Saturday, December 30, 2006

Learning and growth is not a liability for a Chief Executive.

Ok... I want you to think back almost exactly 12 years. Where were you? What did you think?

More importantly, how well had you developed your personal political ideology? What were the important issues of the day? Did you consider yourself liberal or conservative? What did "liberal" and "conservative" mean 12 years ago?

For me, I was 13... not a great age to consider deep ideas on political standing. But, I don't care if you are 25 or 125 today... I sure hope you have learned something since 1994. I sure have.

But, that is not the real point... just food for thought...

For the past few weeks, the Boston Globe and some other groups have been hammering potential Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney for his positions on Gay Rights and Abortion. Today, these are the political buzzwords of the Republican Party. Don't get me wrong: I think they are VERY important issues. But, we cheapen both the problem and the solution if we are stuck in buzzword politics.

Honestly, I am currently riding high on the Mitt Romney bandwagon. I think he is, by far, the most qualified and impressive of the current and potential candidates for President of the United States.

I have been asked by a few friends about Mitt Romney's positions on Abortion and Gay Rights. So, I think I'll give you MY take on what is going on.

One of the most impressive things about Mitt Romney: he honestly learns. He is a man of principle and values, but he also is open to learn from the ideas of others. Honestly, he is one of the smartest executives I have ever met or studied. Yet, he is humble enough to know (and admit) that he doesn't know everything.

On Abortion, Mitt is quite open about the day he changed his mind to be firmly Pro-Life. Since his first attempt to run for Senate in 1994, Mitt's outlook on the abortion debate has grown. Being from Massachusetts, he was a little wary of the issue with a very liberal constituency. So, as governor, he had promised to maintain the status quo. But, he is very open about the day he changed his mind:

Romney says he did have an epiphany, and he's explicit about the exact moment. "[S]everal years ago, in the course of the stem-cell-research debate, I met with a pair of experts from Harvard," he told National Review Online's Kathryn Lopez. "At one point the experts pointed out that embryonic stem cell research should not be a moral issue because the embryos were destroyed at 14 days. After the meeting I looked over at ... my chief of staff, and we both had exactly the same reaction—it just hit us hard just how much the sanctity of life had been cheapened by virtue of the Roe v. Wade mentality. And from that point forward, I said to the people of Massachusetts, 'I will continue to honor what I pledged to you, but I prefer to call myself pro-life.'" (I can't remember exactly where this paragraph was quoted from, but I admit openly that it is not from my memory... I'll find a better citation).

I respect him greatly for allowing his ideas and motives to develop. Up until he was Governor, he was a successful businessman and he had never been forced to make a clear statement on Abortion issues. I get the impression that he has always been wary of the idea, but didn’t want to touch the issue politically. I mean, as a candidate for Governor why would you bring up the one hot issue that could derail the rest of your promises to your constituency? In his campaigns, he promised to maintain the status quo as desired by the majority of voters in Massachusetts (I know... it's sad, but sometimes you make the best of a wrong constituency, and get done what you can).

As time went on, he realized that he really did have a strong belief on the issue. He is smart enough to understand how hot the issue is, but he is openly and repeatedly dedicated to a value system that respect’s LIFE (not necessarily the magazine). And, that has helped him formulate a position on Abortion that I find quite agreeable. I think he was wrong in 1994.

On Abortion, Mitt Romney admits that he was not always a “Reagan Republican”… but, then again, Reagan was not always a “Reagan Republican.”

I liked this quote from him in a recent interview about his admiration of President Reagan (the poor guy can't even celebrate Christmas with his family without a bunch of interviews. This political world ain't no picnic):

"When I was running for office for the first time in 1994, I was trying to define who I was, not who I wasn’t. I was trying to define that I was an individual who had his own views and perspectives and I wasn’t a carbon copy of someone else. I’ve said since, and continue to reiterate, that one of my heroes is Ronald Reagan. I’ve been asked time and again in interviews, who are your heroes? And I mention Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower among others as some of my favorite heroes, and I feel that deeply. But I am a different person than any other person and my interest is, of course, looking forward to defining who I am.

Of course, now there’s no need for me to try to define myself in reference to others. I’ve got a record. And people can look at my record and see, for instance, that when people were clamoring to raise taxes in Massachusetts, I said “no” and we held the line on taxes, and held the line and borrowing, and we balanced our budget. They can see that I vetoed literally hundreds of line items in budgets because I thought there was too much spending. They can see that I fought for better schools. They can see that I fought for a better environment. And they can recognize that a lot what Ronald Reagan was doing I’m also doing. So I’m pretty proud to follow in his legacy, if you will, recognizing, of course, that there’s some differences. He’s just a lot better than anyone else I know."
Governor Mitt Romney, Human Events, Robert B. Bluey, 12-28-2006,

Personally, I find it impressive that Mr. Romney has grown into a position. Over the course of 12 years, including very successful years running businesses and organizing the 2002 Winter Olympics, he has developed a political view that can take American forward. And, once he has a chance to share his ideas, I think more people will like the way he thinks.

On a similar vein, there have been a lot of discussions about Mitt’s position on Gay Rights and Gay Marriage. The Boston Globe ran an article saying that because Mitt promised in 1994 to defend basic rights for people who practice homosexuality, he must be hypocritical when he tries to defend Marriage as an institution between a man and a woman.

The most important thing to remember about those two concepts: RIGHTS FOR GAYS AND GAY MARRIAGE ARE NOT THE SAME THING. The Boston Globe has been hammering Mitt because he asserted that people who practice homosexuality deserve basic human rights. And, they assume that Marriage and Gay Rights are the same.

According to Mitt (and I agree with him): they are not the same thing. People who practice homosexuality deserve equal treatment under the law in cases of employment and other potential discrimination. But, Marriage between a man and a woman is an institution that exists to bring children into the world and rear them to be healthy participants in society. And, studies always show that children need influence from both a Mother and a Father for the most effective social and emotional development.

Statistically, homosexual parents are no more effective than single parent households in child rearing. Of course, there are good parents who are single, just as there are good parents who are homosexual. I laud their success against the odds, but I assert that they are the exeption, not the rule. Incidents of crime and other social issues fall dramatically among children reared in households with both a mother and a father. By institutionalizing any other form of marriage, we would be encouraging a less-effective form of child-rearing.

The point is: Mitt believes that all people and all life deserve respect and rights. “All people” includes unborn children and even people who practice homosexuality. Mitt knows that every person is important, regardless of race, religion, or sexual preference. But, he is firm on the fact that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman, and should remain that way for the benefit of children and society as a whole. That has been his position in Massachusetts (for which he is continuing to fight, to the last day in office). That would be his position as a candidate for president.

Mitt Romney is not an intolerant Repbulican. But, he sticks by basic values.

Mitt Romney is a conservative; he is a very smart conservative; he is a very REAL conservative. And, a lot of these attacks are just other candidates trying to “kill him in the cradle” before he gets off the ground.

So, if you are hearing a lot of negative buzz about Mitt Romney, I think you should wait and see. Give him a chance to come out and make his case. Don't let the Boston Globe or anybody else define Mitt Romney for you. Take a look at who he IS. And, I'd expect to hear a lot more from him after... oh... January 8th or so.

That is my rant for the New Year. Happy Holidays... and don't jump to conclusions too quickly.

That is all.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kerry Kerfuffle: All Caught on Tape

Ok... by now everybody knows that Kerry was dumb enough to say this:

His explanation was that he meant to say that if you don't get an education and study hard, you will end up leading us into a war in Iraq (a war the he voted for... then against... then for... then against). Ok... may I point out that BUSH HAD A HIGHER GPA THAN KERRY AT YALE!!! Does anybody remember this? He is playing the intellectual card... when his grades were worse than Bush's! Who is uneducated here???

Since this obvious misspeak, politicians on both sides of the political spectrum have asked that he apologize. Actually, Republicans have been demanding that he apologize, Democrats have begged him to apologize. Both sides are seeking political gain/rescue.

In fact, "Imus in the Morning" did this to Kerry today:

Now, this post was not just my opportunity to post YouTube videos... I want to make a legitimate point:

Since he got himself into this mess, Kerry has refused to apologize to the troops, claiming that he "botched a joke" when trying to criticize the President. Excuse me? Did we ask you to apologize to George W. Bush? NO!! To me, it does not matter what you meant to say. Mr. Kerry, you said something stupid.

It doesn't matter WHY Kerry said what he did... or what he was TRYING to say. The fact is: he insulted the United States Military Service Men and Women during a time of war (again). If he truly meant to say something else, why isn't he humble enough to apologize???

In my opinion, there can be only two reasons that Kerry has not apologized to the Troops:
1) He is too ignorant and prideful to admit that he does, in fact, make mistakes.
2) He actually believes what he said.

Mr. Kerry, you can say what you want about the President of the United States, even in a time of war. But, you do NOT say something that stupid about our troops. I don't care what you think of the President or the War itself... but you should apologize to the military and beg their forgiveness.

And, Americans are a forgiving people. The only time we REALLY get mad is when somebody is covering something up.

In the meantime, Kerry is getting punished for his arrogance (a quality which lost him the Presidency). Democratic candidates are cancelling his visits. He is leaving the Democratic party in a horrible situation just a few days before their expected triumph.

I guess if the Democrats fail to take control of congress on Tuesday, they can blame John Kerry for losing both the 2004 and 2006 elections. Hey... maybe he can make it three in a row and botch 2008 as well.

This is what we call an "October Surprise."

That is all.


Post Script...

I found this video on YouTube of Dennis Miller commenting on the 2004 election. Personally, I think his analysis is dead spot on about the election. I don't really agree with his dismissive nature about Iraq, but we're allowed to disagree. Regardless, I think it is worth watching.

((CAUTION: Dennis Miller is not performing at BYU or on Network Television. His word choice is a little more colorful than usual. If you are offended by the occasional curse word, I invite you to not watch this video))

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Good News: Iraq ≠ America

It has been widely reported today that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said the following to Zalmay Khalilzad, American Ambassador to Iraq:

"I consider myself a friend of the U.S., but I'm not America's man in Iraq"
(See references here and a follow-up on Bush's call here).

Now, the news is reporting this as some huge coup d'etat that Iraq's government is turning against us. Personally, I think that conclusion is a load of hooey. For the good of Iraq and the United States: We WANT the Iraqi PM to be his own Man!!!

The western world has a LONG history of colonialism and puppet governments in the Middle East. Generally, the US was innocent on this account, but Britain and France had huge colonial interests in the region after World War I. If you have seen movies like Lawrence of Arabia, you'll notice that western policies in the Middle East (and Iraq was included there) were not exactly fair or respectful of the local people. And, the popular disenfranchisement caused by poor colonial policies is one of the main reasons Saddam rose to power.

So, if we are to be successful in Iraq, we need them to take their own banner and run with it. As long as Iraq keeps working together with us, I'm glad that the Prime Minister is declaring his independence. It will increase his credibility among his own people and make him a more effective leader.

I don't want "America's Man in Iraq." I want a successful and truly independent state of Iraq. So, Mr. Al-Maliki, if you are willing to work with us as you represent your people in Iraq, BE YOUR OWN MAN.

Prime Minister Al-Maliki: Don't be America's man, be Iraq's man.

That is all.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Real Islam: Open Letter, Closed Press

I have had many people ask me: If Islam is a "religion of peace," why aren't there more moderate Muslims making statements to counteract the extremists?

And, it is a very good question. In fact, it has a very good answer:

They Are... we just don't hear about it.

Recently, a group of 38 Muslim scholars, clerics, and government officials sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI concerning his controversial remarks on Islam. Immediatly after the Pope's remarks, the world press delighted to cover riots and protests across the Muslim World as they happened. Now, when Muslim authorities release a moderate and articulate assertion that Islam is for peace... did it get any coverage? Did we get any Alerts on CNN or Fox or MSNBC? Actually, no. Al-Jazeera covered it and UPI put out a wire report. The Christian Science Monitor was the only paper I can find to publish any real discussion of this letter. That's how I found out about it (and everybody I've talked to since then has said: "Really?")

In contrast, if Bin Laden or Al-Zarqawi's replacement hopped on TV and screamed: "Death to the Infidels", how much coverage would that get?

The following comes from a Press Release on Islamica Magazine's website:

Open Letter to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI by 38 Leading Muslim Scholars and Leaders.

In an unprecedented move, an open letter signed by 38 leading Muslim religious scholars and leaders around the world was sent to Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 12, 2006. The letter, which is the outcome of a joint effort, was signed by top religious authorities such as Shaykh Ali Jumu‘ah (the Grand Mufti of Egypt), Shakyh Abdullah bin Bayyah (former Vice President of Mauritania, and leading religious scholar), and Shaykh Sa‘id Ramadan Al-Buti (from Syria), in addition to the Grand Muftis of Russia, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Slovenia, Istanbul, Uzbekistan, and Oman, as well as leading figures from the Shi‘a community such as Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Taskhiri of Iran. The letter was also signed by HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal of Jordan and by Muslim scholars in the West such as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf from California, Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Professor Tim Winter of the University of Cambridge.

All the eight schools of thought and jurisprudence in Islam are represented by the signatories, including a woman scholar. In this respect the letter is unique in the history of interfaith relations.

For those of you who aren't up on the "Who's Who of Muslim Scholars"... that is a REALLY impressive list of people. In fact, I don't think you could put together a more authoritative group of people to speak for the Muslim majority. The release continues:

The letter was sent, in a spirit of goodwill, to respond to some of the remarks made by the Pope during his lecture at the University of Regensburg on Sept. 12, 2006. The letter tackles the main substantive issues raised in his treatment of a debate between the medieval Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an “educated Persian”, including reason and faith; forced conversion; “jihad” vs. “holy war”; and the relationship between Christianity and Islam. They engage the Pope on an intellectual level concerning these crucial topics—which go well beyond the controversial quotation of the emperor—pointing out what they see as mistakes and oversimplifications in the Pope’s own remarks about Islamic belief and practice.

The Muslim signatories appreciate the Pope's personal expression of sorrow at the Muslim reaction and his assurance that the words of the Byzantine emperor he quoted did not reflect his personal opinion. By following the Quranic precept of debating “in the fairest way”, they hope to reach out so as to increase mutual understanding, reestablish trust, calm the situation for the sake of peace, and preserve Muslim dignity.

Christianity and Islam make up more than half of humankind in an increasingly interconnected world, the letter states, and it is imperative that both sides share responsibility for peace and move the debate towards a frank and sincere dialogue of hearts and minds which furthers mutual understanding and respect between the two religious traditions. Indeed, the scholars point out, both religions teach what Christianity calls “the two greatest commandments”. The commandment that “the Lord our God is one Lord” and that we shall love Him with all we are is enshrined in the first testimony of faith in Islam, “There is no god but God.” The second commandment “to love thy neighbor as thyself” is also found in the words of the Prophet, “None of you believes until he desires for his neighbor (in another version, his brother) what he desires for himself.” The signatories also point out the positive contacts the Vatican has had with the Islamic world in the past, with a hope that they will continue and even grow in the future.

The letter speaks of the prevailing views of things like "Jihad" (which is NOT a "holy war") and the relationship between Christians and Muslims. In fact, I think just about everybody should read the letter itself.

The full text of the letter can be found here in PDF form. I strongly recommend you read it. You will learn a lot about Islam.

I am very frustrated to know that this letter never hit the press. It was largely ignored. I guess it wasn't sensational enough. Nobody is screaming for our destruction. Nobody is calling us infidels. This is a group of distinguished men and women who assert that Islam and Christianity can get along.

What more important message could we be hearing these days?

I know this post is long-winded. But, I hope you will send it on to your friends. There should be an E-mail button below. More people need to understand about what I have long known to be real Islam.

That is all.


Friday, October 06, 2006

A Thickly Veiled Problem

Recently, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw made a comment about Muslim Women in England and the wearing of the veil. From the article here they quote:

Jack Straw wrote in a newspaper that a veil was "a visible statement of separation and difference" and that he was more comfortable dealing with female visitors to his local political office with their faces uncovered. (...)

Straw, leader of the House of Commons and the former foreign secretary, said he was concerned that "wearing the full veil was bound to make better, positive relations between the two communities more difficult."

Asked on Friday if he would like veils to be discarded altogether, Straw said: "Yes. It needs to be made clear I am not talking about being prescriptive but with all the caveats, yes, I would rather."

"You cannot force people where they live, that's a matter of choice and economics, but you can be concerned about the implications of separateness and I am," he told the BBC.

Straw originally wrote in the Lancashire Telegraph that he asked women to remove their veils in his constituency office. "I felt uncomfortable about talking to someone 'face to face' who I could not see," he wrote. No one had refused his request, he said.

Straw pointed out that he defended Muslims' rights to wear head scarves and that wearing a full veil "breaks no laws."

It is clear from various sources that Straw was referring to veils that cover the full face, not the more common hijab veil that covers the hair and neck.

As I read Jack Straw's comments on the veil, I don't see any bigotry in his idea. He is simply saying that when he deals with people, he prefers to deal with their face. And, furthermore, Muslim women who chose to wear the veil (no matter what be their motive) seperate themselves from the rest of society. I am highly respectful of muslim rights to religious dress, but Straw's argument was not religious... it was practical.

According to most Muslim clerics, the veil exists to shelter, seperate and protect women from the outside world. Straw is presenting the other side of that argument: that seperation has an effect on society. You can't visually seperate yourself from the rest of the world and expect everybody to understand that.

I repeat again: Muslim women have every right to veil their heads and even their faces according to religious custom. I respect that choice deeply. But, they should be neither surprised nor offended when it is hard to integrate into a society.

Western society is built upon face-to-face relationships. And, a huge part of our interpersonal communication happens through body language or facial expressions. If you take those out of the occasion... a "face to face" conversation is no different than a phone call. In fact, in the case of veiled faces, it is a one-sided conversation. One can see what the other cannot.

The basis of Straw's comment was that when veiled Muslim women come to his constituency office to meet with him, he asks them to remove the veil (always making sure there is a female staff member present). And, according to his comments, he has not yet had a women refuse. For any effective interaction, both sides must be comfortable with the relationship. Communication must start on EQUAL grounds.

There is much political hoopla in England right now over this statement. But, I truly see nothing bigoted in what he said. It is true that Muslim women who choose to veil their faces have a more difficult time integrating into society. And, to be honest, maybe they do not want to fully integrate. But, they cannot assert that the barrier they create must only be understood on their terms.

We live in a world of relationships. And, while I respect DEEPLY women who choose to wear full veils, I also agree with Mr. Straw. The veil is a barrier that works both ways. Especially in private meetings where complete understanding is paramount: I want to see a face.

That is all.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Air Wars: Boeing v. Airbus

I was recently reading an article in the New York Times about the A380, the huge airplane being released by Airbus. For those of you who don't know, it is slated to be the largest passenger airplane in the world... that is... when it finally takes to the sky. It is a double-decker MONSTER that will be configured to carry 555 people in three classes (First, Business, Coach).

Airbus did have a much-lauded test flight of the A380 recently. But, they are having a heck of a time getting the thing built and delivered for its orders. The article above points out that the A380 will be delayed again... so that the company will only deliver 1 airplane during 2007 (down from the 9 promised when they announced their first delay in June). This delay means that he company will lose $6.1 billion in anticipated profits over the next few years.

Now, those who actually know me (at least... some of them) know I have been an airplane nerd for years now. I mean... I love airplanes! (Of course, as I get taller, I love the coach class less and less... but I'm hoping to make enough money to not worry about flying coach in the future).

In my nerdy state, I have annoyed some of my friends with the following prediction: The A380 is a MISTAKE. The whole idea was flawed. The airline industry isn't looking for huge airplanes (albeit the Cargo industry is). They are looking for small, flexible airplanes with a long range to keep up with passenger demand. For this reason, not a single US airline (last time I checked) has announced an order for the A380 beast. And, I don't just say this because I dislike the French. Although, that does give me a sick sense of satisfaction.

Boeing, on the other hand (an American company), has recently announced the 787 Dreamliner. This new airplane will be about the size of the current 767, carrying between 200 and 300 passengers. But, the key here: EFFICIENCY. The 787 will be lighter and more efficient than any other plane its size. In fact, they are talking about 20% better fuel efficiency! That means 20% less emissions per mile! The plane is also lighter... 30,000 - 40,000 lbs. lighter than the Airbus A330-200 (the similar-sized airplane from Airbus).

Plus, Boeing is touting various improvements in passenger comfort and overhead space and humidity. But, the important thing is: The 787 will COST LESS TO FLY. And, with oil prices continuing to rise, shouldn't we be happier about a more efficient airplane?? The airplane will also be FASTER than the 767... flying about Mach .85, about the same speed as a 777 or a 747. And, anybody who has travelled internationally knows that that extra hour or so will be very nice.

Also, the windows are 65% larger than your common airplane port hole. That'll be nice too.

So, while Airbus went for the record largest plane in the world, Boeing actually did some market research, and realized that the market wants a smaller, more efficient, long-range airplane. And, with the logistical nightmare Airbus has created, they are paying for it... in the billions.

The 787 Dreamliner will take to the skies for the first time in 2007, with first delivery set for 2008. And, it already has 420 planes claimed in announced orders (377 of which are firm orders). That is a year before the plane is to get off the ground.

Airbus, on the other hand, only has 159 orders. And, some of the customers are a little terse...

On Tuesday, Emirates, based in Dubai, issued a terse statement suggesting that it was considering scaling back its order for 45 planes.

“This is a very serious issue for Emirates and the company is now reviewing all its options,” said Tim Clark, the president of Emirates. The carrier said that it had been informed by Airbus that its first A380 would be delivered in August 2008, nearly two years behind schedule.

Analysts said the latest delay — the third for the A380 in 16 months — increased the chances that Emirates could substantially pare its order, which was valued at about $13.5 billion. (see linked article above)

Yep, Airbus, that is gonna hurt. Right now, nobody is sure if the entire A380 program will ever break even. Whoops.

As an airplane nerd, I will be excited to one day ride on Airbus' beast A380... just for the novelty. But, for the good of the industry, I think Boeing has made the choice the market wants: the 787 Dreamliner. For that reason, I think they are going to make a lot of money. And, since 75% of the 787 will come from the USA, it is a choice that is good for the US Economy.

So, I don't care if we send our telemarketing jobs to India. We still make the finest airplanes in the world... as well as a host of other products the world wants.

One more reason I am proud to be an American.

That is all.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

President Bush at the UN

President Bush just delivered a GREAT speech at the UN General Assembly. He was clear and concise, and listed out exactly what the United States expects from various countries, especially in the Broader Middle East (generally considered the region extending from Afghanistan to Morocco, including the Arabian Penninsula).

I strongly recommend that you read the speech. You can access it here at

That is all.


Monday, September 11, 2006

What Kind of Person will I Vote For?

It is amazing to me how early the election cycle is beginning this year! We haven't even finished the primaries for 2006, and we're already talking (incessantly) about 2008. But, I think it is important to think about a presidential election far in advance. We won't hear any official candidacy declarations until January (I heard this from one potential candidate's mouth), but I think we should start thinking about it.

Personally, I am tired of blind party loyalty and personality-cult politics. Shouldn't we be thinking deeper about our candidates than what party they belong to... or how good-looking they are? Rather than sit back and let the media decide for me, I think each of us needs to sit down and decide what our ideal presidential candidate looks like. Then, when we see him or her, we should throw all our support behind them.

So, I ask: What kind of a person do I want to be President? I have been talking about this for the last few weeks, it is about time I wrote it down (DISCLAIMER: I use the masculine pronouns [his, he, him] in this post because we have not yet had a serious female presidential candidate... and it is too hard to write "his or her" every time. I strongly believe and hope that we will have a female President someday. But, for now, I will refer to presidents with masculine pronouns.)

First, a President needs to be an EXECUTIVE. The Executive Branch of the US Government is a (pick your adjective[s]: huge, unwieldily, gargantuan, confusing, bureaucratic, scattered, etc.) organization. To be an effective chief executive over one of the most complicated organizations in the world, a President MUST have strong executive experience. Almost without exception, a good Presidential candidate will be a former state governor. In fact, every President since Nixon was a former Governor or former Vice President (Ford was the only exception, and he was never elected). Governors have experience being executives in the public sector. State Government is a perfect place to learn how to deal with the problems a President will face.

With that said, I strongly believe that legislators (Senators or House members) do NOT make good Presidents. I am sure there are (and will be) exceptions. But, think about it for a minute: legislators are NEVER held responsible for their decisions. Their power is in persuasion by committee, not in management. Legislators only take credit for things they did that were good. On the other hand, the President of the United States is the national scapegoat. He MUST be able to take responsibility for every decision he makes (and even some things that are out of his control). And, he must be able to stand up in front of the American people and explain his decisions.

Second, a President needs to be a DECISION MAKER. I was once in a group meeting with President George W. Bush, and he pointed this out as his primary Presidential role. A President must be decisive, even when he does not have all the information. Sometimes, a President must make a decision based upon his gut feeling, or his idea of what is right. This is another place where executive experience is paramount. The President of the United States must be decisive.

Third, a President must be a moral-driven person... that generally favors a President who is religious. This county was founded based on morals--on "self-evident" truths--and I think a President needs to be driven by a high moral status. I think religion is important, but not required, for a President. Religious believe tends to show a commitment to an idea or power greater than self. It doesn't matter to me what religion the President follows. I think we will have a Muslim or Jewish President one day. What matters is how he applies his religious belief to his job. He must be religious, but he must be tolerant of other beliefs. And, he must apply his beliefs wisely as he makes his decisions.

Fourth, a President must love and respect his Wife (or Husband). The office of President of the United States is a commitment to a cause higher than yourself. Marriage is a commitment to a cause higher than yourself. In both institutions, a good President must be humble and put the needs of the other ahead of his own (Humility is not weakness). In our meeting with President Bush (mentioned above), he said something that really caught my attention: "My marriage has improved since I became President." He talked about how important it is to grow together every day in a marriage. And, he said he has had great opportunities to work with his wife and grow closer to her. A President must be committed to his wife. Because, if he is committed to his wife, he is more likely to be committed to ME.

Finally, there are those intangibles that are hard to pin down: trustworthy, honest, respect for the office, respect for people.. I don't have to agree with every single policy a President puts forward, but I want to have some confidence in the way he makes decisions. So, there is always an intangible.

So, as I start looking at the prospective candidates, both Democrat and Republican, there are very few on the horizon that fit this bill.

I assume that we will get the following candidates into the Primary Election Cycle for the 2008:

Hilary Rodham (Clinton)
John Kerry
John Edwards
Al Gore
(there may be a few governors that rise to the surface)

John McCain
Rudy Guliani
Mitt Romney
Condoleezza Rice (doubtful, but maybe)

With that assumption, the clear frontrunner for my vote is Mitt Romney.
1) He has been a very successful executive, both in public and private sectors. He founded the uber-successful venture capital firm Bain Capital and made his fortune by rebuilding less-successful businesses (like Staples and Domino's Pizza). He then went on to resurrect the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics from scandal, turning it into the most successful and profitable Winter Olympics in history. And, for the last 4 years, he has served as Governor of Massachusetts... carefully walking the political line to keep both Liberal and Conservative happy.

2) He is a decision maker. He has done a great job revamping companies and making them successful, so he is obviously a GOOD decision maker. He is confident in his demeanor and seems very decisive. He has the demeanor and executive experience Americans should and do demand from their President. (And look... as I write this, I find out that David Frum agrees with me!)

3) He is a religious and moral-driven man. He is a faithful member of the LDS church. And, as the surprising and impressive site called Evangelicals for Mitt points out, Romney's Mormon-based values are more compatible with Christians than any of the other current "front-runners." He is a real religious man (as opposed to a fake one).

4) Mitt Romney LOVES his Wife. He and Ann appear often together, and I have watched them interact with their 5 boys. He is a family man, and committed to making his family succeed. So far, he has done pretty well. All five boys are happily married and have given him 9 grandchildren. And, he still calls Ann his "high school sweetheart." C'mon... how romantic is that? As a president, his commitment to his wife shows that he will be more committed to his job and to his constituency (in other words... committed to me... and you too). I read recently that since many other major candidates have been divorced or have obviously rocky marriages (cough... Clinton... cough), it is ironic that the Mormon in the race is the one with only one wife! (A reference to the common misconception that Mormons practice polygamy... c'mon people, Warren Jeffs is NOT a Mormon... but I digress...)

5) You should take advantage of opportunities over the next few weeks to WATCH and LISTEN TO Mitt Romney during his various speeches. He has that "intangible" feel to him. I thought Mr. Romney was a very long shot... until I watched him give a speech on C-Span. He knows how to boil the issues of this country down better than anybody else I've seen. His speeches are direct, concise and to the point... and he doesn't wander into platitudes.

So, I'll have to tell you, as I analyze the current presidential race, my vote is quite firmly behind Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican from Massachusetts. Of course, like any responsible citizen, I am looking carefully at who deserves my precious vote in 2008. But, that is what we all should be doing... jumping on a horse and riding it. But, never be afraid to jump on the better horse.

For now: Romney for President 2008. Now, I just need to get a T-Shirt.

That is all.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Never Too Late to Start for 2008

Some of you who visit this site already know of my own Presidential aspirations. But, according to the Constitution of the United States, I am not yet qualified to be a candidate for President of this great land. Plus, I just don't have a good enough resume to even consider running.

But, I have been thinking over the past few months over what kind of person I want to lead this country. I mean, what are the specific qualities I am looking for in the leader of the Free World?? (although, that term isn't very valid anymore). I have started making a list of characteristics in my mind, and I think I have chosen a candidate to follow.

First, I want to hear from YOU: What are the qualities or characteristics you are looking for in the President of the United States of America? What kind of person do you want in the position?

I will start formulating my own responses, but please add your ideas to the comment thread below.

After all, it is never too late to start planning for 2008. (Well...actually... 2008 would be too late to start planning... but that would mess up my happy little phrase).

That is all.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Kick Hamas

From the Christian Science Monitortoday:
"The international community has to respect the choice of the Palestinian people," says Ahmed Abdel-Aziz Mubarek, a newly elected Hamas legislator from Ramallah. "The majority of the Palestinian people gave their votes to Hamas to establish the new government, so the world has to deal with this reality."

Now, anyone who has ever dealt with other people should immediatly know that this is not quite the case.  Hamas doesn't seem to realize that they do NOT control the actions of others.  So, they must live with the consequences of their choices.

When Hamas was elected as the majority in the Palestinian parliament, I was cautiously optimistic.  I am still optimistic... although I need a stronger word than "cautiously."

We live in a world that likes to delete consequences.  I mean... the whole idea behind "Pro Choice" is actually "I want to choose to have no consequences."  Now it seems like that reckless abandon of choice has hit the Palestinian Authority.  A grown man can actually stand up and say "the world has to deal with this reality"?  Are they mental?

Yes, we must "deal with" the choice of the Palestinian people.  But, do they understand that the consequences of "dealing with" that choice could lead to some serious consequences?

Once again, I have some hope.  I believe that the realities of government tend to force even extreme groups to become moderate.  I can only hope and pray that Hamas approaches this with some level of pragmatism and care.

After all, they have promised the Palestinian People a lot of things.  I don't think they will fulfil their goals by getting the whole world to hate them.

Once again, this conflict takes a frustrating turn.  Oh well... let's hope for the best.

That is all.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dubai-bye Investment

So... we have a company from a growing and wealthy state who is looking to invest money into the United States. That company has a lot of money... a fantastic track record... and is an ally of the United States. Plus, it could be the start of a long and profitable business relationship between this wealthy growing economy and the United States.

What do we do? Oh yeah... we have an election year hissy fit and freak the entire country out.

Today I read the news that Dubai Ports World is going to transfer ownership of the port management contracts to an American company. In other words, they're tired of congressional crap and are taking their money somewhere else.

Everybody has been talking about improved trade relationships for the United States. Why in the world are we freaking out over such a potentially lucrative trade deal?

Argh... I'm annoyed. Politics once again sicked the hounds on the best interests of America. Welcome election year 2006... where democracy shuts down for a year in a frantic, uninformed, fear-mongering attempt to get reelected.


That is all.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Racial Profiling by Democrats

For the last few days, we have been innundated by news and commentary about the Arab-owned company Dubai Ports World taking over management of our nation's ports. Personally, I think there is WAY too much hype over this deal. Politicians on both sides of the aisle, including the less-than-honorable junior senator from New York, have jumped on this silly company acquisition like a piranha on a pork chop.

Ok... for those of you who haven't been following the news recently, the large seaport management firm "Dubai Ports World" received an OK from stockholders to purchase the British company "Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co." for about 6.8 billion dollars.

Why does this matter? Because Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. manages and operates ports in the United States... six ports in fact: New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia. The deal would put Dubai Ports World in charge of major shipping operations at those sea ports. Because ports are sensitive points of entry, the United States Government is required to investigate and approve the security plans of new companies seeking to operate such ports.

From everything I have read, Dubai Ports World cooperated fully with the government organizations charged with that investigation and approval process.

Under the process conducted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), officials carefully reviewed the national security issues raised by the transaction and its effect on our national security. Twelve Federal agencies and the government's counterterrorism experts closely and carefully reviewed the transaction to make certain it posed no threat to national security. (reference - emphasis added)

Dubai Ports World waded carefully through the bureaucratic quagmire that is the US Government approval process. And, recently, the administration approved Dubai Ports World's bid to acquire the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. As standard procedure, this process never rose above the Sub-cabinet level. It was a routine investigation that turned up no signficant security concerns.

Sounds like your basic bureaucratic approval process, right? So... what happened? Politics happened. Thinking more about November 2006 than anything else, a few choice Governors and Members of Congress basically threw a hissy fit. Talk about politics turning on its head... Bill Frist is siding with Hillary Clinton and Jimmy Carter has expressed his approval of President Bush's move. Woah! This is the weirdest Tag-Team match I've ever seen.

Anyways. Senator Frist has threatened to pass legislation to block the approval and acquisition process. Bush came out, said that was a stupid idea and threatened to veto. I'm sure I sound like a broken record on this one... but I'm gonna side with Bush on this one.

What is the problem? What are these senators complaining about so loudly?
1) Dubai Ports World is a partially state-owned operation in the United Arab Emirates.
2) Some of the 9/11 hijackers did their banking, lived temporarily, or sent packages through the United Arab Emirates.
3) Obviously the knee-jerk assumptions of politicians and press know more about a company's security plans than the various government organizations who wholeheartedly approved this acquisition.

Anyways, am I rambling? Have I lost anybody yet? I'm sorry, but I think background is important.

So, what did everybody learn in our basic Universty logic class? Anyone? Anyone? YES... we learned that CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION. Just because apples and oranges appear in the same basket doesn't mean that they came from the same tree.

Let me put it this way:
1) Dubai Ports World operates ports ALL OVER THE WORLD... in places like Dubai, Germany, Shanghai, Djibouti... oh yeah... and HONG KONG. Obviously they do a pretty decent job (especially since they seem to have $6.8 billion dollars to go around acquiring other large companies)

2) The United Arab Emirates is a growing economic powerhouse and a significant ALLY in the War on Terror. I will have to strongly disagree with your characterization of the UAE as a "government known to abide and associate with Al Qaeda." We need to open our eyes people. All Arab countries are not created equal. Now, I would be concerned if the government of Yemen or Syria or Iran was seeking to take over our ports. But, the UAE is a cooperative, or if not, a friendly government to the United States.

3) Many have criticized this deal because a foreign government (namely the Government of the Dubai City-State) would control the ports. But, what is the government of Dubai? The entire system is one big family-owned business. Yes, it is a government... but they are also a very profit-minded business. Citizens of Dubai are more like investors in a large company than subjects or citizens. So, I don't think we should freak out when a business-mined government is looking to make an aquisition.

4) The only real evidence anybody has against the UAE is that a few 9/11 terrorists were UAE Citizens, and they did some banking there. But, if that is our standard of judgement, why in the world did we allow a British company to run our ports? The infamous attempted Shoe Bomber was a Brit... and we know that terrorists have done business there. As I said above... correlation is not causation. We should not punish a government or a company for the actions of a few citizens (and, we shouldn't really do the opposite either, but I can see more justification for that).

5) The primary tasks of inspecting incoming cargo still fall upon the US Customs Administration and the Coast Guard. Dubai Ports World will take over none of the National Security aspects of running the port. That is still our government's job. They need only prove that they will obey the rules and regulations of the United States when hiring workers for sensitive positions... just like every other company.

President Bush put it this way:
If there was any chance that this transaction would jeopardize the security of the United States, it would not go forward. The company has been cooperative with the United States government. The company will not manage port security. The security of our ports will continue to be managed by the Coast Guard and Customs. The company is from a country that has been cooperative in the war on terror, been an ally in the war on terror. The company operates ports in different countries around the world, ports from which cargo has been sent to the United States on a regular basis. (February 21, 2006)

In summary, I agree with Bush and the Arab World on this one. The adverse reaction to this deal is nothing but Islamophobia. It is a frantic attempt to pander to the uninformed public through false stereotypes. Domestically, it is a silly attempt to discredit President Bush in the area where he is strongest. And, as you can likely tell, it all makes me mad!

Dubai Ports World should be subject to the same scrutiny and security precautions as any other port management company. But, we should not discriminate against the company just because it is from a country that speaks Arabic. C'mon people... put your thinkin' caps on!

Now, we could have a long debate over whether foreign companies should be managing our domestic ports. If we want to ban foreign countries from operating... let's do it. That will shut down all but the state-managed ports in the USA... basically shutting down both coasts to international shipping. You think foreign products are expensive now? If that is our priority, let us be consistent... all or nuthin'!

The deal between Dubai Ports World and that British company with a long silly name should go forward under the laws of the United States. If the DOC, DOD, CIA, and the rest of the 12 agencies said that Dubai Ports World is compliant... then what is holding us up??

Overall, if Frist follows through with his Hissy Fit... I think Bush should follow through with his veto. I think Bush is in the right on this one (see statements here and here). Dubai Ports World has every right to bid and invest in the United States if they are willing to play by the rules. I hope we can get over this soon and continue a strong economic and strategic relationship with the United Arab Emirates. Plus... I'm all excited to go skiing.

That is all.

Horatio the Pragmatist

PS: Since I wrote this, Dubai Ports World has voluntarily agreed to reopen the investigation to help placate congressional furor. They will voluntarily subject themselves to an extra 45 day investigation so they dont' have to sacrifice a 7 billion dollar deal. Overall, this is silly politicking... an example of people inside the beltway trying to freak everybody out before the 2006 election.

I can only hope that we continue to have politicians who go to Washington seeking to make it better... and less superficial and political.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Why are individualists just like everybody else?

You know, I am always curious about the people who do something who assert themselves as an individual. For example, a rebellious teen will go out and start smoking, then call himself a unique individual. But, what is wrong with this picture? I think that many people preening in their individualism should look around... they may find out that they're acting just like those around them.

Take drinking for example. For those of you who don't already know, I don't drink. In fact, I have never knowingly consumed alcohol in my life (I'm not saying this out of self-glorification, but for mere presentation of my position). But, from that position, I am always shocked by how many people are PROUD of their penchant for alcoholic beverages. People I knew in high school feel like they stand out (or stood out back then) because they got drunk on the weekends. Oh yes... they were cool individuals... rising above the muck.

But, let's be honest. Is drinking really something to be proud of? I mean, people go off and consume a substance that blocks out their memories, clouds their judgement, and makes them talk louder than is necessary. Is this considered appealing? I remember a kid in high school coming into class after a weekend of partying. His friends all stood around and talked about how funny it was when he started talking to a wooden duck in his drunken stupor (on a side note: isn't "stupor" a a great word? I mean, think of other words that sound like that... good word). I'm sorry, what is so cool about that? He didn't even remember!

But, really, isn't it harder to NOT drink than to drink? Should we not be a society that glorifies those who do not succumb to a silly mind-numbing chemical? Personally, I quite enjoy spending time with people who have tons of fun... and remember the weekend when it is over with. I love my memories. And, I am proud to know that I will remember my weekend come Monday morning.

Another group that professes their collective individualism are Goths. I'm not talking about the Germanic tribe here. I'm talking about people who have decided that black is the perfect color to make a statement. The loudest of these "individualists" are people I see all dressed in black vinyl wearing a jewelry store on their face. I love hearing how society should accept them for "who they are." Some such people go to job interviews dressed like Dracula because they want the employer to accept their individuality. Well, the employer may accept your individuality, but they won't hire you until you learn to show up dressed properly!

How are Goths "individuals" when they dress exactly like everybody else around them? I mean, how can you assert your individuality when everybody you hang out with wears black faux leather... ALL THE TIME. (On one level, I'm sure it makes your fashion choices easy in the morning.)

Some even take their penchant for black to an extreme... with lace and chains and white makeup and stuff. But, when it all comes down to it, you look like a weirdo... and you surround yourself with people who look like you. How can you be an individual when you are hiding all that makes you special behind a big flashing I'M JUST LIKE OTHER PEOPLE sign??

Individualism is important. We are all unique and special people. But, you can assert YOUR individuality and still not be a total weirdo. Relinquishing your self-control to a chemical does not make you a more unique person. When you dress or act like a vampire, you just fade into the background. You're not asserting your individuality... you're being weak.

If you want respect in this life, respect yourself. Showcase your talents, not your black wardrobe. Don't expect the world to conform to your funky redefinition of reality. Learn to function in the world, and then learn to fly as high as you can in your individual sphere.

But... please... don't try to tell me you're an individual when you're just acting like every other weakling.

That is all.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Hamas as a Political Party

An article today released by the AFP proclaimed: Israel fumes over Putin 'knife in back'. Basically, Israel is having a hissy fit because Russia invited Hamas--the fair winners of the Palestinian National Assembly elections--to meet with Putin in Moscow.

Of all people, the Israeli Education Minister was the top quote in the article: "This initiative is a real knife in the back... because it aims to give international legitimacy to a terrorist group and we must oppose it with all our means."

In response, I have to ask: What if the aim of this visit is to help Hamas earn its own legitimacy??.

Hamas is a political organization. It has functioned for the last decade as the welfare state helping the Palestinian people through horrible poverty and war. It is already a legitimate organization among Palestinians... and not just because it is Islamic or supports terrorist acts.

When Israel came in and leveled whole cities, it was Hamas who followed and helped people rebuild. As Israel pursued a reign of terror in an attempt to fight terrorism, Hamas helped the Palestinian people survive and claimed a right to legitimate resistance. I'm not saying I agree with Hamas... but just that they aren't the organization of pure evil that Israel tends to tell us they are. I am watching with bated breath to see what Hamas will do in power. But, I'm neither optimistic nor claiming that the apocalypse is upon is.

I have never viewed "Terrorism" as an ideology. Terrorism is a method used to express a point. It is an evil and despicable method because it targets innocent victims... but it is still a method. And both Israelis and Palestinians are guilty of terrorism. In fact, if they are not equally guilty, I tend to blame Israel for it... because they should have been smarter than that.

Yes, Hamas has operated a significant terrorist infrastructure... but "terrorism" is not their ideology. If they cease to perform terrorist acts, are we willing to stop calling them terrorists?

My personal belief is that if you give a group a legitimate outlet for their grievances, they will no longer pursue extreme methods. Why should a person scream if they think they can get their point across with a whisper.

As the whole press-covered world screams for Hamas to renounce terrorism, shouldn't there be some group willing to sit down with them and say: "Look... if you don't walk the line, you're never going to succeed." Isn't civilized discourse the best part of our democratic ideal? So, let us fume and clamor as we call Hamas to repentence. But, someone should sit down with them and teach them how to be a legitimate political organization.

If that is what Russia is doing, I laud them. In fact, I hope we asked Russia to do this, so we could be pushing all sides of this story.

Hamas is a Political Party with a Terrorist wing. They won on a campaign to root out corruption in the most corrupt old-man's club in the world (that is: the Palestinian Authority under Arafat's Fatah). Now, Hamas must learn to cut off that terrorist wing. Only then will they truly be able to fly.

That is all.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Alternative Energy

A recent 100 Hour Board question asked about President Bush's Advanced Energy Initative which he announced at the 2005 State of the Union. He said:

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here
we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported
from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is
through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop
cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on
the threshold of incredible advances.

So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To
change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission
coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe
nuclear energy. (Applause.)

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from
corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this
new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. (Applause.)

Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach
another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the
Middle East by 2025. (Applause.) By applying the talent and technology of
America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a
petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing
of the past. (Applause.)


Thus the question posted on The Board:
I have read some of these options and it would mean there would be an increase in cost for fuel. Would you be willing to pay more for an alternative fuel form?

Some of our increased need for fuel comes from the huge amount of SUV's in the U.S. I read an article some time ago saying that the U.S. is the only country in the world that has not improved in fuel efficiency. In fact, we have gotten worse, mainly due to the increase of SUV's. If we were able to improve our fuel efficiency, do you think that would be enough?

I think it is very important to look at alternative fuel options. First, it is important to research them for the sake of science and improved understanding. Second, and more important, we should seek to make these systems more viable... and even feasible.

Personally, I do NOT think the American people at large will pay 5.00 per gallon (or equivalent) just to be environmentally friendly. Every law of economics says that people will freak out about this. Demand depends on the intrinsic value of a specific good. Obviously, environmentalism doesn't sell nearly as well as machismo. That is why ugly Hummers are still powerful sellers... and why the Republican party tends to win elections.

But, if you notice, there has been a HUGE spike in hybrid vehicle technology over the last few years. Suddenly hybrids are mainstream. Ford Motors just dumped millions of dollars into Hybrid car commercials for the Super Bowl (which were disappointing… I miss Jim Henson’s Kermit voice). They obviously think there is a selling point for efficient cars (I’m just wondering why they don’t add some extra batteries so I could plug my [future] Hybrid in…).

Why are Hybrid cars growing so rapidly? Because people have decided they are desirable. 1) Fuel prices have pushed many people to think more efficiently. 2) The Government is offering tax breaks or limited privileges to hybrid car owners (such as access to HOV lanes). Thus, Hybrid cars have become desirable. Back when they were just "environmentally friendly" nobody really cared about electric cars. Now they are actually viable, relatively cheap, and useful.

So, I think it is impossible to mandate a switch to alternative fuels. But, through research and development—and good marketing—I think alternative fuels can become viable. But, there are some serious obstacles that we need to overcome.

I was watching an old episode of the West Wing the other day (can I just say... hooray for TiVo and DVR... how did I live?) where Josh hit a hybrid car while test driving a huge SUV (and talking on a cell phone). To respond to it, he invited spokespersons from various alternative energy groups. They then proceeded to argue about the strengths and weaknesses of their various plans. It was actually a well-written exchange outlining issues with alternative fuel technologies. Currently, none of the options are truly viable. All of them have issues to overcome.

If we want to overcome our dependence on foreign oil, I think Bush is putting us on a good path:
1) Nuclear Energy - it is safe and already viable. I know, I must be a psycho anti-environmentalist for even suggesting that we harness the power of the atom for good. For Pete's sake... we have the uranium, let's put it to some good use. Then let's store it in Nevada (ha... just kidding. Harry Reid is now going to fly in on a broomstick and throttle my neck).

2) Coal - I liked Bush's call for zero-emissions coal technology. That is viable... and we have a 200 year supply of coal. So, let’s use the resource we have and make it work well.

3) ANWR - The Alaska National Wildlife Reserve: millions of acres of protected
wilderness sitting on a huge cache of petroleum. And, using current technologies, we can get at 90% of the oil by only affecting 10% of the land. That is a pretty good trade off... and sensible. But, of course, everybody has a hernia when you mentioning regulated drilling on a wildlife reserve. Oh well.

So, the solutions are there. We need to show that they are viable and
appealing. Personally, I don't care if people need to buy SUVs. I'm annoyed that
"SUV" has become a hiss and a byword among liberals. I drive an SUV and get 25
miles to the gallon. That ain't bad!

Oh yeah, and just because people choose to buy less efficient cars doesn't mean that engine efficiency hasn't improved DRAMATICALLY. Europe has improved efficiency standards by forcing people to buy tiny cars and charging 10 dollars a gallon. The US fills consumer demand and seeks to make the in-demand cars more efficient. But, I guarantee you that the Ford F-350 is more efficient today than it was 5 years ago.

Anyways, my point is, let the market do its work. The government should
support research and development into alternate fuel options. The joy of
capitalism is that people act in their best interest, and aggregate best
interest is often a good way to go. I want to scream when tree-huggers say: "The
government should force everybody to buy Hybrid cars." Argh... top ten ways to
tank the US economy (which, by the way, keeps the world economy running too).

I'm a big fan of Bush's energy initiative. I'm going to go read some
more about it. Basically, I think the Democratic party are only criticizing his
initiative because they couldn't make the idea fly first.

That is all.

Horatio the Capitalist (who would buy a Hybrid car... but not an ugly one)