Archive for September 15, 2008

Obama and Earmarks

While Senator McCain has never requested a single earmark, Senator Obama has requested nearly a billion dollars worth during his short time in office. Though Senator Biden has been in the Senate for 36 years, he has only disclosed his earmarks for one year.

Senator Obama increased his earmark requests during each of his first three years in office. Governor Palin has cut requests for earmarks for Alaska by $150 million since entering office, and she has cut those requests every single year. She has also vetoed a half billion dollars in wasteful spending at the state level. Source: Powerline.com

Some people have been accusing Sarah Palin of getting earmarks, forgetting that she is a governor, not a congressman or senator.

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More Career Goals for Obama That Were Never Realized

The Illinois Democrat said he realized even in high school that peace-time military service “wouldn’t make a big difference on the resume” so he decided to become a community organizer in poor neighborhoods of Chicago, which at the time, was the closest he could get to Vietnam.

Sen. Obama told Mr. Stephanopolous that he had also considered being an Alaskan commercial fisherman and moose hunter, like Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, because “I liked the idea of being a bold adventurer on the American frontier, killing my own food and surviving the harsh elements.”

Instead, young Mr. Obama decided to pursue a law degree, because it was “as close as I could get to having bloody entrails on my hands.” Read the rest at Scrappleface!

ROFL. I’ll bet he was pregnant once but didn’t want to be punished with a baby for that tryst and instead, had it aborted at full term.

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New University of Illinois Study Says High Grain Prices Here to Stay

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — An ethanol-fueled spike in grain prices will likely hold, yielding the first sustained increase for corn, wheat and soybean prices in more than three decades, according to new research by two University of Illinois farm economists.

Corn, an ethanol ingredient that has driven the recent price surge, could average $4.60 a bushel in Illinois, nearly double the average $2.42 a bushel from 1973 to 2006, said Darrel Good and Scott Irwin, professors of agriculture and consumer economics.

They say price swings stemming from weather or other market variables could send corn as high as $6.70 a bushel or down to $3, based on a review of market data dating back to the mid-1900s for a report titled “The New Era of Corn, Soybean and Wheat Prices.”

“The extreme low prices in terms of the new era would have been considered awfully good prices in the old era,” Good said.

Soybean prices could average $11.50 a bushel, up sharply from an average of $6.15 from 1973 to 2006, with swings from $8.20 to $19 a bushel. Wheat could increase to an average $5.80 a bushel, up from $3.24, dipping as low as $3.30 a bushel or as high as $10.15.

Although the forecasts are based on Illinois grain prices, Good says increases will likely be similar on a percentage basis in other grain-producing states.

Irwin says the study stemmed from concerns as farmers tried to get a handle on rising prices when markets turned volatile in the wake of the ethanol boom.

“There was frustration that they no longer had a frame of reference,” Irwin said. “This is our first effort to try to provide some perspective on what might be high and what might be low, with all of the caveats about how difficult that is to do.”

Research revealed just two earlier lasting increases in grain prices. The first came after World War II, when price controls were lifted and post-war rebuilding began.

The second lasting increase began in 1973, sparked by shifts in exchange-rate policies, massive grain purchases by the former Soviet Union and a period of escalating energy prices and more rapid inflation.

Good says the dawn of the new era mirrors the earlier ones, driven by the growth of ethanol and accompanied by higher inflation and production costs that have been permanently inflated.

The study forecast average prices for the new era based on increases between the World War II and post-1973 eras, which ranged from 79 percent for wheat to 134 percent for soybeans. It also accounts for fluctuations as the new higher prices take hold, setting a range of possible highs and lows based on data from the first five years of the earlier eras.

Irwin says the new price era could easily last two or three decades, sustained by corn prices that are now tethered to near-record gasoline prices because of ethanol.

“The key is what happens in our crude oil and energy markets,” he said. “The risk on the downside is technological breakthroughs that would dramatically reduce oil consumption, lowering the whole price structure. If anything, though, the risk is on the other side. We likely are going to continually be bumping into demand for crude-oil production that we can’t easily get above.”

Good says new era prices would not be affected by a shift from ethanol to another fuel additive made from crops, such as switchgrass. Finite land available for production would continue to drive up prices for other grains, just as corn has raised prices for soybeans and wheat.

“We would have to steal land away from corn to grow a different energy-related crop, so now you have that competition again,” Good said.

Irwin says food costs have likely seen the worst of the shift to higher-priced grain after posting 5 to 6 percent increases this year. But he warned that commodities account for just 20 percent of food costs, so prices could still rise to cover labor, transportation or other expenses.

Good and Irwin say Illinois farmers posted record earnings in 2007, and likely will again this year. But profits will ultimately dip back to historical levels of roughly $50 to $60 an acre as land and production costs rise to keep pace with new era prices.

“The real winners in this are landowners,” Irwin said. “If history is any guide, we will see every ounce of the operating margin bid into land and cash rents.”

Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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McCain Rally This Morning, September 15

People were lining up before dawn to see John McCain! As a night person, the only reason I’m up before dawn is because I need to be to work by 7 a.m. (sigh). I need a job where I can at least sleep until 6 a.m.!

Another crowd-pleasing topic was opening up offshore oil drilling, prompting the crowd to chant: “Drill baby, drill.” Source: News4Jax.com

The reluctance of the Democratic Congress and Senate to approve more oil drilling is a national disgrace. It is causing quite a hardship on the voters. The voters need to remember who is causing this to score political points.

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Casey Anthony Re-Arrested for Theft Charges

Source and details: FirstCoastNews.com.

That is one messed-up woman.

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Snake in Toilet Bites Woman

I thought that the grass snake that was on my window blinds after Fay was bad. Apparently not:

JACKSONVILLE, FL — Going to the bathroom will never be the same for one local woman, not since she was bitten by a water moccasin who was apparently hiding in her toilet.

Alicia Bailey spent three days in the hospital. She’s now at home but she’s not resting comfortably. She remembers what happened the night she got up to go to the bathroom. “Walked in (to the bathroom) opened up the lid to the toilet and got bit by the water moccasin on the leg.”

She was bitten once on the thigh, and given the size of the bite on her leg, many predict it was a very big snake. Alicia says, “His head was every bit of three fingers wide.”

She was rushed to the hospital and given anti-venom, but no one knows what happened to the snake or how it got into the house in the first place.

There are woods behind the family’s home off Beach Boulevard and with all the recent rain, the snake could have been looking for higher and dryer ground. The family now thinks he could have gotten into the home through the dog door, but there’s still a fear, it hasn’t left.

Alicia’s husband, Richard is searching the home trying to find the snake. He says, “What we’re leery about is closets and drawers.” He carries a big stick around the house as he looks for the snake and at times his shotgun. “We’re not looking to take it alive. I just want it out of here.”

Alicia just wants her life, and her house, back. “We’re currently very uncomfortable in our home and toilet shy I would say, and real anxious for closure.”

The Bailey’s have an 11-year old son who is now staying with neighbors. They said, doctors told them, given the size of the snake, if it would have bitten him instead of Alicia, he probably would not have survived. Source: FirstCoastNews.com

Can you imagine being bit by a huge water moccasin that was hiding in the toilet, and that bad boy is still loose and hiding in the house somewhere? I can imagine getting dressed in the morning (I leave before SwampMan is up) and carrying the shotgun with me to the closet. “AAAAAAARGH! (BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!)”

SwampMan levitating out of the bed, kicking blankets, screaming “WHAT THE HELL?”

“Um, honey, I hope you don’t need your black belt today….or your pants, or your shoes. You know what? Maybe you better go shopping.”

And if there were a chance that the tiny grandkids would get bitten, well, the house would get a *very* thorough shotgunning.

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Woman Tries to Run Over Deputy But Runs Over Herself

How’d that happen, you ask?

SANDERSON, FL — A woman trying to flee Baker County Sheriff’s deputies accidentally ran over herself Sunday afternoon. Police say she first tried to hit a deputy and then lost control and hit a lawn mower.

But how’d she run over herself?

After the collision, Davis fell out and the mini-van spun out of control.

As the van made a circle, Davis was run over.

She was flown to Shands with critical injuries. Source and rest of story: FirstCoastNews.com

I HATE it when that happens.

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