Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekly Update RRStar Stats June 16, 2008

The content of the RRStar (online Rockford Register Star) blogs have an overwhelmingly liberal slant in both content, links, and quantity.

I established this blog in an attempt to provide Rockford with political balance and to demonstrate the type and quality of content the RRStar could offer to its readers.

Checking the stats of their political blogs it is clear that they need more of a balanced portfolio of political blogs.

Again, here are the political blogs available at the RRStar:

  • Applesauce is a prolific far left blog that addresses national issues. The content is mainly composed of links to the left wing of the blogosphere along with a short quips, photo, and video content. Occasionally there are longer posts that include opinions on the items linked. Comments are quickly answered, often with another quip.
  • In Chambers is a blog that covers Illinois state politics. It appears to be right of center but that could be the result of its adversarial nature to the current state administration. There is no real interaction in the comments.
  • Sweeny Report is a blog written by the Political Editor of the Register Star. Postings are sporadic, concentrating on local, state and national issues and are mainly short thoughts on events with few links.
  • Why We Vote is a group blog consisting of the thoughts of the members of the Register Star's voters opinion panel. The posts are mostly left of center (including those from the independents to date). The conservative member who was posting, sadly, passed away recently.

  • The Stats for June 1, 2008 through June 15, 2008:

    * Applesauce 29 posts with 27 out links 5 YouTube.
    * In Chambers 4 posts with 7 out links 0 YouTube.
    * Sweeny Report 3 posts with 0 out links 0 YouTube.
    * Why We Vote 0 posts (0 left, 0 right, 0 center) 0 out links 0 YouTube.

    Totals since I started counting March 27, 2008 through June 15, 2008:

    * Applesauce 290 posts with 373 out links 71 YouTube.
    * In Chambers 47 posts with 287 out links 1 YouTube.
    * Sweeny Report 64 posts with 20 out links 1 YouTube.
    * Why We Vote 32 posts (28 left, 1 right, 4 center) 1 out links 0 YouTube.

    If your interested in balance in the RRStar blogs keep coming back and let the RRStar know.

    Misunderstanding And Empowering Speculation -- We CAN Drill Our Way Out

    Over the past few weeks I have heard an increasing meme that speculation is what has driven up the price of oil.

    While it is true a portion of the price increase has been strictly profit driven, "speculators," the majority of the speculation is warranted by the supply and demand in the markets. The profit driven speculation is only feasible because of the artificial restrictions we have placed on oil supplies.

    In the current oil market unreasonable speculation is simply a symptom of the problem. That problem being the lack of a stable supply of crude oil.

    Current oil production levels are virtually identical to demand with very little excess capacity available in the event of an interruption. Political instability, weather hazards, refinery breakdowns, terror attacks, kidnapping/attacks on oil platforms and hostage taking, and other interruptions in production increase the risk that oil supply will not be able to meet the demand in the future.

    That is where the market comes in. If you are a large consumer of oil you purchase futures contracts, offering to buy oil in the future, at a set price that the seller has to deliver at that price -- no matter what interruptions occur between now and then. In order to make a profit traders have to build in a premium in the cost of oil to offset that ever increasing risk.

    Increasing domestic production -- Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less -- would greatly reduce much of the speculation by mitigating many of the uncertainties. From the list above, if you developed domestic supply in various regions of the US (Both coasts, Rocky Mountains, Alaska, Plains) you would mitigate the major effects of weather, political instability, terror attacks, attacks on platforms, and many other interruptions because there would be additional supplies from the remaining stable US regions. Increasing refining capacity would help mitigate the effects of refinery breakdowns.

    This fundamental misunderstanding of the oil markets and the refusal of the Democrats to allow increased energy production has empowered the speculators in ways not seen since the markets began trading, resulting in a direct increase in the price of gasoline. The Democrat's tactic of deflecting blame to the oil companies only serves to increase the speculation as additional restrictions and increased taxes on domestic oil producers historically leads to reduced domestic production. (Interestingly as the polls show less people blame the oil companies the debate is shifting to speculators!)

    Pelosi, Reid, and crew keep repeating that we can't drill our way out of this, but they are just as wrong and misinformed about this as they were 14 months ago when Reid declared the surge a failure.

    Have You Seen The Price Of Arugula?

    It's Not Race, It's Arugula
    Obama's real electoral challenge.

    Weekly Standard -- Noemie Emery

    Che And Obama -- What A Couple!

    So, you have to love the photograph of the liberal Ohio judge who declared the death penalty as administered in that state unconstitutional. Is he a Communist who happens to support Barack Obama in the absence of actual Communists, or an Obama liberal who sees nothing wrong in promoting a Communist murderer? It is difficult to know which. The question is, why do we keep seeing Obama supporters who revere Che Guevara?

    Tigerhawk -- Background Noise

    Why Are Conservatives Nicer More Generous?

    Don't listen to the liberals - Right-wingers really are nicer people, latest research shows

    George Orwell once wrote that politics was closely related to social identity. 'One sometimes gets the impression,' he wrote in The Road To Wigan Pier, 'that the mere words socialism and communism draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, nature-cure quack, pacifist and feminist in England'.

    Orwell was making an observation. But today a whole body of academic research shows he was correct: your politics influence the manner in which you live your life. And the news is not so good for those on the political Left.

    There is plenty of data that shows that Right-wingers are happier, more generous to charities, less likely to commit suicide - and even hug their children more than those on the Left.


    The culprit here is not those on the Left who embrace progressive ideas but the ideas themselves.

    As John Maynard Keynes reminds us: 'The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and wrong, are more powerful than commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.' Or, as the American theorist Richard Weaver once declared: 'Ideas have consequences.'

    And it seems that today modern progressive ideas can often bring out the worst in people.

    Read all the studies and examples.


    The Mail Online

    Internet Radio Fight -- Manzullo Pushes Solution

    The creator of the nation’s largest Internet radio station, Pandora, visited with Congressman Don Manzullo this week to thank him and discuss the next steps in the fight to save online music from its impending demise.

    Tim Westergren, who launched the free Internet radio station in 2005 and now boasts more than 11 million listeners, came to Manzullo’s office earlier this week to discuss the importance of the Internet Radio Equality Act (HR 2060), which Manzullo and Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) introduced last year. The bill, which maintains the strong bipartisan support of 149 cosponsors, would vacate a Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision last year to triple royalty rates Internet radio stations must pay and instead put the rates at parity with satellite and cable radio.


    Representative Don Manzullo

    I wrote about this here on my LifeTrek blog when the bill was first introduced.


    WaPo -- What The Heck, Dems?

    (T)he Iraqi prime minister was saying that his country does not want to become an Iranian satellite but an independent Arab state that would look to the United States to ensure its security.

    This would seem to be an obvious U.S. gain in what, according to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as well as President Bush, is the urgent task of countering Iran's attempt to dominate the Middle East. It means that Iraq, a country with the world's second largest oil reserves and a strategic linchpin of the Middle East, just might emerge from the last five years of war and turmoil as an American ally, even if its relations with Iran remain warm.

    So it's hard to fathom why Democrats in Congress have joined Ayatollah Khamenei in denouncing the U.S.-Iraqi agreements even before they are written. Critics such as Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) are professing to be outraged that the Bush administration might be forging a relationship with Iraq "that parallels the Korea-Japan history," as Mr. Webb put it. They claim to be shocked by the suggestions of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that U.S. forces might remain in Iraq for decades without controversy if they did not suffer casualties, as has happened in Japan and South Korea. Yet the U.S. alliances with Japan and South Korea have been among the most successful in this nation's history. While building a similar bond with Iraq may prove impossible, it's hard to understand why Democrats would oppose it in principle.


    Washington Post -- A Partnership With Iraq

    1 to 10 -- Democrats Responsible for Gas Prices

    This started out as an attempt to create a light and humorous, Letterman-esque Top 10 list. But the items on the list, and the drain Americans are seeing in their pocketbooks because of Democrats' actions (sometimes inaction) are just too tragic for that.

    Read and keep this one, it will come in handy during debates with Democrats in the future.
    American Thinker -- Top 10 reasons to blame Democrats for soaring gasoline prices

    There's No There There

    Until then, here's an audacious hope. When you listen to Obama's rhetoric you may think: I'd have to be born yesterday to believe this! No taxpayer could buy into the notion that this is
    ...the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal,

    or that college is a "privilege for the wealthy few," not when government in the United States spend north of $900 billion a year each on health care and education.

    Maybe there's a clue here. Maybe Obama is the candidate for people born yesterday and the people that don't pay taxes. For the rest of us, the meaning of Obama seems to be symbolized in his ubiquitous "O" logo. He seems to add up not to "change," not to "unity," but to a Big Zero.

    American Thinker -- The Big O

    Rock River To Crest Tuesday?

    River levels rose again Sunday and will continue to do so today before cresting Tuesday, forecasters anticipate.

    The advancing water has caused dozens to evacuate their homes, closed roads and washed out weekend fun.

    There were 23 people housed at the Red Cross disaster shelter at Harlem High School by about 1 p.m. Sunday, and more were anticipated to arrive.

    RRStar -- River expected to keep rising

    Saudi's To Increase Oil Production

    Saudi Arabia will raise oil production to record levels within weeks in an attempt to avert an escalation of social and political unrest around the world. King Abdullah signalled the commitment to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, at the weekend after the impact of skyrocketing oil prices on food sparked protests and riots from Spain to South Korea.

    Next month, the Saudis will be pumping an extra half-a-million barrels of oil a day compared to last month, bringing total Saudi production to 9.7 million barrels a day, their highest ever level. But the world's biggest oil exporters are coupling the increase with an appeal to western Europe to cut fuel taxes to lower the price of petrol to consumers.


    The Independent UK -- Saudi King: 'We will pump more oil'

    Is Conservatism The Doctrine of Human Exceptionalism Of Of Least Expectations?

    Human Exceptionalism refers to a belief that human beings have special status in nature based on their unique capacities. This special status conveys special rights, such as the right to life, and also unique responsibilities, such as stewardship of the environment.

    Some believers in human exceptionalism base the concept in Abrahamic religions, such as the verse in Genesis 1:26 "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."

    Others take a secular approach, such as pointing to evidence of unusual rapid evolution of the brain and the emergence of "exceptional" aptitudes. As one commentator put it, "Over the course of human history, we have been successful in cultivating our faculties, shaping our development, and impacting upon the wider world in a deliberate fashion, quite distinct from evolutionary processes.[1]


    I always thought it was, but JR Dunn at The American Thinker starts his post today this way:

    Conservatism is the doctrine of least expectations. Conservatives tend to view the world from the bleakest of perspectives. Man is a fallen creature, a rickety bridge between the beasts and the angels, driven by appetites and urges perhaps best not examined too closely. Mankind takes two steps (and sometimes two hundred) backward for each step forward, and often enough, those forward steps are in the wrong direction. Humans are steeped in error, and any change holds within it the danger of catastrophe.

    This is the tragic vision of life, a philosophy of limitations. As such it is not unimpressive, and may well be close to the truth. (I find it a pretty apt description of the human universe as I've experienced it.) But it's not much of a formula for practical application, particularly when it comes to politics.

    This is so foreign a concept and belief system to me that I had to reply saying this:
    Wow, that introduction was so wrong, so far off the mark that I had a hard time finishing what ended up being a good piece on Obama.

    In my experience Conservatism is the expectation of greatness in each of us, understanding and working with human nature, rugged individualism, an optimistic belief that achievement takes hard work and struggle.
    Okay, I just reread what you wrote and it is so foreign, to everything I know and believe, so negative, that it actually made me feel bad for the author personally.

    I have been typing and deleting my words for 15 minutes because I just can't describe how wrong I believe this to be -- I have forgotten everything I read beyond this introduction.

    How this conservative could believe that man's progress has been negative (hundreds of steps backward) is beyond me;

    Conservatism is not the doctrine of least expectations, if anything it is the doctrine of Human Exceptionalism.

    Wow -- just -- Wow.
    His piece is a good one on how Barack is not inevitable, but Wow!

    Oil Bugs And Old Theories

    He means bugs. To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs – very, very small ones – so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil.

    Unbelievably, this is not science fiction. Mr Pal holds up a small beaker of bug excretion that could, theoretically, be poured into the tank of the giant Lexus SUV next to us. Not that Mr Pal is willing to risk it just yet. He gives it a month before the first vehicle is filled up on what he calls “renewable petroleum”. After that, he grins, “it’s a brave new world”.

    Mr Pal is a senior director of LS9, one of several companies in or near Silicon Valley that have spurned traditional high-tech activities such as software and networking and embarked instead on an extraordinary race to make $140-a-barrel oil (£70) from Saudi Arabia obsolete. “All of us here – everyone in this company and in this industry, are aware of the urgency,” Mr Pal says.

    What is most remarkable about what they are doing is that instead of trying to reengineer the global economy – as is required, for example, for the use of hydrogen fuel – they are trying to make a product that is interchangeable with oil. The company claims that this “Oil 2.0” will not only be renewable but also carbon negative – meaning that the carbon it emits will be less than that sucked from the atmosphere by the raw materials from which it is made.

    Times of London -- Scientists find buts that eat waste and excrete petrol

    Wow, this could bring to reality the belief of the abiogenic petroleum origin theory supported by the late astrophysicist Thomas Gold who also predicted what the surface of the moon would be like (Motor Trend -- Is The Earth Producing More Oil). This theory, widely accepted in Russia for years is reported to have helped them decide to drill deeper then the level at which oil would normally be expected to exist.

    Of course this manufactured oil would completely destroy the minds of many eco-wacko's because as mentioned it is better then carbon neutral -- and as such we could continue life without the radical changed they seem to prefer.
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