In a word, yes. If anyone wondered whether government is the answer to solve our energy problems, their track record is dismal. From the $100 billion synfuels boondoggle of Jimmy Carter to the bipartisan passed corn ethanol fiasco (high fuel prices, high carbon footprint and higher food prices), the past is prologue.
Lately, the Democrats answer is windfall profits taxes, but the state and federal governments already pocket more of the oil company profits than the companies do!
Texas Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry is showing leadership with HR 3089, which would allow drilling in ANWR, Alaska and in the Gulf and the outer continental shelf (China is drilling in waters off Key West, Florida), allow the building of new nuclear power plants and develop alternate energy. In other words, be environmentally sane and do it all. We won't solve the problem overnight, but the time to begin is now or in future years we will have shortages, power interruptions, etc. The bill is missing incentives encouraging energy conservation which is a good idea, insulation, energy efficient cars and appliances which we need to do also.
America is looking for leaders regardless of party, any other volunteers?
TCR's Has The Time Come? Department
(1) Is it time for high-speed rail in Texas? With Europe and Japan decades ahead of us, maybe instead of a Tran-Texas Highway we need high-speed rail. In France, AirFrance is now joining a partnership with a French train operator to replace short term European flights with high-speed rail. What are the benefits? One-fourth to one-third of the annual energy costs, reduced congestion in the sky and an increase in economic development. Imagine if Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas were all connected. Why not let Continental and Southwest in on the action?
(2) Is it time for more punishment options in Texas? Mark Levin at the Texas Public Policy Foundation is doing innovative work on criminal justice. Here are a few ideas from the federal system: use house arrest, minimum security prisons (no walls) and reduce waiting periods for drug program entry. Other ideas include boot camps for young offenders, including a 30 day boot camp experience, community service, restitution centers to be used instead of maximum security jails and tightening the rules so full probation revocations cannot be used on a handful of technical violations, instead intermediate sanctions should be used. These ideas make sense and are considerably cheaper than maximum security prisons.
Obama's Plan For Texas
Most experts say Obama can't win Texas, but that is not stopping him from sending field operatives into the state to influence local elections in 2008.
The Obama people are thinking ahead: five seats to take over the state house and if they do it by 2010, they can have an impact on increasing Democratic seats in the legislature and in Congress.
TCR Comment: The Democrats are now thinking past 2008 and are showing real vision. The GOP better wake up or soon we could find we are back in the minority.
Public Says America On Wrong Track:
Does That Mean That Liberals Have The Answers?
Recently we have all read about polls saying the public sees the country on the wrong track.
TCR understands the feeling, but does anyone seriously believe that the left has the answers?
Let's review some of the so called Democratic answers to get out of our travails:
- In a slowing economy, raise taxes on capital gains and Social Security.
- If you make over $200,000, a huge tax increase.
- A government takeover of health care.
- Leave Iraq as soon as possible, no matter the effect.
- No drilling offshore, no new refineries, no nuclear power, etc.
- Reinstate the equal time rules to kill talk radio.
- Bilingual for all (Spanish and English.)
- Less restrictive immigration rules.
- Redefine marriage.
As commentator Dennis Prager recently said, "So 81 percent of Americans are right. We are on the wrong track. But the future of America entirely depends on what track it is most Americans think is wrong, and if they really believe that the radical "change" Obama and the Democrats advocate will be the right track. If so, it may mark the beginning of the end of the America that our parents and their parents and their parents back to America's founding lived in. The left, given its demonization of America's history, would welcome that. Would the American people?"
TCR Comment: Maybe we need to try real conservative answers to get us on the right track for a change we can believe in.
Medicare: Latest Joke
You are all familiar with the talk of Medicare's forthcoming insolvency, that doctors are refusing patients as they are losing money providing services. Now Congress, led by Democrats, are giving us the latest insult. According to writer David Leonhardt, "For years, Congress has set the price for walkers and various medical equipment, and it has consistently set them well above the market rate, effectively handing out a few hundred million dollars of corporate welfare every year to the equipment makers.
"But as of July 1, this system was set to change. Companies will instead have to submit bids, to compete with one another, just as Wal-Mart competes with Target, if they want to continue selling products to Medicare. Based on a pilot program, the price of walkers, deliver and setup included, will fall to about $80.
"Now, would you like to guess how the equipment makers feel about this? Right. With the changeover looming, they have increased their contributions to Congress. They have also started publicly claiming that competitive bidding will, among other things, deprive some patients of oxygen equipment they need. The industry seems to be having some success, too. On June 24th, the House overwhelmingly passed a sprawling Medicare bill that would throw out the initial bidding results."
TCR Comment: Ugh!
Big Pharma: Are You Kidding?
Did you hear about the latest idiotic idea? Cholesterol prescription drugs for eight year olds? While experts debate how much help those drugs (known as statins) can actually give, look at the number of essentially worthless commercials for prescription drugs on the air and in print. We can look forward to the drug manufacturers selling parents on this idea. Here is a better one, get your children off the couch and into serious physical activity and adjust your children's diets so it's healthy and not junk.
Facebook And Conservatives
Your editor recently read about how the Obama campaign is bringing social networking to politics for those under 35. If so, this is one of the new keys for political success and we are behind.
"Sitting amid a cluster of cubicles, Mr. Hughes, whose title is "online organizing guru," handles the My.BarackObama.com site, which is known within the campaign as MyBo. Other staff members maintain Mr. Obama's presence on Facebook (where he has one million supporters), purchase online advertising, respond to text messages from curious voters, produce videos and e-mail millions of supporters.
"Mr. Hughes wanted Mr. Obama's social network to mirror the off-line world the same way that Facebook seeks to, because supporters would foster more meaningful connections by attending neighborhood meetings and calling on people who were part of their daily lives. The Internet served as the connective tissue.
"While many candidates reach their supporters through the Web, the social networking features of MyBo allow supporters to reach one another.
"The point is to be able to chop up that million-person list into manageable chunks and organize them.
"Virtual phone banks greatly benefited Mr. Obama. During the primaries, volunteers could sign in online, receive a list of phone numbers and make calls from home. The volunteers made hundreds of thousand of calls last winter and spring. At the end of June, the Obama campaign began carefully opening up its files of voters to online supporters, making it easier to find out which Democratic-leaning neighbors to call and which registered independent doors to knock on.
"One goal is to drive online energy into in-person support. From January to April, for instance, the Obama campaign spent 13 million on online advertising to steer would-be voters to their polling places with online tools that tell people where to vote. The locators 'are hard to build, but once you build them, they have a very high return on investment,'
"You can have the best technology in the world," he said, "but if you don't have a community who wants to use it and who are excited about it, then it has no purpose."
TCR Comment: Okay conservatives, get to work.
The Connection - Red, White & Blue, featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones. Now weekly on Fridays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. on PBS Houston Channel 8. Coming soon: Mayor Bill White, Reagan author Douglas Brinkley, Attorney General Greg Abbott, Congressman Ted Poe, and others.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who recently completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his tenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last six years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.