Sunday, March 29, 2009

Even Germany Gets more spending

Way to go Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, who said last night when discussing a new global/European stimulus package: “I will not let anyone tell me that we must spend more money,” she said.

That was followed up by more reason when Spanish finance minister, Pedro Solbes, also dismissed new cash being pledged at Thursday’s London summit.

“In these conditions I and the rest of my colleagues from the eurozone believe there is no room for new fiscal stimulus plans,” he said.

It is shameful when what is considered "socialist Europe" spouts more fiscal commonsense than the United States.

Way to go Anderson!

From an article on GOUPSTATE.COM:

Informing constituents

South Carolina's local governments should report their spending online

Other local governments in the Upstate should follow the example of Anderson County, which put its checkbook register online this month.

Taxpayers who wonder how Anderson County is spending their money can go to and see. They can look at all the checks the county writes from its accounts payable account. They can see the amounts and the payees.

Voters who wonder about the performance of their elected officials in that county can examine where the money goes. When they hear a rumor that a county councilman has arranged for the county to hire his nephew's lawn maintenance business at overpriced rates, they can check the register to see whether it's true.

Anderson County officials said it wasn't particularly difficult for them to put their checkbook on their Web site. Once they decided to do it, it took a couple of days to upload the files, and their constituents had the enhanced ability to be informed.

It's an extra level of government transparency that would be welcome across the state.

S.C. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom has been urging local governments to put their check registers on the Web. He has had good response since he put state agency checkbooks on his Web site, and he has offered assistance to local governments that need it.

Because local government spending isn't done through the same computer systems as state spending, the online information isn't as easily searched and surfed as the state checkbooks are, but the information is still useful.

Some local officials may wonder about the repercussions of revealing this much public information to the public. They may wonder whether they'll have to answer too many questions from constituents or whether people will misunderstand the information.

These are not valid concerns. Questions from an informed public can only make government better, push officials and administrators to question spending traditions and force innovation.

And putting this level of information at the fingertips of all voters and taxpayers will build confidence in any local government. By making this information available, Anderson County has told its citizens that it has nothing to hide and is willing to let any and all of them examine the books at their leisure.

Even if citizens find something they don't like, any anger will be muted by the fact that the government was so open with them. Intense voter anger is generated when elected officials try to hide controversial spending items from the public.

Putting check registers online will lead to greater efficiency, accountability and public confidence in government. Anderson's example should be followed by every county, municipality and school district in the state.

Friday, March 20, 2009

By the Seat of Your Pants.....

From the Urban Dictionary on-line:

fly by the seat of your pants

1. to pilot a plane by feel and instinct rather than by instruments

2. to proceed or work by feel or instinct without formal guidelines or experience
It's during a time like that that you must fly by the seat of your pants.

Act according to one's own desires or beliefs without regard for standards for social behavior, logical sensibility, or the approval of others.

Generally regarded as negative, irresponsible

Example: "Don't fly by the seat of your pants; make real plans for your future"

I point out the second definition above that says: Act according to one's own desires or beliefs without regard for standards for social behavior, logical sensibility, or the approval of others.

With no real experience to draw upon, this seems exactly how our new President is executing the duties of his office.

The Congress, too, seems to have lost its way, with the House passing an unconstitutional 90% punitive tax on AIG bonus recipients. Now, don't get me wrong....AIG paying those bonuses was wrong and should have never been allowed since they were receiving taxpayer funds. But look at who pushed for the bailout of AIG and allowed the bonuses - even basically nationalizing the company.....Senator Dodd and his cronies.

For President Obama, House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid - who seem to have lost their way - please know that there is a map available - The US Constitution. Stop obligating my children and grand-children to pay the debts for your stupidity and over-zealous governing! You cannot borrow and spend your way out of this crisis - just like you cannot borrow your way out of debt. It just doesn't work.

We Americans need to remember that "Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely."

There's Oil in them there hills!

3 to 4.3 Billion Barrels of Technically Recoverable Oil Assessed in North Dakota and Montana’s Bakken Formation—25 Times More Than 1995 Estimate—

Reston, VA - North Dakota and Montana have an estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in an area known as the Bakken Formation.

A U.S. Geological Survey assessment, released April 10, shows a 25-fold increase in the amount of oil that can be recovered compared to the agency's 1995 estimate of 151 million barrels of oil.

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3 to 4.3 Billion Barrels of Oil in North Dakota and Montana

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Technically recoverable oil resources are those producible using currently available technology and industry practices. USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources.

New geologic models applied to the Bakken Formation, advances in drilling and production technologies, and recent oil discoveries have resulted in these substantially larger technically recoverable oil volumes. About 105 million barrels of oil were produced from the Bakken Formation by the end of 2007.

The USGS Bakken study was undertaken as part of a nationwide project assessing domestic petroleum basins using standardized methodology and protocol as required by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 2000.

The Bakken Formation estimate is larger than all other current USGS oil assessments of the lower 48 states and is the largest "continuous" oil accumulation ever assessed by the USGS. A "continuous" oil accumulation means that the oil resource is dispersed throughout a geologic formation rather than existing as discrete, localized occurrences. The next largest "continuous" oil accumulation in the U.S. is in the Austin Chalk of Texas and Louisiana, with an undiscovered estimate of 1.0 billions of barrels of technically recoverable oil.

"It is clear that the Bakken formation contains a significant amount of oil - the question is how much of that oil is recoverable using today's technology?" said Senator Byron Dorgan, of North Dakota. "To get an answer to this important question, I requested that the U.S. Geological Survey complete this study, which will provide an up-to-date estimate on the amount of technically recoverable oil resources in the Bakken Shale formation."

The USGS estimate of 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil has a mean value of 3.65 billion barrels. Scientists conducted detailed studies in stratigraphy and structural geology and the modeling of petroleum geochemistry. They also combined their findings with historical exploration and production analyses to determine the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil estimates.

USGS worked with the North Dakota Geological Survey, a number of petroleum industry companies and independents, universities and other experts to develop a geological understanding of the Bakken Formation. These groups provided critical information and feedback on geological and engineering concepts important to building the geologic and production models used in the assessment.

Five continuous assessment units (AU) were identified and assessed in the Bakken Formation of North Dakota and Montana - the Elm Coulee-Billings Nose AU, the Central Basin-Poplar Dome AU, the Nesson-Little Knife Structural AU, the Eastern Expulsion Threshold AU, and the Northwest Expulsion Threshold AU.

At the time of the assessment, a limited number of wells have produced oil from three of the assessments units in Central Basin-Poplar Dome, Eastern Expulsion Threshold, and Northwest Expulsion Threshold.
The Elm Coulee oil field in Montana, discovered in 2000, has produced about 65 million barrels of the 105 million barrels of oil recovered from the Bakken Formation.

Results of the assessment can be found at

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Not afraid to profess your faith.....even as an elected official!

On Saturday, March 14th I had the privilege of sharing the stage with Congressman Gresham Barrett and Senator Kevin Bryant in Anderson, SC at New Covenant Church. New Covenant held a breakfast fundraiser for their private school, New Covenant School and invited the three of us to speak.

It was refreshing to see three elected officials not afraid to profess their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Thank you Tim Bowers and the elders at New Covenant for allowing me to share the morning with you and the opportunity to speak to the students and parents at New Covenant! God Bless you, always.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Religious Freedom

From the SC House Republican Caucus:

One of the most sacred rights that countless South Carolinians have fought and died for is religious freedom. The great leaders in our country's history have been guided by faith that was nurtured over the years in homes, communities and schools. Today, elected officials continue to be buoyed by their strong faith as they make tough decisions during difficult times.

But religious freedom on college campuses has come under attack by Democrats. The massive Democrat spending bill, or so-called stimulus package, recently signed into law by President Barack Obama prohibits funds to renovate buildings on college campuses from being used for buildings with any type of religious connection. Our own U.S. Senator Jim DeMint has called the bill "a direct attack on students of faith."

The South Carolina House Republican Caucus believes strongly in protecting religious freedom and will not allow students to come under attack. That's why House Republicans voted today to safeguard religious freedom on college campuses in South Carolina. According to an amendment passed with overwhelming support from House Republicans, state supported colleges receiving federal stimulus stabilization funds must continue to support and maintain existing student programs and facilities used for religious activities.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What they are saying now......

General Motors. On September 24, Congress approved a $25 billion bailout for General Motors (GM), Ford (F), and Chrysler. In November, they were back.....asking Congress for more of our tax dollars.

Dallas Executive Mr. Jody Grant stated well in the Dallas Morning News stated "I think Washington is inclined to do a bailout. But if it's not done properly, we'll be back in the same old boat: GM's no more competitive than they were before, nor is Ford, nor is Chrysler." GM received $13.4 Billion in round one.

Most people in September and throughout the fall were saying that they should file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, reorganize the business free from the immediate creditor pressure and, most importantly, renegotiate the union contracts they have. Most people being the American public, not the politicians in DC.

Just this morning (March 8th) Senator John McCain is saying just that - like it is his idea and he just came to this conclusion. How much in taxpayer dollars needs to be thrown down the hole before those in Washington listen to the things that the American people are saying?

Why not bring back the RTC?

When the Savings and Loan Industry failed in the late 1980's, the federal government instituted the Resolution Trust Corporation to deal with the liquidation of what are now called "Toxic Assets" held by the S&L's. From Wikipedia:

"The Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) was a United States Government-owned asset management company charged with liquidating assets (primarily real estate-related assets, including mortgage loans) that had been assets of savings and loan associations (S&Ls) declared insolvent by the Office of Thrift Supervision, as a consequence of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. It also took over the insurance functions of the former Federal Home Loan Bank Board. It was created by the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), adopted in 1989. In 1995, its duties were transferred to the Savings Association Insurance Fund of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Between 1989 and mid-1995, the Resolution Trust Corporation closed or otherwise resolved 747 thrifts with total assets of $394 billion."

This seems like a viable option for the Federal Government now instead of pouring more and more of our future taxes into a bottomless pit.