in oil and natural gas ended nearly two decades ago — while Bush's father was president — in the outcry after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.

So when everyone is so concerned about importing foreign oil, thus providing the money that feeds the Islamofascists, Bush's father stopped drilling in a domestic area rich in oil and natural gas.
But with natural gas prices higher, the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service proposed reopening up the North Aleutian Basin. That includes Bristol Bay and part of southeastern Bering Sea. White House spokesman Scott Stanzel confirmed Saturday the president was considering taking that step. Environmentalists oppose drilling there because of the potential for oil spills and harm to wildlife.
Don't block drilling; establish severe penalties for oil spills, thus giving the oil companies a chance to bring in domestic oil, but giving them an incentive to make sure their tanker captains stay sober, and do other things to prevent, or at least contain, any oil spills.
They have speculated in recent days that Bush might allow such drilling before Democrats regain control of Congress in January.
Go for it. And open up drilling in ANWAR and also in the Gulf. Why should China and Cuba be able to drill off Florida, but the US can't.
"If the Bush administration decides to allow drilling in Bristol Bay, it will simply illustrate the level to which they will sink to satisfy Big Oil," Carl Pope, the Sierra Club's executive director, said Saturday. "They are willing to risk a valuable, renewable resource like Bristol Bay's salmon fisheries for limited, shortsighted drilling plans."
Baloney. They are using domestic sources of oil, and limiting the petro dollars sent to the Islamofascists.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Plan to Retire but Leave Out Social Security

NYT reported I’ve often wondered what Social Security means to me, but never expected to read the following, rather astounding, explication: “Unless action is taken soon to strengthen Social Security, in just 11 years we will begin paying more in benefits than we collect in taxes,” the letter said.

Now you see why Bush wanted to deal with the problem.
“Without changes, by 2040 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted.” Exhausted? I’ve been fairly pessimistic about the future of Social Security and tend to side with those who recommend not counting on those benefits when calculating one’s retirement. But I thought the Social Security Administration itself might hold out more hope for its own future — let alone yours and mine.
Facts are facts.
Evidently, it doesn’t. The reason for this, said Olivia S. Mitchell, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania who has served on the president’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security, is a matter of addition and subtraction — mostly the latter. Technically, Social Security is taking in more money than it needs right now — it’s just that the Treasury keeps borrowing those funds, as much as $1.9 trillion,
And the only way to stop that is Personal Accounts. Putting those IOUs in a "lockbox" does not do any good, and even if you truly lock the funds up it will not solve the problem. You need to put those funds into a way where they can grow, and that means investment, and it would be foolish to allow the government to decide where to invest the funds, because they would invest them in social engineering places. Democrats would invest them one way, Republicans a different way, but neither would be investing them with an objective of getting them to grow the most, yet without excessive risk.
Professor Mitchell said. Luckily, the Treasury has given the Social Security administration I.O.U.’s for all the money it borrowed. But those I.O.U.’s may never be redeemed, she said, because given its current fiscal path, the Treasury is unlikely to be able to repay that money.


Taliban comes to Gaza

Jerusalem Post reported A hitherto unknown group calling itself the Just Swords of Islam issued a warning to Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip over the weekend that they must wear the hijab or face being targeted by the group's members.

The Taliban come to Gaza. I wonder if they will now realize that they should have worked to establish a successful moderate Arab State when Israel pulled out, rather than remaining a lawless area where Hamas killed Fatah, and Fatah killed Hamas, and both killed Jews.
In pamphlets distributed in various parts of the Gaza Strip, the group also claimed responsibility for attacks on 12 Internet cafes over the past few days.
They target the internet cafes because through them people can learn what is happening in the world.
The warning was directed primarily against female students in a number of universities and colleges who do not cover their heads in line with Islamic tradition.
Islamic tradition = suppress women.
The group said its followers last week threw acid at the face of a young woman who was dressed "immodestly" in the center of Gaza City. They also destroyed a car belonging to a young man who was playing his radio tape too loudly.
That is the way the Taliban operate.
Addressing female students, the group said: "We will have no mercy on any woman who violates the traditions of Islam and who also hang out in Internet cafes."
Allah may be merciful, but these nutcases are not.