Global Warming Causes Near Record Corn Yield 
It's true!

Midwest floods show signs of global warming

Corn harvest predicted to be second-largest ever

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ExxonMobil Reports $41B 3rd Quarter Loss 
Irving, TX (TP) - World markets were send into a freefall earlier today when ExxonMobil announced a record-shattering $41B loss last quarter. The news comes just weeks after ExxonMobil completed its "Pay Now, Not Later" plan which compensated all employees and retirees for their expected full retirement benefits as well as setting aside $10 billion to be handed out to one million random average citizens who have no direct link to ExxonMobil. "We figured we would do the opposite of what companies like GM and Bethlehem Steel did. They were burdened with pensions and health benefits for thousands of people who were no longer contributing to the company so we figured, let's just get that out of the way now. We also wanted to beat Democratic senators to the punch and redistribute our hard-earned money to the people because we have proven we can manage our money better than the government can manage theirs." ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said last month. Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer praised the move and Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama said that "finally, ExxonMobil has done something right. Instead of stuffing their coffers with profit, they have ensured that their employees will enjoy a secure retirement. While my plan would have given their money not just to random people but to people strictly in need, I still believe this is a good move for America. I believe in change and this big chunk of 'change' from Exxon will have a positive effect on all Americans."

The announcement came at 10:48 EDT and the DJA began an unprecedented plummet, dropping as much as 4000 points before closing at 8237.19, off almost 3000 points (26%), after the SEC shut down all trading at 11:33 am EDT. Other still-open world markets experienced similar drops as the ripple-effect has still to take hold because major markets like Hong Kong and the Nikkei were already closed. Officials have announced a delayed opening for both those markets tomorrow with hopes of letting some of the initial turbulence subside. There has been no word yet on whether the DJA will be on a delayed opening or be closed completely tomorrow.

As expected, the price of oil soared as well; jumping from $96.22 a barrel to over $200 a barrel before officials closed that market as well with a record-shattering price of $211.02 a barrel. Other commodities markets closed early as well, leaving every major stock and commodities market in the world shut down and many appear reluctant to reopen until some dust settles.

Customers at the pump also felt immediate pain. Reports of gasoline jumping $3/gallon were not uncommon. "I drove by the station on my way to the hairdresser and it was $2.92/gal" said Mamie Alderfer, 58, of Sherman Oaks, CA, "and when I saw it an hour later, it was $6.06/gallon." Javier Rosado of Evanston, IL, said that the station pumps actually raised the price while he was filling up. "the first four gallons cost me $2.99 each but the last 12 cost me $5.95 each" Rosado said. There have also been scattered reports of gasoline topping $8 a gallon in San Francisco and Boston. Aside from huge price leaps, widespread reports of vandalism targeting gas stations were seen. In Detroit, an Exxon gas station was riddled with bullets, injuring two, and in Los Angeles, a Conoco station was attacked by what eyewitnesses called "a swarm of people with torches" and lit the structure on fire; no injuries were reported and firefighters quickly doused the blaze. Officials in both cities were reluctant to say if these acts were results of today's news.

Shares of ExxonMobil were down 81% when trading ceased this morning, producing the just the opposite effect by deflating many 401(k)'s and IRAs rich in ExxonMobil and other oil companies' stock. Since stocks in general were down, most people felt a significant blow to their portfolios as well. Edward Stanwyx, of Euclid, OH, was ready to retire tomorrow: "I just signed all the paperwork with my advisor and was ready to start collecting from my IRA when this happened" said Stanwyx, 60. "Suddenly, my funds dropped several hundred thousand dollars and my monthly payment will now be half of what I expected. Even if I am one of the lucky recipients of Exxon's giveaway, it will not make up for the lost investments."

"We wanted to show the world what would happen if we didn't make a profit. They have gotten their wish. Since many people think we have money to burn, we decided to burn all our money" ExxonMobil released in an official press release just minutes ago. There has been no truth to the widespread rumors that ExxonMobil has also decided to dissolve immediately and sell its assets to Royal Dutch Shell. PetroChina is also rumored to be interested in the assets if ExxonMobil dissolves. Officials at all three companies refused comment.

"I knew this was a bad move from the start" Barack Obama said earlier today. "I vow to crack down on this corporate irresponsibility. They have an obligation to their employees and this nation to manage their affairs properly" Obama said today. "This wanton recklessness and schadenfreude has deflated our robust economy, ruined the investments of hard-working Americans, and put America's national security in peril" Obama said.

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Obama First, America Second, or Third, or Fourth, or Fifth.... 
Well, that's the theme BHO seems to convey by replacing an American flag on the tail of his airplane with his campaign symbol.

Of course, if John McCain did this, there would be a call for public "McCain symbol" burnings throughout the land. But, since McCain supporters are more refined, they will not stoop to an "Obama symbol" burning call.

To be fair, McCain's plane does not have a flag on its tail either. However, the point here is not whether or not the presumptive candidates have flags on the tails of their campaign planes but that BHO REMOVED an American flag and replaced with his campaign symbol. This is a sign of arrogance, entitlement, and a "me first" mentality. I will leave it at that for obvious reasons.

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$4,114 in Taxes per Second what ExxonMobil paid this past quarter. For every dollar pocketed, they paid three in taxes.

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Alexandria, VA 
I spent a few days in Alexandria and Washington this past week. My wife and I managed to get a few days away without the kids. Since we had both already seen most of the major DC sites, including Mt. Vernon, we took our bikes and biked along the Mt. Vernon Trail which runs along the Potomac on the VA side; running from Teddy Roosevelt Island to Mt. Vernon. We did not do the entire trail as it's 18 miles long and Alexandria is near the middle; so we biked a few miles north one day, past Reagan National, and then several miles south the next.

We did an Alexandria Ghost Tour which was excellent. I don't believe in ghosts but those types of tours are always entertaining and give you a good history of the area. Alexandria is a quaint town with some good restaurants along King St. If you're ever there, I highly recommend Cafe Salsa for some Cuban and Puerto Rican type fare.

We did go into DC for an afternoon and then went to the Nationals game at night. Since I had last been to DC, the WWII Memorial had been built so we got to see that and, since it's so close, we walked over to the Lincoln Memorial, which is my favorite of the DC memorials. I took some photos and I will probably post some on the Web once I get to it.

We did very little driving once there. We took the hotel's shuttle to King St. one night and then walked back to the hotel. For our trip into DC, we did the Metro (took a taxi back from station to hotel at night), which as you know if you've ever been on it, is very well run and very convenient to use. A one-day rail pass is only $7.80 too so it's economical as well as eco-friendly.

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America on Wheels 
A friend of mine from Pittsburgh was passing through town and wanted to got to the America on Wheels museum so we ventured into Allentown to check it out yesterday. The museum features cars, bicycles, motorcycles, trucks (heavy on Mack, as expected), and even has some odd stuff like a bar-stool racer, a Segway, and a lawn-tractor racer. The muscle car exhibit on the second floor was impressive with some beautiful and rare cars. As expected, there is an historical overtone that helps one understand and follow the progression of wheeled-transport in America over the past 120 years or so. I didn't know that early in the 20th century, there were quite a lot of electric car manufacturers but the museum credits (blames?) Henry Ford for doing away with those by making affordable and reliable automobiles running on cheap and plentiful gasoline. The museum also has some futuristic themes as to what we may be using as fuel in 20 or 30 years with, perhaps, Air Products leading the way as a major hydrogen producer. At $7 admission for adults, it's less than a movie and much better for your brain.

After the museum, I thought a trip to Willy Joe's at 15th and Liberty would be in order. They were closed, again. What's with them being closed on Sundays and, like last year, the Saturday during Memorial Day weekend? Bah. We opted for the Yocco's on Catasauqua Road since it was on the way home. Great dogs, just as good as Liberty St. or Hamilton Blvd.

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22nd Amendment to be Repealed? 
In yet another verbal blunder, oft-bewildered BHO stated on Face the Nation that, if elected, he'll serve 8-10 years. Imagine the laughter if "crazy old coot" John McCain said this?

Interestingly, in the 109th, 108th, 107th, 105th, 104th, and 103rd Congresses, amendments were proposed* (in 109, 108, and 107 they were introduced by MD Rep. Steny Hoyer) to repeal the 22nd Amendment. There has been no bill in the current (110th) Congress to repeal it. If Steny proposes another bill and if it clears all the hurdles and passes, it is possible that BHO will serve three terms which, of course would be 12 years, not 10, if he's elected and the 22nd Amendment is repealed during his first or [if elected to a] second term. Since it seems unlikely that the 22nd Amendment will be repealed, let's cut him some slack and count 2008 as one year and add that on to a two-term presidency, that makes nine. But wait, silly me, if we take the mean of eight and ten, lo and behold, we get nine! Once again, BHO dazzles us with his repartee!

*Go to this link and type 'repeal 22nd' in the search box and be sure to check all.

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Election? No Problem. 

2008 Universal Press Syndicate All Rights Reserved. problem if you have the media to carry you along, that is. I saw this comic in my local paper a few days ago and it's oh so true. It's amazing how the media goes gaga over Obama. His gaffes like saying he's visited 57 states or that 10,000 people died in a Kansas tornado, or that Arkansas is closer to Kentucky than Illinois or that his uncle helped liberate Auschwitz (the Russians found Auschwitz) go almost completely without notice from the media or, if they are noticed, they cover for him quite nicely. Imagine if McCain had claimed to have visited 57 states or that a myriad of people died in a tornado when, in fact, it didn't happen. It would be horns-a-blowin' and trumpets-a-blarin' about how clueless the man is. But, BHO has an unlimited amount of get out of jail free cards that the media always plays when he gaffes or shows his obvious inexperience on domestic and foreign matters.

Additionally, associations with nutjob Rev. Wright or domestic terrorist William Ayers or crooked Tony Rezko certainly should lead to a debate about his choice of acquaintances, but it hasn't; like the Dan Quayle-like gaffes, a free pass is issued by the press.

But, people want change, I suppose, never thinking that change can be negative as well as a positive. So, I ask people, what do you want to change? Less corruption and cronyism in Washington? Well, Obama's connections to some questionable individuals make that unlikely. Someone who is intelligent? Well, forgetting how many US states there are or hyper-inflating a recent tornado's death toll do little there, too. You want a better life for yourself? Then work harder, smarter, and challenge yourself by setting goals. Seek out government programs that help you find a better job or further your education, not just ones that give you a check and say "here you go, see you next month." From personal experience, I can say that my quality of living is more dependent on my actions than who the president is.

Nonetheless, since the media will carry Obama into November, we need not worry about his gaffes or choice of friends. The media will toss those into the ol' memory hole. Nothing to see here, move along, and when you see that man carrying Obama down the racetrack, get out of their way.

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iPhone Line Economy 

(AP Photo)

Certainly anyone who lived through the Great Depression and may have had to wait in lines for hours at a time for petty things like food or a job must be shocked at how bad this economy is today. People who are younger like me and the generation before me will remember the gas lines of the 70's and the odd/even purchasing system and the double digit inflation during that same time. But seeing that picture above of that line in Miami, well, I never thought things would come to this.

I think someone in the media should poll some of those people wait in those lines for toys like iPhones or PlayStations and ask them who they think should pay for their health insurance or what they think of $4.15/gallon gasoline. Sure, they may say that the government should cover their health benefits or they may say ExxonMobil is evil but they have no problem reverse-cadging Apple and AT&T and handing them their money, but, hey "I want an iPhone. Gimme gimme gimme gimme. Let the government pay for my health care, I just spent my monthly premium on an iPhone. I can't afford to fill my car but I can afford an iPhone and monthly service contract."

Nonetheless, people certainly have the right to spend their time and money as they please. I just don't get it, though. All levels of government do a good enough job taking my money and the best part is that I don't have to wait in line for them to do it.

If you are one of those who do wait in lines for gadgets, just take a moment to think and be thankful that today in America, images like this, only exist in statues.

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Iran Missile Launch Pic Photoshopped? 
Making the rounds on the usual blogs this morning I found this post that claims a photo released by Iran showing some missiles launching was Photoshopped. Judge for yourself.

Update (07/11): The MSM finally catches on; two days late.

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For the first time since around 1990, I actually bought a pair of pants (shorts, actually) with a 32" waist. I fit into them. I also bought two medium shirts, too. Many of my clothes are now too big for me. I guess losing 22 pounds will do that to you.

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The Fourth 
Enjoy your Fourth of July holiday. Looks like a rainy one locally; hard to say if they'll be able to fit the local fireworks shows in. I hope they can but it's too early in the day to tell.

Take a few minutes today to read the Declaration of Independence. I read it about 2-3 times a year and learn something from it each and every time.

Also, I ran across a quote today:

A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American.

- Woodrow Wilson

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