[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: June 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Private Oil Bad, Government Oil Good

Last week, there was a very good column in El Nuevo Herald by Adolfo Rivero Caro that did a wonderful job of exposing the Democrat Party, liberals and radical environmentalists as anti-capitalists vis-a-vis oil.

Rivero Caro's column deals with the reaction in those sectors to the decisions of John McCain and Governor Charlie Crist to support oil drilling well off Florida's Gulf coast. Rivero Caro employs the logical arguments to support drilling, while at the same time calling out environmentalists, liberals and everyone else who is adamantly opposed to drilling.

The premise for calling those folks "anti-capitalists"? Simple. Rivero Caro cites the observations of the Wall Street Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady who noted that it's not necessarily oil that bothers environmentalists and their friends, but private oil:
Something that's worth observing is the attitude of the radical environmentalists and their representatives in the face of certain ecological "dangers". Mary Anastasia O'Grady, the brilliant journalist of the Wall Street Journal, recently observed that when the oil companies are state-owned, ecologists ignore the ecological disasters caused by said companies. Their socialist and statist sympathies trump any other consideration. No one protests the formidable inefficiency of Pemex. And we've seen the reaction to the discovery of the Tupi oilfield by Petrobras off the Brazilian coast. The examples are plenty and are easy to see.

On another note, according to O'Grady, when oil companies are state-owned, politicians can utilize revenues for their particular projects and interests. When oil production is private, however, they can't do this. Profits go to shareholders. As a result, politicians prefer to ingratiate themselves with powerful environmental lobbyists and convert themselves into ultra-jealous environmental guardians and fierce critics of private oil companies. This makes them appear to be defenders of the public cause. The Democrat Party's opposition to increasing U.S. oil and gas production is totally unjustified. It is a strategical problem. Although the results of a change in politics may take a while to materialize, the alternatives could take even longer and, at any rate, the market would respond favorably to a new American policy. Opposing this change is contrary to the interests of the nation.
For those of you who read Spanish, the entire column can be found here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Miami's Megaplan: Pros and Con

I've awakened from my blog hibernation this warm and sultry Sunday morning to post on a good story in today's Herald on the controversial "megaplan" that would bring a new ballpark, museums and port tunnel to Miami's downtown. As I've noted in the past, I am in favor of the plan, so take this post for what's it's worth.

This important and well done story is inexplicably buried at the bottom of the Herald's website. Then again, this IS the Herald we're talking about here.

Three opinions are presented:
- Norman Braman, auto dealership owner and an outspoken critic of the plan
- George Burgess, Miami-Dade County Manager and proponent of the plan.
- Jorge Perez, Chairman of the Related Group and condo developer, also a plan proponent.

Their opinions are linked above, and I will summarize my feelings on each.

Braman main argument is that we can't trust our elected officials and bureaucrats to handle these type of projects without major screw-ups. Braman's right, our local officials have a terrible track record in many areas. His other main point is that the public was never given an opportunity to vote on these issues. On this point he's wrong, which Burgess accurately points out in his opinion.

Burgess dispels several myths about the plan. Of the 5 myths he dispels, the first three are good, but the next 2 are a little shaky. Yes, the CRA redistricting will not directly benefit the stadium. It DOES benefit the Arsht Center (PAC) which is a critical part of the entire plan. Despite this omission, wouldn't expanding the CRA for the impoverished zone north of downtown also benefit projects in that area by expanding the tax rolls and dedicated funding that the PAC and the proposed museums would represent? That's something Braman has yet to answer, because it hurts his cause, in my opinion.

Is this the best time economically to invest in a plan like this. Burgess thinks so. Maybe he's right, and in the long term there's no doubt it would be a benefit. But I don't know if it's a slam dunk to think that now is the best time. In the end, all this is irrelevant because most of the monies are currently available and can ONLY be used for these type of projects, not to lower taxes and help the poor.

Finally, Jorge Perez focuses on the "quality of life" enhancements that this project would help bring about. I couldn't agree more. Every major city has both high-level cultural and sporting events to offer their citizens. Miami should be no different. There's no doubt that a Museum Park blocks away from the beautiful Arsht Center, along with a baseball stadium less than 2 miles away, would be a huge boost to our quality of life. Some may disagree, and that's fine. But if New York, Chicago and practically every major city in the modern world can accommodate a variety of world-class attractions, then why can't Miami strive to do the same. We can do this AND do all the other things that are needed to keep the city running. It's not an either/or proposition. All it takes is civic pride, vision and will, something not too many people in Miami possess.


Cross-posted from Babalu:

Something to ponder on this second day of summer:

Definition of climate:

the long-term weather pattern of an area, including temperature, precipitation, and wind.

Definition of crisis:
a. A crucial or decisive point or situation; a turning point.
b. An unstable condition, as in political, social, or economic affairs, involving an impending abrupt or decisive change.
2. A sudden change in the course of a disease or fever, toward either improvement or deterioration.
3. An emotionally stressful event or traumatic change in a person's life.
4. A point in a story or drama when a conflict reaches its highest tension and must be resolved.

Therefore, how can the term "climate crisis" even begin to make sense?

I don't know. Perhaps algore has the answer.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Hi. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Robert. This is my blog, 26th Parallel. Thanks for stopping by.

It's been a while since I've posted here, thus the "re-intro". What was a work and life-induced break turned into a self-imposed 2-week-plus hiatus of sorts. Heck, I've barely checked my e-mail in that time. Call off the hounds. I'm here and in one piece.

Although I could say that I missed blogging, I would be lying. I could say I was too busy to miss it, but that would only be partially true. Fact is, the break made me realize that I don't really miss blogging. Not that I no longer have a desire to blog, but that I no longer feel the need to always be engaged in the blogosphere in order to get my thoughts out. In many ways, it's been pretty liberating. As I've done in the past, I'll come back and post my thoughts on a variety of issues, but at least for the time being I'm content to just sit back and let things happen without a compelling urge to have to write about it. I'll still write, but on my schedule, not as a duty of sorts. I have to admit that's what blogging started to feel like: a duty.

Quite simply, after several days of stressful work (good stress, but stress nevertheless), the last thing I want to have to worry about is to push a post across, especially when I don't have the time or energy to write a post that is coherent and somewhat based on reality. I have a hard enough time doing that when I'm rested.

Here are some people/things that were happy to see me take a break from blogging:

- The family
- The dog
- The pool
- The yard
- My Guitar Hero skills

Actually, I don't have a dog (yet) and my Guitar Hero skills are still developing, but you get the point.

Anyway, a Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Robert is Here

Robert is there.