Shopping day tomorrow

Normally my Sunday is used to do those mundane household chores like laundry and shopping, plus get in a little “road work” (I walk 1-2 miles several days a week.) But today is different. Today I’ve foregone my normal shopping and chosen to do it tomorrow after my workday ends. The reason?

Tomorrow is May 1st – in and of itself, not a real significant date. But tomorrow is supposedly the day that millions of Latinos and “immigrant rights” supporters will take to the streets in Salisbury and elsewhere, plus boycott various merchants. So that’s why I’m going shopping.

You see, I believe in the American Dream, but I believe in going about it the RIGHT way as millions of our forefathers did. That means coming into the country legally unless persecuted, getting a job, learning English, and assimilating into the American culture. Unfortunately, most of our immigration problems stem from a large group of people who only manage to get one of the previous four items correct (getting a job) – the rest they choose to ignore. A .250 average will likely get a ballplayer sent down to the minors, and in this case it should get these illegals a one-way ticket back to where they came and sent to the back of the citizenship line.

It’s understandable that all of us want a better way of life. However, I don’t think that doing things the wrong way should be rewarded. Tomorrow millions will take to the streets and say that despite the fact they came to this country illegally, they deserve all the perks of those who play by the rules. And I’m sure that many of these people are law-abiding (except for the illegal entry) and productive. But if we who were born and raised in America have to follow all the laws, so should they.

And I encourage those who agree with me that, while most illegal immigrants are here to get a better life for themselves, they need to go about doing things the correct way – if you agree with me, you’ll be packing the stores tomorrow to send a message to the forces who would only follow the laws that suit them and to hell with the rest. Join me in sending that message.

ACU ratings (part 2)

As promised, this is the part where Michael establishes his own ACU rating. The descriptions of the bills are from the ACU site. Granted, the actual bill text may have swayed me in a different direction so “your results may vary.” This is going to be a pretty long post because of their descriptions, so bear with me.

There are 25 parts to the House ACU score, so I assume that each part agreed with is 4 points. I’ll score myself at the end.

1. New Interstate Tolls – Surface Transportation Reauthorization. HR 3 (Roll Call 59) The House rejected an amendment that would have authorized new tolls on any existing toll road or newly constructed lane on the interstate system to lower congestion or improve air quality. It also would have allowed new, toll-eligible express traffic lanes. ACU favored this amendment, which was rejected 155-265 on March 9, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: despite the fact that the interstate system is a federal highway system, in several instances they have piggybacked on existing state turnpikes (Ohio and Pennsylvania are examples.) Because of that and the fact that it’s generally a state that takes care of these highways anyway, it’s not the federal government’s place to authorize tolls on a state highway. I would have gone with the majority against the ACU and voted NO on the amendment.

2. Fiscal 2006 Budget Resolution – Republican Study Committee Substitute. H Con Res 95 (Roll Call 83) The House rejected an amendment that called for $58 billion more in mandatory spending cuts, for a total of $125 billion over five years. It would have reduced non-defense and non-homeland discretionary spending by 2 percent, and protected all $106 billion in tax cuts. It proposed a number of procedures to curtail new spending. ACU favored the amendment, which was rejected 102-320 on March 17, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: Only $58 billion? Well, it would be a start. I would have regretted that I have but one vote to favor this amendment, so here I agree with the ACU that a YES vote would have been appropriate.

3. Estate Tax Permanent Repeal – Passage. HR 8 (Roll Call 102) The House passed a bill making permanent the repeal of the estate tax contained in the 2001 tax cut law, which is set to expire after 2010. ACU favored the repeal. The bill passed 272-162 on April 13, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: When we tax people to death all through their life, why should we pick on their progeny too? Hell yes I’d have voted YES for this as the majority and ACU wisely did.

4. Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act – Passage. S 256 (Roll Call 108) The House passed a bill requiring debtors who have the ability to pay to pay back at least a portion of their debts. The bill also requires credit card companies to let card holders know up front what they are expected to pay and the penalties for late payment. The bill also makes it more difficult for serial bankruptcy filers to abuse the system by imposing an eight year waiting period between bankruptcy declarations. The bill also allows the federal government to clamp down on bankruptcy mills that make money advising bankruptcy abusers on how to game the system. ACU favored the bill. The bill passed 302-126 on April 14, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: I thought it was a good bill. Think of it this way…creditors set their interest rates to account for the certain number of people who can’t or won’t pay them back so the bank can assure a return on their investment (like any good bank with shareholders should.) People who rack up huge credit card bills then declare bankruptcy in order to screw the credit card companies out of being paid back are committing fraud and should have a provision to stop this activity. While there are people who are driven to bankruptcy by factors such as extended unemployment, large-scale medical bills, etc. those are the people who will (hopefully) file one time and this bill didn’t seem too onerous for their legitimate needs. On balance, I would have agreed with the ACU and voted YES on the bill.

5. CAFE Standards – Energy Policy. HR 6 (Roll Call 121) The House rejected an amendment that would have required the Transportation Department to issue regulations raising fuel efficiency standards to at least 33 miles per gallon in automobiles manufactured by model year 2015. ACU opposed the amendment, which was rejected 177-254 on April 20, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: I believe this is the very amendment that pissed me off at Rep. Gilchrest in the first place. Let the auto companies account for better mileage as a marketing factor, not as a mandate. Actually, with the declining sales of large SUV’s, the market will correct itself anyway as far as fleet mileage. So why add a mandate? I would’ve agreed with the ACU and the majority to vote NO on the amendment.

6. ANWR Leasing – Energy Policy. HR 6 (Roll Call 122) The House rejected an amendment that would have prevented leases for oil and gas exploration in a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. ACU opposed the amendment, which was rejected 200-231 on April 20, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: Okay, if it wasn’t the amendment above that made me mad at Wayne Gilchrest, this one would have torn it. He was a supporter, I agreed with the ACU that the amendment was a bad idea. Count me as a NO vote on that one – drill as many holes in ANWR as we need.

7. Abortion Notification – Passage. HR 748 (Roll Call 144) The House passed a bill barring the transportation of a minor girl across state lines to obtain an abortion without the consent of a parent, guardian, or judge. ACU favored the bill, which passed 270-157 on April 27, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: While I think abortion is properly a state issue, because this deals with the practice of crossing state lines to skirt state laws it becomes a federal issue. Throw in the fact that we’re talking about girls under 18, and the fact that I’m pro-life (yes, it’s not a “choice” it’s a child – your personal rights end because you’re doing harm to an otherwise innocent person) and I’m in agreement with the ACU that a YES vote would be correct.

8. Fiscal 2006 Budget Resolution – Conference Report. H Con Res 95 (Roll Call 149) The House adopted the conference report on the resolution setting broad spending and revenue targets for five years, limiting discretionary spending to $843 billion in fiscal 2006, and requiring $70 billion in tax cuts and $34.7 billion in savings. ACU favored the report. The report was adopted 214-211 on April 28, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: Again, it’s a start. The federal budget is at least twice what is necessary, although we can’t get rid of all I’d want to in one lump. I know that, but this is a good step. I agree with the ACU and their support, call it a YES.

9. Natural Gas Moratorium – Fiscal 2006 Interior and Environment Appropriations. HR 2361 (Roll Call 192) The House rejected an amendment that would have lifted the moratorium on natural gas production in the Outer Continental Shelf. ACU favored the amendment, which was rejected 157-262 on May 19, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: As above, drill as many holes in the Outer Continental Shelf as needed. We can thank this amendment rejection (among a myriad of other government-induced regulations) as a reason Delmarva’s electric rates are going to skyrocket. Natural gas is a great producer of electricity. I agree with the ACU and would have said YES with the minority.

10. Embryonic Stem Cell Research – Passage. HR 810 (Roll Call 204) The House passed a bill that would allow the use of federal funds in research on embryonic stem cell lines derived from surplus embryos at in-vitro fertilization clinics, but only if donors give their consent and are not paid for the embryos. ACU opposed the bill, which passed 238-194 on May 24, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: There are no “surplus” embryos to me. I seem to recall reading where adult stem-cell research is as promising as embryonic, and there’s no need to kill the unborn to do it. I agree with the ACU and would have voted NO with the minority.

11. Ten Commandments Court Ruling – Fiscal 2006 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations. HR 2862 (Roll Call 257) The House adopted an amendment that would nullify a ruling by a U.S. District Court in Indiana that a monument representing the Ten Commandments must be removed from a county courthouse. ACU favored the amendment, which was adopted 242-182 on June 15, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: This is sort of a “feel-good” amendment and I’m not quite certain whether it’s Constitutional to nullify a decision unless the Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal. If it were a “sense of the Congress” amendment I would favor it, but because the case wasn’t fully through the appellate process (insofar as I know), I’d allow the case to make its way through the courts before I would agree with the ACU. So it would be a NO vote with the caveats listed above.

12. Firearms Exportation – Fiscal 2006 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations. HR 2862 (Roll Call 265) The House rejected an amendment that would have prohibited the exportation of non-automatic or semi-automatic 50 caliber firearms. ACU opposed the amendment, which was rejected 149-278 on June 16, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: America makes guns, and I think it’s proper that whoever wants to own one should be able to – whether they are American or not. I’ll concede that it’s very possible that they could be pointed at Americans abroad but on balance this was a poor amendment. I agree with the ACU and would vote NO.

13. United Nations Population Fund – Fiscal 2006 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations. HR 2862 (Roll Call 266) The House rejected an amendment that would have allowed funding for the United Nations Population Fund. ACU opposed the amendment, which was rejected 192-233 on June 16, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: Defund the UN? Are you kidding? I say send their ass packing out of New York and over to Geneva or The Hague or wherever and let’s get out of that fraud of an organization. The ACU is correct and I say hell NO to that amendment.

14. United Nations Overhaul – Passage. HR 2745 (Roll Call 282) The House passed a bill that withholds up to 50 percent of U.S. payments to the United Nations unless the U.N. changes its operations to provide more rigorous budget control, oversight, and financial disclosure for top officials. Overall U.S. contributions under the bill are capped at 22 percent of the U.N. budget. ACU favored these reforms. The bill passed 221-184 on June 17, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: Yeah, it’s a start, although see #13 above. So I’d be for the reforms as is the ACU. I’d vote YES.

15. Corporation for Public Broadcasting – Fiscal 2006 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations. HR 3010 (Roll Call 305) The House adopted an amendment adding $100 million in funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. ACU opposed the amendment, which was adopted 284-140 on June 23, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: I’d like to defund the CPB, not add more money. So I agree with the ACU and would say NO.

16. Eminent Domain – Fiscal 2006 Transportation-Treasury-Housing Appropriations. HR 3058 (Roll Call 350) The House adopted an amendment that prohibits any use of federal funds on private property obtained through the power of eminent domain for private development. ACU favored the amendment, which was adopted 231-189 on June 30, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: Thanks to the poor Kelo decision, this became an issue last year. It’s an appropriate use of Congressional power to mitigate a poor decision by the Supreme Court, since there’s no appellate court above the Supremes (as opposed to #11 above.) I concur with the ACU and would say YES.

17. Medical Malpractice – Passage. HR 5 (Roll Call 449) The House passed a bill capping non-economic and punitive damages that plaintiffs and their attorneys receive in medical malpractice cases. Punitive damages would be barred against makers and distributors of medical products if those products were approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The bill does not pre-empt state damage caps but imposes federal caps where states do not have their own. The bill limits attorneys’ contingency fees. ACU favored the bill, which passed on July 28, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: Because of the portion of the bill where it doesn’t pre-empt the state caps, the bill makes good sense. While it’s a bit of a reach to limit attorney’s fees, they really should be made more reasonable as a whole anyway. I’m in support of the ACU position and would say YES.

18. Sex Offender Registration – Hate Crimes. HR 3132 (Roll Call 469) The House adopted an amendment broadening the categories covered by the federal hate crimes statute to include crimes motivated by the victim’s gender, sexual orientation, or disability. ACU opposed the amendment. It was adopted 223-199 on September 14, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: There shouldn’t be a federal “hate crimes” statute in the first place. While crime based on a person’s gender, sexual orientation, or disability is reprehensible, these crimes are covered under existing statutes. It’s not a matter of degrees of criminality, you’re either guilty of assault, battery, rape, murder, etc. or you’re not. Like the ACU urges, I’d vote NO to this amendment.

19. Endangered Species Act Overhaul – Passage. HR 3824 (Roll Call 506) The House passed a bill overhauling and reauthorizing the Endangered Species Act through 2010. It replaces the critical habitat designation which has been used to infringe on property rights and requires the government to reimburse landowners when they are not allowed to develop their land because of protections for endangered species. It also authorizes grants for private landowners to protect endangered species. ACU favored the bill, which passed 229-193 on September 29, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: Because this bill reauthorized the ESA, and I think that’s a matter best left to the several states, I disagree with the ACU on this one. I’d have voted NO with the minority.

20. Oil Refinery Construction – Passage. HR 3893 (Roll Call 519) The House passed a bill streamlining approvals for refinery expansion and construction projects. It requires the President to designate federal sites for new oil refineries and allows the federal government to pay new refineries for the costs due to lawsuits and government regulations. Price gouging on gasoline is banned in times of emergencies. ACU favored the bill while recognizing that it contains some questionable provisions. The bill passed 212-210 on October 7, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: The summary “ACU favored the bill while recognizing that it contains some questionable provisions” is along the lines of my thoughts. The part about streamlining approvals is favorable to me, but giving government largesse away and placing a federal law above state laws on gouging troubles me. It’s one of those things where I’d not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater and work to eliminate the troublesome portions of the bill later. This is a YES vote with the ACU’s problems with the measure taken into advisement.

21. Gun Liability – Passage. S 397 (Roll Call 534) The House passed a bill barring lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of firearms and ammunition making them liable for gun violence. Penalties for violent or drug trafficking crimes using armor-piercing ammunition are increased to a minimum of 15 years imprisonment, or, if death resulted from the use of such ammunition, life in prison or the death penalty. ACU favored the bill. It passed 283-144 on October 20, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: It’s an appropriate use of federal power only because firearms are sold nationally. If it were many other products, I’d be less inclined to trump the states. And because there are federal crimes, the sentencing portions of the bill are appropriate as a guide to judges. The only worry I have about this is expansion of the measure someday to the general public where if someone shot a home invader using this ammunition they would face the same penalties. At this time, I’m with the ACU on the YES vote.

22. Government-Sponsored Enterprises – HR 1461 (Roll Call 541) The House adopted an amendment reforming the quasi-government enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac prohibiting their funds for political activities, advocacy, lobbying, counseling services, travel expenses, or preparing or providing advice on tax returns. ACU favored the amendment. The amendment was adopted 210-205 on October 26, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: Maybe a touch too restrictive on travel expenses, but overall a good reform package. The ACU is correct in supporting the amendment and I would vote YES to it.

23. Online Freedom of Speech – Passage. HR 1606 (Roll Call 559) The House rejected an attempt to exempt the Internet, including blogs and e-mail, from the definition of “public communication” and thus subject to Federal Election Commission regulation and disclosure requirements. ACU favored the bill, which was rejected 225-182 on November 2, 2005. Although the bill got a majority, under House procedures a two-thirds vote was required.

Michael’s opinion: Gee, I run a blog that tends to support conservative candidates and issues. If a newspaper can run an editorial that disdains conservative positions on issues, is it not my right to point out where the newspaper is wrong? I may not have the circulation of the newspaper, but the last time I checked my copy of the Constitution, Congress cannot abridge freedom of the press (newspapers, radio, television, etc.) OR freedom of speech (my blog.) I’d have voted YES as the ACU would, and probably gotten an ulcer from choking back my urge to bitchslap anyone who voted against the “incumbent protection plan.”

24. Deficit Reduction Act. HR 4241 (Roll Call 601) The House passed a bill to reduce the FY 2006 deficit. Among many other provisions, it allowed oil and natural gas leasing and pre-leasing activities for Outer Continental Shelf areas, terminated subsidies for broadband telecommunications services in rural areas, and provided for energy production on a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and established a national mining and minerals policy. ACU favored the bill, which passed 217-215 on November 18, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: I’m troubled by the addition of a thousand provisions to the main bill, but most of these would be good cuts. Thus, I’m in agreement with the ACU stance of a YES vote.

25. Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act. HR 4437 (Roll Call 660) The House refused to send the immigration reform bill back to a conference committee. Such a recommittal would have killed the immigration reform effort. Notable provisions of the bill include the expansion of the expedited alien removal program and expansion of the categories and types of crimes that make non-citizens removable. ACU opposed the motion, which was rejected 198-221 on December 16, 2005.

Michael’s opinion: I liked the House immigration reform much more than the Senate version. The post that will be above this one as I write this Sunday morning (and will write on the immigration subject Sunday night) will explain some of my feelings on the immigration issue. Just based on the description the ACU provided and opposed, I would tend to agree with their position and vote NO. But that’s only based on what they say here, not the text of the actual bills.

*****

To summarize: I agreed with the ACU on numbers 2 through 10, 12 through 18, and 20 through 25. I disagreed with the ACU on nunbers 1, 11, and 19. So my ACU rating would be 88. While there are a number of Congressmen who share that 88 rating, my voting record wouldn’t exactly match any of theirs. But it’s certainly more conservative than the nominal Republicans who represent the vast majority of the people who live on Delmarva.

Because this post was so long, I’m going to do a part 3 with the Senate votes sometime early this coming week. I have a lot of posts on items that interest me getting stacked up so look for a pretty regular update schedule.

ACU ratings (part 1)…a milestone post!

As many organizations do from all across the political spectrum, the American Conservative Union recently came out with their ratings for members of Congress, 2005 being the 35th edition of the ratings system. What they do is grade out each member of Congress regarding their position on issues near and dear to the ACU’s heart. Ratings shown this year indicate the 2005 rating and the House or Senate member’s lifetime rating.

There’s two groups that rank among the Republican party extremes, as it were. One is a band of conservatives called the Republican Study Committee, best known for proposing necessary budget cuts.The other is a group of so-called moderates, the Republican Main Street Partnership. Numbered among them is our own Congressman Wayne Gilchrest and Congressman Mike Castle of Delaware, as well as Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich.

Taking a look at the ACU numbers, there’s a mile-wide disparity between the two groups. If you look at the lifetime ratings of all the House members, you’ll find the following is true:

Of the Republicans who have an ACU lifetime rating of 96 or higher, 45 of the 48 belong to the Republican Study Committee, including all of those with a 100 lifetime rating. Rep. Mike Pence (IN-6), who heads the Study Committee, is also considered the “leader” of the pack with a 100 rating, he’s been perfect for five years.

Of the lowest 50 Republicans in ACU lifetime ratings, 34 of them belong to the Main Street Partnership. That may be explained by the fact that 33 of the 49 House members of the MSP come from “blue” states in 2004, plus there are several others from the electorally close state of Ohio. Some of these members even fall behind the highest-ranking Democrats in the ACU ratings.

Here’s an illustration of what I think is wrong with the Main Street Partnership.

Top 10 Democrats, ACU lifetime ratings

1. Taylor (MS-4) 68
2. Boren (OK-2) 64
3. Davis (TN-4) 62
4. Melancon (LA-3) 61
5. McIntyre (NC-7) 53
6. Cuellar (TX-28) 52
7. Cramer (AL-5) 49
8. Herseth (SD) 49
9. Skelton (MO-4) 49
10. Peterson (MN-7) 46

And dead last in the listings…Rep. Timothy Bishop (D-NY1) has a 1 lifetime rating.

As you can see, there are still a few of the old-line conservative Democrats left, mostly from the South, and all but one from a “red” state. They’ll certainly vote the party line on their leadership and such, but often side with the conservatives on issues. And it’s a good thing, because the conservative leadership needs these votes to supplant the likely “no” votes from:

Bottom 10 Republicans, ACU lifetime ratings

10. (tie) Smith (NJ-4) 62
10. (tie) Gilchrest (MD-1) 62
9. Kirk (IL-10) 61
8. Fitzpatrick (PA-8) 60
7. Schwarz (MI-7) 58
6. Castle (DE) 57
5. Simmons (CT-2) 54
3. (tie) Johnson (CT-5) 47
3. (tie) Shays (CT-4) 47
2. Leach (IA-2) 43
1. Boehlert (NY-24) 40

And you wonder why I’ve ragged on Congressman Gilchrest so much? Now you might have an idea. By the way, for my friends down on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, your Congresswoman Theresa Drake (VA-2) has a solid lifetime score of 92. You should be proud of her.

Oh, just for funsies, I looked up our six local Delmarva Senators as well. In order of ACU ranking:

Sen. George Allen (R-VA) 92
Sen. John Warner (R-VA) 81
Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) 16
Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) 14
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) 7
Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) 5

Top ACU Senator is Jeff Sessions of Alabama with a 98 rating, the bottom of the (whiskey?) barrel is Ted Kennedy with his measly rating of 3.

Now you may just say that I’m in lockstep with the conservative movement and you are probably right. But for part two of this post (probably over the weekend) I’m going to take the time and state my positions on the very votes the ACU used for their ratings…in other words, my own ACU rating which you can compare and contrast to your favorite Congressman. In glancing at the issues, I don’t think I’m going to end up as a perfect 100 – you might be surprised.

By the way, this is a milestone post for monoblogue. This one puts me at the century mark, post number 100. Since today is (barely) April 26th, it took me 147 days to get to 100 posts. That’s a lot of writing, because unlike other sites I write quite a bit on a subject. I’d have to guess that at least one week in real time has been devoted to writing these entries.

Since I just celebrated my one-year blogging anniversary at the start of the month, I’ll not pat myself on the back too much. But I do have several good posts that are in the pipeline and some may shake up the local blogging scene. Or maybe not, but they should be interesting to local readers.

One less little Indian

In a statement posted on her website, Lise Van Susteren became the first to drop out of the race to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes. It’s the first of many such announcements as the 2006 campaign season slowly kicks into gear. While she hadn’t officially filed, Van Susteren had announced last fall she would be seeking the Senate seat.

The Senate hopeful had raised a half million dollars for her campaign, but did not deem it enough to reach a sufficient number of voters to win the Democrat nod. A recent poll by Gonzales Research found her third in the Democrat field, but with just a low single digit number.

If you’re handicapping the Democrat field to decide who will face presumptive GOP nominee Michael Steele, the Gonzales poll of 423 likely Democrat primary voters came in as follows:

Ben Cardin 39%
Kweisi Mfume 31%
Lise Van Susteren 4%
Allan Lichtman 2%
Josh Rales 1%
Dennis Rasmussen 1%

Basically the undecideds came in well ahead of the bottom 4 in the field.

This poll also gave both Cardin and Mfume a lead over Steele, Cardin being up 49%-35% and Mfume up 44%-39%. Perhaps the leak of a purported Democrat memo cited by the Maryland GOP served as a reminder to black voters about keeping on the plantation.

The “Gas War” e-mail

Actually, I got an interesting e-mail today from Drea, it was one that was sent to her and forwarded on. Here’s the e-mail I received, with the forwarded note by the sender she got it from:

I’ve been doing this for at least a year. If you haven’t yet, I suggest that you start. Not only will it hurt the bigger companies, but it’ll most likely be less expensive going somewhere else, like an Arco if you have it (just make sure it’s not owned by exxon or mobil first). Also, if I can avoid driving around town I will, for the sake of gas, the environment and my health. Biking is great exercise and it’s fun!

(B.C.)

GAS WAR – an idea that WILL work …

This was originally sent by a retired Coca Cola executive. It came from one of his engineer buddies who retired from Halliburton. It’s worth your consideration.

Join the resistance!!!!

I hear we are going to hit close to $ 4.00 a gallon by next summer and it might go higher!! Want gasoline prices to come down? We need to take some intelligent, united action.

Phillip Hollsworth offered this good idea. This makes MUCH MORE SENSE than the “don’t buy gas on a certain day” campaign that was going around last April or May! The oil companies just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn’t continue to “hurt” ourselves by refusing to buy gas. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. BUT, whoever thought of this idea has come up with a plan that can really work. Please read on and join with us!

By now you’re probably thinking gasoline priced at about $1.50 is super cheap. Me too! It is currently $2.79 for regular unleaded in my town. Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a gallon of gas is CHEAP at $1.50 – $1.75, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS control the marketplace … not the seller’s. With the price of gasoline going up more each day, we consumers need to take action.

The only way we are going to see the price of gas come down is if we hit someone in the pocketbook by not purchasing their gas!

And, we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves.

How? Since we all rely on our cars, we can’t just stop buying gas. But we CAN have an impact on gas prices if we all act together to force a price war. Here’s the idea: For the rest of this year, DON’T purchase ANY gasoline from the two biggest companies (which now are one), EXXON and MOBIL. If they are not selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon and Mobil gas buyers. It’s really simple to do! Now, don’t wimp out on me at this point…keep reading and I’ll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!

I am sending this note to 30 people. If each of us send it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300) … and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000) … and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth group of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers. If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted! If it goes one level further, you guessed it . THREE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE!!!

Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people. That’s all! If you don’t understand how we can reach
300 million and all you have to do is send this to 10 people . well, let’s face it, you just aren’t a mathematician. But I am. So trust me on this one. How long would all that take? If each of us sends this e-mail out to ten more people within one day of receipt, all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be contacted within the next 8 days!!! I’ll bet you didn’t think you and I had that much potential, did you!

Acting together we can make a difference. If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on. I
suggest that we not buy from EXXON/MOBIL UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES TO THE $1.30 RANGE AND KEEP THEM DOWN. THIS CAN REALLY WORK.

Kerry Lyle, Director, Research Coordinator

So I took a few minutes and wrote Drea back. (Names initialized to protect the innocent.)

Hi Drea,

Personally, I’d rather boycott Citgo because its owned by the Venezuelan government and their anti-American thug dictator Hugo Chavez.

All the oil companies pretty much have to pay the same price for a barrel of oil that’s imported. I’m sure D. and B. are angered about having to pay so much for gas, but if someone found a large oil field in Oregon, something tells me that they would be the first to line up and oppose the new drilling.

And by the way, if price of gas were to drop down to $1.30 a gallon, the only people who would lose out are the oil companies and the owners of the service stations – the taxes on a gallon of gas won’t drop. And that’s anywhere from 24 to 50 cents a gallon depending on state (including the 18 cents a gallon the feds charge – notice they’re making no moves to drop that, even temporarily.)

In terms of oil price, the price of gas is relatively proportional. When oil was $15 a barrel about 6-8 years ago, we paid 90 cents a gallon and the oil industry was hurting bigtime with layoffs and such. Now oil is $75 a barrel and the oil industry is fairly profitable.

If you ask me, the short-term solution to this whole problem is allowing more oil exploration and gaining more refinery capacity. Medium-term solutions involve using resources we already have in our country, particularly making oil from the shale found in several Western states.

In the long-term we will find a substitute for oil, as diesel and gasoline supplanted wood and coal-driven steam power for transportation needs. Hopefully the government will get out of the way and allow this research to go on, even if it does pay huge dividends to the people smart and brave enough to venture into the field and risk the failure of their ideas.

Oh, just so you know, I live pretty close by an Exxon/Mobil station, I just filled up there yesterday because they had the best price of the three that are close by me. It’s generally where I fill up my car. So if this boycott idea worked, I’ll be happy to play contrarian and let them lower the price so I can fill up my car more cheaply.

take care,

Michael

In researching the matter further, I’ve found that the author, “Kerry Lyle”, claims to be from the University of Alabama, but no one by that name teaches there. From this website I followed the link to this website, which hasn’t had much play of late. But perhaps he/she is responsible for this letter.

And Phillip Hollsworth? He’s a very popular guy, the one who came up with this idea. Apparently he’s also a figment of someone’s imagination. A similar letter has circled round and round the Internet since 1999.

So I wonder…will this reply to the idea go round and round the Internet? It would be nice, but somehow I doubt it.

I know the couple who started sending this particular branch of e-mail because I read their blogs, they’re young liberals (oh, sorry, “progressives”) who perceive themselves as well-meaning folks. But with age comes experience, and I knew that this e-mail chain was a hoax. I just love to tweak the anti-free market people whenever I can and expose them to a dose of reality. Thanks for allowing me to do that!

This is America…speak English!

You know, this illegal immigration thing has a lot of people fired up…here’s some just on my personal bloglist.

Conservababes: Right from New Fallujah has a particularly nasty rant.

Justice for All? links to an article by economist Thomas Sowell.

Michelle Malkin always has a lot to say, illegal immigration is one of her pet issues to begin with.

NewsBusters blogger Matthew Sheffield looks at the influence Spanish-language media carried.

Timmer at Righting America is looking for the backhoe to start building the fence.

The American Princess weighs in with her take.

The Goldwater is back in town and he must have picked up a good strain of attitude while he was away. Now, THIS is a “new tone.”

Bobby Eberle at The Loft critiques the Congressional responses to the issue.

Now it’s my turn.

The key word to me is “illegal.” Yes, I realize that practically all of us were descended from immigrants at one time or another, even native Americans who supposedly came over from Asia when there was a land bridge between Alaska and Siberia. And I’m sure not everyone who we count as our ancestors went through Ellis Island, some were likely stowaways who managed to elude detection. Of course, many who live in the area are generations removed from people who had no choice in the matter as they were brought over as property to be sold in the slave trade. Regardless, we’re living in the here and now and I’m at least a third-generation American. I speak and write passable English, and I’m proud in a stubborn sort of way that I made it through 13 years of public school and four years of college never having learned a foreign language.

So imagine my surprise when I moved here, over a thousand miles from the Mexican border, and see bilingual signage in the stores and find there’s a Spanish-language radio station on the dial. It turns out we have a large Spanish-speaking population here, mostly from Mexico. They came here to “take the jobs Americans won’t do” in the chicken plants. But they also mow the lawns, hang the drywall, and do other manual labor work in the area. Now those jobs I have seen Americans do where I come from.

I don’t want to be one who denies a person who wants to come to America the opportunity to do so. BUT, the huge difference between the immigrants who protested in Los Angeles and elsewhere the last several days, and the immigrants from Germany and Poland who happen to be my forefathers is that my ancestors tried to assimilate themselves as best they could and become American citizens. Both then and now, newcomers to America worked hard at low-echelon jobs to create a better life for their families – but my ancestors most likely came over legally, and the last thought on their minds was trying to recreate the conditions of their native lands. They wanted to be American first, last, and always.

The time has long since come to start taking care of this problem. Unfortunately, most of the solutions being proposed have the appearance of condoning the criminal activity that brought many immigrants here in the first place. I have seen some commentary about how those on the Mayflower and other colonists didn’t have a visa or green card to enter the country either, but I’d venture to guess that the statute of limitations on harassing their method of entry is well past.

The protests of the last few days have proven one thing: the Balkanization of our country has taken root. It was seeded by bilingual education in the schools, watered by a lack of caring by politicians of all stripes who sought the immigrant vote (whether they were citizens or not), and fertilized by the advent of multiculturalism where American is just the back end of the hyphenated phrase and certainly not the important or worthy end. Now, like that last dandelion in the field, the one where you just can’t pull the root out of the ground and the Roundup just isn’t working, we’re stuck with that stubborn weed.

I’m not alone in my view. The polls suggest that a majority of Americans want immigration reform. But as usual, the politicians inside the Beltway don’t seem to hear the voice of the common folks. The only thing that may make then listen is a shakeup come November. To finish my analogy, it may take a shovel and a little bit of sweat, but a change in November might just get the rooted weed of Balkanization out from among our amber waves of grain.

monoblogue’s first poll

Since everyone else is doing it and I’m curious how Delmarva feels:

I believe this is courtesy of GOP Bloggers. Like I said, “everyone else” is doing it. (Saw this on the Detroit-based American Princess and NYC-based Suitably Flip. Bet I know who does better here.) Now I’ll just have to await the results, assuming it turns out right on this entry.

Oh, also I added more links to the “Let the People Decide” portion of the bloglist, and placed them in some sort of order…although the Maryland U.S. Senate race almost defies order.

Not sure if this will work or not – I had some trouble with it. Let me know if it works for you.

10:00 March 19th edit:

The overall poll has over 10,000 votes – just 8 from monoblogue. Come on Delmarva, I’m disappointed in you! Anyway, here’s the results as of a few moments ago.

Positive votes (would vote for, go in the + column)

1. George Allen – 5,363
2. Rudy Giuliani – 5,123
3. Mitt Romney – 4,017
4. Newt Gingrich – 3,726
5. John McCain – 2,288
6. Sam Brownback – 2,230
7. Mike Huckabee – 2,092
8. Tom Tancredo – 1,952
9. Bill Frist – 1,586
10. George Pataki – 763
11. Chuck Hagel – 563

Negative votes (would NOT vote for, go in the – column)

1. George Allen – 1,771
2. Rudy Giuliani – 2,754
3. Mitt Romney – 2,791
4. Mike Huckabee – 3,130
5. Sam Brownback – 3,335
6. Newt Gingrich – 3,679
7. Tom Tancredo – 3,894
8. Bill Frist – 5,381
9. John McCain – 5,840
10. Chuck Hagel – 5,871
11. George Pataki – 5,883

Thus, including both sets, we get this result:

1. George Allen, +3,592 (+35.3%)
2. Rudy Giuliani, +2,369 (+23.3%)
3. Mitt Romney, +1,226 (+12.1%)
4. Newt Gingrich, +47 (+0.5%)
5. Mike Huckabee, -1,038 (-10.2%)
6. Sam Brownback, -1,105 (-10.9%)
7. Tom Tancredo, -1,942 (-19.1%)
8. John McCain, -3,552 (-34.9%)
9. Bill Frist, -3,795 (-37.3%)
10. George Pataki, -5,120 (-50.3%)
11. Chuck Hagel, -5,308 (-52.2%)

Personally, I would vote for Allen, Gingrich, or Tancredo; and not vote for Giuliani, Romney, Frist, McCain, Hagel, or Pataki. Brownback and Huckabee elicit no feelings either way. But judging by the number of negative votes vs. positive votes (over 14,000 more negatives) I’d have to say the electorate is in a pissy mood. Since I have 6 negatives vs. 3 positives, count me in.

Ongoing 2006 election feature

Since we’re now inside 6 months to the primaries in both Maryland and Delaware, I think it’s time to do a public service and begin to link to various campaign websites of all the candidates I can. Tonight I started with the Maryland U.S. Senate race and linked to the three main contenders – Ben Cardin, Kweisi Mfume, and Michael Steele. If you look to the right at the Bloglist, it’s under the category “Let the people decide.”

I’ll start checking into who has actually filed for what races. My intention is to link with as many of this area’s campaigns as possible. So here’s a list of what I consider “area” campaigns:

Maryland:

United States Senate (what I started tonight)
U.S. Congress – Maryland District 1
All statewide campaigns (Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General)
State Senator and House of Delegates – Districts 37 and 38
County offices in Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, and Dorchester counties, particularly County Executive and County Council as applicable to the jurisdiction.

Delaware:

United States Senate
U.S. Congress – at-large
State Senate – District 20 (District 21 is not up this year as I understand it)
State Representatives – Districts 38, 39, 40, 41
County offices in Sussex County.

Virginia:

United States Senate
U.S. Congress – Virginia District 2 (covers the Eastern Shore of Virginia).
Most of their races in 2006 appear to be local mayor/council races, they run on an opposite calendar of local/state elections than does Maryland.

If you come across a link I don’t know about (or if you’re a candidate) let me know at my e-mail address here: michael@monoblogue.us. You may recall earlier I linked to a press release from House of Delegates candidate Sonny Bloxom – I’m open to that as well (with certain restrictions.) And it’s a good thing I linked to the press release because otherwise I’d have misspelled his name!

Seriously, it would be great to have all the sites here and make this a “one-stop shop” for election info, so that’s my goal for the campaign season.

Update: I found a batch of new links (added tonight) on a site called politics1.com so a hat tip goes to Ron Gunzberger, who runs the site.

A rant I agree with

I couldn’t have written this better myself. A h/t goes to DetroitPatriotette for turning me on to the post.

I’ve always wondered what happened to the Humphrey wing of the Democrat party. Look at FDR – he came up with much of what’s considered “big government” today, but he wasn’t afraid to prosecute a war to protect our shores when we were attacked. Many of today’s leftist Democrats make Pat Buchanan look like a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.

Reagan Democrats split away when the Humphrey wing of the party was frozen out of the power structure, and the prevailing mood of the Democrat apparatchik became that of being pro-abortion, anti-gun, anti-military, and anti-God. The Democrats have continued on that course for the last quarter of a century, and it seems to me that the alternative they present is solely to have the federal government do whatever President Bush and the GOP doesn’t want done.

To me, the country really hasn’t moved rightward – the political parties have simply moved leftward and out of touch with the will of the people. Americans still want what they’ve wanted for 200+ years, but few in either party seem to be willing to sacrifice their political power and cede it the the people to allow these things to happen.

Just slightly ahead of my time

On Michelle Malkin’s site I ran across a post regarding suicide bomber threats at NCAA regional basketball or conference tournament sites. Where have I seen that theory before?

Birthday man

Had he lived, today would have been President Ronald Reagan’s 95th birthday. President Reagan was the recipient of the first Presidential vote I ever cast in 1984. In my opinion, despite our current President’s heroic stand on fighting the menace of radical Islamic terror, President Reagan remains the greatest president of my lifetime.

He changed the attitude of an entire country, from the gloomy malaise of the Carter years to a sunny optimism that America could remain the “shining city on the hill.” And his economic policy managed to allow America both guns and butter, as his tax cuts spurred a generation of solid growth that continues to this day. Even if his successors forgot to read their own lips or simply worked as hard as they could without generating a middle-class tax cut, no one has suggested returning tax rates to their pre-Reagan levels.

In honor of Reagan’s birthday, today’s Federalist Patriot, as usual, devoted its entire issue to the words and legacy of President Reagan. This group also maintains a comprehensive website on Reagan conservatism.

On this anniversary of Ronald Wilson Reagan’s birth, both are very good resources on our 40th President.

Disappointments

It was a pretty disappointing week in some political respects for me. I know I’m coming a bit late to the party in reacting to the State of the Union address, but I actually have a life and sometimes it gets in the way of regular blogging. Actually, it wasn’t that bad of an address from what I read (I didn’t want to watch it, figured I can read it a whole lot faster) but there were a few things that I thought should be more taken advantage of.

Every year of my presidency, we’ve reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending, and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another $14 billion next year, and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009.

Only $14 billion? Out of a $2.6 trillion budget? Here’s what he should have proposed:

“Tonight I call on Congress to fix our budgetary mess. Our deficit spending has two causes: one is the rapid growth of entitlement spending, as by 2030, spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone will be almost 60 percent of the entire federal budget.

The other cause is a process Congress uses called baseline budgeting. It allows those in the opposition party to call a smaller increase in spending on a program a ‘cut.’ Congress needs to pass legislation to return our country to a true budget. Instead of programs automatically increasing in size, it would help keep the growth of government in check to start from the previous year’s budgetary numbers, and truly make a cut in a program a reduction in spending.” (The italics were from his actual speech.)

I will say that I’m glad he’s going to try to push Social Security reform this year. Of course, my idea of reform would be to sunset it and the FICA tax eventually, but no one has the balls in Congress to propose that. It’s not quite the “third rail” of politics that it used to be, but it’s still a program with a whole lot of votes attached to it – and no one really wants to piss off the AARP lobby. (Another reason I’d never be elected to Congress. But that’s the country’s loss.)

But this “bipartisan commission” crap has got to go. Here’s my idea of a bipartisan commission – find the closest Democrat to the philosophy of Zell Miller, and he’s your one Democrat. Kennedy, Pelosi, Kerry, and Reid need not apply. I seem to recall that the GOP has the majority in both houses of Congress and is in the White House. Do you think if a Democrat was in charge that (s)he would want a bipartisan solution and listen to conservatives? Yeah, right, I have some land in Florida to sell you too.

Our government has a responsibility to provide health care for the poor and the elderly…

Well, really, President Bush, no it doesn’t. That implies health care is a right, and I don’t see that in my copy of the Constitution. Now, if the states want to have a crack at it (as several do) that’s perfectly all right. But that statement just reeks of entitlement, and my view is we need to get rid of as much federal government in that as we can!

So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative — a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research — at the Department of Energy…

What is wrong with the private sector doing this kind of research? Why is it up to the government to pick out the most promising programs? Unfortunately, a lot of government research turns out to be stuff like why people can’t sell ice to Eskimos. And wasn’t the Department of Energy something that the Contract with America talked about cutting out?

I don’t have a problem with the goal of the program, although I think we can do a whole lot to cut our dependence on foreign oil in the short-to-medium term by exploring and getting oil out of the ANWR area. Eventually other technology will supplant oil just as natural gas supplanted coal, which succeeded wood for being the main source for heating the home.

Tonight I announce an American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our nation’s children a firm grounding in math and science.

First, I propose to double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years. This funding will support the work of America’s most creative minds as they explore promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources.

Second, I propose to make permanent the research and development tax credit to encourage bolder private-sector initiatives in technology. With more research in both the public and private sectors, we will improve our quality of life – and ensure that America will lead the world in opportunity and innovation for decades to come.

Third, we need to encourage children to take more math and science, and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We’ve made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country. Tonight I propose to train 70,000 high school teachers to lead advanced-placement courses in math and science, bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms, and give early help to students who struggle with math, so they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs.

I’m honestly not sure what to make of this. It’s a good idea, but, once again, why has it become a federal responsibility to do this? And where do we get the money to pony up for all this stuff?

I suppose the State of the Union address has just become a speech on how we’re going to spend more of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money on keeping bureaucrats busy granting money to the people who write grant applications the best and suck up to the right people. *sigh* What a disappointment.

Then came the other disappointment this week, as the House voted to elect Rep. John Boehner as House Majority Leader. Many conservatives (including me) were hoping for Rep. John Shadegg to win, but he lost after the first round of voting with just 40 votes. So count me as not sold on this new leadership. But if Boehner can shepherd needed legislation through the House (keeping the moderate RINO’s in line) and puts enough of a new face on the party to minimize the effects from the ethics scandal (now that’s bipartisanship in action!) then he may well turn out to be a good choice.

Maybe he can get some of the things President Bush forgot to mention in the SOTU like getting serious about slowing the growth of government through the House. Then all we need are Senators with some cajones.