Monday, April 30, 2007

The Depressed Mormon

On Sunday, we hold a joint Priesthood/Relief Society meeting during our normal block meeting schedule. The topic for discussion was depression.

This appears to be a growing problem in society and in the LDS community in general. This was the second joint meeting on this topic in our ward. This motivation has come from our local stake and ward leaders, not sure if this came down from Church headquarters.

They talked about the stigma associated with it asking for and finding competent mental health assistance. What was not discussed was the Church's culture that can lead to depression and mental health issues.

I live in an area where the bulk of the people are college educated, upper middle class to wealthy ($400k-$millions per home -- and the new construction just keeps going and going), professionally successful, family oriented, church oriented and community oriented. Most of the women with school-aged children are not gainfully employed in the workforce. They are too busy doing a million other things.

The hidden secret is that LDS women in these areas are stressed out with the demands the LDS and community culture places upon them. The pressure they place on their children to be perfect Mormon kids, to get straight As, to take college-level course in high school, to score scholarship-level on the ACT.

They are leaders in scouting, primary, young women and relief society organizations. Their efforts are are more often geared toward their peers and not to those they are asked to serve. Impressing their peers trumps their efforts associated with those they are actually asked to serve. How many Eagle Scout awards were earned by mothers and not by the scout? How many women have time-consuming callings in the Church at the same time their spouses also have time consuming callings?

They volunteer at schools, PTA and for community programs. They keep immaculate houses. They maintain weedless gardens. They attend religion, genealogy and continuing and higher education classes, some working on advanced degrees.

They support their spouses in their profession. They attend every one of their children's school, sporting, church, etc. events. They try to get in their daily exercise. They sleep 4-6 hours a night.

These women are so busy trying to compete with others in their communities, they really cannot take time to really enjoy life. Vacations -- more tiring than staying home -- are taken to tell others where they went and what they did. (Most of the time the vacation has something to do with Disneyland or some high-priced amusement -- biggest waste of money, human time and culture we have in the USA, IMHO.)

Many of these women have no lives. Their lives are geared 100% toward making sure their children are popular and successful.

These LDS women are truly great women. Overachievers is an understatement. They make things happen. But the cost is that many suffer from depression. It is impossible for every kid to be the top athlete, musician and on the honor role. In their efforts to take top price in mother, wife, community and church leader of the year, they fall short. How do others see them? Inferiority complexes dominate.

The medical community will give out anti-depression medication at the drop of a hat.

The depressed Mormon, more often than not, is a direct relationship to culture in which they live and participate.

Real chemical imbalance, depression and mental health issues do exist. But many are a direct impact of the high-demanding LDS community. That's the dirty little secret that will never be mentioned by the ecclesiastical authorities.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

NFL Draft -- An Alluring Waste of Viewing Time


It is sad that I actually watched probably two hours of TV on Saturday, of the eight they had on, covering this year's NFL draft. As both a college football and NFL fan, the draft hits both of them.

I enjoy seeing some college favorites get a chance at the next level. Fresh talent might give my favorite NFL teams a better chance to make it to the playoffs.

I think Cleveland did as good as any team. They got themselves a solid, proven tackle in Joe Thomas (Wisconsin) with the third pick. In a trade with Dallas, with the 22nd pick, they took quarterback Brady Quinn (Norte Dame). In the second round, with the 53rd pick, the Browns selected CB Eric Wright (UNLV).



My other team, the Minnesota Vikings, did good also. With the seventh pick, they took running back Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma). With their second round pick, 44th overall, they selected wide receiver Sidney Rice (South Carolina). Both of these players should provide immediate impact.

Although it is a waste of time, each pick, especially when they relate to your team favorites, brings on a great excitement. For many, like the Miami Dolphin fans, they were not overly excited. They took two okay players, Ten Ginn Jr (OSU) and John Beck (BYU). I like both of them but I did not see them as selections that will merit the pay their selection number will guarantee.

Browns and Viking in the Super Bowl in 2010!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Aussies Win World Cup Cricket


It was almost a forgone conclusion... The Aussies had the best team and they pretty much dominated everyone during this year's Cricket World Cup.

The Aussies beat Sri Lanka by 53 runs in a rain and darkness-laden event. Australia hit 4-281 from their 38 overs before Sri Lanka made 8-215. They were lead by their opening batsman Adam Gilchrist who batted an amazing 149 runs off 104 balls.

They certainly have been, are and will continue to be the world's top national team. They have dominated the recent history, winning in 1987, 1999, 2003 and 2007. Sri Lanka (1996), India (1983) and Pakistan (1992) have each won once; the West Indies won the first two in 1975 and 1979.

Attending Cricket World Cup is on my life's to-do list (along with attending world cup soccer and world cup rugby).

Friday, April 27, 2007

Differences Between Conservatives and Liberals

A great, brief article on ten differences between Conservatives and Liberals, summarized as...

- Pragmatic policies vs nice policies that make them feel good.
- Pro-Christian vs anti-Christian
- Pro-American vs pro-internationalism
- Less government vs big government
- Less tax vs more taxation
- Offense against terrorism vs negotiation
- Pro-life vs pro-choice (killing the baby over inconveniencing the mother)
- Capitalism vs socialism
- Character and merit based society vs minority rights and race-based society
- Right to bear arms vs gun control
- Courts as umpires vs legislators

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Record Tax Receipts

U.S. tax receipts from individuals hit a record one-day high of $48.7 billion on April 24. The previous record was $36.4 billion, set on April 25, 2006.

Taxes are still too high. Government is still too big. But allowing the Democrats to reduce the Bush tax cuts would be devastating to the economy.

Let people keep more of their money and they will make it work by creating more jobs, facilitating consumer spending, and keep the government coffers adequate.

Illegal Immigrant Safehavens

Another reason to scratch your head at the politician in California:
Mayor Gavin Newsom vowed to maintain San Francisco as a sanctuary for immigrants and do everything he can to discourage federal authorities from conducting immigration raids. The mayor cannot stop federal authorities from making arrests ... but no San Francisco employee will help with immigration enforcement. "I will not allow any of my department heads or anyone associated with this city to cooperate in any way shape or form with these raids," Newsom declared. "We are a sanctuary city, make no mistake about it."
Oakland city officials today announced two new resolutions condemning recent federal immigration raids and formalizing the city's intention not to cooperate with the U.S. government effort to deport undocumented residents. The resolutions, one by Mayor Ron Dellums and the other by Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, both condemn the recent raids, which included one on Friday at an East Oakland manufacturer. Both resolutions are also an effort to update Oakland's 1986 "City of Refuge" ordinance which only applies to refugees fleeing political violence in Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and South Africa, De La Fuente said. His proposed ordinance would give refuge to any undocumented immigrant regardless of national origin.
These local leaders are doing this for political gain. They want these illegals' support. They want them dependent on government. These libs are attempting to convert these Hispanics to the folly of the liberal way.

These leaders are 1) aiding and abetting the enemy (the criminal) and 2) encouraging or assisting in criminal acts.

That would be a great court battle. It would be great drama to see these anti-American mayors try to defend their multicultural policies.

Monday, April 23, 2007

San Francisco, Pt 2

I thought I'd make a few other comments about the fair city, San Francisco.

You must understand that I like the city. It has an appeal like no other. It has remnants of a set of tight knit communities. The market on ever corner. Little shops selling and doing this and that. Some national chains but not like the rest of the nation.

It is refreshing to be somewhere where Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target, Lowes, and fast food franchises galore are rare. As a society, these franchises do offer good prices and selections but at the expense of having an alluring culture.

The suburban onslaught of the world of franchise is great for business but it makes for such a boring existence. Everything seems so plastic. Food is certainly not better.

Here in Utah, because we tend to have large families and are so engaged in activities with community, church and school, fast food is the norm. Quality restaurants tend to go out of business. People prefer bad Mexican food at Taco Bell to quality authentic Mexican; Panda Express to authentic Chinese. Quality Indian, Greek, French, Italian, Thai, Viet, Japanese and Chinese restaurants are few, limited mainly to Salt Lake City, almost non-existent elsewhere.

The people I live among, when asked their favorite restaurant, will respond with something like PF Chang, Olive Garden, or Chuck-a-Rama. Yes, the all you can eat establishments tend to do well at serving lots of poor food to the masses. Apparently quantity equates to quality here.

Despite all of the negatives about San Francisco, good food options is not one of them.

How does anyone not from SF ever afford to live there? Two thousand square foot dwellings for over a million dollars. Gasoline is priced about $1 more per gallon than the bulk of the country. (Plus, the gas stations charge you around 50 cents per transaction just to use a credit or debit card.) The tax rates are astronomical. It is only a matter of time before they pass their own congestion tax ($8 to enter New Your City).

All of the so-called benefits in the world would never entice me to live in the liberal mecca within our most liberal state. Been there, done that. There is no awe of Californians, rather contempt and the realization that unless you are a native, moving there demonstrates one's stupidity, IMHO.

I know that many people like the excitement of big city life. But I prefer the space, the economics, the politics and the backyard mountain and canyon adventures I jump on every chance I get here in my homogeneous part of Utah.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

San Francisco and Earth Day

Two of my children my wife and I spent the last three days in San Francisco -- spring break for them. We decided to come to San Francisco -- a place where both my wife and I served our missions. Our goal was to see a ball game at AT&T Park, eat some good food, and see the sites.

I lived here, twice, albeit as a missionary. But I walked the streets, road the public transit, and knew the central and southeastern districts quite well. I worked mostly with the Spanish-speaking groups, enjoying that immensely. What I noticed was that beside the heavy Latin influence, the Asian influence has become almost dominant. Just an observation, not a complaint.

We did notice the liberal ways of the SF politicians. They have signs and rules for some strange things. They want to control every aspect of people's lives. Here's a couple worth mentioning...

-- $100 fine for a car idoling longer than five minutes.
-- A graphical sign asking people to not deficate in the street, encouraging toilet use.

There was a lack of beautiful people. However, I did notice that there are a tremendous number of really grimy people, more along the lines of hippies. If you are a social misfit, there's a place for you in SF.

We spent cool and wet Saturday in Golden Gate Park enjoying the botanical gardens. Due to the rain, the traditional Earth Day celebrations were muted. We did see some adults picking up litter with their youngsters in tow in their designer outdoor active ware and their nalgene water bottles.

My wife said to me as we drove through the Haight-Ashbury area that we were a rare breed -- conservatives in a land of liberals.

There are a lot of good people in SF. Most could care less about liberal policies. Most are trying to earn a living and pay the rent (or mortgage) on a real sub-par living environment. I am convinced it is people with too much time on their hands that create their wacko laws, binding policies and misguided multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism does not need to be taught. Put young kids together and they will find their friends, oblivious of race and economic situations.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What a Harry Reid Loser

Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the war in Iraq is lost. He said that the war could not be won through military force, although he said the U.S. could still pursue political, economic and diplomatic means to bring peace to Iraq.

This Senator knows more about the actual success or lack thereof more so than the soldiers in the campaign? That the surge is not accomplishing anything because of the recent ongoing violence?

This is about as pathetic as it comes. It is one thing for the average citizen to voice his/her opinions about the war, but in the middle of a war, a Senator to undermine those in the field and those managing the forces is nothing less than traitorous.

From one Mormon to another: you embarrass me, my family, my nation and my religion.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Partial Birth Abortion Ban Upheld


The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision (Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas supporting; Ginsberg, Souter, Breyer and Stevens dissenting) written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, confirmed that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

For the first time since the court established a woman's right to an abortion in 1973, five of the nine justices upheld a nationwide ban on a specific abortion method.

Abortion doctors now do not have unfettered options in destroying human life.

The Church's position on abortion is clear:
Abortion is an ugly thing, a debasing thing, a thing which inevitably brings remorse and sorrow and regret.

While we denounce it, we make allowance in such circumstances as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have serious defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

But such instances are rare, and there is only a negligible probability of their occurring. In these circumstances those who face the question are asked to consult with their local ecclesiastical leaders and to pray in great earnestness, receiving a confirmation through prayer before proceeding.

If there is no prospect of marriage to the man involved, leaving the mother alone, there remains the very welcome option of placing the child for adoption by parents who will love it and care for it. There are many such couples in good homes who long for a child and cannot have one.
Don't tell me the Court's make-up is not one of the President's most important role.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech "Convocation"

How do they offer condolences on liberal campuses in the United States? Today's event at Virginia Tech showed this clearly.

After a massacre like this, simple words by the government leaders and the school's president were all that were required. It started out okay but then it went to multi-cultural wackos.

When I heard that the President and First Lady announced they would participate in this remembrance, it was a nice gesture. It was expected. But why did we need to hear a Muslim professor spouting praise to Allah and quoting Koranic scripture on a campus of Christians? Why did we need to hear the Buddhist, on a campus of Christians? Why did we need to hear the liberal poet spew out her political diatribe, on a campus of Christians? Clapping at a time of solemnity? Cheering after a completed speech? Where was the reverence?

Today's convocation in Blacksburg was an embarrassment to America. These unfortunately events happen. They are pure evil. They are committed by the misguided and mentally ill.

If today's response to the massacre on one of our institutes of higher learning has become the norm, we are doomed as a nation. This is another example of how liberalism is a mental disorder.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Anti-Putin Dissenters Beaten Down

At first it was subtle; now it is getting violent. The opponents of the Putin-ran Kremlin attempted peaceful demonstrations in Moscow and St. Petersburg over the weekend. The government responded with arrests and violence.

The rally organizer, Other Russia, has experienced other violent suppression in recent weeks. The Other Russia, which includes liberals, nationalists and communists, is united by a disdain for Putin's rule.

It is clear that Russia's current policy is designed to prevent the kind of public marches that are commonplace in Western countries.

Polls state that Putin enjoys overwhelming support within Russia. Opposition groups are marginal. However, these groups tend to downplay these polls and believe these violent government actions shows that the Kremlin is nervous about the opposition's strength.

When I hear of these actions, my response is traditional Western: let the people voice their opinion. However, I tend to believe in self-determination, despite the loss of life and freedom. My sympathy is with the opponents of repression.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Jackie Robinson


Today is the 60th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson put on a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform in a regular-season game for the first time. He was the first black man to play in the Majors.

Today, all of the Dodgers will be wearing No. 42 on Sunday at Dodger Stadium in honor of one of their own. In each of the 10 ballparks where games will be played today, at least one player per team will be allowed to wear No. 42, an idea from Ken Griffey Jr. That number is not worn by anyone -- it is retired and revered.

Branch Rickey, the owner and businessman behind the effort, was careful in selection Jackie. He knew that Jackie was the man for the job. He was not the most talented negro player at the time but he was as tough nails mentally and as competitive as they come. The pressure would be tremendous.

Couple the business savvy Richey and the determination of Robinson with the behind the scene strength, Jackie's wife Rachel. She was his rock in the physically and mental isolated time in New York.

Robinson (along with Richey) did as much for racial integration as any person that has ever lived. Today, as we reflect on his life and contribution, the word that comes to my mind is courage. Thanks Jackie.

Friday, April 13, 2007

McCain Finally Saying the Right Things


Although I am not a big John McCain fan, it was refreshing to see this desperate Presidential wannabe show a little honesty. Some of his comments...
"Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender?"

"What is happening today will have the outcome of a disaster for the United States of America. What their motives might be, I can't ascertain. I do know what their actions will cause."

"Progress in Iraq cannot be measured by the same ideological fantasies that got us into this war -- it must be measured by the reality of the facts on the ground. And today those sobering facts tell us to change our strategy and bring a responsible end to this war," Obama said. "What we need today is a surge in honesty."

"We could face a terrible choice: watch the region burn, the price of oil escalate dramatically and our economy decline, watch the terrorists establish new base camps or send American troops back to Iraq, with the odds against our success much worse than they are today."
I appreciate any politician that stands up for what he/she believes, despite public opinion polls.

There are few people who actually want the U.S. to keep spending billions of dollars and sending thousands of soldiers on fifteen month deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Foreign wars are and will always be quagmires. Trying to impose American values on other nations rarely works. It is highly doubtful it will ever work in a Islamic nation.

Harry Reid's and Nancy Pelosi's motivations for withdrawal are political. Assuming they get their way and America withdrawals, will they except any of the blame associated with the millions that will get killed in an inevitable civil war? When the Kurds declare their independence and Turkey retaliates, will they ignore it and blame George Bush?

Our politicians should be united and working toward success, not failure. It is probably too late now, because the Democrats are vested in failure. They cannot accept any good news. They must use the erroneous notion that the last election was a mandate for a withdrawal. They can only succeed if America fails. That is a sad position. The average American may not see this but history will. America is heading towards becoming a impotent just like the British. With the liberals in power and the MSM providing cover, America's best days appear to be behind it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Task Force 145 and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi



The May issue of the Atlantic has a very interesting article called The Ploy by Mark Bowden. It describes in great detail how a small group of American interrogators were able to identify the location and eventual death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

In Feburary 2006, six members of Task Force 145 began a series of interrogations of five captured terrorists. Two of those men -- Abu Raja and Abu Haydr -- proved very significant. After a few weeks of interrogation, with post Abu Ghraib methods, they thought these men were dead ends. Right before tossing them into Abu Ghraib, the got a break.

Seems like Abu Haydr knew a bit more than he was revealing. One of the interrogators was able to "befriend" him using an intellectual angle and the promise of not being sent to Abu Ghraib (don't tell me something good did not come from that incident?).

It came down to information about a tracking known associates' travel plans and how they always drove to al-Zarqawi in a light blue car. So on 7 June 2007, that car arrived at a remote house. Shortly thereafter, a couple of missiles destroyed that house and its occupants. al-Zarqawi was there and fatally injured.

Lots of hard work; lots of skills; a little bit of luck. All were part of the eventual demise of a most-wanted-man.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Stanley Cup Playoffs


If you read my postings on a semi-regular basis, you know I am a big sports fan. I like most sports, though I am not a big fan of the NBA, motor sports or golf (though I like to play). Unlike most Americans, I do love hockey, especially the NHL playoffs.

The NHL playoffs are arguably the best of all of the major sport playoffs. The only unfortunate things about them is that too many teams qualify.

What I like about them is the intensity. It is ratcheted up ten fold over the regular season. The speed increases. The checking becomes more significant. The littlest of injuries are exploited. Fighting is almost non-existent because the penalty time is too damaging to the team. If we are lucky to have a game go into overtime, TV timeouts do not exist. (TV times outs ruin the flow of the game; the lack thereof is one reason soccer is such a great TV sport.)

UPDATE: two games did go into overtime -- watching the Canucks beat the Stars at the end of the fourth overtime kept me tired the following day.

The first round is set and begins tonight...

Eastern Conference
------------------
#1 Buffalo Sabres - #8 New York Islanders
#2 New Jersey Devils - #7 Tampa Bay Lightning
#3 Atlanta Thrashers - #6 New York Rangers
#4 Ottawa Senators - #5 Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference
------------------
#1 Detroit Red Wings - #8 Calgary Flames
#2 Anaheim Ducks - #7 Minnesota Wild
#3 Vancouver Canucks - #6 Dallas Stars
#4 Nashville Predators - #5 San Jose Sharks

Like every year, go Red Wings!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Imas, Racists and Double Standards


Let me get this right: it is okay for just about every rapper to call women every name in the book, treating them as owned property, but not okay for Don Imus to refer the Rutger's women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos."

True racist remarks are never acceptable, regardless of who makes them. Imus' remarks were racist. Rush Limbaugh's remarks about Donovan McNabb were not. Rappers are extremely racists and sexists. Double standard? Obviously.

It is a waste for Imas to appologize over and over. Say your apology, take your lumps, move on. I listened to Imus rarely, finding his ideology and topics unenlightening, his insight weak, his intelligence lacking.

This guy must lack a mirror: how does he brush his teeth every morning (assuming he does) and say, "man, my hair is cool for a old guy?" or not say "I need to get a hair cut, I'm hideous?"

Finally, I cannot figure out why anyone of any race wastes their time with Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. For Imus, it was a no-win situation. Their only interests are keeping African-Americans from succeeding, their victim and reparations message in tact, and their self-serving power tactics fully operational.

This is one of those stories that the media will milk for all they can, despite the fact it is not news.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Assimilation


It would be culturally acceptable if every country practiced what the Borg preach: "Resistance Is Futile. You Will Be Assimilated!"

Newt Gingrich recently said
"The government should quit mandating that various documents be printed in any one of 700 languages depending on who randomly shows up [to vote]. The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. ... We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto. Citizenship requires passing a test on American history in English. If that's true, then we do not have to create ballots in any language except English."
He later recorded an apology, in Spanish, for using the ghetto word.

Newt, you said the right things. The apology was not necessary. Only those living in the ghetto today in this country relate the word ghetto to them and as a racist word. The word ghetto is related to poverty, slum, even Jewish communities in Eastern Europe 50-75 years ago.

Not being able to speak the English language while living in this country condemns the person to a life of poverty, of living in the ghetto, regardless of race. The same would be true of any race or nationality.

If you immigrate to France, you had better learn French; if you move to Germany, figuring out how to read, write and speak German ought to be one of your top priorities.

Mono-ligualism for immigrants to America is a sentence to a life of poverty. Bi-lingual education -- the Mexican immigrants being taught in Spanish and not English -- is providing a disservice to them. Those who support this method do so with political motives, not educational. Multi-culturalism is one of the biggest crocks ever dumped on the ignorant masses.

Every immigrant who desires to come to this country to make themselves a better life must learn English. A fast immersion into the learning process would be a worthy pursuit.

America was a melting pot because we assimilated all. It is in the best interest, long-term stability and economic prosperity of all involved if English were the national language.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Robert Mugabe - Ego Gone Astray


His upbringing and background would never lead you to believe he could become a ruthless dictator. But Robert Mugabe, despotic leader of Zimbabwe, has become a pariah in African politics.

He has been ruling for nearly thirty years. He started out somewhat as a success, after years of apartheid. He built schools (but failed to educate). Now, he rules with an iron fist. Elections are rigged. His secret police do what secret police always do -- yank people out of the bed in the middle of the night, never to be heard from again.

In his 84th year (average Zimbabwean man dies at 37), he is running paranoid. Propaganda becoming his specialty, supplementing his beatings and killings. His persona of Western suits, avid reader, cricket aficionado, with a love-hate relationship with Britain seems alluring. But his disposition to massacring his people has a tendency to trump his good points.

Some says his transformation from okay dictator to despot was triggered by Nelson Mandela's release from prison (in 1990) and rise to power and popularity. Absolute power is absolute; the only thing he lacks is legacy. Funny how his ego got in the way of his legacy.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Declaration of Arbroath - 1320

Today, in 1320, Scotland re-affirmed its independence by producing one of the most famous declarations of national independence - the Declaration of Arbroath. A stirring piece of writing, the document was sent to Pope John XXII and includes many well-known lines including the stirring:
"It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

Fading Oil Fields

The front page story in Thursday's WSJ was entitled Mexico Tries to Save A Big, Fading Oil Field. The message was that Pemex's Gulf of Mexico Cantarell oil field, the second largest in the world, has lost a fifth of its output in a little over a year. A field that has produced over 2 million barrels a day is down to 1.6 million barrels. It is estimated that by 2010,it will be down to 1.2 million.

This is a big issue for Mexico, the Mexican government and the Mexican people. In 2006, Cantarell was responsible for $25 billion of Pemex's $53 million contribution to the government. The Mexican constitution has a foreign investment limitation so Pemex cannot get to new fields and leverage modern technology.

This problem is not a unique Mexican problem. Interestingly, a quarter of the world's daily oil output comes from the biggest 20 oil fields. These fields' output are also diminishing.

It is believed that the bulk of the world's large oil fields have been found. Prior to 1970, eight fields that product 1/2 billion barrel or more a day were discovered. In the 1970s and 1980s, only two were found. Since 1990, only one has been found (in Kazakhstan).

Fields are smaller. Fields are more expensive to access. State-owned oil companies are complacent. Their motivations are significantly different than public or privately owned firms.

Higher oil prices are a given. $5/gallon of gas is not too far away, as are higher electricity, heating oil and natural gas costs.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

European Rules of Engagement

This afternoon and this evening, I spent about 6 hours with Howard Schmidt. After 9/11, he was co-national security czar with Richard Clarke, reporting to Condi Rice and Tom Ridge. One of his tasks was the creation of the national critical infrastructure strategic plan. He was also the head of security for Microsoft and eBay. He is ex-Air Force. He has a son in the Army serving in Iraq.

We spoke about the British sailors, etc. He stated that the European rules of engagement are very different than America's. They were not under military assault, so they could not fire upon their would-be captors. As hostages, their mandate is to get out alive and unharmed; so providing only "name, rank and serial number" is not the European (or British) way.

This tells a great deal about the global state of military might. The British who once ruled the seas, have tied their own hands. They are an impotent military.

There are few militaries now, if any, that can actually fight a war to win. Politicians get in the way. They all lose to propaganda.

No where can I see the will or the might to actually squash terrorists, their camps, training facilities and revenue generating outfits. The western world will do nothing of significance. Their appeasement policies are open invitations to those that wish destruction to the western and Christian worlds.

All western nations are being slowly destroyed from within by appeasing politicians who are mainly lawyers by education and profession who only look out for their selfish interests. This goes to both major political parties.

Pelosi is in the Middle East upstaging her President under the guise of understanding. She tries to paint the picture that she has control over U.S. foreign policy. (I really wonder if she has ever read the Constitution? Few American's have so I guess she can get away with it.) Bush and the other Republicans sit back and take the upstaging, fearful of fighting back and doing what's right.

Europe and Britain have given up the fight long ago. America is right on their heals. Political leadership in this country is non-existent. I do not see any of the candidates for 2008 changing this.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

British Hostages Freed and Pelosi

The good news is that the British sailors were freed after being held by Iran for the past few weeks.

I'd really be interested in knowing what went on behind the scenes. Iran got a bump in oil prices; it got to wag its finger at the West; it executed a successful propaganda effort within Iran and the Middle East; it then showed that it can be reasonable by freeing the sailors without any apparent harm.

Did Iran do this on their own or did they get some pressure from Syria? Was it ironic that Speaker Pelosi was in Syria? Did she have any bearing on the negotiations or the pressure Syria put on Ahmadinejad?

Some people are angry Pelosi is in the Middle East, talking to leaders the Bush administration deems problematic and not worthy of negotiation. I have a mixed opinion.

One thing that is different with Pelosi is that she is an elected government official. She is second in line to the Presidency. Although she may share the politics of past anti-administration and anti-war losers, she has legitimacy. Compare her to Jane Fonda, Harry Bellefonte, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson. They are citizens with a recognized name without any legitimacy.

The concern is that based on her record, Pelosi rarely has America's best interest in mind. She is vested in defeat in Iraq. So whatever she does, it is in her political best interest, not necessarily the U.S's. She can only win if America loses.

Update: sailors' press conference...fighting back was not an option and they were 1.7 nautical miles from Iranian waters.

Monday, April 02, 2007

NCAA Basketball Championship Game


I have enjoyed the tournament this year. My Buckeyes struggled in the second and third rounds, but they have made it to the championship game. I like being the underdog. Florida is favored to repeat as national champs. On paper, they should win. Thankfully, games are not played on paper.

In early January, when the Bucks and Gators played for the football championship, few people gave Florida a chance. But that game was one of the more lopsided championship games we've witnessed (Florida dominated). Today, although the game is different and the schools are the same, the predictions are reversed.

In the bag for Gator nation? Maybe, but I hope to be celebrating along with Buckeye Nation OSU's second title (won in 1960, lost in 1939, 1961 and 1962).

Update: no doubt, the better team won. Tough to win when you go 4-23 from the 3-point line and you opponents were 10-18. Gators had it the whole way. The team play by Florida was exceptional. In today's market, returning all starters to a national champ is rare. Well done Gator Nation.

Cut Off Iraq Funding

All of the previous Senate and House activity associated with anti-Iraq war funding were a waste of time or perhaps posturing for what Senate leaders did today.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Russ Feingold said the would introduce legislation to end funding for the Iraq war — with limited exceptions — by March 31, 2008.

If Congress is against the war, then this is the way to do it. No pork. No hidden agendas. Fund it or not. Up or down.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Play Ball

No joke, baseball is underway. Time for optimism. My teams: Cincinnati Reds (predicted to finish last in the NL Central despite the best record in the NL during spring training) and the Minnesota Twins have as good a chance as any.

My first hope is that the Yankees fail to make the playoffs. They have the bats but lack the arms. And I am not sure a 40-something year old Roger Clemons is going to save them this time.

My second hope is that Bonds completes his Aaron quests for HRs to little fanfare and then just disappears.

My final hope is that the Reds and Indians meet in the World Series.

PS - RIP Herb Carneal, covering baseball for 52 years and the voice of the Twins since 1962.