Sunday, June 14, 2009

Monday Morning Rant 96

The rain on the way to Miami, OK didn’t materialize so I was able to safely go and enjoy the fellowship with the Saints there. Morris Jones came down from Independence and gave the message. After his inspiring remarks, my good wife called and I hurried home to fight the beetle invasion. She indicated a plague of biblical proportions.

A couple hours later I arrived home and remembered she had gone to her nursing duties and there were none to be seen. I looked everywhere among the flowers, bushes, trees and in the grass. I was prepared to spray the armies of pesky critters but they were absent. I double checked around the house, the hollyhocks out back, the bushes out front and anywhere else half-dollar size creatures might hide.. No success. If you are an expert at resolving social conflicts please comment and explain how I tell my wife that I did not feel compelled to spray that which I could not see. This can not end well.

Our New Car Czar

I believe we are now up to about twenty “czars” to manage the recovery of various businesses and functions of government. These officials have been the result of White House appointments which require no congressional approval. Hey, some of them even speak English. I am including the supposed remarks from one of them for your enjoyment.

“Hi, I’m the new Chairman of GM. I don’t know anything about cars but I can guarantee you that myself and my management team of highly qualified MBA’s will interface on a daily basis with President Obama’s team to develop long-range strategies to effectively develop mutually beneficial synergies while still allowing GM to remain out-of-the-box when it comes to building brand loyalty and competitive outsourcing and business process re-engineering of our supply chain efficiencies to increase customer loyalty and targeted demand marketing pricing and advertising cost reduction implementation phase 1, 2 and 3 budget analysis factoring…”

Now don’t you feel better about all these new pricey executives?

It’s not all bad; you can now trade in your gas-guzzler for a huge tax credit against a new car purchase. I currently drive a 1993 Ford Explorer with 248,000 miles on it which would earn a $4500 tax credit since its mpg is around 18.5. The GM (Government Motors) dealers in our area are disappearing faster than Hazel’s deviled eggs at a church dinner so I have no idea where to find one. No ads appear in the local paper so that doesn’t help. As a veteran car buyer, I would be quite surprised if I could not engineer the same difference price without the trade and subsequent tax credit. Oh, I forgot; I don’t pay taxes on my retirement so I guess it doesn’t matter anyway.

Palin Wins the Pipeline Struggle

In a direct quote from the Washington Post on Friday we read: “TransCanada and Exxon Mobil, two rivals in a long-running battle over the construction of an Alaskan natural gas pipeline, have agreed to work together, and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who courted TransCanada as an alternative to the big oil companies, praised the agreement.”

This is a win in so many ways. What the Post doesn’t report is the battle Gov. Palin waged to get the OK from the Alaska legislature and the ability to get the two principals to talk turkey and finalize the deal. What is at stake is a 1700 mile pipe line from the rich gas fields in Prudhoe Bay, AK on the Beaufort Sea to a terminal in Alberta. It involves a shared cost of $30 billion for a pipeline which will carry 4.5 billion cubic feet a day when complete. Completion will not be anticipated until 2018. Details on the exact route were not available but a huge portion will come through Canada.

Given the accelerating costs of fuel and the waning of the crude oil fields around Prudhoe, this constitutes an important answer to part of the energy problems we face as a nation.

In the process, Gov. Palin demonstrated a bulldog tenacity to get all involved to hammer out an agreement. While the influx of all that construction activity will have a meaningful affect on the Alaskan economy (and Canada’s) it will mean even more to those in the United States who want to adjust the thermostat on a chilly night.

I personally drove the “haul road” to Prudhoe Bay in 2006 to verify what all the fuss was about. As predicted, I found that most of the criticisms of further projects in that region were from people who have never stirred past the northern suburbs of the District of Columbia. My first observation was the impact on the wildlife which was present in grand abundance. Caribou love the pipeline because it’s warm. Shore birds love the pools around the rigs because they are largely clear. The rest of the critters, foxes, musk oxen, and the smaller animals act pretty much like wild creatures do everywhere; except for a lack of fear of men.

Having lived in coastal Louisiana, I am very familiar with oil rigs and found the ones in Alaska to be extremely well maintained and environmentally scrupulous in contrast. The biggest difference was the high level of scrutiny of visitors to protect the site.

This project will provide actual jobs in the private sector. This is a welcome relief from employment figures based on increased hiring by the government. What a concept!

And finally,

I had a rare treat late this afternoon. Between the new deck and the forest is a mowed space about 12’ deep and at a steep angle leading down to the day lilies. I glanced out the window, no doubt attracted by movement outside, and saw a beautiful Whitetail button buck grazing on the slope. Because of the glare off the window, I remained unseen and the dogs were clueless. I have seen deer on the property before but never 13’ from my desk.

We also added another species of bird to the list this week. A couple of days we have hosted a pair of mourning doves in the surrounding trees. They show little interest in the feeder but add another dimension to the mix. That brings the total to fifteen different types, not including the larger ones that soar by on occasion. I do thank God for providing His creatures for my continuing enjoyment.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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