Friday, June 21, 2013

The Nation Is On a Bridge to Disaster

In 2009, Obama pushed through Congress an $800 billion stimulus bill.  Democrats promised that the bill would provide funds for needed infrastructure repairs.  The words "shovel ready" entered our vernacular.

But then something horrible happened.  "Shovel ready" meant paying back left wing organizations like ACORN, instead of fixing the nation's deteriorating roads, bridges, sewer systems, and the like.  Today, as the budget constricts, the bills remain unpaid.

Transportation For America, an infrastructure activist group, produced some scary numbers recently.  In their 2013 report entitled "The Fix We're In" it says:

11 percent of all U.S. highway bridges are structurally deficient— bridges requiring significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement. And though there are far fewer today than 20 years ago, our progress on repairing them has slowed to a trickle — nearly three times slower in the last four years than 20 years ago.
If all 66,503 structurally deficient U.S. bridges were placed end to end, you could drive from Washington, DC to Denver, CO entirely on deficient bridges. At 55 mph, you’d be taking your chances for over 28 hours on one, long, bad American bridge.

One of the major problems facing bridges comes from faulty rebar.  Bridges use reinforced steel surrounded by concrete.  Until a few decades ago, it was not thought necessary to protect that steel from rust.  Unfortunately, moisture seeped through the concrete and caused the steel to rust.  The bonding of oxygen and metal caused the steel to expand.  This cracks and weakens the concrete, dangerously weakening the bridge.  This flaw forced the replacement of the US 220 bridge over the Potomac River last year.  Many others face the same dire problem.  But because of Obama's reckless spending, money is not currently there.

Just imagine if we could go back in time and revisit the stimulus.  How easy would it have been to take money away from leftist groups engaged in deconstructing America and spend the money on projects to build the nation and make it safer?

Next time you experience apprehension crossing an unsafe bridge, make sure and thank Obama!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

West Virginia Day: A Celebration of Courage and Sacrifice

Today West Virginians mark the 150th anniversary of the creation of the state.  Northern state residents will hoist their pepperoni rolls with as much pride as southerners will much on their brown bean soup and cornbread.

But like other holidays, such as Memorial Day, Veterans' Day, etc., how many will stop to reflect on the courage and sacrifice needed for the state to even exist?

When the Old Dominion seceded, Union supporters from the northwestern counties met to form a Union government at Wheeling.  One of the first proposals was to form a new state, at first called "Kanawha" and only later "West Virginia."

Most of these men remained sensible to the fact that their actions meant treason to the government in Richmond.  And less than two years before, the Commonwealth hanged John Brown for treason against it. Proposing and working towards establishment of a new state only stoked their rage further.

As the day of the new state's birth drew near, Confederate forces tried to disrupt its authority.  In one instance, Colonel Imboden seized the Sheriff of Barbour County.  In response, two Barbour County Confederates were swiftly executed.  Brigadier General Robert Milroy and Imboden then exchanged letters threatening higher numbers of mass reprisals.

This was among the more civil exchanges.  West Virginia's civil war was not the conventional movement of armies.  It was weary and nervous backwoods garrisons, dangerous patrols, deadly ambushes, and assassination.  This state's war resembled America's war in Vietnam and Afghanistan much more than Grant versus Lee.  Every official risked capture and imprisonment.  The gentlemanly treatment of Generals Kelley and Crook by Confederate raiders was an aberration, not the rule.  One of the early leaders of the movement, Reverend Gordon Battelle, died on the battlefield defending his work.

Our state was born in blood and, until late 1864, lived in fear of the consequences of Union defeat or negotiated peace.  Each military and civil official understood the risks and persevered for principle.

On this day, 150 years after those horrible times, it is right to remember their courage, ingenuity, and, sometimes, sacrifice. This is not enough space to truly respect and honor the statemakers and military men involved.  So take a few minutes and look through the stories collected on They are dramatic, interesting, and best of all, true. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

#SNAPchallenge Turns Tables on Liberal New York Pols

In the 1780s, the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette was honestly concerned about the peasantry of her adopted country.  She had a replica peasant village constructed on the grounds of Versailles and watched real peasants try to function within it.  New York liberal politicians channeled their inner Marie Antoinette and decided to live on the $31.50 per person, per week minimum amount granted for food stamps. 

Conservatives, some of whom have actual experience shopping on a budget, satirically blasted the effort. They used the Twitter hashtag #SNAPchallenge originally set up so that the challenge acceptees could show how woebegone they were.

The hilarious results can be seen here.

If you click the link, you can see New Yorkers paying over $1 for a single egg!  Another spent who knows how much on prepacked boca burgers.  One genius sat at his desk eating half a loaf of white bread, washing it down with tap water.

Here's how to feed a family of four on $31.50 in a week.  Remember that in SNAP, each person gets $31.50.

Ham: $13.00
Collard greens: $1.50 for a large bunch
12 jumbo eggs: $2
2 lbs of chicken leg quarters: $5
2 lbs of rice: Maybe $2
Bag of dried split pea soup: $0.50
Bag of dried beans: $1
3 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix: $2 (Makes 18 corn muffins or a pretty huge batch of cornbread)
Gallon of milk $3.50

This equals $30.50.  Remember that a family of four gets at minimum $126 per week.  Obviously these are estimated prices.  Some areas may be higher or lower, but a person shopping at a discount grocery like Aldi or Shop N Save will likely find prices lower than those listed.

Saving the drippings from the ham and the chicken can flavor the rice and beans and/or provide a fat to cook the collard greens in. The family will want to cut pieces of leftover ham to add to the bean soup and use the bone to flavor the split pea soup. Chicken leg quarters, thighs, and drumsticks are amazingly inexpensive and very good roasted in the oven.

Now this will not give a family the traditional variety of meals.  But it can eat meals that offer nutritional balance.  Also, it is enough food to fill a stomach, but not to gorge.  As far as nutrition is concerned, collard greens and split peas are rich in vitamins. Obviously the meat, beans, and eggs provide protein. 

And remember, this is how to keep a family of four fed on the amount provided for a single person.

Most who have known poverty for any length of time understand how to stretch food out.  Common foods like meat loaf and meatballs emerged because poor people wanted to make a meager amount of meat feed an entire family. 

Liberal politicians shopping at Whole Foods, unaware of how to meet a tight budget, and trying to look as if they understand the problems of the poor tell the rest of us all we need to know about their stewardship of government.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Nuclear Option: Tennessee Valley Authority Looks Ahead

Eighty years ago, the Franklin Roosevelt Administration initiated the Tennessee Valley Authority.  Roosevelt and many of his supporters saw it as a grand experiment in government steered development of tourist attractions and hydroelectric power.  Tens of thousands experienced it as a grand betrayal of property rights and tradition.  In its eighth decade, it may be showing the hand of government energy planning over the next century.

According to a fiscal year 2013 budget proposal released by the TVA, expanding nuclear power capacity has been a goal of the agency since 2010:

While TVA's mission remains essentially unchanged, the business environment in which TVA operates has evolved.
Facing challenging economic conditions, tougher environmental standards, the need to modernize its generating
system and changing customer needs, TVA recognized it must refine its strategic vision.
In August 2010, the TVA Board of Directors adopted a vision that will shape a cleaner and more secure energy future
for the Tennessee Valley, relying more on nuclear power, energy efficiency, and renewable energy, and less on coal-
fired generation.

Does this mean that government's "green energy" proposals are actually a cover for expanding nuclear power use in the United States?  Last month, a nuclear waste storage facility in New Britain, Connecticut was approved by the state to store larger amounts of deadly waste material.  But the facility remains temporary.  Also it lies astride one of the most densely packed population corridors in the world. 

This decision to expand capacity came despite objections from state environmental protection and local officials.

Federal officials have pushed for years to  expand nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.  Under voter pressure from that swing state, Obama shut down the proposal.  Nevertheless, over 70,000 tons of nuclear waste sits in temporary storage facilities such as the one in Connecticut. 

So why does the TVA propose, with government approval, to expand nuclear power at the expense of coal (which has never rendered large areas uninhabitable for generations)?  As usual, the problem comes from too much government intervention.

Originally, the TVA was meant to promote hydroelectric power.  Against widespread protest, the federal government seized land from farm families who had worked it for generations.  They only received a pittance for the farms that sustained them through the hardest years of the Great Depression.  Government officials demonized the people as obstructing progress when they demanded that their property rights be respected, creating newsreels to accentuate their differences and minimize national sympathy.

Historian John Alexander Williams remarked that "the TVA made very little help available to them apart from information about land elsewhere" despite extensive study on their plight by social scientists.

And now they seek to expand nuclear power despite the fact that the country has almost no room for the deadly radioactive byproducts.

Ever since the beginning, TVA decisions have been based on the dreams of government bureaucrats and have often ignored real world problems.  From the barbaric removal of farmers and their families to the drive to expand nuclear power, the TVA shows big government at its worst.

It's time to privatize the TVA and get government out of the way of safe energy production.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Egg Bill is Rotten

The radical Humane Society of the United States has teamed up with major egg producers to pass a bill guaranteed to regulate out of existence the small scale farmers who produce and sell eggs. 

The measure is currently part of the much larger and controversial Farm Bill which will direct federal agriculture policy in the United States.  Strict cage standards for egg laying chickens form the main part of the proposal.

Included in this bill is everything from subsidies to food stamps.  With revenue crunches hitting the entire budget, everything in this expensive bill has been up for debate.

So far, most congressmen and agriculture experts see the egg bill as setting dire precedents.  According to an agriculture news site the Capital Press, pork, beef, and other livestock producers fear the egg bill as a trojan horse for more extensive federal interfering regulations for livestock.  Other animal rights groups against all cages for chickens consider the egg bill to be a sell out to big business.

European farmers saw increasing bureaucratic burdens that resulted in a tripling of the price of eggs, according to the Irish Examiner  .  Instead of complying with the onerous regulations, small family farms either went completely out of the egg business or entered the "under the table" trade.

This is why Big Agriculture has teamed with radical animist groups on this measure.  Big Ag does not want the competition so it uses the power of government to coerce small farmers from the field.  It has done so before with EPA and FDA measures.  This attempt to impose more costs is only their latest move.