14 July 2008

Bush Finally Lifting Executive Ban on Offshore Oil Drilling

President Bush will announce today that he is lifting the executive order banning offshore oil drlling.
Unfortunately for us stuck paying $4.00+ per gallon for Gas, Congress still needs to repeal the Moratorium on Offshore Oil drilling as well. Unlikely to happen with the Democrats in Control of Congress. They are still beholden to the Sierra Club and other environmental groups vehemently opposed to offshore oil drilling, even though they can't point to a single instance of an Oil rig destroying a beach or the other nonsense that they spout about environmental damage.

"There is no excuse for delay," the president said in a last month in a Rose Garden statement.

"In the short run, the American economy will continue to rely largely on oil, and that means we need to increase supply here at home," Bush said, adding that there is no more pressing issue for many Americans than gas prices.

Bush's father, concerned about the effects of falling Oil prices on the Mexican Economy, President George H.W. Bush, signed the executive order in 1990 banning offshore drilling.

Experts have gone from saying it would take 10 years to 3 years before we see any oil, once all the Moratoriums are lifted, but only time will tell who will be proven correct. One thing is for sure, if we do nothing, prices will continue to spiral upwards. Doubts on Global Warming, shouldn't stop us from sourcing our Oil from the Middle East to sourcing it from ourselves.

One thing is for sure, unless someone puts pressure on Congressman David Obey to re-open the Appropriations Process, we definitely won't see any progress on this issue.

Maybe now is the time to start a fresh round of Operation Drill Bit, to remind Congress that we're still overpaying for Gas.

WalMart - Of The Morons, By The Morons, For The Morons

I was looking over a few forums the other day when people were talking about how terrible Wal-Mart was. Personally I hadn't shopped there in a while because since Sam Walton died, I've felt that the employees there simply don't care any more so I stopped shopping there. I figured I'd stop by a local 'supercenter' and check out what all the Hubbub was about.
What a mess! I went to a Super Center near me and food in the Grocery section just looked, unappetizing, a lot of the surrounding areas were very dirty. I thought to myself, "No... definitely wouldn't buy any food from this place". So I looked around in Electronics, and saw entire bins of old crappy movies for $5.00, movies that I've long since either rented and thought, OK that was a waste of 2 hours, or simply thought to myself, "I'm not going to waste 2 hours on that". What I found astonishing is that most of the employees that I ran into, didn't speak English (or just barely - or maybe they were just pretending?), and seemed very annoyed with me for even bothering to ask them questions.

I thought OK, they must be selling things here that people
actually want for decent prices, but everything that I saw was either the same price, or maybe 1 or 2% lower than where I normally buy these things. Places that usually keep their stores clean, well stocked and filled with employees that are only too happy to help you. Like Whole Foods, Publix, Ace Hardware, Target, Game Stop and Brandsmart.

So I started thinking, OK, I can see the Morons who work here, people who mostly are unemployable in every other sector of the economy, maybe that's why Wal-Mart's cases of theft have gone up so dramatically.

What about those who shop here? What kind of Moron puts himself through the harrowing experience of shopping at Wal-Mart, then waiting in line for a half hour, just to save a few pennies? So let's say you save 5%. The average shopper spends $50.00, is the $2.50 worth your dignity, and the dignity of those that Wal-mart employs?

I used to work at Home Depot when Home Depot actually cared about their employees. There were no caps on Overtime, there were no caps on Salaries, and we would get a raise every 6 months (at least those of us who deserved a raise for hard work). After about 8 years, the company decided to invest a half billion dollars in the Olympics, and take it out of the employees hides. First to go was the overtime, then the raises were cut back to every year, then they put caps on Salaries. Keep in mind that up until they instituted these changes, the company had double digit increases in sales and more importantly profitability the entire time that I worked there. When the changes started coming through, I was in management, so I wasn't as affected by the changes, but all my best people were leaving. After 2 years of these shenanigans, I cashed in my chips and left. I didn't feel that I could be part of a company that no longer believed their employees were their greatest asset. My wife couldn't believe that I sold my stock in the company after I had seen the incredible rises in value over the previous 10 years. I told her, if the company continues to treat employees this way, short term, they may see a rise in profits, but eventually the company will fall. That was back in January of 1999, and while the stock did continue to go up by about 20% over the next year, by January of 2000, Home Depot Started a decline that led to the stock falling to less than half what I had sold it for. Home Depot has now announced that they will be closing stores. Big difference from the days me and my crew were the "Big Dogs" over there. Sure some of it has to do with the housing crisis, by their decline started, well before the housing slump hit.

I see the same things going on with Wal-Mart. It is a company perpetually in decline since the death of Sam Walton. Their stock peaked in January of 2000, eight years after Sam Walton died and over 8 years ago
and has been in decline since. How many stores have they opened in the past 8 years? Yet, their market share has fallen considerably in the Retail Sector. Wal-Mart is a company running on borrowed time and running on the Ghost of Sam Walton. Sam actually cared about his employees, he didn't have salary caps, he gave them health benefits, he made them feel like they were part of the team, the current management just sees them as just another cost to be controlled, tells them to get Government assistance for Health Care and limits growth in employee earnings with Salary Caps along with a Zero overtime policy.

I find it amusing though, all these websites out there that pushing:

  • We need to regulate Wal-Mart.
  • Chicago won't let them build, because they want Wal-Mart to pay a higher Minimum wage than every other business.
  • People want Wal-Mart to stop using cheap Chinese Labor.
  • People say Wal-Mart destroys their Towns (As if small towns haven't been disappearing for decades)
I'm not for any sort of regulation of Wal-Mart or any government intervention what so ever. All I'm saying is we should do like we did with Sears when they cut out all the full time employees and replaced them with kids that didn't care. Stop going there. that's what drove them into Bankruptcy. Sure at Sears it was easy, because they had high prices, and we figured Wal Mart had better prices AND better service. Well they don't have the better services anymore, but there are plenty of other choices out there that do. Sure you might pay a buck or two more, but isn't that worth the headache of dealing with Wal-Mart's shoddy enterprise? Maybe it's just me, but I've been to at least 5 Wal-Marts around Delray Beach, Florida and found every single one of them to be dirty, unwelcoming, filled with people who don't speak English, and filled with people who don't want to help you. So why go there?

Overall, I feel that Wal-Mart has been good for the economy in that it has greatly helped to keep prices low, but Wal-Mart sacrificed customer service to continue to lower prices, while trying to increase profitably. This one catastrophic decision, has left Wal-Mart losing market share, the only reason their sales are up, is because they continue to open new stores, but their percentage of the overall pie in Retail is slipping. A few more years of this will not be sustainable for them and they'll end up going the way of Sears, until a new contender rises up to over power them with the right combination of Better service and decent prices. There's a reason why Wal-Mart is the only company on Fortunes list of the 20 most profitable companies that doesn't offer all it's employees great pay and benefits. It's because it's a model that is unsustainable. Sure, just like Home Depot, you can have short term gains, but they all eventually come back to haunt you. What's ashame is that Sam Walton left David Glass a perfectly decent company that everyone from Wall Street to Main Street loved, and today it's a company that neither feels very comfortable with.

The greatest thing about Capitalism is that we have choices, and we can choose not to patronize businesses who we don't feel are good for the community, so here's one for all you Wal-Mart Morons out there. Just Say No!

Sources for this story:
Wal-Mart Tries Again to Salvage it's Declining Public Image.
Wal-Mart Chart
Wal-Mart Declining Morals
Wal-Mart Movie

Bush Administration Puts Off Greenhouse Gas Regulation

Now that Global Warming has ended, gas prices have gone insane and Nasa has backtracked on 1998 being the warmest year ever, Bush has decided to leave Climate change to his successor. I think it's a good move considering the direction the economy is going. Bush figures he doesn't want to go down as the President who destroyed the Economy, but boy oh boy, are the Enironuts going to go crazy!

Here's the text:

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Environmentalists are seething after the administration of US President George W. Bush delayed any decision on regulating greenhouse gases, likely leaving any substantive action to his successor.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a 588-page report Friday that cites "the complexity and magnitude" of the issue and calls for 120 days of public comment.

The decision follows a Supreme Court ruling ordering the EPA last year to devise ways to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act.

"The Bush administration's refusal to respond to the Supreme Court and do something about global warming is not just illegal, it is grossly immoral," said Danielle Fugere of Friends of the Earth, an environmental group.

"President Bush's inaction in the face of this crisis is one of the greatest failures of leadership in presidential history," she said in a statement.

The EPA said there were doubts whether "greenhouse gases could be effectively controlled under the Clean Air Act."

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson wrote that regulating greenhouse gases under any portion of the act "could result in an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that would have a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy and touch every household in the land."

David Bookbinder, the climate counsel for the Sierra Club environmental group, said the EPA's decision underscores Johnson's "utter lack of credibility."

"The American public, Congress, world leaders, and even career government officials are counting down the days until this administration leaves town and a new president undoes the damage done by President Bush and makes up for nearly a decade of lost time -- time we didn't have to waste in the first place," Bookbinder said in a statement.

The EPA decision came after Bush agreed during the Group of Eight industrialized nations meeting in Japan this week to cut carbon emissions blamed for global warming by at least half by 2050. It was the strongest language yet signed by the US leader.

The Bush administration has fiercely opposed any imposition of binding emissions limits on the nation's industry and has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas blamed for global warming. (Though in all honesty Clinton signed it, but never presented it to congress).

But the Supreme Court ruled in April 2007 that the EPA must consider greenhouse gases as pollutants and deal with them.

The ruling came in response to legal action undertaken by Massachusetts and a dozen other states and environmental groups that went to court to determine whether the agency had the authority to regulate greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide emissions.

Environmentalists have alleged that since Bush came to office in 2001 his administration has ignored and tried to hide looming evidence of global warming and the key role of human activity in climate change.

At a hearing in November 2006, Massachusetts argued that it risked losing more than 4.5 meters (15 feet) of land all along its coastline if the sea level should rise by 30 centimeters (one foot).

But the Bush administration, backed by nine states and several auto manufacturers, urged the court not to intervene, arguing that if the situation was so dire it could not be solved by a simple legal decision.

It further argued that reducing emissions from new US motor vehicles would have only a minor effect on global climate change.

While the court's decision is unlikely to change US policy, it has ramifications on several other ongoing issues, such as the agency's refusal to regulate emissions from electricity plants which produce some 40 percent of US carbon dioxide emissions. Motor vehicles are responsible for just 20 percent.

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