Ross Mackenzie

-- President Obama cited global warming as a cause of the recent flooding of the Red River in Fargo, N.D. Tim Ball, a Canadian climatologist and adviser to the International Climate Science Coalition, terms Obama's citation "speculative and completely wrong." He says spring flooding along the Red River "is due to snowmelt."

-- In the Iraq war, 4,200 American troops have lost their lives -- a dreadful measure of the cost of liberty. So have 87,200 Iraqi civilians.

-- From the union front, representing abundant Democratic voters but just 7.6 percent of American private-sector workers, these bulletins: (a) In its latest bailout, the now-bankrupt Chrysler has received $12 billion in taxpayer dollars -- totaling $314,000 per Chrysler U.S. employee -- for producing vehicles insufficient numbers of Americans want to buy. (b) Though the administration terms itself an equal-opportunity pressurer, it has hammered management for concessions far more than it has muscled the unions.

-- Notes Forbes' longtime automobile columnist Jerry Flint: "No matter what you hear about sacrifices, the union(s) won't give back anything real. Democratic administrations just don't pick the pockets of their union supporters." In fact (c) the administration is working to cloud the current transparency regarding how the nation's union leaders spend union dues. And (d) all this, while the president says he supports the expansion of for instance charter schools -- an expansion vehemently and vigorously opposed by . . . public-school teachers unions.

-- On Tax Day (April 15), President Obama said the federal tax code is too complex for mere earthlings to comprehend. He's right about that one. He has tasked Paul Volcker, chairman of his Economic Recovery Advisory Board, to produce tax-simplification recommendations by the end of the year. What do you suppose are the odds of Volcker recommending a flat tax -- with a corresponding two-line form? Line 1: Total income from all sources. Line 2: Enclose X percentage of that amount.

-- Meanwhile, regarding taxpayer receipts, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs intones: "The president overall wants to give the American people assurance that the government can use the money from them wisely." And: "He knows . . . that to continue to have (deficits, equaling the combined Bush eight-year deficit in Obama's first 20 months) expand year after year is unsustainable."

-- So he has ordered his Cabinet to trim their agency spending a combined total of $100 million -- or .0028 percent of his $3.6 trillion budget.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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