Dylan Roberts: Be proud, Colorado

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— With Inauguration Day two weeks away, President-elect Obama's cabinet positions nearly are filled. There has been criticism from both sides of the aisle. Where is the "change" among the many Clinton-era personnel? Why are there only two GOP cabinet designates? With any presidential transition, there will be unavoidable scrutiny, and the truth is, we cannot judge any of these appointments until they actually begin their work. However, there is one selection that deserves praise: our Senator, Ken Salazar, for Interior Secretary.

No matter your political leaning, it is hard to disagree that Ken Salazar is the ideal person to head a department of our national government that undoubtedly will play a crucial role in revitalizing our economy, protecting our fleeting natural lands and weaning us from dependence on foreign energy. Ken Salazar was not selected by Barack Obama for this position because he looks the part, though the cowboy hat and bolo tie certainly are a convincing touch. He was not selected because the position needs to be filled by a Western official (i.e. Gale Norton, Colorado native and Bush's first Interior Secretary). Obama poached Salazar from the Senate because he knows he has the experience and knowledge of the challenges he will face every day, as well as the passion to make the vital decisions that will face the Department of the Interior in the coming years.

Looking at Ken Salazar's record and resume, it becomes clear that he will bring a breadth of knowledge and experience to the position. In 1990, Salazar became director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. With our resources of coal, oil, trees and water, this is a critical role. One of Salazar's distinguished accomplishments in this position was creating reforms that forced mining and oil activities to better protect the environment and the public. The "new energy economy" is going to require intense regulation to ensure safety for the public and minimal environmental damage. Salazar also dealt intensely with water issues, and he understands the importance of upholding agreements such as the Colorado River Compact, which allocates water among the seven states and Mexico that have access to the Colorado River. This compact is absolutely vital for the farmers and sportsmen of Colorado and cannot be threatened. From the beginning, Salazar has been on the side of responsible development and protection of Colorado's natural resources.

The current Interior Department is one that is embattled with scandal and corruption. It was revealed in September that federal workers of the department who handle billions in oil leases were involved in drug use and affairs with energy company executives in exchange for higher recommendation and illicit gifts. Between 2003 and 2007, nearly 15 designations for the endangered species list were manipulated to advance a political agenda. We need someone to restore respect and reliability to this important department. As Colorado attorney general, Salazar fought environmental crime by creating the Environmental Crime Unit. Salazar will not stand for the activities of past years and will work to restore the integrity that we require.

Ken Salazar is someone who will implement President Obama's agenda for matters of the Interior, as well as his own. As a Senator, Salazar has shown his desire to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. He has supported measures that would open off-shore oil drilling while emphasizing the importance of doing so in a safe and responsible manner. He also knows that our new energy economy will be created through the use of alternative fuels. He was an avid supporter, along with Democrats Joe Biden, of Delaware, and Bob Casey, of Pennsylvania, and Republicans Bob Corker, of Tennessee, and Arlen Specter, of Pennsylvania, among others, of the Energy Independence Act of 2007, which promotes clean fuels and energy efficient construction and requires an average fuel economy of 35 mpg by 2020. Energy independence is going to be one of the prevailing issues of the Obama presidency, and the Interior Department will be crucial in making it a success.

Most importantly, Barack Obama has found somebody who is not a politician, but rather a Coloradan who went to Washington to protect our land, water and people. Now, Ken Salazar will protect our nation's land, water, and people. Be proud, Colorado.

Dylan Roberts was Barack Obama's Field Organizer for Northwest Colorado in the presidential campaign. He currently is a sophomore at Boston College pursuing a degree in political science and environmental studies. Dylan went to high school in Steamboat and ski raced for SSWSC.

Comments

George Danellis 5 years, 10 months ago

Thank you for the informed article.

However, saying that Mr. Salazar is not a politician is erroneous. While he may be more genuine than most who are elected to office at the national level, the current system in our country for voting and election requires all candidates (whether incumbent or not) to make decisions or take stands that are not necessarily for the greater good. This is the core weakenss of our democracy. His vote for offshore drilling for oil is a good example of this. All fact-based research (and science and quality research will make a comeback in the next few months) shows two things: one, that there is no such thing as drilling in our offshore waters in a "safe and responsible way" (coastal areas near drilling suffer ecologically and then from related impacts on industry, including tourism), and two, that this will lead to a minimal production of oil. In fact, just miniscule changes in consumption patterns by Americans could eliminate the need for additional oil products produced by offshore drilling. True leadership would have meant a NO vote for opening up offshore areas for drilling.

I am supportive of Mr. Salazar and wish him great strength in his work, but please don't tell me that those elected the US Senate can not be "politicians".

Your article was excellent and I have been impressed by your efforts, Dylan, but when you see a poor decision by an elected leader, even one you very much support, it is crucial to call it that. At least for me, Sen Salazar's vote in that instance was a poor decision.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

It occurred to me this morning, while watching some Democratic spin-sister engaged in character assassination against the Bush administration (blaming 8 years of "conservative rule" for our current problems) on the George Steponallofus show on ABC, that our society has the same sort of problem that existed back in the Middle Ages. Back then, the Catholic Church ran the solar system. The Earth was the center, and the Sun revolved around. The only problem with that was scientific inaccuracy. Nevertheless, because of the power appropriated by the Catholic Church (they could keep you OUT OF HEAVEN!), the truth was ignored and people suffered for centuries as a result.

Our people are like the peasants who supported the Catholic Church and the rulers who operated by its laws. We've got over 150,000,000 people who think that the Democratic party is the answer to our salvation from all Earthly woes. Uh, that's just not so.

"Scientists" say we have global warming as a result of man-made gasses in the atmosphere. In the Middle Ages, Catholic "scientists" said the Sun revolved around the Earth. In both cases, the beliefs are the problem. I'm here to tell you that putting people in charge because you like what they believe is not going to do anything to help anybody, and it's not going to change the facts.

As a scientist who has lived to see the population of the United States double from 150,000,000 to 300,000,000 it's easy to make the observation that the problems people want solved are a result of doubling the population. All the rest of it is just the side effects of an increasing population.

It is well established in history that people do not act in their own best interest. They decide what they want, and go after it, regardless of the consequences.

It's the height of arrogance for someone living in a ski resort town, insulated from long commutes in traffic, able to afford health care, making a living that supports them in a safe, nearly pristine environment without the social ills of the big cities, to presume to tell ANYBODY else how to live. Go down to Georgia and get a job at the Cooper Tire factory, and then tell me why we don't need to drill for oil. The problem there, uh, is that Cooper Tire is closing down its Georgia plant and putting 1500 working-class people out of their jobs because the recent oil shortage led to fewer car sales, and lower demand for tires.

The fact is, I believe, that you don't care about the people in Georgia or anywhere else outside of Routt County, and that stops you from coming up with solutions that protect the environment AND the people who will suffer from the loss of their jobs. The government you have created can't do both, because you won't vote for representatives who care as much about all the people as you care about your personal emotional agendas. Is your comfort worth someone else's suffering?

Now I understand why Rome fell. Here we go . . .

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 10 months ago

fairlysure: You can have your cake and eat it too. O and Salazar decided to support limited off shore drilling after the polls showed that it was very popular. They changed their stripes only for political expediency. I'm sure that you will be happy to hear this, unless of course you expect integrity from your leaders.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

The simple truth of the matter is that just now there is really, truly NOTHING being done to limit our dependence on foreign oil. Anything is better than what we have right now.

The sad thing is that there is so much that could be done and which can be done now.

This is an ideal area for immediate government stimulus (which I am against but seems inevitable just the same).

We should be starting work on 25 nuclear power plants in the first 25 states that apply for a license. Think that would put folks to work?

We should be advancing the cause of small neighborhood sized nuclear power plants ASAP. Hell, the US Navy has been operating package sized nuclear power plants on ships for years with not a single accident.

Riding w/ Teddy Kennedy is more dangerous than nuclear power.

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ybul 5 years, 10 months ago

Well why not legislate that people must use CFL's, or in Colorado we mandated that power companies must generate part of their power via wind, hydro, solar, etc.

The problem is that a mandate such as either of these will stifle innovation.

Also what happens if the decision is made based upon tainted studies? All people are honest right, look at Madoff, Enron, etc.. You say just make sure there is oversight, who oversees the overseers?

Why not simply impose an impact fee on coal fired power, to account for its harmful emissions, diesel (to counter health problems), and if you want unemployment benefits, why not tax sales of goods and energy, so that you catch the devices that put people out of work, as opposed to placing a tax on business' that employ people.

The current problems we face are more the result of government, and its henchmen.

Artificially low interest rates, controlled by the fed overheated the economy. Foreign governments manipulating their currencies so that they had cheap exports to the US. Subsidies to farms, have led to concentration of wealth and many other environmental problems.

The current Dogma that free markets have failed is so laughable, as they markets have not been free for quite some time.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 10 months ago

ybul, In general, I agree with your points. Particularly a carbon tax. (I would also like to see a tax on the corn syrup that is wrecking the health of our youth.) But if I read you right, its a rare, and wrong, opinion that less regulation would have lessened this downturn.

JLM, Expand your vision from "reducing our dependence on foreign oil" to "reducing our dependence on oil" and you reach to the "big picture" that better serves your grandkids. Nuclear would be part of that solution, except that you first need to find a state dumb enough to take the deadly waste.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 10 months ago

Aich, The reality, as hundreds of local residents will personally attest, is that Dylan volunteered months of his young life to push this world closer to where he believes it should go. That's damn rare and damn valuable. Red or blue, we need more Dylan's.

But in your post above, you literally invent a Dylan who is the opposite of the real Dylan. Your Dylan is selfish, arrogant, and wrecking people's lives. Aich, my man, that's pretty far from the truth. You may want to risk extending a hand and meet the kid.

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playa46 5 years, 10 months ago

Aich- You really can't compare the Church to our Government. The Church goes by faith for one thing.

I believe that people now understand that more of the last eight years have brought our country close to the tipping point, oil drilling is one of those problems that came up. The fact is, oil drilling just simply costs so much, our once big country can no longer afford it. I am not trying to sound like a nature freak but it does kill animals as well and pollutes our sea. It gives us a lot of globing warming to look forward to.

http://mydailyheadache.wordpress.com/2008/08/15/top-ten-reasons-offshore-oil-drilling-is-a-bad-idea/

Why not try a different approach? We have different ways to get energy, wind, solar, water. These are just a few ways. People who work for the oil industry could be given jobs at these plants instead. You do realize America is the most dependent on oil, right?

And please, don't refer to this as a fake dream, we both know that this is achievable. I don't know, you sound like you have givin up. Good luck in your bomb shelter, you'll do much good there.

JLM- Yet, what if an accident did happen? Chernoble? No... that's crazy talk, right?

http://intp-bird.blogspot.com/2006/04/what-happened-at-chernobyl.html

http://www.ippnw-students.org/chernobyl/research.html

This went global was well, and people are still dying from it, 20 years later. I know we all have to do evenutally, but all of us at one time? This could happen in America.

Whilst nuclear power is very good at supplying us with energy AND that it is safe mostly, the fact that there is a mostly in that phrase can scare the crap outta me.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

I agree completely with the proposition of reducing the energy consumption per capita of the entire US as long as we are simultaneously prioritizing foreign energy as the first step, followed by energy production which pollutes but at some time we will be both energy independent and renewable --- at that point in time it makes not a whit of difference how much energy we consume individually or collectively.

The issue of nuclear waste disposal is just a disposal issue. There are countless industrial processes which end up with waste products which must be either processed at great cost or simply "baby sat" for hundreds of years. Nuclear waste from energy generation can be reprocessed into more nuclear fuel but the process is costly, more costly than simply storing it. This is just simple physics and the English and poly sci majors never really seem to understand it.

Again, we have been running our Navy on nuclear power for four decades and nobody has ever been killed thus far.

At the end of the day, the storage of nuclear waste is not a lot different from a solid waste municipal dump but with a tad longer half life.

Isn't this why Nevada's economy is based on gambling, whoring and now --- nuclear waste disposal? There's an awful lot of ugly country in Nevada.

Nuclear energy generation is safer than automobile or aviation travel. It's certainly safer than driving with Teddy Kennedy.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

Steve,

I personally volunteered almost twelve years of my young life to protecting this country from the threat of nuclear annihilation by the Soviet Union. I can name eight other young men who died before the age of 40, and six of them before the age of thirty, in the process. I think I understand exactly what kind of work and sacrifice are required to make this country a better place.

Nobody sitting up there in the mountains has the right to dictate how anyone else in this country should make a living. Environmental conservation and protection have to be top priorities, but not to the total exclusion of risk resulting from the occasional random event.

We need tangible, feasible solutions to real problems. We need people trained in science and engineering to provide those solutions. John F. Kennedy said that America would go to the Moon, but it was engineers and scientists that made it happen.

There are mothers who claim that G. W. Bush ruined their lives by sending their kids to war in Iraq. How is that any different from a guy in Detroit losing his job and his home because somebody from Colorado prevented an oil company from extracting domestic energy in the Square State? It's not. It's all connected. Everyone who contributes to the economy contributes to all wage earners, and everyone who collects welfare payments of any sort (food stamps, for example) takes away money from all the rest of us. That's how it works. It's really simple. The problem is that most people don't have the education and insight to understand the connections.

Hitler and a lot of other young men tried to make their world better, too. How'd that work out? Genocide, right? So what's the difference between Hitler's genocide and starving our own people and putting them below the poverty line because "mountain folk" don't want anybody to drill for oil?

We've got to have a solution to these problems, and have to understand that the most obvious solutions may not be the best ones. Have you considered that reducing our oil consumption just a few percent has cut the price per barrel by $100 in just a couple of months? If we stop using the stuff, know what will happen? The price will fall to $20 a barrel, and China will buy every one they can get their hands on, and burn them all to build their own economy. Our country using more of it to produce hydrogen for clean combustion is a far better solution than putting China in charge of global CO2 emissions, don't ya think?

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

Playa --

"People who work for the oil industry could be given jobs at these plants instead."

Give? Give what? From who? Where do you get the stuff you're going to give away? The more you write, the more you demonstrate that you have not thought out the whole problem. And, as for "faith," what do you think just happened in the November election? The incoming administration has not done a single tangible thing to improve anything at this point. Yet, a majority of Americans had enough "faith" in the promises to go out and vote for someone who knows nothing about solving these problems except what he's been told by others who claim to have answers. In fact, it's back to the analogy of the Catholic Church running the Solar System. They are acting on belief and faith rather than fact, and when it comes down to hard scientific facts, the heavy lifting necessary to keep this country and its people in business depend on BTUs and Watts. Wind, solar and hydro power don't provide any feasible means of transporting bread and milk from Denver and Grand Junction to Steamboat Springs.

The simplest hydrocarbon compound is methane, CH4. That's four hydrogen atoms to one carbon atom. Extraction of hydrogen for fuel from hydrocarbon compounds is much more efficient than getting it from water, H2O. They key to a "clean" hydrogen economy is to get the hydrogen from oil (hydrocarbons) and sequester the carbon as a solid which can be added to soil to improve farm productivity. Cheaper oil is the key to making the whole system work.

Read what I wrote to Steve above. If we don't use the oil cleanly and efficiently, our giving it up will make more available to the rest of the world, at lower cost, and they'll have no incentive to use it cleanly.

The people producing oil overseas are not going to stop just because we use less. Instead, they will be more competitive with each other to market it, and that will lead to lower prices, and soon there will be more oil moving by sea, and more being burned, and the environment will suffer. If global warming is being caused by CO2, letting Russians and China and India buy it more cheaply and burn it wastefully is the worst thing we could possibly do.

If you want to help the environment, the United States should not give up its share of the world oil market. We should convert to cleaner and more efficient ways to use it, and hydrogen extraction combined with sequestration of solid carbon is the way to go.

Think about it. You remove oil from the environment, convert it into clean-burning hydrogen and solid carbon (which has its own uses in industry and agriculture), and the byproduct is water. Isn't this better than starving Americans for the sake of giving up oil, only to have all the other nations burn the stuff anyway?

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 10 months ago

Aich: The left don't need to spend a lot of time on the big picture, they seem to know it in their heart.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 10 months ago

Fred, I'm very surprised you endorse that guy. My jaw kept dropping time at Aich's world view.

Aich offers : 1) I was a soldier for 12 years so I am best qualified to say how we make this country a better place. 2) Dylan Roberts equals Hitler. 3) The future is oil. Using more oil is the way we should go. 4) Everyone else is too dumb to see the "right way".

If this guy correctly represents the conservative view, Fred, you guys are pretty far out there.

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playa46 5 years, 10 months ago

Aich- I am sorry if I did not make myself clear. The Government reserves jobs for people working in the oil drilling industry.

Let's think a sec, you continue to attack Obama on how he has not done anything for any problem. It's not even ben two months and you asking Obama for everything you need already? These things don't happen over night. He hasn't even taken office...

Do you think McCain would be solving problems right now? I highly doubt that, in fact you supported a man who wanted to keep things rolling the way they are, how on Earth is that supposed to help us? I'm sorry, I don't see where you are going with this.

As for your belief on "faith" and how it ties into the election is hardly true. McCain wanted to keep Bush's policy for 90% of the time, like the War in Iraq, Health care and even Oil my friend. Obama wanted to at least change that, and even that's a better start than what McCain wanted. It had nothing to do with "faith" but with numbers, what did you think people would do? The only "faith" presented in you argument is McCain and the rest of his supporters hoping he would win. I was shocked to see Republicans shocked at how this race went.

And Steve is very much correct, don't use the argument that I am liberal and have no judgement, because I am neither party.

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 10 months ago

Li bs: It would be a miracle if O could just prevent an increase in oil consumption. I say it won't happen, and I'm covering all bets.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

Steve,

Let me make it clear for you. I believe in feasible, tangible solutions. That's the best we'll ever do, no matter what anybody wants, because if it's not feasible and tangible, it'll never get done, and it won't change a thing.

I believe in win-win for everybody. I can't think of a problem in our society that can't be addressed by coming up with a solution that benefits everyone.

Why don't you take some time to think through a few problems and come up with workable solutions that obey the laws of physics? Forget about emotion. Forget what you want. Find workable solutions. Once you've got them identified, THEN you can start picking the ones that actually make sense. (For example, if your toe nails are too long, you can trim them, you can stop wearing shoes, or you can have your feet amputated. Get the point?) Stop depending on reading about what everybody else wants and thinks, and do it for yourself.

When real scientists and engineers are tasked with solving a problem, they don't look to see "what" somebody else did to solve the same problem. They look at "how" somebody else solved the same problem if it has ever been done before. You can't use the exact design of the Golden Gate Bridge to get across the Yampa River in downtown Steaboat Springs, but you can design a suspension bridge that will work fine. Do you understand the difference?

And buddy, I'll guarantee you one thing for sure. If the United States cuts oil consumption, some other country will pick it up for us, because that's how the world works. Oil will get cheaper, and other countries will burn it without the U S Environmental Protection Agency getting in their way about how it's done. If you can't think that one through and realize it's true, we don't have a basis for any further discussion about anything.

Playa,

I'm not blaming Obama because he hasn't done anything yet. He's not in office. How could he do anything? My point was that people believe he's going to make it all better, and that's why they voted for him. What they believed when they voted has absolutely no binding effect on what really happens in the future. So, I think anybody with a working frontal brain should be able to acknowledge the fact that people had faith in what Obama said he would do for us, and that's why they voted for him. Now he has to deliver. So let's see how it goes.

The counterargument -- that they had no faith in McCain and Palin -- works equally well. People didn't believe that McCain and Palin would make things better, so they voted for the other guy. Seems pretty simple to me.

Real life is that bill from YVEA that has to be paid, or they cut off your power, even in the winter. Deal with reality for a while. Figure out how to get electricity without paying for it, and then we'll talk about what you "want." Get it?

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playa46 5 years, 10 months ago

Aich-

As I said before, a lot of people looked at which person wanted to do what, and then chose. People looked at McCain's policy and Obama's, and then chose. I see you idea on faith a bit clearer now, but that doesn't explain it all. Yes, we chose somewhat out of faith, but also which direction we wanted this country to go.

Is it really that hard for you to be part of the solution instead of the problem? Instead of sitting next to you warm, cozy fire, eating chocolates on a silver plate, try thinking about how many people with the wants you no longer have, and help this country stay a country, instead of sitting there calling Obama unfit. He is (will be) your next President.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

I have not called Obama unfit. I only say that the people who elected him in the hope that he can make things better for them did so on an act of hope and faith. There is no evidence at all that a Senator with two years of experience can make wishes come true and miracles occur simply because a dumbfounded electorate is dissatisfied with the previous administration.

I was old enough to remember JFK and the events surrounding his election. He was murdered when I was in the 7th grade; plenty old enough to know what was going on. He was supposed to save the world too, but look at all the things about him that were covered up. His back injury, which kept him disabled when he was not drugged, his involvement with other women than his wife, Jackie, including movie star Marilyn Monroe, while he was in office. None of that stuff was public knowledge until long after his death. The biggest difference between JFK and G W Bush is that when Bush decided to invade an enemy nation, he made sure we had air cover for the troops, unlike JFK who allowed the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba to fail for lack of air cover. Cuba would be free today if JFK was as forward-thinking as G W Bush. Instead, they'll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution under Castro, and the fall of the island to communism.

If Obama had had his way, Iraq would still be an enemy nation today. They'd have chemical weapons, and probably nukes developed in conjunction with North Korea. They'd have NK SCUD missiles to deliver the warheads. Consider what Iraq might have done during the current struggle between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Leon Panetta as head of the CIA? Holy cow. Might as well let Gary Wall run MADD. Be glad you're not a spy on our side. The spies on the other side are probably having orgasms.

I've worked all my life to make things better for people in this country. I even provided jobs for a half-dozen people in Steamboat for a couple of years. That's more than Obama has done for anybody around here so far. When you ask me, why not work to make things better, my answer has got to be, "Sure!" Then I'll ask you to do something meaningful and tangible too, not to just talk about how much you like what I did. People who wait for somebody else to make their life better had better have a lot of patience, because it's hard enough to make your own life better when you work hard at it.

I think what we're going to have is eight years of mediocre attempts at making things "better," only to discover that we're eight years behind schedule when the 2016 election rolls around. That won't be Mr. Obama's fault. It'll be yours and that of everybody else who voted for him.

And, by the way. He won't just be my President. He'll be my boss. I'll still have a job working for him no matter how badly he ####s up the rest of the country. That's the real irony, and it puts a huge grin on my face.

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playa46 5 years, 10 months ago

Wow, spoken like a true republican aich.

If the war in Iraq continues till 2016, America would have more money sucked away into a war we have already "won".

Do you honestly think killing terrorists will stop them from getting WMD's? In war, there will always be casualties. Your so far out there, you would go to blame libs and other supporters of Obama, your own fellow citizens, to make yourself feel better about the election.

You called Obama on his lack of experience, and then start blaming citizens? When will this stop? Then you simply retreat back to your money when the chips are down and this "puts a huge grin on my face."

You want to make yourself feel your right all the time, you won't take in the info I give you. THIS WAR IS NOT ONLY KILLING OUR SOLDIERS, IT IS KILLING OUR NATION.

I hate it when people are sore losers.

The difference between Bush and JFK with the two conflicts (Bay of Pigs and Iraq War) you have presented us is not only air-support, but time periods.

Both were terribly executed Both cost us money we didn't need to waste. Both really pissed off nations at us.

Do some research.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

Playa,

None of your protestations hold water. You're just picking at the points you can't refute.

It is well demonstrated in the history of the United States that the electorate is responsible for every so-called disastrous act committed by the government. Who put them in charge? Q E D. It would be different if we were in the grips of a monarchy or dictatorship and didn't have a choice.

So, did'ja ever wonder how we prevented Germany and Japan from using weapons of mass destruction on the United States? We did it by killing Germans and Japanese until they had no more capacity to make war. It worked great! Yeah, killing terrorists is definitely the answer. But I'll ask . . . what approach would you use instead? Talk to them? Pull out and let the world economy fall when Saudi Arabia is taken over by the Taliban?

As a matter of fact, friend, yes I can retreat to the position of stability I have worked to obtain and hope that our government and our society last long enough for me to die of old age before my money runs out.

How about you doing some thinking instead of relying on research to see what other people think? Research is typically just a background activity to support further original thought. That's how it works when you're doing your Master's thesis or your Doctoral dissertation.

Lebanon is firing rockets at Israel this morning. They're doing it over what amounts to a religious conflict between Muslims and Jews. Let's hear your plan for solving that one; and you're not allowed to kill all the Jews.

How can we hope to feed and support 300,000,000 Americans without foreign oil unless we develop our own energy resources and replace the need for oil? We cannot simultaneously pull out of the Middle East, stop drilling for oil in this country, and make sure that all Americans have jobs and food.

You and Steve are like the people who think they can spray water on the roof of their house while a forest fire roars by. Those people don't understand that the heat from a forest fire can raise the temperature around a house high enough to cook everything there, including the guy with the hose. The fundamental inability to understand that all the issues are interconnected is the reason why we can't just go around solving the individual pieces one by one. You have to solve it all at once to make anything work. That's why we don't get anything meaningful done -- too many small thinkers with pet rocks who don't care about all the others.

The liberals won the election, but the people lose again. It would have been the same if McCain won. It's the people who have to change, and I don't see any hope for it to happen.

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ybul 5 years, 10 months ago

Steve,

Less regulation would have this downturn.  The financial market mismanagement by the federal reserve keeping interest rates low for years helped fuel bubble after bubble.

 I am speaking of the government regulating the economy to make things better.  Not say telling a doctor they need to disclose an estimate of charges before a non critical surgery is preformed so the patient is informed (I could not obtain this information prior to my self funded surgery).  Not, the government saying that a bank can only loan out 5 times its deposits as opposed to 20, with a 20% reserve (allowing them to make a 100% interest rate on money the are borrowing for 5% or less).

I am stating that government regulation of trying to socially engineer the world via mortgage interest deductions, tax free retirement savings, and most importantly a juiced monetary system (to ensure that we don't have a recession).  The Juiced monetary system is responsible for the downturn.  That juice allowed leverage far beyond what in a true free market would have.  It allowed capital (a store of ones hard work, in the truest sense) to be used to invest in a ponzi scheme (the stock market).

The governments intentions to not let a fire get started allowed for a lot of fuel to be added for one giant fire. So yes the governments regulation of the economy is at fault.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 10 months ago

Ybul, Your argument comes down to one core element - interest rates were kept too low, for too long. And yes that amounts to regulation.

It also amounts to an administration pushing for GDP above all else. Stability and downsides were downplayed. Any future administration will likely follow the same motivations. But hopefully not to this extent. Hopefully they will be smarter. Certainly the added regulations for more responsible policy in the banking industry and Wall St will be helpful in curtailing the bubbles. Deregulation in those areas definitely go hand in hand with, and in my opinion, trump the low rates problem above.

We know free market doesn't really exist, right? We subsidize tons of stuff. Big farmers and defense contractors know little about the free market.

And liberals aren't alone in wanting regulation. Reglations cut both ways. Conservatives absolutely adore some of them. Was it 86' that we made mortgage interest deductable from taxes? Boy, try to take that back and see who cares.

We need smart regulation, in my opinion. I would love to see a tax on corn syrup! Right now its subsidized, at great cost to our kids health. But I ramble...

Dylan Roberts, you Rock!

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

ybul,

I can agree with part of what you say. It is also a fact that fraud and malfeasance are responsible for a lot of the economic woes. The government required Fannie May and Freddy Mac and all those folks to promote home ownership among people whose personal lifestyles and lack of responsibility make them poor credit risks. Then, the loan makers got rich on commissions from brokering mortgages for people who are poor credit risks. There was no incentive for anybody to say, "STOP! This is stupid."

There is a case for government regulation of predatory financial practices, because it hurts everybody. Recent events prove it. The housing bubble increased prices without increasing the real value, and now that's all coming home to roost.

When money is involved, some people will always get greedy. It's like walking out of the bank with somebody else's money stuffed in your pants. Those are the people who require regulation, because human nature makes some of us incapable of acting ethically and responsibly.

The other hard fact is that providing equal opportunity does not ensure success. Some people will not take advantage of the opportunity to succeed, but will take advantage of the opportunity to get deeply into trouble by failing to act in good faith with what they've been given. Some people are poor because they are irresponsible, dumb or lazy. You can't cure them by giving them credit. Sure, it's a small percentage of everyone who is given the chance, but that small percentage is enough to cause a mortgage crisis. That's what happened.

I've just watched the highlights of Obama's address. Cutting taxes; increasing government spending. Hello great-grandchildren; here's your sign. "Barack Obama went to Washington, but all I got was a mountain of debt."

While I am no fan of the way the Republican Party allowed business to run amok, and I don't like the way they favored the very rich, at least they understood that cutting taxes and cutting spending are the way to stimulate the economy and increase government revenue.

In the meantime, my wife and I are going to take our $1000 tax credit and buy one of those wine cellar thingies. We always wanted one, but just thought it was a foolish way to spend money. As long as the new administration is going to do it, we might as well support President Obama and follow his lead.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

Steve,

Mortgage interest has been deductible for a lot longer than 1986. Making mortgage interest from more than one home deductible may have been something new, but the interest deduction on personal debt (credit cards, auto loans, boats, cash advances, etc.) was cut. You can only deduct mortgage interest on something you can live in (house, boat, RV, etc.) and other interest is only deductible if it's a business expense.

Making second-home mortgage deductible stimulated the economy by supporting construction jobs, building materials, and all the associated industries. Some people around here may resent the second homes, but other people made their living constructing them.

Any industry that puts people to work producing durable goods, long-term assets (like houses) and stimulates our own idustrial economy is good for everybody. Losing the steel and manufacturing industries to other countries is one of the biggest reasons we're in trouble now. Fast food and brokerage houses can certainly profit from cash flow, but without long-term investment that increases the value of things held by people in our society, any blip in the cash flow makes people poor and leaves them without a place to turn. On the other hand, if you have a chemical plant that makes ingredients for consumer products one day, and can shift over to support more basic needs in the event of an economic downturn, you can stay in business.

I've got tools that I've used to build a house. I've also used them to add on a porch, to build a doghouse and to construct chicken coops. If I have to, I can use them to build shipping pallets and wooden crates. A fast food restaurant can't shift from selling hamburgers to selling shipping pallets. A brokerage house can't shift from selling stocks and bonds to producing chicken coops. We've got to have agility and adaptability to succeed in the world market, and that's why we currently suck. We've made it impossible to compete on an industrial basis with our foreign competitors, and that's why GM is going out of business while Korea is selling good cars at lower prices and killing American jobs.

We can't drill for oil off the California coast. How stupid.

Try shutting down McDonald's, Burger King and KFC because of their negative effect on the environment, and see how far you get with that.

It's an emotionally stupid reaction to care more about pelicans than people. Sure, protect the pelicans, but don't starve a million people for the sake of a thousand ducks. We've got to get real about what counts, and spread the pain around, even if it offends a few tree huggers. We cannot go back to the way it "used to be," but we can't ship all the environmental damage overseas, either. Leaving it up to China puts lead in the paint on kids' toys and melamine in our pet food. We can do it here, and do it right, and do it responsibly, but we've got to DO IT or we'll never have a strong economy again.

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ybul 5 years, 10 months ago

No, the core of my argument is not interest rates were kept low too long, but that is what causes most recessions. The government is largely responsible, in trying to socially engineer the world, and yes some regulation is good, regulating credit default swaps that Clinton said could not be regulated in the 11th hour, would have helped. But the core issue, comes down to too much money chasing too few assets. This created the mania, which is always followed by the hangover.

Unlike Aich, I do not believe that the low interest rates were good, in that they stimulated housing growth. Housing is a non-productive asset, just as the Obama proposed roads might be bring prosperity in the short run they will only cause heartache in the long term (more debt service), as they serve little purpose in "creating" wealth and need their debt serviced. They only facilitate their transportation and allow more concentration of wealth to occur.

His stimulation's should focus on reviving local economies, which create sustainable jobs. Those would be say a diary, a lumber mill, a butcher shop, etc.. Foster a belief in people they should invest in themselves, rather than a ponzi scheme, airline stocks, that have returned little real value to those who invest.

Peace

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playa46 5 years, 10 months ago

Aich- The Muslim/Jewish war is not the same thing as the Iraq War, we are not so involved right now. What do you want me to do with that, put them all in jail? The difference is that they are not attacking the U.S. (except 9/11, which brought us to the Iraq War) so that problem will have to sort itself out.

The reason why I hate the war we are in, is because this war drains our funds, haven't we already "won" this war? We are in a financial crisis right now and this war is just another problem that can be solved so easily. We have none of these problems with this war. If we did decide to declare war, I might even support it. It's how our country is affected that makes me pick sides.

There you go.....making blind statements about how I have no idea what is going on again.........

The difference between what happened in WWII and now is almost 50 years my friend. With new technology, new weapons and fighting styles, everything is different, making it possible for terrorists to get their hands on nasty material when we have our backs turned.

Fighting style is different, many pockets of terrorists using guerrilla warfare makes us very unaware of what they could be doing. The fact is you stay on your "believe they won't attack us so we will attack them" routine, and I think "wait....the numbers are much more different here....."

For example, if you were to go on a game show, simply thinking logically rather than hoping you will pick the right door works. The same rules apply to this as well.

While the Japanese fought like this, we hit them first. They never got their hands on these weapons. The Germans were so dang close, we happened to get the better of them at the last second. Imagine if the war went on about another month, I am sure we would all be speaking German by now.

Back to my game show example, you called me on saying "How about you doing some thinking instead of relying on research to see what other people think? Research is typically just a background activity to support further original thought. That's how it works when you're doing your Master's thesis or your Doctoral dissertation." Well, this is how I think, logically instead of hoping.

As for the oil thing, did I not say before that we can switch to cleaner fuel, and reserve jobs for those who work with oil right now? Again, logical instead of hoping.

How would you plan to solve our oil problem? Keep drilling till we run out of both oil and oxygen?

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arnonep 5 years, 10 months ago

After reading all of this I have come to the conclusion that the biggest problem our country faces is the inability to stay focused. Does anyone remember what the article was about?

Dylan can be commended on his efforts and dedication. Other than that, his assessment of Ken Salazar and/or any congressman has to be assessed. It seems that Dylan and many Americans have forgotten that congress, not the president, legislates our country. All the president can do is try to influence what congress approves and disapproves. Therefore all of the problems we have were and are caused by congress. The only good that is being done by O is getting congressmen out of congress and into his cabinet. With the down side being that the remaining congressmen might listen to the cabinet. The only real solution to our country's problems is term limits.

It s unconstitutional to be a professional politician!

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

"Do you honestly think killing terrorists will stop them from getting WMD's?"

Uhhh, OK, yes to that one! Dead terrorists do seem to solve the proliferation problem rather conclusively. Could just be me though.

"Imagine if the war went on about another month, I am sure we would all be speaking German by now."

Uhhh, if WWII had gone on another month, much more likely the Russians would have killed every single German in the entire country. Not necessarily a bad outcome, mind you.

When the Russians met the Allies on the Elbe, the Germans were beaten and beaten conclusively. The only thing that saved the Germans was that the Allies took their surrender in about half of Germany. Had this not ocurred and the Russians had occupied all of Germany, you would need to revise the European maps because Germany would not have existed.

The Germans had better individual troops, better non-coms, better officers, better machine guns, better mortars, better artillery, better tanks and a better general staff. The Allies and the Russians had more men and a huge industrial engine able to produce huge amounts of arguably inferior but plentiful armaments. Oh, yeah, they also had the power of being right on their side, a morally outraged citizen-soldiery and were fighting against manifest evil.

Of course, that was a time when we actually "won" wars and were willing to sweat a bit to achieve good.

Have a nice damn day!

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ybul 5 years, 10 months ago

Actually, the President through executive order has done quite a bit that O is hoping to undo in his first 180 days. Over the years over 50000 executive orders have been signed. The president also provides leadership, he is working to provide a stimulus package to bring us out of the financial mess.

Contacting Salazar to say that maybe Obama's ideas to rebuild the countries roads and bridges, might not be all that it is cracked up to be, could be wise. the proposal will simply leave this country further in debt.

in addition, the corn subsidies, that allow cheap food, should be abolished. As when enacted, legislators did not know what problems this would cause. Having a diet based upon corn and lacking omega 3 fatty acids, is causing many health issues, add/adhd, diabetes, the list goes on.

So Steve, after pondering upon it, government regulation, is causing most of the problems we face today. Figuring out how to minimize the level of government intervention would be good. As when you or I make a mistake it effects us, the governments mistakes are going to effect generations to come.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

Playa,

Well, if you do some research, you will find that Japan exploded a nuclear weapon in the summer of 1945, not long before Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuked by us. Theirs was not as well-developed as ours, and was too big to carry in an airplane, but they were on their way.

Hmmmm . . . how would one prevent a terrorist from getting his hands on a WMD. Well, killing him is one good way. Another good way would be to remove the governments in the Islamo-Fascist nations who are trying to develop WMDs (if they haven't already) and could be sources for terrorists. Lessee . . . well, Israel bombed both Iraq and Syria because of their nuclear weapons development programs. And when Saddam Hussein was shooting off his mouth about wanting to get nuclear weapons, didn't we remove him from power? He was a close ally of both North Korea (which has developed and tested nukes, if not deployed them) and Syria. Allies share, right? (Hey, didn't the Brits get a lot of their nuke program from us . . . ?). Now, Iran is the biggest known threat on the horizon. There was a blurb on the news this morning stating that a cache of weapons on the way to Venezuela from Iran was intercepted and confiscated. Venezuela is a known supporter of terrorists.

Don't you see how all of this goes together? We'd better budget for ground wars in the Middle East if we intend to prevent terrorists from getting nukes in the long run; might need to do some work in Venezuela, too.

The short-sighted view that we've been left alone except for 9/11/01 fails to recognize that our prosperity requires a stable global economy, and that requires oil from the Middle East for us, Europe and Asia. Remove the Saudi fields and you create competition for what's left. Competition for scarce resources in the reason Japan invaded Incochina in the 1930s, and Germany invaded the rest of Europe.

Your game show analogy proves one thing to me. You watch too much TV. TV shows are nice and packaged because the writer creates them to have a resolution that keeps the viewers coming back. Monk. NCIS. House. I love 'em too. The difference is that I've had enough contact with real detectives to know they're usually not very smart, or else too lazy to investigate, unless somebody died. If it's a financial crime, or covered by insurance, they're not interested. I've had contact with real NCIS agents, and oh, boy, are they a joke. Seems like guys who can't make it as detectives go to the NCIS from what I can see. And doctors? God bless 'em, but you get good and bad. Thank goodness we're free to find another one and get a second opinion.

My sincere hope is that you will go to school and take enough math, chemistry and physics to be able to understand how combustion works, how much power is required to meet our needs, and how it can be derived in real terms on the ten-year planning horizon. Then you may understand the problem, and then you can work on solutions.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 10 months ago

Ybul, The regulations caused most of our problems? Not. The lobby $$ and corruption in DC led to some bad regs, yes.

The free market sees a bottom line. There is profitable motivation to pollute, profitable motivation to sell harmful pharmaceuticals, profitable motivation to overharvest in a given fishery. Regulations are not appropriate here?

As a good test case, would you rather we had no EPA?

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playa46 5 years, 10 months ago

Wow Aich, you totally missed my point with the game show ideal.

You simply ignored facts and simply said "ohhhh... you watch too much T.V. lol...) I actually got this analogy from a math mathematician, do I have to repeat myself? I can call you on simply putting words in my mouth I never said and trying to turn the subject around.

Where did you get your research on the Japanese Bomb? If you can get some of this info you have proposed to me, then I will shut up about it, I can't find this on google.

You have also proved my point, although Saddam is out now, we still hear about different ways terrorists are getting material. I did state that they still find ways to get their "ideas" put out. You Venezuela so called "argument" proves my point.

As for a final note, please stop accusing me of many things I am not. I do go to school, I do take science and I do take math. You are simply assuming how I live my life, you don't even know me. This also goes with my T.V. Show example. (Remember, it was only an example!!!)

My only hope is that you realize starting so many wars at one time kills our economy and gets other countries really, really pissed at us.

JLM- You too, missed my point. Lets say that Russia was not able to invade until about a month later. Germany had fast growing technology, who knows what they could have accomplished? Luckily, the war ended before any scientists could finish. But remember, they were so very close.

Also, swearing in your posts does not make you sound more intelligent, if that's what your getting at. So......"Have a nice damn day!"

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

Playa,

The info on the Japanese fission bomb was reported in national newspapers shortly after Japan surrendered. The story was in the New York Times, possibly the Washington Post. I learned about it from the History Channel.

There are many things coming out these days concerning "secret" events during the 40s and 50s. The reason for this is that classified material generally becomes "unclassified" automatically 50 or 60 years. I would doubt you can get the plans for the Hiroshima bomb, but for example, the fact that an F-86 Saber Jet broke the sound barrier in a dive several weeks before Chuck Yeager did it in level flight in the X-1 has now been made public.

Google is good, but it's not complete. We live in a wonderful time because information is coming out, but we can't forget that it's not a complete record of everthing that ever happened.

As for your game show example, the fact that a "math mathematician" explained it to you doesn't mean anything. The point is that using your brane (sic) to think logically through a problem works better than making a random choice. A counter example is that people have "systems" designed to let them win the lottery. The lottery is totally random, so any random guess is as good as another. In Blackjack, however, logic and knowledge of probability can be used even if you don't count cards (which is illegal because Nevada says it is . . . ). If you are holding 19 in your hand, there are only two cards you can draw without busting; a deuce or an ace. In a fresh deck, or a shoe with many decks shuffled fairly, the chances are 2 out of 13 that you'll draw a card that won't make you bust. If you're holding 16, you can draw a 5, 4, 3, 2 or ace without busting, so you have a 5 out of 13 chance of not busting. That's a much more reasonable choice than hitting on 19, right?

In real life, people with the skill to compute the odds and examine the logic also develop experience into human nature which aids them in taking risks. For example, nobody has gone out of business in a store that only sells buggy whips in Steamboat Springs in the last ten years. Does that mean a buggy whip store would be a good investment?

JLM,

Technology played a huge role in the defeat of Germany. One example is the P-51 Mustang married to the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, which gave the P-51 an altitude and speed advantage over the ME-109s and put it on a par with the Focke-Wulf 190. The ME-262 jet could outrun and outclimb the Mustang, but could not out-dive it, and could not out-turn it. Also, the P-51 had enough range to attack the Luftwaffe on the ground on their way home. In the end, because of the P-51, the 8th Air Force bombing campaign made enough of a dent in the German industrial base and fuel production system (they made liquid fuel from coal -- hint, hint) that German forces ran out of fuel and spare parts. That's the lesson we need to learn; they lost because they ran out of fuel.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

Playa ---

You need to study your history a bit. The Russians did not "invade", they had been fighting the Germans for years and were slowly but surely beating them back from Mother Russia and across Eastern Europe. Barbarossa (German invasion of Russia) commenced in June of 1941 and by December of '41 the Germans were stalled in front of Moscow --- the highwater mark for the invasion. Over the next 3 years, the Russians slowly but surely beat the Germans back to Berlin.

The Germans were unable to defeat the Russians because the Russians were able to trade space for time and combat power. While the Germans' supply lines were lengthened, the Russians were shortened. When the Russians were able to move troops from Siberia (during the first winter), the dye was cast. It just took an awful long time for the Russians to move the Germans backward.

At the start of the German invasion, there were a total of 7.5MM soldiers engaged in combat and the Russians enjoyed a 4:1 advantage in tanks with their main tank, the T-34, being the very best in the world at that time. The Germans actually had a better tank, the Tiger, but it was too costly to manufacture and was too big to be transported easily by train.

The Germans had enormous technological advances including jet engines (Hitler made the fateful error deploying them on fighters rather than bombers), great tanks, artillery and command/control. The Allies had a bigger industrial capacity and bombed the living snot out of the Germans in a new methodology of warfare --- direct warfare against an enemy's industrial base.

The Allies enjoyed a 5.02:1 advantage in GDP v the Axis powers. The Allies produced over 225,000 tanks during the war while the Germans produced only 50,000. The Allies produced over 600,000 aircraft of all kinds while the Axis produced something along the lines of 280,000.

All in all, the Germans were defeated by a superior industrial base.

The only superior German manufacturing advantage was in submarines wherein they produced almost 1500 to the Allies 400 but the Allies produced almost 2000 destroyers/escorts v the Germans approximately 90.

Technology is a small part of manufacturing expertise.

The war ended when the Allies overran and occupied Germany. Technology played no part in the victory at the end.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

Actually, I think you made my point quite succinctly --- the Germans fell victim to "dumb" bombs and lost the war when their industrial base was inadequate to fuel their armed might.

The Germans only produced about 1400 Me-262s and they were not introduced until about April of 1944 (which is why the decision by Hitler to configure them as a primary fighter rather than a bomber was so critical --- a month later they might have wreaked havoc on the landing beaches and assembled landing fleet if they had a bomb load to deploy) while the Allies produced about 15,000 P-51s in all of their variant forms.

The P-51 saw its first combat in 1942 at least a couple of years earlier than the Me-262.

The P-51 was cobbled together expertly primarily from the best things learned from the Battle of Britain --- laminar flow wing, Merlin engines (eventually), bubble cockpit to allow for better rear vision and a great prop from another aircraft. In addition, the plane was stiffened, had self-sealing gas tanks and had drop tanks added which provided its 2700 mile range making it perfect to escort bombers. The big deal with the Merlin engines was the two speed, two stage superchargers which provided for great high and low altitude performance.

As such, the P-51 did not really represent a huge technological leap forward as almost nothing was designed from the ground up but rather assembled from the best battle tested components. That's exactly why it was possible to produce so many of them --- all the components were already in production.

Most P-51 v Me-262 victories were on takeoff, landing or when a bunch of Allied aircraft jumped a single Me-262 which is the way the Nazis used them. The superior range of the P-51 allowed the Mustangs to "hang around" until the Me-262s had to go back for fuel and then the Mustangs followed them home. Chuck Yeager wrote of his exploits following them home.

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playa46 5 years, 10 months ago

JLM- I know my history, I know how the Germans were slowly beat back and that the Allies did not come until later on. I know how the Germans were outnumbered in the end, and I know how we won.

I simply asked to think "what if the war went on another year?" Was that too hard?

Aich- I know how to play poker, I know how to count cards and use logic in games.

First things first, counting is not "illegal" it is using a system to beat the game. When counting, you're using logic and not a hope or a chance. If a card is a 2-6, you add one number to your deck. If it is 9-Ace, subtract. 7 and 8 are neutral, the higher a deck is, the better you have at winning big. It's as simple as that.

You still miss my point, I simply used a "game show" analogy to give you an example about why you're idea on what you want to have done to our economy doesn't apply very well. Using logic instead of emotions benefits you better when dealing with problems.

Simply hoping that we will use oil to get out of our economic problem does not run with the numbers.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

Playa,

You're not a total Bozo. I'm certain of it. So I'll try again.

Keep drilling for now. Drill and keep the prices down so that:

We'll have money left over to invest in alternate energy sources.

We'll have a thriving economy that's not held hostage to $140/barrell oil when OPEC decides to cut off the supplies.

We'll have time to come up with the transition plan to go from fossil to renewable and, hopefully cheaper, energy sources than liquid petroleum from the Middle East.

And, when the day comes that we run out (which we won't, because new oil is continually being formed, just like the stuff we've been pumping for the last 100 years) or extraction becomes so expensive that other energy sources are cheaper (even nuclear!) we'll be ready for it.

The folks who grew up in the last ten or fifteen years and never sat in a line waiting to buy gas before are the ones who had to have $4.50/gallon gas come along to convince them to can the pickups and SUVs unless they really NEED them ( like construction workers do around here, for example). I paid an extra $5,000 for my last new car in 2003 to get a 24 valve DOHC six cylinder engine that gets 30 mpg in a family sedan (4 people, bags and golf clubs) on the highway, rather than the 24 to 25 mpg of the less expensive engine. I bought a compact 4-cyl pickup to have in addition to my big 4WD F-150 (that's paid for, so why not keep it?) for most of the toting around of stuff that I need to do. I can still drive the F-150 when I need it, but I'm getting 10 to 12 MPG better in the small truck than in the big one.

I'm doing things personally to reduce my own dependence on oil, and now, thankfully, so is everybody else. But, the word is "reduce," not "remove." Remove is not practical in 2009, but it can be in 2019 or 2029. The people who are alive today are going to remember what happened in 2008, and they'll be behind alternate energy. Who knows; if we replace 90% of the oil used to power our cars, maybe the 100 year supply we have left will be enough for 1000 years.

The U S Air Force came up with a system recently to process solid coal into liquid jet fuel at prices competitive with liquid petroleum. The funding was cut off, but I'll bet it will be back with a fury pretty soon. The end of oil, without a replacement, will be the end of air travel.

There may come a day when we'll be using wind and solar energy to combine hydrogen from water with CO2 from the air to produce pure oxygen and liquid hydrocarbon fuels for airliners. That would be the ultimate clean, recycled energy source. It's not affordable today, but who knows in 10 or 20 years?

So look to the future for alternatives, but drill for now. When cheap and practical alternatives are developed, people will adopt them. Look at the Prius.
Cutting off the oil supply now will be a worse disaster than the one we've already got.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

Playa,

Sorry friend, but you're still wrong. I am the logical dog in this fight. Emotion has nothing to do with it.

Lay out your plan for use of something other than oil. Be specific. Talk about Watts and BTUs and miles driven and all that stuff.

I've got over 30 years of experience as an Industrial Engineering school graduate and an advanced degree to boot, with plenty of background in economics. I can say with very little chance of being proven wrong that if we had a way out of this mess that included reducing our need for oil to zero, we'd be doing it. Replacing oil with a lower-cost alternative fuel would be the best medicine we could give to our ailing economy. If it could happen overnight, it would already be done.

Domestic energy production is a way to create wealth for the people in this country. It's a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil, and stop the flow of wealth to the Saudis. It can bridge the gap to alternate technologies, and that's my point. We might not need it 20 years from now, but today, we do. So, let's save the day in 2009, work for alternatives to be in place by 2019 and total replacement by 2029. If it happens sooner, great. We just can't treat our current state of financial starvation by putting everybody on a diet unless we're prepared for a lot of people to lose everything the own, and more, and then die of real starvation, homelessness and exposure.

You continue to dance around what your personal status is, and I guess it really doesn't matter. You just don't sound like somebody who has much experience taking care of himself and a family in a town like this. Either that, or you've got so much money you don't have to worry about it.

There are people in our 57 states (he he) who have nothing, and will either live on public handouts or die if they lose their jobs. Those are the people who need the domestic energy production the most, to preserve their jobs. Sure, the government can give them jobs, but then our grandkids will end up paying the taxes to retire that debt. Doesn't it make more sense to actually create and distribute wealth to solve the short-term jobs problem than to borrow money from future generations to pay someone's wages today?

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playa46 5 years, 10 months ago

Logical dog in this fight? If you went through all those years as an engineer, you would understand that oil is running out, as well is our money. And your calling me not logical? You think that drilling is our only option.

What happens when we run out? What about the fact that it kills every living thing on this planet? What happens when our government looses all its money for this product, especially in a time like this? Where is your logic now?

You see, I see us moving away from oil, and going to safer, cleaner ways of energy, wind, solar, water, we have so many ways and you just keeping shunning them away.

As for the jobs, as I have said before, reserving a spot in this industry for people working for oil drilling is another good way for the money to keep flowing.

A republican like you would call all of this unrealistic, I know it is not the best plan. But what would you do? Keep drilling? A republican like you ignores the fact that oil is running out.

Therefore, my "hopeful" argument comes in. Your so wrapped around your Republican flag, you're oblivious to what is really going on in the world.

Calling yourself the "logical dog in this fight" proves it. What do you say? "There are people in our 57 states (he he)". That is how you do it.

I would like to hear your plan. Even if we do keep drilling, how will you get us energy and jobs when (and I said when) we run out? How does your idea benefit us at all?

As for your "You don't sound like someone who has enough experience in a town like this argument". I have a job, a car, I pay for gas, my cell phone and almost every piece of entertainment I have. (Again, the whole 'calling me names without even knowing me' thing comes up again!!) As for the other part "I am too rich to even worry about it." You said it yourself.

"I can retreat to my money when the chips are down". How does calling me rich support your thesis?

Good luck with your "logic". I hope it applies well in the real world.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

"I know my history." Hmmmm, not really so much, eh? LOL

So, I guess the Russians really didn't invade Germany after all, eh?

Developing domestic energy resources and ensuring that money stays in the US while developing alternative fuel sources is the right answer to our challenge right now. Fuel consumption and foreign sources are two different but related issues.

First, we have to reduce our dependence on foreigh oil.

We can simultaneously attempt to develop promising alternative energy sources but right now (with the exception of nuclear power) none of them are particularly cost effective.

The spike in oil prices created a lot of enthusiasm but the decline in oil prices has gutted the economic motivations for alternative energy development. Sad but true!

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flotilla 5 years, 10 months ago

Check this out

http://clubs.ccsu.edu/recorder/editorial/editorial_item.asp?NewsID=188

Interesting article and I would think you would enjoy it, aich, as an engineer.

I still have a problem drilling in our remaining pristine lands and oceans though. So controlling the oil/gas leases so that companies can't sit on their leases for years on end should be a priority. There are many ways to improve the way we drill for oil while we implement alternatives. But "drill baby drill" spewing from the masses of confused uneducated republican base isn't helping reduce. (I am not saying that all republicans are uneducated and confused. But plenty of them are). I think THE most important thing to learn is the bigger picture. Reducing greedy, materialistic dependance on products that comes from other countries (mardi gras beads & toys, walmart). Realizing the difference between wants and needs. Reducing intake of foods that increase your visits to the doctor... The bigger picture of reduction. We can start this now. Fueling your vehicle is only one piece of the pie. Fueling your wants is a whole different story.
www.thestoryofstuff.com

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playa46 5 years, 10 months ago

Aich- You're starting to finally get it. However, we will keep drilling, but we soon need to figure out a way out of this crisis, and drilling simply won't work.

Flotilla gets it, I think you're starting to get it too. If all else fails consider the other option.

JLM- You are still missing my point, I simply ask you to think what would happen if the war went on another month. Luckily, Russia was able to stop the Germans before they finished.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

If the war had gone another month, there would have been a whole lot more dead Germans. The Germans were totally out of gas within 90 days of the end of the war. They were down to old men and young boys to defend Berlin and all of their armies were in desperate retreat. The Luftwaffe had been swept from the skies and the Allies enjoyed complete air superiority. German units were pressing westward to surrender to the Americans, British and French in that order. Anything but the Russians.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

You guys tear me up. You're out marching in support of the Kyoto Accords and hugging the whales and listening to tree songs (or whatever) and don't care about the poor democrats who form the party base. You know, the folks who live from paycheck to paycheck on minimum wage? Them?

Have you never heard the phrase, "The poor pay more?" The people who can't afford to run out and drop $20K++ on a Prius are the ones driving the old beaters that get 12 mpg. I know how easy it is to pronounce that they should junk the gas hogs and buy something economical, but when you sometimes have to live in your car, a used Neon is not the car of choice.

I have NEVER been a proponent of oil for the long term. There are several reasons, but letting other countries be in charge of our fuel supply is the #1 reason, with cost under OPEC being second and the environmental concerns coming in 3rd. I was making a little over $2.00 an hour in 1974 when the first oil crisis hit. Gas went from 28 cents a gallon to 60 cents in a week and we had to get in line to buy the stuff. Some stations gouged people at $1.00 a gallon and they paid it because they had to go to work. My car got 12 or 14 miles per gallon. A few months later I was making a whopping $530 a month as a Navy Ensign, paying $175 a month for rent and $100 for the electricity bill (Gulf Power was using low-sulfur oil to generate power back in them days because it was cleaner than bunker oil or coal -- and of course the price of oil had doubled also). For more than a year I had a 70 mile round-trip commute from a Pensacola apartment to NAS Whiting Field, burning 4 gallons of gas ever time I made the round trip. A 20 gallon fill-up cost me around $10, so if you do the math you'll see that rent, electricity and gasoline ate up half my pay before a cent was ever paid for groceries, insurance, clothing, and the once-a-week outing to an early movie at student discount prices on Friday night-- when we could afford it. Ever know what it feels like to have $20 in your checking account with a week to go until payday?

Keeping the price of oil down by domestic production during the transition to hybrids and new-design electric cars is essential to the welfare of our people. It's not the rich republicans who waste all the gas on their jets and boats and SUVs. It's the far more numerous poor people who need it to get back and forth to their jobs to support themselves. Fuel cost is not a burden for rich people, and even if all the rich people bought hybrids and electrics, it wouldn't make much of a dent in domestic gasoline consumption.

So get real. Have some compassion for people who are suffering, and keep oil prices down until we don't need it at all. That's the best solution.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

Heck, I used to make $277 per month as a Shavetail, $65 hazardous duty pay (combat pay overseas and demo pay in the States), $65 jump pay, $35 meals (nothing when in the field cause I got "free" C rats), $55 clothing and $0 for housing because I was living in either a pup tent or a BOQ. Boy, those were the days.

I had all the exercise I could handle and lots and lots of fresh air. I loved it.

Ahhh, those were the days, my friends! LOL

Oh, yeah, I got free medical and I needed it from time to time. Plus the GI Bill.

Is this a great country or what?

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ybul 5 years, 10 months ago

Ybul,

(The regulations caused most of our problems?)

Regulations that regulate our economy have been bad. You stated you would not mind a tax on high fruitcose corn syrup. However, we don't need that, all that would need to happen is the regulation that subsidizes the growth of corn.

(The free market sees a bottom line.)

My going to work every day sees a bottom line also.

(There is profitable motivation to pollute)

The constitution also states that their is a right to private property. In order for one to pollute, another's right to clean air, water, etc. are infringed upon. As opposed to the EPA setting guidelines on how much a polluter can pollute, why not follow a market driven method, and tax those pollutants. If this course were followed then wind power would supplant coal power, as when you factor in the harmful emissions then the true cost of production is higher than wind power.

The pharmaceutical companies... The courts take care of the effects of a harmful drug. Their should be some sort of regulatory body, but today that body is a revolving door for the CEO's of the pharma companies. So your profit motivation, gets to oversee their industry.

(As a good test case, would you rather we had no EPA?)

I would rather have an EPA that funded itself, by levying impact fees on companies, that internalize the cost of production of any given industry. I would prefer that the decision making process is brought as close to the local level as possible, as the further you remove yourself from the situation, the less rational government will be.

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ybul 5 years, 10 months ago

oops meant Steve not ybul, still a little groggy at this hour.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

The best way for us to protect the environment is to develop the technologies to manufacture what we need cleanly, and at lower cost than traditional wasteful and polluting methods.

If it can be done cheap and dirty in another part of the world, they'll do it as long as we and the other industrialized nations continue to buy from them.

Rice is "the" staple food in Japan. It used to be that Japan banned imports of rice from other countries in order to preserve their own ability to produce what they need domestically. Rice cost more in Japan than in other countries as a result.

The question is whether Americans are prepared to pay 4 to 6 times more for iPods, hard drives and memory sticks made cleanly in America, but at higher cost. I think the answer is "no."

There are a few environmentalists who would live in a yurt and heat with pens of rabbits fed on organically grown dandelions, but would they also give up their tunes, videos and X-Box 360s to reduce worldwide pollution?

Would they move to Kansas and grow their own food using traditional, renewable methods rather than sit up here in a world-class ski resort town telling everybody else how to live?

Yeah, as if . . .

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flotilla 5 years, 10 months ago

but what if this economic downfall forces people into making the harder choices. Memory sticks and ipods are not necessities, like rice. I would love one of those i-shuffles so I could rock out on my daily exercise hour. but I have to pay the propane bill instead. And hopefully, in the coming months and years, people will understand that putting the shuffle on the ole credit card isn't such a hot idea. maybe we'll gasp learn something about living within your means. You can beat up the environmentalists all you want but truth be told, isn't the heart of environmentalism more of a lifestyle. Aich, you are choosing the extreme end of the spectrum instead of realizing the small choices that people make to move the world. I am not an "environmentalist" but my family and I live pretty modestly. We take small steps and think locally as much as possible. I will spare you the details. But I will revert back to materialism here. I think it is at the heart of our problem. And whoever understands that, democratic, republican, environmentalist, whatever should be praised for their small steps.
I think you missed the point about the Prius. Which is that "greeness" can be deceiving. Much like fad diets. At the end of the day calories in must fall short of calories burnt to lose weight. Same philosophy with material greed and dirty, wasteful production.

You talk about the tire plant in the town that your second home is located in. But you don't introduce the owner of the tire plant who may or may not himself have several homes, cars, xboxes, 360s? Maybe at this point, it was economically smarter for him to bail and cut his losses instead of operating in the red for a few years. How about when things were at the prime of his business? Did he put aside money to pay wages in case things got tough? Probably not. He probably bought his wife a new ring and went to Fiji. I don't know, but I am just asking. People forget about the ups and downs when they are in the up times. But sob stories about drilling oil so tire plants can stay in business is only part of the bigger picture.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

Regardless of how wacky things get there is always something legitimate that can be done to make things better even if it is just a little, little thing. Cause if you multiple it by 300MM Americans it becomes a big thing.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

Floater,

These are good points.

For one thing, if you're got good insulation, you might find that turning the thermostat down to 55 and using the oil-filled radiator type electric space heaters in the rooms you actually occupy would save a bundle. It's easy to read your electric meter and see how many kilowatt hours you've used since the last bill (the meter reading is on the bill). Anyone with high school algebra skills can figure it out, and you can monitor your electric consumption on an hourly basis if you want to (by reading the meter) and see how much it's costing you to run the space heaters on top of your usual electric load. You also know how much you're paying for propane and how much it costs per gallon, so you can figure out for yourself whether you can save money this way. I can tell you that I'm doing it, and saving hundreds per month on propane while paying about 1/2 the difference extra for electricity. (Hey, remember that day back in high school where you asked, "When will I ever use agebra in real life?" Well, today's the day.)

So, I've cut my heating bill in half by looking for a feasible, alternative approach that saves money. I'm getting the same amount of heat. I don't know if I'm reducing CO2 emissions, and don't care, however, adding insulation last year did, I'm sure, reduce my need for energy and that surely reduced some CO2 emissions.

As for the tire plant, the company chose our local plant from three candidates. The other two plants had unionized workers, which means that the company would still have been required to pay the laid-off workers at the closed unionized plant under the union contract (just like the auto workers in Detroit). The local plant was non-union. It will be mothballed and padlocked within nine months.

We cannot depend on altruism to save the day. People act selfishly. Proposing that the company put aside enough money to pay laid-off workers is just as silly as proposing that all the workers at one of the other plants volunteer to quit and go get other jobs so that our local plant could stay open. It just doesn't work that way.

Other than reducing the human population to reduce demand, the only realistic way to get people to be "green" is to make "green" the cheaper way to go. That might mean imposing an import quarantine on foreign made electronics -- and create an iPod black market overnight. Or, it might mean imposing tariffs on foreign-made electronics to make them cost-competitive with American-made "green" electronic products.

Wal-Mart shut down Boggs' Hardware by undercutting the prices on common hardware items. Now Ace at the Curve gets all the specialty business (cutting and threading iron pipe, etc.). People don't care if somebody else gets hurt, or inconvenienced, as long as they get what they want for a lower price. This is really the problem with going "green" in our economy. Green must be cheaper.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 10 months ago

ybul, You are right about the corn subsidy. I was disappointed with the farm bill we passed, and am not hopeful about the subsidy of corn ending. If we can stop it, great!

Its a fun fantasy of mine that some city or state is going to tax corn syrup. Or some form of it such as soft drinks. Dreams do come true.

Kudos to those schools who have rejected the soft drink suppliers' kick-backs and banned soda machines. Improve the kid's diet, and watch the IQ come out of hiding.

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flotilla 5 years, 10 months ago

The only problem is that the entire midwest will sink into debt because they had to go out and buy new machinery and land on credit. When the government realizes their mistake and takes back the subsidy will they assist them in finding a new crop?

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ybul 5 years, 10 months ago

The Midwest is already in debt and still can not make a profit as a result of all the inputs required to grow gmo corn. In reality, the crop that most of the subsidies go to is livestock. A novel concept would be to raise beef on grass, follow the beef with chickens which would eat the bugs in the poop and the short grass. Joel Salatin calculated that it is $1.00 per dozen less to grow eggs this way, prior to the run up in grain prices.

This would result in a healthy food, require more labor and create jobs. The thing about soda machines in schools is so true, the British have conducted initial trials on supplementing Omega 3 fatty acids into kids diets with ADD and ADHD, this has settled the kids down and they do better in school. They are working expanding the study if I am not mistaken to prove this.

Heck most of the problems the country is facing today could be solved with a new agriculture program. You could fix the employment picture, the health care mess, and work towards reducing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Too bad Obama appointed a Monsanto friend as the Secretary of agriculture. That Mantra of change flew out the window for me with that appointment.

Oh well, I think the general population is pushing that agenda.

Peace.

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