Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oil Shale - Step Towards Energy Independence

Currently, the United States uses 21 million barrels of oil a day, though consumption has been flat for the last 3 years, and dropped 3% in just the first 6 months of 2008. Unfortunately, the US only produces about 6 million barrels a day. This means we send $200 billion a year overseas to import oil.

No one likes being dependent upon others, particularly when what we are dependent upon is of such vital importance. Worse, a lot of that $200 billion goes to fund governments that at best are undemocratic and at worst bankroll and support terrorism.

The problem is, most of the world's oil is controlled by these less than friendly, to put it mildly, regimes. It is estimated that there are 1.3 trillion barrels of proven oil reserves worldwide, of which the US controls 21 billion. This data makes it seem impossible for the US to ever get out from under OPEC's thumb.

Impossible, that is, until you consider that the United States has an additional 2 trillion barrels of synthetic oil just waiting to be captured and refined. It's called oil shale, and the United States has over 60% of the world's supply. The technology used to extract oil from shale has steadily improved since the 80's, when conventional oil prices fell precipitously from their 70's oil crisis peak, making shale too unprofitable to pursue. But now, shale oil can be profitable with oil prices as low as $20 a barrel. Prices now sit in the $125 range.

Clearly, if the United States wants a push for energy independence, oil shale has to be at the top of the to-do list.

Founders on God & Country: George Washington

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor--and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Founders on God & Country: Thomas Jefferson

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event."
--Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Founders on God & Country: John Adams

"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God."
--Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Founders on God & Country: Patrick Henry

Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Founders on God & Country: George Washington

That the Troops may have an opportunity of attending public worship, as well as take some rest after the great fatigue they have gone through; The General in future excuses them from fatigue duty on Sundays (except at the Ship Yards, or special occasions) until further orders. [1] The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish, and wicked practice, of profane cursing and swearing (a Vice heretofore little known in an American Army) is growing into fashion; he hopes the officers will, by example, as well as influence, endeavour to check it, and that both they, and the men will reflect, that we can have little hopes of the blessing of Heaven on our Arms, if we insult it by our impiety, and folly; added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense, and character, detests and despises it

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Founders on God & Country: Benjamin Rush

"The Gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation of life. Happy they who are enabled to obey them in all situations!"
--The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush, pp. 165-166.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Founders on God & Country: James Monroe

"When we view the blessings with which our country has been favored, those which we now enjoy, and the means which we possess of handing them down unimpaired to our latest posterity, our attention is irresistibly drawn to the source from whence they flow. Let us then, unite in offering our most grateful acknowledgements for these blessings to the Divine Author of All Good."
--Monroe made this statement in his 2nd Annual Message to Congress, November 16, 1818.F

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Founders on God & Country: John Adams

"Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God ... What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be."
--Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Founders on God & Country: Benjamin Franklin

"Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped.

That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see."
--Benjamin Franklin wrote this in a letter to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale University on March 9, 1790.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Breaking News: Jazz Draft Kosta Koufos

So it's old news. Sue me.

I (mostly) like the pick. A seven footer with skills is always nice. He was expected to go much higher, so either we got a steal, or other teams know something we don't. He's done ok in summer league so far, but nothing spectacular. I don't like that he's "a seven footer who can shoot from outside." We've already got one of those, and I'd just as soon have a seven footer who plays like a seven footer. Regardless, I get the sense that if I want to watch him this season I'll have to head to Orem for a Flash game.

So who could the Jazz have had instead? There was a power forward who fell out of the lottery, but I don't think much of him. I really liked two guys, but neither really filled a need for the Jazz. They were Mario Chalmers and Chris Douglass-Roberts. Chalmers is a point guard who was drafted by Miami in the second round. I think he'll be a great pro, and would have made a perfect backup to Deron Williams. But again, not really a need right now. Douglass-Roberts was drafted by New Jersey in the second round. He's listed as a shooting guard, but I had him pegged as a small forward. I watched him a bit in the NCAA tourney and liked him a ton; I see him as an upgrade over AK. However, if his espn bio is accurate, he's probably a little small for a forward position, and frankly the Jazz have a ton of shooting guards to sort through right now.

So the Jazz did pretty well. I don't think anyone drafted after Koufos will have a better career than he will.

As for the second round of picks, the Jazz had two: Ante Tomic and Tadija Dragicevic.

Tomic is 7'2", espn loved the pick, but he'll be overseas for a while. Whatever.

Dragicevic? He's a small forward of whom Chad Ford had this to say, "I've never seen this guy." Nuff said.

BYU alum Trent Plaisted went in the second round as well, to the Detroit Pistons. We'll see if he sticks or if he's off to Europe. Utah State grad Jaycee Carroll wasn't drafted at all, which is a shame. He's on New Jersey's summer league team, but will probably have to go to Europe. The kid can shoot, and during the college season I had hoped the Jazz would spend a late second round pick on him. Oh well.

Founders on God & Country: Benjamin Rush

"I know there is an objection among many people to teaching children doctrines of any kind, because they are liable to be controverted. But let us not be wiser than our Maker.

If moral precepts alone could have reformed mankind, the mission of the Son of God into all the world would have been unnecessary. The perfect morality of the Gospel rests upon the doctrine which, though often controverted has never been refuted: I mean the vicarious life and death of the Son of God."
--Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical, published in 1798.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Another Benefit of $4 Gas

If Utah's 41 state parks and 13 national parks are beautiful, but no one can afford to visit them, does it matter?

Magic Happens - BYU Picked to Win, Again

With BYU football being ranked number one in the Mountain West Conference pre-season poll, I thought it time to post the following video:

And here's a few more.

BYU Player Beats Up Jose Canseco

American League Rookie of the Year. AL MVP. Baseball's first 40/40 season. World Series winner. And once-favorite player of yours truly. Sigh.

Founders on God & Country: Thomas Jefferson

"I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ."
--The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, p. 385.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Founders on God & Country: John Quincy Adams

"The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made 'bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God' (Isaiah 52:10)."
--Life of John Quincy Adams, p. 248.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Founders on God & Country: Roger Sherman

"I believe that there is one only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the same in substance equal in power and glory. That the scriptures of the old and new testaments are a revelation from God, and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. That God has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, so as thereby he is not the author or approver of sin. That he creates all things, and preserves and governs all creatures and all their actions, in a manner perfectly consistent with the freedom of will in moral agents, and the usefulness of means. That he made man at first perfectly holy, that the first man sinned, and as he was the public head of his posterity, they all became sinners in consequence of his first transgression, are wholly indisposed to that which is good and inclined to evil, and on account of sin are liable to all the miseries of this life, to death, and to the pains of hell forever.

I believe that God having elected some of mankind to eternal life, did send his own Son to become man, die in the room and stead of sinners and thus to lay a foundation for the offer of pardon and salvation to all mankind, so as all may be saved who are willing to accept the gospel offer: also by his special grace and spirit, to regenerate, sanctify and enable to persevere in holiness, all who shall be saved; and to procure in consequence of their repentance and faith in himself their justification by virtue of his atonement as the only meritorious cause.

I believe a visible church to be a congregation of those who make a credible profession of their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, joined by the bond of the covenant.

I believe that the souls of believers are at their death made perfectly holy, and immediately taken to glory: that at the end of this world there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a final judgement of all mankind, when the righteous shall be publicly acquitted by Christ the Judge and admitted to everlasting life and glory, and the wicked be sentenced to everlasting punishment."
--The Life of Roger Sherman, pp. 272-273.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Founders on God & Country: Patrick Henry

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here."
--The Trumpet Voice of Freedom: Patrick Henry of Virginia, p. iii.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sir Ken Robinson on Education

"Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we strip mine the earth for a particular commodity."

Founders on God & Country: James Madison

"Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ."
--America's Providential History, p. 93.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Founders on God & Country: John Adams

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever."
--Adams wrote this in a letter to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Founders on God & Country: George Washington

It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States,
No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Founders on God & Country: Patrick Henry

Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Founders on God & Country: John Witherspoon

"While we give praise to God, the Supreme Disposer of all events, for His interposition on our behalf, let us guard against the dangerous error of trusting in, or boasting of, an arm of flesh ... If your cause is just, if your principles are pure, and if your conduct is prudent, you need not fear the multitude of opposing hosts.

What follows from this? That he is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind.

Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy of his country."
--Sermon at Princeton University, "The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men," May 17, 1776.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Founders on God & Country: John Hancock

"Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. ... Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us."
--History of the United States of America, Vol. II, p. 229.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Founders on God & Country: John Adams

"Statesmen my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.... The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a greater Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies. You cannot therefore be more pleasantly, or usefully employed than in the Way of your Profession, pulling down the Strong Holds of Satan. This is not Cant, but the real sentiment of my Heart." -- letter to Zabdiel Adams, 21 June 1776

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Iran Shoots 4 Missles - Okay, Okay One Didn't Fire...

Remember that old Sesame Street game where you try to pick out the differences in two pictures? Well, apparently they watch a lot of Elmo in Iran.

In order to avoid further hits to their journalistic integrity, maybe the New York Times should watch a little more Sesame Street.

Founders on God & Country: Thomas Jefferson

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?" --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Founders on God & Country: George Washington

"While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian."
--The Writings of Washington, pp. 342-343

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The President Says...

"We will protect our environment. But when this nation critically needs a refinery or a pipeline, we will build it."

-President Jimmy Carter

Founders on God & Country: Alexander Hamilton

"I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man."
--Famous American Statesmen, p. 126.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Founders on God & Country: Patrick Henry

There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!
--St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia March 23, 1775.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

From my old Senator, Mike Crapo of Idaho:
"The driving distances between places in our state as well as limited public transportation options mean that many of us don’t have any choice but to keep driving and paying those ever-increasing prices for fuel."
It is this reality that drives my anger at the "let them eat cake" conservationists barely containing their glee at higher gas prices. After 30+ years of no new drilling, no refineries, and no solutions there are way too many people in this country pleased at all the "lifestyle changes" higher prices are causing.

In order to inject a little reality into Congress, Senator Crapo is asking for real world examples of the effects of rising energy prices:
So I am asking for your help. I'd like to share your stories about the impact that high gas and energy prices are having on your lives. It is important that my colleagues in the Senate better understand how real people in Idaho are coping with these escalating costs. Idahoans cannot ignore rising gasoline prices, and your stories could help convince federal lawmakers to stop ignoring this crisis.

If you'd be willing to share your story, please take a few minutes to send me an e-mail at with a paragraph or two about how you and/or your family are affected by high energy prices. It would also be worthwhile for you to share the priorities that you think Congress should set in resolving this crisis—increased domestic oil production, expanded nuclear energy research, incentives for conservation, whatever you want to share.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Honesty in Government

"The most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history" has worked hard to ferret out the evildoers within the Repugnican party (which is all of them) and bring them to justice. Being from the Republican "I love business and bankers" Party, it was obvious that they would be in bed with the evil mortgage lenders like Countrywide. Senator Chris Dodd, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, called practices of lenders like Countrywide "abusive". Because of our most ethical Congress the banking perpetrators are beginning to come out of the woodwork.

Problem is, they're Democrats.

And one of them is "Chairman of the Banking Committee" Senator Dodd.

Others involved include Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and the now former head of Barack Obama's vice presidential search team, Jim Johnson, who also performed those duties for Walter Mondale and John Kerry.

It seems the sheen of the Democratic ethical revolution is beginning to fade.

And don't even get me started on William Jefferson.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

President Carter's Energy Policy

Largely because of OPEC embargoes and Middle East instability, the United States faced an energy crisis throughout the seventies. In 1976 Jimmy Carter was elected president, and he spoke often about energy and what the US needed to do to avoid these energy price hikes in the future.

Today, in the midst of another round of energy price increases, I have heard a number of people hearken back to the days of President Carter, lamenting the fact that we didn't implement the alternative energy policies he endorsed.

What's interesting to me is the policy they often leave out. What was one of the fundamental planks of his energy policy platform?


For instance, in his April 1977 speech on energy, he said,
"We must conserve the fuels that are scarcest and make the most of those that are more plentiful. We can't continue to use oil and gas for 75 percent of our consumption when they make up seven percent of our domestic reserves. We need to shift to plentiful coal while taking care to protect the environment, and to apply stricter safety standards to nuclear energy."
President Carter revisited his energy policy two years later, again advocating a significant increase in domestic coal production and use,
"I'm asking Congress to mandate, to require as a matter of law, that our nation's utility companies cut their massive use of oil by 50 percent within the next decade and switch to other fuels, especially coal, our most abundant energy source."
Had we followed (or been allowed to follow) President Carter's advice, it's likely we'd all be driving electric powered cars right now, with electricity from coal power plants - as well as from alternative energy derived power plants. As technology advanced, those alternatives would have a ready market available to them, slowly replacing coal. $4 a gallon gasoline likely never would have happened, and if it did, nobody would care. We would have produced almost all of our own energy, rather than importing from the unstable Middle East - which robbed us of much of our sovereignty in foreign policy decisions. In fact, had we followed Mr. Carter's advice and used more coal, thereby reducing our dependence on foreign oil, the Middle East could be a vastly different place than it is now.

But who needs peace, prosperity, global stability, and economic freedom when you can create $140 a barrel oil and force "behavior changes" instead?