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Wahoo! IFC Project at Ground Zero Dead!

Museum Dropped From WTC Site for Now

By AMY WESTFELDT
The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 28, 2005; 9:03 PM

NEW YORK -- Bowing to pressure from furious Sept. 11 families, Gov. George Pataki on Wednesday removed a proposed freedom center from the space reserved for it near the planned World Trade Center memorial, saying the museum project had aroused "too much opposition, too much controversy."

Pataki initially said the state would help the International Freedom Center find another home, but center officials said they weren't interested and considered the project dead.

The decision followed months of acrimony, with some Sept. 11 families and politicians saying that such a museum would overshadow and take space from a separate memorial devoted to the 2,749 World Trade Center dead and would dishonor them by fostering debate about the attacks and other world events.

"Freedom should unify us. This center has not," Pataki said. "Today there remains too much opposition, too much controversy over the programming of the IFC. ... We must move forward with our first priority, the creation of an inspiring memorial to pay tribute to our lost loved ones and tell their stories to the world."

Freedom Center officials said in a statement that they did not believe there was a viable location elsewhere at the site.

"We consider our work, therefore, to have been brought to an end," they said.

The campaign by Sept. 11 families to oust the museum had grown to include four police and fire unions, an online petition with more than 40,000 signatures, and several politicians including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

"Goodbye and good riddance," said Rep. Vito Fossella, one of three congressmen who had threatened hearings on federal funding if the museum stayed where it was. "The IFC will not stand on the hallowed grounds of the World Trade Center site."

The Freedom Center proposed a museum that celebrated American ideals of freedom and tolerance, with exhibits on such leaders as Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as documents like the Declaration of Independence and the South African constitution.

The museum was also to have a section on the world's response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Some families opposed the museum as much for its location as its content; they said it would sit in a prominent location that would obscure the memorial.

"I am so happy," said Jack Lynch, a member of the families' coalition. "Don't get me wrong. I think the concept of the Freedom Center is wonderful, but it's in the wrong location."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who gave conflicting statements in recent days about the museum's future, said Wednesday: "Although I understand Governor Pataki's decision, I am disappointed that we were not able to find a way to reconcile the freedoms we hold so dear with the sanctity of the site."

While most families who expressed opinions were against the Freedom Center, a few supported it, including the proposed museum's vice chairman, Paula Grant Berry, whose husband died at the trade center.

Rebuilders are planning a memorial museum that would sit 60 feet below street level, near the bedrock foundations of the trade center. On the rest of the 16-acre site, they plan five office towers and a performing arts complex.

Special thanks to www.takebackthememorial.org for making this happen!

New Premium Blog Feature: RSS Feed

Today I implemented a feature that will help Premium Blog writers at Lottery Post integrate their Blogs with the rest of the Internet community.

Every Premium Blog now has its own RSS Feed, and all Premium Blog updates (every time you make a new entry) is entered automatically at weblogs.com, in the "master list" of entries.

You can access your RSS feed directly from any of your Premium Blog pages, using the RSS icon in the navigation menu (right or left side of the page, depending on which template you use).

You can also access the RSS feed by URL.  For example, my RSS feed is located at https://blogs.lotterypost.com/todd/rss/.  Justy substitute the "todd" portion with your Blog folder name.

Any Gold or Platinum member at Lottery Post can get their own Premium Blog setup in a couple of seconds.  Just go to the Premium Blog Settings menu option in the Control Panel menu, and choose a title, description, and template style.

One Mammouth Online Company?

My goodness, might we be looking at one, huge online company called MSN, eclipsing half the marketplace?

Check this out:


Microsoft in AOL stake talks: source
Sep 15 10:44 AM US/Eastern

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time Warner Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have been in business discussions over the past several months regarding Internet search and advertising networks, but not a joint venture, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

"There have been talks on ways Microsoft and AOL assets can be better leveraged and they've taken place over the normal course of business...," the source said, calling reports of a joint venture between the two companies "way overblown."

The source said nothing was "imminent."

Time Warner declined comment. Microsoft was not immediately reachable.

Various discussions between the two companies started some two years ago after the two companies settled a long-running antitrust suit that America Online, a unit of Time Warner, filed against the software giant, the source said.

Time Warner has been under pressure to boost its stock price, which has fallen 70 percent over the past five years. Corporate raider Carl Icahn this week said he planned to seek one or more shareholder-nominated board seats at the company to force changes.

Icahn has demanded the company raise its stock buyback to $20 billion, from Time Warner's existing commitments of up to $5 billion, and completely spin off its cable division.

Time Warner and Microsoft were said to be in talks on a joint venture combining AOL with MSN in an unconfirmed report published by the New York Post on Thursday.

 

Staring Down a Barrel

This is a piece posted in the NJ Star-Ledger today, Sept. 11, 2005, and is one of the best articles written in a long time about the oil situation.

Somebody should give Raymond J. Learsy a Gold Star for his wonderful column.  As you will see when you read it, it is especially fitting given the anniversary date of the September 11th attacks by the Saudi Arabian terrorists.


Staring down a barrel

Sunday, September 11, 2005
BY RAYMOND J. LEARSY

Just imagine, for a moment, the firestorm of indignation that would erupt if someone discovered that the world's major grain exporters (the United States and Canada, for instance) were conspiring to triple or quadruple the price of such basic foodstuffs as soybeans, wheat and corn -- and then using the vast profits derived from this conspiracy to fund a worldwide network of schools, missionaries and fifth columns, all designed to undermine the beliefs and stability of the Muslim world and, where necessary, to spill blood.

This is fantasy, perhaps, but the flip side of this scenario is all too real. The conspiracy lurks in our midst and literally has the world over a barrel. It is, of course, OPEC.

OPEC, an assortment of eleven nations including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Nigeria, Libya, Iran and Venezuela, controls some 40 percent of the world's oil production. These countries have struggled valiantly to persuade us they are doing all they can to meet the world's growing oil needs. And much of the world believes them.

The problem with this is no one outside of OPEC knows for sure how much the cartel members can produce and the actual size of their reserves. They won't tell us.

"Western nations are not dealing with oil producers as partners. Why should they have the advantage of knowing details of oil producers' reserves? Data on reserves is information, and information is power," Ishan Bu-Hulaiga, an economist and adviser to the Saudi government, was quick to declare after the group of industrialized nations known as the G-7 met in February and called for greater transparency among oil producers.

There are, however, some facts that we do know:

  • In 1970, OPEC reserves were estimated at 412 billion barrels. In the 33 years that followed, OPEC produced 307 billion barrels and, at the end of that period, reserves had grown to 819 billion barrels. It would seem that as more oil is pumped, more reserves become available.
  • The Saudis have identified 80 important reservoirs of oil in their country, but to this day are tapping less than 15 of those basins.
  • With production at about 30 million barrels per day, OPEC claims to be at the limit of its pumping capacity. But production reached 31 million barrels per day in 1979. Apparently, we are supposed to believe that in more than a quarter of a century no additional capacity was added. If that's true, we can only conclude that it was intentional, in order to foster the illusion of shortage and strained capacity.

By colluding to restrict production and to manipulate price, OPEC blatantly violates the spirit of free trade as well as the rules of the World Trade Organization. And it is enormously successful. At $65 per barrel, we are being hoodwinked into paying the equivalent of $25 for an ice cream cone.

It costs the major Middle East producers less than $1.50 to pump one barrel of oil. At $65 per barrel, if the same economic relationships applied, Detroit would be selling the Ford Taurus at $300,000 or more. We would not stand for a $25 ice cream cone or a $300,000 Taurus. And we should not stand for oil at $65 a barrel.

To those who argue that oil is still cheap compared to inflation- adjusted prices in 1981, I would counsel running, not walking, to the nearest jewelry store, and buying every gold bracelet, gold necklace and gold tie pin in sight. In 1981, gold was selling for about $800 an ounce and, adjusted for inflation, it should be selling for $1,700 an ounce today. Given today's price of $450 per ounce, it's clearly a bargain that can't be passed up.

But it's not only our economic future that is in jeopardy. Our national security is also at grave risk.

Prominent members of OPEC openly work to undermine democratic ideals in the United States and other Western countries. Billions of dollars flow from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to finance schools, mosques and supposedly charitable organizations around the world that actively promote the virulently anti-Western Wahhabi strain of Islam.

Ironies abound -- not least that we supply the money at the gas pump that buys the textbooks and prayer books stuffed with venomous words designed to bury us.

In light of all this, it's imperative that we become more self-reliant for our energy needs. Steps must be taken to control demand as OPEC controls supply. This could be achieved in many ways.

One suggestion is to establish a voucher-based gas distribution program based on a national quarterly target of gas consumption per consumer. It would be comparable to the Bush administration's Clear Skies Program, which allows less- polluting power companies to sell emission credits to heavier polluters.

This plan would let heavier gasoline users buy the rights to what less-thirsty consumers don't use. It would put a cap on consumption, but it would not be regressive. (An across-the-board gasoline tax, by contrast, would punish the poor and those who live in areas with fewer mass transit options.) It would give all Americans a chance to join in the fight against OPEC, at a time when so many of our soldiers are making the ultimate sacrifice.

There are other options. The Senate, for instance, voted this summer to allow the government to sue the OPEC oil cartel on antitrust grounds, giving authority to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to pursue legal action. The bill died in negotiations with the House, but this idea should be revisited immediately.

Similarly, the U.S. government should challenge OPEC before the World Trade Organization, whose statutes prohibit setting quantitative restrictions on imports and exports and flatly ban conspiracies to rig markets.

In the short term, a portion of the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve (now nearly 700 million barrels) should be used to dampen the runaway price of crude oil -- which, at current levels, presents an imminent danger to our economy. A release of just 50 million barrels, though marginal in terms of quantity, would send the signal that the government will be vigilant in maintaining fair prices for such a basic raw material. (President Bush agreed to release a portion of the strategic reserve after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, but he did not go far enough.)

Then there is the nuclear option. France produces 80 percent of its electrical energy from nuclear power plants and China plans to quintuple its nuclear energy production over the next 15 years (calling for some 40 new nuclear plants). We have not built a nuclear power plant since the 1970's. What is it that the French and Chinese know that we do not?

It's time for us to act so that we can escape our shameful dependence on OPEC oil and break OPEC's extraordinary grip on the world's economy. We must dampen consumption as OPEC constricts production and become truly serious about alternative sources of energy.

We can no longer permit the unfettered consumption of oil. Our national honor and security depend on it.

Raymond J. Learsy is the author of the new book "Over a Barrel: Breaking the Middle East Oil Cartel."

March of the Penguins

What a delightful movie!

If you're looking for something different to see, this may be just the thing!  When the lights go down, sit back and be prepared to unexpectantly care about what happens to a group of penguins, which are -- at this very moment -- going through extrodinary things that you would never realize.

I was so completely taken by this movie.  Maybe it's because I was unprepared to care.

One of the great bonuses is the movie soundtrack, which is simply wonderful to experience, and is what I have playing right now.  The soundtrack is many times the "voice" of the characters, and it was written by people who took great care to craft a wonderful sensory experience.

Terrific piano, flute, violins, and percussion -- a real joy.

All in all, something to take one's mind from the unpleasantries of the world today.

I recommend you take your family to this movie -- all except for the fidgety MTV teens.  (Although who knows, maybe this movie can help some of those MTV types see beyond the blather that is force-fed to them on cable TV every day by horrible rappers and gangsters.)

Enjoy March of the Penguins for all of its many qualities.

Not much traction with the abuse

By Wesley Pruden, Editor-in-Chief, Washington Times
Sepetmber 6, 2005

George W. finally gets it -- in more ways than one. The tardy president was back on the Gulf Coast yesterday, bucking up the spirits of the damned and stiffening the resolve of the slackers.

He's getting it as well from his critics, many of whom can't believe their great good luck, that a hurricane, of all things, finally gives them the opening they've been waiting for to heap calumny and scorn on him for something that might get a little traction. Cindy Sheehan is yesterday's news; she couldn't attract a camera crew this morning if she stripped down to her step-ins for a march on Prairie Chapel Ranch.

The vultures of the venomous left are attacking on two fronts, first that the president didn't do what the incompetent mayor of New Orleans and the pouty governor of Louisiana should have done, and didn't, in the early hours after Katrina loosed the deluge on the city that care and good judgment forgot. Ray Nagin, the mayor, ordered a "mandatory" evacuation a day late, but kept the city's 2,000 school buses parked and locked in neat rows when there was still time to take the refugees to higher ground. The bright-yellow buses sit ruined now in four feet of dirty water. Then the governor, Kathleen Blanco, resisted early pleas to declare martial law, and her dithering opened the way for looters, rapists and killers to make New Orleans an unholy hell. Gov. Haley Barbour did not hesitate in neighboring Mississippi, and looters, rapists and killers have not turned the streets of Gulfport and Biloxi into killing fields.

The drumbeat of partisan ingratitude continues even after the president flooded the city with National Guardsmen from a dozen states, paratroopers from Fort Bragg and Marines from the Atlantic and the Pacific. The flutter and chatter of the helicopters above the ghostly abandoned city, some of them from as far away as Singapore and averaging 240 missions a day, is eerily reminiscent of the last days of Saigon. Nevertheless, Sen. Mary Landrieu, who seems to think she's cute when she's mad, even threatened on national television to punch out the president -- a felony, by the way, even as a threat. Mayor Nagin, who you might think would be looking for a place to hide, and Gov. Blanco, nursing a bigtime snit, can't find the right word of thanks to a nation pouring out its heart and emptying its pockets. Maybe the senator should consider punching out the governor, only a misdemeanor.

The race hustlers waited for three days to inflame a tense situation, but then set to work with their usual dedication. The Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, our self-appointed twin ambassadors of ill will, made the scene as soon as they could, taking up the coded cry that Katrina was the work of white folks, that a shortage of white looters and snipers made looting and sniping look like black crime, that calling the refugees "refugees" was an act of linguistic racism. A "civil rights activist" on Arianna Huffington's celebrity blog even floated the rumor that the starving folks abandoned in New Orleans had been forced to eat their dead -- after only four days. New Orleans has a reputation for its unusual cuisine, but this tale was so tall that nobody paid it much attention. Neither did anyone tell the tale-bearer to put a dirty sock in it.

Condi Rice went to the scene to say what everyone can see for himself, that no one but the race hustlers imagine Americans of any hue attaching strings to the humanitarian aid pouring into the broken and bruised cities of the Gulf. Most of the suffering faces in the flickering television images are black, true enough, and most of the helping hands are white.

Black and white churches of all denominations across a wide swath of the South stretching from Texas across Arkansas and Louisiana into Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia turned their Sunday schools into kitchens and dormitories. In Memphis, Junior Leaguers turned out for baby-sitting duty at the city's largest, most fashionable and nearly all white Baptist church, cradling tiny black infants in compassionate arms so their mothers could finally sleep. The owner of a honky-tonk showed up to ask whether the church would "accept money from a bar." A pastor took $1,400, some of it in quarters, and nickels, with grateful thanks and a promise to see that it is spent wisely on the deserving -- most of whom are black.

The first polls, no surprise, show the libels are not working. A Washington Post-ABC survey found that the president is not seen as the villain the nutcake left is trying to make him out to be. Americans, skeptical as ever, are believing their own eyes.

Picking up where others fear to tread

I really like President Bush and the hard work he's doing to help the hurricane victims.

A very noble person, he's pulling out all the stops.

Once again, it will be one of those things where his achievements will be realized in hindsight -- too late -- by all the naysayers and fear-mongerers of today.

Just like Reagan, who was was lauded during his funeral events.  That's a very typical liberal response: wait until someone dies before you give them the credit they deserve.

For Reagan, it was vanquishing the Soviet Union; for Bush it will be pulling together a country through some of its hardest times, spreading democracy around the world, and keeping terrorists on the run.

Bush takes charge because locals dropped the ball

President Bush, with his typical steady hand and clear vision when dealing with difficulties, continues to directly take charge of the hurricane situation, even though the local mayor and governor are the ones who should be doing it.

Today President Bush ordered an additional 7,200 soldiers and Marines to the Gulf Coast to carry out federal relief efforts.  These are not National Guard troops, these are the "real McCoy" military personnel from the Army's 82nd Airborne from Fort Bragg, N.C., 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, and the Marines' 1st and 2nd Expeditionary forces from Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Camp Lejeune, N.C.

He also sent an extra 10,000 National Guard troops, raising the number of Guard personnel in the stricken states to about 40,000.

The brainless, cowardly liberals who say that we can't handle both Iraq and problems at home at the same time are eating their pathetic words.

In the New Orleans Convention Center alone, a force of 1,000 Guardsmen were stationed to assert the rule of law.

Bush is clearly upset with the total lack of action by local and state officials in the stricken states.

"Many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need, especially in New Orleans, and that is unacceptable," Bush said. "In America we do not abandon our fellow citizens in their hour of need."

Bush met for nearly an hour with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and others involved in planning the recovery from Katrina.

Bush has personally toured the area multiple times, and is providing the same kind of hands-on and determined leadership that Rudy delivered on 9/11.

Taking the rare step of delivering his Saturday morning radio address live from the Rose Garden of the White House, Bush recounted his Friday tour of the devastated region and praised its people.

"When you talk to the proud folks in the area, you see a spirit that cannot be broken," he said.

 

George W. Bush truly is the right leader for the right time.

Who would be in control where YOU live?

This was e-mailed to me today, and it struck a very true note when I read it.  (I wish the person who sent it to me would start posting these things in their Blog!  The more different voices there are echoing these sentiments, the better.)

It got me wondering about my own area, and who would be in charge if a disaster struck.

Would I trust my leaders? 

Would they, in fact, lead at all

Or would they instead start blaming other people to cover up for their own inadequacies?

Anyway, here's the e-mail that provoked these thoughts:


When 9/11 happened it affected the city of New York and the state of New York.

Who coordinated the recovery?

The Republican Mayor and the Republican governor.

 

When Florida got hit with 5 hurricanes last year, who coordinated the relief efforts?

The Republican governor….

 

Now the city of New Orleans gets devastated by the hurricane and who coordinates the effort?

No one.  Instead of leading their citizens and the relief effort, the Democrat Mayor and Democrat governor blame George Bush.

 

Typical Democrat attacks.  Do nothing, point fingers.

What a great party.  They lead people who have been raised in Democrat households, and who have been taught, generation after generation, to hate Republicans, rather than to think for themselves.

They cannot answer straight-forward questions with direct, logical answers.  They are taught that Republicans  are "bad", and they close their ears, eyes, and minds to logic and reason.

Maybe they feel that they must "save face", and thus attack Republicans rather than join them.  Fortunately, there are many ex-Democrats, but it is a slow process, and unfortunately it may be too late before common sense sinks in to the majority of Democrats.

 

A run-down of command-and-control, for those who want to speak factually about this disaster:

Who is in charge of a city? Mayor.

Who is in charge of a state? Governor.

Who prepares the citizens of city, and coordinates efforts for a disaster? The Mayor and Governor.

What does the Federal government do? Provide relief funds and resources.

Is it the job of a President to coordinate disaster relief?  Of course not.

Is it the job of a President to evacuate citizens standing in the way of a hurricane?  Of course not.

Is it the job of a President to make sure the city busses are properly positioned and used to evacuate people?  Of course not.

Is the fact that the President did not sign the Kyoto protocol to blame for the hurricane?  That's a trick question.  If in your mind you for a second entertained the thought that that was true, then, well....  you're a loon.

 

Bottom line?  If you keep voting for Democrats because you have been taught to by your parents, teachers, ethnic leaders, spiritual leaders, or anyone else, I truly feel bad for you.  You are part of a cycle that keeps people poor and uneducated, and never has room for intellectual debate.  Logic and reason are never a part of the equation.  Think about it.  I am not some "evil Republican," I am a normal human being, just like you, who has thought long and hard about this, and I refuse to let elite newspapers and television reporters — and "community activisits" — do the thinking for me.

There will absolutely be blame galore once the bodies have been counted and the damage assessed.  When this happens, take a fresh look at things.  First, decide if there really is someone to blame for all of this.  Then decide:  Who are YOU going to blame?


By the way, I posted the e-mail above, and then I ended up re-writing most of it!  The first few lines are from the e-mail, and the rest is mine.  I suppose it's pretty easy to see my passion on this issue.

President Bush

Amongst all the bad news and growling, snarling comments made by people today, it is not mentioned often enough just how lucky we are to have President George W. Bush as our President.

Thank God the majority of the people in this country came to their senses and elected our fine leader.

Thank God you have the internal strength to push aside all the sour comments from those who choose to lead lives of negativity and constant criticism.

Those people should be examining the mistakes and troubles of their own lives, which I am sure would form a much longer list than yours.

Thank you, George Bush, for being there when our country needs you, and for providing the leadership we have come to expect from you.

Gas Prices

Gas Prices

The Devastation of New Orleans

I think a picture always tells things best, as it is devoid of politics and interpretation.

Before and after photos of three places in the New Orleans area:


The City Park - Before

City Park - Before

The City Park - After

City Park - After


A Highway Interchange - Before

A Highway Interchange - Before

A Highway Interchange - After

A Highway Interchange - After


The Superdome - Before

The Superdome - Before

The Superdome - After

The Superdome - After