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Gas Prices April 23, 2006

Posted by June in Around the World, Artist Thinker Articles, Bureaucracy, Communism, Liberalism, Politics, Socialism.

I hear people griping about the price of gas these days. True, the price is high; but that's what happens when hurricanes shut down oil refineries, when environmentalists require specific blends of gas, when inflation goes up, when OPEC raises the price of crude oil, when supply goes down and demand (such as the increase for demand in China and India) goes up, etc.

There's all this talk about windfall profits and how we should steal from oil companies to satisfy our own envy and greed. "But the oil companies deserve it! They purposely raise the price of gas because they know we need it!" is the cry. Well, where was that kind of talk only a few years ago when my father was worrying about whether or not he would have a job the next day, when the price of gas dropped to such low levels that companies could no longer keep paying their workers and began laying people off by the thousands and companies were shutting down one after another? Why didn't the evil oil companies or that one single person who controls the price of gas just simply raise the prices? Are they stupid or something? Did they suddenly get a philanthropic stirring in their hearts?
See how stupid that sounds? Supply and demand — that's the biggest factor in the current jump in price. If everyone collectively stops using so much fuel, stops going on those extra drives, carpools, walks when possible, etc. the price will fall back down.

One thing we could do to help lower the cost of oil even on average years when supply hasn't been cut down by a shortage of oil refineries or that special mandatory blend of gas is replacing the other blend and when the increase in demand caused by summer driving sprees isn't in effect is the one thing that these very same people who cry out about the prices refuse to allow, which is to allow for drilling in Alaska. Allowing American companies to get oil from our own country would lessen our dependence on foreign oil, most notably OPEC oil, which all too often comes from countries that have it in for the US. This would allow American companies to have access to cheaper crude oil, which will in turn force OPEC to lower its prices to compete and maintain their market.

"What about alternative fuels?" You might ask. Well, if such a thing exists or is even on the horizon, then why aren't you buying the cars that will allow for those fuels? If that's really an alternative right now or even in the near future, then it's the consumers' fault for not moving to those fuels, not the oil companies'. Capitalism accommodates the consumer. If there's a demand and if it's conceivable, you can bet it will be there. If you really want alternative fuels, start demanding it and start buying it. Don't start blaming other people when you, inevitably, don't because those new cars and fuels are more expensive, as I've been hearing about the alternative fuels that are being tested right now such as ethanol.

Oil is used for things other than gas, too. I definitely haven't heard of an alternative for those products. So oil will be around for a very long time, even if a viable alternative fuel shows up.

One thing that would really help would, probably, be if someone can find a cheaper way to make oil in an artificial manner. I've heard of these machines that allow for the synthesis of oil from shale; but I heard that it ends up being more expensive than bringing it up from the ground. I have a hard time understanding that since the things I've heard my dad in the past talk about how he gets oil from the ground are extremely complicated and expensive. (He once had to run off to deal with an oil rig that had dropped a 3 million dollar piece into the ocean. They never did recover it… That was only one piece of one oil rig.) These machines must be hard to operate and expensive to make.

Still, in the end, it is the consumer, OPEC, inflation, and these environmental regulations that determine the price, not oil companies. If you want a lower price, the immediate solution is to conserve your gas. Another thing that can be done is to get rid of environmental regulations. We can also decrease dependence on foreign oil by drilling in Alaska or more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico as Mexico is doing. The final uncertain alternative is to discover new fuels.



The Sisterhood, Defrocked January 16, 2006

Posted by June in Communism, Liberalism, Politics, Socialism, Women's Issues.
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The Sisterhood, Defrocked
Kate O'Beirne provides a reality check for anyone who thinks "feminist" means "pro-woman."

Thursday, January 12, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST
Kate O'Beirne is ill-served by the lurid cover of her new book, which features unflattering caricatures of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hillary Clinton, Jane Fonda and Sarah Jessica Parker (a k a Carrie Bradshaw of "Sex and the City"). The Ann Coulter-ish title–"Women Who Make the World Worse"–is almost as off-putting. Uh-oh, is this going to be another one of those right-wing rants?

Happily, it is anything but. Mrs. O'Beirne's book is a serious examination of 30-plus years of feminist folly and the conservative counter-approach. And while the National Review columnist and TV commentator is not shy about saying what she thinks, the only rants that appear in her pages here are those she quotes from some well-known feminist icons.

In fact, one of the most striking features of "Women Who Make the World Worse" is its "I can't believe she said that" quality. Mrs. O'Beirne informs her chapters on the family, day care, education, politics, the military and sports with a review of the radical feminist dogma on her subject. Anyone still operating under the delusion that "feminist" is synonymous with "pro-woman" should find this a useful reality check.

Where to begin? There's Robin Morgan, one of the founders of Ms. magazine, saying in 1970 that marriage is "a slavery-like practice" and arguing that "we can't destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage." Or move forward a couple of decades to the 1990s, when University of Texas professor Gretchen Ritter, who favored then-First Lady Hillary Clinton's plan to "liberate" women by putting children in federally funded day care, expresses the view that stay-at-home mothers are shirking their duty "to contribute as professionals and community activists."Also from the Clinton era is Duke University law professor Marilyn Morris, who in her role as an adviser to the secretary of the Army urges the elimination of the "masculinist attitudes" of the military, such as "dominance, assertiveness, aggressiveness, independence, self-sufficiency, and willingness to take risks." Another Clinton adviser complains that the Little League encourages "aggressive violent behavior."

A line that should go down in political history comes courtesy of the late Democratic Rep. Bella Abzug, who in 1984 confidently predicted the victory of the Walter Mondale-Geraldine Ferraro ticket as "women . . . join across all racial, social, and regional lines in stark opposition to President Reagan and his policies." Women went for Reagan by a margin of 56% to 44%.

One of the contributions of Mrs. O'Beirne's book is that she marshals data that effectively shatter the demeaning liberal myth that women vote on "women's issues." She notes, for instance, that when the Gallup organization polled voters monthly during the 2004 presidential election year about the subjects they cared most deeply about, "not even 1% mentioned issues like pay equity, child care, or discrimination and violence against women." Men and women polled equally in their concern about race relations, health care, military strength and so forth.

Also in the realm of politics, Mrs. O'Beirne recounts the hypocrisy of feminist leaders during the Clinton years, comparing them to battered spouses willing to endure any humiliation so long as they don't lose their man. "As long as Bill Clinton supported abortion rights, affirmative action, and federal child care," she writes, "it didn't matter that he was a sexual predator."

Then there's the feminist myth that women are denied equal pay for equal work. No one doubts that this was the case several decades ago–and isolated cases persist–but today women's pay overall is on a par with men's. Discrepancies are generally explained by the personal-employment choices that many women make, such as flexible hours, part-time work or other family-friendly options. She lists 39 occupations–aerospace engineer, speech pathologist, financial analyst–where women earn at least 5% more than men.

Mrs. O'Beirne's assessment of the effect of the feminist agenda on women in the military is especially relevant. There are 213,000 women on active duty, including more than 24,000 single mothers and 29,000 married women with children. The first female casualty in Iraq was Army Pfc. Lori Piestewa, a 24-year-old single mother of a 4-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter.

The Pentagon's "risk rule," which used to prohibit assigning women to units that were at risk of attack or capture, was repealed in 1994. Mrs. O'Beirne believes that women in the military–especially mothers–belong well behind the front lines. I'm not sure I agree, but I know her analysis has made me think harder about what's at stake not just for the military or women but for our society.

One of the values of this volume is that it reviews the antifeminist research on the family, education, abortion and more. Mrs. O'Beirne is generous in citing the work of scholars such as Mary Ann Glendon, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Elaine Donnelly, Karlyn Bowman and others. Radical feminists may have the loudest megaphones, but they aren't the only voices. "Women Who Make the World Worse" is a brief history of how wrong the gender warriors have been about virtually every aspect of American life. But it offers hope for the future in highlighting the scholarship of many women who have made the world better. Ms. Kirkpatrick is associate editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. You can buy "Women Who Make the World Worse" from the OpinionJournal bookstore.