Third Marathon For A Very Worthy Cause

As a competitive runner for nearly sixteen years now, my interest in various events tends to change. I originally started out as a sprinter in middle school and early high school. However, I quickly found out that I was better at just slightly longer distances and I settled into running 800 meters for the remainder of my high school and college years. I eventually got pretty good at it, enough to set a bunch of records, but not quite enough to get me to nationals or qualify for the Olympics.

My competitive running days had to be put on hold during medical school. I still ran, but mainly just to relieve some stress and not lose my mind. Just to mix things up, I’d run through the projects in downtown Augusta, Georgia at 11 p.m. to keep things interesting for myself. It was shortly after this that I decided I’d try running my first marathon.

I never had any question in my mind that I could run it. After all, if Oprah Winfrey can run and finish a marathon, then of course I could. But, I was a long sprinter and 26.2 miles isn’t really the sprinting distance.

I started with the Walt Disney Marathon in 2004 and enjoyed it. It wasn’t very fast and I didn’t train very hard. I finished medical school in 2006 and started my surgery internship with the Navy.

My second marathon was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2007. I actually trained for this and was nearly 30 minutes faster this time around.

My third marathon will be the Marine Corps Marathon in 2008. I will be running for a charity, the Fisher House. If you’re unfamiliar with the Fisher House, it is an organization that helps military families when their loved ones are sick or injured in the hospital. Sometimes with the military health care system the hospital is too far away from the member’s family. The family can stay at the Fisher House free of charge, which is a house on the same base as the military hospital, and see their family member every day. I’ve seen family members stay at the Fisher House for weeks at a time while their soldier, sailor, or marine is in critical care, having surgery, or whatever is needed.

It is a great organization and it really supports military families when they need it the most. Please consider giving to this worthy cause!

Click here to contribute to the Fisher House.

I’ve got to reach $500 by August 1st to run the race with the Fisher House Team.

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More Ammo Against Biofuels

The BBC today reported that the increased use of biofuels has dragged more than 30 million worldwide into poverty. Certain types of biofuels are responsible for decreased fuel efficiency, increased carbon emissions, higher food prices, and increased poverty. Wow, that sounds like a great deal! Where do I fill up?

From the BBC NEWS Europe:

Biofuel Use ‘Increasing Poverty’

The replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty, an aid agency report says.

Oxfam says so-called green policies in developed countries are contributing to the world’s soaring food prices, which hit the poor hardest.

The group also says biofuels will do nothing to combat climate change.

Its report urges the EU to scrap a target of making 10% of all transport run on renewable resources by 2020.

Oxfam estimates the EU’s target could multiply carbon emissions 70-fold by 2020 by changing the use of land.

The report’s author, Oxfam’s biofuel policy adviser Rob Bailey, criticised rich countries for using subsidies and tax breaks to encourage the use of food crops for alternative sources of energy like ethanol.

“If the fuel value for a crop exceeds its food value, then it will be used for fuel instead,” he said.

“Rich countries… are making climate change worse, not better, they are stealing crops and land away from food production, and they are destroying millions of livelihoods in the process.”

Opportunity – or crime?

Biofuels are a divisive issue with strong arguments on both sides.

Leaders such as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have suggested the biofuel boom provides developing nations with a great opportunity.

He says it creates a profitable export for energy crop producers in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean that could enable them to claw their way out of poverty.

But several aid agencies and analysts have warned of the possible downside of biofuel crop cultivation.

One UN adviser went as far as describing biofuels as a “crime against humanity”.

Obama’s New Presidential Seal Likely Illegal

Just in case you didn’t think the Obama campaign couldn’t get more arrogant, the Obama campaign unveiled a new Presidential Seal in his run for the Presidency. I’m not sure if this is just supposed to be a cheap campaign gimmick or we’re supposed to actually take this seriously. Is Obama really supposed to look more “presidential” sitting behind this thing?

The hilarious thing is that this silly seal might just land him or one of his staffers in jail for 6 months because it’s an obvious rip off of the Seal of the President among others.

18 USC Sec. 713 …
(a) Whoever knowingly displays any printed or other likeness of the great seal of the United States, or of the seals of the President or the Vice President of the United States, or the seal of the United States Senate, or the seal of the United States House of Representatives, or the seal of the United States Congress, or any facsimile thereof, in, or in connection with, any advertisement, poster, circular, book, pamphlet, or other publication, public meeting, play, motion picture, telecast, or other production, or on any building, monument, or stationery, for the purpose of conveying, or in a manner reasonably calculated to convey, a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

(b) Whoever, except as authorized under regulations promulgated by the President and published in the Federal Register, knowingly manufactures, reproduces, sells, or purchases for resale, either separately or appended to any article manufactured or sold, any likeness of the seals of the President or Vice President, or any substantial part thereof, except for manufacture or sale of the article for the official use of the Government of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

The real question is who is going to call his campaign on this? I would imagine that President Bush might have some say in this….it is a rip-off of his seal after all.

Brr! This Global Warming is Freezing My Skin!

It will be interesting to see how the global warming Nazis continue to spin the barrage of data against their cause. It makes me wonder how this can continue with the evidence just piling up against this movement. As reported several weeks ago, over 31,000 scientists across the U.S.–including 9,000 Ph.D.s in fields such as atmospheric science, climatology, Earth science, environment and dozens of other specialties, have signed a petition that rejects the basic tenants of “global warming”. The so-called “scientific consensus” supporting global warming does not exist and now even more data is available that debunks this wide spread unfounded notion.

But the latest news is that global temperatures continued to fall and did so significantly in May 2008.

From Anthony Watts:

Compared to the May 2007 value of 0.199°C we find a 12 month ∆T is -.379°C.

But even more impressive is the change since the last big peak in global temperature in January 2007 at 0.594°C, giving a 16 month ∆T of -0.774°C which is equal in magnitude to the generally agreed upon “global warming signal” of the last 100 years.

So, in other words, ever since this man-made global warming notion was sold to the general public, global temperatures have actually plateaued and even fallen slightly. Carbon emissions have continued to rise, yet there is almost no response in the temperature graph despite this rise.  No one is debating that the last number of years have been hot, but the cause is what is debatable.  It’s funny that the environmentalists ignore the fact that the temperature of several of the planets in our own galaxy have risen to a similar degree.

Man-made global warming is not based on fact. It is an ideology that is rooted in destroying the “western” way of life. It seeks to place us as the cause of all the problems in the world. The way we assuage our guilt is becoming poorer–we drive less, we use less, we eat less. There are even new “green” websites that will tell you when you should die, so that you don’t use up too much of the earth’s resources.

The goal of the man made global warming movement is to beholden us to environmentalism and their political views–not to actually save the planet. Besides, from much of the recent data, it looks like we don’t need saving from much of anything–other than perhaps global idiocy.

Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marraige in California

Today the California Supreme Court overruled a legislative ban on gay marriage by a 4-3 decision. Chief Justice Ron George wrote for the majority and stated that domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage. With this ruling, California becomes only the second state after Massachusetts to legalize gay marriage.

Click here to read the Supreme Court Decision.

Gay marriage

Naturally, gay marriage supporters hailed this ruling as a victory for their cause. However, their battle is far from over.

Currently, a coalition of religious and conservative social groups is putting together a measure that may make it onto the November ballot. The measure needs 694,354 signatures to make it on the ballot and these groups claim they have already accumulated 1.1 million signatures. This measure would allow the voters of California to decide whether or not to put a ban on gay marriage in the California constitution. If this measure passes in November, this will trump the California Supreme Court’s decision.

We can be certain that gay marriage advocacy groups will fight any measure allowing the California voters to decide this. Liberal activist groups are rarely successful implementing their agenda with voters or elected officials, so resorting to the judiciary to get their way is what we’ve come to expect.

The ruling set off a big celebration at San Francisco City Hall. This will, no doubt, be an issue in this year’s election process and is a winning issue for conservatives if they choose to use it.

Exxon Mobil Setting New Records In Income Tax

Exxon Mobil reported this week that it set an all time new record— not in earnings or profit, but in income taxes paid to the government in a single quarter. Exxon Mobil paid $9.32 billion in income taxes in the first quarter of 2008 alone, which is a record for U.S. corporate taxes. Profit was $10.89 billion, which was the second highest ever for a U.S. corporation in one quarter. Total overall tax burden for Exxon Mobil this quarter was $29.3 billion if you include income taxes, sales taxes, and “other” taxes, which turns out to be a 25% total tax rate when you examine total revenue ($116.85 billion). Taxes paid by Exxon Mobil was nearly triple what they made in profit.

Exxon Mobil

With oil prices and gas prices through the roof, this warrants some examination. If you haven’t already noticed, the discussion of corporate taxes is an acute political issue. On one side, you have the Republicans, who are for tax cuts for pretty much everyone (including businesses). On the other side, you have Democrats who claim they want tax cuts for the poor and want to stick it to businesses (like Exxon Mobil) and the “rich”. While “tax cuts for the rich” tugs at the heart-strings of every person with wealth envy in this country, it doesn’t really make much sense in the end. Who are the “rich” in this country? They are the small business owners, the big purchasers, and the people who employ the rest of us. What sense does it make sticking it to them? When the so-called “rich” get nailed by taxes, they make cut backs like the rest of us. They hire fewer people and they don’t buy as many nice things. Jobs and retail sales suffer and the economy slows down.

As for corporate taxes, here is the big myth debunked: Corporations don’t pay taxes! They don’t now and they never will. Corporations COLLECT taxes only. When a corporation is taxed, the corporation figures it into the cost of goods sold and it is passed onto the consumer. Only the consumer pays taxes. That’s how it is now and that’s how it will always be. Every business, including oil companies, does this. This is a stealth tax on consumers. By some estimates, this stealth tax averages out to 22% on everything we purchase. On gas purchased from Exxon Mobil and other American oil companies, it’s more like 25%. That’s 25% of every gallon going right to the federal government.

Yet, 25% isn’t enough for liberal politicians. Just a few days ago, Barack Obama called for an additional $15 billion per year tax on oil companies. This is a statement from the Obama campaign as reported by Bloomberg.com:

“The profits right now are so remarkable that one could trim them 10 percent or so, which would turn out to be somewhere in the $15 billion range,” said Jason Grumet, an adviser to the Obama campaign.

Oil companies would still have ample reason to “continue to pursue production, while at the same time providing relief to consumers,” Grumet said.

Relief to consumers? Are you kidding? How does raising taxes on oil companies by $15 billion provide relief to consumers? Does Mr. Grumet honestly believe that gas prices are going to fall after the government confiscates more money from oil companies? Of course not, this $15 billion is going to show up right at the gas pump when the national price of gas jumps an additional 15-20 cents a gallon. See the twisted logic of liberals?

There is a giant disconnect between liberals and basic economics. Yet, it gets them votes on election day because of the ignorance of the public. The myth of corporate taxes continues to prevail among the masses and people think that by taxing oil companies that somehow it doesn’t affect them. It does, and it is probably one of the most devious methods our government uses to tax us–the stealth tax.

A Big Crock of Biofuel

Ethanol has become public enemy number one. Not only do we get lousy gas mileage with corn based ethanol, we get higher food prices too! This problem began in 1994 when a Senate vote on mandated ethanol use was tied 50-50 and broken by Vice President Al Gore. So say thanks to Mr. Gore for the real crisis that is looming….food shortages. The general public is just now becoming aware of the real problems ethanol is causing and support for elimination of mandated biofuels is building from the left and the right.

Ethanol is placing liberals in a real bind. One one hand, they feel the need to try to manipulate companies like Exxon Mobil by forcing them to accept alternative fuel, yet by using these alternative fuels, it drives up the cost of food and disproportionately affects the poor worldwide. So, we can either “save the environment” by ethanol and starve millions worldwide by driving up food prices, or we can just stick with tried and true fossil fuels and keep feeding everyone. Not surprisingly, the same people that demand we use ethanol also oppose drilling for additional sources of oil, including in ANWR. If we had started drilling for oil in ANWR ten years ago, it is possible that oil prices would be considerably lower than they are now. Higher oil prices means higher prices on all the goods we buy and higher transportation costs.

Ironically, corn-based ethanol and other blends of biofuels have been shown to produce substantially more greenhouse gases than regular gasoline. This ethanol issue illustrates a common problem with our representatives in Washington D.C. Too often policies are promoted based off of fads in the public without their consequences being fully studied before being made law. In this case, mandating the use of ethanol was justified under the guise of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The result? Ethanol produces MORE greenhouse gas emissions than regular gasoline, using ethanol drives up the price of food worldwide, and ethanol causes us to use more fuel than we would if we used regular gasoline because of decreased fuel efficiency. If ethanol was really this hidden gem and had huge potential, wouldn’t it be advantageous to big oil companies to research this technology themselves? Yet, ethanol has not replaced traditional gasoline among the private sector by any big energy companies largely because it is a lousy fuel source. Policy makers in Washington have mandated that we use this new technology without researching the true effectiveness or consequences. This is yet another example of the government sticking their noses and their policies where they shouldn’t. It has only resulted in harm to American citizens and businesses with literally no benefit.

Right now, 1/3 of the corn produced in the U.S. goes to ethanol production. It takes 400 lbs of corn to make 25 gallons of fuel. So with that 400 lbs of corn, we can either feed a grown man for a year or we can fill up our car twice. It seems to me that feeding everyone affordably is more important that responding to a global warming “crisis” that doesn’t even have a scientific consensus yet. After all, we can actually prove that people are starving, whereas we can’t prove that ethanol will have any effect on anything climate related.

Now, I’m not saying that all biofuels or all ethanol are lousy fuels, but for now, the ones that are available certainly seem to be. The mandated use of ethanol isn’t solely responsible for the rising food costs worldwide, but is unquestionably a large factor. The farmers and researchers that are beneficiaries of ethanol use don’t want the public to know the truth…that corn-based ethanol is a bad fuel that never should have been mandated in the first place. Corn-based ethanol has been called a “transitional” technology by some, so why are we forced to use it? Because it is a fad that congress has bought into.

Congress needs to do its job and eliminate subsidies for ethanol NOW. But with Reid and Pelosi in charge, we can count on further bad energy policy for the future where more clout is given to environmental fads than actual verifiable research. As long as liberals (Democrats and Republicans) are at the helm, we can be assured that $7 per gallon milk is right around the corner.