On Cheese, Moon Water, the Elections

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Nov 18, 2010 12:01 AM
On Cheese, Moon Water, the Elections

Scatter-gun comments on a variety of targets in the news....

-- Given their miserable Nov. 2 record, it's difficult to understand why Democrats don't demand the departure from party posts of Democratic National Chairman Tim Kaine and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Having proved a major factor in the loss of more than 60 House seats, Madam Pelosi will stay on -- as House minority leader in the next Congress. Having said prior to the elections he wants to be judged by results, DNC Chairman Kaine, oddly, has not been sent to the showers.

-- Prior to the Nov. 2 elections, Bill Clinton, with the clear backing of President Obama, urged Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek to quit his race for the U.S. Senate in Florida so victory might go to formerly Republican (now independent) Governor Charlie Crist. Imagine the outcry if any Republican had urged the nation's only serious African-American seeking a Senate seat with any chance of winning -- to get out of the race.

-- Or imagine the outcry if anyone had urged Lt. Col. Allen West to drop out of the race for Florida's 22nd District congressional seat (Palm Beach and Delray). A Republican self-described as a carrier of "the torch of conservative, small-government principles," West won, and scarcely can wait to knock on the door of the Congressional Black Caucus to become its lone Republican member.

-- Oh, and here's one. Mark Kirk ran (a) to fill the unexpired term of Illinois Sen. Roland Burris, appointed to the seat vacated by Barack Obama, and (b) to serve a full term in that seat come January. Kirk prevailed at the polls. With the lame-duck session of the outgoing Congress now underway, Democrats Chris Coons of Delaware and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have been sworn in to vacated seats, but Republican Kirk has encountered problems relating to, you know, Illinois electoral paperwork. It's the bipartisan Chicago Way.

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-- From the "left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing" department, The New York Times reported this -- in a lead story Nov. 7: While Michelle Obama (and others) lead a federal "anti-obesity drive that discourages over-consumption of," among other things, cheese, a Department of Agriculture (USDA) marketing creation -- Dairy Management -- is "vigorously promoting" cheese sales. Americans now eat annually three times the amount of cheese (33 pounds) they ate in 1970. With USDA help, cheese has become Americans' largest source of saturated fat.

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-- Hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") and horizontal drilling have made extensive natural-gas and shale-oil fields suddenly viable -- bigtime. Both new technological procedures mean access to oil and gas heretofore beyond reach. And they significantly change the nation's long-term energy prospects in a very big way.

-- That's why China's national oil company, CNOOC, has bought a stake in Chesapeake Energy's Texas gas and oil fields. Similarly improved access to uranium has prompted Atomredmetzoloto, a subsidiary of the Russian government's main nuclear agency, Rosatom, to seek the purchase of a Wyoming mine, Uranium One. Regarding Uranium One, Republicans are moving into power in the House just in time to squelch the sale.

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-- Recent experiments have concluded that the Moon, once thought arid, has abundant water -- perhaps a billion gallons in the single crater where a rocket was purposely test-crashed a year ago. That would seem ample water for the Chinese and Russians (etc.) now powering up for lunar bases and manned lunar exploration, at precisely the moment President Obama has killed the U.S. manned space program.

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-- Oh, and as if Iran didn't pose enough of a prospective nuclear problem for civilization on Earth, the UN's atomic watchdog agency may seek inspections of newly suspected nuclear sites in Syria. Israeli jets rubbed out an earlier Syrian site several years ago.

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-- Word from Afghanistan suggests the tide may at last be turning in our favor. Retired Army General Jack Keane, a former adviser to Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq, recently returned from two weeks reviewing the Afghan battlefield. He told the Washington Times: "Overall, we can see now that the surge forces (in Afghanistan) are starting to make a difference. And you have to be encouraged by some of the progress that's being made. All that said, we're in a tough fight, and I believe we will continue to gain momentum."

-- One has to hope that's true. Still, is it also true, as reported in the Washington Examiner, that our forces cannot fire back at Taliban terrorists firing at them -- if the terrorists are within 500 feet of civilian villages? And what about this, also reported in the Examiner: Have U.S. forces at forward-operating bases really been ordered to remove base watchtowers so as not to violate the privacy of Afghan villagers?